The Car that Could: The Inside Story of GM's Revolutionary Electric Vehicle

Front Cover
Random House, 1996 - Business & Economics - 295 pages
5 Reviews
More than six years ago, General Motors vowed publicly to mass-produce the world's first modern electric vehicle. As risky in its own right was GM's decision to let a writer record the program's progress from inside the gates of its Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, exactly as he saw it, however it might turn out. The result is a remarkably intimate portrait in the tradition of Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine, a story of the people who found new answers to the technological challenges that have confronted electric vehicles since the turn of the century. When Michael Shnayerson began visiting the program in mid-1992, those challenges remained unsolved - perhaps insoluble. Then, four months later, amid huge and growing losses, GM's chairman and his team were pushed aside in the most dramatic boardroom revolt in U.S. history. The EV program was reduced to a symbolic effort. Yet, as chairman Jack Smith began managing a near-miraculous comeback for the world's largest corporation, the program was secretly revived. The Car That Could is about engineers producing invention on schedule. But it is also about the fierce politics in which the EV became enmeshed after GM's 1990 announcement inspired California to require the world's major carmakers to come out with electric vehicles by 1998. As the carmakers began a reluctant race with one another to market, they worked harder as a group to derail the EV mandate in a bitter lobbying campaign abetted by the cynical clout of Big Oil. The Car That Could is an all-American story of big business and politics, of environment and invention, and of a small, dedicated team within a large corporation, trying to make a difference.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: The Car That Could: The Inside Story of GM's Revolutionary Electric Vehicle

User Review  - Butch Byers - Goodreads

Lots of interesting facts about the professionals associated w the original electric car, but a little disjointed.... Read full review

Review: The Car That Could: The Inside Story of GM's Revolutionary Electric Vehicle

User Review  - Robert Luebke - Goodreads

I thought that the book "The Car That Could" would probably be technical and somewhat boring. However, author Michael Shnayerson made the book read like a best selling novel. I was surprised how ... Read full review


A Dubious Offer
Time and Again
Starting from Scratch

22 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1996)

Michael Shnayerson is a staff writer at Vanity Fair. He lives in New York.

Bibliographic information