NOTICE THE DATE!!!!!!!!!!!! 19 years later and they still cant get it straight, you would think that they would actually be a company with value and leadership, but instead after selling off some of their "elite" brands like saab and saturn they are still as worthless as they were 20 years ago. Do they actually think they have it right this time. I highly doubt it. G.M. Displays the Impact, An Advanced Electric Car By RICHARD W. STEVENSON, Special to The New York Times Published: Thursday, January 4, 1990 The General Motors Corporation today displayed what it called the most advanced electrically powered car yet developed and said that it could be on the market as soon as the middle of the decade. Roger B. Smith, the company's chairman, said at a news conference here that the car, called the Impact, was not yet ready to be built and sold on a widespread basis. He cautioned that the sporty-looking two-seater had a number of drawbacks, including a monthly operating cost roughly twice that of a conventional automobile. And he said it was still unclear whether there would be sufficient demand for such a car to justify producing it. But he said the car, which does not emit any pollutants, could be very appealing at a time of increasingly stringent environmental regulations. He said General Motors had high hopes that the car could be the first to bridge the gap between limited-production electrical vehicles, a number of which are on the road today, and mass-produced autos. ''It is producable,'' Mr. Smith said. ''We've taken a big step, a very big step here.'' The vehicle's potential also raised hopes among environmental officials, especially in California, which is enacting the strictest anti-smog regulations in the nation, for a nonpolluting car that did not sacrifice performance. ''What this shows is that a major corporation recognizes that California is serious in demanding clean cars and clean fuel,'' said Tom Eichhorn, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the primary environmental agency for Southern California. While General Motors executives said that California would be the primary market, they added that there would have to be nationwide demand to justify production. Mr. Smith said he would be most comfortable with 100,000 cars a year, not 20,000. No Production Timetable Mr. Smith declined to say how much the vehicle might cost, except that it would have to be competitive with conventional cars. He said the company had no timetable for a possible introduction, although other General Motors executives said the car could be in production within five years. General Motors executives portrayed the car as comparable in performance to many sports cars. They showed a tape of the prototype Impact outracing a Mazda Miata and a Nissan 300ZX from a standing start to 60 miles an hour. ''This is no golf cart,'' Mr. Smith said. The car has a range of 120 miles before its battery system needs to be recharged. Mr. Smith said that would make it a suitable second car or commuter car for many drivers. There is no time limit on how long the batteries will hold their charge; the car draws power only while in motion. Many Technologies Improved General Motors executives said the Impact represented improvements in a variety of technologies and design elements rather than any single breakthrough. Using technical and design experience gleaned from an experimental, solar-powered vehicle called the Sunraycer developed several years ago, the company and a number of outside partners improved the durability of the battery system, developed an aerodynamic design that reduces wind resistance by more than a third, produced a more efficient motor and even developed special tires that lessen drag. ''It's a total system approach,'' said John S. Zwerner, a top engineer at General Motors. ''Every detail has been important.'' General Motors has so far built only a single prototype of the Impact. It is powered by 32 traditional lead-acid batteries, the same kind used on most cars today. The batteries can be recharged using an extension cord and regular household current. The car has two electric engines, each of which drives one of the front wheels. Unlike many other previous electric cars, the Impact does not have an auxiliary gasoline-powered engine. Detroit has tinkered with electric engine as long ago as 1916, but much of the research in the field lately has been into small trucks and vans used for short-haul urban deliveries. With the Impact, General Motors is for the first time considering selling an electric vehicle for primary use as a passenger car. Operating Costs Doubled General Motors executives said that at current prices, it costs about $40 a month to fuel and service a car in the Los Angeles area that is driven 10,000 miles a year. The power cost for the Impact would be only $5 to $12 a month, they said, but the batteries would have to be replaced every two years at a cost of $1,500, bringing the operating cost of using the car to about twice that of a gasoline-powered vehicle, $960 in two years. But they are making rapid improvements in battery life and hope operating costs will be on a par within two or three years. General Motors said work on the Impact was done within the company's design centers as well as by Aerovironment Inc., a California company that did much of the engineering and construction work. Among the other partners on the project were the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, which developed the car's low-resistance tires, and Alcoa, which made the lightweight aluminum wheels.