Elon Musk Reminds Us That GM Once Crushed All Its Electric Cars

In a series of tweets on Friday, Elon Musk revealed why he got into the electric car game — and threw some shade at General Motors.

“Few people know that we started Tesla when GM forcibly recalled all electric cars from customers in 2003 & then crushed them in a junkyard,” he tweeted.

He’s right, when it comes to GM. Back in the ‘90s, GM was slated to be the leading manufacturer in electric cars, debuting the EV1 in 1996.

The junkyard remains of GM's EV1s.

But when production ended in 2000, the manufacturing giant abruptly abandoned the project and began reclaiming all the EV1s that had made it onto the road. The cars went straight to the junk yard, much to the dismay of the 800 or so EV1 fans who had signed up to lease the innovative vehicle.

The reasons for GM’s massive recall have been debated — from a lack of consumer interest, to high cost of production, to pressure from the oil and gas industry to back off on electric vehicles.

Musk makes his own moral position clear, however, stating that Tesla was not created to be a surefire money maker.

Musk replied to a question from one of his followers that Tesla — perhaps partly because of its success — has “convinced most of the auto industry to start EV programs.” Notably, he says that Tesla gave other companies its patents.

If you want to learn more about Musk’s perspective on the auto industry’s approach to electric cars, he recommends the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? The film blames the stagnation of the electric car’s ubiquity on GM and other major auto manufacturers that have been quelled by Big Oil and government interests.

The film can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

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