The GM Ultralite — 1400 lbs, 100 MPG, and You Can’t Have It

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Every now and then, the 90s show up with something amazing and far less well known than it should have been, and we all taste bitter regret at what could have been. This is the case with the GM Ultralite, a 1400 lb car that got up to 100mpg, two decades ago. No, really.

The GM Ultralite prototype was unveiled to the public in Detroit in January ’92, with working air conditioning, self-leveling air suspension, and even the ability to hit 60mph in 8 seconds (which, given how economic it was on fuel use, is remarkably quick).

And yet:

It is, by any measure, an incredible achievement, and GM reportedly looked into actually building it on a small scale before corporate priorities changed. With California law dictating that GM would have to build zero-emissions vehicles, the Ultralite concept was shelved in favor of development of the EV1. And we all know how that turned out.

Head on over to our sister site, Gas2, for the rest of the reasons GM never made this lean, efficient machine.

Source: Gas2
Image Credit: Gas2

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4 thoughts on “The GM Ultralite — 1400 lbs, 100 MPG, and You Can’t Have It

  • Alrighty then….and the reason/s no one is doing this now, are?????
    Instead, all companies are upped the size of their engines a couple of time in the last 10 years…..mercedes….300, then 320, now 350
    however, VW, still has the 1.8 and 2.0

  • G.M. aka Gashog Motors could have been on top of the game if it went forward with this one + the EV-1. Instead of the gas gusslers it loves.

    • If battery technology had been adequate then continuing with the EV1 would have made sense.

      BTW, you probably aren’t aware that GM was developing a number of new more efficient models when the economy crashed. GM, like any other car company, makes what sells and US buyers have not been driven by fuel efficiency during much of our history. Europe has had much higher fuel costs so their manufacturers have worked to bring more efficient cars to market because that’s what has sold best in Europe.

  • Would it have been safe, crash test-wise?

Comments are closed.