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13News Now Vault: The Chevy Electrovette on display in Norfolk, March of 1980

The Chevrolet Electrovette was more than 40 years ahead of its time.

NORFOLK, Va. — The year was 1980.

On display at what used to be an Omni hotel in Downtown Norfolk was one of the first electric vehicles. General Motors was showing off its new concept car, the Chevrolet Electrovette.

It had a top speed of 50 mph and was capable of a 100-mile trip with its zinc-nickel oxide battery.

“This really is the breakthrough that... makes it likely we’ll go to the market with it,” said the late General Motors Director of Program and Plans, Dr. William Agnew.

But the company never did take the Electrovette to market.

Thinking gas prices would triple in the near future, GM management predicted one in 10 cars would be electric by 1995. But gas prices stabilized, and the appeal for an electric vehicle faded.

Fast forward more than 40 years to today.

One out of every 10 cars being electric still seems like a bold prediction, but the industry is going through a rapid change. We have electric trucks, school buses, and UPS plans to launch electric planes for speedier delivery times in 2024.

While we are still dependent on gas -- the Colonial Pipeline shutdown earlier this year put that on full display -- we are inching our way toward that electric future. It's a future that was put into motion all the way back in 1980.