The Minicars RSV | Publications

In 1968, the Minicars group of the General Motors Research Laboratories developed prototype gas, electric,and hybrid electric-powered versions of a small car for the U.S. government.

The Minicars' Research Safety Vehicle (RSV) was conceived in 1975 as a 1985 S3E prototype vehicle: Safe, Environmental, Efficient and Economical. Years later, advanced air bags, as featured in the Minicars RSV, became standard equipment in all passenger vehicles and saved lives in all crash modes.

    1. The original gas-powered version was built with foam-filled, thin-wall sheet metal sections and a polyurethane skin. Testing confirmed that the RSV passively protected occupants in 50 mph full frontal, 80 mph half-car offset frontal, 40 mph angled side, rear and 30 mph rollover dynamic tests.

    2. The electronic version incorporated antilock brakes, radar separation cruise control, and emergency brakingwhen a crash was unavoidable.

    3. The production version was designed to weigh 2,200 pounds, carry four people, achieve 32 mpg with 10 mph frontal and rear no-damage bumpers and 50 mile run-flat tires.