The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center tested 16 commercially-manufactured electric vehicles, including this Metro, during the mid-1970s. Lewis and the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) engaged in several energy-related programs in the mid-1970s, including the Electric Vehicle Project. NASA and ERDA undertook the program in 1976 to determine the state of the current electric vehicle technology. As part of the project, Lewis and ERDA tested every commercially available electric car model. Electric Vehicle Associates, located in a Cleveland suburb, modified a Renault 12 vehicle to create this Metro. Its 1040-pound golfcart-type battery provided approximately 106 minutes of operation.
The tests analyzed the vehicle’s range, acceleration, coast-down, braking, and energy consumption. Some of the vehicles had analog data recording systems to measure the battery during operation and sensors to determine speed and distance. The researchers found the performance of the different vehicles varied significantly. In general, the range, acceleration, and speed were lower than that found on conventional vehicles. They also found that traditional gasoline-powered vehicles were as efficient as the electric vehicles. The researchers concluded, however, that advances in battery technology and electric drive systems would significantly improve efficiency and performance.