limited driving range
The 120+ mile range of the gen 2 EV1 (and 4 hour charge time) is admittedly not good for road trips, but it's perfectly good for most commutes.
You have obviously
never driven an EV1. VROOOOOOM!
Electric cars are much simpler than ICE cars, so aside from the inevitable glitches of v1.0 of anything, there are far fewer points of failure in an EV. The EV1 doesn't even have a transmission. Admittedly, batteries are expensive and have a finite lifetime, but the same is true for many car parts that EVs lack. It isn't obvious to me that the total maintenance cost should be higher.
If by weaker you mean less safe, the EV1 has good stats there. If you mean less power, all I can say is try one and see (but hurry up, before GM crushes them all). VROOOOOM!
If there were a market there, or even one that could be easily developed, the major car manufacturers would have pounced on it (esp. those that are desperate for growth).
Unfortunately, that's not true. First, there is a market. Despite putting essentially no effort (some might say negative effort) into promoting the EV1, GM has always had a long waiting list for the car. They simply never produced enough to meet demand. Now, despite having drivers who like the cars well enough to extend the leases and assume all maintenance costs, or buy them outright, they are taking the cars back and crushing them.
Second, from the perspective of short-term profitablity, it may make sense for car makers to avoid selling EVs even though there is a market for them, since, by selling EVs, they are competing against their own (profitable) product line. On the assumption that someone who does not buy an EV will by an IC car, the most profitable thing to do is not sell EVs until forced to do so by regulation or competition. This does not even require an active conspiracy, just a small enough number of car makers, each doing what maximizes short-term profits.
The American car makers have been doing the very minimum to conform to California law, and give every appearance of sabotaging their own efforts, to create the false impression that there is no demand. The Japanese manufacturers, rather than whining, are selling the cars. Does this remind anyone of the 1980s?
What we have instead is a handful of companies that have made pretty damn impressive efforts...but they are all ultimate failures because there are not enough buyers.
At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist: that's what they want you to think.
We will probably never know what the actual demand for the EV1 was, since GM is not about to tell us how long the waiting lists were, but reports from would-be buyers suggests that the demand was high, and
suggests that as many of 33% of California car buyers are interested in buying EVs.