The recent advance in power handling capacity of semiconductor devices makes it possible to replace DC and AC commutator machines for variable speed applications by high-speed, light-weight, squirrel-cage induction motors. This paper describes the development of a high-performance electric drive system which uses squirrel-cage induction motors in which slip frequency is externally controlled. This makes it suitable for traction applications. Two systems were specifically built for installation in a battery-powered automobile and a fuel-cell powered delivery truck. The performance of these vehicles has proven the technical feasibility of an electric powered vehicle.