Saturday, August 26, 2006

'Who Killed The Electric Car?' - worth watching

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - I have to be dragged to see some movies and this was one of them.

Not because I didn't believe that the EV-1, produced briefly by General Motors, was the victim of corporate greed. But because the movie would reinforce that and just raise my blood pressure.

It did both, but the movie has a surprise ending which I won't convey here.

But I will give you a hint: I'm really glad I'm buying a Toyota Prius. Really glad.

The arguable star of the film is the EV-1 car itself, but in a supporting role is Chelsea Sexton, who was a GM employee in charge of selling these vehicles. She's now an advocate for electric vehicles and if she weren't so honest, could have a great career in politics.

Chelsea Sexton
Chelsea Sexton at a rally to save the EV-1

She's the kind of bright young person I love to see in my classes at the university - far brighter than the people at GM (and the oil companies).

The movie makes a brief mention of the last time the big players teamed up to force the automobile on the American public - back in the 1930s when the oil companies, tire manufacturers and automakers sold many American cities buses at well below their real cost (as well as promises that tires and fuel would be very cheap) so that cities would get rid of their electric trolley systems.

They also required the cities - to get those big discounts - to rip out the rail tracks and in many cases, even give up their rights of way to ensure there would never be another electric railway - just buses that needed parts, tires and of course, oil. Pretty ironic that as a nation we are spending billions of dollars to build new electric light rail lines when we had them 75 years ago - and they worked just fine, thank you very much.

The saddest part of this film is seeing stacks of the destroyed EV-1 vehicles - perfectly good cars, perhaps too good to survive. Remember the expression 'planned obsolesence?' GM forgot to program that in for these sporty - and fast - little cars.

Crushed EV-1 cars
Stacks of EV-1 autos ready for the shredding machine.

Who Killed The Electric Car? is well worth watching. But before you do, check out this website:

  • Plug In America

  • And check your blood pressure before and after, too.

    1 comment:

    1. Watched "Who Killed the Electric Car" recently (great documentary), then i heard that GM and Tesla are making another run at the electric car (yay for progress!) hopefully development of this technology can continue forward uninterrupted by the powers that depend on oil consumption.