The Electric Car Has Its Revenge

Chris Paine, director of Who Killed the Electric Car?, is back with the story of the dead vehicle's remarkable resurrection.

When Who Killed the Electric Car? was released in 2006, it became a galvanizing force for people who were sure that forces in American politics and business were doing everything they could to make sure that we never were able to use clean energy.

Depicting the saga of the EV1, a GM car that was briefly in production—to much fanfare—before the automaker pulled the car and attempted to destroy every last model. The details of the story made it seem even more nefarious. Take the revelation that, having discovered a company that made batteries that could function in a car, GM bought the company and then sold it to Chevron, which promptly shut it down (video of that scene here).

Today, WKTEC director Chris Paine is back with a second film, about what's happened in the intervening years. The new movie—Revenge of the Electric Car—shows the remarkable comeback, over the last few years, of battery-powered cars, a comeback powered by GM's own Volt, the Nissan Leaf, and innovative startups, like Tesla. 

Here's a clip from the movie showing the first Tesla Roadster (since discontinued in favor of a cheaper model) rolling off the assembly line, and Tesla founder Elon Musk talking about how much he's invested in getting electric cars back on America's roads:

As Volts, Leafs, and Teslas become more prevalent, we'll see if they truly have had their revenge. The third movie in Paine's electric car trilogy is surely around the corner.

[Image: Flickr user randychiu]

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  • RiseAbove

    Unfortunately, electric energy is not synonymous with clean energy. It all depends on how you generate the electricity (coal vs hydro, for example). For the average US electricity mix, a car powered by electricity produces lifecycle GHG emissions almost on par with a vehicle powered by gasoline... what we need is EVs AND clean power generation.

    There are, of course, many other benefits of EVs, but I just thought I'd point that out, as it's a common misconception.

  • newMember

    Actually a regular gasoline car consumes more electricity per mile, than an electric car does (
    This means that EVs produce less emissions, regardless of the electricity mix; in fact it saves more CO2, the dirtier electricity is, because it reduces the amount of electricity that's consumed (on top of not consuming any gasoline at all).