Who Killed The Electric Car?

Trailer Trailer

Official film description...

It begins with a solemn funeral…for a car. By the end of Chris Paine's lively and informative documentary, the idea doesn't seem quite so strange. As narrator Martin Sheen notes, “They were quiet and fast, produced no exhaust and ran without gasoline.” Paine proceeds to show how this unique vehicle came into being and why General Motors ended up reclaiming its once-prized creation less than a decade later.

He begins 100 years ago with the original electric car. By the 1920s, the internal-combustion engine had rendered it obsolete. By the 1980s, however, car companies started exploring alternative energy sources, like solar power. This, in turn, led to the late, great battery-powered EV1. Throughout, Paine deftly translates hard science and complex politics, such as California's Zero-Emission Vehicle Mandate, into lay person's terms (director Alex Gibney, Oscar-nominated for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, served as consulting producer). And everyone gets the chance to have their say: engineers, politicians, protesters, and petroleum spokespeople—even celebrity drivers, like Peter Horton, Alexandra Paul, and a wild man beard-sporting Mel Gibson. But the most persuasive participant is former Saturn employee Chelsea Sexton. Promoting the benefits of the EV1 was more than a job to her, and she continues to lobby for more environmentally friendly options. Sexton provides the small ray of hope Paine's film so desperately needs.

Further reviews...

“A balanced examination of the reasons for the electric car's disappearance, reasons that include corporate collusion and greed, governmental spinelessness and oil company propaganda — but also consumer indifference and the limitations of the vehicles themselves.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“In a sad twist of technological birth and infanticide, General Motors – with assists from the oil industry, the Bush administration, cowardly California energy officials and apathetic consumers – doomed the future car to the literal scrap heap of history.” – New York Daily News

“Paine doesn't hide his liberal mind-set, but he lets all sides – from GM suits to Ralph Nader – have their say. By the closing credits, there's little doubt who killed the electric car.” – New York Post

Awards: 4 nominations.
IMDb User-Rating: 7.7/10
Metascore Critics Rating: 70/100
Rotten Tomatoes User Rating: 7.2/10


Technical information and screening rights...

Director: Chris Paine
Script: Chris Paine
Production: Electric Entertainment, Plinyminor, Papercut Films
Actors: Martin Sheen (Narrator), Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks
Country: USA
Year: 2006
Runtime: 92 mins
Languages (Audio): English
Languages (Subtitles): English, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish
World Rights: Papercut Films

More information...

Tags

Car Innovation Politics







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