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Who Killed the Electric Car?

Documentary Film
Rated PG

Did you know that 100 years ago there were more electric cars on the road than there are today?

What surprised me was that there were any electric cars on the road 100 years ago. What surprised me even more was to realise this is not ‘pie-in-the-sky’ technology. The film argues that these clean, green, and economic vehicles have been a reality for at least 15 years but their progress has been halted by the oil and automotive industries.

Clearly made by electric vehicles enthusiasts Who Killed the Electric Car is well made and entertaining and explores the possible reasons behind the demise of EVs (electric vehicles) after such promising prototypes and strong support from US Government organisations in the 1990s, particularly in California.

Opening with a mock funeral for General Motors’ original electric car, the EV1, the film has an impressive list of interviewees including engineers who worked on the project, S. David Freeman a former Energy Advisor to Jimmy Carter, California State Senator Alan Lowenthal, former Chairman of California Air Resources Board Alan C. Lloyd and actor Mel Gibson.

Parts of the film did look like fancy advertising for a car that didn’t exist and some may dismiss it as feeding conspiracy theories, but it forces us to ask the question: Why were the EVs were all taken off the road and destroyed?

A brief comment about insurance companies refusing to insure the prototype cars after their lease had expired could have been more deeply investigated.

The irony of the demise of the EV is the current craze in hybrid vehicles.

I got the eerie feeling that this film will only reach the ears of the converted, especially since I knew all nine people in the cinema.

One EV enthusiast said it best in a giant bumper sticker that asked, “What would Jesus drive?”
I wonder.

Reviewed by Mardi Lumsden, Associate Editor of Journey