Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who Killed the Electric Car?

So I'm back from seeing the movie, and I have to say it's very good. My father came with me and he started applauding at the end. Which embarassed me a bit, but I was glad to see he had enjoyed it.

Let me start by saying this is not a balanced movie in any sense. There are interviews with GM personnel and a Ford rep, but by and large they're there mainly as comic relief. Perhaps the best moment in the film comes when the GM representative says unequivocally that the remaining electric cars are going to be donated to various schools and universities and museums, but whatever happens they most certainly won't be crushed and put in a dump.

As he says this, the film shows video of the crushed and dumped carcasses of the last EV1s. It's probably the best visual skewering I've seen since Michael Moore's comparison of Bill Clinton's views on Columbine ("We need to learn to resolve things without violence") and Kosovo ("KA-BOOM!")

What I found touching about the movie was the number of people who were so passionate about these cars. Despite GM's claims that there was no market, it's clear there were people who not only wanted these cars, but were willing to go to extreme lengths to try and protect them. I had heard and read some of their accounts, but the medium of film is far more conducive to getting this across. People loved these cars, to the point of holding a funeral when they were told they couldn't keep them.

I don't think I've ever loved anything I owned that much. Much less my brief experience in car ownership - gas? oil? windshield fluid? transmission fluid? insurance? brakes? Why doesn't it just work, dammit?!

Some other odd bits:

-Mel Gibson - looking awful crazy - talking about the rigorous test he had to go through before he could lease an EV1. GM wouldn't let just anyone have one, you see. To lease the car (GM refused to do something as crazy as sell the things) you had to prove you deserved it. Beaucoup Bizarre.

-The police pulling out their batons to break up the anti-GM protesters. Seriously, these people looked about as threatening as vegans suffering from insomnia. But I guess police procedure in LA requires the use of batons.

The movie does try and end on an up note - talking about the possible resurgence of electric cars, looking at plug-in hybrids, ZENN, and a brief shot of Tesla's roadster. If you live in Toronto, you can see it at the Cumberland near Avenue and Bloor.


macadavy said...

Tesla's roadster? Quoi, quoi?? Qu'est que c'est?

Hamilton Lovecraft said...

Not Nikola Tesla's, but Tesla Motors'.

patrick said...

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.