Car Movies – Who Killed the Electric Car?

No one enjoys the sound of a powerful internal combustion engine as much as I do, but his movie really struck a chord with me.  I thought the beginning was hokey and almost passed on watching the rest of it because of that, but a good friend had recommended it so I continued.

What stunned me was the level of performance that had been achieved in this GM all-electric vehicle.  This was not a hybrid but a full electric car that accelerated like a sports car.  It didn’t look like a sophomore college project either.  It looked like a sports sedan.  The key was work that had been done to manage the power as it was called for by a driver and produce speed and acceleration when demanded, but also manage power while cruising.  It was brilliant.

So what happened to this miracle?  Basically it was crushed.  GM never allowed anyone to purchase the vehicle so that when it chose to it could repossess them and do as it wanted.  California had instituted legislation requiring zero emissions but over the years the (warning conspiracy theory ahead) big oil companies and the automobile companies pushed back until the legislation was nullified.

The sincerity of the film makers is clear and the evidence the present is circumstantial, but compelling.  I wish it had been done by a director like Errol Morris. 

One section of the film that hit home though was when a mechanic showed all the parts and fluids that went in to the maintenance of the typical internal combustion engine car that never was a part of the service of the electric car.  You could not ignore the table full of stuff.

Electric cars have been around since the beginning of the automobile, and as the film states, in the earliest days of motorcars electrics out numbered the ones powered by gasoline engines.  There were some pretty important reasons for this.  Early gasoline engines were noisy, dirty, and dangerous.  It could be argued that not much has changed.

It is hard to find a car design that has the range and performance of the gasoline or diesel engine.  It can be argued that electric cars simply trade tail pipe emissions for smoke stack emissions. 

Watch this movie.  I don’t think it will be a waste of your time.  Whether we think there is a conspiracy or not, oil won’t last forever. 

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