Arts, Culture, Movies — August 28, 2012 9:20 am

Review – Who Killed the Electric Car?

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Was it Colonel Mustard in the Library?  Mrs. Peacock with a candlestick?  General Motors using political pressure to covertly sabotage a cleaner future?

Set back in the early 90’s, this doc is a fast and furious tale about the heroic group of civic-minded auto manufacturers who wanted to save a hemorrhaging planet.  In 1990, California’s smog-busing Air Resources Board adopted the “Zero-Emission Vehicle Mandate,” which forced auto companies to produce exhaust-free vehicles.

The air in California cities was (and still is) causing birth defects, severe respiratory illnesses, and chronic health deficiencies.  The goals of the mandate were modest: by 1998, 2% of all new cars would be exhaust-free.

Many auto manufacturers had already been creating mass-production prototypes of electric cars since the late 80’s, and electrical technology sufficient to rival gasoline-powered cars has been around since the 1940’s.

Tapping his A-list Hollywood chums for interviews, director Chris Paine outlines our country’s orgy with gasoline-thirsty transportation and the subsequent outrage of Californians when they discovered that automobile emissions were poisoning their families.  In response, G.M. creates the EV1 in 1996, the first mass-produced electric car, costing $34,000 with a range of 100 miles.

Then, in 2002, each of the EV1s suddenly vanished from the road without a trace.  Who killed the electric car?  The answer is a roller coaster tale of corporate greed and governmental corruption, idealism and outrage, mystery and intrigue.

Highly recommended.

 

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