Who Killed the Electric Car? – Review

Every time I watch a documentary these days, I go in expecting two things:

1) It’ll lean politically left.
2) There will be a bunch of people whining on camera.

Who Killed the Electric Car? fulfilled both of my expectations.

The movie tells the story of GM’s failed EV1 in the 90s. Never heard of it? It was the first electric car by a major automobile manufacturer and was only sold in Saturn dealerships in California and Arizona. I vaguely remember it, but it was neat to learn a little more about the car and its short life.

The problem is that this movie portrays the car as the savior of mankind and how the evil, ignorant men in power killed our one chance of salvation. I got the feeling the car should have been named JC1. More tears were shed over the death of this car than the actual number of them produced.

To be fair, the movie puts the blame on a number of different “suspects.” There’s Big Oil, GM, consumer ignorance, and the CA government. Bush wasn’t even in office when GM killed the project, but he gets blamed, too. The best quote to describe the EV1’s demise is “death by a thousand cuts” and the film does a good job of describing each of those.

Also, the film never really talks about the problems the car had. It said a typical charge would last about 60 miles, but it didn’t say at what speed. It also didn’t say how long it would take to charge, only “typically overnight.” It also didn’t describe how much horsepower it had, nor its safety rating. Electric cars are awesome, but there are some big technological hurdles to conquer before they are viable. With gas prices rising and technology getting better, I bet we see an EV2 on the market in the next 5 years.

So should you rent this? It did have some interesting points to make, especially since I don’t remember the car all that well. If you can handle a bunch of people whining about a crappy car, then go for it. Otherwise, just start reading Popular Mechanics for the next innovation in alternative fuels.

Grade: C

One thought on “Who Killed the Electric Car? – Review

  1. 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!)


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