The Return and Revenge of the Electric Car (2011)
Like Phoenix rising from the ashes, the electric car spread its (figurative) wings and rose from the dead. But how did it die in the first place? It seems that by 2006 “as many as 5000 electric cars were destroyed by the major car manufacturers that built them.” One of those cars belonged to actor Danny DeVito who was very unhappy to lose the vehicle he loved. DeVito and vehicle industry experts contributed their opinions to Revenge of the Electric Car, a 2011 documentary directed by Chris Paine and narrated by Tim Robbins.
Revenge of the Electric Car delves into the history of the electric car, particularly General Motors’ EV-1 (the car DeVito loved), and its sudden demise. The documentary then explores the resurgence of this green machine. Perhaps it was the Tesla that brought it back, or maybe Nissan’s Leaf. Certainly General Motors' renewed interest in producing an electric car revived interest in the concept.
Although Revenge of the Electric Car is about the resurgence of interest in such vehicles, it is also a portrait of entrepreneurs and a lesson in business, though not necessarily “as usual.” It looks at the US economic crisis and the impact it had on the redevelopment of the electric car, and it examines the roles of four men instrumental in reviving it: Bob Lutz (GM), Carlos Ghosn (Nissan), Elon Musk (Tesla), and Greg “Gadget” Abbott (independent converter).
For some of us, the bottom line is “how much does it cost to run an electric car,” and the answer is $1.00 per the equivalent of a gallon. Questions that were not answered included: 1) With the increased demand, how will that effect the price of electricity? 2) If electricity is produced with coal, how is that greener? 3) How long will it be until the electric car is affordable for those folks buying lower-end vehicles?
While Revenge of the Electric Car may convince a segment of the 1% to buy a greener machine, with it priced in the $50k-$100k+ range it is still just a dream machine for many of us. Revenge of the Electric Car will be released by Docurama Films across Cable VOD, digital, and DVD platforms January 24, 2012.