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201 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Who Done It" for the auto industry.
A great film about another sorry episode in the history of America's automobile and energy industry. Set as a "Who-Done-It", the film chronicles how short sighted automakers (especially GM) develop great electric cars in response to the California ZEV mandate only to do everything in their power - from suing the state, making ridiculous ads, creating a red-tape filled...
Published on July 19, 2006 by Bruce Tucker

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55 of 69 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Murder Mystery That Affects Us All
I really do try to keep up with the news, but somehow I missed this little nugget of recent history. And it is a pretty darn interesting nugget if I may say so. GM, pretending they actually care, put out on the road high quality electric cars. Then, just as quickly, forced them out of the hands of those who had leased them and destroyed them. This film puts on its liberal...
Published on February 23, 2007 by Chris Roberts


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201 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Who Done It" for the auto industry., July 19, 2006
By 
Bruce Tucker (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A great film about another sorry episode in the history of America's automobile and energy industry. Set as a "Who-Done-It", the film chronicles how short sighted automakers (especially GM) develop great electric cars in response to the California ZEV mandate only to do everything in their power - from suing the state, making ridiculous ads, creating a red-tape filled lease application process - to kill them. Consumers buy bigger and bigger vehicles (whether they need them or not). Government officials and staffers bow to the pressure of intense lobbying, and conflicts of interest. The sad fate of most of the EVs produced during the late '90s to 2002 is revealed.

GM, especially, comes off as incredibly vindictive. What automaker ever tracked down every car of any model and crushed them (not the Corvair, Edsel, etc.)? Even after loyal drivers pleaded to keep them, offering to buy the last remaining EV1s with junk titles at lease buyout prices, GM went out of its way to ensure that the EV1 was history.

The passion of GM's EV specialist Chelsea Sexton for the EV1 makes her the star of the movie. One can only imagine what the engineers who designed the EV1 felt when their babies were being crushed.

But the movie ends on a hopeful note. We may never see the EV1 again, but vehicles using electric drive systems, either as full EVs (which are coming from several start-up companies) or plug-in hybrids, must inevitably roam the roads. The upward trend in gasoline prices, the effects of global warming, the inherent efficiency of electric drive trains, the continued improvement of battery technology, and the upcoming reevaluation of the ZEV Mandate guarantee it.
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138 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good look at a good idea., July 16, 2006
This documentary provides a fascinating look at how big corporations can get away with murder. The electric cars were quite popular a decade ago but are now non-existent, this explains why. There were less breakdowns in the electric car and of course no gasoline. The result was that GM could not have people driving around in reliable transportation, where would they make money on repairs? The other factor is oil companies, with no legitimate competitor they could do whatever they wanted and have. Strange that the owners (or leasees since they were not for sale) were not allowed to keep their cars after the California law was repealed. Check it out.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WKtEC Kicks GM in the Butt, July 19, 2006
By 
Well, all you sceptics out there--see it and weep! Yes, there was an incredibly cool, sexy two seater ZEV on the road and no, you didn't get to drive it...but I did. For three years I had the fun (and so did everybody I gave a ride to). Also, with a Time of Usage meter installed on my house, I charged at night (still do) at a lower rate--PLUS, get this, I have a 16 panel solar array on my roof which not only lowers my bill, but means my (gasp!) Toyota RAV4 EV license IM SOLAR is not lying. Clean, clean, clean! See this movie and get those auto makers to give you some more options! Way to go, Chris Paine et al.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, October 28, 2006
By 
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This review is from: Who Killed the Electric Car? (DVD)
I drove the EV1 for five years, so some might say I am not exactly objective on this subject. Be that as it may, this movie utterly demolishes GM's lame propaganda that nobody wants to drive an EV. GM fully *intended* the EV1 to fail; while it may have cost a billion dollars to develop, that was small potatoes compared to the value (to GM) of destroying California's zero-emission mandate and keeping it from spreading to other states.

Despite extreme scarcity, highly restrictive lease terms and nearly non-existent advertising, the EV1 became an unexpected success. The unbridled enthusiasm of its drivers, splendidly depicted in this movie, so embarassed GM that they eventually recalled and destroyed every EV1 with a vindictiveness that stunned even those of us who thought we harbored no illusions about GM's motives.

The EV1 may be dead, a victim of corporate greed and short-sightedness. But no one who has ever thought seriously about the subject can doubt that the EV will return; the only open question is *when*. Hopefully this movie will remain as an inspiration, and help make that day sooner rather than later.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tragic love affair and car crushing, July 24, 2006
By 
Chris Y. (Pasadena, CA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Chris Paine does an awesome job telling the story of the modern electric vehicle. This tale should please everybody: It's a love story -- I laughed, I cried. It's a who-done-it mystery. It's about a car that was a real kick in the pants to drive.

Oh, there are a few that won't like it -- they don't like the fact that it didn't use any fossil fuels.

EVs may not be for everybody -- but the ones that were created *SHOULD* have been allowed to be driven and not taken back forcably and then crushed.

GM wonders why it's going bankrupt and Toyota is making money hand-over fist? Toyota didn't allow a market setting product to wither on the vine -- it supported the Prius' slow start and now it's reaping the benefits from that investment. GM could have had that with the massive lead it had in EVs.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Car That Could - the inside story of GM's revolutionary electric vehicle, August 2, 2006
By 
L. McConville (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
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If you found the movie interesting, check out "The Car That Could" by Michael Shnayerson. His book follows the development of the EV1 - first named the "Impact" - from conception to limited-production at GM. He provides a lot of the technical details that the movie couldn't get into, written in a very readable style. What is amazing is that given the great technological development done by GM engineers to bring this car into reality, the company did a complete 180 and destroyed their own creation. Who killed the electric car indeed?
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully, the Electric Car Can Be Revived..., October 3, 2006
This review is from: Who Killed the Electric Car? (DVD)
This movie exposed some serious problems with industry and government alike and demonstrated why we have made so little progress in reducing our dependence on oil. But it actually also exposed the general apathy that allows these problems to continue. As with the electric car, the movie itself did not generate much interest.

Notwithstanding, it is a really interesting movie. It ties nicely with the title of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" by looking at the suspects which include: Car Companies, Oil Companies, Consumers, Government, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Battery Technology, and Fuel Cells.

The actions of GM in scrapping the electric car and destroying its remnants make it look sinister. And there appears to be a serious conflict of interest for a number of government officials who have had positions in the oil and auto industry.

One interesting point in this movie is whether Fuel Cells will be really ever be viable. It raises the question as to whether the hype about Fuel Cells is really a diversion by the auto and oil industries to delay any real progress in developing a battery powered electric car which can effectively compete with gasoline powered cars.

The movie questions the motives of the California Air Resources Board in eliminating its Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate, which required 2% of the vehicles sold in California to be emissions free by 1998 and 10% emissions free by 2003. Unbelievably, the Chairman of the California Air Resources Board subsequently became the chairman of the California Fuel Cell Partnership--which makes his actions that ultimately eliminated battery powered electric vehicles appear to be an incredible conflict of interest.

This movie is thought provoking and easy to watch. Hopefully it will help inspire the comeback of the electric car. At least one small company, Tesla Motors, is now making a highly road worthy (albeit expensive at this point) electric car.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clues to an Alternative Environment, March 24, 2008
This review is from: Who Killed the Electric Car? (DVD)
After looking forward to this informative documentary, I have to admit I first started to roll my eyes. It starts with a funeral scene for the electric car. Now both political sides of me came together and found the ensuing scene loathesome. The conservative in me saw this as simplistic propaganda, and the liberal in me who loves alternative energy wanted to scream that this was fodder for conservative commentators who would pounce at any opportunity to squelch all designs for windmills, solar, and electric fuels. But they quickly redeem themselves. After the insipid funeral scene they turn the documentary into a substantative Whodunit that investigates all the suspects and thoroughly scopes the scene of the crime.

The clues come from the evidence which doesn't add up when so many people were happy with their electric cars. While some of them are articulate celebrities (from Tom Hanks to Mel Gibson) there are many pedestrian people who are just as passionate and down-to-earth about their devotion to the alternatively fueled vehicle. It really comes down to understanding that the automobile industry benefits from a car's shorter longeivity, and the documented demand for more electric cars doesn't square with corporate testimony. Admirably, all counter arguments are given their proper space even as the car's mileage has improved for each recharging. (How many people drive more than 150 miles round trip on an average given day?)

Given the issues at stake: A war that has some energy import, domestic security, high profits for oil companies during leaner times, and a constant need for an improving environment, the case is stacked against the corporations. But, I must say, I haven't given away the entire day in court. There's much more testimony that I won't divulge and more suspects who may be complicit in the murder.

The crime scene mostly takes place in California where the levels of pollution may have some of the rest of us taking their plight for granted. After seeing this film both sides of me came together and was quite satisfied with the verdict and all of it's educational ramifications. The conservative in me would love to see alternative fuels compete against the corporations with new companies that would eventually bring the big wigs down to earth. The liberal in me would love to see government funded laboratories that would provide more alternative fuels that would end the conspiracy of lies that keeps our country more dependent on foreign oil, with higher energy costs, and with major pollutants that continue to mar our environment. Although liberally slanted, the defense gets their time in court. (Skillfully presented and convincing)

(Narrated with smooth finesse by Martin Sheen)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-see eyeopener about the way forces come together to get in the way of good things, April 21, 2007
This review is from: Who Killed the Electric Car? (DVD)
The most amazing thing this movie did for me had little to do with electric cars themselves. They are gone, and it becomes obvious in the movie that they are not coming back any time soon. What the movie does is expose how economic interests on the part of the oil industry and car companies who have little incentive to change their traditional ways of doing business (they continue to make money as they operate), weak leadership at the Federal and State levels bending to these economic interests (how does it otherwise make sense to see such huge tax break incentives for buyers of Hummer vehicles) and comfortable consumers who refuse to acknowledge we have a problem with our low fuel efficiencies and are willing to do little or nothing about it, all come together to get in the way of evolving as a nation towards more sustainable and efficient transportation alternatives.

At the end of the movie, there is a glimmer of hope with talk about plug-in hybrid vehicles that could lead to efficiencies of over 150 MPG. Most definitely a documentary worth seeing, so you can see what you can and should do to help make a difference in your world.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goliath Motors (GM) meets David, September 6, 2006
By 
Jean E. Pouliot (Newburyport, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Like many others, I have been lulled into thinking that alternatives to oil-based automobiles are hippy pipe-dreams that won't come true for years. The American dependence on foreign oil, especially as provided by our country's enemies, seems like an evil to be endured as we wait for science and technology to catch up to our demand for cleaner transportation.

"Who Killed the Electric Car?" puts to rest forever the idea that clean energy for cars is a distant dream. It tells the story of a popular and successful pilot program to meet upcoming California fuel standards, for which GM developed an all-electric car. That car, The EV1, was easy to use (it plugged in at home), easy to maintain, fast, quiet and clean. But in spite of its success and growing popularity, GM pulled the model. The company literally took he car out of the hands of test users, and (again literally) crushed nearly every car.

Why?

The film examines many sides of the the issue. Everyone gets a say, from the engineers who built the cars, to the pilot drivers who loved and fought to keep them, to government regulators who had divergent interests in supporting the car, to consumer advocates, to automobile industry reps who claimed (the subsequent success of the hybrid Prius notwithstanding) that making a profit on a car without an internal combustion engine was impossible.

Politicians, the auto industry, regulators and even consumers get a gard look to establish where blame might lie. It becomes abundantly clear, however, that technology is not the issue. Electric batteries are becoming better and better, allowing many of us the option to drive electrics for a significant portion of our driving.

Surprisingly, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" is a hopeful film. It successfully sells the idea that clean driving is possible, that our air can be much cleaner and that regula citizens can have an impact on government and industry. This is a thought-provoking movie for anyone who is interested in the health of our planet and with eliminating our nation's dependence on foreign oil and domestic profiteering.
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Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car? by Chris Paine (DVD - 2006)
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