Who Killed the Electric Car? 2006 PG CC

Amazon Instant Video

(378) IMDb 7.7/10
Available in HD

A documentary that investigates the birth and death of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future.

Starring:
Phyllis Diller, Colette Divine
Runtime:
1 hour 33 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Chris Paine
Starring Phyllis Diller, Colette Divine
Supporting actors Dave Barthmuss, Ed Begley Jr., Jim Boyd, Alec N. Brooks, Alan Cocconi, John R. Dabels, Phyllis Diller, Colette Divine, Tom Everhart, David Freeman, Frank Gaffney, Mel Gibson, Greg Hanssen, Peter Horton, Leslie Kendall, Doug Korthof, Alan C. Lloyd, Alan S. Lowenthal
Studio Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

This movie really gets you thinking.
Happy Prius Owner
Now this very important film answers the question of the electric car.
Magic
It made me very angry with both the oil companies and our government.
Teri Koslen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

200 of 212 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Tucker on July 19, 2006
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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137 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Adam M. Kennedy on 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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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By C. Jones on July 19, 2006
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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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Philip R. Karn Jr. on October 28, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 By Chris Y. on July 24, 2006
Verified Purchase
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 By L. McConville on August 2, 2006
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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