Monday, October 30, 2006

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Yesterday I saw the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, which offers a frightening look at how large corporations (and our own government) will do anything to ensure their weath, even at the cost of our environmental health.

The fast-paced film, narrated by Martin Sheen, presents the destruction of the GM V1 electric car as a murder complete with suspects, 'trials' (by way of documents and archival footage of the actual California energy hearings) and a full-scale funeral, led by those that were passionately attached to their electric cars (or helped create or sell them).

In a nutshell, the state of California initiated a mandate for cleaner air that required the development/implementation of more energy efficient vehicles. The car companies reluctantly responded and the V1 was born. Released in a limited supply, only for leasing, the cars were quiet, fast, reliable and aesthetically pleasing. Each person who leased one seemed to love their vehicle like a family member and was excited at the prospect of owning one.

But that never happened.

Due to pressure from the oil companies, the federal government and of course, the car corporations, the mandate was killed. And then GM decided to retreive ALL electric cars from circulation once their leases were up and kill those too. They offered no option of purchase although many citizens would've paid above and beyond the asking price to own one.

It was devastating to those who had grew fond of their electric cars, those who had worked to create them, and everyone who cared about the environment/and or our foreign oil policies.

And what was more absurd was that the cars were in excellent working condition—they required little service unless they had a standard problem such as a flat tire. So when the activists discovered that the cars were being transported to a wrecking yard in Arizona to be shredded, they took action and staged a protest in front of the Burbank lot where their former vehicles rested.

Unfortunately, nothing stopped the ultimate destruction of all but one car (which is now sitting idle in a vehicle museum) and you just have to wonder—do the car companies really think the engineers alive today couldn't replicate that successful prototype without a living, breathing example in front of them?


1 comment:

patrick said...

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!) hopefully development of this technology can continue forward uninterrupted by the powers that depend on oil consumption.