Life Lessons from Movies

Who Killed the Electric Car?

In Documentary, Movies on October 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) is a documentary written and directed by Chris Paine about the GM EV1, an electric vehicle made available to California consumers for lease, with no buy option, after the state passed the Zero-Emissions Vehicle mandate in 1990. However, after lawsuits from car companies, the federal government, and forceful lobbying from oil companies, California dropped the mandate on April 24, 2003, and GM, along with other American automakers, repossessed all electric cars and destroyed them.

Life Lesson:

If you want to change the world for the better (reduce war, reduce pollution, protect wildlife, beaches and rainforests), buy a car that doesn’t use gasoline, or uses very little gasoline: an electric car, a plug-in hybrid, or a hybrid — e.g. Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Mitsubishi i MiEV, Renault Fluence Z.E., Toyota Plug-in Prius.

Movie Scene:

Joseph J. Romm: “Just as General Motors 40, 50 years ago bought up the trolley systems and shut them down, the oil companies have opposed the creation of an electric infrastructure. […] Our average vehicle, average car on the road, is less efficient than it was 20 years ago, and this is just a complete abdication of leadership, political leadership really, because it’s impossible to get fuel economy standards passed through the U.S. Congress.”

Wally E. Rippel: “There’s still roughly a trillion barrels worth of oil in the Earth’s crust. And if you figure that the average price of that subsequent oil will be $100 a barrel, that’s a $100 trillion dollars worth of business yet to be done. However, at some point when the alternative is good enough, people will snap over, and that’s what the oil companies fear the most. […] We’re using our military to insure the flow of oil, we’re using tax dollars to support the car companies in different ways, and we’re not using our tax money to do the things that we really need to do to prepare for the future.”

R. James Woolsey: “The fact that 2/3 of the world’s proven reserves of oil are in the Middle East, and we’re so dependent on that part of the world, is a very big national security question.”

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  1. Also from the movie —

    Doug Korthof: Then when the nickel metal hydride batteries were improved, so that they’re now lasting longer than the life of the car and cheaper than an engine, Chevron Texaco stepped in and purchased control from General Motors of Ovshinsky (Ovonic) technology. The oil companies do not feel threatened by battery technology because they effectively crushed it.

    Ralph Nader: Ever since 1939 they would dangle this electric car, they’d have a few models out there they’d say there’s something in another few years and it never came, because they never intended it to come. They make too much money with their technological stagnation in the internal combustion engine.

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