There is an element of murder mystery and an edge of conspiracy thriller to this, Chris Paine's documentary about the rise and fall of General Motors' EV1 (Electric Vehicle 1), to date the quietest, most efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to the combustion-engine car. But the who (a familiar list of usual suspects) is not as aggravating as the why.
Auto executives claim consumer demand wasn't there. Yet when GM recalled the EV1 with no explanation, the satisfied leasees (among them Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks and Peter Horton) offered to buy their vehicles outright (GM refused to sell and would only lease the cars).
Paine argues in "Who Killed the Electric Car?" that the electric car was never meant to be a viable option, merely an empty gesture in the face of California's new emissions regulations. His evidence is compelling, from an ad campaign so disastrous it looks designed to fail to a lease application more laborious than the citizenship process.
The arguments are more vague and anecdotal when confronting the real cost in terms of fuel consumed and pollution created to produce the electricity for, say, a 60-mile trip. But his conspiracy theory seems all the more plausible in light of (public statements to the contrary) the automakers' systematic and secret destruction of the EV fleet, as if to eradicate any evidence of its success.
It may sound like a downer, but Paine turns it into a call for action. The lesson is that we can't count on any clean energy solution from either the industry or the government that doesn't involve a healthy profit for somebody, so the public is going to have to demand it. And perhaps create it as well.
Video Codec: DivX
Video Bitrate: 1670 Kbps
Video Resolution: 720x400
Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Video Framerate: 23.98
Audio: English (subs included)
Audio Codec: Dolby AC3
Audio Bitrate: 448 kb/s @ 48KHz
Audio Channels: 6
Runtime per Part: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Number of Parts: 1
Part Size: 1400 MB
Ripped by: PolarBear, From one Spirit to Another