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PBS "Who Killed the Electric Car?" The film looks at the hopeful birth and untimely death of the electric car, an environmentally-friendly, cost-saving salvation to some, but a profit barrier to others.
In a film that has all the elements of a murder mystery, Paine points the finger at car companies, the oil industry, bad ad campaigns, consumer wariness, and a lack of commitment from the U.S. government.
"[The film] is about why the only kind of cars that we can drive run on oil. And for a while there was a terrific alternative, a pure electric car," Paine said.
In 1996, General Motors (G.M.) launched the first modern-day commercially available electric car, the EV1. The car required no fuel and could be plugged in for recharging at home and at a number of so-called battery parks.
Many of the people who leased the car, including a number of celebrities, said the car drove like a dream.
"...the EV1 was a high performer. It could do a U-turn on a dime; it was incredibly quiet and smooth. And it was fast. I could beat any Porsche off the line at a stoplight. I loved it," Actress, Alexandra Paul told NOW.
After California regulators saw G.M.s electric car in the late 1980s, they launched a zero-emissions vehicle program in 1990 to clean up the state's smoggy skies.
Under the program, two percent of all new cars sold had to be electric by 1998 and 10 percent by 2003.