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'Who Killed The Electric Car?' - Movie Review

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'Who Killed The Electric Car?' - Movie Review

'Who Killed The Electric Car?' - DVD Cover

Sony Pictures Classics

The Bottom Line

In Who Killed the Electric Car?, documentary filmmaker Chris Paine chronicles the recent conspiracy to prevent proliferation of a series of automobiles that ran quietly and efficiently on electricity.
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  • Revelation about the automobile industry's built-in obsolescence policies.
  • Provides illuminating background information regarding economic crisis.
  • Human beings and their cars--a study of genuine auto affections.
  • A fascinating look at the power industrial interests wield over government and public policy.
  • Learn how the automobile industry's policies impact the environment.


  • None worth mentioning. This is a wonderful documentary.


  • Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Phyllis Diller and Peter Horton owned EV1s and lobbied to try to keep them.
  • The electric car required no upkeep and had zero emissions. It was fast, clean, reliable.
  • Interviews with automakers, engineers, consumers and legislators are used as evidence in this entertaining doc thriller.
  • You'll wonder whether someone kept the schematics for EV1, and if the car can be put back into production today.

Guide Review - 'Who Killed The Electric Car?' - Movie Review

Against a background of instability in the auto industry and unstable gasoline prices, Who Killed The Electric Car is timely viewing and will promote discussion of several important issues.

General Motor's EV1, an experimental electric car, was an almost overnight success when it was introduced in 1996, in response to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) targeting auto exhaust as the cause of the state's unacceptable air quality.

Everyone was interested in the development of an emissions-free electric car. GM got a jump on the competition with the EV1, which was easily and quickly produced, ran fast and clean--without the use of gasoline and oil, there were no emissions to pollute the environment. The cars had few breakdowns; they required little maintenance (an occasional tire rotation and windshield change was all) and no replacement parts. And, they were very attractive. Needless-to-say, people who owned them, including several celebrities and this documentary's director, Chris Paine--loved their EV1s and wanted to keep them forever.

Why, then, did GM recall all the vehicles and crush the entire fleet--every last EV1--in a remote corner of the Arizona desert?

If you believe the documentary--which presents compelling evidence--you'll see that it was because the EV1 was too good, and wouldn't profit GM as much as road hogs and gas guzzlers.

In its indictment of GM, Who Killed the Electric Car? leads to examination of GM's corporate greed, fiscal goals and marketing manipulations. There are better ways for corporations to support the economy, protect the environment and provide products to content consumers.

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