When I was in Boise, recently, a friend asked me if I’d seen the movie, Who Killed the Electric Car? I hadn’t. Until this past Saturday night.
It turned into a bit of a movie festival here in the temp-living quarters of the Kinnons in the Beach. Superman Returns, MI:III (for a wingnut, TC is still a great action hero) and the aforementioned WKtEC? “Who Killed” is the movie that has stuck in my head from the 6.5 hour movie marathon – and Imbi and I watched it first.. I confess that I was expecting a left-wing polemic. I was surprised that we experienced an entertaining, humourous, thought-provoking flic. (Which got a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.)
This is primarily the life story of General Motors EV1 car – of those who dearly loved it and mourned its loss. It’s a story of heroes and villains – although the villains are fairly treated. (The ghost of Michael Moore is no where to be found in this film by Chris Paine.)There are wonderful characters in this story – 83 year old battery genius and inventor, Stanford Ovshinsky and his wife and business partner, Iris* and former EV1 salesperson and electric car evangelist, Chelsea Sexton are but three of them.
Deftly edited (with lots of great music), this documentary is as entertaining as it is informative. And it will leave you angry at the short-sightedness of GM and other car manufacturers (although GM denies any shortsightedness). But it also leaves you with a sense of hope – and you’re going to love Stan and Iris* – they were the 3rd Gravitating Body in this movie, as far as I’m concerned. (Visit the website to get a taste of the story.)
Tesla operates more like a consumer-electronics maker than a traditional auto manufacturer. The company’s headquarters are in the Valley, where a team of designers creates specs for parts that are manufactured and assembled around the world. The first batch of cars is being assembled in England by Lotus, a small-volume sports-carmaker.
I have my doubts whether the major car companies may get behind its available technology – but what if a company like Google became a partner? Hmmm.
UPDATE: * I’ve just read the entire Wikipedia article on Stan Ovshinksy and learned that Iris passed away in August. Sad.