Movie Review: Who Killed The Electric Car?

Good documentaries make you feel something. This film will make you feel angry. Very angry.

The story begins in California, which has both the nation’s worst air pollution problem and one of our most progressive state governments. That combination should lead to dramatic change and for a while in the late 90s it did. The CA state agency in charge of air quality imposed strong new requirements on auto makers to sell a minimum percentage of “zero emission vehicles”. This led General Motors to introduce the EV1, which was a convenient, powerful, fuel efficient electric vehicle. And it was cool looking to boot.

Other auto makers followed suit and, for a while, it seemed like California was on the brink of a genuine automotive and energy revolution, which just might sweep the country. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. “Who Killed The Electric Car?” explains why and who’s to blame.

In addition to telling a good story, this film will teach you a few things about the air pollution problem in CA, the auto and oil industries, battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies and some cars you probably didn’t hear about, which were sold just a few years ago. Along the way, you’ll meet an interesting assortment of heroes and villains.

A popular bumper sticker of our time reads: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”. This movie helps you pay attention. Fortunately, “Who Killed The Electric Car?” ends on an optimistic note, which is nice, because it takes a little edge off the outrage.

Here’s the Rotten Tomatoes page for “Who Killed The Electric Car?”, where it enjoys an 88% score (93% among top critics).

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