Now Showing on Autoblog: Who Killed the Electric Car?
I didn't go see the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? when it was originally released in theaters on June 28th. For whatever reason, many of you may not have either. So I'm happy to report that the film is available to watch in its entirety (and in good quality) right here on the site thanks to Google Video. It seems to have been uploaded by Truth911.com at some point (don't know when), what by all measures appears to be a conspiracy theorist site. But I'm less interested in the site that did this than in the movie itself, which I just watched in full for the first time.
My thoughts about the electric car and the pursuit of alternative fuels and power sources has certainly changed after watching the film, though I'm reticent to say the documentary presented a fair argument for its conclusions. Like many modern documentaries, the film relies heavily on emotion and the pulling of heart strings while at the same time presenting some misleading claims as facts. Check out this article by Karl Brauer, editor of Edmunds.com, to see these claims presented as they should've been. However, the film did leave me with a sense that a) regardless of its motives, GM missed an opportunity to parlay its investment in the EV1 project into further research and development on new battery technologies or at least hybrid drivetrains that could present electric propulsion in a package more acceptable to the mainstream consumer, and b) that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are currently benefiting from a big PR push right now that doesn't guarantee in 20 years that they'll be able to offer better performance and range than a pure electric vehicle, especially considering how fast batteries are advancing thanks to other industries that heavily rely on the technology (i.e. the personal computer industry).
One particular point I liked in favor of EVs was the lack of infrastructure they require. The idea of not having to visit a gas station every week or so because the energy my vehicle requires can be delivered to my garage across powerlines is certainly appealing, and lack of a delivery infrastructure is one of the major impediments facing not only hydrogen, but also other alternative fuels like E85 ethanol.
Anyways, I highly recommend you watch the film, if not just to have it under your belt and to be able to say you saw it. Feel free to discuss its finer points in the comments after you're done, but keep it intelligent and on point.
Also, here are just a few great related posts from AutoblogGreen about the film and issues surrounding it that have been published since its release in theaters.