Who Killed the Electric Car? 

  • 2006 Documentary (Sundance Film Festival)
  • Directed by Chris Paine
  • Narrated by: Martin Sheen
  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Chelsea Sexton, Ralph Nader, Joseph J. Romm and Phyllis Diller.


100 years ago, electric cars were the car of choice.  But in 1920 internal combustion engines won the race and the age of the modern mobile began.

Following a strict mandate on air emissions in California, General Motors launches the EV1 in 1997. It was an all electric car that required no gas, no oil, or brake changes. A perfect automobile?

That’s what Chris Paine thought and he leased the EV1. To make it even more attractive, it was designed by one of his childhood heroes, Paul MacCready who has designed some of the most famous airplanes in the world. He loved this car and drove it everywhere. And then GM wanted it back…

The intro begins in a cemetary…a mock funeral for the EV1 that was held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in July 2003.

This movie is about a community of drivers clearly in love with their EV1 cars, yet GM refused to renew their leases or let then buy the vehicles outright. As the leases expired, there was a gradual roundup , with the EV1s bound for a crushing facility in the desert.

“I’ve never seen a company be so cannibalistic about its own product before,” says actor Peter Horton (“thirtysomething”), the last Southern California driver to have his EV1 taken away, in 2004.

The purpose for making this movie is to educate and enlighten the public with the story of this car, its place in history and in the larger story of car culture and how it enables our continuing addiction to foreign oil. This is an important film with an important message that not only calls to order the politicians who squashed the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, the  federal government, the big auto makers and the big oil companies and the influences they have made in the EV industry.

I highly recommend to anyone and everyone, but it is a must-see for any electric vehicle enthusiast. You will get a full understanding of just how difficult of a road it has been for the electric car. 

Besides the DVD, the movie is available for direct digital viewing at places such as Amazon Prime, YouTube, ITunes, Google Platform and Vudu.

 – GV


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