“Why do we not have electric vehicles yet? A 2006 documentary film explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the electric vehicle in the United States (specifically the General Motors EV1 of the mid 1990s). The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US government, the Californian government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in limiting the development and adoption of this technology. Why this recalcitrance on the part of our political leaders? One word describes it all, “”GREED””.
Wikipedia describes the film as dealing with the history of the electric car, its development, and commercialization. The film focuses primarily on the General Motors EV1, which was made available for lease mainly in Southern California, after the California Air Resources Board passed the ZEV mandate in 1990. Also discussed are the implications of the events depicted for air pollution, environmentalism, Middle East politics, and global warming.
The film details the California Air Resources Board’s reversal of the mandate after suits from automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, and the George W. Bush administration. It points out that Bush’s chief influencers, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Andrew Card, are all former executives and board members of oil and auto companies. The EV1 was eliminated from the GM Line in 1999 but now they are back with the “”Volt”” portraying themselves now as the saviors of the country.
A large part of the film details GM’s efforts to demonstrate to California that there was no demand for their product, and then to terminate the leases on every EV1 and dispose of them. A few were disabled and given to museums and universities, but almost all were found to have been crushed; GM never responded to the EV drivers’ offer to pay the residual lease value ($1.9 million was offered for the remaining 78 cars in Burbank before they were crushed). Several activists, including actress Alexandra Paul, are shown being arrested in the protest that attempted to block the GM car carriers taking the remaining EV1s off to be crushed.
The film explores some of the reasons that the auto and oil industries worked to kill off the electric car. Wally Rippel is shown explaining that the oil companies were afraid of losing out on trillions of dollars in potential profit from their transportation fuel monopoly over the coming decades, while the auto companies were afraid of losses over the next six months of EV production. Others explained the killing differently. GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss argued it was lack of consumer interest due to the maximum range of 80–100 miles per charge, and the relatively high price.
The film also showed the failed attempts by electric car enthusiasts trying to combat the cancellation of EV1 and the surviving vehicles. Towards the end of the film, a deactivated EV1 car #99 was found in the garage of Petersen Automotive Museum, with former EV sales representative, Chelsea Sexton, invited for a visit.
This was a complicity involving “”leaders”” in the highest levels of corporate and political America and again motivated by pure “”GREED”” and plays directly into the hands of our nation’s enemies who wish to see us crippled economically. ~ Theodore Sumrall