If you want to get more of a feel for the recent history of electric vehicles, Chris Paine’s documentaries make for some good viewing on a quiet weekend.
Both movies – Who Killed The Electric Car and Revenge Of The Electric Car – are available on Youtube so if you’ve got some sort of Smart TV setup (I’ve got a little Apple TV box), you should be able to watch them in reasonable resolution on your big screen.
Who Killed The Electric Car
This film reviews the demise of the modern EV, typified by GM’s repossession and destruction of it’s EV-1 lease vehicle fleet. It studies the roles played in the demise of the modern EV by the US Federal Government, California’s Air Resources Board, car companies, oil companies and consumers.
Revenge Of The Electric Car
This film takes a look at the resurgence of electric vehicles, tracking the Chevrolet Volt (and Bob Lutz’s epiphany on EVs), the Nissan Leaf (and Carlos Ghosn’s all-in bet on EV’s), the rise of Tesla (with Elon Musk’s rather stressful life) and a California independent EV-builder’s struggle to establish his business (with a magic looking Porsche 356 EV).
Tesla’s struggle, in particular, is interesting to watch. Even with fantastic products like the ones they have, it’s a massive struggle just to get things started in the car business. Bob Lutz looks a little but smug when he discusses this, but what he’s saying is for real. It’s a credit to Elon Musk and Tesla that they’re still around.