...nothing is left to guesswork.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Find out who killed the electric car and why

I remember seeing the electric vehicle being introduced onto the market when I was in middle school and seeing it on the news. I also remember seeing news coverage of the EVs about their lack of efficiency and the high cost. At the time, I was impressed by the idea of a car that ran without gas (I was an idealist middle schooler, after all), but the network news did a good job of convincing me that this just wasn't a practical solution.

It's too bad that I wasn't the only one convinced by the naysayers because it appears that in reality, electric vehicles were great, fast, clean; the only thing possibly offensive about the electric car would be that it was a car (vs. mass public transit). But when GM and other automakers were let off the hook by CARB in 2003 and were no longer required to comply with a zero-emissions mandate, they pulled the plug on their entire line...and demande all of their cars back. It turns out that no one ever owned an electric vehicle; the cars were leased (very exclusively, too) and when the time came, none of the leasees were granted the opportunity to extend their leases or purchase the vehicle.

In a time when the nation is embroiled in tensions with the Middle East, at war (though no one will ever admit it, except maybe Rupert Murdoch) with Iraq for cheaper oil, and facing possible environmental doom à la global warming/ever-increasing carbon emissions...shouldn't we be embracing technology that would significantly start a trend to less dependency on oil? And shouldn't the ghost of the electric car be an active reminder of what is possible? Instead, people are trying to sweep the electric car under the rug:

Chelsea Sexton, who loved the EV-1 so much that she became a sales specialist for GM, is seen next to the car, reiterating how great they are and that Peterson is one of few places where the public can see them. Seems innocent enough. But Paine just received word “that I will never be invited to the Peterson Automotive Museum again.” He then mentioned that the Smithsonian recently removed its own EV display—and replaced it with a robotic Hummer SUV. Both museums rely on contributions from corporations like GM. (From the OC Weekly.)

Don't let the EV disappear into obscurity. Go see "Who Killed the Electric Car?" this weekend if you're near LA (at the NuWilshire, 14th & Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica), NY or Orange County (not sure of where else the movie is opening and/or when). And if you really want the "fair and balanced" perspective on the issue, check out GM's response to the film.

And if you're not able to see the film this weekend, then take a look at these groups working to force automakers to build lower-emissions cars:
http://www.pluginamerica.com/
http://www.pluginpartners.com/
http://www.drivingthefuture.com/

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