Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who Killed the Electric Car?



Source: [Google Video (French Subs), (Spanish Subs)]

Chris Paine’s 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? traces the trials & travails of the General Motors EV-1, the first commercially produced electric car in modern times. The EV-1 was made available through a least program to California and Arizona residents from 1996 to 2003. In August of that year, General Motors made the controversial decision to recall all EV-1s, denying the requests of owners to extent the lease or to purchase the vehicle from GM.

Whether or not the decision to discontinue development of the EV-1 was a practical business decision or one shrouded in ulterior motives, the decision resulted in American auto manufacturers abandoning research into alternative fueled vehicles, while Honda and Toyota continued to develop battery and hybrid gas-electric designs. The decision to kill the EV-1 is one that Larry Burns, Chief of Research & Development for General Motors, recently lamented in Newsweek, stating, “If we could turn back the hands of time ... we could have had the Chevy Volt 10 years earlier.”


Resources:

In the Library:
  • Exum, Kaitlen Jay, and Lynn Messina. 2004. The car and its future. The reference shelf, v. 76, no. 5. New York: H.W. Wilson. [Link: WorldCat]
  • Shnayerson, Michael. 1996. The car that could: the inside story of GM's revolutionary electric vehicle. New York: Random House. [Link: WorldCat]
  • Westbrook, M. H. 2001. The electric car: development and future of battery, hybrid and fuel-cell cars. IEE power and energy series, 38. London: Institution of Electrical Engineers. [Link: WorldCat]

On the Web: