Fashioned as a tongue-in-cheek murder mystery, this disarmingly entertaining documentary looks at the optimistic rise and swift demise of the electric car in 1990s California.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Fashioned as a tongue-in-cheek murder mystery, complete with funeral and celebrity victims, this disarmingly entertaining documentary looks at the optimistic rise and equally swift demise of the electric car in mid-90s California. Sleek, compact and fast enough to appeal to celebrity boy racers, the prototype EV-1 electric car was developed by General Motors to comply with California’s 1990 Zero Emissions Mandate, before being leased out to famous bods du jour, such as Mel Gibson, Alexandra Paul and Peter Horton, who all fell in love with their sexy and efficient, environmentally sound cars. For a brief moment it looked like the EV-1 was the vehicle the future had been waiting for. So why did it end up on the scrap heap? By the end of the decade, the sole remaining EV-1 was nothing more than a novelty item in the basement of a California motor museum. Whodunit is the question this documentary attempts to answer. As in all good murder conspiracies, the suspects – General Motors, oil companies, the US government and consumers – all end up with blood on their hands. A quick-witted documentary about a deadly serious subject, Who Killed the Electric Car? is a timely reminder that we have the technology to save the world, if only that were the aim of those in charge. “Who Killed the Electric Car? is a potent examination of what happens in the corridors of power and what those who hold the purse strings will do in the interest of maintaining the status quo. All we can hope for at this point is that someday the electric car will make a comeback.” — Nancy Shafer, Tribeca Film Festival