Who killed the electric car?

/ 12 July 2008

Those of you who have read this blog over time know that I’m an enthusiastic owner of a Toyota Prius. But I’ve just gotten done watching the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? and I’m totally electrified, jazzed up, angry, energized — you name it, that’s what I’m feeling right now. I had NO IDEA there were such wonderful electric vehicles available in the US. Further, I had NO IDEA that there had been such a concerted effort to get rid of them — even to the extent of gathering up all of the cars that existed and crushing them. ARGH!

The film was done in 2006, and it already feels dated in some ways -- in the film gas has just reached up to $3.00 a gallon, for instance -- but it also, at the very end, makes me feel just the tiniest bit hopeful. Watching these cars zip along the highway in their sleek speediness makes me yearn for one of them. They're exactly the kind of car that would have been great for us, as we almost never drive more than 60 miles in a day. Still, the film ends with a brief discussion of modifying hybrids -- they show a Prius -- to become "plug-in" capable, meaning modifying their battery packs in such a way that you can plug them into a standard home electrical outlet and end up getting 100 miles per gallon of gas.

I think that's something I want to work on -- in addition to supporting public transit -- and I hope that everyone who reads this blog will check out a copy of Who Killed the Electric Car? and watch it!