Power Struggle for the Electric Car

'Who Killed the Electric Car?' demonstrates a case study of how not to get a technology adopted.

Published: 18-Jan-2007

One should never underestimate the power of ordinary individuals to do extraordinary things, concluded University of Maryland Assistant Prof. of Management and Entrepreneurship David Kirsch as he addressed a capacity crowd at Cubberley Auditorium following last night’s free screening of the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?"

The event, sponsored by the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Program, featured a panel with filmmaker Chris Paine, Kirsch, Stanford Cultural and Social Anthropology Prof. Sarah Lochlann Jain and electric automobile activist Chelsea Sexton. Together, the four unraveled the mystery surrounding the short market lifespan of General Motors’ promising, emissions-free, electricity-powered automobile (EV1).

Sexton, a star of the film, also discussed her grassroots effort to resuscitate the electric automobile after the GM killed the production of its model. Although automobile companies resisted her efforts to bring the electric car back, she continues to serve as a prominent activist for alternative fuels as director of Plug in America. Kirsch noted her accomplishments in the field of grassroots organization and labeled her "the moral center of future alternative fuels."


There are about 30 members in the Florida chapter, and many own several of the vehicles.

Brent's Quadbrid tow-car and electro-dragster is the world's first fully sustainable race outfit. Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association

Mister Wright's car burns no petroleum, does O-to-60 in 3 seconds and can best a Ferrari.


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