This Time Its Personal: Revenge of the Electric Car

Interview with Who Killed the Electric Car? filmmaker Chris Paine.

Published: 06-Jan-2009

What happens to an electric car deferred? Ask Chris Paine, director of the documentary film Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006), and you’ll learn that those once-dead electric vehicles (EVs) are now exacting a shocking revenge.

Paine was one of the first to lease a General Motors EV1 in 1997 — only to get the car wrenched away from him five years later when he took it in simply to get a brake light fixed. In Who Killed the Electric Car?, Paine followed the plight of his EV1 to its (literally) crushing end. Today, EVs are making a comeback, and Paine’s chronicling the EV’s resurrection in his follow-up film, The Revenge of the Electric Car, set to jolt theaters in spring 2010.

After all, it takes someone who refers to his Prius as “the gas guzzler” and his Culver City, Calif., home as “the Plug-In Mecca” to tell this EV story right. For his sequel, Paine’s been gauging the mood at the now-much-gloomier GM headquarters, visiting geothermal-powered and EV-friendly Iceland, and test driving his brand new Tesla in Los Angeles. »


Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries and two 67bhp (50kW) electric motors to drive the front and rear axles, the Mixim is a four-wheel-drive car with a theoretical top speed of 112mph and a potential maximum range of 156 miles.

Dodge ZEO is 2+2 electric muscle car for the 21st century powered by 200kW electric drive with 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and range of 250 miles.

The Air Car may do better than fuel-cell cars, but experts say that using grid power to charge a battery-powered electric vehicle is much more efficient than using electricity to compress and store the same amount of energy in a tank.


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