Q: What DID Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Peter Horton, and Ted Danson have in common?
A: They all leased electric cars.
"Leased" not "owned." Past tense... past history. Hint for consumers: next time a car manufacturer refuses to sell you their products, they don't really want ANYONE to keep it.
General Motors EV1 - R.I.P. - b. 1996, d. 2004
There is something eerie about a hunk of metal, rubber, autofluff, and plastic not merely rusting away in someone's front yard or garage, but being scooped out of the hands of its driver and crushed out of existence. Why the finality? Did each car represent some kind of threat - like the futuristic chip in the "Terminator" series? Or a dangerous memory from "Total Recall"?
That's the implication of a new feature length film to be released June 28th titled "Who Killed the Electric Car?" This movie could have been made for public television's exposé "Frontline" series, but the producers and Sony Picture Classics decided to distribute it to theaters like an increasing number of advocacy "edu-tainment" - or "docu-ganda" as The Christian Science Monitor's Dan Wood likes to call them - i.e., Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11" and Al Gore's recent "An Inconvenient Truth".
The intention is to generate outrage and activism - stimulate heat by shining an unforgiving interrogator's light and implying the worst. Build a website, enlist volunteers, make a statement with a grass roots organization - to create a campaign to sell the mov...eh...message and make sure it doesn't happen again.
This film presents a cradle to grave history of a marvelous machine that was too good for Detroit to allow to spawn imitators. It was born out of an idealistic California environmental mandate, killed by the successful appeal by an auto industry frantic to overturn the mandate, and summarily executed by the manufacturer.
Now the domestic manufacturers and their shareholders are paying for this shortsightedness - big time. They have unwittingly ceded the crest of the electric car wave to Japanese-bred hybrids. It's a replay of Detroit's worst nightmare - the oil crisis of the early '70s - that gave Japan and Germany a significant beachhead on the once impregnable American auto industry. How ironic. How deserving.
The auto industry needs a sparkplug. Maybe, having just planted Pixar within the Disney firmament with the success of "Cars", Steve Jobs could be hired to envision the next big thing - "insanely great" automobiles that become the "killer app" that stokes the global paradigm shift to renewable energy.
Maybe the manufacturers would actually sell them this time.
technorati greenhouse, ghg, movie, EV1, legislation, General Motors, hybrids, electricity