Friday, August 11, 2006

Who killed the electric car?

Last night, I went to a showing of the surprisingly good documentary “Who killed the electric car?”. I encourage other to go; it is more of a fascinating whodunit than an Michael Moore-esque attack on car and oil companies.

I was not fond of electric car movement in the1990s because, at the time, too many uninformed organizations were overstating the climate benefits of electric vehicles. You’ve probably heard this argument before: if your electricity comes from a coal-burning power station, as is the case across much of the US, charging the car will emit more carbon dioxide than driving a normal car with efficient internal combustion engine. As such, any push for electric vehicles would have more to do with switching from oil, a fuel the US imports, to coal, a fuel the US has in abundance, than addressing climate change.

Nonetheless, I have always found it curious that although some electric cars were produced by GM, Ford and others, I never ever encounter one on the road.

I actually saw a Delorean a few weeks ago. But a GM EV1? Not once.

Where did they go? The movie answers that question, and gives some insight into why Toyota and Honda are passing GM and Ford.

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