15 June 2010

Review: Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who Killed the Electic Car? has a very basic premise: GM created an all electric vehicle in the mid-90s that could go about 90 miles per charge, was sleek and cool, had reasonably high demand, and was fairly affordable. Then when everybody's leases ended, GM took the cars back and no longer produced the cars. What was that all about?

Unfortunately, the film is almost 100% conjecture as to why GM would possibly pull out of something that seemed to be going fairly well. It's a whodunnit without an answer. And it's pretty boring, which is too bad because the topic itself is fairly interesting.

I think there were two competing factions within GM - those who wanted to focus on big beastly cars with traditional gas-powered engines, and those who though that electric cars were the future of American automobiles. The folks who didn't want to move toward electric cars didn't do a good job of promoting the vehicles; they were advertised completely differently than traditional cars. These execs refused to sell the cars, and only offered them on lease. These execs were hesitant to acknowledge the growing demand for the vehicles. Ultimately (I believe) it was these guys who won out. When the electric car was finally 100% off the road, GM bought the rights to Hummers.

And don't you find it all a bit ironic that GM had a really great opportunity to market the first all-electric vehicles and they totally blew it? They opted to invest in their massive trucks and SUVs, which is what has ultimately been their demise in the last couple of years. Gas prices have gotten so high, that Americans are thinking more practically in their automobile choices, and GM has gotten a swift kick in the pants.

Not only that, but just as GM was pulling out of their focus on electric vehicles, Toyota and Honda were kicking it into high gear, and they are the companies that have had the most success with their hybrid vehicles, and are faring reasonably well during the economic crisis.

And now that I've told you all about this boring documentary, you don't have to watch it. You should definitely thank me.


Mariah said...

I watched this a few years ago, and was totally won over to the electric car, let's hate GM side. I'm such a sucker when I watch controversial documentaries.

P1 Steven said...

Government Motors HA!! There is a new channel on direct TV that does all docs all the time. It is really good. Plus, it is a new channel & it is obvious they were desperate for advertisers. ALOT of products for pets. I watched a doc called "Being Lincoln" about Lincoln impersonators all around the country. They even have a club.