This is one sequel where you don’t have to see the first movie, but it certainly helps. Watching “Who Killed The Electric Car” first will give you an idea of how hopeless the EV industry was only 5 years ago. In the mid-90′s, California had mandated that a certain percentage of all vehicles sold in the state be EV’s. The major automakers complied, but only leased the vehicles, meanwhile lobbying their hearts out to get the law rescinded. When they were successful, they collected and destroyed the leased EV’s, while also successfully lobbying to get tax credits in place for their high-profit, low-MPG light trucks.
Now it’s time for Revenge…Revenge of the Electric Car, Now Showing
Fast forward not too far into the future, and you’ll learn why GM developed the Chevy Volt, the Hell Tesla went through to even get any vehicles delivered to customers, and Carlos Ghosn’s exceptionally bold strategy to beat the competition. He certainly succeeded, as I saw more Nissan LEAF’s at the Plug In Day Parade last week than any other brand. At less than $30,000 after tax credits, it’s no wonder they’ve got such a long waiting list. Their Drive Across America Tour continues through January.
The film was exceptionally well done, far more riveting (and of course more uplifting) than “Who Killed.” It followed the rise of four automakers- Tesla, GM, Nissan and Left Coast Electric, as they developed their cars. Then it did an excellent job of conveying the challenges each of them faced during the recession. From GM’s executives flying private jets to Washington to beg for handouts to Reverend Gadget having to start all over after his workshop was decimated by vandals to Elon Musk’s well publicized difficulties getting the Teslas to market.
Then there was the redemption/salvation as the economy started to pick up, things turned around for each of the star players, and if last weekend’s parades throughout the nation are any indication, the industry is definitely hitting its stride. The movie was very engaging, uplifting and beautifully shot. At the Q&A afterward, Director Chris Paine explained that Elon Musk and Bob Lutz had both refused to be interviewed together. So the director engineered a chance meeting at the Detroit Auto Show, where the two automakers happened to pass by the Nissan LEAF. You’ll have to see the film to find out what ensues…
The Airstream Lounge and EV Charging Lot
After the screening, we adjourned to a parking lot around the corner to see Reverend Gadget’s converted Porsche, Chris Paine’s Tesla, and other EV’s present. I especially love the creative license plates I see on some of them around LA: CHAARGE, LOL GAS, and more. Brandon pulled up on his Zero S electric motorcycle and immediately drew a crowd. It was great to see so many people who might never dare to ride show an interest in a motorcycle. As much as I’d love to see all commuter cars converted to electric, I’d rather see more Angelenos on two wheels. It’s more fun and if more of us rode, there’d be less traffic.
I also asked Reverend Gadget to tell me more about his plans for Left Coast Electric, as they’re quite interesting…
Photo Gallery | The Airstream Lounge & EV Charging Lot
Brandon answers questions about his Zero Motorcycle
Outside the Airstream Lounge
A crowd gathered around Gadget as he answered questions
Gadget’s Battery Array
The doorway of the Airstream
Inside the Airstream Lounge (on the screen is their rejected intro for the film, see it here.)
Solar City’s Solar Truck