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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    "Who Killed the Electic Car"

    Can any of you tell me if this 2006 documentary is accurate? It appears that the solution to the market-wide use of all electric vehicles (EV) was well along the path to reality in the 1990's. It is likely that tremendous pressure from oil and dealership interests destroyed the initiative because it threatened both income sources. The EV's required very little maintenance which threatened dealerships and the complete use of electricity, rather than hybrid technology, would seriously impact oil interests.

    If the EV's had caught on in the 1990's it is likely that today's version would have all the range necessary to eliminate this one negative feature. The original EV, with the advanced batteries designed, made by a Michigan-based firm, had a range between 120 to 180 miles. The acceleration of these mid-sized vehicles was better than all but the better sports cars of that time.

    Toyota, Honda and GM were all complicit in the development of the EV's and then the eventual destruction of this option. The battery manufacturing company, bought by GM, was then sold to two of the larger oil companies of the 1990's.

    Our open market system requires that products be bought and sold for the best price as long as both the buyer and seller's interests are maximized. The EV would have benefited the consumer in the 1990's, and certainly would be of benefit today with the skyrocketing oil prices and the possible contribution that internal combustion engines make to the global warming threats. However, the powerful interests of the oil industry would have been seriously threatened. There was no upside to this technology for them. I blame the CA legislature for caving into the pressure to retract their zero-emissions mandate. This was a case where we needed our governing bodies to represent the interests of the consumer, and they failed us. We all now are going to pay a terrible price for their lack of foresight and back bone.

    Jim K

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  3. #2
    As a former lessee of an EV1, I can assure you the facts in the movie are correct. Obviously, the motivations attributed to the various suspects can't be proven, nor would one expect a single motivation to drive everyone involved. However, I will assure you that the EV1 was the most fun vehicle I've ever owned and while different from ICE vehicles, it met all the needs that any 2-seat coupe ICE vehicle could meet for me. It was a perfect commuter car (fast, economical, convenient, low-maintenance).
    Obviously, there are times when one needs to seat more people or drive long distances quickly. More body styles were needed that would accomodate more people. Wider proliferation and fast charging infrastructure needed to be built out. Better batteries (which do exist today) to get more range per charge, would also help with long-range driving. Apparently, as the auto manufacturers realized, time was all that was required for this to happen. More drastic action was needed to prevent or at least slow down the obsoletion of the status quo that they owned.
    Hybrids are much more palatable to the auto companies as they still have dirty Internal Combustion Engines (ICE), transmissions, brakes, oil pans, mufflers, belts, hoses, etc to wear out and require maintenance/replacement.
    It was a very sad day when I had to turn my EV1 back in to the Saturn dealer to be crushed. I haven't paid for a new car since and I am still holding out for another pure EV.

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