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Who Killed the Electric Car

My family recently watched the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” from Netflix. Admittedly, it is biased, but it is also enlightening. I remember the presenting of the EV1 in the 1990s. I remember thinking it was a very cool car, but it would be years before most of us would be able to afford an electric vehicle, not to mention the necessity of installing charging stations throughout cities and along highways.

It was not common knowledge that California was pressuring the auto manufacturers to provide electric vehicles, that California was installing charging stations, and that Northeastern states wanted to start their own programs.

I recall celebrities talking about the vehicles but had not known that the companies were not leasing the cars to average interested drivers (Perhaps to project the image that it was only a rich person’s toy?) The video and Wikipedia say there were more drivers asking for the cars than cars available.

The next info I heard was that GM was repossessing the vehicles despite drivers’ desire to keep them. The auto companies (Toyota also had an electric Rav4) claim that they could not make a profit from the vehicles. This does not explain why GM not only repossessed the EV1′s despite efforts of the drivers to keep them, but also felt it necessary to crush the vehicles. Existing vehicles from which they were receiving money.

It is not clear to me why GM ever made the EV1, but it seems obvious that the ending of it is directly tied to the bond between the auto and oil companies. The timing of the squashing of the electric cars and the announcement of fuel cell technology (by a President who has no interest in alternative fuel) is not coincidence. Nor is the fact that GM sold the patent for the battery which makes the cars viable to Exxon. Bush and Cheney’s part in the matter would lead one to believe that bribery or coercion may also have played a part.

Despite the incredible effort made to get rid of the electric car, I do not believe it is dead. I believe the future is in electric vehicles. Not from watching the video (although it affirms my view), but because fuel cell technology is not only too far down the road but also not likely to be an affordable solution. It will require hi-tech packaging (ie. costly for the consumer). Also, we have the technology to use so many alternatives for producing electricity right now (cheaply and cleanly). The installation is the primary expense. Other countries have already moved in this direction. We do, however, need to work on the mode of delivery-which is not being discussed.

The U.S. is looking rather backwards in the energy department. Europe or Japan will be far more likely to utilize electric vehicle technology first because their governments get involved when the need arises instead of leaving it to an industry which has long been dominated by a few companies.


Posted by hermes21c on April 27th, 2007 filed in Uncategorized | 15,677 Comments »