Once upon a time, there was a little engine that could. A car engine, that is, that could run on electricity. The EV-1 electric car worked so well. Indeed, no gasoline was needed for these wheels and they ran just like a charm.
But then, one day in 2006, all the electrical engines were called home by their creator General Motors and one by one, each was squashed into oblivion. And to this day, nobody really knows why.
The saga of this doomed electrical engine is the subject of a documentary film made by Chris Paine called, appropriately, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” We might never know the answer.
The company which set out to destroy its own creation has explained that people simply weren’t interested in buying these cars. The market just wasn’t there. So, naturally, they had to destroy them all. Makes sense … doesn’t it?
Theories abound about why this really happened. “It was Big Oil, threatened by such a great new product.” “It was the Republicans.” “It was the Saudis.” “It was the World Bank.”
“No, it was the American consumer. They could not accept the limits on their freedom dictated by having to plug in their cars every night. All their fault!” The bottom line is that we are left with a fascinating mystery on our hands.
Filmmaker/Director Chris Paine was told that the cars were being “recycled” – then he got some helicopter footage of the cars being destroyed. This prompted him to make the documentary. The Associated Press gave this film 3 out of 4 stars but it got zero media attention – which is why you’ve never heard of it. Drivers pooled their resources and offered the company $1.9 million to buy back the cars. No dice. Actor Peter Horton (“Thirtysomething”) was the last Californian to have his electric car taken away in 2006, but even that didn’t make the evening news. Director Michael Moore co-hosted one of the first screenings of the film, making it even more amazing that you’ve never heard of this before now.
But since that happened in 2006, the electric car is finally making a comeback. Check out our future blogs on electric cars to see more exciting innovation in the electric and hybrid cars.