Over the holidays I had the opportunity to watch Who Killed The Electric Car (IMDB page). I have to admit hearing about this movie conjured the thoughts of hippies, delusional idealists and premature technology being touted as a magic bullet. After watching the movie I felt unbelievably ignorant and regretted the misconceptions I’ve had over the years on this. By the end of the movie I realized how I had been deceived by auto and oil companies.
Of all the movies I’ve seen this past year this is the one I would recommend as an absolute must see! Sadly this is a tale of discontinuous innovation (oil free transportation) being squashed by continuous innovation (established auto makers and oil companies). Electric cars with no need for oil changes, frequent brake changes and gasoline broke nearly every rule and revenue stream for auto makers. The prospect of this technological innovation removing billions of dollars in revenue for established companies proved to be too much of a threat and short sightedly killed by the California Air Resources Board who backed away from their zero emissions requirements under lobbyist pressure.
What I learned from this movie is that the electric car was killed in a battle to control the format of energy consumption for the next 20 years. Hydrogen technology is decades away from being commercially viable and the infrastructure to support it is equally far off in the distance. Sadly over the past 10 years the public has systematically been deceived by politicians and industry being led to believe that zero emission technology is not available when in fact it was available almost 10 years ago! Instead thanks to the failure of our government over the next 20 years we’ll continue to consume oil paying a higher price monetarily and geo-politically.
I was going to post this the day after I saw the movie, but that would have been Christmas. What got me to post this today? This morning listening to NPR interviews were taking place across Indiana about hot button issues to average Americans. Sadly I heard more than once that the perceived answer to rising energy costs was to open domestic drilling. This is exactly what the oil industry and pro-oil politicians have been striving for… voters convinced by years of deceptive marketing that its better to pillage the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for 6 months of oil for the nation than implement sound energy policy fostering the adoption of available zero emission technology and improved gas economy for new cars.
If you haven’t seen this movie yet rent it. It’s a real eye opener.