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Why Electric Cars Hurt Car and Oil Companies

July 15, 2006

And are good for the rest of us.

Who Killed the Electric Car? tells the story of the EV-1, GM’s electric car introduced in 1990, which was built to fufill the state of California’s Zero Emissions Mandate, which required every car company to make a car that had zero emissions.I’m not going to go into how it was made or the specs, but needless to say, the people who were able to lease the car loved it. Smooth quiet ride, quiet, speedy engine. You hear them talking about the car like it was their child. One of my friends who I saw the movie with was snickering during those scenes, but I saw the feelings as totally understandable. People can get attached to inanimate objects.

The movie then goes on to show how oil companies, car companies and the state of california worked to get rid of electric cars.

  • Electric engine = no gas. No gas means less money for oil companies
  • Electric engines = no internal combustion engine, which means less money for car companies
  • Selling an electric car as “clean” means admitting your other cars are “dirty”
  • Electric cars have little maintenance issues

So what did car companies do? They make really crappy ads where the car is tiny and talk about what the electric car is missing – spark plugs, gas powered engine, etc. Oil companies pushed for a new hydrogen fuel cell that they would provide at filling stations.

I saw the documentary Who Killed The Electric Car? last night and it was definitely eye-opening. Like many other people, I thought that electric cars were inconvenient and had limited range. I thought surely that if electric cars had not hit the market yet, it was because of some flaws in the technology and design.

I thought wrong.

The point is here, the reason why electric cars aren’t on the road aren’t because they are bad, it is because they are too good. We need to get electric cars back on the roads more than ever. And people are trying. I remember seeing a link for “hacked Prius gets 100+ mpg” and it was talked about in the movie. That Prius had a partial electric charge.

Some people might say that electric cars are just as polluting as gas cars because electricity comes from buring coal. But if we start switching to wind or solar power, then the pollution goes away. Using gas cars means even with 100 mpg, every 100 miles releases 19 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Electric cars are the future.


Wikipedia Entry for EV-1

Apple Trailer

Plug-In America Movie Review

GM Blogs – a google sponsored link

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2006 5:35 pm

    Yes, that is an eye-opening documentary. I do object, however, to the part of the movie that says hydrogen cars are partly to blame for the killing of the electric car.

    I think that those who are into alternative vehicles, (such as electric cars, hybrid-electric cars or those that run on ethanol, bio-fuels or hydrogen) should all stick together as advocates for cleaner and greener cars rather than slinging mud at one another.

    The only way to promote change to new, alternative vehicles is by banding together and not by in-fighting.

  2. July 16, 2006 12:21 pm

    Kevin, you are right, we shouldn’t be bickering. We all want the world to be a better place. I think the director was just trying to point out that hydrogen is still years away and that electric cars are a viable zero-emissions option right now.

  3. unsospiro permalink
    July 31, 2006 10:55 am

    Hydrogen does has a ways to go. However, I think electric cars do as well. I doubt GM has kept its electric car factories after crushing every last EV-1. It’s depressing to think how much energy we might have saved had electric cars continued to be manufactured because the technology would assuredly have progressed at a rapid pace. As it stands, my hopes lie with advancing current hybrid technology and opening the consumer’s eye to the energy crisis they and their posterity face.


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