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Posts Tagged ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’

Vespa-like electric scooter from Echodrive Technology Group’s website

Scooters

Every now and again owning a vehicle enters into my stream of consciousness.  A scooter to be more precise.

Last summer, while still living in Guelph, I saw scooters as a transportation solution to jobs on the outskirts or outside of the city. I found it would be a less costly and more convenient alternative to intercity buses and still be useful should I end up relocating to one of the nearby cities. The summer before that, I lived in Orangeville, which was even more challenging to get around. I had Vespas on the brain. Why a Vespa? It was the only brand I knew by name. I wasn’t thinking electric versus gas, just economical transportation. Images of scooters in Bolivia and Uruguay were still fresh in my mind and I liked their quietness.

I’ve not felt the need to own a car for some time. However, I was in the library yesterday and noticed a DVD of a film I’d wanted to see and had never gotten around to it – Who Killed the Electric Car? – so I signed it out.

Electric cars

Writer/director Chris Paine explores the plight of the electric car. These EVs (electric vehicles) were introduced in California in 1996 but had all but vanished by 2006. Several car companies produced a limited number of vehicles – GM EV1, Ford iThink, Toyota Rav4 EV, and Honda EV Plus – but they were all discontinued and most were rounded up, crushed and shredded. The film identifies a number of contributing culprits – consumers, car companies, oil companies, government, hydrogen fuel cells, and the California Air Resources Board. Battery technology is not deemed to be at fault.

The simple and unfulfilled scooter dreams of a woman who hasn’t owned a vehicle since 2005 probably altered my perception of this documentary somewhat. An electric car is not something that I would be able to afford. Still, green technologies align with my pragmatic idealism and I found the film quite interesting.

Things have changed in the five years since the film was released and I’m hoping to see the filmmaker’s latest doc, Revenge of the Electric Car. According to a story in the weekly EMC Ottawa West, a limited number of a new wave of EV’s should be appearing in Ottawa soon – the Nissan Leaf and the GM Volt.

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