Many of us wish for the day when fueling up at the pump is an after thought. In 2006, some American car owners – everyday Janes and Joes to celebrities and dignitaries – thought the EV1 would surely answer a century of dependence on oil. Before they could add serious mileage to their vehicles, the major auto manufacturers recalled, repossessed and ultimately destroyed these fuel efficient vehicles. The film “Who Killed The Electric Car” vilified the manufacturers for their brash actions. They broke basic tenets of supply and demand.
General Motors, Toyota, and others actually had uncovered a new “money” tree. The concept of green vehicles – where there will be a day where every automobile on the road will be quiet, efficient, stylish and perhaps most important enhance the environment for all – became a luxury good. Poor Jane and Joe. The only place they can go today is to a dirty fuel efficient ride.
Nissan Motors, along with GM, Toyota, Tesla and others are in a race to bring the electric car to the masses. In the movie first screened at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, “Revenge of the Electric Car“, is a amazing story of how the smallest enthusiast to the largest manufacturers of the world have heard the cries of the consumer. Without government subsidy though, vehicle’s like the Nissan Leaf have sticker prices more like luxury cars from 2006. It is 2011 and as a second vehicle used to travel locally, the modern, feasible purely electric vehicle can meet most of the consumer’s wishes – $3/fill up has definite curb appeal. Unfortunately the targeted consumer is more affluent than a commoner.
The current offering will only be a dent in the energy independence bucket.
Americans seek oil and energy independence. Manufacturers have the need to profitably produce vehicles that people want and need. The voting system of choice is capitalism and capitalism mixed with cronies has produced the current wave of electric cars. Fortunately, Nissan Motors seems to have leaped the competition by producing it’s vehicles in Smyrna Tennessee. The Chevy Volt, while dependent on a mix of gas and electricity, attempts to bridge consumer needs and curb worry of running out of fuel. Ultimately, hybrid’s, plugged and unplugged will be eclipsed by manufacturing achievements that encourage full electric options. As Bob Lutz, former Vice Chairman at GM, accurately mentioned to me in a private conversation, “…the [peak] oil debate seems to get foiled by new technological advancement and discoveries…” While there are only a finite means available to us on our planet, innovations lead by enlightened leaders ensure that our economy can function and prosper. At all levels, the outcome of a green ride can be truly prosperous for all. Elon Musk of Tesla Motors is well aware and most likely to find the answer first as he has a vested interest in Spacex, Tesla Motors and the roofing company of the future “Solar City.”
As with most, time will tell how successful the documentary and the technologies will truly be. Revenge of the Electric Car is a great story and documentary on global capitalism and innovation. A must see when in a theater near you.