Revenge of the Electric Car (Area23a, PG-13)

electric-car 75The entrepreneurs have a sense of charisma and magnetism that makes you want to watch them.


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From a brief look at IMDB, I know that there are multiple people out there who think that this is a horror movie in the vein of Christine or The Car. I find this hard to believe, but I guess I should go ahead and make clear that they are wrong. This is a follow-up to the 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car. That film told of the creation of a series of electrically powered cars, which ended up being recalled and destroyed by major car companies, specifically General Motors. That film was very good at convincing you that you needed an electric car, and then getting you very angry about the fact that you couldn’t have one. Since 2006, gas prices have continued to rise, the economy has continued to weaken, and people still want electric cars. Now, the electric car is back.

In the first film, there was really only one brand of car; now there are several companies working on this technology. The film focuses on four entrepreneurs in particular. The first is Bob Lutz, who ironically is the former vice chairman of GM. He has realized the error his company made, and is fighting both to further this technology and save that company. The second is Elon Musk, who started the company Tesla Motors. They say that he was the inspiration for the cinematic version of Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies, and you can see that. Tesla Motors created a very nice electric sports car, which, while being a step in the right direction, is far too expensive to have a serious impact. Carlos Ghosn is the head of Nissan, and is famous for saving that company with his strict, all-business mentality; he is working to build an affordable electric sedan. Finally, there is Greg Abbott, a man building his own business in which he takes classic, gas-powered cars and converts them to electric cars. He works literally out of his own garage and is clearly an insanely talented man.

All four of these main protagonists are fascinating to observe. They have a sense of charisma and magnetism that makes you want to watch them. I love seeing the creative process on film, and some of the best scenes here are just these men working on their cars, or meeting with their staff to discuss what is being done.

This film can’t help but have a bit of a victorious “told ya so” type of feel to it. GM has been struggling to stay afloat, and they take a lot of heat for their decision to kill the electric car. Those who saw Who Killed the Electric Car were angered and saddened when the film ended with the mass destruction of these amazing vehicles. Now, we are left with the introduction of several new electric cars, and the companies behind them gaining more momentum. One interviewee points out that this stage is like the second act of the story of the electric car. We still don’t know if or how the technology will grow and spread, but it leaves us on a hopeful note, and it’s entertaining along the way. | Sean Lass

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