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Who Killed The Electric Car?

21 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    Lots of ambivalence to new technology, unwillingness to compromise on decreased range and increased cost for improvements to air quality and reduction of dependence on foreign oil. Although these allegations are made about consumers by industry reps in the film, perhaps explaining the film's "guilty" verdict, the actual consumers interviewed in the film were either unaware an electric car was available, or dismayed that they could no longer obtain one.


    Limited range (60-70 miles) and reliability in the first EV-1s to ship, but better (110 - 160 miles) later. Research says the average driving distance of Americans in a day is 30 miles or less and that 90% of Americans could use electric cars in their daily commute. Towards the end of the film, an engineer explains that, as of the interview, lithium ion batteries, the same technology available in laptops, would have allowed the EV-1 to be upgraded to a range of 300 miles per charge.

    Oil companies

    Fearful of losing business to a competing technology, they supported efforts to kill the ZEV mandate. They also bought patents to prevent modern NiMH batteries from being used in US electric cars.

    Car companies

    Negative marketing, sabotaging their own product program, failure to produce cars to meet existing demand, unusual business practices with regards to leasing versus sales. The film only explains this behavior once, saying that electric cars needed fewer expensive repairs and would hence not make the car companies as much money over the long term as gasoline-powered cars. The film also describes the history of automaker efforts to destroy competing technologies, such as their destruction through front companies of public transit systems in the United States in the early 20th century. It also, in one interview, mentions that automakers introduced important safety and emissions innovations including seat belts, airbags and catalytic converters only when forced by government legislation.


    The federal government joined in the auto industry suit against California, has failed to act in the public interest to limit pollution and require increased fuel economy, has promoted the purchase of vehicles with poor fuel efficiency through preferential tax breaks, and has redirected alternative fuel research from electric towards hydrogen.

    California Air Resources Board

    The CARB, headed by Alan Lloyd, caved to industry pressure and repealed the ZEV mandate. Lloyd was given the directorship of the new fuel cell institute, creating an inherent conflict of interest. Footage shot in the meetings showed how he shut down the ZEV proponents while giving the car makers all the time they wanted to make their points.

    Hydrogen fuel cell

    The hydrogen fuel cell was presented by the film as an alternative that distracts attention from the real and immediate potential of electric vehicles to an unlikely future possibility embraced by automakers, oil companies and a pro-business administration in order to buy time and profits for the status quo. The film backs up the claim that hydrogen vehicles are a mere distraction by stating that "A fuel cell car powered by hydrogen made with electricity uses 3 to 4 times more energy than a car powered by batteries" and by interviewing the author of The Hype About Hydrogen, who lists 5 problems he sees with hydrogen vehicles (these are his paraphrased claims, along with exact quotations):

    1. Current fuel cell cars cost an average of $1,000,000. This cost, in his words, "has gotta drop."

    2. Current materials cannot store enough hydrogen in a reasonable space to "give you the range people want."

    3. Hydrogen fuel is "wildly expensive." In his words "even hydrogen from dirty fossil fuels is two or three times more expensive than gasoline."

    4. The need for an entire new fueling infrastructure. He claims "someone's gonna have to build at least ten or twenty thousand hydrogen fueling stations, before anybody is going to be interested."

    5. Competing technologies will improve over time as well. "You have to hope and pray that the competitors in the marketplace don't get any better. Because right now the best car in the marketplace just got a lot better, the hybrid vehicle..."

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    GM. They created it, but they also killed it.

    The GM EV-1 came out into 1996 for lease to a few number of Californians and Arizonians. It could go up to 150 miles per 8 hours of charge, or 80% power with only 2 to 3 hours charge. They were very popular with their owners (even Jay Leno had one).

    But in 2003, GM canceled the program, reclaimed the cars from the lessees, and crushed them. A few cars given to museums and universities still exist.

    Why did GM kill their own electric car? No one knows for sure. Their explication was that enough couldn't be sold to make a profit--but wouldn't you buy one?

    So now GM is delaying in releasing the Chevy Volt electric car, which can only go 40 miles on a charge! This seems like they're moving in the wrong direction, doesn't it?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    GM and Chevron. They forgot to tell their engineers they didn't want the car to work so it worked well. The first were deployed with a Delco battery known to be defective. When that was replaced with the newly invented NiMH it performed beyond all expectations. When the California zero emissions law was changed after their intense lobbying GM recalled the cars. They were crushed and the crushed cars were shredded so they could not be copied. One exists in a private collection with the drive train removed. Chevron and GM bought the rights to the NiMH battery and the factory that produced them. They shut down production and the existing batteries were removed from the factory. They had only permitted leasing so they could say there was no consumer demand. The people who had bought the dealerships said there was a huge demand to purchase, but GM refused to sell them.

    If you want an electric car that works, don't buy American! All the EV's and Hybrids made in America are planned to fail Japan makes some decent hybrids, and there are some excellent European electric cars that have been on the road enough years to have any design or manufacturing flaws corrected. There is a "GEN II" EV-1 on the drawing board that would meet the needs of about 80% of the American consumer market (based on the demographics used with the original EV-1). That model is also available only by lease, and only in California and Arizona.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The electric car was not killed but was allowed to die, as it was born prematurely and suffered multiple birth defects, which would have only caused it to suffer and be a massive financial burden on the taxpayers.

    The decision was made to take it off of 'life support'.

    The parents are trying to have another child, and hopefully the next child will not only survive childbirth, but will grow into adulthood and produce more healthy offspring.

    Some of the complications included it's inability to convert its food supply into useful energy production.

    For every 100 calories it was fed only 10 calories were useful to this child.

    This was because it's stomach and digestive tract was not only inefficient, but also was half of the child's weight.

    This meant that without a stomach transplant, it would only be able to go for very short distances before having to be re-fed.

    The child was only able to swallow small amounts of processed food at any one time even though it was constantly hungry.

    OK enough of the analogy.

    The facts are that until we have better battery designs which are not only much more efficient, but also much lighter weight, the electric vehicle is only going to have very limited uses.

    I know that many people like the idea of electric vehicles, as I do also, I believe that most people are completely mis-guided in their reasoning.

    People generally think of electricity as being a 'Clean fuel'.

    Because they don't see any pollution being created, they think that electricity is somehow 'Green'.

    This is because people do not understand some basic facts, or ignore 'where and how' that electricity is being generated.

    If your electricity supply is mainly from hydro-power, or nuclear, then it is clean, and the inefficiencies in the distribution of that power to you home may be acceptable.

    The fact that only 20-30% of the energy that is being produce at the power plants becomes useful power to the consumer, is something which is worth consideration.

    I know that there are improvements being made all the time, back in the sixties that was closer to 10%!

    Since most power plants are still either coal, gas, or oil, shows that even if they were to approach 90% efficiency, the electric car would consume well over 15 times more resources than conventional methods!

    So even if CO2 were a 'Greenhouse Gas'(which it is not), the facts speak for themselves.

    I would also like to point out that while hydrogen is a clean fuel and would have no impact on the environment, it takes much more energy to produce than the energy that could be used.

    Once nuclear fusion is perfected, then we may not only have an unlimited supply of fuel (the oceans), but we can indulge on wastage and no longer be held at ransom to the oil rich countries.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The electric car killed itself.

  • 1 decade ago

    Video killed the radio star.

  • 1 decade ago

    The car companies who were profitting too much from repair parts, the oil companies who were profitting too much from the sale of oil, the government officials who were put in place by people who's primary wealth comes from the oil industry (i.e. our current administration), and us for believing the bull-spin that was put out about the electric cars.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The market killed the electric car, just as it kills all overpriced, underperforming entries into a competative field.

  • 1 decade ago

    GENERAL ELECTRIC did in the early 1900s Nickli tesla made an elec. car that did 90 mph getting all of it energy from a 3 ft antina sticking out the front of the car..tesla had a way to draw energy right from the air...but he was to bussiy to go to all the partys and such so GE GOT THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACT....also interesting note when tesla died the government when into his office broke open his safe and took all his drawings and plans...the government is using some of his pattens on the HARP project in Alaska

    and austraila..


    Source(s): just YAHOO or google nicali tesla not to good on spelling
  • 1 decade ago

    GM, The oil companies, The government,and There wasn't enough demand!!

    Its very sad!! Those cars would have done a lot of good to the enviornment!

  • k
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The oil companies who sponsoring the politicians.

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