The logo

dedicated to the films of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin

Up left arrow

Up arrow

Who Killed the Electric Car?
Director's Statement

Here's what happened: I fell in love with my car.

I've never been a car guy but that all changed when General Motors leased me its all-electric car, the EV1, in 1997.

Designed by one of my childhood heroes, Paul MacCready, who had also designed some of the most famous airplanes in the world, the EV1 was truly 21st century. It was fast, quiet, ran without exhaust, and meant I never had to go to the gas station. It made me feel like the 21st century had arrived.

I thought it would be my second car, but within days, it was my primary car. I drove it everywhere. And everywhere I went, people wanted to ride in it. $3 to fill up on electricity and you charged it overnight. I quickly joined the ranks of those who had driven and loved electric cars.

But deep and mysterious currents were stirring. Politics, economics and corporate power stopped California's electric car program in its tracks. Then the carmakers started taking our cars off the road. I thought about stealing mine, but the prospect of a felony and legal fees gave me pause.

So when our best efforts failed and our cars started disappearing, there was only one thing left I could think to do: get this apparently forgotten story to the press.

Where were the major investigative news programs on this story? Not only had billions been invested, but hundreds of amazing engineers, citizens, politicians, and corporations had been involved in getting chargers installed and cars on the road all over California.

And then I realized that no one had ever put the actual pieces of this puzzle together. And no one was going to. What began as a series of questions began to turn the story into a murder mystery. Some of the evidence in this story still shocks me.

As we put the whole chain of events together, I realized our tale was a lot more then just a car story. It demonstrated why America is having such a tough time getting out of the 20th century and breaking its addiction to gasoline.

written by Chris Paine

(source: press kit from Sony Pictures Classics)