As a reporter covering green cars for the past six years, I can say with some authority that the documentary Revenge of the Electric Car does a tremendous job condensing the ups and downs of the electric car industry into a fun 90 minutes.
Director Chris Paine and his team managed to get great behind-the-scenes footage, plus coverage of the world of plug-in vehicles between 2007 and 2011. Anyone who watches the movie will gain an understanding of how electric vehicles (EVs) are situated in the auto industry today and understand how quickly things keep changing. Since the film’s release, Tesla has introduced the Model S, and Ford and Mitsubishi have brought their EVs to limited markets.
The film focuses on four dynamic and charismatic industry pioneers: Bob Lutz of GM, Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, Carlos Ghosn of Nissan, and a backyard EV converter named Greg “Gadget” Abbott. According to the filmmakers, Revenge of the Electric Car seeks to show how innovative cars are developed from a concept into a working product, and shows how the carmakers themselves face struggles with the economy, the press, each other and the car-buying public. Paine’s earlier 2006 movie, Who Killed The Electric Car?, tells the first part of the modern plug-in vehicle story, and should be required viewing for anyone who wants to understand the landscape that the newer film travels through, during the time before the big automakers decided to seriously move forward with plug-in vehicles again. Who Killed The Electric Car? introduces the passionate plug-in proponents still out there today. Some sell plug-in vehicles in major car dealerships, some advocate for more EVs, charging stations and education, and some tinker with EVs in their garages. Thanks to Paine’s new film, I suspect even more enthusiastic EV supporters will be inspired.