10.7.2012 Film review: Revenge of the Electric Car
Insightful and entertaining, the David versus Goliath story of how to change the auto-world... even as you watch, you're never quite sure who's going to win.
The sequel to the 2006 film, Who Killed the Electric Car?, Revenge of the Electric Car follows four different modern day electric car makers in the race to once again bring an affordable and practical electric vehicle to mass market.
The film intertwines four very different stories of EV makers great and small. The first is legendary GM executive Bob Lutz, aka "Mr Detroit". While Lutz was one of the people blamed for trying to 'kill' the electric car through the recall and scrapping of the EV-1, he comes over as a reformed character with a great drive to get a GM electric car once more on the road.
GM’s vision and style of doing things is contrasted to that of the Japanese car giant, Nissan, as personified by CEO and President Carlos Ghosn. In the film, Ghosn's no nonsense approach helps you to understand why the Nissan LEAF appeared on the EV scene so fast and to what extent Nissan has staked a significant part of its reputation is bringing the LEAF to the mass market.
On a smaller but no less significant scale, the contrasting achievements of Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors are portrayed. Run by the young and visionary CEO Elon Musk, the "model for Iron Man's Tony Stark", Tesla takes a far more innovative and 'disruptive' approach to developing the electric car. If the success of Elon's previous businesses, which include PayPal and SpaceX are anything to go by, Telsa will remain one of the most influential EV manufactures, and will give the auto-majors a hard run for their money.
Finally, the fourth strand to the film follows the accomplishments of EV enthusiast Greg 'Gadget' Abbott, who represents more of the everyday (albeit American) reality of electric motoring. With the grassroots' finances and determination, Gadget coverts small sports cars to electric, and demonstrates that electric motoring is a realistic and attainable alternative to conventional powered cars for even the average American 'Joe'.
Throughout its 90 minutes, this documentary provides real insights into how innovation happens and the real people that make it happen. The film is well shot, and keeps you engaged. Whilst not going in to huge statistical and technological detail, the film is motivating, and will capture the attention of both those who are electric vehicle experts and viewers who have little prior knowledge of the industry.
The film is slickly made and oozes cool, and provides good evidence to believe that at least one car manufacturer will succeed in bringing an affordable plug-in vehicle to the masses that will refresh the attitudes of modern motorists, whilst addressing the looming issues of climate change and dependence on foreign oil. The only question that remains is which company will win the EV race?
Revenge of the Electric Car open in cinemas across the UK on July 20th 2012.
A snapshot of a major industry shift on its way to a tipping point... a slick, enjoyable valentine to a retooling industry – New York Times.
Watch the official trailer below:
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