Week 9 Lecture Film

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17 Mar 2011
of 2
Film: Who Killed the Electric Car?
California has the poorest air quality
In 1989, a study found many vehicles in Los Angeles caused respiratory diseases,
and they produced more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which leads to global
In 1987, GM won the one of a kind solar powered vehicle award
GMs air resources board saw electric opportunity to solve another problem
Passed the gas emission test
EVI the first electric production car in 21st century
oWas fast, elegant, sexy, fairly priced, quiet
oAll you need to do is just plug it in at night, and when you need to drive just
unplug it
oThe cost of driving this is the same as driving a gasoline car
Not everyone was sure that electric cars would save US
People are very cautious about the new electric car
I dont know if it will be strong enough, how far it will go
Car companies made car compliance
For the regulation, they GM felt that they needed to change something
Then laid off assembly line and sales staff
GM models have been going back to the decades
White House joins fight against Electric Cars
Federal government joined the car companies to introduce Hydrogen cars
California killed its electric car mandate April 2002
Across California, drivers held protests to save electric cars
With no more electric cars on the road, GM now has their own EV1 fleet
No clue as to where the cars were going
About 50 EV1s were crushed and piled one on top of another
It was wrong, but more wrong was reasons for it
EV1s were not the only electric vehicles in jeopardy
In Los Angeles, Toyota has RAV4 EVs that are also shredded into a million pieces
Activists came together to bring back the EV1s on the roads, but despite the 1.9
million dollar cheque, it was useless
Who killed the electric car?
oBig oil companies
oAir resources board
oCar companies say that there was not enough demand for electric cars, but
some consumers never knew it existed
Suspect: consumers guilty
Consumers couldnt see the difference
What really killed the EV was American consumers they didnt believe they could
be functional
Did EVs really not have enough range?
Suspect: oil companies guilty
Oil companies got intimately involved and saw EV as a threat, had a strong incentive
to discourage EV
Oil companies have imposed a prevention program for electric vehicles
Theres still a billion barrel on the earths crust, there is still lots of business
But at some point, people will snap over to EV, which is what the oil companies fear
What the oil companies fear is the EV will be successful and they will be losing
money to electric vehicles
Suspect: car companies guilty
GM didnt believe EV would catch on, they hated the mandate so much they didnt
want to do the business
The reason why EV1s give GM a kick start was that there was not a profit seen for
electric cars, could not see how Toyota could make profit from Prius
Electric cars had no internal combustion
Servicing EV1 was easy and clean, while gasoline cars were dirty
Large SUVs (i.e. Hummer) were preferred over the EV1 because was promoted to be
With the influence of oil and car companies, electric cars had to stop
There was radical change when solar panels were pulled down from Whitehouse
Today, we are still addicted to oil, although we come up with alternatives
The oil industry and American car companies are resistant to change
Clean cars are too important to be left with American automobile companies
Suspect: CARB (California Air Resources Board) guilty
Suspect: Hydrogen Fuel Cell guilty
oSome supported hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
oA car powered by hydrogen uses 3-4 times more energy than vehicles powered
by electricity
oNot enough room for hydrogen fuel, hydrogen fuel is expensive, must build
more hydrogen infrastructure, and competition for hydrogen must not
On March 15, 2005, the last EV1s were taken away
Suspect: batteries not guilty
Suspect: government guilty
The fight over electric cars was quite simple the fight over the future
The future is hybrid cars, hybrid cars are the best solution fuel efficient, clean, can
plug in any garage
Serious problem America is addicted to oil