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Case Number 10476: Small Claims Court

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Who Killed The Electric Car?

Sony // 2006 // 93 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 14th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum gets about five miles to the gallon, and has to make frequent pit stops.

The Charge

In 1996, electric cars began to appear on roads all over California. They were quiet and fast, produced no exhaust and ran without gasoline…Ten years later, these cars were destroyed.

The Case

Who Killed the Electric Car? begins with a funeral for an automobile. At first, the whole thing seems like your typical California environmental protest, and I expected people to embrace trees around the grounds. Yet by the end of the movie when the funeral returns, I understood why these people were passionate enough to stage a ceremony mourning the passing of electric cars. The concept makes a lot of sense, and the technology has been around for over a hundred years. The cars go just as fast, travel 100-300 miles before needing a charge (with current batteries), produce no emissions, are much quieter, and costs only sixty cents to run as far as a gallon of gas would take you. And yet car makers won't allow these electric powered vehicles to be widely available to the public.

This documentary looks at the tale of the EV1, which was leased out by Saturn in California for a period in the '90s. Owners included Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Peter Horton, and several mere mortals. The car was created as a response to a piece of legislation where California required the auto companies to produce zero emission vehicles. Yet once that law was repealed, the cars were repossessed and the car disappeared. The cars were destroyed, despite the fact the owners loved them with an intense passion.

Who Killed the Electric Car? is a fascinating film that acts as a "who done it." Each and every participant is questioned and examined as to why these cars didn't make it, and by the credit roll you'll find yourself wanting to beg someone for an electric vehicle. It's a lot of "talking heads," but the story itself is intriguing enough to hold your attention. And there are certainly some stars here, including crazy bearded Mel Gibson who sings out praises for the electric car. Despite the luminaries pontificating, the real star is the EV1, which is a vehicle that makes sense and looks great. This movie makes a perfect companion to An Inconvenient Truth, and should be required viewing by anyone who cares about the environment in the slightest.

Sony's DVD presentation of the film is outstanding. Visual transfer looks super clean, and a full surround audio track provides real power to the auto noise comparisons. Extras include deleted sequences, a segment about how to get an electric car, and a music video. That's not a fully equipped DVD by normal standards, but on this model it is nicely loaded. The movie doesn't need commentary, and explains itself far too well.

Everyone should definitely check out Who Killed the Electric Car?, because it's an important, timely topic. Imagine in the summer of 2006 if you could have spent sixty cents a gallon to make your car go rather than over three dollars. It's a nice dream. and the sad news is it doesn't have to be fantasy. Who Killed the Electric Car? shows you the reality of what has been suppressed all these years…

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 88

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• French
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette "Jumpstarting the Future"
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Video


• IMDb

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