Wild At Heart
This is a sequel to the 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which explored the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US Government, etc in limiting the development and what what thought to be the death knell of the electric car.
I personally would like to see a viable electric car come onto the market though I do realize cost and a grid to sustain long travel is not where it should be, esp when you take in recharge time. However, it seems it could be ideal for people who live in a city or small town and just want to get around short distances if you could make the car affordable. Despite the potential upsides and the current obstacles, the film “Revenge Of the Electric Car” veers from the downbeat path of the film documentary and offers us a positive glimpse of what could be.
It does this by focusing on 4 men who are at the forefront of the race to get a viable product made. They and their vehicles are Bob Lutz of GM (Chevy Volt), Elon Musk (Tesla), Carlos Ghosn (Nissan Leaf) and Greg "Gadget" Abbott (Left Coast Electric). This are all smart men who dream to be the one who breaks down the barriers and bring a functioning, and affordable, electric car to the market.
Through their struggles and victories, we are given an idea of just where the electric car industry stands. While Left Coast Electric and Tesla seem to have moments of promise, it looks like it will be one of the big companies which finally put the car on the market. This is basically because of infrastructure though the smaller companies can provide some interesting ideas and their presence gives enough motivation to keep the big boys in the game.
The most interesting of the storylines for me was wunderkind Elon Musk who made a fortune early in his life which went towards realizing his electric car dream. We see him deal with small failures and angry consumers at increasing the costs of his car. There is one scene in a warehouse where they are going though car after car that needs reworking but despite all these drawbacks, along with bleeding money and looking for new investors, he manages to give off optimism that this dream of bringing out this car is possible. The only we wonder if he will be able to bring it along before going under.
The main things the film is looking at is the race for these four men to put out what will be the most reliable and publically accepted electric car in the market. The crew has some decent access into actually research and development programs at GM and Nissan (as well as Tesla) and while it might not answer all our questions about the car, it does give hope about the technology being there someday. The movie at times makes you feel like you are actually in the boardroom helping to make these decisions and gives a great look at how a new car company, Tesla, takes a lot of effort to get off the ground in today’s world. It is not like in the past where anyone with a barn and some tools could make cars.
I recently went to a car dealer for a chance to test drive the new Volt and while they were unable to satisfy my request at that time, the car looks nice and I’m told they drive great. If nothing else, this film instilled in me the desire to want to test drive the vehicle and see for myself what the car can provide. I would recommend checking out your local GM dealer and ask for the chance if they have one and we know the North American Auto Show will have some electric vehicles on hand. It might be awhile for this technology to get to the point where it succeeds in overcoming all the difficult questions, but at least some good people are working towards that goal which seemed dim after the first documentary came out in 2006.
This is a good documentary for those interested in cars and esp in this new technology. Living in Detroit, one would think that would be a lot of people. It opens Friday, November 11 at the Main Art Theatre.
My grade is a B