Does a documentary about electric cars sound boring? Well, then you haven’t seen Revenge of the Electric Car yet, Chris Paine’s latest documentary about the comeback of a car that was once destroyed before it had a chance to flourish. Is the world ready for it now?
In Revenge of the Electric Car we are taken on a journey behind the scenes. Ten years after his revealing and critical documentary They Killed the Electric Car, Paine managed to get three years unlimited access with some of the world’s biggest car manufacturers and befriends his earlier foes.
This radical change is a metaphor for the changing industry, with all manufacturers fighting to be the first to get an electric car ready for the mass market. Who will fail, who will succeed? It is a roller coaster ride of developments brought to us in a way that wins over even those not remotely interested cars or technology.
Aside from the battle to be the first and the best, Paine also questions who truly beliefs and who is only after the money? Does it matter, and so why?
General Motors, the biggest car manufacturer in the US was the first on the market, presenting us with the EV1 in the 90s. But not long after its production started they killed it off again. A clear case of lobbying as we will see in the film. However, in a new economy with a changing political landscape, gas problems, an awareness about pollution and global warming now is the time for the electric car to strike back. Will it be the traditional grounds of Detroit, Japan or a small little firm from technology hotbed Sillicon Valley that will win the battle?
Narrated by Tim Robbins and with some great talking heads (including Danny De Vito and the master of the car industry Bob Lutz himself), the film kicks off with great cinematography, reeling us in, showing we are not just talking machines here. The shift in thinking is great to see for environmentalists and believers of a better world. They built, they battle, they improve. Baby steps for some firms, global strategy changes for others.
But then something happens: the economy collapses. Will the electric car be killed off again or is it strong enough to survive this time around?
Revenge of the Electric Car will be out in UK cinemas on 20 July, check the Dogwoof website for information on screenings.