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Who Killed the Electric Car?

Autor:   •  April 21, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,460 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,359 Views

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Who Killed the Electric Car is a documentary outlining the history of the electric car industry and its untimely demise. With the demise of the electric car industry the documentary brings light to it with a funeral to the electric car industry, with former owners of electrical vehicles (EV) eulogizing their once treasured cars. This seems a bit offsetting but the accuracy of the funeral and the insinuation of a murder plot become clearer as the documentary goes on.

The first electric cars appeared on the roads in California in 1996. However, this was not the first wave of EVs in the United States. Prior to the 1920s there were more electric cars on the road than those that ran on gasoline. Most people in this era loved their electric cars for the same reason why EV drivers would love them for in 1996. The cars were quiet, had no exhaust, ran without gasoline and they could be charged at home. During this time gas cars required you to crank them up and they were not as quiet.

The love for electric cars would not last gas cars began to beat out electric cars because of cheaper oil, automatic starters, and mass production. By the 1920s internal combustion engines began the modern automobile age effectively eliminating the production of electronic cars. This decision would lead to damages of the environment especially with smog.

This leads to the documentary beginning with a new age of interest in finding alternatives because of environmental issues. Important people like S. David Freeman who served as an Energy Advisor of President Jimmy Carter’s Administration decided that they would invest efforts into creating a practical electric car that would compete with the gasoline cars built by Robert Smith. The most important aspect of the car the new 100,000 stereo amplifier that would allow the EV1 to travel 90 miles on a charge, go 0-60 in 7.9 seconds, and have an ungoverned top speed of 123 mph on the test track. (One Electric 2012) This improvement allowed electric cars to go to new heights.

Because of the serious interest in improving the environmental conditions and investing in electrical cars the California Air Resource Board (CARB) signed the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate in 1990. Under this if car manufacturers wanted to produce cars in California some of these cars had to be EVs that produced no smog. Car companies were both resistant to the mandate and also followed it. Even though some went along with the mandate the resistance would become one of the key factors in the death of the electrical car.

The first EV1 car was produced and hit the road in both California and Arizona. Owners of the car loved it because it was fast, quiet, you could plug in and go, the average gasoline was 60 cent per gallon (electrical charge) and each charge on the could get you 70/80 mpg. However, skeptics believed that finding charging stations would be a hassle. This would also play a part in why the electrical cars


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