Carlos Ghosn’s Green-Car push has captured the attention of the people behind the movie, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” They’re in-town, following Carlos Ghosn around for the sequel, “Who Saved the Electric Car?” The answer appears to be Nissan, which begins taking “reservations” next spring on the all-electric, 100-mile-range lithium-ion-powered Leaf hatchback. The car is scheduled for import to the U.S. in November 2010, with U.S. Department of Energy-subsidized production in Smyrna, Tennessee, coming on later. Ghosn promises “a fun-to-drive, everyday car that delivers on the promise of zero emissions.” Based on a quick drive of a Versa-based Leaf mule yesterday, “fun to drive” means decent off-the-line torque and all the quiet and smoothness we’d expect of an electric appliance on wheels. Nissan‘s electric cars will be priced competitively with conventional gas-powered cars of similar size, Ghosn … [Read more...] about 2009 Tokyo: Nissan Leaf, Will it Save the Electric Car?
Killed the electric car
One of America’s most enduring conspiracy theories, right up there with Roswell and the Grassy Knoll, is that Big Auto conspired with Big Oil to kill the electric car. The mass reclamation of leased EV1s that ended GM’s troubled electric-car program (as chronicled in filmmaker Chris Paine’s disingenuous documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?") was all the most rabid theorists needed to prove their point. GM didn’t kill the electric car. Big Oil didn’t kill the electric car. The EV1 was dead on arrival. Back in the early 1990s, I attended an electric-vehicle conference where one of the speakers was a Hughes Aircraft vice president called Howard Wilson. Hughes had been acquired by GM in 1985 for $5.7 billion at the urging of chairman Roger B. Smith, who somehow reasoned a company that built rockets might have some useful technology to transfer to a company that built Chevys. Wilson was the man Hughes put in charge of figuring out exactly what those … [Read more...] about No one killed the electric car, it was dead on arrival
Revenge of the Electric Car filmmaker Chris Paine's sequel to 2006's Who Killed the Electric Car? is now available on DVD and videostreaming. The film, which was released in theaters last fall, became available on Tuesday through retailers such as Wal-mart, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy and Amazon.com. The title is also being distributed via video-on-demand through companies such as Verizon, DirecTV and Netflix. (UPDATE: Also, Hulu.)The film, which was released in theaters last fall, follows the progress of industry executives and electric-car players such as former General Motors executive Bob Lutz, Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, and includes commentary from Wall Street Journal auto writer Dan Neil. AutoblogGreen reviewed the film here. The home-video version includes extras such as footage of a 35-minute panel discussion at the Tribeca Film Festival that included Paine, Musk, Ghosn and Neil that was moderated by actor David Duchovny.Paine's Who … [Read more...] about Revenge of the Electric Car now available on DVD and streaming
On January 24, President Bush issued an executive order. All federal agencies with 20 or more vehicles in their fleet will now use plug-in hybrid vehicles– “when PIH vehicles are commercially available at a cost reasonably comparable, on the basis of life-cycle cost, to non-PIH vehicles." Cool. So, ah, where are these government buggies and when will we see some sporting a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crest on the doors? This, my friends, is what’s called a “faith based initiative.”Nobody in America currently sells a plug-in hybrid. Some seriously brave hackers have converted a Toyota Prius or two. And that’s about it. General Motors wooed a covey of press at the Detroit auto show with the Volt, their collective dream of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The spinmeisters say it may be on the street in three years, if it’s able to fly General Lee style over a fat, flaming obstacle: batteries.Lithium-ion batteries are currently our best … [Read more...] about Developing the Electric Car: Who’s In Charge?
Actor Tom Hanks recently defended himself against the New Yorker, who called him out on his appearance in “Who Killed the Electric Car?” Here’s his letter to the editor:Peter J. Boyer, in his otherwise spot-on piece about the car industry, assumes that I once leased G.M.’s sadly fated EV1 electric car and, like other drivers of that twin-seat rocket of a vehicle, watched the emission-free car be wrested from my garage, towed away, and busted up into pieces of metal, glass, and rubber smaller than razor blades (“The Road Ahead,” April 27th). Luckily, I did not. The source of Boyer’s slight inaccuracy may have been the documentary film “Who Killed the Electric Car?,” which used a clip of a visit I made to the “Late Show with David Letterman,” during which I claimed to be saving America one electric car at a time. However, by the time I began shopping for an all-electric car, in 2003, the EV1 had already been yanked from … [Read more...] about Tom Hanks: I DID Save the Electric Car, Gosh Darn It
“After Fukushima, I am not sure how any politician in any modestly democratic republic is going to sell a new nuclear power plant to any general population.”“Would you like the job of trying to sell a new nuclear plant to your electorate?”“There is one terrible casualty in all of this: The electric car. When they make part 2 of Who Killed the Electric Car? the answer is going to be plain and clear: Fukushima killed the electric car.”From the LogicalOptimizer blog, just one of many that currently say the same.Let’s face it: What is happening in Japan will set back nuclear power by at least 20 years. Haunted by the “Ghost of Fukushima,” Germany shut off seven plants. Nuclear expansion plans the world over are on ice. Even China pauses to rethink nuclear power.What will produce the electricity needed to make and charge the millions of EVs that were promised to be on our roads real soon now? A lack of readily available, … [Read more...] about Quote Of The Day: Who Killed The Electric Car, Part 2
The electric car is in deep trouble. Why is that? The New York Times just pulled the plug.Yes, the New York Times. I know, until a few weeks ago, there was hardly an EV the Times did not like.The Times even drove a pre-not-production BYD F3DM plug-in hybrid, and liked it. Never mind the “wobbly storage compartment between the front seats, subpar floor mats, squishy handling.” If it had a plug and four wheels, an adoring review in the NYT was pretty much guaranteed. No more.Now, suddenly, the lady in grey disses EVs with the vitriolic verve of a thin-lipped, lockjawed Upper East Side co-op board chairwoman who denies a gangsta rapper’s application to buy the penthouse. “The state of the electric car is dismal, the victim of hyped expectations, technological flops, high costs and a hostile political climate. General Motors has temporarily suspended production of the plug-in electric Chevy Volt because of low sales. Nissan’s all-electric Leaf is … [Read more...] about Treason! Outrage! New York Times Kills The Electric Car
A few days ago, we wrote that “EVs run out of juice.” When we did that, we referred to collapsing sales in January only. Now Reuters says: “Are electric cars running out of juice again?” Reuters means it in a bigger way. Like forever.In a long article, written by its best brains, Reuters writes that electric cars are “still is not ready for prime time – and may never be. In the meantime, the attention of automotive executives in Asia, Europe and North America is beginning to swing toward an unusual but promising new alternate power source: hydrogen.”Both lovers and haters of electric cars should read the article, written by Reuters’ best automotive reporters around the world, Norihiko Shirouzu, Yoko Kubota, Paul Lienert, Deepa Seetharaman, Bernie Woodall, and their Pulitzer-Prize winning boss Paul Ingrassia.Executive summary:Consumers continue to show little interest in electric vehicles.EVs continue to be plagued … [Read more...] about Reuters Kills The Electric Car. Again
If you’re still holding on to that copy of Who Killed the Electric Car? you bought back in your university days, it might be time to toss it in the trash.In just two years, there could be four 200-plus mile electric vehicles on the market, now that Hyundai plans to jump into the long-range EV game.The South Korean automaker doesn’t want to be an also-ran in the emerging field, so it’s planning a 2018 introduction of an EV designed to battle the 215-mile Tesla Model 3. It’s an ambitious goal for a company whose green car chief once called EVs and hybrids “a headache.”Reuters reports Hyundai wants a vehicle that goes at least 200 miles on a charge, putting it on par with the Model 3 (due out in late 2017), the Chevrolet Bolt (due out this fall), and the next-generation Nissan Leaf, which is expected to receive a similar range in 2018.In April, Ford CEO Mark Fields said his company was developing a 200-mile EV, even after his electrification chief … [Read more...] about The 200-Mile Electric Car Field Could be Crowded by 2018
Living in Northern California, electric cars are a common sight – all you have to do is look in the left lane. There are numerous Tesla Model S’s, Nissan Leafs, and the occasional Ford Focus or Chevrolet Spark EV. Plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt, Ford Fusion and C-MAX Energi, and the Prius hybrid can be seen every day. BMW is planning on releasing plug-in hybrids of its core models like the 3-Series and the X5 in 2016. Four years ago, that wasn’t the case.Back in 2011, when the documentary Revenge of the Electric Car was released, Tesla was attempting to sell the last of their Roadsters and the Model S was still a prototype. The Volt and Leaf were about to go on sale in electric car-friendly states (like California). Gas was never below $3 a gallon that year. In 2015, there are at least 15 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles with more on the way. Tesla is worth billions of dollars, even though it sells only one car, the Model S which in the documentary … [Read more...] about Review: Revenge Of The Electric Car