While this post won’t quite make “Breaking News” (the interview was done about a year ago). I thought it might be interesting to bring up again. Chris Paine was the directory of a documentary on the electric car back in 2006. Since then he has done a new 90 minute documentary on the same subject called “Revenge of the Electric Car”. Both highlight the difficulties of creating and marketing a new technology like the electric car.

The premise of the original film was based on how the Car manufacturers and oil companies got together to end the fledgling progress of the electric car. The number of electric cars in California had reach about 6,000. Many of these cars though were taken back by the manufacturers and destroyed.

Once again we are seeing a surge of new electric car models and California is leading the country in providing locations to charge the vehicles. While the technology is progressing there is still much controversy as to whether the end result will be worth the time, effort and money invested in making it work.

Revenge of the Electric Car

The new documentary “Revenge of the Electric Car” is now taking a bit more optimistic look at the industry as well as a bit more of an understanding view on the efforts of the car makers. Chris argues the point quite well that the future of the automotive industry will be electric cars. If you have an interest in the direction and problems faced by the automotive industry in their struggle to create a viable electric car this is 90 minutes well spent.

As stated in this interview there are many problems yet to be resolved before the electric car is ready to take the place of gas vehicles. Probably one of the largest problems is changing the mindset of the consumer. Chris makes the point that this change should not be viewed as just improving the automobile, but as creating a new form of transportation.

A Better Horse?

One of his quotes was of Henry Ford. As Ford was working on the first cars he stated that if he asked people what they wanted they would likely reply “A Better Horse”, making the point that the fledgling car industry could not be compared to the existing mode of transportation, the horse. This is an interesting point. The early cars had many of the same problems the electric car has today, lack of fueling stations, frequent breakdowns, high price, and overall lack of consumer confidence, in time though those were all overcome.

Future of the Electric Car

That leaves the question of whether the electric car will likewise eventually break past these barriers and turn into a better form of transportation than we currently have. While the detractors of the electric car point out that there is really no environmental advantage to the electric car due to the fact that electricity is made for the most part by environmentally unfriendly means, those supporting the electric car point out that there are methods available to change that and as electricity production evolves this will no longer be an issue, or at least the issue will be greatly reduced.

Similar arguments are made on both sides as regards to the batteries effect on the environment, the distance that the cars can currently go on batteries, the ability of our power grids to handle a large increase of electric cars, lack of charging stations, the time it takes to charge a car and many other current problems.

So, will the electric car be the car of the future? Will it eventually replace the gas car? Or, will the electric car go the way of the betamax (the technically better recording method that lost to the VCR)? Leave us a comment to let us know what you think!