Revenge of the Electric Car – EV pioneers battle to lead

29 Jul 2011

New electric car documentary ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’ is set to give a rare glimpse into the green vehicle advancements at Tesla Motors, Nissan and GM, as they all feature in the film that’s due to reach cinemas in late October. The movie follows four electric car pioneers from 2007 to 2010 as they each battle to take the critical lead in the automobile industry’s global ”green’ reinvention.

The follow-up to the 2006 film, Who Killed the Electric Car?, the latest documentary, which is also directed by Chris Paine, follows the movements of an eclectic quartet from the electric car space over a three-year period, including Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla Motors, the Palo Alto start-up founded in 2003 by a team of Silicon Valley engineers that has injected panache and luxury into the EV space with its development of the Tesla Roadster and Model S cars.

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of Nissan and Renault, who pioneered the Nissan LEAF also has a pivotal role in the documentary, as does Bob Lutz, former vice-chairman at General Motors, who became a green vehicle convert late in his career, championing the Chevrolet Volt at GM. Meanwhile Greg ‘Gadget’ Abbott, a self-starter who converted silver Porsche Speedster, talks about his green goals, which include driving his converted car from LA to Palm Springs on a single charge.

In addition, entrepreneur Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place; the provider of EV infrastructure and systems, features in the documentary, as do the actors Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis also makes an appearance, while Tim Robbins is the fast-paced film’s narrator.

Image from Revenge of the Electric Car documentay, which is due to be released in october 2011

Image from the documentary

Due out in October

While Revenge of the Electric Car, had its premiere the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Earth Day on 22 April, the documentary itself won’t hit the silver screen until late October.

Green super heroes

Speaking about the documentary, director Chris Paine says on the film’s website that for this film, the crew wanted to take a different tack to the first movie, Who Killed the Electric Car?

Revenge of the Electric Car trailer

Revenge of the Electric Car trailer
Source: YouTube

“For this film, we wanted to do something different. Last time we followed a group of activists fighting from the outside. This time, we follow four entrepreneurs battling from the inside. Each one let us in on their journey over three years on condition that we would not release any footage until 2011.

“Tesla CEO Elon Musk puts his personal fortune on the line. Bob Lutz, GM’s Vice Chair, stakes the entire brand on the very technology it once tried to kill. Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, bets the farm on a car almost no one believes can happen. And my neighbor, Greg ‘Gadget’ Abbott, like thousands of other car converters around the world, sets out to prove you can do it yourself. The challenges they face are as tough as capitalism can be cagey.

“But the prize if they succeed is really for all of us: the reinvention of the car without gasoline, and potentially without fossil fuel at all.”

You can request to see the film in your city by clicking here.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic