20 June, 2012

Revenge of the Electric Car (Documentary)



Is it a big blockbuster film? Is it a B movie? The name would suggest that. In reality Revenge of the Electric Car is a documentary about the obsession, the passion, and ultimately the need for an electric car in today's environmentally conscious world. 

Focusing on four different electric car manufacturers (GM, Telsa Motors, Nissan, Gregg “Gadget” Abbot), the documentary looks at the different approaches people are taking towards getting a working electric car in the market. It also manages to rope in people like Danny DeVito, Jon Favreau, Anthony Kiedis, and Adrian Grenier in small snippets, which gives the entire issue of moving towards electric cars for a better tomorrow a somewhat celebrity endorsed push. Add to that Tim Robbins narrating the documentary and the electric car already has enough people backing and banking on its success that it is only a matter of time before it becomes the norm on roads.

The wonderful part about Revenge of the Electric Car is that in choosing and eventually following the four car manufactures, it taps into the different mindsets and techniques adopted by each company presenting a varied view to the entire process;

Bob Lutz (General Motors) comes across as the old yet experience horse in the race. GM having been down the path of an electric car with EV1 is initially hesitant to dive again into the market, but eventually public pressure and competitive need leads to the origin of Chevrolet Volt, a hybrid

Elon Musk with his brainchild company Tesla Motors is the Mark Zuckerberg of the electric car industry. Having made his money through PayPal he is all set to produce a fast all-out electric car letting no one, including co-founders (surprisingly very similar to the case of Facebook) in its way, but is he ready for the constant infusion of money required to run a car company, only time will tell.

Reverend Gadget is the more in touch with the common man car enthusiast taking one car at a time converting them into electric cars, including his “masterpiece” an electric Porsche Roadster. While he faces one adversity after another with his shed being burnt by vandals and his second shed being inhabitable, his passion keeps him going towards achieving his lifelong dream of that perfect converted electric car.     

Lastly, Carlos Ghosn from Nissan is the up-to-speed commercial manufacturer who wants to make the electric car available to the mass market and quick before others move into the territory.

Revenge of the Electric Car shows certain camaraderie between the manufacturers in-between all the competition to be out there with the best car. More than that the documentary holds true to its name and looks at how this obsession and need to make the perfect electric car leads almost all the manufacturers to their knees where eventually government grants and IPOs (in case of Tesla) are the only ways of sustaining in the market. It also looks at the mindsets of the old timers from Detroit (GM) and the new hipsters from the Silicon Valley (Tesla).

The entire formulation of the electric car comes a full circle with initially GM launching EV1 followed by pulling it off the roads and now once again, years later, with the electric car craze taking over resulting in the car almost bankrupting organizations in a sort of revenge for not letting it get preference over the years.

Chris Paine’s Revenge of the Electric Car is recommended viewing for all car enthusiasts, environmentalists, or anyone who wants to have a sneak peek into the technology that is being developed and is sure to take over the roads we drive on daily. It’s a documentary that looks at all the different angles of the revolution and doesn’t hide away from the stark realities of the car business which is in the end as much about making a profit and money as it is about helping the environment.  

While the documentary ends on a positive note with support coming to all the manufacturers amongst strong competition from other car makers like Honda and Toyota, Adrian Grenier sums up the common man's thinking and attitude when he says, "I don't want to wait another 60-70 years before we catch up to the reality that is here now, these innovations are here, bring them to me, I want to play."

Revenge of the Electric Car is being released in Cinemas across UK starting 20th July 2012 by Dogwoof.
     

4 comments:

  1. Nice review, had heard of this documentary before and will probably see it once available. Don't know if it will be the future as these cars have their own issues, but it's nice that people are busy with alternatives.

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    1. You're right about electric cars having issues and the future might not be all bright lights for them but like you said people are working on them be it for the environment or for profit. Thanks

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  2. I missed this one at my local film fest last year. Ahah yeah, the title does suggest something like a B movie horror doesn't it? Sounds fascinating enough to rent methinks.

    – ruth

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    1. Hey Ruth, it's defenitly very interesting to watch all the car giants fight it out and just a great insight into one of the world's largest industry. Recommended! Thanks

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