Tuesday, 8 November, 2011 2:59 PM
of the Electric Car' to open Friday in Royal Oak and Ann Arbor
of the Electric Car will debut at the Main Art Theatre
and the Michigan Theatre on Nov. 11, 2011.
ANN ARBOR, Mich.
people agree that the 1916 Detroit Electric was one of the first
electric vehicles. Over the past 90 plus years, automakers have
been perfecting gasoline-powered vehicles. From 1996 to 1999, General
Motors produced the EV1, the first mass-produced electric vehicle.
In 2003, GM Vice President Bob Lutz encouraged CEO Rich Wagoner
to cancel the EV1 project.
a filmmaker and right now, I live in Los Angeles,” Director
Chris Paine said in an exclusive phone interview. “I grew
up in California and went to school in New York and briefly in Michigan.”
the EV1 project extensively in his 2006 documentary, Who Killed
the Electric Car?
an EV1 in 1997, I bought the car,” the film director said.
“I drove it for about six years. I was really impressed by
it. The car company said that nobody was interested in electric
cars. We didn’t think that was the whole story so we made
a movie about it.”
From 2008 to
2010, Paine interviewed Lutz, Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn, Tesla
Motors’ Elon Musk and EV do-it-yourselfer Greg “Gadget”
Abbott. Lutz is the same man who changed his mind and decided to
move forward with the production of the Chevrolet Volt electric
vehicle. Now, Paine is back five years later with his new documentary
film, Revenge of the Electric Car.
very difficult to get them to appear in the film,” he added.
“We talked to a lot of car companies and many of them didn’t
call us back. Even with the car companies that we did film, it took
about a year to get permission to film. The condition was that we
were allowed to film for three years on the condition that we would
not show any footage until 2011. It was great to film in Detroit
as much as we did.”
The film made
its world premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival on April 22.
It had its Los Angeles and New York premieres on Oct. 21.
the one that is converting cars to electric,” said Scarlet
Abbott, wife of Greg ‘Gadget’ Abbott, who appears in
the film. “He’s driving. We’re on our way to Palo
Alto for a screening. I was involved in the production for the whole
three years. It’s a fabulous movie. It’s been very inspiring
to be in all of the screenings.”
Why did Bob
Lutz cancel the EV1 project, but yet move forward with the Chevrolet
Volt electric vehicle?
he changed his mind for a lot of reasons,” Paine explained.
“GM got a lot of criticism for ending their electric car programs.
Bob wanted to change his legacy from being just a gasoline-powered
guy into a guy that could see the future of the electrification
of the automobile. He also felt, I believe, that GM could reinvent
itself with a really bold play and convince the board of directors
to invest in a plug-in hybrid, which became the Volt. He also helped
convince GM to let our cameras follow him for three years to tell
part of the story.”
Do you think
that automakers made the wrong decision to focus back on gasoline-powered
vehicles over the last nearly 100 years?
that electric cars should have always been a part of the option,”
the director added. “Part of the tragedy for the 20th century
is that gasoline vehicles were the only option for most people.
It’s true that gasoline has advantages in lots of situations.
Electricity has incredible advantages in many other situations,
especially with the advance in technology and the increasing cost
The timing of
your movie release seems perfect. Chevrolet just celebrated its
100th anniversary and the Los Angeles Auto Show opens in one week.
we started the film in 2007, we thought we can’t have a film
with the title Revenge of the Electric Car unless people
could actually buy electric cars,” he said. “This has
been essentially impossible as you said since the Detroit Electric
with very few exceptions. We knew that the car companies, not just
GM, but also Nissan and Tesla said they would have cars available
for sale by 2011. That was part of the premise of the movie. In
a way, the timing is perfect, because people can try these cars
out themselves and see if they like them.”
Is this new
documentary sort of a follow-up or a part two to your previous film,
Who Killed the Electric Car?
is a new film, but we certainly reference the old film because that’s
where this started,” Paine answered. “People find the
films to be very different, but the subject matter is similar. It’s
just that the stories themselves are very different.”
of the Electric Car opens on Nov. 11 at the Main Art Theatre
in Royal Oak, Mich. and at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Mich.
is coming to the screening in Detroit [Royal Oak] on Friday, the
11th and he will be in Ann Arbor on the 13th,” the director
added. “He will also be signing copies of his book, ‘Car
Guys vs. Bean Counters’ at the Michigan Theater that night.
We really hope people come out to Ann Arbor to see the film and
meet Bob Lutz. That’s going to be our grand event. I’ll
be there at the Friday night screening and Michelle Krebs is going
to be there from Edmunds and maybe some surprise guests.”
tickets to the screenings in Royal Oak, visit https://tickets.landmarktheatres.com/ticketing.aspx?theatreid=232.
To purchase tickets to the screenings in Ann Arbor, visit http://www.michtheater.org/schedule_descriptions.php.
more information about the movie, visit www.revengeoftheelectriccar.com
Lutz with a Chevy Volt at a press event.
Ghosn in a Nissan LEAF at a press event.
Elon Musk at the Tesla IPO.
"Gadget" Abbott showing the batteries in his converted
credit: Kelle Deeter