Who Killed the Electric Car?

Director: Chris Paine
Screenwriters: Chris Paine

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


Fashioned like a tongue-in-cheek murder mystery, Who Killed the Electric Car? sets out to uncover just who is responsible for the demise of this ill-fated vehicle. The spirited film runs through the prime suspects, including car companies, oil companies, the government, and consumers.

Beginning in the early nineties, under pressure from the California Air Resource Board, car manufacturers were forced to develop nonpolluting vehicles. GM made the first car, the EV-1, available for lease in the midnineties. After less than 10 years, citing lack of interest by the public, the automaker took the vehicle off the market and officially discontinued the project. Government policy was rescinded, and currently, GM and other automakers are crushing all remaining electric vehicles. Filmmaker Chris Paine follows electric car activists who are desperately trying to save the few remaining cars from being destroyed and hoping to change policy.

A very timely subject, Who Killed the Electric Car? serves as a potent reminder that the powers that be will stop at nothing to maintain their position in the world. The film is an informative and thoroughly entertaining journey into the world of environmentally conscious technology and the cars that may one day be here…again.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details


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