Saturday, September 13, 2008


Perhaps because I have been thinking about cars and driving already, we chose to watch "Who Killed the Electric Car?" yesterday in the evening. It is a documentary that tells the story of the electric car – touches on its history, explores its manufactory in the US in the early nineties, concentrating on General Motor’s EV1 and the reasons why the technology didn’t take. “Reasons” perhaps isn’t the right word, because it implies the usage of common sense and unbiased analyses of pluses and minuses, while the driving force behind limiting the development of battery operated vehicle is pure greed, but I guess it can be viewed as common sense too. The greed of the oil companies or car industries isn’t something new; nobody wants to jeopardize its own profit. The strange logic of politicians isn’t surprising. What shocked me is the destruction of new, gorgeous, perfectly useble cars.

The idea that somebody could create something so beautiful – sleek, elegant, functional, practical, fast – and then deliberately destroyed it is absolutely incomprehensible to me. To see these beauties crushed or put through the mills was almost too much to bear.

Imagine having in your possession an outstanding car, which pleases you not only aesthetically but appeals to your consciousness because it offers no pollution and then watch as it is taken away for destruction. Such a mindless, selfish act. It reminded me of the strategy that has been used in so many wars – destruction of cultural artifacts, museums, libraries - meant to eradicate every trace of a despised enemy. This seems to have been the purpose – to erase the memory, the fact that a car ever existed, to keep the masses hooked on much more profitable oil. And clearly it was done purposely: GM never sold any of the EV1’s but merely leased them, so as to be able to take them all back when they wished.

It is a shame that the US missed a wonderful opportunity to establish its role as one of the world’s leaders in this field. It looks like Israel and Portugal will be way ahead of us with their projects of boosting the use of electric cars and creating a national recharging network.

They really crushed those cars, damn it.

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