Is The Electric Car Really Dead?

In 2006, director Chris Paine released the documentary film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” The film was about the creation, limited commercialization and eventual downfall of battery powered electric vehicles in the United States. In order to answer the titular question of the film, Paine explored the roles of the automobile manufacturers, oil industry, US and California governments, batteries, hydrogen vehicles and consumers. The film claims that the oil and car industry are primarily responsible for the lack of commercial success with electric cars.

By the end of the film, Paine concludes that the electric car is dead. But is the electric car really dead? Just five years after the release of “Who Killed the Electric Car,” Paine seems to be revising his opinion. Paine has announced he is working on a new film called “Revenge of the Electric Car.” This documentary will be about several large car makers that are working to change the auto industry and begin offering electric cars on a larger scale than before.

Looking at the attitude of the United States government today, it’s easy to see why electric cars are slowly yet surely trying to stage a comeback. In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made a point of addressing electric cars. Obama hopes that “with more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels.” He went on to say that the US could become the first country to have one million electric cars on the road by the year 2015. He also states that he will be asking Congress to reduce the amount of taxpayer funded assistance the government provides to oil companies to free up more money for electric cars.

Obama’s comments are nothing new, considering the Cash for Clunkers program he authorized in 2009. The goal of Cash for Clunkers was to help boost the economy through car sales while at the same time putting safer, cleaner and more fuel efficient cars on the road. Cash for Clunkers provided special incentives for those buying electric cars, offering anywhere from $4,200 to $5,500 in federal tax credits to those who qualified. His State of the Union comments are just another step in favor of electric cars.

Electric cars are looking especially promising these days due to serious pressing concerns about pollution, global warming, dependence on foreign oil and the price of gasoline. In fact, the CEO of Nissan thinks that by 2020, one in ten cars in the world will run on battery power alone. However, for the electric car market to truly take off, there are several problems that must be overcome. The most notable problem is that electric cars are still expensive and inconvenient, which makes them unattractive to mainstream consumers. Why buy an electric car if you can get a regular car for less? It’s not like the average person is willing to stick out their neck to save the environment. Electric cars are far from dead, but a lot of work needs to be done before they can emerge as the preferred car of choice for the average driver.

Julie Rukavina is from the cheap car rentals website Car Rental Express.