Electric cars just can’t get a break

February 24, 2013

Who Killed the Electric Car? (shown below) is an excellent documentary detailing the rise and fall of one of the first electric automobiles in North America, GM’s EV1. Although it was produced, marketed, and leased to customers for a brief time in the 1990s, GM eventually decided to cancel the leases, reclaim the cars, and destroy them against the wishes of many enthusiastic customers. The film offers a complex explanation of why this popular car line was terminated, one that implicates the car manufacturers and the oil industry in a conspiracy of sorts to halt the production of these vehicles that would infringe on company profits.

Electric cars are now making a comeback, but the obstacles they face in penetrating the car market seem no fewer than they were back in the 1990s. A good example of this is the treatment the Tesla Roadster Model S recently received by the New York Times car critic John Broder. In February 2013, Broder wrote this piece in the NY Times entitled Stalled on Tesla’s Electric Highway chronicling a very troubling road trip he took in the Model S. The company responded to this negative review with their own data, taken from the car’s black box, showing that Broder’s piece was based on either outright deception or at least poor judgment. The New York Times public editor later weighed in and suggested that it was the latter. The controversy surrounding Broder’s piece is still being debated by friends and foe of the Model S, but enough has already been revealed to suggest that electric cars are still not getting a fair shake.


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