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Electric Cars

The documentary Revenge of the Electric Car opens with a shot of a busy, congested Los Angeles freeway. A voice begins talking about how LA's freeways are great. How they've enabled mobility... how they've allowed businesses to spring up around them. The problem, the voice says, is that almost none of the cars driving on these freeways are electric.

(from alforque on Flickr)

Already, 30 seconds into the movie and I'm cringing, wondering how I'm going to get through an hour and a half of fetishizing electric cars and "happy motoring" as Jim Kunstler would say.

It's true that having lots of gasoline powered vehicles polluting cities is a problem - it's a big problem. But to think that it will be some kind of paradise when LA's freeways are packed, jammed and congested with electric vehicles is a bit silly, to be frank.

Electric car proponents do seem genuinely concerned with the environment - at least I don't think they're putting on an act. But they seem way more obsessed with cars than about some environmental goal. As you watch the movie, you hear little bits about how electric cars are great because they're fast and they can accelerate quickly and they are fun to drive. And that's probably - but when you're crawling along at 10 mph during a Los Angeles rush hour, none of that really matters.

The film closes with another shot of the congested Los Angeles freeway. It's weird, because I imagine a documentary film about the awful problem of sprawl opening and closing in the exact same way. It also makes me think that when you show that image and people say "wow, there's a serious problem here" that they might not have the same thing in mind as you.


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