Electric cars were popular in the late-19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass production of cheaper gasoline vehicles led to a decline in the use of electric drive vehicle. The energy crises of the 1970s and 80s brought a short lived interest in electric cars, but in the mid 2000s took place a renewed interest in the production of electric cars due mainly to concerns about rapidly increasing oil prices and the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
In the early 1990s, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the government of California's began a push for more fuel-efficient, lower-emissions vehicles, with the ultimate goal being a move to zero-emissions vehicles such as electric vehicles. In response, automakers developed electric models, including the Chrysler TEVan, Ford Ranger EV pickup truck, GM EV1 and S10 EV pickup, Honda EV Plushatchback, Nissan lithium-battery Altra EV miniwagon and Toyota RAV4 EV.
However, it was not long until these companies realized that the huge demand for these electric vehicles would mean the end of their internal combustion engine cars. For example, that the oil companies were afraid of losing their monopoly on transportation fuel over the coming decades; while the auto companies feared short term costs for EV development and long term revenue loss because EVs require little maintenance and no tuneups.
Quickly they all sued CARB and revoking their cars from their new owners and destroying them. They didn't get away with it though, because of the documentary film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" The film details the California Air Resources Board's reversal of the Zero Emission mandate after relentless pressure and lawsuits from automobile manufacturers, continual pressure from the oil industry, orchestrated hype over a future hydrogen car, and finally the George W. Bush administration.
The filmmakers had promised to release an upcoming feature documentary film, that chronicles key players driving the electric vehicle (EV) renaissance. The film features exclusive behind-the-scenes access to several large car makers as they work to change the auto industry and offer new electric car options to the general public. REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR, currently in post-production by WestMidWest Productions, is scheduled for official release in 2011.
We'll be waiting for it...and electric cars.