Who Killed the Electric Car? Video Discussion Questions Summary: It begins with a solemn funeral? for a car. By the end of Chris Paine’s lively and informative documentary, the idea doesn’t seem quite so strange. As narrator Martin Sheen notes, “They were quiet and fast, produced no exhaust and ran without gasoline. ” Paine proceeds to show how this unique vehicle came into being and why General Motors ended up reclaiming its once-prized creation less than a decade later. He begins 100 years ago with the original electric car.
By the 1920s, the internal-combustion engine had rendered it obsolete. By the 1980s, however, car companies started exploring alternative energy sources, like solar power. 1. Create a table that outlines the positions of the major “suspects” from the video 2. What was the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate? A zero-emissions vehicle, or ZEV, is a vehicle that emits no tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power.  Harmful pollutants to the health and the environment include particulates (soot), hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen.
Although not considered emission pollutants by the original California Air Resources Board (CARB) or U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) definitions, the most recent common use of the term also includes volatile organic compounds, several air toxics, and global pollutants such as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.  Examples of zero emission vehicles include muscle-powered vehicles such as bicycles; electric vehicles, which shift emissions to the location where electricity is generated; and fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen that only emit water.
Why was the ZEV Mandate killed? 4. Why does the video let the batteries off the hook? 5. Why consider the fuel cells guilty? Isn’t it just another technology that might help us clean the air in the long run? 6. How can any technology, like hydrogen fuel cells or batteries be a suspect in the video? 7. Is an electric car actually a zero emission vehicle? Explain your answer. 8. Why are other gas-alternative fuels not mentioned in the video? 9. Is the electric car really dead? Explain your answer. 10. How does the multi-billion dollar automotive bailout fit into this discussion?
Explain. 11. Given the information provided in the film, do you believe you will be able to buy a hydrogen-powered car in the next 10 years? 20 years? Ever? Why/why not? 12. What one assertion in the film do you disagree with? Why? 13. What one assertion in the film troubles you the most? Why? 14. In your own words, explain why the car manufacturers collected and destroyed the electric vehicles. 15. Should the world oil supply be: 1) divided evenly according to population, 2) given to those able to pay the highest price, or 3) reserved for developing nations? Explain your response