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Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)

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A documentary that investigates the birth and death of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future.


Chris Paine


Chris Paine
4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Sheen ... Narrator (voice)
Reverend Gadget Reverend Gadget ... Himself (as Greg 'Gadget' Abbott)
Dave Barthmuss Dave Barthmuss ... Himself
Ed Begley Jr. ... Himself
Jim Boyd Jim Boyd ... Himself
Alec N. Brooks Alec N. Brooks ... Himself
Alan Cocconi Alan Cocconi ... Himself
John R. Dabels John R. Dabels ... Himself
Phyllis Diller ... Herself
Colette Divine ... Herself
Tom Everhart Tom Everhart ... Himself
David Freeman David Freeman ... Himself (as S. David Freeman)
Frank Gaffney Frank Gaffney ... Himself (as Frank J. Gaffney Jr.)
Mel Gibson ... Himself
Greg Hanssen Greg Hanssen ... Himself


With gasoline prices approaching $4/gallon, fossil fuel shortages, unrest in oil producing regions around the globe and mainstream consumer adoption and adoption of the hybrid electric car (more than 140,000 Prius' sold this year), this story couldn't be more relevant or important. The foremost goal in making this movie is to educate and enlighten audiences with the story of this car, its place in history and in the larger story of our car culture and how it enables our continuing addiction to foreign oil. This is an important film with an important message that not only calls to task the officials who squelched the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, but all of the other accomplices, government, the car companies, Big Oil, even Eco-darling Hydrogen as well as consumers, who turned their backs on the car and embrace embracing instead the SUV. Our documentary investigates the death and resurrection of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in our ... Written by Richard D. Titus

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In 1996, electric cars began to appear on roads all over California. They were quiet and fast, produced no exhaust and ran without gasoline...........Ten years later, these cars were destroyed. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

4 August 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chi ha ucciso l'auto elettrica? - Un giallo che si tinge d'oro nero See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,138, 2 July 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,677,838, 12 November 2006

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,222,746, 20 August 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The boxy, small EV shown being crushed in the movie was the Honda EV-Plus. They, like the sleek GM EV-1, were only available for lease; several returned to Honda, and were converted into fuel cell demonstration vehicles. For a while, you were able to lease them through EV Rentals (at several Budget Rent a Car locations). See more »


Eric Garcetti: I was an EV1 driver, still am, from 1998 until December of this year when GM will have to pry it out of my charger's dead cold hands.
See more »


Features The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) See more »


Written and Performed by John Dickson
Courtesy of Fingers Axe Music
See more »

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User Reviews

The question is . . . Who Killed This Movie's Hype?
28 May 2008 | by D_BurkeSee all my reviews

That is an excellent question. Of course, this movie got some publicity when it was released, but for some reason, it was not nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary. The movie was released when gas was just approaching $3.00 a gallon. Now it's up to $4.00 in some areas without any signs of going down, gas companies are still making record high profits, and through it all, this intelligent, muckraking movie has been swept under the rug.

There's really no conspiracy when it comes to the manufacturing of electric cars: They have been invented, they had been marketed for a short time, and people did own them. Since this documentary has been made, situations with oil and the war in Iraq have gone from bad to worse, and this movie is as distant a memory as hydrogen-fueled cars. What is going on? You'll notice that so far in this review, I haven't actually said anything about how well this documentary was made. Well, it's hard to get into why I liked this movie without getting angry about our current energy situation and about how this movie didn't even make 1/10th of the money that "Fahrenheit 9/11" did.

There are a lot of things that are great about this documentary. The narration by Martin Sheen is excellent, there is a lot of great footage (including a snippet from "The Naked Gun 2 1/2" that has become eerily true today), and the facts really speak for themselves. Higher grossing documentaries such as "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "An Inconvenient Truth" were often criticized for bending facts and providing agenda-based information. Here, the only agenda these filmmakers seem to be driven by is more energy efficient cars and eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. Wow, what a bunch of bastards!

What I also like best about this documentary is the fact that they actually answer the question they named this movie after. With thorough information and detailed reasoning, the filmmakers point to many people (or groups) that killed the electric car. Namely, the government (particularly the Bush administration, but even the Clinton administration shares some blame too), the auto makers, the oil companies, and the consumers. I actually don't agree that consumers killed the electric car, and I'm still confused as to how the filmmakers came up with that one. I know that if electric cars were given to consumers in states other than California, millions of people would have jumped on the chance. I know that in Maine, where I live, 90% of the state is forested, and many people have no choice but to drive places. If electric cars were being sold at dealerships now, consumers would go crazy. Everyone would want one, and would even willingly junk their S.U.V.'s regardless of the cost.

It's also interesting that the title of this movie was a question, and it had a question mark in the title. Historically, it has been bad luck in the movie industry to include a question mark in the title, thereby explaining why "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" were stripped of their punctuation. However, if this movie had been given a larger advertising budget, it would have actually eclipsed the attention given to the movies I just mentioned, not to mention even the promising, but disappointing mockumentary "Death of a President". I'm surprised some of the celebrities who appeared in this documentary, including Mel Gibson, Ed Begley, Jr., and even Al Gore, didn't contribute money to get this movie a wider audience. There could even be another movie about how this important documentary, which everyone (Democrat and Republican) should see, may have been of another conspiracy to have as few people see this as possible. I picked this movie up in the $5.00 section of my video store, and I'm going to make sure as many people see it as possible.

Especially in this slow economy, and with consumers being sodomized at the gas pump every time they go to fill up, a better name for this documentary should be "Something's Gotta Give". That name hasn't been taken, right? Oh wait, yes it has. Still, something's gotta give for real.

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