Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov,
MOINES) –The State Historical Museum will screen
“Who Killed the Electric Car?” November
25-26, 2006 as the second offering in its new “Movies
at the Museum” film series.
“Who Killed the Electric Car?” will be
shown November 25th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and November
26th at 2 p.m. at the State Historical Museum, 600
E. Locust Street in Des Moines’ Historic East
Village. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at www.iowatix.com
or at the door. Moviegoers who ride a bicycle to the
museum and show a bike helmet at the door will receive
a $1 discount. Snacks will be available for purchase.
Call 515-281-5111 or visit www.iowahistory.org
for more information.
“Who Killed the Electric Car?” chronicles
the life and mysterious death of the GM EV1, which
was among the fastest, most efficient production cars
ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions
and catapulted American technology to the forefront
of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove
it never wanted to give it up. So why did General
Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in
the Arizona desert? The movie examines the EV1’s
cultural and economic ripple effects and how they
reverberated through the halls of government and big
The Historical Museum presents “Who Killed
the Electric Car?” in conjunction with a new
exhibit, “Running on Empty,” which explores
automobiles designed to be highly fuel efficient or
powered by alternative energy.
The exhibit showcases a 2006 Toyota Prius Hybrid,
a 1980 prototype called “The Brooklands”
developed by Michael Bogardus of Des Moines and a
1916 Milburn electric automobile owned by former Iowa
Governor George W. and Arletta Clark. The Toyota Prius
and funding for the exhibit are provided by Toyota
of Des Moines. The State Historical Museum is open
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Noon-4:30 p.m.
Sunday. Admission is free and open to the public.
“Movies at the Museum” kicked off in
October with a sellout of “Villisca: Living
with a Mystery,” an award-winning documentary
that tells the epic true story of Iowa’s worst
mass homicide, the Villisca Axe Murders. Additional
films in the series will be announced at a later date.
The State Historical Society of Iowa is a trustee
of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate
for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies,
records, collects, preserves, manages and provides
access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual
mission of preservation and education serves Iowans
of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates
information, and encourages and supports historical
preservation and education efforts of others throughout
the state. Please visit www.iowahistory.org
or call 515-281-5111 for more information.
SYNOPSIS of “Who Killed the Electric
Car?” from ©Sony Pictures Classics:
The year is 1990. California is in a pollution crisis.
Smog threatens public health. Desperate for a solution,
the California Air Resources Board (CARB) targets
the source of its problem: auto exhaust. Inspired
by a recent announcement from General Motors about
an electric vehicle prototype, the Zero Emissions
Mandate (ZEV) is born. It required 2 percent of new
vehicles sold in California to be emission-free by
1998, 10 percent by 2003. It is the most radical smog-fighting
mandate since the catalytic converter.
With a jump on the competition thanks to its speed-record-breaking
electric concept car, GM launches its EV1 electric
vehicle in 1996. It was a revolutionary modern car,
requiring no gas, no oil changes, no mufflers, and
rare brake maintenance (a billion-dollar industry
unto itself). A typical maintenance checkup for the
EV1 consisted of replenishing the windshield washer
fluid and a tire rotation. But the fanfare surrounding
the EV1’s launch disappeared and the cars followed.
Was it lack of consumer demand as carmakers claimed,
or were other persuasive forces at work?
Fast forward to 6 years later... The fleet is gone.
EV charging stations dot the California landscape
like tombstones, collecting dust and spider webs.
How could this happen? Did anyone bother to examine
the evidence? Yes, in fact, someone did. And it was
The electric car threatened the status quo. The truth
behind its demise resembles the climactic outcome
of “Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express:”
multiple suspects, each taking their turn with the
knife. “Who Killed the Electric Car?”
interviews and investigates automakers, legislators,
engineers, consumers and car enthusiasts from Los
Angeles to Detroit, to work through motives and alibis,
and to piece the complex puzzle together.
“Who Killed the Electric Car?” is not
just about the EV1. It’s about how this allegory
for failure – reflected in today’s oil
prices and air quality – can also be a shining
symbol of society’s potential to better itself
and the world around it. While there’s plenty
of outrage for lost time, there’s also time
for renewal as technology is reborn in “Who
Killed the Electric Car?”
--© Sony Pictures Classics
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