"Who killed the electric car?"" is the question posed by the documentary by the same name. The documentary is set in the 1990's during the infancy of electric and hybrid car technology. At the center of the premise is the EV1, the first production electric vehicle produced by General Motors. The EV1, despite its advanced technology was cancelled, and certain government policies that had been put into place to control car emissions had been changed. The documentary sets out on a quest to discover the reason behind the demise of the electric car and some of the eco-friendly policy that helped encourage the car's creation. At the time the film was created it was a very poignant question to ask but now seems slightly dated with the release of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, Chevrolet Volt, and the popularity of the Toyota Prius. Despite the validity of the premise, the documentary makes a few very obvious missteps in arguing its case to the audience. The documentary filmmaker Chris Paine, took a page out of many bombastic filmmakers such as Michael Moore. He did this through focusing on the emotional impact of certain images and testimony, by ignoring basic proven facts, by portraying those that disagreed with the premise of the movie in an unfavorable light. These tactics prove effective to an audience who watches the documentary for its entertainment side, as these tactics tend to add interest and intrigue. To the skeptical audience member however these tactics come off as mere parlor tricks and tend to hurt the basic premise of the film.
The film starts out with what looks like a funeral. Many people get up to speak, and there is a substantial crowd gathered around dressed in black. Some people are laughing, others are crying, typical of a funeral until it is revealed that this is a funeral not for a person but for a vehicle. While being interesting to watch, this opening does little to support the premise of the film.