Who killed the electric car?

I watched the most amazing documentary this weekend – Who Killed the Electric Car? I wanted something light (lite, really); something along the lines of You, Me and Dupree (which I admit with the appropriate amount of shame). It was the end of a long day, full on kids, you understand. When My Friend returned with what I imagined to be the driest possible thing to ever be put on dvd, I was not thrilled. But at this point my options were severely limited – nothing on but CSI reruns till SNL, and I’d be sleeping by then.

Anyway. Who Killed the Electric Car? is one of the most amazing films. It’s not your typical “eco-crazy’s” conspiracy theory. It actually happened. It reminds me of all those dystopian visions of the future, you know, where everything is Taco Bell. Fucking scary. People who believe that “those in power” are benevolent, benign, just doing their jobs are not just painfully naive; they are dangerous. Ignorance is not bliss; it is the path to ruination. You absolutely must see this movie.

On another note, throughout the entire film, I thought, wow, this would make an amazing SCOT case study. All the relevant social groups were discussed (fine, “actants”, if you must be Latourian about it) and their interests in electric car technology (mainly the battery, but also supporting infrastructure) revealed. By tracing these groups throughout the short life of the electric car, it became clear how this new technology came into existence, and was then “disappeared” just a few years later. The powerful economic interests that hovered unseen just below the surface are exposed in this doc in the most chilling way – its not just the automakers, or their partner, the State, or even Big Oil (is there any other kind?). It’s literally a world economy based on the delicate interleaving of practice (car driving), technology (combustion engine), fuel (oil) and infrastructure (roads, gas stations), all of which creates the facade of a self-generated, sellf-sustaining culture. And you can’t fuck with the economy. Apparently.

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