Fuel for Thought
Revenge of the Electric Car
Review by Ross Anthony

Chris Paine has amazing access to the biggest players. It’s so up close and personal with these guys that the doc runs this risk of being more about them than the electric car. But that’s okay, because they are fascinating people. Ironically, the small guys in the game are almost completely un-accessed. Yes, Paine paints in Greg “Gadget” Abbot retrofitting old cars in his “backyard,” but this story line is far less about his biz than about the tragic events that make this venture harrowing.

Now, I need to say that I really like this doc. I just feel it lacks perspective on what’s happening on the grassroots side of things. Security guards, accountants, engineers, construction workers all around the world are converting their own beaters just to do it. I want to know if this is enough for the revolution of which Paine speaks? I want to know costs! I can’t believe Paine leaves costs out of the picture. Which leads me to another blaring omission … where are the consumers? Danny Devito’s a nice guy, I like him, but he’s not Joe Average. I want anecdotal and statistical research into what consumers want/need before they’ll buy an electric car.

I searched the net and was surprised to find that the VOLT and LEAF are both selling for 30-35k. Of course that’s better than the 100+ Tesla, but it’s still not inexpensive enough to win the hearts and minds of “the people.” The working class has decent, even relatively high-mileage cars to choose from at the 15-20k range. That’s where the electric car needs to be. Why isn’t it priced there? I want to know! Why wasn’t I told that in this documentary?

Also, objectivity is out the window since Paine himself owns a Tesla. But, I must admit, that tidbit makes for one of the most precious moments in the picture. Further, according to the press notes, Greg Abbot is his neighbor. So, maybe Paine's not an unbiased documentarian, but fortunately he’s a very entertaining one.

Btw, my informal research also indicated that sales of Leaf and Volt languished sadly way behind Prius which, despite its bad press, is out selling them both combined times three. And why not? It’s a hybrid, it won’t just stop on you and it’s 5-7k less. And in 2012 -- it’ll be a plug-in hybrid! Oh yeah!

IMHO: I’m a HUGE proponent of alternative fuels. We’ve got to move away from oil! But, practically speaking, we need to make electric cars priced competitively with the Ford Aveo or Honda Fit or Kia if we even want to think of revolution. Otherwise, we need to wait for a MAJOR battery breakthrough … or… those grass-rooters???

-- Books by Ross Anthony, Author/Illustrator --


  • Revenge of the Electric Car. Copyright © 2011.
  • “Starring” Elon Musk, Bob Lutz, Carlos Ghosn. Directed and Written by Chris Paine. Produced and Written by P.G. Morgan. Narrated by Tim Robbins. WestMidWest Productions LLC.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Friday, 23-Sep-2011 22:04:46 PDT