(via freep.com) My next project may be called ‘Who Resurrected the Electric Car?’ ” Chris Paine — director of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” — joked moments after GM unveiled the intriguing Chevrolet Volt concept car Sunday at the North American International Auto Show preview at Cobo Center.
He might have to hurry if he wants his film in theaters before the car is in his driveway.
In one of most important debuts of the day, General Motors Corp. unveiled the Volt, a hybrid that could get as much as 150 miles per gallon of gasoline. From the hints GM has dropped, the Volt could be on the road in three or four years.
Paine videotaped the Volt’s debut and interviewed GM executives because he wants to support the company’s renewed commitment to electric vehicles. His next project is actually a movie titled “Zero South,” about driving three electric vehicles to the South Pole, but “I’m following the next chapter of the story of the electric car very carefully and may do some kind of television piece on who’s bringing it back,” he said.
He and Chelsea Sexton, executive director of the group Plug-In America, which promotes electric cars, were enthusiastic about the Volt’s potential and equally wary of GM’s potential to let them down. Again.
They had been avid supporters of GM’s first electric car, the EV1, and were deeply disappointed when GM pulled the car from the market. Paine’s film, which came out last year, suggested GM sabotaged a promising technology that could reduce fuel consumption and pollution.
Fool me once.
GM knows it’s running on limited credibility here, and executives say they wouldn’t have shown the Volt if they didn’t plan to build it. The automaker faces a major hurdle in finding a supplier that can build a battery system GM wants.
GM Chairman Rick Wagoner has said his biggest mistake on the job was pulling the plug on the EV1. GM squandered its hard-won lead in electric-vehicle technology, handing the mantle of environmental and technical leadership to Toyota Motor Corp.
The Volt, however, could remake the company’s image overnight. The Volt can run solely on its batteries for 40 to 45 miles and has a cruising range of more than 600 miles using a tiny 1-liter gasoline engine to recharge the batteries. Most owners would never use the gasoline engine at all, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Sunday, recharging the batteries from standard household plugs each evening.
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