“Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Revenge of the Electric Car” Filmmaker Chris Paine Dispels 5 Electric Vehicle Myths





Chris Paine, a filmmaker whose electric vehicles documentaries include “Who Killed the Electric Car?” “Revenge of the Electric Car” and “Charge,” recently wrote an opinion post for The Washington Post.  In it, Paine tackled what he calls “5 Electric Vehicle Myths.”

Chris Paine's First EV Docmentary

Chris Paine’s First EV Docmentary

Paine opens with a brief intro before moving on to “dispel some myths.”

Here are those myths, along with condensed versions of Paine’s arguments:

1. The electric car is dead.

“This myth is partly my fault, perpetuated by the title of my 2006 documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” The signs back then weren’t promising.”

“Today, almost all the major automakers, along with a cast of new players, are investing in and building plug-in cars.”

2. Electric cars can’t get people where they need to go.

“I’ve been driving electric cars for 15 years and have yet to run out of power.”

“The average American drives fewer than 40 miles a day. That’s well within the 75-mile-plus range of most electric cars.”




3. Charging is a headache.

Chris Paine With Elon Musk

Chris Paine With Elon Musk

“Charging an electric car can be as simple as plugging it into a wall outlet.”

4. Electric cars aren’t any better for the environment.

“Electric cars have clear environmental benefits: They don’t require gasoline, they don’t pollute from tailpipes…”

5. Most people will never be able to afford an electric car.

“…the cost of leasing a Nissan Leaf ($199 a month with $1,999 down) is equivalent to leasing a compact gasoline car such as the Mazda3—except you don’t have to pay for gas.”

To read the non-condensed version of Paine’s “Five Myths About Electric Cars” follow the link below.

via Washington Post

Category: General


8 responses to "“Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Revenge of the Electric Car” Filmmaker Chris Paine Dispels 5 Electric Vehicle Myths"
  1. Open-Mind says:

    I think another key myth is that EVs cannot offer luxury and high performance. I suspect many envision an experience much like a big electric golf cart.

    1. acevolt says:

      I would hope that the Model S would have dispelled the Luxury and high performance myth.

      1. Open-Mind says:

        Most definitely, but unfortunately I think at this point only car enthusiasts are aware of Tesla. That’s also why I’m excited about the Spark EV. I think people will take notice when this weirdly cute micro-car starts winning stop-light races. 😉

    2. Gene says:

      I’ve had a few people show surprise at the size & utility of my Leaf. Some people do still expect “golf cart” when they hear “electric vehicle”.

      1. Aaron says:

        Many people expect “golf cart” and aren’t surprised at all when they see my i-MiEV. 🙂

  2. Cavaron says:

    Has Chris Paine really something to do with the movie Charge (we are speaking about the electric race motorcycle movie, right?)? IMDb says otherwise…
    I like his films, he should do more.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Charge was produced (possibly co-produced) by Paine…Yes…The electric motorcycle Isle of Man movie.

  3. Just A Little Deeper Look Into Things-

    This article by Mr. Chris Paine that ran in Washington Post attempts to counter the 5 myths of electric cars.
    I ran across this on April 26, 2013. As you can see below, I felt a need to address a few of his points- Strongly…


    “[…}A new report from IEE, part of the Edison Foundation, projects that between 5 million and 30 million electric cars will be on U.S. roads by 2035. “The electrification of the vehicle fleet is a foregone conclusion,” says former GM vice chairman[…]”

    Actually this source is stronger and more stunning then the IEE, Edison Foundation and states that the electrification of the transportation is happening a whole lot quicker then Chris has been led to believe!

    The Wall Street Journal
    April 19, 2013, 5:15 a.m. ET

    Nearly 22 Million Electric Vehicles Will Be Sold from 2012 to 2020, Forecasts Navigant Research-

    “BOULDER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April 19, 2013–
    While sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have not met the expectations of governments and automakers, they continue to expand steadily. Both plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have become widely available in Asia Pacific, North America, and Western Europe, and are being introduced in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, a total of 21.9 million EVs will be sold worldwide during the period from 2012 to 2020.”

    Link to Source- No Paywall!



    “[…]“The electrification of the vehicle fleet is a foregone conclusion,” says former GM vice chairman (and former electric-car-basher) Bob Lutz.[…]”

    WHAT? Chris, in you remarkable film, “Revenge of the Electric car”, Mr. Lutz states, on camera that he was subject to death threats promoting the Chevy Volt!.

    Yes, he did not rescue the EV-1 but surely, you must admit that even mentioning that old history was out of line! One wonders, given the recent editorial content of The Washington Post of the last few years whether above snide comment on Mr. Lutz was added by Mr. Paine’s editors…

    Mr. Lutz IS the Father of the Chevy Volt and since its deployment has been a relentless backer including his heavy association with Viamotors Inc
    ( ViaMotors.com ) and his Volt affirming articles as a writer for Forbes-

    Source- Forbes- Online




    “[…]A controversial New York Times test drive in February of Tesla’s Model S[…]”

    While still discussed in cyberspace, data from NYT Writer, Mr. Broders’ “Test” Tesla Model S highly disputes his written words as to the events as they unfolded.

    Mr. Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, has staunchly defended the companies’ product as have others with hands on experience with the Tesla Model S.

    Combined with the downplaying of the article by The NYT City Editor, the scores of Tesla Owners and competing Journalists and Reporters who completed the same route as Mr. Broder without incident, the original report has been all but discredited and has faded away. Let’s let it remain so!


    “[…]The answer to range anxiety for many carmakers is the plug-in hybrid, an electric car with a backup gasoline engine. The Chevrolet Volt, the Toyota Prius Plug-In and the Ford C-Max Energi all use electric power for the first 20 to 50 miles (or most daily trips) and then switch to gasoline for longer drives.[…]”

    The Toyota Prius Plug Ins’ battery can be fully charged using a standard 110V AC outlet in around 2 1/2 hours. This sounds quite amazing until one understands that the AER ( All Electric Range ) of the 2014 Toyota Prius Plug In is 6- 11 miles- MAYBE!

    I would have to plug in the Prius Plug In over 4 times a day, warm weather charging, to equal the 40-55+ miles on a single charge, bout a buck in electricity for my Volt, to not burn any gas in this car, not to mention the Toyota’s gas engine assist, under demand, regardless of battery SOC.

    While the Ford C-Max Energi, the Honda Accord PHEV and the Ford Fusion Energi can travel upwards of 20 miles AER, half the distance of the Chevy Volt, the inclusion of the Toyota Prius Plug In, with its tiny battery, in the group mentioned above was an oversite at best.

    “[…]Charging an electric car can be as simple as plugging it into a wall outlet. But AC outlet charging is slow, taking between eight and 24 hours. So it’s not usually the method of first resort.[…]”

    Very confusing to the uneducated masses reading this story as they do not understand that a 265 AER Tesla Model S would take 24+ for the first 98 miles vrs 2 1/2 hours for a full charge with the 6-11 AER Toyota Prius Plug In.

    “[…]That’s why most plug-ins are sold with charging docks that work in a home garage and can charge a car in four to eight hours, allowing drivers to treat their cars like their cellphones: topping them off periodically or charging them up overnight.[…]”

    No, Chris, most owners of the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Ford C-Max energi PHEV, Honda
    Fit PEV, Mitsubushi IMev PEV, Fisker Karma EV-RE, BMW Active e PEV, Ford Fusion energi PHEV, Mitsubushi Uplander PEV, etc, use the standard 110V AC outlet at their homes and work.

    While 220V with an installed device, as you mentioned is more convienent, most owners, driving the Fed estimated average of 25-35 miles a day standard commute do just fine without an upgrade!
    …And with north of 1.5 billion AC outlets in North America, we have been EV Charging ready for decades!

    Know this, 99 out of 100 people asked on the street do not know that ALL Electric Vehicles charge simply using an AC outlet. They read what you have written above and think that they MUST install a device in their home at to much cost and bother-

    They must be told the ease of daily driving using an AC outlet in their home, work, dining or shopping area!
    …With permission of course-


    “[…]Another environmental concern is about batteries. Won’t they end up in landfills like billions of disposable batteries do? No.[…]”

    Worrying about an unlikely event a decade into the future is senseless. All HOV compliant Electric Cars, PEV, BEV, PHEV, EV-ER, EREV Vehicles sold in California must warranty the High Voltage and Electric Drive systems for 10 years, 150,000 miles. This states strongly to the ultra lifetime usability of the current EV battery’s and NOT any environmental concern into the near future.


    “[…] By contrast, the cost of leasing a Nissan Leaf ($199 a month with $1,999 down) is equivalent to leasing a compact gasoline car such as the Mazda3 — except you don’t have to pay for gas.[…]

    -By contrast, the cost of leasing a Chevy Volt ($299.00 a month with $2,499 down, 12,000 miles a year. 2,000 more miles a year then the above mentioned Leaf ) is equivalent to leasing a upscale midsized car such as the Infinity G —except you don’t have to pay for gas, unless you need to!

    Source # 1



    Source # 2


    Source # 3



    In November of 2011, I drove 120 miles in my gas car, a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP to see the opening night of Mr. Paine’s movie, “Revenge of the Electric Car.” in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
    This was one month to the day of the first beta deployments of the Chevy Volt in just 6 States and the District of Columbia, a deeply planned limited sales area marketing stratagy that would remain until the end of August the following year when a few more States were brought in.

    Mr. Paine was there that night and hosted a robust Q&A session afterwords. It was on that night that I knew that the Automobile Business was about to change, forever!

    I respect Mr. Paine for being a major influence in my life as I push forward with the promotion of sustainability driving.
    If any of my above amplifications or corrections of his article entitled “5 Myths About Electric Cars” offends him in any way I state here and now that I am sorry to have done so.

    It is my absolute conviction however, that the uninformed masses need to be informed.
    Informed in a way that is clear, concise, enlightening and to the point.

    Not discussed in Mr. Paine’s article was the electric grid.
    Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) has gone on record on the floor of the US Senate stating that the unused electricity at night is our countries’
    greatest natural resource-



    Remember, the internet never forgets. All anti Electric Vehicle articles, blogs, comments and emails from the last 5 years still thrive online in their complete form. They are unchallengeable, incontestable and far to many uninformed reader stumble upon them in a Google, Yahoo or Bing search reading these pieces as absolute facts.
    Remember the friend of yours saying- “The Internet Says….”


    Thomas J. Thias