Wall Street Daily

Revenge of the Electric Car

The electric car may be the star, but it’s the men behind its rebirth that drive the documentary “Revenge of the Electric Car.”

The sequel to director Chris Paine’s “Who Killed the Electric Car,” focuses on three champions of electric cars: Tesla’s Elon Musk, Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn and General Motors’ Bob Lutz, who late in his career has had a change of heart – becoming an unlikely champion.

Director Chris Paine was given exclusive insider access in order to make the documentary.

“It was all independently financed. It took a long time. In fact, we got turned down by a lot of them. And the deal we made with the car companies was that we would not show any footage until 2011 if they gave us a certain kind of access. What we wanted to do is watch electric car programs getting built in different companies. And they were very nervous because if they can’t control the message corporately this could be like a Michael Moore piece on them. So super high stakes, especially at Nissan and GM. And to a certain extent, Tesla, as well.”

High stakes, indeed, for companies like Tesla, which after investing $50 million, is shown in the documentary dealing with production issues.

Cameras were also there for founder Elon Musk’s celebration at the launch.

“It feels like victory.”

But Nissan’s highly competitive leader, Carlos Ghosn, is determined to win the race after getting a headstart against rivals with the all-electric Leaf.

“They didn’t start. So every day they don’t start is a good day for us”

General Motors also sees opportunity. The company just unveiled its “Spark” all-electric model.

James Bell is head of consumer affairs at GM…

“Companies like General Motors and Ford and others are now really stepping into that space and showing their technical prowess. And again that’s in combination with the technology which has really come along and is much more affordable. Yes, there are more profitable ways to make cars. But these are the cars that the future is going to demand.”

“Revenge of the Electric Car” opens in wide theatrical release later this week.

Bottom line: Despite many failures over the years, the new documentary, “Revenge of the Electric Car,” follows the comeback of the once dismissed electric car.