Chris Paine's upbeat sequel to his righteously indignant 2006 enviro-doc, Who Killed the Electric Car?, details the vehicle's reemergence in recent years, positing electric cars as an inevitability held back only by time and the last remaining narrow minds. This brisk follow-up (narrated by Tim Robbins) takes a four-pronged view of the technological process in question, following the production of GM's gas-electric hybrid Volt, Nissan's mass-market Leaf, upstart Tesla Motors' pricey electro--sports cars, and independent go-getter Greg "Gadget" Abbott, who retrofits traditional rides with batteries in his own garage.
What emerges is a view of the differing potential paths to innovation, all of which are fraught with financial pitfalls and complications exacerbated by the recent global economic downturn. Paine provides some engaging peeks behind the various companies' closed doors, though you suspect that such insider access neutered his film's own critical stance toward its strategically diverse subjects. Moreover, given that no ending has yet been written for this story---and it can thus provide no definite answers to the many questions raised about the electric car's viability---the doc soon becomes just a chronologically structured update of continuing progress, one that functions like a mildly engaging but generally inconclusive Time magazine feature. Anybody throwing the word revenge around right now is being a tad premature.
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