For my final video reflection I chose to do it on ‘Who Killed the electric car?’ ‘Who killed the electric car?’ is a documentary about the introduction of the electric car in the nineties and then its sudden and mysterious disappearance in 2006. The documentary states that the internal combustion engine and hence oil is one of the main reasons behind global warming, pollution and unrest in the Middle East with the electric car being the solution.
The documentary raises many very interesting and shocking points, the main being that the car industry has a lot of influence over the government, so much so that it can effectively stagnate change in the auto industry. Another point I found very interesting is that GM dropped its environmentally friendly EV for the polar opposite Hummer, which the film states is to increase dependency on petrol because Car companies make to much money in internal combustion engines to facilitate a change.
I believe that all designers should watch this documentary as it gives insight to how markets can be manipulated and controlled, but as with global warming designers cannot really I believe have a direct strong impact on situations like that. But we can always look for alternative solution to petrol driven products we design. The problem is larger and needs governments and politicians that are not connected to the industry in question to influence change. An example it uses is that it took a law to get seatbelts, catalytic converters, and air bags so we need a law to change the pollution of cars.
Another insight that was new to me is that the government seemed to drop electric cars in favor for hydrogen fuel cell cars when EVs were already drastically improving in performance and hydrogen cars have the following draw backs: they are very expensive cars, the cars cant hold enough hydrogen to get the needed distances, hydrogen is expensive, and a new hydrogen petrol station infrastructure is needed.
The main three points I took from watching this documentary are as follows. Firstly, as designers we need to try not get taken in and influenced by manipulative corporations as much as possible. The second is that there are very viable alternatives to petrol driven cars and hopefully soon governments and motorcar producers start properly taking advantage of the available technology to its fullest potential. Lastly, the only way we can reduce our dependency on foreign oil is for all of us to reduce our own dependency on petrol driven products, and as designers always look for alternative solutions to it.