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Revenge of the Electric Car

By 2006, thousands of new electric cars were purposely destroyed by the same car companies that built them. Today, less than 5 years later, the electric car is back...with a vengeance.

In Revenge of the Electric Car, director Chris Paine takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars. Without using a single drop of foreign oil, this new generation of car is America's future: fast, fun, and cleaner than ever.

With almost every major car maker now jumping to produce new electric models, Revenge follows the race to be the first, the best, and to win the hearts and minds of the public around the world. It's not just the next generation of green cars that's on the line. It's the future of the automobile itself.

The primary cast includes CEO and President of Renault and Nissan Carlos Ghosn with the Nissan Leaf, CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk, Former Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz with the Chevy Volt, and EV do-it-yourselfer Greg 'Gadget' Abbott. Also featured, amongst many others, are Thomas Friedman, LA Times reporter Dan Neil, EV owner Danny DeVito, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

'Provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the emerging electric vehicle industry. Against a backdrop of technical progress, ongoing challenges and economic uncertainty, the movie follows the fortunes of a disparate cast of EV movers and shakers from big auto industry executives to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to do-it-yourself builders. It ends with an upbeat paean to the promise of the electric car. Thought-provoking viewing for anyone interested in the emergence of this new technology and the people making it happen.' Dr. Joan Ogden, Professor, Environmental Science and Policy, Director, Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Program, University of California-Davis

'Revenge of The Electric Car is an inspiring journey along the tumultuous path that four pioneers of the electric drive train take in their quest to transform the auto industry. In highlighting the journeys of four distinct pioneers, Revenge successfully illustrates that no one silver bullet can solve the transportation challenge. It is going to take the commitment and coordination of industry giants like Nissan and General Motors, entrepreneurial enterprises like Tesla Motors, and innovative thinkers like Greg Abbott.' Jay Tankersley, Program Manager, Project Get Ready, Rocky Mountain Institute

'Impressive access to key players in the automotive industry. The film provides valuable insight into the decision-making process within the U.S. automotive industry at a time of historic upheaval...A very interesting and engaging documentary.' Dr. Joseph DeCarolis, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University

'An exciting film. Chris Paine has done another great job at sparking discussion amongst everyone, not just the experts, about what it takes for us to shift from gas-guzzlers to sustainable cars. You can feel each step of the painful process for the resurrection of the electric vehicle. Perseverance is key--All of us, including professionals, teachers, students, and your average Joe--can root for the risk-takers in Revenge and help make this new technology successful in the marketplace.' Dr. Chris Mi, Director, Center for Electric Drive Transportation, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Michigan-Dearborn

'Highly Recommended. This film effectively demonstrates the intersection of environmental and economic concerns...Will keep viewers engaged with content that is relatable to a wide variety of learners...Extremely relevant to the discussions we are having today with regard to energy, transportation and economics.' Paul Basileo, Suffolk County Community College, Educational Media Reviews Online

'An engrossing big-manufacturing-business drama that humanizes finance section headlines while also capturing the ordeals of people striving to create a revolutionary product.' Video Librarian

'Industrial history is being made as major auto manufacturers come to grips with producing fleets of electric cars. This film offers some insight into the process; highly recommended for car buffs, environmentalists, and business people.' Library Journal

'Revenge of the Electric Car portrays brilliant people anticipating a revolutionary future...[Has] an unparalleled degree of candid, honest testimony from car manufacturers, entrepreneurs, journalists, scientists, and much more, making it a most enjoyable ride!' The Midwest Book Review

'Heartwarming...Chris Paine's new documentary sees a return to old territory but with a new, positive tale to tell.' John Patterson, The Guardian

'Revenge is that rare artifact, a snapshot of a major industry shift on its way to a tipping point...A slick, enjoyable valentine to a retooling industry.' Daniel Gold, New York Times (Critics' Pick)

'A entertaining roller coaster ride...Well shot and sharply paced...Wall Street might want to take notice of how quickly tides can change.' Mindy Farbee, Los Angeles Times

'Sleekly designed with excellent mileage, Revenge is a balm for beaten down times...It tells the story of that rare moment when the bottom line finally dovetails with the greater good.' Michelle Orange, Village Voice

'Slick and beautifully photographed...A must-see movie for anyone interested in cars.' Chris Woodward, USA Today

'Fascinating and highly entertaining...An irresistible cast of characters...Unprecedented access to the inner workings of GM, Nissan, and Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors.' Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

'If revenge is sweet, Chris Paine should be on a sugar high...[The film] profiles four EV visionaries, each navigating separate paths which they hope will lead to production and ultimately profit. Their stories are skillfully woven together, each presented in their own voice.' Scott Shulman, ABC News

'If you liked Who Killed the Electric Car? you'll love this...Revenge is all about rebirth...It is everything the first one was, except better; it's better filmed, there's more behind the scenes access to key players, the main protagonists are very interesting...Go see this movie.' Michael Graham Richard,

'An engaging and dramatic story that transcends the debate about melting ice caps, at risk polar bears, vanishing South Sea islands and pending planetary devastation as it revs up the audience with its high-powered cast of characters all racing to invent the future.' Michael Rose, Huffington Post

'Perceptive. It shows the pain of taking risks, and it honors those who have the courage to initiate change. It gives us a glimpse inside the minds of the EV faithful. And it reminds us that we're heading in an electric direction, ready or not.' Charles Murray, Design News

'Paine has chosen his cast well. None of these men quail in front of the camera, and the four capture the wide range of the rapidly evolving electric car market...Like a well built electric, Revenge of the Electric Car cruises along so smoothly you don't always appreciate the craft that went into making it.' PopMatters

'With new access to all three companies' facilities and personnel, despite--or perhaps because of--his having earlier savaged the industry, Paine (along with producer Jessie Deeter and and co-writer P.G. Morgan) was able to humanize corporate entities he once portrayed as monolithic, making a complex business story more gripping for its intimacy.' Mike Spinelli, Jalopnik

'The electric car is back in full force and seems to be here to stay...Auto manufacturers are now taking electric vehicles seriously. And so are buyers.' Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

'Terrifically funny...Revolves around two themes: the fascinating characters Lutz, Ghosn, Musk and Abbot; and, something they didn't predict when they started producing their electric vehicles, the 2008 economic collapse...If you're interested in a behind-the-scenes account of a new technology development, from the perspective of Big Business, it's perfect.' Brett Szmajda, COSMOS Magazine

'It's history in the making and this time we're getting it right...This documentary is essential viewing for all of us as we embark on a whole new way of life. Paced like a dramatic story, with narration by Tim Robbins, and full of insights by various auto industry insiders, you can't help but get caught up in the narrative and root for the true hero in all this, the electric car.' Henry Chamberlain, Comics Grinder

'A roller coaster ride of developments...The shift in thinking is great to see for environmentalists and believers of a better world. They built, they battle, they improve.' Alexandra Zeevalkink, DocGeeks

'A rare dose of docu-optimism...Entertaining...Revealing about the compromises and pitfalls of big business, and not naive about the complicated ethics behind the move toward electric cars.' Ashley Clark, Little White Lies


Main credits

Paine, Chris (film director)
Robbins, Tim (narrator)
Morgan, P. G (film producer)
Deeter, Jessie (film producer)

Other credits

Director of photography, Thaddeus Wadleigh; music, David Robbins; editor, Chris A. Peterson.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Business Practices
Climate Change/Global Warming
Global Issues
Marketing and Advertising
Physical Science
Renewable Energy
Science, Technology, Society
Urban and Regional Planning


electric cars, Nissan, GM, Tesla Motors, green cars, Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Leaf, Bob Lutz, Chevy Volt, Elon Musk, Tesla Roadster, Greg 'Gadget' Abbott, Dan Neil, Danny DeVito, Ray Wert, Gavin Newsom, Thomas Friedman, Anthony Kiedis, Jon Favreau, Rick Wagoner, Dave Barthmuss, Rep. Michael Capuano, Talulah Riley, Stephen Colbert, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gov. Phil Bredesen, Jim Cramer, Adrian Grenier,"Revenge of the Electric Car",Bullfrog Films

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