First week with the Tesla Roadster

Chris Paine, Director of “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, December 10, 2008

Chris Paine directed "Who Killed the Electric Car?” His new project is “Revenge of the Electric Car,” a documentary film and multimedia blog now in production. The film is slated for theaters in 2010.

When “Who Killed the Electric Car” premiered at Sundance in 2006, it surprised viewers with an exposé of what happened to California’s expansive electric car program of the 1990s. Almost every major automaker built state-of-the-art highway speed EVs. Only a few years later, they destroyed them.

General Motors’ revolutionary EV1 became the poster-child for the story. The film, picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, won awards around the world for its exploration of how car makers, oil companies, government and even consumers stopped the future in its tracks -- for a while, anyway.

Besides doing extensive research on EVs, Chris has spent significant time behind the wheel. He drove an EV1 from 1997 to 2003, until his leased car was confiscated. Since then he has been driving a Toyota RAV4 EV, a rare all-electric SUV that he managed to purchase.

The last few seconds of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” included a glimpse of the first Tesla ever built. After filming that scene, Chris put down a deposit on the Roadster in October 2006. Last month he added his own Tesla Roadster, No. 23, to his garage.

Driving the Roadster recalls his EV1 days – but with a twist.

“The car is lightning fast -- an instant throwback to the purr of the EV1 electric car -- only this time there is almost universal agreement that the car is damn sexy,” he writes. You may read the entire post – including an escapade with LA’s finest and an interview with a Croatian TV crew here.