Known for his successful documentary ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’, director Chris Paine is now presenting a tale of ambition and innovation instead of conspiracies and destruction. On Friday evening, Paine visited campus for a screening of his new documentary, ‘Revenge of the Electric Car,’ organized by the Yale Energy Club and the Yale Film Studies department. WEEKEND spoke briefly with Paine, currently a fixture of the talk-show circuit, as he gears up for the Oct. 21 release of ‘Revenge,’ a story he hopes (you knew this was coming) will electrify viewers.
Q: Could you briefly go over how car manufacturers ditched the idea of the electric car a decade ago for those of us not in the know?
A: Five thousand [of these] cars were destroyed in California between 2000 and 2003. That happened for different reasons, including the fact that a lot of vested interests were involved.
Q: How did car companies react to your investigations?
A: The biggest opposition wasn’t the companies — it was getting the money [to film the documentary]. I fortunately found a sole investor willing to put cash into the project. The car companies were very skeptical at first, but, over four years, I won their trust.
Q: To what extent and why are these companies now interested in the product again?
A: Five years on [from the release of ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’], every car-maker in the world is coming in to the electric car market. So I really got the chance to film an industry revolution.