A straightforward explanation of why gasoline beats out electricity as the fuel of choice and how the internal combustion engine wins dominance concludes the broad overview. The film then moves to the recent past with the introduction of the California Air Resources Board and their 1990 decision to require that ten percent of all cars sold in California by each car manufacturer be zero-emission vehicles by the year 2003. The Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde response of automotive companies is revealed; production and marketing of zero-emission cars is detailed, a period during which the legal and political teams of the same manufacturers work to defeat the law that gave birth to modern electric vehicles. While several manufacturers are included, the General Motors electric vehicle is featured. As this segment concludes, the success of the industrys legal strategy is symbolized by a celebrity-studded funeral for the electric car. This segment is filled with factual analysis that examines conflicting claims about emissions, practicality, costs of various fuels, and consumer demand. The second half of Who Killed the Electric Car?
is Sherlock Holmes at his best. The seven suspects identified in the first half of the film are scrutinized. One by one, consumers, batteries, oil companies, auto manufacturers, the U. S. government, the California Air Resources Board, and the newest villain, the hydrogen car, pass under the bare bulb in the inspectors interrogation room in an attempt to answer the question asked in the films title: Who Killed the Electric Car? At the end of each segment the featured suspect is judged as guilty or innocent. The film ends on a positive note, recognizing a grassroots movement that envisions.