Alexandra Paul on Electric Cars

By Deane Barker on July 26, 2006

Paul: Who killed my electric car?: This is an interesting commentary from Alexandra Paul — or Lt. Stephanie Holden for those of you liked Baywatch. It’s about her pure electric car, which says is so much better than a hybrid.

She’s in a new documentary called “Who Killed The Electric Car?” which is about GM’s EV1, a pure electric car that was produced, then destroyed, by GM. The film is about the apparent conspiracy and secrecy surrounding the crushing of 4,000 EV1s. (Go watch the trailer — it’s interesting.)

But did car companies really want electric cars to succeed? The success of electric vehicles would have threatened the status quo and core business models of two of the world’s biggest industries — oil and automobile. […]

Because the small print in California’s mandate allowed for car companies to manufacture only as many cars as there was interest in them, the game became to pretend there was no interest. Virtually no advertising money was spent to let you know electric cars existed, and even if you did find out about them salespeople actively dissuaded you from getting one.

Also, Paul isn’t impressed by hybrids:

When I want to go further, I borrow my husband Ian’s Toyota Prius. I don’t like driving it. Am I supposed to be amazed when a car gets 43 miles per gallon?

She makes a pretty good case for pure electrics or plug-in hybrids. I’d be interested in one.

(More trivia about Alexandra Paul: she ran and finished the Ironman Triathon one year. I just happened to have it on in the background one day, and, sure enough, there she was crossing the finish line. Name another actress who can swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, then run a marathon.)

(Perhaps some more interesting trivia: according to Wikipedia, Paul is one of only two leading Baywatch actresses without breast enlargements.)

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  1. I don’t know about any conspiracy to kill the electric, but I do think that there really would be a market for an inexpensive electric commuter vehicle. I for one would be overjoyed if someone came up with a bare-bones electric one- or two-seat vehicle that’d get me to work & back, keep me out of the elements, and would cost in the neighborhood of $5,000. With current technology, I don’t think that’s out of reach.

    So assuming it’s technically feasible, and there is a potential market for it, is there another factor that’s missing, or am I making incorrect assumptions?

  2. I’ve told the story before of a company I worked at that had two sites in Sioux Falls, about a mile apart. They had a golf cart that went back and forth, but it was enclosed. They drove it on city streets all day long.

    Also, look here:

    They have a lot of cars that might fit the bill, including a “human-electric hybrid,” which is a little spendy at $9,500.

  3. I’ve been looking into this lately and have an itch my wife probably does not want me to scratch. I have found several sites talking about doing a conversion of an existing gas over to a full electric vehicle. Of course we are building a new house and I will have an extra garage stall now, so the itch is getting a little stronger. She is going to kill me…

  4. Electric cars will remain novelties until they can provide decent heat and A-C without killing the battery.

  5. Electric cars will remain novelties until they can provide decent heat and A-C without killing the battery.

    I’d disagree; manufacturers will get nowhere if they continue to try and build & market EV’s as a direct replacement for standard automobiles. The technology just isn’t there to make EV’s do everything that internal combustion engine-powered vehicles can do at an affordable price.

    People need to realize that if they want an EV now it won’t have all the creature comforts of a regular car. If a handful of manufacturers started mass producing bare-bones electric vehicles using existing technology and made them affordable enough that most anyone could buy one as a second vehicle, you would see a sales boom that would continue to drive down prices and drive up the incentive for more R&D.

    In time, all of that investment can make an EV the only car you need, but for now, it’s not happening. If anything can kill the concept of an electric car, it’s unrealistic expectations.

  6. What makes her such an expert? The fact that she is a TV star? Yes, electric cars are “clean”, but where does the energy to charge the battery come from? All you are doing is changing the place where the smog is created from your tailpipe to the smokestack of the electric power plant that produced the electricity to charge your “clean” car. I think she should stick to acting.

  7. The GM EV1 was a cute little car that cost GM over $1 million a piece and had very poor range. That’s why it would never be produced. I live in south Florida, we get most, of our power from diesel powerplaants. When my neighbor plugged in his EV1, most of the time he contributed to global warming, probably more than if instead he would have driven a “ULEV” ultra low emission vehicle. The EV1 was a bad idea, and with it;s lousy range would have never made it in the real market even at a reasonable price. Gas/electric hybrids make more sense, but even they are not perfect. By the time you recoop the initial premium on the price over a regular gasoline vehicle it’s time to replace the battery. What we need is more ULEVs’ and maybe to stop buying huge trucks and suvs’ that are driven empty 95% of the time, and to get old “dity” vehicles off the road.

  8. in rebuttal to the comment left by “pete”, the GM EV1 got real good range compared to the normal conversions done by hobbyists. Also with regard to pollution, true EVs get their power from powerplants, but, most EVs would be recharged at night when powerplants are still running, but all that power is not being used, basically off peak hours. Also with tougher environmental restrictions on powerplant emissions, its been shown that pollution from powerplants is much less than the pollution from gasoline powered vehicles. It’s also been said that because most EV recharging is done at night, there would be no need to construct extra powerplants to keep up with the demand of EVs. Also there is the idea that EVs could be recharged from solar and wind plants as well, which would make them truly a zero emissions vehicle. Obviously the price of solar and wind technology has to go down to help make that more commonplace. I do agree with the idea that current production hybrids arent exactly the solution either, putting a car engine in an EV to give it the same performance as any gasoline car is pretty much negating the whole save fuel concept, when you could get away with much smaller gasoline engines in exchange for a little less performance. Also I do agree that people do need to give up the big trucks and SUVs that arent being used for much of anything but status symbols. People cant buy large vehicles then complain that theyre paying too much for fuel…..

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