Published on February 7th, 2019 | by Matt Pressman
February 7th, 2019 by Matt Pressman
Originally published on EVANNEX.
Tesla’s Elon Musk recently tweeted, “Great electric car documentary about early days of Tesla, GM Volt, Nissan Leaf & Gadget. So much has happened since then.” Indeed. With the spotlight shining so brightly on Elon and Tesla, it’s hard to remember how far the man (and the company) have come since the early days. Many of the early struggles surrounding Tesla were captured in this fascinating flick, Revenge of the Electric Car.
Director Chris Paine had originally profiled the shocking story of GM’s EV1 in Who Killed the Electric Car. What was portrayed in that film had a profound impact on Elon Musk. As luck would have it, Elon starred in Paine’s follow-up film. Released back in 2011, Revenge of the Electric Car chronicled the high stakes race to build the auto industry’s next-generation electric vehicle.
Source: Revenge of the Electric Car (via YouTube: QualityIsNumber1)
While Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn has suffered some (to say the least) setbacks of late, there’s another intriguing executive face-off in the movie. Elon went up against Bob Lutz, the larger than life GM exec, who inspired the Chevy Volt. Nowadays, Lutz remains a regular guest on CNBC trolling Tesla. Sadly, Chevy Volt’s production will officially come to an end this year in March. That said, it’s worth recalling that Tesla’s Roadster was actually a key catalyst for GM — inspiring Lutz to green light the Chevy Volt.
Newsweek profiled Lutz back in 2007 and reported, “GM engineers didn’t want to switch gears to a plug-in electric, which they insisted couldn’t be run on lithium-ion batteries. The turning point came when tiny Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley start-up, announced … it would produce a speedy electric sports car powered by those same laptop batteries. ‘That tore it for me,’ says Lutz. ‘If some Silicon Valley start-up can solve this equation, no one is going to tell me anymore that it’s unfeasible.’”
Looking back, there’s plenty of déjà vu watching Elon tackle Tesla’s production challenges. Of all those profiled in the film, Elon (and Tesla) have clearly prevailed. But, many of the obstacles that tested Elon in the film: fast growth, naysayers, and keeping up with an impatient customer base are still issues the company faces today. Now older and battle tested, Elon is far more seasoned to navigate the roadblocks that lay ahead. Nevertheless, the movie is a refreshing look at how far Tesla has come in such a short time.
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