see clip to film: who killed the electric car?
Detroit Goes for Electric Cars, But will Drivers?
New York TimesJanuary 11, 2009DEARBORN, Mich. — Inside the Ford Motor Company, it was called Project M — to build a prototype of a totally electric, battery-powered car in just six months.
When it was started last summer, the effort was considered a tall order by the small team of executives and engineers assigned to it. After all, the auto industry can take years to develop vehicles.
But Ford was feeling pressure from competitors, and decided it could not afford to fall behind in the rapidly expanding race to put electric cars in dealer showrooms.
“Frankly, I think it’s a gamble not to do it,” William C. Ford Jr., the company’s executive chairman, said in an interview. “It’s clear that society is headed down this road.”
Certainly, Ford and other carmakers are betting billions of dollars on this new direction, at a time when they can ill afford it and when Detroit is facing government scrutiny after the $17.4 billion bailout of G.M. and Chrysler.
Throughout the cavernous Detroit auto show hall, typically the high temple of brute horsepower, auto companies will be competing this week to establish their green and electric credentials. On Sunday, when the show opens, Ford will announce plans for its electric vehicle, including a goal to start selling them by 2011. more