I've known Chris Paine for well over a decade now since before the release of his first paradigm-changing documentary in 2006, "Who Killed the Electric Car." Because I now spend less time on the West Coast, we generally only communicate these days through our respective social media postings: I follow him on Twitter (@chrispaine). Hopefully, he follows me (@evworldeditor).
Given his obvious passion for the cause of EVs, producing a 2011 sequel -Revenge of the Electric Car- I was intrigued to hear that Chris too had broadened his perspective on what a more sustainable mobility future might look like. His postings on Twitter kept referring to a new film with which he was involved, one focused on bicycles and their struggle to reassert they role in society after cars largely drove them off the road a century ago, with a couple of exceptions in places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
Given my own shift away from a concentrated focus on electric cars, per se -- EV World has always taken broader view of electric vehicle technology covering everything from "e-Bikes to e-Buses and Beyond" -- I finally found the opportunity to see what he'd been working on when I came across Bikes Vs. Cars on Netflix this past weekend.
My guess that this was the film Chris was involved with was affirmed when I spotted his name as one of several "Executive Producers" in the opening credits. The documentary directed by Fredrik Gertten is globe-girdling, taking you from the streets of Sao Paulo to Los Angeles to Toronto under the now deceased Rob Ford, with prerequisite detours to Copenhagen, of course.
The 90+ minute film has won a trophy case of awards and special mentions. Critics write:
"Breezy, intelligent” -New York Times
“Mounts a compelling case against the powerful automotive, oil and construction lobbies” -LA Times
"Beautifully crafted, Bikes vs Cars is an intimate and powerful look at how to move away from car-centric models and toward livable cities." -Hot Docs Cinema
I agree with all of them. The only thing I would add -- given my own vested interest in Quikbyke, of course -- is that e-Bikes must and will play an increasing role in the coming realignment. We simply have no other choice as a society, as a viable, life-sustaining planet. Electric cars are great and we've clearly crossed the tipping point, but if I were a betting man, I'd say the future belongs largely to two classes of vehicles: autonomous, on-demand public use cars and shuttles AND light electric vehicles with eBikes a significant fraction of that mix, at least in cities: shared and privately owned
If you are a Netflix subscriber, you can watch it through that service, or you can watch it on-demand on Vimeo or on Youtube, the trailer to which I've embedded below. Coincidentally, Chris tweeted the following today in honor of Car Free Day.
Posted By: Bill Moore [22-Sep-2016]
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