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April 27, 2012

Thousands Got "Revenge" This Month


In the week leading up to Earth Day, thousands of people crowded into living rooms, churches, libraries, and even a brewery to attend watch parties of the film Revenge of the Electric Car, which documents GM, Nissan, and Tesla Motors and the race be the first to bring electric vehicles to the masses. I was so pleased that more than 200 Sierra Club supporters signed up to host these Revenge events nationwide.  We thought the film would be a great way to start a conversation among friends and neighbors about how a switch to EVs will help us kick our dangerous addiction to oil.

Fred Kraybill of Pittsburgh said his Revenge party was a hit. "I bought an electric car in October of 2011, and I just had solar panels installed in April of this year. Thanks for letting me know about this opportunity to talk about electric vehicles and clean energy."

Many hosts either showed off their own EVs to their guests or invited local auto dealers to demonstrate EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.


In fact, guests were able to kick the tires of several EVs at the Revenge event at the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA. Organized by the Virginia Clean Cities and Sustainable Transportation Initiative of Richmond, the gathering was covered by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the NPR affiliate.

Lee Wimberly, who hosted an event at a church in Renton, Washington, said the event "definitely heightened our knowledge about this important transition in our society....Thank you for an opportunity to tell the story of electric vehicles."

Thank YOU, Lee -- and thank you to the thousands of others who hosted and attended these events.

Revenge filmmaker Chris Paine, who also created the 2006 film Who Killed the Electric Car?, shot a brief video to thank Revenge watch party goers. He said, "I wanted to tell the story of what it takes to change the future, what kinds of people -- people like us, people not like us."


If any place was to bring together "people like us and people not like us," it was the CERES conference I attended in Boston this week where business leaders, investors, and environmental activists had a chance to discuss opportunities and challenges at the nexus between economic growth and environmental protection.

The closing speaker was EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson who touted the historic fuel economy and emissions standards being put in place by the Obama Administration that will nearly double the miles average cars will travel on a gallon of gas by 2025 –while saving Americans collectively billions of dollars at the pump. Indeed, Revenge watch party guests had gotten a chance to learn about how these new vehicle standards will help push more electric vehicles into the market, particularly in states like California with "Zero Emission Vehicle" programs in place.

Jackson described her recent visits to companies like Mission Motors and Alcoa where advanced vehicle components are being manufactured, and hundreds of new jobs are being created -- on top of the thousands of new jobs generated in Detroit by the car companies themselves as they accelerate their efforts to build cleaner cars. More jobs, cleaner air, and a safer planet will be much sweeter than revenge.

Images: Top courtesy of Kim Vespa who hosted an event in Tehachapi, CA; middle photo courtesy of Phil Compton from event in Tampa, FL; bottom courtesy Kesaaraa Wijeyewickrema from event in Washington, DC.

-- Gina Coplon-Newfield, Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative for Electric Vehicles


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