Change for the better
Just a few years back, people interested in the development of electric cars were seen as part of the fanatical fringe of the Green movement, perhaps especially in Pasadena, where passion for electric vehicles runs especially high.
But that was before being green became not only trendy but also necessary and the future of EVs seemed dim.
EV fever in Los Angeles was actually centered in Pasadena, at Caltech, as recently noted by Chris Paine, director of 2006’s “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and the new documentary “Revenge of the Electric Car.”
“The whole modern electric car era came out of Caltech. The EV1 was designed by AeroVironment (in Monrovia). They ended up with the Impact which became the EV1,” Paine commented in a recent telephone interview.
Produced from 1996 to 1999, the EV1 was the first mass-produced electric vehicle, yet the cars were available only for lease. In 2003, GM recalled and crushed the cars even as former owners made vocal protests in Los Angeles.
As a former EV1 owner, Paine poured his anger into “Who Killed the Electric Car?” a diatribe against the oil and auto industries. As he explained, “My first film was not meant to bash any particular car company … GM led the lawsuit against California to kill that California mandate that brought these cars to market.”
While Toyota and Honda didn’t join, they did advocate a change to that mandate.
“The big tragedy was not only did they cancel the EV programs, but they destroyed the cars,” Paine said.
Of course, not all the cars were destroyed. Toyota spared its EVs, and that was a good move from a public relations perspective.
Toyota — not GM — took the lead in the hybrid market with its Prius, which now has a plug-in version. Oddly, Toyota isn’t part of the new documentary.
“We approached all the car companies … but Toyota and Honda didn’t return our calls,” Paine said.
Instead, the movie follows GM, Nissan and the new kid on the block, Tesla Motors, which was itself only possible because of the t-zero, an electric sports car developed at San Dimas-based AC Propulsion.
In “Revenge,” Paine follows four people for five years: former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz; Carlo Ghosn, the current CEO of Japan-based Nissan; Elon Musk, co-founder of Paypal and Tesla Motors; and TV’s Reverend Gadget, Greg Abbott, whose series “Gadget’s Electric Garage” shows how to convert gas-powered vehicles to electric.
Lutz championed the Chevy Volt, and Ghosn the Nissan Leaf. During this time, both GM and Tesla turned to the federal government for a handout, while Nissan moved its headquarters from Gardena to Nashville, Tenn., and Abbott lost everything in a fire. How’s that for drama?
Moreover, the film shows “a fantastic turnaround for a generally slow-moving industry,” said Paine, where now change is happening from within the system.
“Experience changes people,” he explained, and “every car maker in the world except Ferrari and Lamborghini have an EV in the works.”
Even die-hards who were once skeptical, like Dan Neil, automotive columnist for the Wall Street Journal, are changing their minds.
“I love gasoline horsepower, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never buy another gasoline-powered car for as long as I live. The only way forward is electric cars,” Neil says in the film.
And that is truly the “Revenge of the Electric Car.”
Change for the better
Change for the better
I’m an independent woman and have always taken care of myself. I got married and had children late in life, and while I’m used to being self-sufficient, I didn’t expect to have to do everything for my whole family singlehandedly. My husband and I both work, yet when I get home he usually just sits around and expects me to fix dinner and get the kids ready for bed. As often as I request his help, he takes so much time that it’s almost too much work to keep asking. I’ve become bitter and resentful of his laid-back attitude and unwillingness to do anything unless he absolutely has to.
I have very few friends or time to cultivate any because all I do is work. His behavior makes me angry and I’m not sure how to get him to change. I’ve tried everything, from making schedules, reading parenting books aloud, lecturing and nagging, as well as taking him to couples counseling. Nothing has worked and I’m afraid I’m always going to be overworked and unhappy. Divorce or separation is out of the question.
When you’ve worked so hard to rely on yourself, it must be disheartening for life to become more difficult once you finally get a partner. I completely support doing all you can to make your marriage fair and satisfying and never want you to stop standing up for yourself. While there are parts of you that are strong and independent, however, let’s focus attention on the dependent part of you. It’s the reliant side that believes you can’t be happy unless he changes — “fix the broken husband” and then all will be well. Instead of counting on his behavior to change in order for you to be happy, I’d like you to find ways to make life gratifying that depend only on you. By writing the following six lists to support a new way of thinking, you’ll create contentment even if your husband is passive-aggressive or withholding.
1. List 120 things you could do by yourself that feel good, such as playing your favorite music, singing, taking a scented bath, walking, gardening, getting a massage or keeping a private diary. Do things you’re passionate about and that you usually don’t do when caught up in resentment of your relationship. These can come to your rescue, especially when the one you love lets you down. Pick one a day no matter what.
2. List 100 things you don’t normally do but that will keep you healthy — take vitamins, meditate, floss, jump rope for five minutes, eat a salad, or skip dessert. Pick one a day, even if you’re down in the dumps.
3. List 80 activities that make you feel beautiful — buying a new lipstick or sexy lingerie, polishing your nails, visiting a hairdresser, or giving yourself a facial. Do at least one a week.
4. Identify 60 interesting places to go — the San Diego Zoo, Brookside Park’s Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, Millard Canyon, the Old Mill, a spa, a movie theater, or a neighbor’s house. Try one a week.
5. Write 40 things you’d do if you were a single parent who didn’t have help. Examples: Making a crock-pot meal in the morning for dinner that night when you’re tired, buying clothes that don’t need pressing, finding another parent to trade off babysitting or carpooling. Do one of them a week.
6. Make a list of the 20 most important people in your life and email, write, text, call or visit each of them at least once a week. Maintain a strong, loving support system so you don’t feel so alone when your partner disappoints you.
Take your life into your hands and independently work on your own happiness. It wouldn’t be a surprise if under these circumstances your husband’s behavior changes for the better.
Patti Carmalt-Vener, a faculty member with the Southern California Society for Intensive Short Term Psychotherapy, has been a psychotherapist in private practice for 23 years and has offices in Pasadena, Santa Monica and Canoga Park. Contact her at (626) 584-8582 or visit patticarmalt-vener.com.