One needn't have seen have seen "Who Killed the Electric Car?" -- director Chris Paine's 2006 documentary about General Motors' assassination of the battery-run EV1 -- to get the full import of his new film "The Revenge of the Electric Car." But for those left dismayed by the earlier film, and its portrait of what had been the auto industry's vision-free view of the inevitable, "Revenge" will be all the sweeter.

This time around, the point is not whether electric cars will inherit the earth, but how, and how soon. The competing interests are enigmatic, innovative and fierce. There's Bob Lutz of GM, which killed off the EV1, but is now developing the Volt; Elon Musk, a dot-com billionaire whose Tesla Motors is giving the more established competition a run for its money; Carlos Ghosn, the head of Nissan, where the LEAF is being developed as an affordable, mass-market alternative to the internal combustion engine vehicle, and a fellow called Greg "Gadget" Abbott, a DIY Henry Ford who dreams of mass-producing the Porsche Speedster he's converted to electric power, and driving it from Los Angeles to Palm Springs on a single charge.

All the issues surrounding the cars -- affordability, fuel-ups, acceleration, charisma -- are covered by Paine, who also sets a very controlled tone and has what every decent doc needs, good characters.

Lutz may be old school but he's learning; Musk is a wild card and Abbott, despite a bad run of luck, is inspiring. It's a movie with a bit of an L.A.-centric bent -- the aerial shots of the city's cardio-vascular-like highway network only serve to drive home the point of the film. But anyone familiar with the LIE's vagaries will find something to chew over here.

PLOT After torpedoing the electric automobile for years, the industry -- and some interesting rogue operators -- embrace the inevitable. RATING PG-13 (language)


PLAYING AT Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington

BOTTOM LINE Stylish, engaging and hopeful take on the resurgence of battery-run vehicles and the future of personal transportation

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