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Home > Plug In 2009 Public Night Discussion Panel with Chelsea Sexton, Chris Paine, and Bill Nye

Plug In 2009 Public Night Discussion Panel with Chelsea Sexton, Chris Paine, and Bill Nye


 

     

Large Screen Version

 
Chris Paine

Chris Paine is an American filmmaker. His most notable work to date is Who Killed the Electric Car?, which he wrote and directed. Before writing and directing Who Killed the Electric Car?, Paine served as Executive Producer on Faster (2003) and William Gibson: No Maps for these Territories (2000). Prior directing and producing projects include MTV/Initial Film's Buzz (1990) and shorts including Mailman (Sundance, 1995), Trillion Cubic Feet (1992).

Chelsea Sexton
Chelsea Sexton is a marketing expert and advocate of alternative fuel vehicles. Sexton entered the automotive industry at the age of 17 after buying her first Saturn. She wanted to put herself through college by working at Saturn, but she ended up finding that she loved the cars more than what she was studying, so when General Motors announced the EV1 electric vehicle program three years later, she jumped on it. Focusing on building a market for alternate-fuel vehicles through partnerships with corporate and non-profit stakeholders, shaping public policy and incentives, developing marketing strategies, and working directly with the drivers themselves, Sexton became well-known as an advocate for clean, efficient, transportation.

Sexton was laid off at the end of 2001 when General Motors closed their EV1 assembly line. She became a consultant to auto manufacturers and clean energy providers helping bring alternate fuel vehicles to market, as well as increasingly clean ways to power them. In 2005, Sexton joined the X PRIZE Foundation and led the creation of a prize effort, which to deal with both energy and automobiles. In 2006, she managed an alternative fuel division for the Santa Monica, California based start-up Zag.com and also serves as the Executive Director of Plug In America, a coalition of individuals and organizations that advocates for the preservation and manufacture of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and electric vehicles. Since then, she has gone on to become the founder of the Lightning Rod Foundation.

Bill Nye the Science Guy
William Sanford "Bill" Nye, popularly known as "Bill Nye the Science Guy", is an American comedian, television host, science educator and mechanical engineer. He is best known as the host of the children's science show Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993–1997) and for his many subsequent appearances in popular media as a science educator.

Nye was born and raised in Washington, D.C. as a fourth-generation Washingtonian on his father's side. After attending Alice Deal Junior High in the city, he was accepted to the private Sidwell Friends School on a partial scholarship, graduating in 1973. He studied mechanical engineering at Cornell University's Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, where one of his professors was Carl Sagan, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1977.

Nye began his career in Seattle at Boeing where, among other things, he starred in training films and developed a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor still used in the 747. Later, he worked as a consultant and in the aeronautics industry. Nye told the St. Petersburg Times in 1999 that he applied to be a NASA astronaut every few years but was always rejected.
 
 

  
Who Killed the Electric Car - Movie Review
 
It begins with a solemn funeral…for a car. By the end of Chris Paine's lively and informative documentary, the idea doesn't seem quite so strange. As narrator Martin Sheen notes, "They were quiet and fast, produced no exhaust and ran without gasoline." Paine proceeds to show how this unique vehicle came into being and why General Motors ended up reclaiming its once-prized creation less than a decade later. He begins 100 years ago with the original electric car. By the 1920s, the internal-combustion engine had rendered it obsolete. By the 1980s, however, car companies started exploring alternative energy sources, like solar power. This, in turn, led to the late, great battery-powered EV1. Throughout, Paine deftly translates hard science and complex politics, such as California's Zero-Emission Vehicle Mandate, into lay person's terms (director Alex Gibney, Oscar-nominated for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, served as consulting producer). And everyone gets the chance to have their say: engineers, politicians, protesters, and petroleum spokespeople--even celebrity drivers, like Peter Horton, Alexandra Paul, and a wild man beard-sporting Mel Gibson. But the most persuasive participant is former Saturn employee Chelsea Sexton. Promoting the benefits of the EV1 was more than a job to her, and she continues to lobby for more environmentally friendly options. Sexton provides the small ray of hope Paine's film so desperately needs. Who Killed the Electric Car? is, otherwise, a tremendously sobering experience. 





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