Running on Empty

Running on Empty

2019, Economics  -   9 Comments
Ratings: 6.35/10 from 62 users.

The writing is on the wall, and on the road. Combustible engines are on their way out, and electric cars are our future. The countries that lag behind this emerging trend are destined to be left in the dust. So argues the new documentary Running on Empty. The film compares the wholehearted embrace of electric car innovation in Norway and China, and contrasts it to the middling interest itќ's generated in Germany.

No other country has more electric cars per capita than Norway. Areas that were once highly polluted are now lined with electric charging stations. The country is meeting its emission goals, and setting the standard for a greener future that other countries can follow. This approach is so widely accepted, in fact, that 65% of drivers in Norway own electric cars.

That number stands at only 7% in Germany. The film explores the reasons why the country falls behind its competitors in this regard, and what this could mean for their global economic outlook.

Germany was once a world leader in automotive manufacturing, but it has been uncharacteristically skittish when it comes to jumping on the electric car bandwagon. As explained in the film, it's largely a matter of political will. Traditional automobiles continue to represent a sizable chunk of their economy, and any drastic changes might temporarily endanger countless jobs. While these challenges are understandably anxiety inducing, the country's snail-like pace on this issue favors short-term success over the trends that will increasingly define our future. Eventually, the great driving innovator will be relegated to riding in the back seat.

The film features a series of panelists - including transportation researchers, economists and a representative from the Germany Transport Ministry - who offer a diagnosis to the issues currently facing German auto manufacturers, as well as a few potential solutions. Most of the panelists agree that Germany will have to reframe the conversation and embrace bold new initiatives in order to regain their standing as a leader in the automotive industry.

Produced by the always engrossing DW Documentary series, Running on Empty effectively outlines what it views as an existential crisis for Germany.

Directed by: Torben Schmidt

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3 years ago

Combustible car or electric cars - no matter - they will be our (humankind's) demise. Excellent and progressive public transportation is the future. Otherwise there is no future.

3 years ago

It's a good documentary...I was a bit surprised that the Germans were "reluctant" about electric cars...I had thought they were pretty aggressively moving in that direction...guess not. – Many blame "capitalism", but that's a very American thing to do in my opinion...all Americans know is AMERICAN "capitalism", but capitalism is shaped by the forces of the overall cultures within which it exists, so I prefer to blame the "political stewards" of capitalism, rather than capitalism itself...and it's quite easy to see the validity of that view. – I don't even see the US as being "capitalistic", I see "gangsterism"...the US as such does not respect laws, rules or rights anywhere – if US "leaders" see something they want somewhere, they start acting in ways utterly at odds with what's legal or legitimate, not to mention ethical...American "wants" become American "interests" and American "interests" will justify American aggression and the rest of the world is assigned the role of "victim"....

3 years ago

For the German car makers this is all about $$$. Like so many other crapitalistic corporations putting $$$ before the planet will prove to be disastrous.

francois jobin
3 years ago

We are in our own extinction because of the petrol industry and capitalism