Can the electric car save the environment?

A film by Florian Schneider and Valentin Thurn
Commissioned by ARD.

Electric cars are supposed to save the environment, and are even praised as "emission-free. But the bottom line is that e-cars are by no means more environmentally friendly than gasoline or diesel cars, at least not if they have a similar range. More energy is consumed in the production of the batteries than in the entire life of the car, and the consumption of raw materials also negates the eco-advantage. And even if we only consider the electricity needed to run the e-cars, the electricity produced in Germany would not be enough. So they are not a great solution to the diesel crisis.

We ask: What is the extent of environmental pollution in the production of batteries? How do e-car manufacturers justify the destruction of nature in the name of climate protection? Why do politicians cling so stubbornly to the fairy tale of the environmental miracle? And what alternative is there for environmentally friendly mobility?

A search for clues in the lithium mines of Argentina, where the indigenous population is being robbed of their livelihoods, and in Germany, where the electric revolution is currently driving car manufacturers before them.

Additional information:
Editors: Jo Angerer, Martin Suckow (WDR) and Johanna Walter (BR)
Writers: Florian Schneider & Valentin Thurn
Editing: Bastian Bischoff
Camera: Christian Albrecht, Boris Fromageot, Mariana Aguirre, Björn Schneider, Matthias Zscheile, Markus Kecker, Gerardo Milsztein
Sound: Miklas Rüssmann, Nariman Pauli, Till Möhrke, Michael von Harpe, Oliver Lumpe, Stephan Zwickirsch, Markus Habryka.

3 June 2019, 22.45 hrs, ARD

First broadcast of the updated version:
Electric cars - How environmentally friendly are they really? on January 29, 2020, 22. 10 a.m., WDR
At the Eco Film Tour 2020 on 22.1., 23.1. and 6.2.
At Naturvision in Ludwigsburg in July 2020.

04.Juni 2019, 04.45 Uhr, ARD
26 June 2019, 22.00, BR

Available in streaming from the following providers:
The film is available on the WDR documentary channel on Youtube.

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Answers to viewer questions

About ThurnFilm

THURN FILM, an independent production company for documentary films,
was founded in 2003 by Valentin Thurn.

Other productions