If General Motors' EV1 had featured in the Disney Pixar animated film Cars, we can't imagine it would have been the happiest of characters. It might well have spent a little time complaining about its friends all being crushed back in 1999, and who could blame it?

And four years ago it might have been equally unhappy when it was pulled from an exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History. Having taken pride of place as an example of electric vehicle technology, it was pulled from display, much to the dismay of EV enthusiasts at a time when the EV world was once more beginning to stir, with models like the Tesla Roadster gaining recognition.

At the time, Chris Paine, director of Who Killed The Electric Car? and now the new film Revenge Of The Electric Car expressed his disappointment that the car was in the museum at all. Speaking to the Washington Post in 2006, he said "It's so sad that EV1 is being portrayed as history.

"It's not an example of 'failed' technology. It's an example of what the 21st century can be in this country, if we had the willpower to do it. The Smithsonian should take the car out of the museum and put it back on the road."

We've been kept wondering whether there is an EV1 out on the road today, after one was discovered hiding on a Google Street View image three weeks ago. Either way, the emergence of Paine's new film is demonstration of how the tide has turned for electric vehicles in a short space of time.

The EV1 itself is getting another chance at the Smithsonian, but things aren't looking good.

Recently, we revealed the Smithsonian's plan to allow the public to vote for which cars they should display in the National Museum of American History. From the Institute's collection of 73 American vehicles, only two will be displayed at the Museum in Washington D.C. from January 22 to February 21.

Currently, the EV1 is trailing in fourth place from the list of eight potential candidates, with the stunning 1929 Miller race car and glitzy 1948 Tucker sedan currently taking over 30 percent of the votes each. A 1903 Oldsmobile is fractionally ahead of the EV1 too.

If you've not already voted, now is the time to make it count to try and win back the space it vacated four years ago. VOTE HERE.

[Washington Post]