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Europe: A mechanic looks to start an auto revolution

(CBS News)
The Frankfurt Auto Show opened this week with more than 900 exhibitors from all over the world. Stealing the show are nearly 100 new electric car models either already in production or close to it.

It’s not to say that going electric means having to trade in your old gas guzzler. In fact, making the switch could be a matter of simply going to the right garage. CBS News correspondent Russ Mitchell examines the story of a mechanic who looking to spark a revolution in the electric car industry.

Greg Abbot may look like just another mechanic in an L.A. garage. But he’s the spark of an underground movement.

“The business that I’ve got is taking existing cars and converting them to electric,” he said. “There’s actually a huge market there.”

He is also known as Gadget. “I’m the Pied Piper, I’m an instigator and I’ll get other people to come in and make things happen,” he said.

Gadget is the unlikely star of the film “Revenge of the Electric Car,” which tracks the death and rebirth of an industry that’s struggled along for more that a decade.

Filmmaker Chris Paine recognized Gadget’s role in getting the technology out on the road. “People like Gadget keep setting the example,” he said, “so I think it’s a much more powerful seed in the way things change than maybe people give credit for.

Gadget’s been in the forefront of electric conversions. Long before there was Silicon Valley upstart Tesla; long before GM’s famed car guy Bob Lutz would see the light and launch production on the Chevy Volt; and even before Nissan’s Leaf — Gadget was there, patiently working out the technology.


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