A mechanic looks to start an auto revolution
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 Abbott 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.
"It's at its own pace," he said, "because it takes a while to develop the stuff."
Along with his wife Scarlet, Gadget suffered many setbacks, including a major fire.
"Everything had burned," he said. "I thought everything was lost. And then as I started prying the cars open, I see lit LED's and I went, 'Oh wow.' I never had that mindset that somebody was going to stop me."
Despite that bump in the road, Gadget kept moving.
"We were living in a bus in the parking lot for two months," he said. "It still didn't stop us."
Today, with a new shop and upgraded tools, he's a month away from packaging a kit for mechanics across the country to convert everyday cars to electric.
"If we do a little bit here, a little bit there, you know, subtle changes," he said, "the next thing you know the whole system is changed. It's a slow revolution, it's not a giant bloody revolution."
Gadget's movie, "The Revenge of the Electric Car," opens across the country next month.
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