I haven't seen the movie yet, but have heard interviews with the guy who made it. I guess the lease was designed to kill the electric car because that way once the lease was up all the cars could be recalled and forgotten. People who had leases tried to buy the cars but were not allowed to. Instead, they were all junked.
US carmakers were definitely short-sighted on hybrids. The way I've heard it told it was all Lee Iococa. Back in the early 80's, when the fleet average for all carmakers was higher than it is now, and Lee Iococa came on to save Chrysler, he gave up on trying to compete with the Japanese on economy cars, and stuck with the one sector of the market the Japanese could not crack in the US, trucks and vans. So he created the minivan. The other US carmakers followed suit and the SUV was created by taking pickups and putting a more user friendly chasis on top of them. It was a temporary fix that gave US carmakers increased sales in the 90's, but while the US carmakers put all their design and marketing money into selling people urban assault vehicles because that what was selling at the moment, the Japanese were looking ahead and developing hybrids.
The real killer with hybrids is most of the mass produced hybrids are available in Europe with a plug-in option, so that any short trip is basically all electric and no gas. In the US, the only way to make your hybrid a plug-in is to pay a custom shop about $10k to modify your car, but this also completely voids the warranty. The vast majority of trips the average American makes are under 10 miles and then back home, so if we just had the same hybrids that are currently available in Europe, those trips could be all electric.