At the world premiere of Drive for Free 2 – The Revolution Continues on Jan. 30, 2015, at the Metropolitan Theatre in Winnipeg, documentary filmmakers Noah Erenberg and Bruce Little presented the idea of electric cars as a viable alternative to traditional vehicles.
The push for an alternative to fossil fuels might currently seem to be less urgent than it might have been when gas prices were higher. However, as Drive for Free 2 notes, Manitoba now has a small but growing group of people dedicated to pursuing electric vehicles as a viable long-term solution to pollution, fuel crises, and more.
The film is a sequel to Drive for Free 1 – The Alternative Fuel Revolution, which explored the possibility of using vegetable oil as a fuel to replace crude oil.
The second film follows Erenberg and Little as they, together with a team of mechanics and other interested parties, rebuild an electric truck they bought in the United States, giving it a better capacity for withstanding the rigors of Manitoba driving, while also replacing parts to eliminate rust and other decay.
The result of all of these efforts is a truck that is capable of matching almost any other electric vehicle on the road, although the final price tag for restoring the used truck is almost the same as buying a new one.
Still, the cost of electric vehicles is not the main point of the film; rather, it explores the possibility of reviving a technology that has resurfaced intermittently since the early days of the car over a hundred years ago.
Screening of the film began with an introductory speech by former Manitoba premier and former Lieutenant Governor, Rt.Hon. Ed Schreyer, who was involved in trying to bring electric cars to the province as far back as the 1970s.
The film’s premiere coincided with the 5th anniversary of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association, who sponsored the special evening at The Met. Emcee and MEVA president Robert Elms was joined by dozens of MEVA members to celebrate the anniversary event and film screening, which was free to the public and attended by approximately 300 people.
The two filmmakers also spoke briefly before the screening began about the ideas and process behind the film, later following up with a question and answer period which helped the audience gain a better understanding of what they had just seen.
The question of alternatives to traditional oil and gas has long been a concern for people in Winnipeg and beyond. While vegetable oil cars have the advantage of using the same basic technology as regular internal combustion engines, they still depend on traditional fuels such as diesel for functions such as starting and stopping the motor.
Although electric vehicles still have limitations in terms of the distance they can travel, the technology is promising to improve substantially over time.
In addition, much of the current electrical infrastructure is at least usable, if not ideal, for recharging the batteries that keep the cars on the road.
Drive for Free 2 gives a good introduction to the topic of the potential for electric cars in Manitoba and beyond. The film is available on Stories from Home on MTS Television.
CKUW 95.9 FM’s Julien Cooper interviews the filmmakers of Drive For Free 2 before the premiere and after the film was screened: