Monday, January 24, 2011

California Trip to Appear in BMW Film about Electric Mobility

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would like to be in a documentary that BMW is making about the future of mobility. I accepted and a few days ago I was off to LA for the day. They asked two other MINI-E drivers Peder Norby and Todd Crook from California if they would also like to be in the film and they also accepted.
The idea for our part in the film was to get the three of us together and talking about our experiences driving an electric car and what our thoughts were on the future. Would electric cars become mainstream? What do we like most about them? Plus other questions about the future of cars. It was a great experience and really nice to finally meet Todd & Peder after over a year of communicating with them online. They both have MINI-E blogs also, and I have links to them here under "Other MINI-E blogs" on the right side border. Todd is #140 and Peder is #183. Others in the film include Astronaut Buzz Aldren, visual futurist Syd Mead, CEO of Virgin Galactic George Whitsides and a bunch of other notable individuals. (None more important than me, but really who is?)

There will be four short films that you can view online, each coming out a week apart in February. For now you can see the trailer at this link.

BMW put me up in the Universal City Hilton and covered all my expenses. The filming was only about 4 hours and we were paid a basic SAG rate for the day. Todd, Peder and I all had a great time and the producers told us we did great and gave them exactly what they had hoped we would. After the shoot, Peder had to charge his car for his 100+ mile home to Carlsbad and Todd and I went out for dinner.

However, as strange as it may sound, the most surprising part of the trip was in the car ride to the airport.  I was picked up at about 4:00am by a car service that was hired by the production company. We were only about 5 minutes into the hour and a half drive to JFK Airport in New York when the driver asked me if I knew of a 24 hour gas station in the area because he had only about 35 miles of range left so he needed to fill up. I told him there was one on the way and to my absolute surprise he responded "Thanks, I hate going to gas stations, what we need are electric cars!" I couldn't believe what I was hearing and for a minute I thought he knew why I was going to LA and was part of the whole film plan. When I told him that I was flying to LA to be in a film about electric cars, he had all kinds of questions and we talked about electric cars for the whole drive to JFK. He told me his name and I think it was Milon but I'm not 100% sure now. I did take a picture of him and gave him this blog address so he can stop by and read about my experience with an electric car. 

So check out the trailer and watch the four films as they become available. Feel free to critique my "acting"!

My film partners Todd Crook (left) and Peder Norby stand in front of their MINI-E's


  1. Great work! I'm looking forward to the films. :)

  2. I hope the film reveals some details on the electric cars BMW is working on. There is very little information available on the Mega-city car they are building.

    I'm not too interested in the 1-series electric as I do not live in one of the test markets and even so I probably wouldn't lease one because I never lease. I want to buy an electric car that I can own for 10+ years and have it get 100 to 130 miles per charge.

    Joseph Waitkus

  3. Tom, the link is not working

  4. I'm sorry it does work. It was me that wasn't working ;)

  5. Joseph,

    I haven't had any indication that they will be giving any Megacity information.
    I do suspect the final film will spend some time on the ActiveE though.

    BMW continues to be extremely tight lipped on the megacity. I don't expect that to change anytime soon. They are really concentrating on the ActiveE launch now and quietly(and secretly) working on refining the megacity.

    Personally I don't expect much megacity info until at least the fall of this year

  6. Congratulations Tom! You are the go-to guy for things like this! Boy, BMW must be happy they found you. You should definitely get a free car or something from them when they sell the megacity. Which of the four films are you going to be in?

  7. Thank you Phil. Just wondering, are you the Phil I was talking to at the Bay Area Green Drive Expo in October?

    I doubt I'll end up with a free car but maybe they'll give me a nice deal on one in 2013! Maybe even a European delivery and I could tour the plant where they are made....

    We weren't told which of the four films we would be in, but they did say we may be in more than one of them. I would think not in the first one which is titled "The New City" and is probably more about how we will live in future cities, but I'm just guessing.

    I would live to tell you who the narrator is but we were instructed not to say. I will say it's a perfect fit in my opinion.