Step on the Gas…er…Electricity!!! E-Vehicles for your Film

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Electric cars are at the forefront of green trends in the transportation sector. According to Yale Environment 360 and New York Times contributor Jim Motavalli, “Electric cars are a green movement that is finally moving.” With the car maker Tesla Motors recently announcing it’s patents are open to the public domain, electric vehicle manufacturing will surely surge.

But, many still ask: how much of a difference does it make to plug in rather than fuel up?

Because electric vehicles are still relatively new in the marketplace, questions do arise about their environmental impacts.  For example, most doubts on the environmental benefits of electric cars stem from the fact that some run on coal-powered electricity. And yet as coal is slowly being phased out around the world and replaced with cleaner energy sources, the electric car becomes the logical alternative to gas-guzzling internal combustion engines.

Even while doubt may linger elsewhere, in British Columbia electric cars seem simply to be a no-brainer for any business seeking green alternatives for their company cars.

Since B.C. generates 86% of its electricity from hydro-powered dams, electric cars in the province run nearly entirely on a clean energy resource. (Unlike California, where climate change is drying up dams and causing water to be a limited resource, B.C.’s renowned hydropower resources shouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon). Hydropower provides the B.C. private sector with a complimentary first step, so to speak, towards greening business.

When it comes to electric cars, however, this clean energy resource adds yet another, relatively untapped opportunity for Vancouver businesses with a vehicle fleet.

According the Green Screen Toronto Environmental Film Assessment conducted in 2009:

A large feature film can consume as much as $160,000 worth of fuel.

Considering the price volatility and increased costs of oil, environmental and economic conservation practices are increasingly mutually reinforcing. 3,333 to 10,769 seedlings would need to be grown for 10 years to sequester the carbon dioxide released from the production vehicles used to produce a feature film or television series. Up to 95 acres of fir or pine forest are needed to sequester the same quantity of carbon dioxide. This upper amount is equivalent to burning 977 barrels of oil, and does not account for other transportation demands incurred such as air travel.

In alignment with the recent report, Going Green & Saving Green: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Sustainable Filmmaking, transportation in the film industry is one of its most carbon-heavy components. According to Brett Hauser, president of Greenlots, a San Francisco-based provider of network management solutions for EV infrastructure, the city of Vancouver has effectively laid the foundation for becoming an E-vehicle capitol. Two key conditions, he says, are proving to be helpful: “expensive gas, and cheap electricity.”

Despite such a fertile foundation, one of the greatest obstacles to e-vehicle purchases in Vancouver is a lack of supply. Many are having to waitlist.



There are benefits to embracing the EV movement. In a report with CBC news, Vancouver electric car owner John Stonier reasons "When you put in a charging station in your business, you put that charging station on a map", says Stonier. "That map is seen by every electric vehicle owner. It's essentially marketing to a well-heeled demographic that likes to explore".

In the motion picture industry, transportation can be considered the “elephant in the room.”  But there are solutions. Using electric vehicles offers the opportunity to reduce your production’s carbon footprint while saving money on fuel.  And when you share your experience with others, you associate your production with “green” practices, environmental responsibility and hopefully encourage others to follow your lead.

Interested in using electric vehicles?

Check on the newest E-Vehicle models, from affordable, practical company cars to top luxury lines at

For EV enthusiasts, check out the activities of the nonprofit Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association at