• Video
  • Jan 11th 2013 at 7:31PM
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MindDrive is asking for crowdfunding to get a film produced about at-risk youth driving a converted electric car coast to coast. MindDrive, a nonprofit organization based in Kansas City, MO, works with at-risk high school students in an experiential hands-on way – through building an electric car, for example.

Fifteen at-risk high school students from Kansas City were brought into a project and coached by mentors on how to design, fabricate and covert a 1977 Lotus Esprit into an all-electric car. Once it was finished, they participated in a cross-country public education campaign called "Electrifying Education Coast to Coast," driving the Esprit from San Diego, CA to Jacksonville, FL. Students were featured in numerous newspapers, television news shows and blog stories across the country.

Linda Buchner, the president of MindDrive, narrates a short video (available below) intended to increase awareness of the project and to raise funds and get their story out, but it's going to be an uphill fight. So far, $2,175 of the $30,000 target has been raised and there are only six days left. "The students have accomplished so much, and so we need to finish this for them," Buchner says in the video. Also available below is a second video from the final day of the field trip, where students and mentors talk about their experiences.

What's needed to make the movie a reality? A professional film crew was hired to travel with the team, and documented the trip by conducting interviews with the students and the mentors along the way. There are also plenty of shots of terrain and interested groups they kids met along the way. For the movie, organizers would like to shoot more to describe the back story, having the students explain how they were doing before the MindDrive project. Also needed are a documentary filmmaker to edit the feature-length film, and production of an original music score. This is where the IndieGoGo request comes in.

Once completed, their dream is to market the video to film festivals and television channels. MindDrive is hoping the movie will inspire others to get involved in education in a hands-on, experiential way. If it results in more cool, retro EVs, we're all in favor.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jon LeSage - you're my hero! Thank you so much for posting this on your blog! We are so grateful for ALL the coverage you've given us over the years! I heard from an engineer in London, who has been in touch with our program, too - he saw your blog and wrote to me. His group took a trip across multiple countries and were a huge inspiration for our team - we did a Skype call with him right before we had our trip pulled together. It's such a small world sometimes. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for helping us spread the word and hopefully, to raise a few more dollars. With gratitude, Linda Buchner
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's a worthy cause, and obviously great fun. It's certainly a more positive activity than these kids would otherwise be involved . But, I just can't help wondering if this sort of conversion is any longer a positive image, now that production EV's are available.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Why wouldn't it be a positive image? have you ever felt pride from building something yourself? putting together a fast electric lotus is awesome.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          @ 2 wheeled menace I think you misunderstand me. I was not referring to the organization, or the individuals involved sense of accomplishment. Nor the exceedingly praiseworthy aims of the organization to help disadvantaged youth gain self-esteem. My question, (note my 'question') was if the era of home conversions of old ICE models, is still a positive image for EV's, now that production EV are available. The Lotus in question is no longer fast, and is accompanied by a large gasoline powered support vehicle. EV's have really passed the 'home conversion' phase, and this vehicle may reinforce an outdated image of EV development.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here is some more info about this great program: http://youtu.be/5tCU9oVJ-Sk
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      OK, those youngsters are REAL lucky..
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