Lakecity musician Oren Barter hopes to electrify the country with his music and his desire to make a positive change.
In the fall of 2012, Barter will load his music gear into an electric vehicle and travel across Canada to promote his album Written All Over Me, while at the same time letting people know there are ways to reduce oil dependence.
The electric vehicle won’t be one currently on the market. Instead, it will be converted from a gas-fuelled variety to show others that they, too, can convert their own gas guzzlers into a more green mode of transportation.
But the project doesn’t come cheap. He can’t fund the task entirely on his own so he is seeking sponsorship and funding to make it all possible.
“If I had it within my ability to do it myself, I would,” he says. “It’s just one of those moments when you have to swallow your pride and realize you can’t do it on your own.”
Barter would have liked to convert a small truck, but the batteries alone would have cost $45,000. Instead, he is considering a smaller car, which would cost about $37,000 for a full conversion.
While that still might sound pricey, Barter notes that is because he needs the vehicle to go more than 300 kilometres without being charged.
“Not everybody needs a 300-km range on a vehicle,” he says, explaining some stretches in Canada span about 270 km with nowhere for him to charge up. Once the conversion is complete, he will contact schools, municipalities, and other venues across the country.
“I want to tell them what I am doing and why I am doing it,” he says.
Casey Bennett from Williams Lake plans to photograph and film Barter for part of the way and find other filmmakers and photographers to cover other portions of the tour in order to create a documentary about the experience.
The idea to drive an electric vehicle came about after watching Who Killed the Electric Car? several years ago.
“I was always interested in the alternative direction, and when I was 15 or 16 I decided my first car was going to be an electric car. … I actually ended up buying a whole bunch of music equipment instead of a car, a lot of music equipment, which sent me down the path I’ve been down for the past four years.”
But Barter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to himself.
“I asked myself, am I going to do a standard tour and am I going to be part of the problem? Is there a way I can do this differently?”
After getting in touch with Canadian Electric Vehicles — a Vancouver Island-based company that is assisting with the project — he had confirmation that his plan could work.
The conversion mostly involves taking the gas motor out, placing an electric motor inside, mounting the new motor to the transmission, and getting a controller to control the throttle.
While he wants to show people there are alternatives to a gas engine, he admits he also wants to promote his music and Written All Over Me.
“On one hand, I’m promoting this green technology and am trying to raise awareness that it exists and is available, but on the other hand I am still a musician and I’ve got an album I need to promote and I’m going on tour, and hopefully one will help the other.”
Barter notes he is not trying to change the world on his own. He encourages others who have a dream or idea, no matter how small, to make changes for themselves and for what they believe in.
“It may be scary, but how are we going to make a difference if nobody moves? You will just stay where you are and nothing is going to change.”
Those interested in helping Barter achieve his goal can call him at 778-220-7611 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.