In London, a team of classic car enthusiasts have started their own green revolution: they’re converting petrol propulsions to electric. Using 3D printing, Kinect, Raspberry Pis, and any secondhand part they can find, these tinkering heroes are changing the face of the city, one car at a time…
The story behind the story
When I met Matthew, the founder of London Electric Cars, in February 2019, I was instantly captivated by his drive to change the world with his work. As a journalist and writer for a number of TV channels, I come across great stories often, but seldom actually connect with the people behind those stories. With Matthew, Barry and Theo, there is no hidden agenda. There is only passion, consistency and an iron will to carry out their dream. Technology shapes our world. Of course it does. But great stories are found at the crossing of the paths of the actual use of this technology and the people with big dreams and the potential for great change. Change is often brought on by people who like to tinker.
Matthew, Barry, Theo and their whole team are trying to find a way to navigate change, to stay in tune with the energy transition happening in the UK, all the while looking for ways to produce less waste. In a country that plays host to the biggest car graveyard of Europe (on Sheppey Island), but has simultaneously vowed to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel & hybrid cars by 2035, these mundane heroes are trying to streamline a conversion process, at a reasonable price, using the scrap market. Starting with classic cars, they’ve figured out a way to reuse scrapped electric cars to give a second life to old petrol propulsions.
It’s been a long process, one that cannot be entirely recounted in a 15 minutes film. When Matthew started working on his idea about 3 years ago, he was alone in a garage, It’s been a long process, one that cannot be
entirely recounted in a 15 minutes film. When Matthew started working on his idea about 3 years ago, he was alone in a garage, and most car enthusiasts he’d talked to about his idea would dismiss him, telling him he was crazy.Flash forward 3 years later, and the trend has actually caught up with him. Climate change effects, Global warning awareness, Upcycling and clean energy trends… Suddenly, Matthew doesn’t seem so crazy to the people he meets and he’s already achieved 4 conversions - 12 on the way, using new techs like 3D printing, Electric motors, Kinect scanning technology, Raspberry Pi… Along the way, he was joined by people from all backgrounds who, like him, believe in giving a second life to petrol cars. They’re focused on classic cars for now, because they are an important element of British culture, but their goal is to streamline the process to all petrol cars.
The learning curve has been huge. To lower the costs of conversions, and to also keep in line with the whole reduce, reuse, recycle trend, they focused on getting most of their parts from the scrap yards. But used parts do not come with a manual. The process itself didn’t have a manual. They’re writing the textbook as they go, learning how to use every item, and rebuilding entire propulsion engines, while adapting them to each car that’s been brought to them.
These guys are sketching a real future for petrol cars, supported by existing technologies. They’re also this really cool bunch of humans, who welcomed us with open arms and trusted us completely to produce this film in less than a month. We crawled under their cars, put our Laowa Probe Lens in their faces and hands to get as close as possible to the action, and they let us do anything we wanted. We worked day and night to create a project that would be a proper tribute to their work and faith. We hope that you’ll fall in love with them just as much as we did.
Their work is being closely monitored by car enthusiasts all over the world. Thanks to the Internet, they chat with people across the globe to share their knowledge and findings, but also find solutions to the issues they’re met with. The Morris Minor Owners club has been a great supporter from the start: the first car Matthew converted was a Morris Minor, Oswald, and since then, he’s been very faithful to the brand. While we were filming, the team achieved the conversion of a Morris Traveller, the first one in the UK and the second one in the world. Barely a few hours after it was posted, the video of that first drive had been seen more than a thousand times online.
I am passionate about 2 things in my work: content & relevance. Storytelling has been my life for the past 15 years, and my first love. I love meeting people, discovering their stories and finding new ways to tell them to the world. I have chosen this path to feed my insatiable curiosity. I am a producer with more than 10 years’ experience producing all kinds of videos, either in animation / real-life footage / 3D. With my first company, Docland Yard, in Paris, I produced more than 50 documentaries & corporate films including 3D & animated graphics and/or use of a green screen. I then moved to London a few years ago and started a new company, Myth-to-Measure, focused on storytelling on all formats, video, copywriting, design etc… I have been writing news stories & documentaries for a long time, honing my interview skills with deep studies of human psychology and sociology while I was studying at Sciences Po (Institute of Political Sciences) in Paris.
Rusty J. Matalou
Rusty started directing in 2010. Corporate, TV, videoclips and documentary, Youtube series (Youtubeers and “Les Tutos à Hauts risques”) 3D, 2D, real-life footage, motion design… Nothing is out of range for this fecund spirit. His creative universe is wide and strong, with a flair for an old-fashioned finish mixed with a touch of modernism. In most of his films, a graphic world interferes with reality, creating a mixed-media that has attracted many brands like Louis Vuitton, Toyota, Château de Versailles, BMW & Roche Bobois.