Monday, November 27, 2006

The Big Pitch

Ed Begley Jr. wants you to buy an electric car. He wants you to buy an electric car now. What are you waiting for? Are you waiting until there is a truly versatile hybrid engine? Are you waiting for a wider selection of models and sizes? Are you waiting to find out who the heck Ed Begley Jr. is?
The easy answer would be that he is the son of Ed Begley, noted character actor. Ed Jr. is also a thespian (not that there's anything wrong with that), and is perhaps best known for his role as Doctor Victor Ehrlich on the NBC series "St. Elsewhere." One might have gotten a whiff of what he was to become watching the existential struggles of a California surf boy shoved through the intense regimen of becoming a surgeon in an urban Boston hospital. Truth is, Ed was busy with the whole "save the planet" thing while Woody Harrelson was weaving hemp hairpieces for Ted Danson. A vegetarian for many years, his home is completely solar powered and he usually rides bicycles or uses public transportation.
Did you know this? In 1990, the auto industry was forced into the electric car business when California├é’s Air Resources Board (CARB) took the audacious step of establishing a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program: 2% of the vehicles produced for sale in California had to be ZEVs, increasing to 5% in 2001 and 10 percent in 2003. So what happened to the fourthousandd battery-powered ZEVs placed in California by major automakers between 1998 and 2003? (Most of the cars were leased rather than sold.) Despite the overwhelming enthusiasm and advocacy of electric car drivers, Ford, GM, Honda, and Toyota have all scrapped their electric vehicle (EV) programs, saying there's just no market for the cars. Don't tell this to Ed. He's been driving an electric car since 1970 - sure it was essentially a golf cart with windshield wipers, but that was thirty-six years ago. There are many moreoptionss today.
Are you convinced yet? It wouldn't have to be one of those little nodule sized "cars of the future." How about if you could still drive an SUV? The truck that Ed wants you to buy can go one hundred miles on a charge, has a top speed of ninety miles an hour, and can be charged from a dryer outlet in about six hours. It's a truck, kids. It's made by Phoenix Motorcars, and you can get one next year. Now you're ready to whine about how fossil fuel burning power plants make the electricity for these vehicles. Put a solar panel on your garage and quit your whining. And make Ed happy.

1 comment:

Robin said...

It may be just a legend, but I've heard the big auto companies actually refused to sell any of the few electric cars they had to build. According to this theory, the car companies were betting the CA legislation would be overturned and the leases would expire before too many people got to experience electric cars for themselves, thus allowing the car companies to continue shaping public opinion with only their words.