Ed Begley's New EV
By Bill Moore
By Ed Begley, Jr's count he's owned nine electric vehicles in the last twelve years starting with a Taylor Dunn golf car. He's owned a Subaru EV conversion that he paid just $1,700 for, a Bradley conversion, a Festiva EV conversion by SolarCar, a Richard Maher converted VW Rabbit, and one unnamed conversion that never worked properly. He then leased one of the first GM EV1s and followed that with a Generation II EV1 in 1999. Now, just two weeks ago he took delivery of the first Toyota RAV4 EV to be made available to consumers in California, making it the ninth electric car he's owned.
So why is Begley so keen on EVs, we asked.
He replied, "It's a technology that is important. You know it's a tool in the tool box, but a very important one. And by that I mean, you know everyone thinks they need a sledgehammer. But everyone is really just putting in carpet tacks. You don't need a sledgehammerto put in carpet tacks. People are going to and from the market, to and from work, to and from the bank, and to and from the video store. Once and while you need a sledgehammer, but you can go rent one when you need one."
"When you need to go beyond the range of an electric car, for most people who are not traveling salesmen going a few hundred miles a day, . . . most people could get by the vast majority of the year with an electric car, and then occasionally rent a car for longer distances."
In Begley's case, he is fortunate enough to own two of the world's cleanest, most efficient motor vehicles, a Toyota Prius hybrid-electric sedan and the RAV4 EV. His wife uses the Prius, while he uses the RAV4 EV to run errands and to commute to work at Disney Studios. In his words, he's just driving carpet tacks most of the time.
He lives with is wife and new baby in Los Angeles and finds the RAV4 EV meets half of his family's transportation needs. Since he's only had the vehicle for two weeks, he's not taken it all that far, though he recently made a 50 mile round trip jaunt to a plastics recycling center in the City of Commerce. He pointed out that nearly any EV can drive 50 miles, even the conversions.
And Baby Makes Three
Begley explained that he terminated his Generation II EV1 lease early because of his new daughter. He simply couldn't accommodate the new baby in a two-seat sports car.
"I wanted to get a car that was a four or five seater. A car with a back seat," he noted, "The RAV4 is such a car. It is terrific. I just hauled some cargo the other day in it. You can fold the seats back. My family loves this car! "It is a huge change for us for the better."
"Now we've got a baby seat in both cars; in the hybrid, which my wife drives day-to-day, the Prius. The Toyota RAV4's got a car seat sitting in it. If I want to take my daughter somewhere now, I don't have to say, Oh my gosh, I hope my wife comes home soon. I've got to take my daughter to blah blah blah. I have a vehicle that will take her anywhere now. It's the RAV4."
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