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Cover of latest Electrifying Times, published in Oregon, seeks its place on newsstands alongside Hot Rod or Motor Trend. Circulation is 10,000.

ET Lives!

Plucky Electrifying Times defies the times.

By Remy Chevalier

Editor’s Comment: The cover of the latest issue of Electrifying Times sports three Evs and a one bikini-glad young lady who is definitely the center of attention here, but it’s what’s inside the slick, full-color, 40-pager that will be of Interest to EV enthusiasts.

Electrifying Times is the virtually single-handed effort of Bruce Meland, a 60-plus-year-old Oregonian whom I first met back in 1997 at EVS 14 in Orlando, Florida. The white-haired, taciturn publisher was, as ever it seems, on the prowl for stories and advertising contracts to help him keep his print magazine alive in a very difficult advertising environment where similar publications have died quick deaths after launch. Assisting him in this daunting effort since 1995 has been a transplanted Frenchman named Remy Chevalier, who serves as photographer, part-time editor and full-time evangelist. We asked Remy to share with us his views of ET. Below is his account.

Flashback, circa 1994 - It's not often that some interesting energy conference pitches tent in my neck of the woods, so on that afternoon I meandered down to Stamford, Connecticut to meet and greet PV folks showcasing their latest wares. As I always do, I rushed to the literature table like others swoop down on hors d'oeuvres, and loaded my arms with catalogs, brochures and pamphlets. Then I see this lone little newsprint magazine, with a purple trim and two electric car color photos on the cover.

I'd never seen a real attempt at an electric car magazine before. I peaked inside and became really intrigued at the eclectic mix of corporate press releases and so-called free energy stories. Someone out there was thinking like me, thinking there was a need to build a bridge between the lone inventor and conventional electrical engineering. I don't know much about watts, volts, joules, amperes, hertz and teslas. But I know enough to know something fishy is going on. (Actually I know a lot more than I let on, but like any journalist worth his weight in ink, I act the fool to cajole my interviews.)

So I called up Bruce Meland, Electrifying Times's editor and publisher, and offered my help getting his little magazine out there. Electrifying Times was born out of a whim by Bruce Meland after attending Tesla conferences, which focused on new energy systems, and meeting revolutionaries who were racing electric cars in Phoenix, AZ back in the early 90's. Nobody was covering, to any extent, these advanced technologies, races and EVents.

So Bruce put together a small newsletter and named it Electrifying Times. He focused mainly on electric car races in Phoenix and Tesla-type advanced electrodynamic technology. ET got charged up from information gathered at the annual Tesla conference meetings in Colorado Springs and electric drag races. It was a small rag and kept a few issues coming out each year as a way of keeping in touch with the excitement.

Bruce writes: "Another perk that really kept us going was getting press passes for electric nerd types and myself to attend Electric Vehicle Symposiums like EVS-14 at Disney World in Orlando. A lot of food, fun vehicles and galas kept ET going on a beer budget. One memorable event entailed 7 of us crammed in one hotel room at Disney World for a snoring extravaganza. It has been that way ever since. We started a web site in 96 which helps promote our printed editions."

I had a lot of experience with the alternative press. I'd been coined "new age researcher" at Factsheet 5, a zine reviewing thousands of small publications. I knew where all the alternative bookstores and distributors were. So I started doing for Electrifying Times what I had been doing for a dozen other up-and-coming titles promoting green alternatives. I like to make things "work." And we all know the tampering and tinkering it takes to make things "work."

Bruce and I shared a vision for Electrifying Times. Bruce was in Oregon and I was in Connecticut, so I became his Northeast correspondent. I dug up stories, did background checks and market research. I secured photographs and charmed comic book artists into generating pro-bono art for the magazine.

I helped Bruce edit a few issues by fax, because let's face it, Bruce isn't the best speller in the world. The first few issues of Electrifying Times were a jumble of typos. ET started taking shape as a real magazine. We have high hopes ET is going to be embraced by a large magazine publishing house like Promedia, Hachette, Hearst or Conde Nast to fill in the EV Kar Kulture niche on US newsstands.

Unlike the UK where beautiful alternative transportation publications are produced with the assistance of state owned institutions, here in America, we're pretty much left to our own devices. I wouldn't call it fair competition. ET comes out of Bruce Meland's pocket, with generous contributions from yours truly in additional time and energy.

Hunting down ad revenue and copy for the magazine is a process that takes about as much resources as the ads generate when the numbers are in, once you figure in all the phone calls, the follow-ups, the mailings, the constant quest for that last minute ready-art copy... This is not to say some major companies have not been terrific to us, like Toyota for example.

Bruce writes: "With the financial help of Toyota, in the way of some neat ads about great vehicles, and also ad assistance from a few other mainstream companies, who know we target first adopters, we are still alive today." Bruce keeps changing the format of the magazine to keep things interesting. One minute it's a newspaper, the next it's a glossy, the next a newsletter... Whether that keeps interest up or confuse our readers, the verdict isn't in yet. But we're still out there, alive and kicking.

A few weeks ago our latest print edition came back from the printers. Preview 2004 is our third directory issue "50 Green Vehicles for the New Millennium." We do a Preview issue every two years. We're getting tons of flack for putting a beach bunny on the cover posing with an NEV rental. But you know what? It's those tourist resort EV rental companies out there who work hardest putting NEVs on the road, despite the big auto-makers favoring HEVs and fuel cells over battery and motor innovation. 100% pure EVs are hanging in there, better than ever, a million strong if you figure in all the golf courses, military bases, corporate fleets, gated communities, industrial parks, tourist resorts, handicapped vehicles, etc...

There's room on newsstands for one more car magazine with a cute girl on the cover! Except inside Electrifying Times, when you open it, you find a slick corporate lay-out on all EV-NEV-HEV & Fuel Cell cars on the road today. It's a switch from Hot Rod or Motor Trend. That's positive deceptive advertising, and exactly what the EV Doctor ordered to get its message out to car lovers!

The latest verson of ET should be on newsstands and available through ET’s web site.

Times Article Viewed: 3696
Published: 09-Nov-2002

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