Richard Mayer: Executive, Inventor, Electric Vehicle Guru
||When Richard Mayer met Ed Begley Jr.
In 1991, California Edison hosted an environmental conference at which both Ed Begley Jr. and I were attending. At that time, Ed was driving a Bradley GT kit sports car that was fully electric. After a brief meeting, he asked if I could help him with his vehicle, as he was so excited about the prospect of clean, renewable transportation.
At that time, I had a small private company call the ‘The Electric Car Company of America’. Interestingly enough, I had already built cars for other well-known individuals such as Melinda Chendar of Patagonia Clothing, Alexandra Paul of Baywatch, football star Fran Tarkington, M*A*S*H star Alan Alda and many other famous and not-so-famous people after that.
|Ed Begley Jr. and Electric Cars
Let me start at the beginning…Ed’s Bradley GT had a lot of problems! First, when he stepped on the brakes the car would not stop…Yikes! I knew my work was cut out for me. The batteries were worn out, and the car’s electrical components had very old style controls. So I started to work on the car, and with a little inventing ingenuity, I was able to make it run pretty good. After that project, Ed asked me if I would build him a completely different car - one that was agile, easy to both drive and park, and would get great mileage range on a charge. We chose the ever-popular Volkswagen Rabbit. First, I completely retrofitted the car with the best in electric power technology that I could find at the time. When all was said and done, Ed loved it! He drove that car I built him with pride of ownership for about four years. And during that time, the only thing he replaced was one set of batteries for about $800, which by Ed’s math was about fifty-five cents a day! We had built a car that represented almost zero operational cost, pollution free, environmentally friendly transportation! This was something unheard of in Los Angeles - the gas guzzling, air pollution capitol of the world!
You see, Ed Begley Jr. is a true ‘dyed in the wool’, ‘Go Green’ kind of guy. As a matter of fact, his home and garage (vehicle charging station) are entirely Solar Powered. Ed’s point of view that he has shared with me from the beginning is to do everything he can to reduce his personal impact on the environment and make a difference to the planet. Well, Ed’s vision for the future had a very big impact on me. Electric cars at that time were very expensive and I was convinced that I needed to do something to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road.
|The Next Step…
Then a wonderful thing happened. It was 1996 and I had just met a gentleman by the name of Dr. Malcolm Currie, who was the CEO of Hughes Aircraft. While Dr. Currie was at Hughes aircraft, they developed an electric car they called the ‘Impact’. This car would later be called the EV1, which was built by GM…but all the design and drive train work was done by Hughes Aircraft. As soon as Dr. Currie retired from Hughes, he decided to start a new company doing electric vehicles. At the time, there was no infrastructure for a charging grid that could charge the batteries fast enough. So, Dr. Currie and I formed an Electric Bicycle Company called Currie Technologies, Inc. This turned out to be a good decision, as an electric bicycle is the perfect hybrid, able to be peddled along with the motor or ridden with just the motor. Since those early beginnings, CTI has sold over one million electric bikes and scooters, which has been Ed’s dream for a long time…to give people an affordable electric vehicle. Watch for Ed and Rachelle riding their iZip Electric Hybrid Bicycles – they love them!
Now my latest venture Advanced Pure Air™ and Advanced Pure Living™ once again arrives on Ed’s door step. Oh, by the way, you may recognize me on Ed’s show Living with Ed. I’m the kind of nutty professor guy that Rachelle rolls her eyes at whenever I come over to the house. An actor I’m not, but an enthusiastic inventor who hopes to make a difference by the products my company builds, “I am”. Since I got behind Ed in the no emissions and clean air movement which is growing by leaps and bounds, my next thought was to do something about our ‘inner environment’. If you think the outside air can be pretty filthy, it is nothing compared to our inside air which tests have shown can be as many as 4 to 8 times more polluted than the outside air. This is due in part to a normal household being filled with household chemicals, non-circulating air, dust mites and pet dander, cooking oils, common molds (including airborne bacteria) and viruses - a virtual army of pollutants assailing our lungs, sinuses and personal health.
By purifying the air we breathe indoors (similar to the purified water we drink), we can minimize the chemical products we spray into the air and environment to combat both germs and toxic odors, thus improving the environment both inside and out. At Advanced Pure Air™ & Advanced Pure Living™, our pledge is to continue to create and develop new technologies that are environmentally friendly and will make our lives better and healthier.
Having known Ed for as long as I have has been one of the highlights of my life. Ed has shown me that we can live an environmentally friendly life while making very few sacrifices to do it. And hey, isn’t our planet worth it for future generations? Ed, you’re a true hero! Keep up the good work!
Your friend, Richard Mayer