OWNING A GM EV1:
SCIENCE, NOT FICTION
When you spend your day in the 24th century, not just any car willdo. On the wall in Marvin Rush's home office is a collection of plaquesand awards for his work on three of the Star Trek television shows.There is also a big framed photo of his bright red EV1.
Why, you might ask, is a huge picture of this man's carprominently placed among symbols of recognition from hisprofessional career? The 45-year-old cinematographer will respondin absolute seriousness: "Because the EV1 is a trophy to me. It's alife experience that I've dreamed about for a long time."
Rush remembers he took delivery of his EV1 at precisely 7:30 a.m.on December 5, 1996. He'd been anxiously awaiting that day forsome time. He says when he saw the Impact show car at the LosAngeles car show back in 1990, he was "startled by its beauty."He said to himself, " If they build it, I will come." Rush even chaseddown a prototype car he saw testing on public roads one day justto get a look at it.
But there's a practical side to Rush's passion. He uses his EV1like a regular car. In other words, he drives it — a lot. The Sunland,California resident has racked up 13,000 miles on the car so far.
Like most people, Rush spends the vast majority of his time in thecar on his daily commute. He does a roughly 50-mile round trip toParamount Studios, where Star Trek Voyager is filmed, a trip thathe notes is a "breeze" even without a public charger at the studio.
By his estimation, he does about 99 percent of his driving in thebright red "high-efficiency, sports-coup, performance commutercar," as he calls it. On one recent Saturday afternoon, he even tookit to the Home Depot for some home repair supplies instead of hiscompact pickup. "I'm always amazed by how much storage roomthat car has." Having a technical bent, he's also experimented withthe car's range. So far his record is a 106-mile round trip on onecharge. "I figure there's probably only two times a month when it'simpractical to use the EV1," he says.
And despite what some might think about EV1 owners, Rush hasnever owned an electric car before and isn't a militantenvironmentalist (although he's certainly environmentallyconscious). "I'm a pragmatist. I want to do what I can for theenvironment, but I also want to have fun. I don't want to drive amartyr-mobile, and that's what a lot of the early EV conversionswere," he says. And he is having fun. On the set of an independentfeature film that he was working on, he drag-raced a new JaguarXK8 that was used in the film — and won. They raced to only 55mph, but he was the clear winner. "I didn't even jump the start," headds.
Although he says performance is the biggest reason for leasing anEV1, it's the technology that seems to interest him the most. Hisvoice becomes more and more animated as he talks about it. Ofcourse, when you spend most of your day immersed in the 24thcentury with its dreams of future technology, it only makes sensethat you should drive a futuristic car.
After all, Rush's job as a cinematographer (he prefers the term todirector of photography) working with lighting and cameras and filmis an art by way of sophisticated technology. The cinematographeris responsible for setting up the shot - giving a look that will helpconvey the feeling or drama of the story.
Bucking the Hollywood cliché, Rush doesn't want to be a director,at least not full time. He's had a chance to direct a couple ofepisodes of Voyager. He enjoyed it, but he likes being acinematographer. Besides, he says, "Directors don't work a lot.They get paid a lot, but they don't work as frequently. I'd rather beworking all the time."
Although his first big television job as a cameraman for the WKRPin Cincinnati program, he has always had a fascination withscience fiction.
"I find the connection between Sci-Fi, which is the dream of futuretechnology, and modern applications of technology intriguing,"says Rush. "The EV1, it requires almost no maintenance. That's ahigher technology than whatever else is out there right now. Andthat's just one example."
Rush is not the only EV1 owner passionate about his ride. He isone of the founding members of the EV1 Club. Less than a yearafter the car became available, the club had about 90 members(that's close to 50 percent of owners — no sport-car club cancompete with that level of passion). Rush is the club'scommunications chairperson and produces a club newsletter called21c Test Pilot, as in 21st century test pilot, with news aboutelectric vehicles.
"I'm helping push in the next century, were we move from burningfossil fuels to burning electrons. That excites me.," he says.
So what's in the future for Rush, other than racking up many moremiles on his EV1? Well, he heard there might be some GMconcept cars using hybrid powerplants at an upcoming auto show.You can bet he'll be one of the first in line to check them out.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Since the preceding article was published in1997,
Written by: Daniel Pund, reprinted from Evolution Magazine, Volume One
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