Actor Ed Begley Jr. discusses living off the grid at The Battery Show

Actor-Environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. spoke at the 2019 Battery Show in Novi, Mich. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

NOVI, Mich. — Ed Begley Jr. stopped by the Battery Show at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan to talk about his green life.  He is an actor, and environmental activist and is on shows such as St. Elsewhere, Bless this Mess and Living with Ed on HGTV. 

Begley noted that he has been driving electric vehicles since 1970, along with bike riding and using public transportation.  He is also a vegetarian and actively recycles.

Earth Day began in 1970 and is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.  The actor and environmentalist mentioned why he got involved in Earth Day.

“Well, I grew up in smoggy L.A…I was just fed up,” Begley said.  “I am going to try to clean up the air.  When I was young,  there was a smog day, so we had to go inside the school.  That’s when I decided to join Earth Day.  There were positive impacts too.”

Ed Begley Sr. liked to conserve.  He died with a few days of Earth Day.  So I decided to honor  him.  I wanted to get an electric car.  It was a Taylor Dunn.  It was a golf cart with windshield wipers and a horn.  This vehicle can go 42 mph but it took four to six blocks to get it up to that speed. I even took a date in my electric car.

“I also use green products such as soaps and cleaners,” the actor and environmentalist explained. “I love doing all this green stuff because in saves me money.  In 1985, I finally got solar hot water.  In 1990, I finally got what I wanted, solar panels and I’m charging my vehicle on solar.  My house was built in 1936.  I moved in it in 1988.  I made my house energy efficient.  Eventually in 2016, I bought a vacant lot and built a LEED platinum house, built with recycled steel.  I have 9 kilowatts of solar on the roof, a 10,000 gallon water tank, LED lighting, 12-inch thick walls, Panasonic solar panels and I have a garden.  What is my maintenance cost?  It is double the square footage and double the efficiency.  I also have action-demand hot water.  I don’t have to wait for hot water.”

He noted that he didn’t get this all at once, but we have to start somewhere.  “I started out slow.  We’re talking about saving the planet.  We have tremendous problems.  But I am confident we can fix these problems.”

Begley also discussed the rise of electric cars. He’s known for driving his Nissan LEAF around southern California.

“Look what we  did in L.A.  There are more cars in L.A. with a fraction of the smog.  We became the model of the nation and the world.  We’ve added lots of jobs making electric cars, making solar panels, LED lighting, etc.  I am very hopeful to see the technology on the showroom floor.  We have to reduce the carbon footprint for financial reasons and climate change.  It just makes good economic sense.” 

Follow Ed Begley Jr. on Twitter @EdBegleyJr

For more information about The Battery Show, visit

2018 Audi Q8 e-Tron electric vehicle at the Dewesoft booth (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

2019 University of Michigan custom electric-powered race car (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

2019 Ryobi R48110 Electric Riding Lawn Mower (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Charging cord for the Ryobi electric lawnmower (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

This 1916 Detroit Electric Model 60 Brougham is owned by Jack Beatty of Ann Arbor, Mich. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Stay tuned for more great photos from The Battery Show…