I agree with Peter, Hell freezes over…


I agree with Peter, Hell freezes over…

I note Peter’s comment below on the Borough of Richmond near London who dropped the idea of charging for parking based on the amount of pollution a vehicle produced. He said at the time it was absurd (read his comments below as to why) and he was right.    

I can see charging based on size (square footage) because you take more space on the street. That makes a lot of sense and they have been doing it for years in NYC (limos get charged twice the feel of standard vehicles in most garages.) However this concept of trying to induce folks to change their buying habits by providing lower cost parking, or in the case of electric cars “free” charging stations, is absurd. It never has worked, and frankly won’t in the future.

It’s the free market that entices people to use a certain type of transportation. You can force someone to ride the train, but they won’t like it and will rebel against it. However if you make the trains frequent, cheap, and comfortable, folks will ride them.

It’s the same with these electric or hybrid vehicles. Andy did the numbers when he bought his last car and found that it would take him 10 years to reach the point where the savings from the higher mileage would approach the additional cost of the hybrid vehicle. And by then, would the thing even be drivable? Probably, they seem to be holding up fairly well.

There’s another minor issue – that of battery replacement – it runs, depending on who you ask, from between $2900 and $4000. How often? Who knows? But that’s not the point – there is no question that hybrids are more expensive to drive per mile than a belchfire 1000. If you take all the costs (initial cost plus mpg) and put them together.

Don’t get me wrong, many people love the idea of hybrids and electric cars. But they still are a very small percentage of the entire car market, and will remain so for decades.

Oh, and one more thing – I noted the other day that cities are having to change their building codes to make it easier for individuals and businesses to install 220/240 volt charging stations. It seems that if you plug your car into 110, it will take up to 12 hours or more for a charge – however if you opt for a charger that is connected to 220/240, charging time is down to 8 hours. To install these higher voltage chargers, you need an electrician, a permit, an inspection, and the rest. The law of unintended consequences is beginning to raise its ugly head. The installation of the charger will most likely cost more than the unit itself. Particularly if there is no 220 in your garage and it is separate from your house.

In the end, folks who want to drive electric cars will do so no matter what the cost, and those that don’t, won’t. Just saying…


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John Van Horn

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