It Seems I Rant… about Electric Cars


It Seems I Rant… about Electric Cars

We received this missif a few days ago:

As long as your editor continues to use his magazine as a political platform to rant against our industry (electric cars), we are not a good prospect for you.

I obviously haven’t been clear in my “rants.” To Clarify:

First — I think that if people want to drive electric cars, that’s their business.  Personally, except for the Tesla, they aren’t my cup of tea. The technology just isn’t there (battery life) but if someone is willing to plan their lives around charging, so be it.

Second — There is evidence that the Tesla may be the finest automobile ever made. I just love that car. (BTW, Its electric)

Third — If parking lot owners want to install charging stations (this is what the person who wrote above sells) be my guest. Put one in every space for all I care.

Fourth  — if you want to give free power to people who spend between $50K and $150 K for the electric car, go for it.

Here’s the thing:


I asked a group of parking managers from universities last week in North Carolina how many had charging stations in their garages.  Virtually all of them said they did. I then asked how many were used and virtually all said they were. I then asked how they were funded.

Virtually all said that the money came from grants from the Feds or the State. That’s your money and mine spent to provide charging stations for folks who want to drive electric cars.  That’s what I don’t like.  That’s what I rant about.

Private garage owners, mostly, pay for charging stations, however there are Local, State, and Federal Grants that they can apply for to help pay for them. Why?

As one of my correspondents, who happens to be a garage manager at a university in the northwest told me “I don’t supply filling stations and gasoline in my garages, why should i supply free electricity.”  Indeed.

I know, I know — there are ways to charge the driver for the electricity, but its difficult. To do so you suddenly become a power reseller, a utility, and the local governments frown on that. You can, of course, charge more for the parking space that has the charger but you are on shakey ground. Then there is the “this guy parked his car here and when off to teach four classes, his car is charged, we can’t move it” problem.

Granted, all these things are fixable — so fix them.

When I see a charging station in a Target parking lot, I know that there is a bit more that I’m paying in the Target store that is going to help pay for that charger and the electricity. Its the same issue I have with free parking in general. Free parking isn’t free. Someone is paying for it. That someone is every person that pays taxes (city owned free parking) and everyone that goes to a store, theater, or restaurant (private owned free parking). Fine if you drive, but what if you walk, take a bike, bus, or rapid transit. You are paying for someone else to park.

I guess I am ranting. So be it. Elon Musk can’t build a Tesla unless the government supports him. Read that unless I support him. The automobile industry has billions and billions and billions in sales. Why can’t they support electric cars if they are a viable product?

There will be 78 million cars sold world wide in 2017, the most ever. Of those, 2 million were electric (about 2.5%). 40% of those were sold in China where they are greatly government subsidized.

I invite Jim, my rant hater above, to write a response to my rant.

Rantingly yours


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John Van Horn

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