A nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations has materialized under the blind eye of the main stream media reporting agencies. Twelve BILLION dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known as the Stimulus Bill, was allocated to the Department of Energy for investment “in a broad portfolio of advanced vehicle technologies,” as outlined in a July 2010 report titled:
“As part of the Department of Energy’s $12 billion investment in advanced vehicle technologies, the Department is investing more than $5 billion to electrify America’s transportation sector. These investments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program are supporting the development, manufacturing, and deployment of the batteries, components, vehicles, and chargers necessary to put millions [bolded by writer) of electric vehicles on America’s roads.”
At the time of the report it described the Recovery Act’s Transportation Electrification Program as having 500 electric vehicle charging stations with the goal of deploying 20,000 additional stations by December of 2013. To advance this goal, Coloumb Technologies received a $15 million grant to support its ChargePoint America program. Today ChargePoint boasts over 17,078 electric vehicle charging stations across the United States. On a smaller scale, Blink Network reports a network of 3,949 stations across the country.
An electric or hybrid vehicle owner can locate the nearest charging station, determine availability, and reserve it using a smart phone application. At the present time, it appears many ChargePoint stations are free to the user, while only some of the Blink Network stations are free. The cost generally runs from $1.00 to $2.00 per hour. Speaking to a manager at a small credit union in the area, they revealed they do not plan to charge their customers for charging their vehicles. They consider it an additional member service. They only had to pay the installation fee for the charging station. The station was free as were the stations given to our county. Hillsborough County, Florida installed seven of these stations which are free to electric vehicle owners and are located at public parking lots, garages, and libraries throughout the county.
We have heard bits and pieces of the outrageous sums of stimulus money wasted on green energy projects. Most people have heard about the $535 million dollars the taxpayers invested in the now bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra. Ashe Schow of The Heritage Foundation compiled a list of taxpayer dollar backed green energy failures in her October 2012 article, “President Obama’s Taxpayer Backed Green Energy Failures”. In her article Schow reveals thirty-three green energy companies either laying off workers or nearing bankruptcy, including nineteen having already declared bankruptcy. Several of these companies are or were involved in the development of electric vehicles, batteries, components, and chargers.
The Department of Energy’s 2012 budget included a 12% increase over the 2010 budget which: “Helps advance the goal of one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 through a shift from the existing tax credit incentive to a rebate that would be available to consumers at the point of sale and a $588 million investment in research, development and deployment programs. …and reward communities that invest in electric vehicle infrastructure through a $200 million program, modeled after Race to the Top, which provides an incentive for communities to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure and remove regulatory barriers.”
Current incentives to individuals include up to a $1000 tax credit when they install an electric vehicle charging station in their home and up to a $7500 rebate when they purchase an electric or hybrid vehicle in addition to dealer subsidies.
So how environmentally “green” are these electric and hybrid vehicles? An article in the Wall Street Journal by Bjorn Lomborg titled “Green Cars Have A Dirty Secret,” reveals that before it is sold to the consumer “the production of the electric car has already resulted in sizeable emissions—the equivalent of 80,000 miles of travel in the vehicle. So unless the electric car is driven a lot, it will never get ahead environmentally.”
The progressives and those involved in renewable and green energy initiatives fail to consider the unintended consequences in their rush to eliminate our use of fossil fuels. Since they do not pay as much for gas, owners of electric or hybrid vehicles do not make an equitable contribution to the highway trust fund. Some states have passed or are considering passing bills to charge electric vehicle owners a special fee for using the roads. In many of these states drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles are permitted the special status of using the car pool and HOV lanes on highways. In addition, at the present time many owners have the opportunity to charge their vehicles at no cost through electric vehicle charging stations where counties, municipalities, or cooperating and hosting businesses absorb the cost for the charge. If they plugged into a charger in their home overnight, estimates are it would add an additional $45.00 per month onto their electric bill. And… when it comes down to it, the other end of that charging cord is most likely connected to….a fossil fuel electricity source!
As Americans continue to struggle in this economy to pay higher gas prices at the pump and higher energy bills we can be comforted knowing that our government continues to divert our tax dollars to renewable energy projects such as the Transportation Electrification Program and the Electric Vehicle Project.
In the video below, Eric Bolling and John Stossel discuss the subsidies on the Chevy Volt, the smart grid, and all of the money being thrown at electric cars, as well as a video from 2012 of Eric Bolling’s experience test-driving the Volt: