Paying for Electric Cars… Twice

Imagine that the government decided to tax you to finance a step ladder project to the Moon.

In a very real way, that’s exactly what’s happening. In California right now – and probably soon, other states as well.

The “moon shot” in question is a $22 million project (just for openers) to build thousands of electric vehicle charging stations at $15,000 a piece  in the Los Angeles area to support electric cars … which can’t get very far without an electric umbilical cord.

Electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and the electric version of the VW Golf have a full-charge range of about 80 miles under ideal conditions. Less, if it’s very cold – or very hot – outside. The efficiency of electric batteries decreases with temperature extremes as well as use of accessories such as headlights and air conditioning and heaters.

Leaving aside the luxury-car price tag of electric cars (the Leaf and electric Golf, which both list for about $30,000, are the “cheapies” of the bunch; a Tesla starts at about $70k), their limited radius of action makes them useless for other than short trips – under ideal conditions – and when there’s a place to plug in at each end.

And even when there is a place to plug in, the wait is Soviet.

It takes at least 30-45 minutes to recharge an electric car using a high-capacity “super” charging system like the ones being pushed (for you to pay for) by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and being implemented in California.

Who is going to queue up to wait 30-45 minutes to recharge their $30,000 electric car so they can travel maybe another 80 miles before having to stop for another 30-45 minutes? Keep in mind, this assumes ideal conditions. Sunny and warm (but not too warm).  If you have to use the headlights or the air conditioning or the heater, your mileage will vary. It’s also necessary – if you want to get where you are going – to drive at a Prius-esque pace. Sustained speeds higher than about 50 MPH dramatically reduce the electric car’s range, as does anything more than the gentlest acceleration.

Meanwhile, the humblest new economy car that costs half as much – and which doesn’t require thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded bribes to induce people to buy one – can travel 300-400 miles at 75 MPH on a tank of gas. And when the tank runs dry, it can be refilled in five minutes … for about $20. 

You do the math.

Too bad the folks handling our money can’t.

John Boesel of CALSTART, for example. CALSTART is a crony capitalist cartel (they style themselves an “alliance of companies and groups supporting renewable energy”) that uses government power to enrich itself at taxpayer expense. Boesel writes that the $22 million in extorted capital is “…a game changer in the economics of installing charging (stations).”


In the same way that it’s a “game changer” when a mugger helps himself  to your wallet. He’s richer. But you’re poorer. A zero sum transaction.

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