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Investigation: Mega-Jolt – The Costs and Logistics of Plugging In EVs Are About to Become Supercharged

By John Murawski

Which Candidate Do You Support in the Republican Primaries?

Investigation by John Murawski originally published by RealClearInvestigations and RealClearWire

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm gave Americans an unintended glimpse of the future during her road trip this summer touting the wonders of electric vehicles. Far from spotlighting the promise of EVs, her public relations misadventure in Georgia involved one of her staff in a gasoline-powered vehicle blocking off a coveted charger in advance of her arrival, leading to frayed tempers and a local EV owner calling the cops. It was an illustration of the challenges drivers could face as governments push the public to embrace plug-in vehicles.

Hyped as technological marvels, EVs are boobytrapped with a host of inconveniences and tradeoffs. By now many people have heard about range anxiety, exploding lithium-ion batteries, and the environmental destruction caused by global mining for battery minerals.

But another wave of challenges is in the offing as the federal government and state officials pump in billions of dollars to build out a massive national infrastructure of charging stations to power the EVs.

The sheer scale of a charging infrastructure means recruiting retailers and businesses to install and maintain chargers that are expected to lose money in the near future, with some likely to be written off as economic losses.

In California, which is slated to ban sales of new gasoline-powered cars in just 12 years, government estimates indicate the state may need to install at least 20 electric chargers for every gas pump now in service to create a reliable, seamless network.

Massive public subsidies will be a crucial part of this effort because private industry is not willing to take the financial risks of betting on an uncertain future. Government subsidies mean complying with recordkeeping and reporting mandates and making sure chargers are online 97% of the time, while bearing the financial risk of vandalism, mechanical malfunctions, daily fluctuations in electricity pricing, and cashflow unpredictability.

A “net zero” society inherently favors the haves over the have-nots. Renters and low-income families aren’t as likely to own private chargers, and electricity purchased from public chargers can cost five to 10 times as much as charging privately in a garage at home. To avoid penalizing the little guy, federal EV mandates require that 40% of benefits pay for public chargers in disadvantaged areas, while California requires that at least half go to such “equity” communities, where relatively few people currently drive EVs.

The rapid transition from a reliable legacy energy infrastructure that’s more than a century old to emerging technologies in just a few decades will require the buy-in of virtually every American, including relearning driving habits and adopting charging patterns that right now constitute the leisurely prerogative of early adopters and trend-setters.

“We need to make sure the infrastructure is overbuilt, oversupplied and over-capacity so that nobody as a driver gets stranded,” said John Eichberger, executive director of the Transportation Energy Institute, a nonprofit research organization. “When you point out the challenges to a believer or a staunch advocate, well now you’re just being negative, you’re just trying to impede progress.”

Read the entire investigation here.

John Murawski reports on the intersection of culture and ideas for RealClearInvestigations. He previously covered artificial intelligence for the Wall Street Journal and spent 15 years as a reporter for the News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) writing about health care, energy and business. At RealClear, Murawski reports on how esoteric academic theories on race and gender have been shaping many areas of public life, from K-12 school curricula to workplace policies to the practice of medicine.

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a host, Outreach Director with overseeing its outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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