This just in from the International Council of Shopping Centers:
ICSC battles measure requiring centers to offer charging stations
The International Council of Shopping Centers is lobbying against a measure before the New Jersey Assembly that calls for developers to provide electric-vehicle charging stations at any new projects. It is also fighting against another measure that would bar issuance of retail development permits unless 5% of the parking facility is dedicated to these stations. The costs are prohibitive, according to the industry, with each unit running $6,000 each, and will mount even faster as more jurisdictions put in place similar requirements. “It is an emerging trend, and it is something as an industry we are expecting we will see more of,” says Rachel McGreevy, ICSC’s director of state and local government relations.
Everything we read tells us that electric cars will not “take off” as hoped by GM, Toyota, and the Obama Administration. It seems that hybrids, which do not need charging stations, are more popular with the public and most polls show that if any, they will be the “green” auto of choice. It seems reasonable. Why pay 40K for a car that will only run 80 miles between charging when you can pay less for a car that will run on both gas and batteries and get 50+miles per gallon and not have to worry about a mile long extension cord.
With that in mind, shouldn’t shopping centers AND other garage owners be able to make the decision themselves concerning whether or not to install battery charging stations. Developers, and you know its coming, soon all garages will be required to have charging stations. If a center has 1000 spaces, it will have to have 50 charging stations at a cost of $300,000.
Why can’t the government just let the free market work? If folks buy electric cars needing charging, entrepreneurs will be there to provide the electrons to fill their batteries. If they don’t, they won’t.
A smart garage owner would purchase a mobile charger and a long extension cord and when a person comes in and needs a charge, they can park in a convenient space and get a “top up.” When it’s done, the charger could be moved to a different car and so forth.
The main problem with static charging stations is that if I come to work and park to get a charge, I leave the car there and it blocks the space for other’s who may need it. If not, I have to leave my keys and the garage owner must dedicate a person to jockey around the cars as needed, another expense.
These charging stations also take space away from the garage. If a person has a 500 car garage, note that 25 spaces would be ‘reserved’ for electric cars. If the lot averages $20 per space per day, that’s $500 a day that is now held for cars that may or may not arrive.
Plus, why not let parking facilities compete? If electric cars “take off” then one garage might see a market and add the charging stations, advertise that they have them, and take traffic from his competitor across the street.
The government, by meddling with the marketplace, will, as it usually does, screw everything up. They think that if they force companies to provide charging stations, that folks will rush out and buy electric cars. We don’t even know if they are going to work.
Remember JVH’s rule number one. If a politician tells you something, believe the opposite. They tell me that electric cars are wonderful and will save the world. My experience is that when you visualize something, it’s great. But when you put 20,000 or so in the field, you will find that the law of unintended consequences will kick in.
Clyde points out that this law assumes that 5% of all the cars driven by Americans will be electric. 250,000,000 passenger cars exist in the US. That means that to fill the charging stations, 12,500,000 will have to be electric. Projections are that the number of sales will be between 500,000 and 1,000,000 per year by 2015. I’m not sure where those numbers come from, as GM expects to build 60,000 volts in 2012 and that pretty much hits their capacity. So how are we going to be at 10 times that number (even with Toyota “Leaf” sales added in) by 2015, only three years later?
See, it makes no sense. But then…