From a correspondent in upstate New York:
My full time job is running a 1.2 million square foot office complex. In my spare time I work with a professional parking management company, Allpro Parking to oversee the 814 space parking ramp we own across the street. Thanks to Allpro, I know something about parking. They also told me to read your columns!
We’ve been wrestling with the charging station issue as well. We had one inquiry. Somebody bought a heavily subsidized Government Motors Volt. Now they expect there to be charging stations everywhere. We think customer service including amenities and a focus on green technology set us apart from our competition. As a result, we thought it would be good to be on the cutting edge with charging stations. However, as you point out, there aren’t any simple solutions. When the government has to get involved, whether it’s with alternative fuels like ethanol or electric cars, it’s not good.
The market should drive these things. We’re all looking at what type of government subsidy will make this affordable – nuts! What is being done to produce the electricity for these “clean” vehicles – coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro? What’s the efficiency loss there? Last time I checked, electricity generating plants were operating at an efficiency level of about 40%. Hybrids, as you point out, are a better alternative than an all electric car. The internal combustion engine is like a spare tire in a hybrid. However, I think the government is involved there as well with serious tax breaks or some type of subsidy for these cars. The other question is what do you do with all those batteries once they’re used up? That’s a toxic disposal issue waiting to happen. Our government could open up vast reserves of petroleum within our own borders or in waters adjacent to our shores. Eliminating this government interference would lower gas prices. Whoops that would eliminate the need for the electric cars they’re trying to sell. In Europe, they tax the hell out of gasoline. People buy cars with small turbocharged diesel engines that perform well and get great mileage.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this. Forget about subsidizing technology that’s not there yet and is also a pain in the neck. If gas prices go up, car manufacturers will produce more efficient cars, probably diesels, and people will buy them if there’s a decent payback. As part of our customer service and focus on efficient technology, we offer preferred parking for people driving hybrids and diesels!
Sincerely, Stephen P. Fitzmaurice Seneca One Realty LLC
I told him about my consultant buddy whose client was buying a charging station so they could advertise that they were ‘green’ but cared less if anyone ever used it. In Steve’s case, it seems ridiculous to purchase a charging station for a single user. But then, the sages in DC are much smarter than we simpletons.