I Strike A Nerve — Response to my “Anti-EV Rant”

I seemed to have hit a sore spot with my concerns about whether or not an operator or owner should seek out an EV charger for their garage.  Let’s bring em out into the light of day for all to see. My response is in the post above. Here are three, I’m sure more to come:

Response to your Anti EV rant—

Hello John,

I am writing in response to your Point of View article in the most recent (January 2012) issue of Parking Today where you requested help understanding why lot owners should be investing in EV charging stations.

I think Mr. Bryce (and yourself) miss an essential point. Parking lot owners are not in the business of dictating to their customers what their vehicle choices should be. They will never be able to determine if the person driving an Escalade today is considering buying an EV, but that person will surely notice which parking lots have chargers and which ones don’t. In our intensely competitive industry, can any of us afford to be wrong?

I am intentionally resisting the temptation to participate in the debate as to whether or not EVs will succeed in the marketplace. I will, however, make the observation that people buy things for a variety of reasons, many of them emotional rather than rational, and this is especially true when it comes to automobiles.

Sincerely, Forest Williams, VP Sales and Marketing, Liberty PlugIns, Inc

Update from Jim:

Thanks for the opportunity to respond to your editorial. If I cancan take a bit more of your bandwidth, I’d like to address some of your counterpoints.

1) Virtually all of the original RAV4 EVs from ten years ago are still running around on their original batteries, so longevity is far beyond what was predicted.

2)Pure battery EVs (like the Nissan LEAF) satisfy the daily needs of about 95% of the American commute. It is predicted the most families that have one EV will also have either a conventional car or hybrid for the 5% of the trips that are outside of an EV’s range.

3) You address the problem of government subsidization of both EVs and EV charging stations, but do not address the billions of tax breaks big oil gets. In 2010 I personally paid $156 million more to the IRS than ExxonMobil. We are talking about a playing field that is already inherently not level.

4) All tax incentives targeting EV charging stations expired at the end of 2011.

5) Our company sells the most popular commercial Level 2 charging station and the most common model has a list price of $6,800 plus installation, so about half of what you estimate. As a show of thanks for allowing me to respond in this forum, I’ll give any Parking Today reader 10% off in they mention this blog.

Thanks again for the venue to debate.

Jim Burness

Seamus from Berkeley Expands:

Also, if we expand on Jim’s example of the cell phone in 1983, back then it went for $3,995 and had a 20 minute talk time, but now, 27 yrs later you can get a smart phone for 10% the price and a few more features. If a charging station costs $20k now and can take up to 8hrs to slow charge a vehicle, a parking operator should wait for the learning curve to bring price down and the functionality up. Would you want to be using that 1983 cell phone today?
Seamus Wilmot, UC Berkeley

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