Sen. Greenstein Pushing Mindless Electric Car Bill

At the American taxpayer’s expense, cars like the Chevy Volt are becoming more common and will likely continue to gain some traction in the market much like the Toyota Prius did over 10 years ago. These cars will make hippies feel good, provided they do not think of all the pollution caused by the very creation of the battery that powers their car, or the coal plant producing the electricity to charge it from miles away.

For now, these cars are coasting on a rather slow rate of adoption. Not necessarily because no one wants them, but mostly because they are prohibitively expensive, take a long time to charge before use, and are difficult for the manufacturers to produce in any substantial number at this time.

Senator Greenstein wants to get out in front of this issue and this market. Her new bill, S2603, is set to be introduced this week. The bill will require all rest stops on New Jersey toll roads that have 100 spaces or more to allocate 5% of those parking spaces to plug-in electric motor vehicles. This means that state money will need to go into the purchase, installation, maintenance, and continued operation of a minimum of 5 charging stations at many of our state’s rest stops. Does this not sound great? What could possibly be wrong with this bill?

Sorry, Save Jerseyans, I did not mean to insult your intelligence. I am sure that midway through the last paragraph you picked up on everything stupid about this mindless initiative. Lets run through them together anyway:

  1. The number of electric vehicles currently in the state of New Jersey is likely less than the amount of spaces that would need to have charging stations installed at a single rest stop.
  2. Home charging stations that are meant to be kept inside a garage or under a roof away from the elements cost thousands of dollars before installation. One can only imagine what the cost would be for industrial grade chargers that would need to stand up to New Jersey’s harsh winters, deadly summers, and of course, careless users from in and out of state who could mistreat the equipment. The bill makes no consideration for these costs.
  3. SAE International, the group that sets the standards for EV charging stations, has not yet arrived at a chosen standard for rapid charging. This means that relatively quickly the market could evolve past these charging stations and adopt a new standard, requiring replacement at added cost.
  4. The average travel distance for an electric vehicle is 30 to 40 miles on battery power. Cars with that sort of range are not meant for long hauls on toll roads. Essentially the only reason an EV driver would be using one of these stations would be if he got on the Turnpike by accident and needed an extra boost to get off again.
  5. Would these charging spots become the new handicapped parking space? If I parked my gas powered car there could I get a ticket for taking the spot of some yuppie in Nissan Leaf?
  6. And finally, charging a car from empty to full at one of these charging stations, while shorter than using a wall outlet, takes a considerable amount of time. Most people who stop on the turnpike are either using the bathroom, getting some coffee, or getting gas. Its a stop that never takes more than a few minutes. I only know of one person who admittedly spends more than a few minutes at a New Jersey rest stop, and I do not foresee him driving around in an EV…