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Point of View Electric Vehicles, NYC and ‘Castle’ By John Van Horn

I created a brouhaha on my blog concerning charging sta- tions and electric vehicles. I noted that we haven’t

addressed the issue of what to do when someone plugs in their e- car and leaves it all day. This issue getsworse at airports. I posited that an e-valet could jockey the cars around, but thatwould greatly change the liability and the relationship between the parking lot owner and the parker. One reader responded that you could put charging stations

on different floors, and the higher you parked, the longer you could stay. Another said that my comments about all-electric cars not

making sensewere balderdash since hybridsweremerely a bridge until all-electrics were in the marketing channels and infrastruc- turewas in place. Another reader agreed with me and noted that this electric

car stuff had been tried about every 20 years and had failed every time.What’s tomake someone believe that it should be any differ- ent now? I also was told that bat-

tery technology was on the rise and cars were running 600km (360 miles) on a charge in Germany. So I looked that one up. You can find whatever you want on the Internet, and I found this quote, in a story headlined “Audi’s new electric car has range of over 600 km,” at Renewables International / TheMagazine: On this particular trip, which took place at temperatures just

Hybrids, with 60mpg or 70mpg rat-

ings seemto solve all the problems. They use, what, a third the gas as a standard vehicle. They carry their charger with themand do it on the fly. You don’t have to think about it at all. They also are larger and can handle more passengers and cargo.And they are cheaper. Why, then,would onewant an all-electric car? I repeat.Does it

reallymake any sense? *** Alternate-side-of-the-street parking in NYC has always con-

My point is that I question the efficacy of this project – period. It requires that the government be involved and subsidize the research, testing and cost of the vehicles.

above freezing (not good for batteries), the electric car reportedly had an average speed of 90 kilometers per hour (56 mph), though the car can apparently top out at 130 km/h. Given the confusion surrounding and the general lack of details – what exactly was changed on the A2? – the main question is whether this test drive will have any relevance for serially manufactured electric cars. The German car experts con- tacted by Heise Autos did not seem convinced by the reports of this breakthrough, saying instead that they still generally assume that elec- tric cars realistically have a range of nomore than 150kmand that this range is expected to increase by 20%over the next decade, not 100%. I should note that other articles said the exact opposite of this,

so who knows.My point is that I question the efficacy of this proj- ect – period. It requires that the government be involved and sub- sidize the research, testing and cost of the vehicles. I knowthat bat- terymanufacture and recycling is a verymessy business. It seems that for there to be any convenience at all, charging

stations have to be near virtually every place you park a car,much like outlets for car heaters are in extremely cold climes. My friendManny points out that mostAmericans’ commute

is less than 40 miles, so current cars would work and have to be charged only at home. Of course, that doesn’t take into considera- tion the side trip to the doctor or the store or to pick up the kids on the way home. It doesn’t take much to eat up that extra capacity and suddenly you are someplacewithout a charger, and noway to get to one.


fused me. Now I get it, thanks to Austin Bramwell over at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen blog. He explains the issue, to wit: You have to move your car twice a week in NYC to allow street cleaning. So people just get in their car, drive out, wait for the sweeper to go by, and then return to their spot and idle until the no-parking period is up (hour and a half at most). These spaces cost nothing to the parker, but are extremely valuable. To pay for a park- ing spot in Manhattan, you would drop $400 a month. And that might be blocks away from your apartment. Bramwell says that most of these cars are moved just twice a week and sit the rest of the time. The City Council has

put forth a proposal – I dis- cussed this a few months

ago – that after the sweeper passes, you could park and leave your car; you don’t have to wait until the time on the sign ticks by. This would save manyNewYorkers hours a year sitting idling in their cars, waiting for time to pass. The mayor opposes the deal for the reason that sweepers

sometimes have to go by twice. The real reason to oppose the deal is that the entire concept is incredible. The city is providing “free” parking in an area where parking costs $400/month. New York also is a city where parking is scarce. The people who park cars “free” on the street seldom use them; they simply park them because they can. One might guess that if they had to pay an extra $5K a year

to park, they might add that to the cost of ownership and realize that they could rent a luxury car for the few times they use a car and free up a lot of on-street space. If the city charged $2 an hour, it would be much higher than $400 a month for those now park- ing “free.” Of course, it’s a political issue – all those “free” parkers vote.

*** EveryMonday, I watch “Castle,” the mystery/thriller/com-

edy developed by ABC. It’s a great show. In “The Dead Pool” episode a couple of weeks ago, our hero, Richard Castle, took out after parking, at least a bit. One of the police detectives was listing crimes done by four

brothers. Castle’s comments are in italics: Assault – Oooh…

Continued on Page 8 Parking Today

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