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Charging Stations – Yes or No? I Love Baby Seals,Whales, and Polar Bears By JVH

On my Parking Today Blog, I have posited that being “green” is rea-

sonable when it is also good business. Garages with green components usually have them because they benefit the park- ing business that resides in the garage. I also have noted that appearing to be

“green for green’s sake” may be good for PR, but I preferred the “we were ‘green’

back when it was just a color” approach, because many of the items that gain “green” awards these days have been part of garage construction for decades. However, can someone give me the

wisdom of installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in garages? I under- stand the need to look green; however, will they ever be used to any great extent?

Robert Bryce, writing in National

Review Online (NRO), talks about com- panies that make batteries for EVs and their current troubles. The money quotes are as follows: Sure, GM may be able to resolve the

problems with the Volt. But the big hurdle … remains lackluster demand. Why would a car buyer choose a Volt, which gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway and costs $41,000, when he could get a Chevy Cruze, which is nearly identical in size, gets better mileage, and costs less than half as much? Back in 2009, Johan de Nysschen,

President of Audi of America, cannily pre- dicted the Volt’s future: “No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that com- petes with a Corolla. … There are not enough idiots who will buy it.” De Nysschen may be a tad outspo-

Save Fuel – Carpool “rta,” in response to the Jan. 12, 2012, PT Blog post “… I Love Baby

Seals …,” comments: I’ve seen estimates that electric vehicles (EVs) reduce anywhere

from 30% to 65% in greenhouse gases, compared with a vehicle using an internal combustion engine. However, I can fit five people comfort- ably in my Tahoe, and if we carpool to work, then we’ve reduced green- house gases by 400% by taking four cars off the road. Technology is advancing at a pace where what is the latest and

greatest today will be obsolete in a couple of years. Thinking that a wholesale change to some new technology is the answer is to ignore what we’ve all seen happen in just the past decade. The real answer to reducing pollution and saving the environment

is to use what you have more efficiently, not to just throw it away and simply replace it with something else. I have yet to see a smart car with more than one person in it during my

commute. I have yet to see any electric vehicles in one of my parking garages (I have seen a couple around town). And I have yet to have had a single request or inquiry about charging stations from a customer or visitor. Bottom line is that if demand requires charging stations, then the

market will respond. But I’d be willing to bet that within the next three years, something else is going to come along that will cause the electric vehicle to go the way of the 8-track tape. Having our entire transportation system reliant on the power grid

is ridiculous and foolhardy, even more so than having a reliance on for- eign oil supplies.


ken, but if the vehicles don’t make eco- nomic sense to the buyer, will people buy them? The numbers are devastating. In October, GM sold more than 186,000 vehi- cles, of which 1,100 were Volts; and Nis- san sold more than 86,000 cars, of which about 800 were Leafs. GM had targeted to sell 15,000

Volts, but through October, they had sold about one-third that number. When you sell about 2 million cars a year, 15,000 is a pretty small number.

I know that people say charging sta-

tions need to be in place to get people thinking about EVs; however, the Volt doesn’t need the charging station. Are we attempting to create a market

where none exists? Would we make an investment in charging stations for their business model? Do we think cars are going to flock to parking garages because they are there?

Charging folks, and others, respond … Jim Burness, Director of Business

Development, ClearEnergy Inc.: The reason any parking operator

would want to install charging stations can be summed up in one word: inevitability. Whether you believe we have already reached “peak oil” or you think that is still many years out, it’s indisputable that one day we will run out of oil, and before that happens, it will get much more expensive.

Parking Today

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