The long, crony-capitalizing, rent-seeking reign of CEO James Rogers at Duke Energy looks like it will come to an end – in a year, but possibly sooner.
The departure follows the saga that was the merger between Charlotte, NC-based Duke and Raleigh, NC-based Progress Energy, which was completed in June – sort of. After the North Carolina Utilities Commission delivered the final regulatory approval it needed, Duke’s board ousted former Progress head Bill Johnson. Throughout the nearly 18-month process the pending partner companies proclaimed Johnson would be the CEO of the new combined Duke, with Rogers moving up to chairman, but the directors schemed in the final months of negotiations and then sprung the firing on Johnson only hours after they congratulated him on his new position.
The NCUC was not happy about the deception, and launched an investigation and hearings with hints dropping all around that …
Consumer Reports has painted an ugly picture of the Nissan Leaf, as did an early enthusiast based in Los Angeles, who described his frustrations with the heavily subsidized, all-electric car in a recent column.
Now comes what must be the definitive example of the Leaf’s impracticality – this time from a (still) hard-core advocate, whose 180-mile Tennessee trek to visit family over the holidays required four lengthy stops to keep the vehicle moving.
Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, set out from Knoxville on Monday with his wife and son, headed for the Nashville area. His plan (appropriately) was to follow Interstate 40 West, where a series of Cracker Barrel restaurants – equipped with so-called “fast” vehicle chargers (if you want to call 30 minutes or more “fast”) along the route – would provide an electricity security blanket as the Leaf’s charge diminished.
Only problem …
On Friday NLPC reported that the Department of Energy may have made a bad bet on Ecotality, the car-charging company that is heavily dependent on $115 million in government grants to deploy stations for electric vehicles through its EV Project. It turns out that DOE may not only be gambling taxpayer funds on a shaky company, but may also have dumped a bunch of money into a technology with a questionable future.
Last week seven automotive companies – General Motors, Ford, BMW, Audi, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen – announced they would adopt a single standard, established by the Society of Automotive Engineers, for fast charging the electric vehicles (a speedy re-boost is what every EV owner wants, right?) they produce in the future. Sound good?
Unfortunately this new zip-charging standard is not compatible with the one used for the current No. 1 electric vehicle on the U.S. market …