NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser was a guest on the Willis Report on Fox Business Network last night. Here’s a transcript:
Gerri Willis: Well, onto electric cars. Uncle Sam is back to doing what it does best – wasting your taxpayer dollars. Over one hundred and thirty million granted to a California company to build a network of electric car chargers in major cities. Chargers, our next guest says, may not even work for electric cars. Joining me now, Paul Chesser, associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center. What are you talking about? These charge centers won’t even work?
Paul Chesser: Well, it depends on what kind of car you have, Gerri. There are three different technologies out there, there is the Japanese, which this particular boondoggle happens to work with, there is another one that most of the U.S. and European companies adopted, and then there is another one that Tesla, which has created an expensive electric vehicle there, their own technologies. So there are three different charge technologies out there, and they are not quite compatible yet.
Gerri Willis: Well, Paul, I don’t understand. So if I have an electric car, now I have to search for the right charging station? I can’t just go to any station?
Paul Chesser: You have got to find the one that matches. If you have got a Nissan Leaf, you have to find the Japanese technology, which this company is deploying. There’s another, this one goes back a couple of years, so it’s kind of like the beta max versus VHS technology and there’s going to be a battle and one of them is going to win, but, you know, we are all subsidizing it as taxpayers and we are going to be the one who pays the price to retrofit the chargers, if they keep them, if it does not just totally die out on its own.
Gerri Willis:Paul, let’s talk about the old technology for just a second. I go to a gas station. I go to any gas station. It does not matter what gas station I go to. Likely the only difference I’m going to find is the price, my friend, it works all over the country.
Paul Chesser: Free market.
Gerri Willis: How in the wholly heck are we going to have all these charging stations? It just seems like an untenable process.
Paul Chesser: Well, you know, President Obama when he proposed the stimulus that he wanted a million electric vehicles on the road by twenty fifteen and we’re not currently anywhere close to that, but part of that project meant that you have to do the cars, we have to subsidize the cars. So people would buy them, we have to subsidize the batteries, because they are so expensive. And we have to subsidize the chargers and this is the charger component. And, what the idea was of this project that the inspector general criticized so heavily was to, let’s replicate as much as we can putting the chargers out there to the degree that gas stations are out there. Let’s space them no more than ten miles apart and see how people use them. They wanted to test how people use them. But not enough people adopted electric vehicles, not enough people were using them so these things were being unused, these chargers that they’ve put out, the taxpayers pay for. You know, it’s sixty-six to seventy-five percent of those chargers were not used.
Gerri Willis: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Well, this is just the way it works. You know, when you subsidize this stuff, right? If you don’t let the private sector take it over. Paul, thanks for coming on tonight. Always good to see you. Thanks you.
Paul Chesser: Same to you, Gerri. Thanks.
Gerri Willis: We will be right back with my “Two Cents More” and the answer to our question of the day. What should President Obama be focused on?