I don’t understand why other electricity customers should subsidize my car
I’ve joked about it a lot, but I am seriously looking into buying an electric Smart for my next vehicle. For my needs, it just makes sense. I won’t be ready for a new car for a couple of years, so I’m hoping that any bugs will be worked out by then.
I fully expected that when I did get an electric Smart I would actually have to pay for the electricity to charge the battery. Over in the People’s Republic of Madison they have a different idea.
Madison Gas & Electric Co. initially bought six charging stations and has installed three so far. Campbell, Calif.-based Coulomb and MG&E announced plans on Tuesday to install 18 additional ChargePoint charging stations, bringing the total to 24.
MG&E received a $5.5 million grant for a variety of smart-grid efforts, with less than $1 million allocated to the charging stations, said Laura Williams, MG&E’s market development manager.
The demonstration project will help the utility study charging patterns and their impact on the power grid, and MG&E said it’s looking for owners of electric vehicles to participate in the project as volunteers.
The utility has reached out to owners of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and all-electric neighborhood electric vehicles but is looking for more volunteers, she said.
The charging stations will provide a chance for vehicle owners to “top off their batteries, which would increase their comfort with the amount of range they have in their EV,” she said.
Under an agreement with Coulomb, Madison will be outfitted with two-tiered charging stations that can charge two vehicles at a time. One can be charged by plugging in a regular extension cord and a full charge would take five hours. The so-called level two charging station uses more power and would charge a plug-in vehicle in half the time, Williams said.
Locations for the new charging stations haven’t been determined but are expected to be in about 10 high-traffic areas around the Madison area.
All charging locations will be free and available to the public, according to the companies.
It’s good to know that when I drive to the MacIver Institute in Madison to wash Brett Healy’s car I’ll be able to charge the Smart for free. However, I don’t think the tofu-and-nuts crowd of Madison electricity ratepayers are really interested in subsidizing my existence, especially since if I own an electric car I’m obviously in a position to afford the price of the electricity powering the car.
MG&E received a $5.5 million grant from the federal stimulus bill, with less than $1 million to build the stations. Thanks for the subsidizing my next car everyone. Do you feel good about it?