Run silent, run not-so-cheap
This week at the MacIver Institute’s website I took a look at the absurd world of the electric car and just some of subsidies that allow Batman to yell, “Robin, to the Zapmobile!”
So if I owned an electric car and decided to drive from Waukesha to the MacIver Institute’s offices across the street from the Capitol, I could have my trip subsidized by the electricity ratepayers in Madison. Unfortunately the Chevrolet Volt’s battery won’t get me there, so I’ll be driving a Nissan Leaf. I’ll look really cool and environmentally responsible in my brand new foreign car, and the taxpayers helped me pay for it with a $7,500 subsidy.
It will have to be a new car with a new battery, and hopefully the weather won’t be too cold. Otherwise the not-quite 100-mile battery might not make it, especially because I like to listen to conservative talk radio and have the heat on when it’s cold. My kids like to charge their Nintendo DS games in the car, but we’ll assume I didn’t take them along on this trip. Add lights and windshield wipers and there might be an unscheduled stop on the freeway.
Of course, my new car will be the result of far more than just $7,500 in federal subsidies. Just in the federal stimulus law alone there was $2.4 billion for electric-car component factories. Batteries are the biggest price concern, and the federal government is hoping that sinking billions into stimulating production will lower the battery cost, thereby lowering the cost of the car.
But I will look really cool when I link my i-Pod to the car stereo. I’ll just keep the volume down so I don’t drain the battery too much.