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Taxpayers to Subsidize EVs and Charging Stations

Department of Energy project will install 15,000 240-volt outlets, many of them in private homes. U.S. workers to pay.

by on Jun.18, 2010

Should taxpayers subsidize EVs?

A company called Ecotality has received another $15 million from the Department of Energy to provide free home chargers to the purchasers of Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, a $1,000 to $2,000 saving courtesy of U.S. workers.

This new Federal grant extension includes $15 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, which will be matched with $15 million in private funds, for a total of $30 million.

ARRA, in case you forgot, was an almost $1 trillion dollar bill – in both legislative and cost senses – by the new Obama Administration that used borrowed money to stimulate the U.S. economy. This was after the outgoing Bush Administration allowed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008 and the financial markets imploded. Whether it actually stimulated the economy or just stopped a further contraction or was just more pork for special interests is still a matter of debate.

These new federal funds to Ecotality are in addition to the original grant of almost $100 million to Ecoality’s EV Project in October of 1999, which was created through ARRA.

The additional taxpayer largesse comes as the House of Lords in the United Kingdom is due to debate next week controversial electric vehicle subsidies of up to $7,400 per car and $44 million for charging stations in London and other urban areas. Similar and just as expensive giveaways are under consideration by governments globally.

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Who Pays?

The conversion of automobility to electric vehicles will require these taxpayer subsidies, according to proponents. Critics counter that this is shaping up to be a massive raid on public coffers by special interests under the guise of cleaner air.

The debate has taken on new political urgency as the Global Great Recession drags on and governments continue to run huge, unsustainable deficits, and financial reforms over the practices that started this mess are stalled by corporate lobbyists.   (more…)