On a bright summer day in August a woman and her two sons stole away in her husband’s gasoline powered automobile. This would not be considered special except the year was 1888. The automobile she was taking was not produced with government grants. The route she needed to take had no government roads. Government officials had no knowledge of her planned excursion. When she reached her destination she did telegraph her husband Mr. Benz of her arrival. So was born the road trip.
Fast forward 125 years and a cold midwinter morning in Washington DC. A hopefully sympathetic writer for the New York Times John Broder sets off on another road trip. This time in a $101,000 Tesla model S for a trip to Groton CT. The Tesla model S was built with a 465 million dollar loan from the federal government and a 10 million dollar grant from the state of California. The route he is to take along government road 95 would ordinarily take 6 hours in a modern version of Mr. Benz’s automobile. With subsidized charging stations positioned well within the model S’s EPA range it should showcase the ease of going green. Eleven hours later, dozens of phone calls to Tesla’s headquarters it showed the impracticality of electric cars. When the trip continued the next day it would only complete its journey on the flatbed of a gasoline powered vehicle.
The story went to press last Sunday to Tesla’s dismay. This caused a cat fight between the Old Gray Lady and Obama donor Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO. Each accusing the other of lying, cheating and just plain being mean. Both say the facts speak for themselves. In Tesla’s defense CNN’s Peter Valdes-Dapena says he made the trip with only moderate range anxiety.
Which brings up the point of it all, why? Why subsidize what is essentially a coal fire automobile. Why spend all that taxpayer money on a private company to develop an automobile that if it was any good the public would be clamoring to buy. We can be sure those in government never learned their lesson from the Henry J. Toyota one of the largest of automobile manufacturer has pulled completely out of the electric car business explaining “The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.”Isn’t it strange the different point of view when it’s your own money at risk?
Like all the other Green initiatives pushed by the current administration this too is a failure. From the State of the Union speech we can expect to see more green failures no matter what the cost. The only green being produced is our tax dollars subsidizing someone else’s dream.