The New York Times announced today on its “Green Blog” that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), in cooperation with the Electric Power Research Institute, is opening a public charging station for electric cars.  The experimental installation, slated for opening this Tuesday, will supply part of its energy from roof-mounted solar panels, drawing the rest from the surrounding grid.  When not charging cars or the station’s backup batteries, the panels will feed electricity back into the grid. 

As of yet there is no method to charge e-car drivers for “fueling,” while each car space costs between $50,000 and $100,000 to construct.  Even so, the TVA plans on constructing 125 stations in Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga regions.  The whole project could then cost anywhere from $6,250,000 to $12,500,000.  There are three main reasons why this entire scheme is ridiculous.

1) The federal government has no business spending millions of taxpayer dollars promoting speculative technology.  Even if the TVA’s operational plans were clearer, it is not the business of the feds to promote new equipment because it’s politically correct. If electric cars ever become viable commodities, it will be because they have been perfected by private enterprise, not because a government owned corporation makes the arbitrary decision that they are somehow better to own than conventional autos.  That the TVA is doing this to no real benefit brings us to the next point…    

2) Projects like this one are motivated by a radical “green” morality and not hard science. Despite the past decade of gloom-and-doom prophesies from Al Gore and his followers, the facts have been made clear: man-made contributions to global climate change are minimal, and failure to reduce them will not lead to worldwide catastrophe.  The TVA is spending boatloads of cash for no other reason than to promote a more expensive, inconvenient product (the electric car) the main selling point of which is that it will “save” the environment, an enormous overstatement to say the least.

3) The project won’t even accomplish its intended effect. It is doubtful whether or not Tennessee residents will spring for pricey and weak electric cars simply because the government has built charging stations in their area.  If some e-cars are bought as a result, their at-home fueling will use electricity which is probably produced by a coal-fired plant, further offsetting the intended environmental benefit.

The TVA should be stopped before it wastes more tax dollars on similar initiatives it shouldn’t pursue.