Public-private coalition paves the way for electric cars

  • Article by: MARIA ELENA BACA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 28, 2011 - 4:30 PM

Xcel Energy, cities and counties have a pilot program to see how the vehicles affect the electric grid and how they run in the winter.

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minn12May. 28, 11 2:46 AM

Is it too much to ask how much it would cost per hour to charge these electric cars? Why can't anyone report how much it costs to run an electric car per mile, compared to a gasoline vehicle? At $60K per electric car, a city or county could buy three or four regular cars. Where are the cost savings? It would take a heck of a long time to recoup almost $40K per car in extra costs. I'll bet this whole electric car thing turns out to be yet another huge boondoggle that taxpayers will have to pay for. Until someone shows me the math proving electric cars actually SAVE money over regular cars, this is a bad idea.

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erintwMay. 28, 11 4:18 AM

And where does all that electricity come from for these expensive vehicles? Hint: it's not a very green place. And where do all the expensive batteries go after they die in these expensive vehicles? Hint: it's not a very green place.

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FrankieMay. 28, 11 5:18 AM

These cars will go the way of the Edsel. What a waste of tax payers money.

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putney1968May. 28, 11 6:53 AM

Let's do a little math. If electricity was completely free, the cars would have to drive 160,000 miles to pay for their increased cost. That assumes maintenance costs the same, a mighty bug assumption. And electricity isn't free of course. But when you're spending other people's money on a boondoggle, who cares? No wonder our government is in trouble, financially and otherwise.

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pooperheadMay. 28, 11 6:59 AM

These two comments are exactly the reason we are dependent on "big oil". I guess we should just sit on the curb and cry. Yes, $60,000, it's new, the first of anything costs more.

And, thanks for the hints, but lets look at the facts. A power plant is much more efficient (and green) than a car gasoline engine. And, it's called recycling, or do you just throw your batteries in the trash.

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SupervonMay. 28, 11 7:00 AM

Let's see. Batteries drop to 50% capablility of full load below 32 degrees-so make sure you keep them in heated garages. Oh, you need heat? Knock 50% of the battery energy to keep the driver warm-but-enviros are will to suffer just to prove their point-so-it will be fun watching them drive around with the windows open in the middle of winter so the inside does not frost up. Oh, and I can see the tow jobs when they can't make it back-at 150 a pop! Tell me about the savings again?

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scottyhomerMay. 28, 11 7:09 AM

Trying something new for transportation isn't easy. It's good to see Xcel working with local governments to stay ahead of the demand they expect. For now these vehicles cost more upfront, but they have a lower operating cost. As the technology improves the cost will go down. And the only way the technology will improve is if someone uses these vehicles and provides feedback, like this program.

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hgmercuryMay. 28, 11 7:12 AM

pooperhead, where did you hear tht a power plant is "much more efficient" than a gasoline engine? A coal plant is about 35% efficient. Then subtract transmission losses and motor losses (a few % each). Coal is greener? It's the incremental source. Recycling has emissions too, you know.

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ranger78May. 28, 11 7:24 AM

Why do they trumpet this as a private-public partnership? While Xcel is a publicly traded company, in reality, it is a gov't sanctioned monopoly. The gov't guarantees them a specified rate of return. My rates should not subsidize this kind of nonsense. If electric cars are the wave of the future, let these dopey cities foot the bill.

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cleobareMay. 28, 11 7:41 AM

It's called "American Ingenuity" If we followed the lead of the folks with critical comments on this story we'd still be illuminating our homes by burning lanterns with whale oil and using hog feces methane gas to heat our food. This is America...thank goodness the "Can Do" & "Get Er Done" attitude is still alive and well. If it fails...so be it. Unfortunely, I suspect the root cause for critcal criticism from many is not the issue of new technology but their disdain toward the current elected leadership encouraging and supporting the idea.

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