Patterico's Pontifications

9/12/2023

Your Hilariously Aggravating Story of the Day

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:50 am



[guest post by JVW]

This story was making the Internet rounds yesterday. It’s the Biden Administration at their finest. This comes from taxpayer-funded NPR:

When Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm set out on a four-day electric-vehicle road trip this summer, she knew charging might be a challenge. But she probably didn’t expect anyone to call the cops.

Granholm’s trip through the southeast, from Charlotte, N.C., to Memphis, Tenn., was intended to draw attention to the billions of dollars the White House is pouring into green energy and clean cars. The administration’s ambitious energy agenda, if successful, could significantly cut U.S. emissions and reshape Americans’ lives in fundamental ways, including by putting many more people in electric vehicles.

NPR wouldn’t be NPR if they didn’t put in a plug (how do you like that pun?) for electric vehicles as vital to combatting Global Climate Change™, and NPR treats us to several more paragraphs about the urgency of switching from petroleum to electricity. But we’ll skip all of that and soldier on:

Granholm is in many ways the perfect person to help pitch the United States’ ambitious shift to EVs. As a two-term former governor of Michigan, she helped rescue the auto industry during the 2008 global financial crisis, and she’s a longtime EV enthusiast. (Her family recently switched from the Chevy Bolt to the Ford Mustang Mach-E.)

That makes her uniquely well positioned to envision the future of the auto industry and to sell the dream of what that future could look like.

Those of us of a certain age will remember when the academic/media/bureaucratic cartel was lamenting the fact that as a naturalized citizen born in Canada, the magnificent Jennifer Granholm would never be eligible to be President of the United States. Truth be told, she was a mediocre governor at best who oversaw zero population growth, who raised taxes, and whose signature economic initiative was a $2 billion jobs program which failed to keep unemployment in the Wolverine State from continuing to rise throughout her term. Upon leaving office she abandoned Michigan for a cushy academic job at UC Berkeley Law School, which has become a soft landing spot for failed politicians on the left, where she remained until called upon by President Biden to hector the rest of us with her inanities on energy.

Continuing with the story, and at long lest getting to the funny (and exasperating) part of the narrative:

But between stops, Granholm’s entourage at times had to grapple with the limitations of the present. Like when her caravan of EVs — including a luxury Cadillac Lyriq, a hefty Ford F-150 and an affordable Bolt electric utility vehicle — was planning to fast-charge in Grovetown, a suburb of Augusta, Georgia.

Her advance team realized there weren’t going to be enough plugs to go around. One of the station’s four chargers was broken, and others were occupied. So an Energy Department staffer tried parking a nonelectric vehicle by one of those working chargers to reserve a spot for the approaching secretary of energy.

That did not go down well: a regular gas-powered car blocking the only free spot for a charger?

In fact, a family that was boxed out — on a sweltering day, with a baby in the vehicle — was so upset they decided to get the authorities involved: They called the police.

The sheriff’s office couldn’t do anything. It’s not illegal for a non-EV to claim a charging spot in Georgia. Energy Department staff scrambled to smooth over the situation, including sending other vehicles to slower chargers, until both the frustrated family and the secretary had room to charge.

The arrogance, the grandiosity, the warped sense of entitlement: these have become a hallmark of our political class here in the twenty-first century. And I know that Republicans toadies can be quite awful too, but I think that Democrats, especially when they are on one of their “we’re saving the world!” jags, are particularly loathsome where this sort of thing is concerned. For what it’s worth, Democrats also tend to exalt the government worker above the grubby private sector schnook as well. If I understand this story correctly, the family with the baby approached the charging station and very likely asked the government apparatchik to move aside so that they can charge. For all I know a family with a baby on a “sweltering” day might not have made the request particularly politely, and perhaps they aren’t even very pleasant people to begin with. But they were clearly in the right, and the fact that it apparently escalated to where law enforcement had to be called suggests that we have real impudence problem among our supposed “public servants.” And let’s not overlook the irony of the Energy Department bringing gas-powered automobiles along on their little electric vehicle tour — you know, just in case the secretary needed a reliable vehicle at some point during the trip.

Anyway, Secretary Granholm and her team apparently came away from their gay (in the old-fashioned sense of the word) jaunt with the idea that the federal government needs to spend billions and billions of taxpayer dollars to build thousands of more electric charging stations along the landscape of this great nation. I can’t wait until the day comes when charging your EV at a government station can be every bit as efficient as renewing your license at the DMV. In the meantime I would love for our government class to act with humility, decency, and respect towards us common folk, but perhaps that is too heavy of a lift.

– JVW

29 Responses to “Your Hilariously Aggravating Story of the Day”

  1. The entire NPR article is actually pretty good in terms of laying out some of the challenges of moving forward quickly with electric vehicles, as well as how we have gotten to where we are thus fall. It’s worth a read.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  2. Reason has a story about EVs which is, as you might expect, a little less bullish on their effectiveness than NPR’s story is:

    [R]ange and charging time aren’t even the only issues for an electric summer road trip. According to Automotive News, analytics company Recurrent found that E.V.s experience “significant declines in range” at higher temperatures. In temperatures over 90 degrees, the company found an average of 5 percent reduction in range, but at 100 degrees, some vehicles registered as much as a 31 percent drop. That means even more time spent sitting around in the scorching heat waiting to be able to keep driving.

    Notably, the southern U.S. experienced a record heat wave this summer, with temperatures over 100 degrees stretching from California to Florida that lasted for weeks in some places.

    Clearly, while E.V. technology has made impressive leaps and bounds since Nissan introduced its Leaf, with a 100-mile range, for the 2010 model year. But it’s not quite there yet for the summer road tripper. And federal policy should recognize that fact by not using taxpayer money to incentivize the purchase of technology that doesn’t yet meet consumers’ needs.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  3. I’m not surprised Granholm would be involved in that story.
    The movement toward EVs is progressing without the likes of liberal cheerleaders, I wouldn’t say organically but sensibly. Personally, my next purchase will be a hybrid because I don’t want to be reliant on plug-ins when I’m traveling distances.

    Paul Montagu (d52d7d)

  4. at long lest

    At long last. “Lest” is a real word, so a spelling checker wouldn’t catch it, although artificial intelligence may attempt to, at the cost of calling attention to infrequent combinations of words..

    It’s not illegal for a non-EV to claim a charging spot in Georgia.

    I wonder if the Georgia state legislature would pass legislation regarding this issue. It actually might be illegal under some more general law but they just didn’t think of it.

    Of course, the federal officials thought they outranked ordinary people.

    The problem was that Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm was pushing a lie: That is already sufficient infrastructure for electric vehicles to charge up. It may be possible, but there are more vehicles than chargers, at least if you try to travel in a convoy. It overloaded the system.

    It is all right to test things out, but they should have admitted failure. Maybe they were trying to highlight several different vehicles.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  5. 3. Paul Montagu (d52d7d) — 9/12/2023 @ 1:07 pm

    Personally, my next purchase will be a hybrid because I don’t want to be reliant on plug-ins when I’m traveling distances.

    Some Japanese companies prefer hybrids and argue they make more sense but they may not be getting any credit.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  6. s over 90 degrees, the company found an average of 5 percent reduction in range, but at 100 degrees, some vehicles registered as much as a 31 percent drop. Is this because of air conditioning? If so, why does it shoot up after 90 degrees? Shouldn’t it begin to shoot up after 75 degrees?

    A auto executive or former auto executive quoted in an Op-ed piece said that about 10% to 12% of drivers or buyers like electric vehicles.

    People are running into electric cars at auto rental places although very few are actually forced to take it or leave it, but it could happen in the future.

    Many people would prefer hybrid vehicle – less range anxiety and it’s cheaper, but they get no credit for it.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  7. NPR as other funding sources beside government so it can still survive if government funding is cut off at which point it wont have to pretend republicans aren’t evil. Same with PBS

    asset (4eabd4)

  8. I’m sure that government EV chargers will be as reliable and up-to-date as air traffic control computers and IRS data center mag-tape storage.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  9. Personally, my next purchase will be a hybrid because I don’t want to be reliant on plug-ins when I’m traveling distances.

    That was part of my decision. The other being the need to have solar panels to offset the home charging expense. It’s not like you get cut a break from those higher rate tiers just because you have an EV, and I wasn’t able to do that with this house (or rather the giant house just SW of me).

    As it stands, 50 days in, I am quite happy with my Hyundai Tuscon Hybrid. 32mpg with a lot of short trips included.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  10. Is this because of air conditioning? If so, why does it shoot up after 90 degrees? Shouldn’t it begin to shoot up after 75 degrees?

    In part, but it is also because the battery is more efficient between 68 and 85 degrees. They also heat up while being charged, which can result in the charging being slowed to avoid too high a temperature.

    These aren’t overwhelming problems, just the kind of thing that nibbles at the progress of a new technology. In time, these issue will be handled with addition refinements. But it takes time.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  11. People are running into electric cars at auto rental places although very few are actually forced to take it or leave it, but it could happen in the future.

    EVs work differently. Such as braking by releasing the accelerator. It can be a shock.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  12. Kevin M @ 10 & 11,

    Thank you for the answers.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  13. Get a horse!

    At the beginning of the automobile age, electric cars were miles ahead of internal combustion in anything you would want an automobile for in the city. In the city.

    And they still might be, if you’re okay with a “fuel tank” that weighs 1,000 lbs and only holds five gallons. (That’s the battery, Sammy.)

    But Mr. Ford had outpaced them by 1930 or so and the internal combustion has had the miles-long lead since. We’ll see if they ever catch up or if we do go back to 1910 with electric cars for the city, horse and buggy and mule teams for the country, and railroads for long distances, should they manage to abolish the internal combustion engine.

    nk (8fb8a6)

  14. So, they’re a loser both at high and low temps. Only Goldilocks need apply.

    Soronel Haetir (238272)

  15. There was a recent road trip where they used a Rivian pickup truck to tow a car trailer from LA to Buttonwillow, CA up and over the I-5 Grapevine, 120 miles one way with a climb of 4144 feet. Buttonwillow is nearby to Bakersfield, CA. Both are considered by people from the coast as “Oklahoma, but without the amenities” but people from Bakersfield refer to the people of the Buttonwillow area as “goat ropers” which mystifies everyone on the coast because we have no idea what they are talking about. Local color aside, the story can be read here: https://www.motortrend.com/reviews/2022-rivian-r1t-launch-edition-yearlong-review-update-13-towing/
    The main takeaway from this story was how difficult it still is to get an EV that is not a Tesla charged, how slow available, working chargers are compared to fueling up (hours vs. minutes), how many chargers are out of order etc

    Full disclosure: I have a friend that grew up in Buttonwillow back in the 60’s. It was a place for Dust Bowl refugees who could not afford 1930’s Bakersfield prices, Taft was unreasonable as well, (you can buy a house today in Taft for $130K) so Buttonwillow was the new home (home prices have improved, this furnished beauty can be had for $155K) (https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/316-Sudan-Ave-Buttonwillow-CA-93206/18917490_zpid/). My friend says the saying back then was well earned because the only livestock that survived in Buttonwillow back then was goats, and they did indeed rope them

    steveg (ecf957)

  16. @nk@13 Save a horse! Ride a cowboy!

    (I know, I know, wrong audience, but I couldn’t resist.)

    Nic (896fdf)

  17. NPR as other funding sources beside government so it can still survive if government funding is cut off at which point it wont have to pretend republicans aren’t evil. Same with PBS

    Not to hear both NPR and PBS — and their acolytes and lobbyists — tell it. According to them, NPR and PBS receive a minuscule amount of funding from the taxpayer and overwhelmingly are funded by private sources, yet somehow that minuscule amount is the entire lynchpin to their survival, and if it is somehow imperiled then Sesame Street will have to be sold to Fox and interrupted by McDonald’s and My Pillow Guy ads. These guys are the world champions of having it both ways.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  18. Its is their “non partisan” cover

    steveg (ecf957)

  19. @17 and your side doesn’t?

    asset (7c4770)

  20. In more hilarity Gov. ron desatan says killing border crossers will discourage border crossing. (DU) Using desatan’s method other things could be discouraged too!

    asset (7c4770)

  21. Tomorrow’s annoying story: Decongestant in Cold Medicines Found Ineffective

    An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration declared Tuesday that an ingredient in widely used oral decongestants doesn’t work, setting the stage for dozens of products to be removed from U.S. store shelves.

    At issue is phenylephrine, an almost-century-old ingredient in [combo] versions of [popular] over-the-counter pills, syrups and liquids to clear up congested noses.

    It doesn’t work. It never did work, other than as a nasal spray. Most of the brands mentioned in the article used pseudoephedrine (aka “real Sudafed”) until the drug warriors, noting that meth makes sometimes used it as feedstock, made it a behind the counter, restricted drug. So even Sudafed became “Sudafed D.”

    Now, the FDA says they have dicovered it doesn’t work and want to ban this, too. This despite being told EXACTLY that in hearings before Senator Feinstein’s fix for the meth menace was passed into law.

    No word on whether they’ll bring Sudafed back on the unrestricted OTC market, but there shortly going to be no oral decongestant for sale.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  22. @21 the bush twins were cutting to much meth with it. I take generic benadryl for years and it works for me though not as good as actifed.

    asset (7c4770)

  23. This story was hilarious!

    It’s also an example of how Granholm is stupid.

    The main issues with EV are
    1. Range
    2. Charging time (High speed charging will take about 20 minutes to get to 80% charging. That’s about 200+ miles of range. A typical gas stop on a long trip is 15 minutes on average. It can be done faster but often isn’t because of bathroom breaks etc.
    3. Infrastructure for charging. This is mostly an issue for long trips and ppl who don’t have a garage / dedicated parking space they can charge and overnight.

    1 and 2 are being improved by technology. Newer evs have higher capacity batteries and faster charging systems.

    Item 3 is arguable a legitimate area of government involvement. Ideally through public private partnerships. Not fully sold on the need personally but I’m willing to listen to a policy proposal on how government funds will be used to accelerate infrastructure growth.

    What Granholm should have done is used the wait time as an example for that and has some small speech or activity planned so it wasn’t wasted time.

    But she didn’t. Because she’s dumb.

    FWIW EVs make a lot of sense in some use cases. As do heavy duty diesel pick up trucks. In other use cases EVs make very little sense. As is also true of heavy duty diesel pickup trucks.

    I have a friend who owns a Tesla and he loves it. Parks it in his garage and charges it a few nights a week. Works well for him because he rarely makes long road trips.

    I have another friend who has a GMC HD. Works well for him because he tows a big camper and rarely has to deal with street parking or parking garages.

    Time123 (15a94d)

  24. @13 EVs are currently best in the burbs because you can charge in your garage overnight. High density cities with lots of street parking still require you to find a charger. One of the nice things about an EV is that for most of your driving you don’t ever need to refule/recharge.

    Time123 (15a94d)

  25. All bow down and worship at the altar of electric vehicles.

    And please don’t interrupt the worship service by mentioning all the coal plants that China and India are building at breakneck speed.

    Also, refrain from pointing out that the planet has been in a state of flux since its inception. Hot, cold, wet, dry. Rinse and repeat. It had nothing to do with humans.

    Correlation is not causation.

    norcal (68b404)

  26. EV’s are great for urban areas in states that have an excellent power grid to go along with energy and infrastructure.

    California which always claims to be “leading the way”

    Ranks: #33 overall

    #35 in Power Grid Reliability

    #34 in Infrastructure

    #46 in Energy

    steveg (4e0377)

  27. We’re#2, We’re#2

    CA is a big #2 in highest electricity pricing

    steveg (4e0377)

  28. I take generic benadryl for years and it works for me though not as good as actifed.

    Benadryl isn’t one of the drugs, really. Only a combo version that has the useless decongestant added. Benadryl is an antihistamine, not a decongestant. Phenelyphrine only works as a nasal spray.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  29. EV’s are not so good even in the SoCal burbs, which has a top tier rate of 34 cents per KWh, plus add-on fees and taxes, bringing the actual rate closer to 50 cents per kWh. If you use A/C in the summer (and most do), you are probably already into Tier 3. Adding car charging to that is expensive.

    A typical EV gets 4 miles/kWH, so that’s a dollar of electricity every 8 miles. Compared to a modern hybrid, which gets an average of 32 MPG in real use, that’s equal to $4/gallon.

    Not seeing the savings. But it does make a good case for home solar.

    Kevin M (ed969f)


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