Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Even if you build it, they probably still won't come.

Indianapolis's Republican mayor, retired Marine LtCol Greg Ballard, has decided that what Indianapolis needs is an electric car sharing program. Apparently
“The EV (electric vehicle) sharing program is a proven transit alternative for residents who cannot afford to own a car or for those who do not want to own a car,” Ballard told regulators.
This is obviously some new usage of the word "proven" with which I am not familiar.

He went on to further justify the expense by saying that other EV owners could use the charging stations when not in use by the participants in the car-sharing program.

What other EV owners, though? Here in Broad Ripple, you'd think that electrics would be a huge hit. I mean, you have the combination of a trendy neighborhood full of SWPLs with cramped city streets; to look around the parking lots around Broad Ripple Avenue, one would think that the Fiat 500 and the Mini Cooper were the two best-selling cars of the last couple years and that the Smart ForTwo was a strong seller rather than the market flop it is. Yet I've only seen one Leaf, a couple Teslas, and a few Th!nks (one of which is in a business's livery.)

This pattern of electric boondoggleness tracks with what I've seen elsewhere. I've snapped pictures of charging stations hither and yon across this fair land, easily visible due to the lack of cars parked in front of them in otherwise-full parking lots:

Lonely in Los Alamos

Not in use in Knoxville
So the city wants to spend a chunk of change on this boondoggle when we've got an undermanned police department in crisis and winter-ravaged roads that have actually become deadly in places.

Priorities, Mayor Greg, priorities.


SPEMack said...


Tam said...

"SWPL"; it's the new "Yuppie".

Tam said...

(Pronounced "swipple".)

Anonymous said...

Did not Indianapolis try electric cars . . . circa 1903?

It did not work in 1903, why will it work now?

Shootin' Buddy

SPEMack said...

Oh my....after persuing the list of new age yuppy things I am concerned.

Need to go shoot my .35 Remington

Randy said...

I would be interested to know how they plan to rent a 40,000 dollar vehicle to somebody who can't afford a car. Do you leave a deposit? Honor system?

Joseph said...

The acronym for "Stuff White People Like" morphed into the new Yuppie.

With my commute, I wouldn't mind an electric car, but they aren't practical for everything I need to do, so a V8 4x4 pickup it is. Besides, fitting my frame, which would not look out of place at left tackle for the Colts, into a Leaf might be a bit of wishful thinking.

The Raving Prophet said...

EVs are better than they were a hundred years ago. They'll stick this time, even if they won't overtake internal combustion engines anytime soon.

The real issue is likely more a $10,000 price premium over those Fiats and Minis. At price parity it's hard to decide you want a 100 mile range limitation on your only vehicle. For half the cost of a new one it's a near insurmountable obstacle.

I see Leafs around town (with the odd Tesla) every so often but I get the strong feeling they're 2nd or 3rd vehicles, a role they'd fill very well. But I'd not want one without a pickup or SUV to back it up for longer driving distances or heavier hauling.

Shrimp said...

He has his priorities in place. This is his re-election strategy. See, he's not your grandfather's Republican, he supports the environment and can spend money frivolously just like the folks from the other side of the aisle!

At least, that's my guess.

Firehand said...

You beat me to it; this IS his priority.

They built a Whole Paycheck here in OKC, and it has charging stations. I haven't been there very often, but I've never seen one in use. And you'd think if anyplace around here would attract them...

Robert Fowler said...

Republican mayor, retired Marine LtCol Greg Ballard

He should turn in his man card. Marines everywhere are embarrassed for him.

Goober said...

I'll gladly buy an electric as soon as they make one that will tow my 16,000 pound gooseneck, with a 500 mile range, and 30 second recharge.

Until then my Chevrolet Earth Sodomizer (with the leather trim package!) will continue to have it's way with mother gaia.

DOuglas2 said...

I think there are LEED credits for including electric-vehicle charging stations in a new or refurbished building. To me they just scream "we like to give free stuff to rich people", because the purchase subsidy of greater-than the value of my whole car isn't enough to give to rich people, you have to give them the fuel too.

That pothole link somehow makes me much less upset about my own misfortune of losing a tire, wheel, and new alignment to in Indy pothole.

Rick C said...

One of the local electric companies has put in some high-powered chargers around here. There's on in a Walgreens a couple miles from where I work. If I had a plug-in electric car I'd park there every day and take the bus the rest of the way to work.

Anonymous said...

Has LTC Ballard considered a racetrack? It'll show everyone how you've grown up. Have you noticed how toney everyone dresses? Be bigger than San Francisco soon. regards, Alemaster

Windy Wilson said...

I wondered what SWPL is. I had to Google it to be sure it didn't refer to Southwest Pistol League, which is a real organization around here.

Buzz said...

Yup, Shrimp said it first.

The Republican party, as a whole, has gone RINO.

Once the Dims were no longer afraid to fully embrace socialism and fascism without fear of backlash, the Republicans were more than happy to fill the vacuum of their vote-buying shoes.

Noah D said...

tow my 16,000 pound gooseneck, with a 500 mile range, and 30 second recharge

I would love to see a battery system that can do that, be charged in 30 seconds. I'll just stand waaaay over here, and watch.

Noah D said...

And as far as moving poor and car-less people around, we need to stop diddling around with cool toys like trains and electric cars, and buy more buses. Not sexy, not super-high-tech-green, but they do the job.

Tam said...


"I'll gladly buy an electric as soon as they make one that will tow my 16,000 pound gooseneck, with a 500 mile range, and 30 second recharge."

Not a lot of call for towing 16,000-lb. goosenecks on a city commute, either. Your duallie would be as useless to me as a Mini Cooper would be for you. It's why they sell all kinds of different cars. :)

(As I've mentioned before, if there were a reasonably-priced electric car, we could replace one of the cars in our house. Bobbi could very much use a little commuter pod that she never has to take to the gas station because the "gas station" is in the garage.)

Brad K. said...

"This is obviously some new usage of the word "proven" with which I am not familiar."

Um, "proven" here must mean about the same as my local school district's "successful" anti-bullying program. That is, they successfully spent all the government money, and kept all the related union jobs all year.

Derfel Cadarn said...

There is no such thing as an undermanned police dept. The less Keystone cops the better !

Tam said...

"There is no such thing as an undermanned police dept."

I suppose if you live in a world where the pages of Atlas Shrugged are all stuck together in places, no.

Meanwhile, on Earth Prime...

markm said...

"if there were a reasonably-priced electric car"

There's no such thing because batteries to run a car built to American standards aren't reasonably-priced, and there's no technology on the horizon to change that. There is a regulatory adjustment that could change it - make golf carts legal and practical for commuters. That is, 4-wheelers with a top speed around 35mph and no crash protection. But that would require not only tossing out all the safety regulations on urban surface streets, but also doing something to allow these unprotected and underpowered electric pods to go a few miles where currently travel on surface streets is either impossible, or safe only at high speed.

In the long run, the solution might be automating driving - safety is not such a concern when the nuts behind the wheels can be eliminated. But we're supposed to have micro-fusion reactors under the hoods of our flying cars by then!

Goober said...


We all have our own needs. What made you think that I was insinuating otherwise?

The fact is, in my line of work, where I live, doing what I do, I need a big truck that burns diesel fuel, because it's the only technology that will be do what I need it to do.

I wouldn't expect you to drive a pickup any more than SWPLs should expect me to drive an electric car and/or PAY FOR OTHER PEOPLE to have the privilege of doing so. In fact, if there is anyone who an electric car under the present technological constraints might work for, it's probably you (except for the long roadtrips).

I'm just a bit touchy because of the "one size fits all" attitude that a lot of these eco-folk have. They look at a guy like me rolling up in the Earth Sodomizer and think "what a jerk-ass redneck" when they have no idea that this jerk-ass redneck uses the Sodomizer to build the schools that their kids attend every day at public expense. They'd like to ban me from having a truck like that, then in the next breath bitch because the cost of building schools just went up, all while forcing me to subsidize some rich dudes Fisker or Tesla and then pay for his refueling every time he stops at a LEED certified public building (with free charging station!!!), all the while driving a vehicle that actually has a higher environmental impact per mile driven than my much-maligned Sodomizer.

Gasp... gasp...

Jesus, I'm supposed to be watching my blood pressure! Thanks!

Goober said...

Anonymous Noah D said...
tow my 16,000 pound gooseneck, with a 500 mile range, and 30 second recharge

I would love to see a battery system that can do that, be charged in 30 seconds. I'll just stand waaaay over here, and watch

That's pretty much exactly my point!

With the big diesel nozzles at truck stops, I can fill my tank from dead empty in 30 to 45 seconds, and that tank will take me anywhere from 350 to 600 miles, depending on load and driving conditions.

There is no foreseeable way that you're going to be able to get an electric to do that, under the current technological constraints.

Maybe someday? And when they do, I'll be in line to buy one. Electrics are powerhouses - there's a reason they use them as the drive motors in locomotives.