Energy Secretary’s Electric Vehicle Road Tip Hits a Few Bumps

Energy Secretary’s Electric Vehicle Road Tip Hits a Few Bumps

September 13, 2023

This summer, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm went on a four-day road trip across the Southeast to try and “show off” how great electric vehicles (EVs) are. The trip went from Charlotte, N.C., to Memphis, T.N. The road trip had many bumps, showcasing how unprepared the U.S. is for a transition to electric vehicles. 

The first sign of trouble came in Georgia, where the Secretary’s team used a gas-powered car to reserve a charging spot. This ended with a family calling the police as they could not charge their electric vehicle and had a baby waiting for a charger in the summer heat. 

NPR reports,  

“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.”

Another stop in Georgia and Tennessee showed the infrastructure failures regarding EV charging stations. 

“On the secretary’s road trip, that stop in Grovetown included a charger with a dead black screen. At another stop in Tennessee, the Chevy Bolt that I was riding in charged at one-third the rate it should have. Electrify America says that’s not an isolated problem; a faulty component has caused a number of chargers to be “derated” while the company works on a fix.”

The secretary’s failure of a trip shows how unrealistic it is to switch to electric vehicles in the next ten years. The cost and insufficient charging stations are the two main reasons for not wanting to buy an EV. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price of an electric vehicle was $61,488 in 2022. Hopefully, this road trip disaster wakes the Biden administration up to the negatives of electric cars.