In recent months, several conservative governors have rejected federal funds to begin constructing high-speed rail lines in their states. But a high-speed rail advocate argues that such ideologically driven actions are folly, as other U.S. states and countries around the world are moving swiftly to embrace a technology that is essential for competitive 21st-century economies.
The industry has been abuzz this past week over the announced acquisition (ahem – merger) of Progress Energy by Duke Energy. The combined entity will become the largest electric utility in the U.S. by revenue and generation capacity if approved by the various regulatory bodies, which is no sure thing. Like most mergers, the promised benefits, for shareholders and
Yesterday, President Obama spoke with workers at Smith Electric’s new factory in Kansas City. Missouri. With a $32 million grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act coupled with $36 million in private capital, the electric vehicle company is building up to 500 all-electric trucks.
While he was there, the President also had the pleasure of announcing the company was hiring its 50th worker at the plant. By September, that number is expected to grow to 70, and at the project’s peak, Smith tells us the project will create more than 220 direct and indirect jobs. As the President said:
The federal government has made it abundantly clear that they want the upcoming plug-in and electric vehicles to succeed. The government has awarded $2.4 billion in stimulus funds for the manufacture of vehicles and their components as well as to establish a vehicle charging infrastructure.
Among the grants is funding for establishing 12,500 charging stations across five states. Another 2,550 charging stations could be becoming very competitive in installing public charging stations. Also, big box retailers are expected to offer free charging to encourage people to shop and recharge their batteries.
But government agencies need to walk a fine line in building out the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The government is keen on eliminating “range anxiety” — the fear that an electric vehicle might run out of battery power before it can be recharged — that could discourage consumers from buying electric vehicles. (Extended range vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt can tap the gas tank, so it’s less of a concern.)