Accusations of "another Solyndra" pull the plug on new vehicle chargers in small town

With a population of around 14,000, Mill Valley, CA is too big to be called a one-horse town. The real question is whether it will become a two-EV charging station town.

That question that was up for consideration at the September meeting of the Mill Valley town council. The city's planning engineer had sought and found grant money for installing Chargepoint charging stations as part of a 2010 deal between Marin Clean Energy and Coulomb Technologies to put charging stations in eight Marin County communities. A location for the charging stations had been located. Some of the funds for putting the stations in place came through that plan, while additional funds came from the Marin County transportation authority and other sources. Costs to the city would run around $1,000 a year (including electricity). Putting in the charging stations seemed to have support.

But a funny thing happened on a way to a vote. A local resident stood up to call electric cars something that was being forced on the community by the Federal government, "another Solyndra" that just "plain doesn't work." Within a few minutes, the city council decided that the costs and giving up two "precious parking spaces" was too much to ask. They voiced approval for electric cars in theory, but decided not to go forward with the plan, citing a worry that the charge stations would not be used enough to justify the costs.

In a tough economy, spending money on something that will not provide a solid return on the investment is a bad idea. The question is, of course, whether or not plug-in vehicles are the risk that the scared politicians decided they are. What do you think?

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