JAMES Magazine: U.S. Energy Secretary’s Georgia EV Snag

Phil Kent

Friday, September 15th, 2023

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When U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and her entourage took a recent summer road trip to promote electric vehicles, they ran into a predictable yet frustrating obstacle: a lack of electric vehicle chargers in Grovetown, outside of Augusta. 

Our research indicates there are only about three electric vehicle charging ports for every 10,000 people in the United States, The scarcity of chargers is such a problem that Granholm wanted to take the road trip to see for herself. And that’s when her stop in Grovetown even got law enforcement officers involved. 

Her EV caravan heading from Charlotte to Memphis over the course of four days hit the Georgia snag when the group was planning a quick charge.  They soon realized there wouldn’t be enough electric vehicle chargers to go around since one was broken and the others were in use, NPR reported. That’s when a Department of Energy employee tried to save one of the spots using a gas-powered car. 

It was a sweltering day and the move aggravated a family that was also waiting for a charging spot, according to NPR. “The situation escalated to the point that the family, driving with a baby in their car, called the police on Granholm. But the officers didn’t have the authority to act because blocking an EV charging spot with a gas-powered car isn’t illegal in Georgia,” the report said.  

Even though Granholm and her team worked to calm things down, ultimately surrendering a spot to the baby’s family and relegating some of their own vehicles to slower charging ports, this mess underscores the desperate need for improved EV infrastructure.  

“It’s just par for the course,” a disgusted bystander driving an electric BMW told NPR.