The federal government awarded more than $100 million in taxpayer funds to a company to build charging stations for electric cars even though there is hardly any demand for electric cars in the country.
A Department of Energy inspector general report found that ECOtality, a company which recently named the former chief of staff to ex-Energy Secretary Steven Chu to its board, won a “$99.8 million award in 2009 to install nearly 15,000 electric vehicle chargers throughout the country” in addition to $35 million in grants it had received from 2005-2011.
While Obama “pledged to get 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015,” the Department of Energy’s inspector general found that pledge “fraught with problems” and cited a general the aversion of Americans to electric cars as a main reason that “led to stalling the charging network – which cost taxpayers more than $135 million.”
The report also found the grants to the politically-connected company were “very generous.”
ECOtality President Jonathan Read reportedly has boasted in the past about how he was a “political beast” and mentioned on shareholder conference calls that, “Playing the political card is something that when the time is right we’re going to play very hard.”