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Electric cars get fully charged, courtesy of taxpayers

NASHVILLE — Few Tennesseans are taking advantage of the free, taxpayer funded electricity to power their electric-powered vehicles.

What environmentally conscious person who can afford to pay for a shiny, all-electric $36,000 Nissan Leaf wouldn’t want taxpayers paying to charge up their new toys at hundreds of charging stations throughout Tennessee?

Is the Boogeyman lurking behind the chargers, savoring the chance to jump out and traumatize anyone who dares to use them?

PLUG IT IN: Two of the electric-car charging stations at the famed Loveless Cafe outside Nashville, which, according to the restaurant’s owner, never get used. (Photo by Chris Butler)

Are the stations themselves radioactive, possibly making users glow in the dark?

Are there any souls brave enough to use these devices?

Tennessee Watchdog wanted to know these answers firsthand, so we spent considerable time at three of Tennessee’s nearly 600 stations.

The result — not a single person showed up.

At the famed Loveless Café, outside Nashville, manager Marc Browne said he’s never seen anyone use either of the two chargers located outside his restaurant.

“Actually, no, I don’t see either one of them being used at all, even at peak times when business is heavy.”

Tennessee Watchdog also found no takers at the Brentwood Public Library and the Nashville Airport Marriott.

Just because Tennessee Watchdog didn’t see anybody, however, doesn’t mean other people aren’t using the meters on other days, said Nashville Airport Marriott General Manager Shannon Bowles.

Bowles would not provide specifics, but she said a large number of her clients only do business with hotels that support green initiatives.

She also said several people in a nearby office complex use the charging stations on a regular basis.

“I’d say out of five days of the week, we see somebody charging up out there at least four out of the five days. After all, they need to be used. You can’t go very far in a battery-powered car without charging them up,” Bowles said.



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