Welfare, Brammofan-style

Deep within the bowels of a certain government building in a certain midwestern city is a parking lot usually reserved for the upper-level bureaucrats.  I am not an upper-level bureaucrat, but I do happen to have one as a boss.  He is on leave today and he left me in charge of his minions . . . the fool!

Along with the illusion of power, he has left me in charge of his empty parking place.  A parking place, I might mention, comes with a wall at the far end thereof.  And not just any wall — this wall has two (2) electrical outlets on it.

I have written before about my travails related to charging at work.  The efforts to address my request continue, I am told, but are apparently being discussed in a city far to the east of here.  I’d be happy to pay for the electricity I use and have offered to do so, but they tell me there is no system to handle this type of transaction.  To give you an idea of the amount of money we’re talking about here, at Kansas City’s current rate per kilowatt hour, it costs me about .25 in electricity for my round trip commute.

“The purpose of welfare is to assist individuals in need.”  Okay, so I don’t “need” the electricity as I am easily able to make the complete round trip of my daily commute on a single charge of my bike’s lithium iron phosphate batteries.  In fact, when I arrive home I have anywhere from 45% to 20% charge remaining.  Those 45% days are usually the result of a conscious decision to hyper-mile and, perhaps, a friendly wind at my back.  The 20% days are usually the result of whacking the throttle wide open to feel the instant torque of the electric motor.

Back to the present . . .

I decided to make an executive decision — because I was indeed, an official executive today — and I parked in the boss’s spot.  I also went that extra step and decided that, while I was there, I might as well take advantage of the governmental subsidy of free juice.  I plugged in to the first outlet, feeling triumphant.  “I hereby suckle from the electric teat!” I loudly (actually, quite quietly) proclaimed.

Connect to AC Power” read the status line on the Brammo Enertia dashboard.  Curses!  The outlet is dead.  No juice for me.  What a perfect analogy for the frustrations presented to us by our power structure.  On a whim, I unplugged from outlet 1 and plugged into outlet 2, about two feet away.

Charging Enabled.”  BOO YAH!  Let the teat sucking commence.

Exhibit 1 in my upcoming personnel action.



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  1. #1 by David Herron on September 29, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    Hey, to help you feel a little less lonely in your predicament let me share with you a story I wrote last year about a different government employee who had built his own EV and ran into trouble because of government honcho’s who didn’t appreciate the effort and denied him the opportunity to charge. Should employers pay for recharging employee-owned electric cars? It’s an interesting conundrum, eh? However it doesn’t have to be so difficult really because Coulomb already has an EV charging solution that can accomodate this. The employer (or business owner) makes any deal they like with Coulomb Technologies – and could conceivably give employees free electricity, or make employees pay for electricity, etc. The only issue I can think of is the Coulomb charging stations prefer J1772 connectors, which the Brammo lacks, but those same charging stations do include normal 120 volt outlets.

  2. #2 by protomech on September 29, 2011 - 5:31 pm

    If the $0.25 is the round-trip cost, then you’re talking about a little over a dime of electricity per day from your employer. Around 1kwh, or about as much as a desktop computer used throughout the day. Much less than (say) a personal space heater, which I have seen a few times while walking around government cubicles.

    Granted, a vehicle with a much larger battery (like the Nissan Leaf) could draw up to 10 kwh if left to charge from empty for the entire work day, which costs a bit over a dollar at current rates. Still, I think it’s not the amount of power being used, but the application.

    • #3 by brammofan on September 30, 2011 - 1:19 pm

      I have a space heater in my office. One of the arguments I made to the powers that be (aside from letting me pay) was that they didn’t charge employees per flush. And the thing is, they do allow electric vehicles to charge on the premises: electric wheelchairs. What? Am I to be discriminated against because I’m not mobility-challenged? Now, all I have to do is become a protected class (EV owners?).

  3. #4 by Jason on November 11, 2011 - 6:34 am

    congratulations on getting at least one charge from the man.

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