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Granholm, 64, was on a four-day road trip from North Carolina to Tennessee with a traveling caravan of electric and nonelectric vehicles when a member of her advance team used a gasoline-powered car to reserve a charging spot, angering a family that had been waiting in line.
“Yeah, I’ve seen the reports,” Granholm told Rep. Scott Franklin (R-Fla.) when he asked during a House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology hearing whether an NPR report from this past weekend outlining the incident was true.
When Franklin pressed the former Michigan governor, she answered: “Let me just say, I have a fantastic young staff. Just fantastic.”
Franklin then cut her off again.
“Well, that’s neither here nor there,” he interjected. “Is it true that … one of your representatives parked in an electric charging spot to reserve the position for you so that you could do it and not be deterred from your travels?”
“It was poor judgement on the part of the team,” Granholm conceded.
“Poor judgment,” Franklin agreed. “But why do you think they did that?”
“I can only imagine they wanted to continue moving,” the energy secretary responded. “But the bottom line is, it’s not going to happen again.”
Franklin seized on the anecdote to highlight some of the shortcomings of electric vehicles, namely the lack of infrastructure and slow charge times.
“I don’t personally have an issue with electric vehicles,” he said. “The technology is not there to support what this administration is doing.”
While using a gas-powered car to reserve a charging spot is subject to a $100 fine in Washington, DC, the Columbia County (Ga.) Sheriff’s Office took no action against Granholm’s staffers, since the practice is not illegal there.
The trip was intended to highlight the billions the Biden administration has poured into green energy and electric cars, including a $7.5 billion investment to expanding EV charging stations.