Charging Full Speed Ahead, CNN Features Video on ‘E-ways’

CNN Money website focuses on futuristic concept for roads that charge electric cars.

It doesn’t seem to matter what consumers think about electric cars, the media can’t stop talking about them.

CNN recharged the topic on March 15 in a video package entitled “When the road charges your electric car.” In that video for the “tech” section of its website, CNN Money reporter David Goldman interviewed Mitchell Olszewski of Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a (at this point mostly hypothetical) concept for charging electric car batteries by installing magnetic coils in roads.

The coils would generate a magnetic field when another coil, on the underside of an electric car, passed over it, which could be converted into energy to power the car. According to Olszewski, this could solve the problem of heavy batteries in electric cars and low limits to the distance that can be driven by such vehicles. The final version of this technology is still at least 12 to 18 months away.

The video felt more like a thinly veiled advertisement than a news package, especially given its one-sided nature. Only Olszewski was interviewed, no hard questions were asked and no critics were included to point out potential problems with the idea.

At least Goldman asked about cost. According to Olszewski, the installation of these coils would cost somewhere around $800,000 per mile of road for an “E-way.” But it was unclear whether that is on top of the millions it already costs to build highways. Still Olszewski thinks such roads are a good idea: “We believe that investing that kind of money to free us from the dependency on oil is probably a fairly wise investment. Goldman didn’t challenge that view or supply any rebuttal.

Taxpayers; however, might disagree. CNN failed to mention that Oak Ridge National Laboratory (which is itself a leftover from the Manhattan project) is funded by the Department of Energy and therefore, tax dollars.

This kind of one-sided reporting on “green” energy projects and electric cars in particular is common in the media. Back in 2010, the Business and Media Institute found that ABC, CBS and NBC were shamelessly continuing to cheer the rise of the electric car and the fall of the SUV, even while sales reflected the exact opposite