Will Electric Vehicles Make It?

In the name of reducing green house gas emissions from the combustion of oil or to minimize the alleged danger of our countries “addiction to oil,” legislation has been enacted to support the production of automobiles that rely primarily on electricity and use oil as a backup substitute. The two most popular models are the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt.

The biggest problem with these vehicles are with the battery and price tag. The pure electricit charge doesn’t give the car much range, holding both models to under 100 miles without gasoline. Recharging the vehicle takes too long to be done while on the move, unlike pumping gasoline. Both vehicles cost much more than similar models which can achieve their fuel economy.

Robert Bryce writes more on their future:

Back in January, during his State of the Union speech, President Obama said that he wanted the U.S. to “become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road,” and he wanted it to happen by 2015. Given current sales of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, the president may hit his target . . . sometime in 2064.

In May, U.S. sales for the much-hyped Volt totaled 481. The Leaf did better, with 1,142 units sold. That’s a grand total of 1,623 electric cars sold for the month. At that torrid rate, it will take about 639 months, or a bit more than 53 years, for domestic sales of electric vehicles to reach 1 million.

As de Nysschen made clear two years ago, all of this was easily predictable. Consider a New York Times report contending that the electric car “has long been recognized as the ideal solution” because it “is cleaner and quieter” and “much more economical” than gasoline-fueled cars. That’s from Nov. 12, 1911. Or consider this assessment by a believing reporter: “Prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they are within reach of the average family.” That line appeared in the Washington Post on Halloween, 1915.

Obama’s electric-vehicle fetish reflects much of the inanity of our discussions about energy. The idea that oil is bad, and that we must therefore throw vast sums of money at efforts to fuel our automotive fleet with something else — anything else — ignores both economic realities and the myriad problems inherent with electric vehicles.

If anything, there future is not bright at this point in time, similar to the ethanol schemes promoted by the government. If electric vehicles are to make it, they should make it without the help of government, who is through this program subsidizing expensive cars for wealthy people, while also calling for higher taxes on the wealthy. I think we can all agree the government could first start by not subsidizing expensive cars purchase mostly by those whose incomes exceed $200,000 per year.

The reality of our transportation market is that it relies on oil. That’s yet another reason why policies designed to keep oil from being pulled out of the ground or by stopping pipelines that transport oil around the country are keeping us poorer in the short run.




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