Even with Large Subsidies Electric Car Sales are Anemic

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 19th, 2012

Week in Review

Building electric cars was going to provide high-tech and well-paying jobs.  At least, that was the plan (see Electric-car subsidies would to go to automakers by Chris Woodyard posted 2/15/2012 on USA Today).

There would be a maximum $10,000 [subsidy] per vehicle through 2016, with no cap on how many vehicles it might apply to; that would drop to $7,500 in 2017, $5,000 in 2018 and down to $2,500 in 2019…

Sales of the Leaf and Volt have lagged behind initial sales estimates.

How you like to get a $10,000 credit on a $40,000 SUV?  That would be a nice savings.  On something you would want.  But these electric cars?  Even with government subsidies no one is buying them.  Which is the only upside.  If no one is buying these things at least it will keep government spending for these subsidies next to nothing.

Why is no one buying these electric cars?  Range anxiety.  That SUV will always get you home.  Unlike an electric car.  If you run out of charge and coast into a grocery store WITH a charging station you won’t be driving home.  At least, not for many hours.  Until that battery is charged.  (Unless you have a hybrid like the Chevy Volt with a backup gasoline engine.)  But if your SUV runs out of gas you could always pour in a can of gas.  Then drive to a gas station to fill up.  And then drive wherever you want to go.  Day or night.  Summer or winter.  Snug and safe in your gasoline-powered SUV.

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