It’s Official: Electric Car Subsidies Are A Waste Of Money

Reprinted from The Global Warming Policy Foundation:

CCNet – 25 September 2012
The Climate Policy Network

Who Is Killing The Electric Car? (LINK)

It’s Official: Electric Car Subsidies Are A Waste Of Money

And that’s the real problem with electric cars: So far, not too many consumers are lining up to buy them. That means electric cars might be doomed — no matter how much the Department of Energy wants to see them happen. –John Rosevear, Daily Finance, 17 September 2012

Who killed the electric car? This time round, Toyota did. It said today it will not release its proposed mass-market mini e-car, the eQ. The reason: there’s no demand for it, not while battery technology is failing to provide comparable range to a tank of petrol. The natural gas boom in the US has seen prices of the fuel plummet, in turn reducing the cost of electricity generated by burning it. The Japanese car maker said today it will release 21 hybrid gas-electric models in its line-up by 2015. –Tony Smith, Hardware, 24 September 2012

Toyota Motor Corp has scrapped plans for widespread sales of a new all-electric minicar, saying it had misread the market and the ability of still-emerging battery technology to meet consumer demands. “The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge,” said, Uchiyamada, who spearheaded Toyota’s development of the Prius hybrid in the 1990s. –Yoko Kubota, Reuters, 24 September 2012

The Chevy Volt, once touted as the company’s Great Green Future, needs thousands and thousands worth of incentives to move a unit … and even at that, is selling so few that they’ve temporarily shut down the assembly line where they’re made. The company’s stock price has been stuck in the low twenties for months–which means, for those following along at home, that if the government sold its GM shares today, taxpayers would lock in a $15 billion loss on the money we gave them. –Megan McArdle, The Daily Beat, 24 September 2012

I think incentives for electric-vehicle buyers are dumb. New reports from the U.S. and U.K. back that view. Two non-partisan government agencies — the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, D.C. and Parliament’s Select Transport Committee — conclude that during the next decade at least, the giveaways will have little impact on sales of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, or on gasoline consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. Their main beneficiaries: affluent purchasers who’d buy the vehicles anyway. –Peter Gorrie, Wheels, 24 September 2012

The £11m of public money used to promote electric vehicles is mostly just helping rich Brits buy a second car, a group of MPs said. The Transport Select Committee has published a report questioning the value of spending millions trying to get electric cars on the road, claiming the money is only benefitting a “handful of motorists”. “We were warned of the risk that the Government is subsidising second cars for affluent households; currently plug-in cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving,” committee chair and Labour MP Louise Ellman said. –Brid-Aine Parnell, The Register, 20 September 2012

The frenzy over shale gas deep under Ohio and other states has the makings of a different kind of rush on the nation’s highways. Businesses, cities, metropolitan transit systems and even school districts across the nation are edging toward a switch from diesel and gasoline to natural gas. Converting cars and light trucks to use either gasoline or natural gas is expensive. And heavy trucks designed specifically for natural gas also cost more than conventional diesels. But at current prices, engines that can run on natural gas cut fuel bills in half or better. –John Funk, Cleveland Live, 24 September 2012

For Fiat SpA, Italy’s austerity efforts have meant falling sales, stubborn losses and layoffs for thousands of workers. One business, though, has benefited mightily: the division that makes vehicles fuelled by natural gas and propane. Deliveries of those cars in Italy surged 90 per cent, to 114,226 vehicles through August, accounting for 11.6 per cent of the market, compared with 4.9 per cent a year ago. Almost every auto manufacturer that sells in Europe has increased its offerings of natural gas-powered vehicles in Italy, the region’s biggest market for such cars. –Tommaso Ebhardt and Craig Trudell, Bloomberg, 25 September 2012

Cheap, abundant natural gas is changing the game for energy in the U.S., and that means a renewed push for natural gas cars. According to Pike Research, there will be a total of 25 million natural gas vehicles on the roads worldwide by 2019, and the amount of natural gas vehicles sold in North America will grow around 10 percent a year between now and 2019. GE estimates there are 15 million natural gas cars globally today, and around 250,000 in the U.S. –Katie Fehrenbacher, Gigaom 18 July 2012

1) Toyota Kills Electric Mini-Car – Hardware, 24 September 2012

2) Toyota Scraps Electric Car Plan – Reuters, 24 September 2012

3) Is the Electric Car Revolution Doomed? – Daily Finance, 17 September 2012

4) Congressional Budget Office: Electric Cars Are A Waste Of Money – Business Insider, 24 September 2012

5) Electric Car Funding: Another Subsidy For The Rich, Say MPs – The Register, 20 September 2012

6) Peter Gorrie: Why Electric Car Subsidies Are A Waste Of Money – Wheels, 24 September 2012

7) A Real Transport Revolution: Natural Gas Fuels Fiat – Bloomberg, 25 September 2012