Posts Tagged ‘Electric car’

Now Toyota sees sense and backs away from all-electric cars

September 24, 2012

The hype about electric cars is just one more example of environmental alarmism leading to bad decisions. The list of “bad decisions” made to appease environmentalism is long and getting longer. Wind power before its time and solar power before it  was commercially viable have only helped to increase the costs to the consumer but they have been a windfall for those who have managed to “milk” the subsidies. The electric car fiasco is no different. Billions have been wasted in subsidising something that is not commercial and in trying to skew the market in the hope of artificially creating a demand where there is none. But a few have managed to live very well off the subsidies. Some day electric cars may well become commercially viable and when they do it will not be because an environmental lobby group or a government  merely wished for it but because the technology and supply network then will be sufficiently developed to offer the consumer a superior product at a reasonable price.

The simple reality is that:

  • electric car batteries are still too heavy and take too long to charge
  • the range they provide is too short
  • the cars are too expensive

More importantly the ostensible reason for subsidising the technology  – as being for the cutting of carbon dioxide emissions to try and reverse natural climate change –  is both based on a false premise and futile.

“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.

Reuters reports:


Electric cars in the US: $7.5 billion of taxpayers money for “little or no impact” on gas consumption

September 22, 2012

The fantasy world of subsidies is compounded when the subsidies are for irrational but “politically correct” ends.


U.S. federal policies to promote electric vehicles will cost $7.5 billion through 2019 and have “little to no impact” on overall national gasoline consumption over the next several years, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report issued on Thursday.

Consumer tax credits for buying electric vehicles, which can run as high as $7,500 per vehicle, will account for about 25 percent of the $7.5 billion cost, the CBO said.

The rest of the cost comprises of $2.4 billion in grants to battery makers and projects to promote electric vehicles as well as $3.1 billion in loans to auto companies designed to spur production of fuel-efficient vehicles. …….

Even subsidies fail to stimulate electric vehicle sales in Europe

September 30, 2011

The fundamental problem with using subsidies for political purposes is that something that is fundamentally unsound and not viable is supported by tax-payer money in the hope that it will become viable. I take it for granted however that subsidies are nearly always misplaced, subject to and induce gross misuse and are generally counter-productive for the political objectives they have. In my experience subsidies tend to hinder rather than help the development of new technologies. They particularly reduce the pressure on the developers to reduce costs for new technologies and are too easily misused. The emphasis always becomes the maximisation of the subsidies that can be extorted rather than the proper commercialisation and deployment of the new technology.

Subsidies for electric vehicles are equally misplaced and sales in Europe demonstrate that these incentives are particularly ineffective.  It is probably time to dismantle all such subsidies which only distort the market and to let the development and commercialisation of electric vehicles follow a more healthy course.

Incentives fail to stimulate European electric vehicle sales

New research from JATO Dynamics finds that despite a variety of subsidy programs, electric vehicle (EV) sales in Europe remain stubbornly unresponsive to financialincentives during the first six months of 2011.

Europe has a wide range of incentives in place, but they do not appear to correlate closely with sales of electric vehicles.  For example, Spain (€6,500) and Great Britain (€6,400) have almost identical subsidies, but Great Britain registered almost five times the volume of EVs (599 versus 122) during the first half of 2011. Sweden registers an almost identical volume as Spain (111) but subsidizes each vehicle by only €470.

Denmark offers tax breaks that can potentially amount to €20,588 per vehicle, but there were only 283 registrations in the first half of 2011.

“The discrepancies highlight the apparent low influence of price on purchase decisions across the region,” says Gareth Hession, vice-president for Research at JATO. “It’s reasonable to conclude that sales are more affected by other factors such as the degree of urban geography, market maturity and charging infrastructure than was previously thought.”

Total registrations were only 5,222 in the first half of 2011.

Following fiasco in Spain, electric car sales slump in the UK

October 23, 2010


G-Wiz Electric Vehicle parked outside 37 Savil...

G-Wiz Electric Car:Image via Wikipedia


In August it was apparent that Spain’s much-publicized plans to put thousands of electric cars on the road as part of a drive for a greener economy were way off target, with only 16 sold so far compared to the 2000 target for this year.

The Guardian reported today that

Sales of new electric cars in the UK plummeted by nearly 90% in 2009 compared with their peak in 2007, according to motoring trade association figures released this week. Just 55 of the green cars – whose fans include Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross and Jade Jagger – were registered in 2009, in contrast to 397 in 2007, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The huge fall is a blow to UK efforts to meet tough carbon emission cut targets in a decade, and comes just months before the government introduces a subsidy of up to £5,000 off new electric cars.

Nearly half of the electric vehicles sold last year were the tiny G-Wiz car. The latest modelhas a top speed of 50mph and a range of 48 miles between charges.

In January, the coalition will begin offering up to £5,000 towards the price of a series of newly launched electric cars, as part of a subsidy announced by the former Labour government. The Department for Transport (DfT) anticipates around 8,600 of the cars will be sold in the first year of the scheme. The government has so far committed £43m for the scheme to run until March 2012, with a review taking place in January 2012, but in yesterday’s spending review it talked of “supporting consumer incentives for electric and other low-emission cars throughout the life of this parliament,” suggesting the subsidy would continue after March 2012 though possibly at a lower rate.

In Spain the Industry Ministry’s plan was to have 2,000 electric cars on the road by the end of 2010 and 20,000 electric and hybrid vehicles operating the following year.

I cannot help concluding that most of these highly artificial “green” subsidies – whether for cars or for solar energy or  for wind turbines – are badly thought through, are chasing a mirage and will be counter-productive.

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