By on November 13, 2012

Elon Musk is known as a bigtime Barack Obama donor, and he is hoping he will get his money’s worth. Musk thinks (hopes? knows?) that government largesse for electric cars will continue unabated during the second term.

“I think that we can expect at least that things will continue as they have,” Musk told Reuters. “I wouldn’t expect it to get any worse for electric vehicles, hopefully it will get a little better.”

Not surprisingly, Musk also is for raising the federal tax credit for electric cars to as much as $10,000. Tesla received a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy in early 2010,

What do you think? Will there be more – the same – less government money for  EVs in the four more years?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

58 Comments on “QOTD: More Or Less Government Money For EVs?...”


  • avatar
    redav

    I think the ‘public face’ of govt support for electrics will stay the same (e.g., fed rebates for EVs), but I think behind the scenes funding of EVs & EV tech will steadily increase.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Research is vital, so continuing to develop alternative solutions for our personal transportation needs is important.

    That being said, to make electric cars more practical, employers need to make charging stations available to avoid range anxiety, so it’s a two-way street.

    A Chevy Volt would work wonders for me, but I can’t afford it, and I believe that technology, along with more advanced hybrids like the Prius – which is the world’s standard, BTW – are the most practical alternatives right now.

    A Leaf? Well, if you have a resonably short commute, go for it – that may be the ticket for you. I get to go 100 miles R/T, so it’s not for me.

    Why didn’t I buy a Prius back in July? Because I wanted a Chevy. Period. I pay for it, too, but that’s a conscious choice I made. So far, I’m happy, as it’s a very nice car, but I still wish it got 40 mpg!

    • 0 avatar
      BrianL

      Zackman,

      I 100% disagree that employers need to make charging stations available. If an employer wants to do so, that is fine. But, I see no reason for an employer to do so just like I don’t expect an employer to pay for a portion of my commute. Even if they charged for it, what would the investment be into it. What if anything, would be the ROI? How many spots would be enough? How often would they have to add spots? This isn’t a cheap proposition.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Brian, I agree. The same with “investing” in the technology. If you feel it’s important to invest in this technology, buy shares of Tesla! You can do that!

        Do not use the Government to wrestle other people’s money away to fund your pet projects.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Employers DO pay for a portion of your commute–do you have any idea how much parking lots cost (build, maintain, property taxes)?

        Employers don’t need to give away electricity for free, but simply making power available to a few spots isn’t that big of a deal, especially since there are already plenty of places that let people plug in block heaters.

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        redav,
        Try coming to Texas and finding a spot for a block heater. They don’t exist.

        The employer doesn’t pay for part of my commute. A parking lot isn’t part of the commute, but a cost of doing business. And they don’t all have or need them. But, most do because they want people to work there. If they didn’t have it, many people wouldn’t be able to work there.

        If it comes to a point where employers need to offer this to remain competitive with other employers, I would understand it, but not right now. Not even close.

        Also, adding a few spots would be bad. What happens when those few spots get occupied and now someone can’t make it home b/c they couldn’t plug in. Then you have to add more and more power if more people by electric cars. Starting this could be very costly for the employer and employees who might have more towing bills.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the gov’t should refrain as much as possible from choosing the tech. We need a carbon tax, and let the market adjust. It also is reasonable for the gov’t to finance research. But even $7,500 EV tax credits seem excessive to me.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        We definitely do not need a carbon tax, unless one wants to crush what is left of the economy. I like the idea of electric cars as much as the next guy, but the only way they will become a reality is by way of the free market. All of the technology (particularly Ni-Mh and lithium-ion batteries) that has brought the hybrid car to viability and electric car to semi-viability was first pioneered on the open market of consumer electronics. Much in the same way that microfinancing programs are better for alleviating third-world poverty than huge government grants (which invariably make their way into the coffers of tinpot dictators), the path to the electric car is going to have to start out small – literally, as in the size of the mobile devices (phones, laptops, tools) that will provide the best entry path for emerging battery technology.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed, and I really like the idea of using small ubiquitous technology to develop better batteries.

        With regard to carbon tax and the other ridiculous failed ideas of the left, and I say this in sincerity, I just wonder what’s the real endgame. Creating a ‘lost decade’ in the West? UN backed regional or global governance? Economic collapse triggering a revolution in their favor? Serfdom? Trying to put the pieces together.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    Why I don’t like Elon Musk? One, his name. Weird name. Two, his accent. Got a south african accent and he looks and sounds like a James Bond villain. Thirdly,

  • avatar
    d524zoom-zoom

    I have wondered something for a while now and this article seems like the right place to ask this question…Where are the GM Basher’s (bailout) on this EV issue? They hopefully will be against further EV aid from the Gov’t, otherwise….it seems to me they just don’t like GM when they CONTINUE to bash GM for taking bailout $$$.

  • avatar
    Angus McClure

    I’m not one of the GM bashers you are referring to although I don’t care for what happened. I bash them happily over Saturn but prefer to remain silent on the bailout. I think the Governmental approach is wrong. A humongous prize for someone who can develop a viable electric car much like they did with the 100mpg car and (I think) something called space X. Competition will draw the best and the brightest into the fray not someone looking for another sugar tit. I think we will just continue with handouts with this administration but it actually started with Bush. I doubt he would have started a competition either.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I think you’re referring to the privately-funded Ansari X-Prize, which was awarded in 2004 to Scaled Composites for successfully flying a privately-funded spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.

      They had nothing to do with SpaceX, which is Elon Musk’s space launching firm, which has launched rockets into Earth orbit, and successfully resupplied the International Space Station with its Dragon space capsule. Musk’s firm is also working to make the Dragon capsule man-rated so they can launch people into space as well.

      The government had nothing to do with the Scaled Composites achievement. The government is paying SpaceX for its services to the ISS.

      • 0 avatar
        Angus McClure

        That’s what happens when you shoot from the hip. You corrected me and hit spot on what I was referring to.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The military does such competitions fairly regularly. The self-driving car is one such DARPA contest. (Of course, I’m sure they also pump money to the contestants, too, since this is the defense dept we’re talking about.) Whether they get a cash prize or not, I don’t know, but a juicy defense contract is probably better, anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        redav, employee salaries are determined from the overall funding of the contract.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Government subsidies may increase, but they should decrease. [And I\'m a Leaf driver who\'s part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.]

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Newsflash: Obama donors will continue to receive hundreds of millions in graft. Most of it will be used for bonuses as their farcical green businesses go bankrupt.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Yes, exactly like Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc. And exactly as it would be under a Romney White House.

      Don’t be a sore loser. A republican will probably win the next election and give out hundreds of millions in graft to people you agree with.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Yes, exactly like Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc. And exactly as it would be under a Romney White House.”

        None of this is the point. I know it’s hard to get our minds out of the bi-partisan wrestling match of the last year, but the point is it’s not right for ANY Government to play dirty.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        A republican victory in 2016 is currently unlikely due to demographic changes. A massive ground game would need to occur and repressive voting tactics.

        As for so-called “graft” you’re using the word wrong and no modern government has ever operated the way these posters have talked about. I’m not saying they’re wrong on those grounds but merely pointing out they are effectively a vocal minority.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Im all for government supported basic research, but not these direct subsidies. Im surprised the US hasnt been whacked by the WTO for the bailouts and direct subsidies. Even “loans” are suspect, as Airbus found out.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Corporations/Qualified-Hybrid-Vehicles. Read about credit phase out and quarterly sales. Read the notices too. I take the IRS very seriously. That was a Google search, I might have missed something.

  • avatar
    magicboy2

    If you’re going to complain about government subsidies of electric vehicles, you also have to complain about the $4B in subsidies given yearly to big oil. I’m fine with people being anti-subsidy, but if so, you don’t get to pick and choose.

    • 0 avatar
      BrianL

      sarcasm
      Yep, all subsidies are the same. Like school lunches for poor kids are just like subsidies big oil and EVs. You can only be pro or anti subsidy. You can’t agree with some or disagree with others.
      /sarcasm

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        What? I hope you’re not insinuating an equivalence between a nutritional program for school children and handouts for energy companies.

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        Maybe you missed my sarcasm tags.

        My point was that you can’t call all subsidies equal. Big oil and EV subsidies are not even close to nutritional subsidies for kids. I was just trying to make a point to the OP who said you have to be for or against all subsidies. Meaning it is perfectly fine for me to pick and choose the subsidies that we have.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      “Subsidies” like the R&D tax credit, you mean, that are equally available to companies in every other industry, including green energy? What a load of nonsense.

      You did, however, accidentally nearly hit on a good point — if we were to do away with subsidies altogether, it would benefit everyone except for bureaucrats and cronies. (So I wonder why we don’t…)

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      Big oil? Take a closer look at what you probably call corporate welfare:

      (The following passage came from:
      http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2012/04/23/the-hard-truth-even-liberals-are-big-fans-of-oil-subsidies/)

      ” look at the breakdown. The single largest expenditure is just over $1 billion for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is designed to protect the U.S. from oil shortages. The second largest category is just under $1 billion in tax exemptions for farm fuel. The justification for that tax exemption is that fuel taxes pay for roads, and the farm equipment that benefits from the tax exemption is technically not supposed to be using the roads. The third largest category? $570 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. (This program is classified as a petroleum subsidy because it artificially reduces the price of oil). Those three programs account for $2.5 billion a year in “oil subsidies.” So the next time you hear someone express outrage over oil company subsidies, you may want to ask them exactly which ones they are talking about.”

      Go ahead, cut “big oil” off. Just don’t complain when poor folks start freezing to death.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    No. It’s not the Government’s place to play favorites. May the best engineered win in the marketplace. No handicaps or mulligans.

  • avatar
    cRaCk hEaD aLLeY

    Wasn’t his ex-wife suing after a % of Tesla plus a car and some mansions and the second wife also got a Tesla as settlement?

    Are my taxes going to fund some of his ex-wife’s divorce settlements and eventually fund new bathroom and kitchen renovation in Bel Air or Malibu or something? Perhaps a trip to Tahiti with the new boy friend?

    This is all Obama’s fault.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    If you have a plausible, credible idea for a practical, affordable electric car, you should have no trouble attracting private investors for you will make them very rich. You have no need for public subsidies.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Your common sense approach will find few friends who make a living off of taking what you have made and spending it on their own pet projects that they alone determine to better all of us.

  • avatar
    Angus McClure

    It’s very difficult to make a comment here without feeling that someone is going to try to make mincemeat out of what you say for little or no reason. For the past 18 months the dialog has been laced with vitriol. To let you know where I’m coming from I am a person past his sixties with a degree in public administration (government).

    No matter who wins and occupies the white house the chances are great that we are going to lose. For the most part the people who fill the government positions seem to me to be those who have wet dreams about decision making. The needs of the folks are considered when it is convenient and frequently with the ulterior motives of induced dependency. Arguments like those of the past 18 months among the populace just means that we drank the coolaid. Both flavors.

    I personally feel that the subsidies should not happen whether for big oil or EV’s. You can indeed make the point that a lot of the social programs fall under the same blanket. What really gets me up tight, however, is to hear people who sound so reasonable throw down the gauntlet every time there is a chance. And this fighting is over something that we really have little knowledge of.

    Can we stick with cars and knock off the arguments. Chances are good that we are all wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      If you get a chance, pick up a book called, “Republic, Lost”. You just wrote a nice summary when you said this:

      The needs of the folks are considered when it is convenient and frequently with the ulterior motives of induced dependency.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Angus, post of the year. When will people wake up and see that both parties are stroking us.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Will the EV subsidies continue? Yes. Should they continue? No.

    Pure EVs are not practical for many reasons: range is too short; re-charge time is too long; they are heavy and expensive. People expect the technology to progress like cell phones or big screen TVs. It won’t because the technologies involved are motors and batteries–progress is very slow and there are laws of physics issues that can’t be easily overcome.

    Ask yourself this, have HiFi loudspeakers progressed much since the 1950s? Answer no. Why not? Because they are essentially motors for moving air.

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      Excuse me, but that is complete claptrap.

      Battery and motor progress has been spectacular over the last fifteen years.

      The GM EV1 represented a significant technical advance over any battery vehicle technology that had come before. Its 137-hp motor weighed well under half as much as any other commercially available motor. Its lead-acid batteries gave up to 40 Wh/kg, somewhat better than any other lead-acid battery then available. As a consequence, the EV1 had a long range and fast acceleration compared to what had come before.

      Both of those components are dinosaurs now. The lithium-chemistry batteries used today give between 125 and 250 Wh/kg. Tesla’s motor, roughly equal in size and weight to the EV1’s, converts up to 416 horsepower.

      We’re nowhere near the physical limits yet. Motor designers haven’t gotten beyond very basic water-cooling systems yet – they’re all still converted air-cooled motors. Our Astroflite-based air-cooled motor weighed in at 7 lbs and converted 35 horsepower at its peak two years ago. It’s fairly likely that wheel-mounted motors will get to the point where rotating inertia will be reduced by their use entirely by reduction of the brake rotor size needed. As for batteries, I can now buy 145 Wh/kg batteries off the shelf. That is at a size where the packaging and connections make up a larger proportion of the weight than they would for a 25kWh car battery. The physical limit on a lithium-polymer battery is around 800 wH/kg, so we’re nowhere near that yet. That corresponds to only 80 lbs for a 25 kWh battery…

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      “Ask yourself this, have HiFi loudspeakers progressed much since the 1950s? Answer no. Why not? Because they are essentially motors for moving air.”

      You’re both right and completely wrong. Since all sound is just moving air, you’re right on that part. But while the majority of loudspeakers use voice coils and would be recognizable from a 1950s viewpoint, the advances in materials (kevlar, polymers, anaerobic adhesives, carbon fibre), measurment (laser vibrational analysis, for one), and modeling (Thiele alignments, quarter-wave transmission lines, etc.) have made modern speakers so much better than what was available back then. I’ve been both an amateur and professional in this field and I’ve seen the advances and heard what they have done for sound quality.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Holy cow, that boy needs to get some sun. He looks like one of the Borg!

  • avatar

    I wonder what would happen if the Republicans in Congress simply vote “Present” for the next four years, making it clear that the Democrats own whatever happens. Without being able to blame or co-opt the Republicans and actually have to govern, what will the Democrats do? I happen to think they’ll drive the bus over the cliff, but unfortunately the only way to prove it is to let them.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Then we should vote out those Republicans for not doing their job. Lazy bums.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      They wouldn’t make it past two years. Take a gander at the Congressional record. Every single rep is working every day to bring home the bacon for their constituents. Stop doing that and they don’t win in the mid-term elections except for the maybe 150 seats that will never, ever vote democrat – and that’s not nearly enough. Republicans can’t control the House without constant action. Nobody can, and I’m pretty sure that its a feature, not a bug.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Ronnie, one of my great aunties would say both sides of the aisle are speaking malarkey and foisting shenanigans with our money; now are you hungry or thirsty?

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    I suppose Obama will go full speed ahead on more of this “green” crap, since we only owe $16 trillion or so and the monthly deficit in October was only $120 billion. We’ll let future generations worry about it:

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/budget-deficit-rises-120-billion-october-190237736–business.html

  • avatar
    shaker

    “Car of the Year”.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States