Congressman & Chevy Dealer Introduces Bill To End EV Tax Credit
A few days ago, the Washington Post demanded the execution of the $7,500 tax credit for EVs. Republican Congressman Mike Kelly is ready to comply. He introduced H.R. 3768, legislation that would repeal the $7,500 tax credit for plug-in electric drive vehicles. The odd thing is: Kelly is owner of Kelly Chevrolet-Cadillac in Butler, PA. The not so odd thing is: He knows firsthand whether the car is worth tax payer money or not. Kelly does not think so:
“While our nation borrows 42 cents on every dollar, taxpayers are paying for an electric vehicle tax credit that has cost tens of millions of dollars, and that largely benefits upper-income Americans. According to General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, the average income of a Volt owner is $170,000 a year.”
“I introduced legislation to repeal the $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit because, quite simply, our nation can no longer afford to subsidize vehicles that not only lack market demand, but whose safety has been called into question. In addition to the Chevy Volt, which is currently under federal investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after the batteries of three crash-tested Volts caught on fire, the safety of Fisker’s electric vehicle has been recently scrutinized as well.”
How would you vote?
Butler is also the home town of Rick Santorum, who wants to ban all forms of contraception; while, this auto dealer wants to get rid of a tax break that could help his business enter the 21st century. So, one Butler home boy wants to go back to the 16th century and the Council of Trent, and the other is nostalgic for the 20th. I guess if you want to keep America strong and able to be competitive with China, Butler is not the best place to go recruiting.
Remember Groucho's song from the movie Horse Feathers? "I don't know what they have to say. It makes no difference anyway. Whatever it is, I'm against it!" Mike Kelly is a Republican Congressman, a member of a party whose theme song is, "We don't care what the President has to say. It makes no difference anyway. Whatever he's for, We're against it." Such as health care reform, which was patterned on ideas first proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation, in similar form was signed into law in Massachusetts by Republican Governor Mitt Romney, who now disavows any connection to his own ideas when they are adopted by a Democrat. During the Reagan years, tax incentives replaced direct subsidies for research and development. The level of federal funding of science and technology has continued to decline. The only avenue open for stimulation is tax law. I'm sure that in his auto business Kelly uses many of those tax benefits not available to the majority of us tax payers. We have the sorry spectacle of the weakest Speaker of the House I have seen in my 62 years. One who lets backbenchers set policy and bring America to the edge of financial collapse. Even Senate Republicans have now had their fill of the antics of their brethren in the House. Kelly's grandstanding is not about the merits of the tax incentives on the Volt. It is all about bringing the President down, and that's the shameful part. My family lives in western Pennsylvania, not far from Butler. When I was a kid, our fathers worked in the steel mills, had good union benefits and pay, our mothers stayed home, and we were able to live a middle class life on one income. I cut the grass for the upper management of Sharon Steel. They lived comfortably but moderately, until Victor Posner came and did a hostile takeover of Sharon Steel. Driven by greed, he stole our lives away from us. I'm sorry, but Kelly is in a long line of politicians who have abetted the thieves.
Although the discussion going on here is about tax breaks, a more important subject that should be discussed here at TTAC on electric vehicles is the subject of morphology, that is, the appropriate shape for the primary task. Recognizing the need for manufacturers to go from the known to the unknown by using existing materials and methods, there is a price, figuratively and literally, to be paid for using that methodology.The Volt is a Cruze; the Leaf is a Versa. They are bricoleured solutions to the problem of electric propulsion. The primary purpose of both these vehicles is short range daily commuting. Nearly seven-eighths of the time we drive alone. The Volt tare is 3825 pounds; the Leaf's is 3415. Road and Track tested them last year. The test weights were 4005 pounds for the Volt and 3595 for the Leaf. That's a load to tare ratio of 0.047 for the Volt and 0.053 for the Leaf. With the low energy density of today's battery technology, this is a phenomenally wasteful way to accomplish electric transportation. More weight means more power, more storage, longer recharge times, higher cost. The weight has to come down, and to do that the shape, that is morphology, has to be reconsidered so that the solution more closely meets the need. Liquid fueled cars could be wasteful because of the high power density and low cost of the fuel. Electric vehicles can't be. These cars get criticized for being electric golf carts. Actually, if they were golf carts, they would be closer to the right morphology. While the first autos mimicked horse drawn carriages until a new, more appropriate shape became the norm, electric vehicles also must come up with a new shape, one that is more parsimonious, lighter, less multi-purpose and more single-purpose in function and design. I would recommend the Piaggio MP3 three-wheel scooter as a starting point for a design exercise.
But the Volt and the Leaf are designed to mimic the "morphology" of the accepted norm: A comfortable, 4-5 seat vehicle with all of the amenities that can survive modern safety tests. Thus, these cars will suffer the inefficiencies that morphology entails, but will be more acceptable to mainstream buyers that would not buy anything like an Aptera.