By on May 9, 2019

Image: Nissan

Pick your jaw up off the floor. As automakers struggle to offer electric vehicles deemed “affordable” by the motoring public, those buyers aren’t exactly swamping dealers with requests for EVs.

Even in the Europe Union, members of which punish drivers of fossil fuel-powered vehicles with high taxes, EVs amounted to just 2 percent of new vehicles registered last year. And yet the EU plans to drastically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years.

New data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) shows that the EU’s green dreams will be hard to realize without some sort of massive incentive for the purchase of electric vehicles, as right now those vehicles are only marginally popular in extremely wealthy countries. The EV “people’s car” is still a dream.

The report shows an EV take rate of less than 1 percent in half of the EU’s member states. The lower a country’s per capita GDP, the lower the take rate.

Only two European countries that boast an EV market share above 5 percent are Sweden and the Netherlands. Finland clears the 3.5 percent mark. What all three countries have in common is a per capita GDP greater than $47,000. Those sub-1-percenters? They all have per capita GDPs below $32,500.

ACEA’s findings show that more than 80 percent of the EU’s electric vehicle sales originate in just six countries, all of them wealthy. On the lower income end of the scale, Latvia sold just 93 EVs last year. Poland boasts a take rate of 0.2 percent, while Slovakia and Greece barely top that, at 0.3 percent.

Automakers have miles to go before the “common man” begins snapping up electric cars in numbers large enough to satisfy the EU. And scarce, unprofitable $35,000 EV sedans are not that vehicle.

Sure, the study’s findings hardly come as a surprise, as high battery costs necessitate a vehicle with a price tag capable of recouping those additional expenses. Profitability can’t be an afterthought in a declining sales environment. Who’s fielding splashy new EVs these days? Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and other luxury brands. While companies like Nissan and Renault are still big players in the EV game, even those brands’ electrics aren’t bargain basement strippers with rock-bottom MSRPs.

If governments try to legislate away the existence of ICE-powered vehicles, they just might find themselves facing an angry, carless society. The solution, according to the ACEA, is more government intervention.

“Besides investing in charging infrastructure, governments across the EU need to put in place meaningful and sustainable incentives in order to encourage more consumers to make the switch to electric,” said ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert at a press conference in Barcelona.

“People throughout the EU should be able to consider purchasing an electric vehicle – no matter which country they live in – north or south, east or west. The affordability of the latest low- and zero-emission technologies needs to be addressed by governments as a matter of priority.”

On the manufacturing side of things, several automakers hope to achieve their goal of an affordable EV. Honda has a new EV city car on the way for European buyers, price tag unconfirmed. Volkswagen’s MEB platform, which forms the underpinnings of a massive product tsunami, will one day propel a car with a price tag in the low $20k range, VW says. The automaker has tapped its Seat brand to lead the affordable EV charge.

Meanwhile, Chinese automakers hope to capitalize on the dearth of low-priced EVs with offerings like the Geometry brand, a creation of Geely Auto Group.

With Europe struggling to make EVs a “thing,” one wonders what domestic automakers can expect when their upcoming electrics land in a market soaked in cheap gas and with  no upper limit on vehicle or engine size.

[Images: Nissan, Daimler AG]

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82 Comments on “Shocker: Electric Cars Are Still, Generally, a Plaything of the Wealthy...”


  • avatar
    earthwateruser

    On a more realistic level, it should be noted that EV buyers are likely to have a GARAGE, which elevates them socioeconomically. I live in a condo w/ an open parking lot and/or on-street parking. An EV is not an option. Even if the condo let me put in a charging station at my parking space (at entirely my cost BTW, including the electrical service from whatever adequate source is nearest), I’m sure I’d come home from work to find some rattletrap F150 parked in my space. Nope, no EVs for most condo/apt. dwellers as a practical matter.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      As long as things continue to proceed I should have a 2 car garage by the end of the month (3 bedrooms and 2 baths attached to it.) House was built in our current century so I’m sure the electrical upgrades wouldn’t be too difficult either.

      Still no interest in an EV though.

      • 0 avatar
        Robotdawn

        Congratulations!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The garage is the key – having bedrooms and bathrooms attached is just gravy.

        Good to hear the days of sharing a room with the baby are coming to a close! I don’t miss that one bit.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Well 2 car garage plus 3 season porch on the back means I can smoke a cigar in peace almost regardless of the weather. 3 bedroom/2 bath with stainless steel appliances means Momma is happy.

          That’s my definition of mutually beneficial.

          And we know what they say about Momma being happy…

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          You don’t need a garage. Just off-street parking and an outdoor outlet of some sort.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I believe the thinking is that, as a condo owner, you already live in an urbanized area and should be taking the bus. Never mind that the bus doesn’t come to where you are, and won’t take you to where you want to go.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Conventional” hybrids still seems like the better solution here. They have much smaller/cheaper batteries, use our existing infrastructure, have hundreds of miles of available range, don’t require plugging in, and are already available today with 50MPG ratings & sub $25K price tags.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Jerome10

      This is my feeling exactly.

      I honestly believe a big reason why ICE is so dominant is because it IS the best solution. Yes it burns fuel. But electricity does too. Batteries are extremely dirty to mine and dispose of. ICE largely avoids this problem.

      Then cost and range and refuel time and longevity all are worth something too.

      I will never understand the obsession with pure electric. It is inferior technology in my opinion. If it wasn’t it would have won. It didn’t. It doesn’t appear, barring something revolutionary, that it ever will.

      So we stop burning oil. Now the roads are full of electric. Next we will hear about battery disposal polluting water or kids getting heavy metal poisoning or the electrical grid can’t handle the load or we have far more nuclear waste to dispose of or we burn more coal or or or. Nothing is free.

      Hybrids make a lot of sense, especially in areas where electricity is expensive. I’m also incredibly surprised that natural gas has never caught on. Super clean. We have a massive amount of it (no metals from China or oil from Saudis), refuel quickly like gas. Conversion is easy. But I suspect it isn’t sexy enough.

      Electric car is just one of those words. If you’re a cool, progressive politician or person and you drop those words, I mean you are super forward thinking and really cool and will save the planter in one swoop.

      My opinion theyve just become political tools.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      Sub-$25K for a cheap penalty box hybrid? A kia Rio starts at $15K, a Chevy spark $13K, Mitsubishi Mirage $14K so you’re already minimum $9K in the hole. In order to beat that with gas savings, you’ll have to drive that hybrid till you die. How many expensive battery packs will you be replacing, killing any fuel savings?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        You don’t think an Insight is just in general a better car than a Mirage? They don’t offer city/subcompact hybrids in NA so you aren’t comparing the same class with your comment.

        Just using the Corolla:
        Corolla LE hybrid: $22,950 @52MPG
        Corolla LE: $19,950 @33MPG

        So a $3K premium for the hybrid. Payback at $2.50/gal is 108k miles. Payback at $3/gal is 90k miles. In places like Europe with $6/gal the payback is only 45k miles.

        Obviously, if you’re extremely concerned about battery pack replacements or expect fuel to be under $3 for the next decade then don’t buy a hybrid.

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          The ‘better car’? When it comes to cheap commuter pods, who cares? The ONLY way I would own such a thing is either because I’ve fallen on extremely hard times and need to go into austerity mode until I recover, or if a change in employment requires a long commute in bumper to bumper traffic and I don’t want to subject my Challenger to that or pay for its in town drinking habits. In either case, the name of the game is SAVE ME MONEY! Because in scenario A Im doing everything to get out of it, in scenario B my Challenger isn’t going away, it’s now my fun car. I want the least amount of money wrapped up in an appliance like an econobox. To even get me to have a stray thought about ANY kind of electric car it would have to immediately show savings, not 10 years later. The elephant in the room is always going to be that $2500-$5000 gently used corolla/scion/Elantra etc.

          • 0 avatar
            R Henry

            I drive about 25,000 miles a year. I do NOT have a company gas card. As such, a car that does not routinely return at least 30 mpg is not something I will ever consider.

            Where I live in SoCal, fuel is about $4.05/gal now. My car returns 32.5 mpg. If I were to switch from my Mazda6 to a Challenger or Charger V6, my fuel costs would increase roughly $1000 annually.

            For some, that is a worthy tradeoff, but for me, it is just wasted money.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’m not advocating for Challenger or Raptor owners to go buy a hybrid or EV. I am advocating for Corolla LE or Bolt intenders to give in-class hybrids a look.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            R Henry, are you really THAT destitute that you can’t waste $1000 a year on something you really, really want to own and drive?

            There’s got to be some vehicle that really rings your bell, regardless of what that vehicle is.

            If you’re not a car aficionado why are you even here?

            It’s all about the love of the game. The car game.

          • 0 avatar
            MoparRocker74

            In R’s case mpgs definitely play into things. It would definitely take that kind of scenario for me to consider a high mpg car but for me personally, that car has to have a total cost that’s cheap enough to still allow my fun car/truck. That means im pinching every penny on the daily whipping boy.

            As to comparable hybrids I just don’t see any value. The yardstick measuring this is total cost. Spending the extra $$ to go hybrid/electric doesn’t save money. Buying a much cheaper car with still high mpg does. As far as one econo-pod being any ‘better’…it’s a wash as NONE of them are any good. They’re all slow, frumpy penalty boxes. A ‘better’ car is going to be the Charger, Mustang, GTI etc and now that old yardstick is irrelevant anyway. There aren’t any free lunches, and saving money comes at a cost elsewhere. Alternative fuel vehicles are the organic tofurkey of the automotive world. The benefits are HIGHLY debatable and the cost to play is always higher.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            You don’t have to want to save all the money you can to appreciate a good hybrid and its lower cost of operation. Because the engine isn’t running a lot of the time the oil change intervals are longer, because you are turning momentum back into an increase in battery SOC also means that your brakes will last longer too. Then there is the added resale when it comes time to trade it in.

            I chose a MKZ Hybrid because I do drive a lot of miles, so I wanted something comfortable for the 2-3 hours I’m in the car per day but I also appreciate the fact that I can get 40 MPG waiting several cycles to get through a light or doing the stop and go on the freeway for 2 or 3 miles. Fact is that there is zero chance I’d get to use any significant HP on my daily commute so might as well be comfortable and not spend too much time or money at the pump. Of course it is not my only vehicle as I have my fun vehicles too.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            I bought a conventional gas 3 cylinder Fiesta that gets 40+ mpg just for my 100 mile daily commute so that I could keep my fun cars for the weekends/evenings/occasional drive to work.

            Is a compact hybrid a better car? Yeah it probably is, but to me it isn’t 2-3x better. Just like a Bolt isn’t 3-4x better. My calculation was something like Viper + Fiesta > Corvette + Civic Hybrid. Others are free to disagree with my reasoning, that’s why I’m glad we have so many choices.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Ooh, you have a Challenger? Do tell.

            The point is that you need to compare apples to apples or you’re just talking BS. A regular Corolla vs a hybrid Corolla is apples to apples. A Mitsubishi Mirage vs. anything other than a bus pass isn’t.

            I hate this tendency we all have now to conflate one’s vehicle choice with one’s manhood or politics or anything else really. For a while my two whips were a Challenger and a Prius. That confused the hell out of everybody.

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          ajla – the question is whether Toyota is subsidizing the hybrid version to keep the price difference that small? If they are subsidizing hybrids, what happens if profitable trucks and luxury cars are legislated away by fuel economy standards?

          • 0 avatar
            MoparRocker74

            You’re never gonna get a straight answer on that, SR65. I highly doubt Toyota has some kind of ‘secret sauce’ allowing the hybrid ‘upgrade’ *REALLY sarcastic tone here* to be only $3K higher and at profit. Subsidizing losers at the expense of winners makes no sense at all. If you had a 10 foot extension cord, and need it to reach 12 feet, cutting off 2 feet at the back and re-splicing it up front, did you solve the problem?

  • avatar
    volvo

    IMO in addition to cost another barrier to EV acceptance is that in almost all ownership situations I know the EV is one of a pair of cars the other being an ICE for when you really need the range and refueling time offered by an ICE vehicle. Whether this is “range anxiety” or actual useful range doesn’t make a difference in acceptance patterns. People just aren’t comfortable that they can hop in an EV and arrive at a destination 300 miles away in under 5 hours. On the west coast that distance is an easy overnight trip not a “vacation”

    My urban European friends mostly use their cars for weekend trips and so face the same dilemma. During the work week bicycles and public transportation serve just fine for getting to work and evenings out. City core parking is primary crowded street so good luck with charging.

    And we all know that with the current electric grid infrastructure, even if more energy conserving than ICE, the EVs are remote emission vehicles not zero emission.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      “in almost all ownership situations I know the EV is one of a pair of cars”

      Precisely. And it’s a minor exception to the rule for a single individual to own multiple vehicles. So most people who can “afford” to own an EV are in some form of domestic partnership and live in the sort of residence that allows for charging.

      Let’s say at best that’s 60% of the population. And 90% of those within the group don’t want an electric car. That leaves a 6% penetration rate at best.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Unlike with ICE cars, more EV range costs more money. Therefore EVs with decent range will always cost more, and will therefore be purchased by people with more means.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Not true anymore.

      BMW says an i3 will go 150 real miles for 47k. Nissan sells a Leaf that claims to go 223 miles for 10k less.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Yeah, the luxury nameplate stupidity tax really takes hold with EVs. For a while you could spend 40 grand on a Mercedes-Benz EV that went 85 miles, or a Chevy EV that went 240. It’s kind of the same thing even now: the electric midsize CUVs from Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes just barely crest the 200-mile mark, if you can even find one to buy, but start at $70k (and you know there won’t be a single one on the lot without $10-20k in options). And Chevy will still sell you a 240-mile car for less than half as much. Not only that, even Tesla will…and I guarantee you Tesla makes a better EV than manufacturers who are just starting to dip their toe in that jacuzzi.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          You can always pick up a spent early model Leaf and put in an aftermarket range upgraded battery pack.

          https://cleantechnica.com/2019/04/26/a-2013-nissan-leaf-with-380-miles-of-range/

  • avatar
    DedBull

    The federal tax credits on EVs only benefit those with sufficient taxable income. The tax law changes effective for the 2018 tax year have changed the value of those credits.

    For example, we are a lower middle income family. My 2018 tax liability was just over $5000. After the new $2000 child tax credit (x2), student loan interest, and child care deduction, my overall tax liability was less than $1000. Turbotax tells me my effective tax rate was 1%.

    I would consider a EV/PHEV, but the 7500/5600 credits that exist can only take your federal tax liability to 0. So in effect any EV credit I would get would only be wort 1000 to me. There are some potential one time tax games you can play with ROTH IRAs but I don’t see that as a practical option for most people.

    As long as there are early adopters/rich toys the EV market can continue to grow and evolve, but until a EV/PHEV can stand on equal footing price wise with ICE vehicles they will be a footnote/toy.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      DedBull – then you better vote Democrat next year, because they are all promising to roll back the Trump tax cuts, and then that EV tax credit will work for you and you can do your part to save the world from boiling.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      An option is to lease instead, where the manufacturer keeps the tax credit and passes most of it on to you as a lower monthly payment.

  • avatar
    don1967

    And here I thought George Clooney was a simple, down-to-earth guy.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    How’s that for irony? The ‘supposed’ benefit of an electric car is touted as saving you money. But they’re so expensive you’ll never recoup the costs. Conversely, on benefit of being wealthy is that if you’re financially well off you can probably afford to drive whatever you really WANT, the cost of fuel is nothing to you. So the moral of the story is that you have to be rich or at least have a damn good paying job in order to afford a depressing, ugly little penalty box. I don’t get it. Posters of Lamborghinis, Porsches, Corvettes etc on the walls of ‘80’s kids to keep our eyes on the prize in terms of motivation for becoming successful. In my case it was the built up Jeeps in Four Wheeler, and the project cars in Hot Rod, but my point stands: electric cars are for rich wierdos, tree huggers, or the rare technology buff with a genuine interest in all things electric. Unlike the advent of transverse engine fwd layouts or fuel injection (two massive automotive sea changes in my lifetime) electrifying cars isn’t the answer for anything even remotely mainstream.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “electrifying cars isn’t the answer for anything even remotely mainstream”

      Yet that’s the fastest growing market segment today.

      How many vehicles qualifies as ‘mainstream’ for you? If Volvo is mainstream, Tesla is outselling them 2:1 in the US, for example.

  • avatar

    With shorter distances and less reliance on cars in many urban metroplexes, Europe may be faster than North America to have EVs become mainstream choices.

    In North America, electric vehicles will be a mainstream choice for many consumers when: 1) the minimum range under very hot or cold conditions is 250 miles, 2) recharging stations are along almost every highway, 3) recharging takes a maximum of 15 minutes, and 4) the overall costs of purchase, fuel, & service are about the same as for a conventional car – WITHOUT government subsidies that rob people whose needs make EVs an impossible choice.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    EVs are following the same pattern set by other “new tech” products, like PCs. I’ve told this story before, but my dad was an early PC adopter, and his circa 1983 or 84 AT cost something like ten grand. Truth be known, it was only moderately useful. I’d say the same thing about the first Macs, which cost a fortune as well.

    But the early adopters financed the far better and cheaper machines that followed. Same thing will happen with EVs.

    Does that mean universal EV acceptance? No. But I think the market share for EVs is bound to rise, and regardless of what your political perceptions of them is, it’s another choice for consumers. That’s always a win.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenuer

      Good points. I fully agree.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Good points, and I’m glad your dad had the sort of income to finance a purchase like that. My parents didn’t. Nor would have a federal tax credit brought it within the their price range. Which makes me wonder why we bother subsidizing expensive purchases for people with the disposable income necessary to invest in undercooked technologies.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Actually, taxpayers subsidized that PC twice – once through billions of tax dollars spent to develop the underlying microchip technology, and again when he wrote off the depreciation for the machine itself.

        New technologies can be done without tax support of one kind or another, as long as you’re willing to wait a long time for the technology, and accept the possibility that it’ll end up developed elsewhere. As it is, I’m thankful we had the foresight to drop all those billions on things like microchips and the Internet – whatever was spent has been recouped God only knows how many times.

        In the end, subsidies aren’t a problem – they’re an opportunity to make money.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          If the government wants to provide grants to companies to conduct R&D on more efficient batteries as a matter of policy (and so many governments do), so be it. It’s not the same thing as a direct-to-consumer subsidy that can only be utilized by the economic elite.

          People who can afford a $76K Model S can afford a $84K Model S.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            How many “economic elites” bought Leafs and Bolts, though? Not many, I’d wager. And I wouldn’t call someone who could afford a $45,000 Model 3 a one-percenter either.

            But, yeah, I’d rather see the tax subsidies aimed at lower-priced vehicles. You’re right – someone who can drop 90 large on a Model X doesn’t really “deserve” the money.

            In theory, I agree with just subsidizing the technology, but in reality, what they’re trying to do with the tax credit is to stimulate production, thereby generating jobs. And in the case of Tesla, it worked – there’s a company there that wasn’t before.

            Time will tell how well this all works, I suppose.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            In line with your way of thinking, California rejiggered its incentives to benefit lower income people more. To me that’s misguided though: a) there are public-health benefits of material value to a government regardless of who’s driving the car, b) the way to get price down so incentives aren’t needed in the end is to get volume up as much as possible as soon as possible so economies of scale kick in, and you do that by moving as many units as possible again regardless of who’s driving, and c) poor people aren’t buying new cars, electric or not.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        TMA, I’m with you. It’s not morally justifiable to spend money like this while ignoring the mental illness problem we have in the US.

        The idea of bettering society for the common good is a noble pursuit. Our representatives get confused on their role in that pursuit.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Agreed, it’s a crime how little we spend on mental health, but ultimately, the noble pursuit here isn’t protecting Mother Gaia – it’s job and wealth generation.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Moore’s law probably doesn’t work here

      seems governments know that, hence the subsidies and laws seeking to outlaw ICE’s (CA)

      people didn’t get pc’s w/ subsidies and the government didn’t seek to outlaw other tech

      I suspect that, like high speed rail (the same CA), the benefits and costs of EV’s have been vastly oversold

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Alternative fuel vehicles, BEVs or otherwise, will only achieve market penetration when they match or exceed the value of ICE powered vehicles.

    As such, there are two approaches:

    1) Alternative fuel technology improves to the point that it legitimately challenges ICE for market dominance, or

    2) Governmental interference artificially raises costs associated with ICEs such that the value proposition of ICE power shrinks, and the less developed and less efficient alternative fuel options rise to prominence.

    Too bad the EU has decided to pursue option 2. This will only put their economy at a disadvantage.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Not just the EU – the US Federal Government has been “modifying” the auto market here for many, many years. Requirements of CAFE as well as other well-intentioned regulations placed upon manufacturers desiring to compete in the US market since the 1960’s have resulted in the rise of the SUV through their classification as trucks, most sedans looking very similar in profile with low roofs in the squashed rear seat area, the rise of the CVT over the familiar geared auto and the demise of the manual in search of the last .001 MPG through total computer control of the drivetrain, as well as a myriad of nice-to-have safety options that allow more and more operator disengagement from piloting a vehicle. Auto manufacturers are complicit – they may pretend to fight some of the regulation but, in all actuality, they go right along with the program to stay in business. Rather similar to the Borg – the public is being assimilated one bite at a time to comply with government regulation “for our own good and a better world”. I’m waiting for the shoe to drop with a similar effort such as the Rural Electrification projects of the 1930s (which was a good idea by the way) by governmental entities to spread charging stations far and wide throughout the country in a huge public works project rife with cost overruns, graft and corruption, and poor oversight/management (likely not near as good an idea). That will probably be the next major move pushing all the proles toward BEV’s “for our own good and a better world”. Resistance is futile perhaps…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Hopefully the current administration will clap back many of the CAFE requirements thus allowing larger, thirstier, brawnier engines, like the Hellephant, and other such automotive beasts, in production-run vehicles.

        If for nothing else than for the enthusiast who can afford to buy one, since the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

  • avatar
    Dartdude

    I don’t know about you, but I remember in the early seventy home builders were building all electric homes. They were costly to heat, because electricity cost more than natural gas. Same with a car. Electric cars will drive up the cost of electricity just like ethanol drove up the price of corn

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Grew up in an all electric house. In that area there were no nearby natural gas pipelines so it was really the only option if you didn’t want heating oil or propane. It was all good for my parents being on an co-op for electricity so the rates were fairly reasonable.

      But yes this will raise rates eventually.

      In my area you could put solar panels on the house (lots of high solar days in NM) and utilize some of that for the majority of needs like an electric car. But then you’d be showing off your double wealth.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The idea of going solar, and running my home and car largely off that, actually appeals to me.

        And, no, it’s not to “impose my green-ness” on everyone else, even though going green is a good thing – it’s just that the idea is cool, and I geek on new technology.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          It is an appealing concept. And apparently solar power actually makes sense in some southern U.S. regions.

          I was listening to a podcast with Scott Adams (Dilbert cartoonist) and he had a solar system installed in his California home a few years ago once it was economically feasible. But he lamented that the costs have now come down to the point where he should have waited and saved even more.

          In that case, solar power is simply financially and environmentally responsible rather than a signal of wealth.

          I’m jaded by all the greenwashing. You can’t spend your way out of resource consumption. So when people install solar up here in Western Canada, I simply assume they think the technology is neat and want to spend their money on having a solar panel hobby, like how many here prefer to spend their resources on riding snowmobiles. But I trust Mr. Adam’s analysis and expect solar power will become the norm in certain southern regions, expanding north from there as it becomes practical.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            When I’ve build up a little equity I could see doing something like solar panels. The roof is done in a way that there is a roof pitch facing all of the cardinal directions.

            By then the wife would have the big CUV/SUV she wants and I could electric commute. Still leaves the antique Mustang as a fun car.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Well, logically it should. But especially in those southern states, the local power company sometimes set policies and provides bribes—er, excuse me, ***campaign contributions and model legislation***—to keep solar power out. They want to keep you buying their juice.

            I’m sure you’re right that solar panels are most productive in southern states, but they don’t need heat, just light. So they can be productive even when it doesn’t feel sunny-n-warm to us, as long as it’s daytime out.

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          I’m all in favor of my neighbors buying Tesla cars, Powerwalls, solar roofs, and exercise bikes.

          I’ll be driving on the cheap with my outmoded gasoline cars and heating cheap with methane.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Methane?

            You are going to burn farts? That will sure help offset the carbon emissions of the average cow before he ends up on my dinner plate.

            (Thanks for the reminder that I’m grilling NY Strip tonight.)

          • 0 avatar
            Roader

            Natural gas is primarily methane.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Yep. I don’t get the EV hate by some gearheads. Supply & demand, baby: less demand for gas means cheaper gas. You don’t have to buy a Leaf, but if your neighbor does, he’s doing you a solid.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            There’s actually a guy in England named Mr. Methane that farts out songs.

            I am not making this up.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Dartdude, I can relate to your comment.

      Because where we built our home in the desert in 1980-1986, all we had (at first) was an electric power line with 100-amp service, no water, no gas, no sewer, no telephone. So we had lots of AC generators and two 55-gallon drums of gasoline on the property.

      Heating a 40X40 cinderblock structure in winter with only electricity was costly.

      As time progressed we switched to a 250-gallon LP Gas tank, and heater/furnace, stove, water heater.

      These days all the comforts of a modern home have reached our area with natgas, city water, and city sewer instead of septic. Even phone lines. Then again, who still uses a landline?

    • 0 avatar
      ravenuer

      A house a few doors from me was built in the 70s, all electric. PLUS it had the distinction of having aluminum wiring. You can imagine how that turned out!

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ revenuer ..”You can imagine how that turned out” …I don’t have to imagine ! My wife and I mortgaged our hearts and soul in 1975 and bought one of those abominations . The builder promised us, “we’re buying a home of the future” After several attempts, we finally unloaded it in 1986 and made a $25K profit.

        We were one of the lucky ones ..HVAC, and Electrical contractors made a fortune converting those so called “homes of the future ” to forced air gas/oil, and copper wiring .

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Um, office buildings rely totally on “all electric” heating from reverse cycle airconditioners…….

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Steph, good synopsis of a niche industry trying to get a foothold with the great unwashed masses (in America.)

    Even the believers and the non-believers cannot dispute the points you have highlighted in your article.

  • avatar
    Roader

    DOE has a website that shows electricity power generation by source, by state:

    https://afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric_emissions.html

    …plus a little graphic on the side showing annual emissions for a BEV, PHEV, hybrid, and gas car. BEVs are the winner in Washington due to their massive hydro generation capacity. Big coal states like Indiana and Utah show hybrids polluting less than either BEVs or PHEVs.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I’m so confused by that…

      In my state of Ohio, it shoes hybrids have lower emissions than BEVs?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Gasoline is cleaner than Ohio’s electricity generation.

        Example for my area – Gallup just recently installed a big Solar Farm next to the interstate capable of generating roughly 10% of the cities needs. This offsets some of the coal being used at some of the nearby generating stations.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Modern ICE cars are very good at what they do. The only force opposing ICE are leftist governments and rent-seeking NGOs who oppose the consumption afforded by the free market, and who oppose human flourishing in general. That’s why you will never hear them recognize nuclear power as the best option to fight (imaginary) climate change.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” The only force opposing ICE are leftist governments ”

      Careful M-B or you’ll offend the Anti-Right Anti-White coalition (#ARAW) under the #DoubleStandard.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Nuclear power is the *easiest* option to produce energy without fossil fuels. Unfortunately, it’s also the *easiest* man-made option short of nuclear war for rendering huge areas uninhabitable. And don’t kid yourself – it would have been really *easy* for Fukushima and Chernobyl to do just that.

      When solar or wind farms go bad, they don’t render thousands of square miles uninhabitable, you know?

      Nuclear’s great in theory. In practice, it can be a catastrophe.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “In practice, it can be a catastrophe.”

        I still think expanding nuclear power use should be considered much more seriously than it is, especially in coal-heavy areas. Fukushima was built in ’71 and Chernobyl happened in ’86. A modern plant should have considerable safety advancements over those.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          I toured Chernobyl back in March. It’s remarkable and unforgettable to see what 1000 square miles of wasteland looks like.

          That accident was due to a combination of bad engineering, bad politics, and bad judgment.

          Nuclear has a great upside and a terrible downside. I’m on the fence about it.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            “That accident was due to a combination of bad engineering, bad politics, and bad judgment.”

            Now we have socialists calling the shots in our schools and bureaucracies too. We’re being asked to put back on the shackles of serfdom to appease the weather, and you think we can execute the design and construction of new nuclear power plants? We’re lucky when new bridges don’t collapse.

      • 0 avatar
        Roader

        There are much safer nuclear power plant designs today than there were 50 years ago, when most US plants were built. And even with those old designs, as far as I know, no non-construction death has ever been attributed to a US nuclear power plant.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    So all the governments need to do is to more generously subsidize moderately wealthy people (or better) to buy EVs? Has anyone looked at the budget deficits in places like Italy, Greece, Spain, and France, or the unfunded public pension bombs in almost every country of Europe including the rich ones? And then you have the costs of expanding the grid, as relatively successful EV adopting countries such as Sweden are already having grid reliability problems due to the added demands of EV charging. And if the governments think subsidies can be reduced soon because EVs are going to get cheaper, the most recent news is that battery prices are heading up as the supply of needed minerals and battery manufacturing capacity is in doubt for any huge surge in EV demand.

    It will be interesting to see public reaction when European politicians start telling senior citizens that their pensions and “free” medical are getting cut because they need to spend money subsidizing EVs. I think France has recently given us a sample of what to expect.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      You’re entitled to your opinion. You’re not entitled to make stuff up. Sweden isn’t having electricity reliability problems because of EVs or anything else, for that matter. If you want to see what it looks like when a country gets its sh!t together, visit that country or any of its Nordic neighbors. They’re practical, thoughtful, efficient, and disinterested in the hysterical identity politics of left or right. We could learn a thing or two.

      • 0 avatar
        Roader

        Compared to the US, Sweden is white. Really, really white. It’s kind of like an oversized Vermont that way. The entire Norden is like that.

        Easy to get along, easy to agree to take care of each other, when everyone looks, talks, and pretty much thinks exactly the same.

        Not so easy in the very racially and ethnically diverse United States. Personally, I prefer the US. Europe, especially northern Europe, is really boring.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Not so easy in the very racially and ethnically diverse United States.”

          So true. A lot envy, anger, distrust, jealousy, and in some cases downright hate among the diversity, most of it aimed at the White and Caucasian members of American society.

          The great melting pot experiment may have not have worked out as hoped and resulted in forced ethnic toleration instead of societal acceptance.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I can see it now we’ll all be riding bikes to save the environment and then when there are too many bikes we will be asked to walk.

  • avatar
    Roader

    IMHO, the great melting pot experiment has worked. It’s just that we can’t add “ingredients” too fast. We had similar problems with immigrants not assimilating before, back in the late-19th/early-20th century. The solution back then was to shut immigration down for a few decades. People reminisce about the golden years for blue-collar workers in the 1950s, not realizing that the proportion of foreign born population back then was 5%, far down from 15% back in 1920, which is when we started severely restricting immigration.

    The problem now is that over the last few decades the proportion of foreign born population has crept back up to 15%, with all the attendant problems. It’s no wonder the vast majority of Americans want to restrict immigration again, especially illegal immigration. And I think we’re starting to see the effects of immigration restrictions now, with rising blue-collar wages.


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