By on October 25, 2019

On Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) proposed a $454 billion plan aimed at converting the United States from a gasoline-powered nation to one driven primarily by electricity. Under the 10-year plan, automotive consumers would get rebates ranging from $3,000 to over $5,000 (based on efficiency), plus another $2,000 for low-income buyers, for the purchase of electric vehicles made in America.

“This proposal to bring clean cars to all of America will be a key component of the far-reaching climate legislation from Senate Democrats, and I’m proud it has a broad coalition of support,” the senior senator said in a statement.

Much like the haphazard way Schumer insists on wearing glasses at the outermost tip of his nose, begging for gravity to take them, his plan has us mildly concerned. 

From Reuters:

The plan would “reduce the number of carbon-emitting cars on the road, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century,” Schumer said.

It would adopt rules similar to the 2009 $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” plan that sought to stimulate U.S. auto sales.

Schumer’s proposal would provide $45 billion for additional EV charging stations and $17 billion in incentives for automakers to build new factories or retool existing ones to assemble zero-emission vehicles or charging equipment with a goal that by 2040 “all vehicles on the road should be clean.”

Firstly, don’t we already have something like this? Standing EV tax credits already do a lot to offset the higher entry price of electric cars. While some manufacturers have already reached their 200,000-vehicle quota, kicking off a phase-out, other companies can continue taking advantage of it, with consumers writing off a significant portion of their purchase. Schumer’s plan would continue subsidizing these vehicles — to the tune of $14,500 in some cases.

Its relationship to Cash for Clunkers is also mildly alarming. The 2009 program actually ended up being terrible for the environment by ignoring the key tenant of conservation. Old cars were simply disposed off, with few seeing any recycling action, while factories had to emit more pollution to build their replacements. That effectively created an abundance of waste in a bid to stimulate the U.S. economy.

While largely incongruent with the Trump administration’s fuel rollback idea, which would freeze existing emission mandates at 2020 levels through 2026, Schumer said the plan would massively cut down on oil consumption. It’s currently supported by multiple environmental groups, among them the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and League of Conservation Voters.

United Auto Workers President Gary Jones claimed Schumer’s proposal “honors the sweat and sacrifice of American autoworkers by investing in domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and incentivizing high quality jobs across the auto supply chain.” Ford Motor Co. and General Motors also expressed appreciation for the effort taken to advance electrification, especially in regard to infrastructure support and consumer incentives. However, both have a vested interest in EVs and have dumped billions into development programs.

Presently, there’s no legislative text for the proposal — and with good reason. Democrats would need a majority in the Senate for it to go anywhere. Schumer is likely running it up the flagpole to create buzz in the event that Republicans lose their majority in the 2020 election. He claims the plan’s ultimate aim is to make all vehicles sold in the U.S. “clean” by 2040, estimating that roughly 25 percent of U.S. vehicles could be electrically driven within the next 10 years.

[Source: Reuters] [Image: michelmond/Shutterstock]

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118 Comments on “Senate Considers $454 Billion Swap to Nationwide Electrification...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    HOMER: When are people going to learn; democracy doesn’t work!

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Considering how much oil and debt we have, this is treason and should be treated as such.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter,” Vice President Dick Cheney said when the Bush administration sought a second round of tax cuts in 2003.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The last guy in the White House more than doubled the national debt with his generous handouts, bailouts, and other social welfare programs.

        Thank you President Trump for putting so many freeloaders back to work, and paying their taxes, paying into the system instead of taking out.

        • 0 avatar
          Whatnext

          So what’s Trump excuse for a 26% increase in the deficit over 2018?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I hope President Trump doubles the national debt like his predecessor did.

            Maybe after he gets re-elected he will.

            No one cared that his predecessor doubled the national debt so why would they mind if President Trump does the very same?

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Bush was a disaster. I only voted for him because the alternatives were Gore and Kerry, two people the world would have been far better off without. I fully expected Trump to be horrible too, only having voted against the lawless, American-hating gangster who was the alternative. I was dead wrong about Trump though, and I’m thrilled to admit it.

        This policy isn’t a subsidy. This is a scheme to remove all the good used cars from the market in order to steal the American dream of self-sufficiency from the huge percentage of Americans who rely on used vehicles to hold down jobs and provide for their families. This is the level of evil that the Pedocrats would be wise to withhold until after they’ve stripped us of the Bill of Rights.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          My biggest peeve was “Cash For Clunkers”. I was so sad to see all those drive-able cars being junked and wrecked.

          That effectively took many used cars off the market in the hopes of increasing sales of US-made cars.

          Turns out the biggest beneficiaries were better-made, longer-lasting foreign brand cars.

          The US tax payers were bent over and buttf#cked without even getting kissed!

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            CFC also impacts used car prices to this day, and it was a small program compared to Schumer’s proposal. Stalin would be proud of the Demoncrats.

          • 0 avatar

            If instead of trashing perfectly serviceable cars a la Cash for Clunkers, if they instead provided money to convert these cars to EV’s to re use the car bit of the car and remove just the smelly noisy bit of the car, that might have made some sense.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            “Turns out the biggest beneficiaries were better-made, longer-lasting foreign brand cars.”

            A lot of which are made in the US and/or Canada.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        actually, it was Franklin Deficit Roosevelt who was the deficit king – before BO

        • 0 avatar
          downunder

          There is a company in England starting to market “Crate” Ev motors all you have to supply is batteries
          https://www.caradvice.com.au/801643/electric-crate-motor-turns-any-classic-into-an-ev/

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @thornmark: You should look up what Trump has been doing to the deficit.

          Cutting taxes without cutting spending is amateur hour. It just makes the next guy (who will probably be a Democrat) clean up his mess.

          Also, any serious tax cut needs to be accompanied with cuts to military spending and social security, because those are by far the biggest items in the federal budget. Cutting anything else else is chump change, relatively speaking. Any politician who talks about tax cuts without cuts to one or both of those programs is all talk.

          • 0 avatar
            kkt

            Yes, thank you.
            In a recession, we are supposed to spend at a deficit. It helps stimulate the economy. It’s when the economy is roaring along that we’re supposed to balance the budget. That helps even out a too-hot economy and delay the next recession.

          • 0 avatar
            Roader

            “In a recession, we are supposed to spend at a deficit. It helps stimulate the economy. It’s when the economy is roaring along that we’re supposed to balance the budget. That helps even out a too-hot economy and delay the next recession.”

            The problem is, that doesn’t work and has never worked:

            “We are spending more money than we have ever spent before, and it does not work. After eight years we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and an enormous debt to boot.”
            – US Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, May 1939.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      How is exporting our oil rather than using ourselves treason? You’re going to need to explain you thinking here.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        We’re going to need to make the child slavers of the Congo the richest people in the world before we have a new car market that is 20% EVs. Why not use resources we have at home? Carbon emissions are global, after all. Not sending the stuff around the world on ships would be the first thing Climate Change scammers would do if they believed their own lies.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          you forgot to explain how that is “treason.”

          maybe you should stop using words you don’t understand.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            You can’t extrapolate how it is treasonous from my comment because you’re not as smart as you think you are. You love using the phrase American idiots, which always makes me laugh at your dearth of self-awareness.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “treason” is anything the right disagrees with.

  • avatar
    ajla

    A nationwide, upfront, no strings $6000 rebate on EVs would definitely greatly increase their market share.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Didn’t they do something like that already?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “A nationwide, upfront, no strings $6000 rebate on EVs” would RAISE the prices of EVs!

      Raise them by at least $6000.

      • 0 avatar
        Jerome10

        This guy does math.

        Exactly right.

        You can’t fix cost problems by handing out “free” money.

        Same fallacy that the solution to health or education costs is to just give people more money.

        More money sloshing leads to higher prices.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      You DO know that anytime the gub-mint offers you any kind of rebate or tax credit, that money was stolen from your paycheck first, right?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’m sure you consider all the tax credits on your return to be theft.

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          Certainly do. Taxation IS necessary, but the level needs to be whittled down to the last fraction of a penny. Government should be operated on the tiniest amount possible to minimize impact to the taxpayer. If that were the case, there should be ZERO tax credits because the tax burden is extremely minimal and the only goal is to scrape the government my on the smallest possible budget. Tax credits mean much more money than necessary is collected, and the resulting labyrinth of loopholes and credits is only there to be exploited by those who are good at gaming the system.

          • 0 avatar
            TimK

            According to Paul Krugman, we pay taxes to the federal government to inform us as to which currency we should be spending. Otherwise the government could use debt to run its operations without a dime collected in taxes. Crazy you say? Since 2010 the major central banks have decided that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is the way forward. They have ramped debt around the world from $60T to about $250T today.

            Under MMT. debt = money = growth. Central banks create whatever debt is needed to achieve full employment in that nation’s economy. The debt will never be repaid, so the total amount is irrelevant. Should interest rates rise and increase the carrying cost, then more debt will take care of that as well. Their goal of course is to drive interest rates as low as possible, even negative if necessary to spur transactions.

            Naturally, politicians love this stuff — you ain’t see nothin’ yet.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            TimK,

            So what does a reasonable person do? (Serious question.)

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            MoparRocker74,

            Are you willing to see military spending and social security (the two biggest line items in the federal budget) cut to reduce taxes?

            If so, congratulations, you have a consistent platform!

            If you think of both of these as sacred, and that you’ll signifucantly cut spending by cutting elsewhere, you’re just not going to make a that big of a difference in the overall tax burden.

        • 0 avatar
          Lokki

          “ I’m sure you consider all the tax credits on your return to be theft.”

          YOUR tax credits on MY taxes?

          Yeah, pretty much theft. Oh, wait, sorry. I should have said “government directed redistribution of wealth”…. not “theft”.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            @Lokki,

            I used to think as you do, but I’ve since realized taxes are the cost of civilization.

            You can live tax free in places like Somalia, if you’d prefer.

            A better measure of taxes is whether you’re getting VALUE for your tax dollars. The actually US does a poor job of that, unless you *really* value military spending (many people do).

      • 0 avatar

        I think most of us realize that. What amazes me is that people ask me why I am supporting the subsidization of EV’s by buying one.

        I respond that I’m only trying to get some of my stolen money back and get a decent ride at the same time. EV’s are fantastic cars which I prefer over ICE cars so I’m more than happy to recoup some of my lost federal tax dollars. To date I’ve recouped $15,000 of stolen money.

        Would it be better if they had let me keep the money in the first place? Sure, but once the die are cast I will do my best to get my money back.

        If others choose to “leave money on the table” because EV’s are (in their eyes) Obama mobiles. Fine. More fool them.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is a campaign proposal, obviously, since Mitch would never let it come to a vote.

    There’s a disagreement among Democrats between those who want to transition to electric cars at full throttle and those who want to reduce car use. There’s no conflict between those two points of view, though, with respect to the stuff Schumer is promoting — and that’s why he has chosen this proposal to promote. It papers over division. The conflict comes when you ask whether Democrats want to increase construction of new roads. The electric car people say yes, the reduce car use people say no.

    In any event reduction of car use is going to happen naturally as areas urbanize. The question there is whether that will come through further urbanization of existing large metros or through urbanization of smaller metros that now aren’t urban. That, in turn, will mostly be decided by whether the big metros allow construction of more housing or not. If they don’t, the smaller metros will be happy to meet unmet demand for city living at non-New York or SF prices.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “There’s a disagreement among Democrats between those who want to transition to electric cars at full throttle and those who want to reduce car use. ”

      Exactly right!

      And that would be the biggest stumbling block to get this proposed legislation to the floor for debate.

      Neither of the two options above is palatable for the majority of Americans. Certainly not for Kentucky Mitch and the Senators from the open-sky states, or the Senators from the wide-open spaces states.

      The legislation to bring broadband to the rural areas failed miserably because it cost too much for many people to get access in spite of the enormous subsidies to ISPs.

      This is no different.

      Gasoline, diesel are both plentiful and cannot be beat in cost per mile.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Bad broadband (I make my living in IT) and obsolete schools (my kids are headed for knowledge work too) keep me from returning to rural America, where I grew up.

        And the old people back home wonder why they live in a 1-way town.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Why not start by eliminating oil subsidies and instituting an appropriate gasoline tax to pay for healthcare/economic costs borne by the American economy from vehicle emissions. And then just let good old market forces take care of the rest.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” from vehicle emissions”

      That would be hard to prove.

      It’s not vaping, where there is a direct link.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “let good old market forces take care of the rest.”

      Those “market forces” will be new elected officials that will either repeal the taxes (if Republicans are in charge) or put in enough loopholes and exceptions to basically make them useless (if Democrats are in charge).

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Markets are bad at pricing externalities (such as pollution or climate effects), because the costs are modtly paid by bystanders rather than market participants.

        Government action is pretty much required to generate proper price signals for externalities. Sucks, but that’s how the world works.

        This is also why you have to read the chapters in the econ textbook after which come after the simplistic supply & demand market models are covered in the introduction. Economics is an observational discipline, and lots of things distort markets — and lack of information about what’s being bought and sold and externalities can certainly twist markets in ways that cause them generate sub-optimal outcomes. Markets are amazingly powerful human institutions, but they’re not perfect (economics pun intended).

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          Luke42,

          Your point is well taken. But you know what else isn’t perfect? Governments.

          (The chapters in the textbooks you reference, and the professors teaching from those textbooks, tend to assume governments with perfect agents, perfect motives and perfect information – none of which exist in the real world.)

          [And then high-level macroeconomics is pretty much guaranteed to veer off into dogmatism, but that’s another discussion.]

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      There’s already an obscene amount of taxes levied on fuel right now. The money currently earmarked for infrastructure is already being pillaged by crooked politicians for their pet entitlement programs, hush money for victims of sexual misconduct, and other nefarious ends. You can throw all the money in the world at all your noble causes and you can’t burn it faster than it’ll disappear into someone else’s pocket.

    • 0 avatar
      crispin001

      Vvk is right: let Schumer and the New Green Dealers convince the electorate that we need a $8.00/gallon gas and let silly proposals like this die along with CAFE.

      At $8.00/gallon the market will come up with the best solution.

      Until then just take proposals like this for what they really are…

  • avatar
    2manycars

    I really don’t care what kind of subsidies or initiatives jackasses like Schumer might pass, though I think this one has a snowball’s chance in hell – I’m not moving into a city (screw urbanization) and I’m not buying an electric car. Period.

    Today’s gas-powered cars are so clean it is doubtful that there are any serious “healthcare costs” resulting from them. This has been the case for at least 20 years, since the advent of fuel injection and 3-way catalytic converters. (Though I’m sure leftists have fake “studies” to the contrary ready to pull out of their rear ends. Just like they do for the phony “climate crisis”.)

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Actually, EVs are pretty neat if you don’t drive far and don’t need to go fast.

      One of our neighbors, a retired Army SFC, has a LEAF, and has had it for many years. We moved in on Jan 01, 2019.

      He and I drive to Ft Bliss once in awhile to do lunch at the Texas Roadhouse on Post, and meet with other retirees at the Retirees Office.

      Aside from being hard to get into and out of, the Leaf is pretty nifty. Quiet, smooth, sprightly, and comfortable for short drives once you get your legs positioned properly.

      But he’s got two other cars as well, his wife’s Highlander and his own F150, so the Leaf is more like a toy than anything really useful.

      (BTW, he plugs the Leaf into a 120v outlet in the garage – no fancy, costly fastcharger. One day he ALMOST backed out with the cord still plugged in. I had distracted him talking.)

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Fancy and costly? My Level 2 charger is a small metal box on the wall that plugs into a standard 240 V outlet. It cost $500, including cable.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yeah. $500 is still a lot of money to SOME people! Especially fixed-income people like retirees, and welfare recipients Schumer wants to give EVs to.

          So THIS LEAF owner didn’t have to spend $500, and leaves his LEAF plugged in to 120v when not driving it.

          Circuitry inside the LEAF regulates current flow, keeps systems going without draining the battery.

          Works for him.

          If I buy a Rivian pickup truck, I may do the same – not buy a 240v fastcharger.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Some seniors are on low fixed incomes.

            They are not the ones buying Rivians and multiple new Sequoias.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Did you even read the article? It specifically mentions the $2000 subsidy to low income people.

            This isn’t about me, but I don’t like to needlessly waste money on stuff I don’t need.

            I got mine the old fashioned way. I worked for it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That’s a silly provision Chuck included for political reasons in what is inherently a political bill. Low income people are not buying new cars, whether you hand them $2000 or not. EV subsidies that move the needle will be for people who are currently buying low- to medium-priced new cars — that is, mostly middle-income people.

            Paying them $1000 for a charger plus installation might speed adoption incrementally. Our local utility already does that if you’re below a certain income level (which I am not).

        • 0 avatar
          Lokki

          Plus a home with a garage, in which to plug in your $500 charger.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        He may want to get his Leaf serviced then @HDC. As a Leaf Owner I have thrown it into reverse a couple times still plugged in. Thing is, the car won’t move in this state.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Art, it never got as far as putting the LEAF into any mode.

          He was looking around the cabin as if searching for something, going through his pre-driving routine, and then said “cable.”

          If he had engaged any mode with the cable still plugged in, he would have known. My brother had a LEAF, and was notorious for trying to drive away with the cable still plugged in.

          He learned.

  • avatar
    qwerty shrdlu

    If we really switch to 25% electric cars, we’ll need a lot more generating capacity. Especially if peak demand is now 10 PM to 6 AM.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’m all for more clean coal, that’s money in my pocket.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That’s not true. My household is 50% EV, and my electricity consumption jumped by about 20%.

      By extension, a 25% EV fleet might add 10% demand to the grid, and that won’t happen for more than a decade. Surely capacity can grow by a few percent a year.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Is your mileage percentage 50% EV? Do you charge anywhere other than at home? Does your house have electric baseboard heat?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Gas heat here. We drive the EV something like 100 miles a week, and adding the EV raised our power bill by between 5%-10%. Although we don’t have time-based billing, our charger automatically (without any intervention on our part) schedules our charging for times when our local utility is not supplementing with dirty power. Usually that is starting at about 11 p.m., meaning the car is fully charged well before we start driving for the day.

          (We drive our gas car about the same amount, but the distribution is far more irregular — some weeks we don’t drive it at all, and others we take it on trips.)

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            No offense, but your gas car could do almost everything you ask of both of your cars with energy consumption that will never add up to that of creating your EV. It seems unlikely that you’re using both vehicles simultaneously with that sort of total mileage, unless you’re like my neighbors who drive to their mailboxes.

            I have one car that I use an average of 100 miles a week. I walk or cycle a similar amount. It’s flat here and I don’t think anyone else needs to aspire to my behavior patterns. I also don’t think that cars used 100 miles a week should have anything to do with policy decisions. The average car is used about 270 miles a week, and that means that for you and I there are others who offset our influence by driving far more.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The reason we have two cars is that it happens surprisingly often that we need to use both of them at once, even as there is plenty of time during the week when neither of them is in use. We thought seriously about spending the same money on one Volvo XC60 T8, but decided there were too many occasions when we were using two cars, so settled on the new Bolt and used Highlander Hybrid.

            We did not go EV just for energy or climate reasons. We really like the lack of exhaust, and in particular the lack of unburned fuel at cold start. I’m also a fan of the driving characteristics of EVs.

            Our mileage totals are low because (1) my daily commute is by bicycle or bus (~1000 miles on my bike in the last four months) and (2) since we live in the middle of the city, most of my wife’s trips are short.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            dal20402,

            It sound like your fleet serves your needs well. I’d love it if you’d bought it in a non-command economy, so we could see if it really is an efficient use of resources based on the EV being produced for sale at a profit without someone else being forced to contribute.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @ToddAtlas1:
          Mileage between my vehicles is split about 50 – 50.

          I only charge at home. The EV gets about 1100 miles a month.

          Gas heat, electric range. No pun intended.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            SCE to AUX,

            Those are encouraging numbers. I would be quite happy if EVs made up whatever percentage of the market they could without a command economy. What’s good for your use case shouldn’t be forced on or subsidized by those who it doesn’t suit.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        SCE, Have you seen the news about the fires in CA and what is causing them? Something about poorly maintained power lines and equipment.

        I would assume zero about adding new capacity for power generation.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      qwerty,

      As you know, electric generating capacity relates to peak demand. If I had an EV right now (based on my prior experience with multiple EV’s), I would charge almost exclusively at home, and almost exclusively during non-peak hours (ex. midnight to 3AM). Peak demand in my area is roughly noon to 8PM in summer and 4AM-10AM in winter. (So I would be primarily ‘base load,’ and in fact my charging patterns would help even out demand over a 24-hour period.)

      EV’s will increase peak demand, but it is not 1 for 1. (Off-peak rate schemes can help.)

      [The first year I had an EV, we made other changes to our electricity consumption that more than offset the increase from charging.]

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Yes, most EV charging happens well past peak hours so I am not sure any capacity would need to be added. Curious also, how much electricity does it take to refine 25 percent of the gas currently used?

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Every refiner (and paper plant for that matter) I’ve seen has on site power generation and doesn’t typically use the grid to power operations.

          At least from my experience in Texas.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I am cool with it…My state generates 33 percent more power than it uses. Sucks to be you if your state can’t meet demand. I’d take that up with my elected officials.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    It’s crap like this that makes me despise the Democratic party.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Why don’t we have “fuel stamps” for poor people?
    Maybe electric cars will be the place to start that trip to a fool’s paradise. 200 a month in free juice loaded on your EBT card.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      In essence, buses are fuel stamps for poor folks. Shame, because if they’re handled the right way, buses are a GREAT way to commute – I ride a Greyhound-style one to work every day. Beats the living hell out of crawling along on I-25 for three hours a day at 20 mph.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Considers?

    (Snaps fingers)

    Consideration finished.

    This will not become law.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Why do they have to be US-built EVs?

  • avatar
    dwford

    The only people who bought cars during Cash for Clunkers were cheapskates who drove junk cars because they wanted to, but really could afford something new. They came running for the free cash. This would be the same. Skin flint middle income people who have their own house to charge an EV at.

  • avatar
    notinuse

    Do the people that run this site really use the term “Best & Brightest” here? Really?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    This is a bad idea. Cash for Clunkers was a bad idea. Market distortions almost never result in an optimal outcome.

    (Side note: I will never accuse Chuck Schumer of being a “genuine” anything.)

  • avatar
    craiger

    “the key tenant of conservation”

    The word is tenet. This drives me crazy.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Vote for us. We’ll make the planet 2 degrees cooler in 80 years.

    -The Democrats

  • avatar
    la834

    I am a lifelong Democrat and a liberal, but this is a really stupid idea that’s likely to have lots of unintended repercussions (as most attempts at mucking with free markets do). If the government wants to accelerate electrification, put the money towards beefing up the charging infrastructure; then increase gasoline taxes in urban and suburban areas to help pay for it. No need for anything draconian; I’m confident that by 2040 the multitudes of advantages of electric cars will sell themselves.

    Right now though, even with subsidies, two groups are poorly served by EVs. One is urbanites with on-street parking who don’t have a place to plug in at home, and the other is rural dwellers who must drive long distances who need longer range and/or much faster recharging than EVs currently have. Work on solving those problems before expecting these consumers to buy into something that doesn’t work for them as well as what they have now.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The solution for many of the people in group 1 is grocery-store fast charging. Most city people who own cars use them to go grocery shopping even if they never use them for anything else. They’ll charge up for a week each time they go grocery shopping.

      (There’s also another substantial subset of street parkers that actually have offstreet parking that they’re too lazy to use — EVs will force them to use it.)

      Group 2 is the group that will have the last ICE cars. They’ll be banned from cities long before they’re banned in general.

  • avatar
    MBella

    So, does anyone have any idea where we’re going to get all the lithium to build these batteries? My favorite answer is that it will be recycled from existing batteries. Even if you recycled every EV built every year, how do you grow from 1% of the fleet to 25%? There’s not a manufacturer that hasn’t had to tone down their EV production because a lack of lithium for their batteries.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, there are plenty of it in Universe. It most likely is produced in supernova explosions. Though some part was produced during Big Bang.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “So, does anyone have any idea where we’re going to get all the lithium to build these batteries?”

      There has actually been a surplus. It’s not difficult to expand production. New sources are coming online. in Australia alone, six spodumene mines have commenced production in just three years. There’s a new US source on the way located on the Salton Sea.

      https://www.desertsun.com/story/tech/science/energy/2017/02/10/salton-sea-geothermal-plant-would-use-lithium-tech-caught-teslas-eye/97743092/

      The other factor is that the number of Watt-hours per kilogram of battery weight has been steadily increasing. That means a lighter battery for a given capacity and increased efficiency and range. In other words, you need less battery capacity for a given range. Therefore, less lithium. The first Leaf battery was in the low 100’s Wh/kg. I think Tesla upped the number to the upper 200’s Wh/kg. CATL recently said they were at 300 Wh/kg for production batteries. Tesla and other companies think 500 Wh/kg is doable in the near future. The solid-state battery Toyota will be showing next summer should be at least in the 450 to 500 Wh/kg range. Two good examples of increased gravimetric energy density increases are the Chevy Bolt and the BMW i3. Take a look at the range increases on both of those cars over the time they’ve been in production.

  • avatar
    Fliggin_De_Fluge

    The traitorous Dems will push this country into ruin regardless of what people really want. Disgusting people.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I’m certainly no Democrat, but I especially hate it when politicians of any party champion stupid ideas, especially if they’re designed to muck with market forces. Here are my observations regarding electric cars:

    1. Electric cars are damn neat. Colleague of mine moved here from CA with a Tesla and I see the appeal. What a responsive and fun driving experience.
    2. Electric cars are great 2nd cars. The people that can make the best use of electric cars own houses where they can install charging stations and also afford to own a second gas vehicle for longer trips. I live in an area where a combination of good incomes and affordable home ownership has allowed a proliferation of electrics, but few if any are relying on an electric as their sole vehicle.
    3. Someone above pointed out that gas cars made with fuel injection, catalytic converters and computerized engine controls are already pretty clean, and much cleaner than cars historically. I myself split my daily driving between two vehicles 24 and 18 years old respectively. Both are well maintained and neither one smokes or smells. Both would pass emissions tests. Gas vehicles sold today are even cleaner, and I’m sure we can all remember when being in traffic guaranteed you’d smell gasoline or see a smoking tailpipe. Now both are quite rare.
    4. Base load generation in the United States is 35% natural gas, 27% coal and 19% nuclear, with all the renewables below that. Lately, the Greta Thunbergs of the world are even starting to go after natural gas, which is generally the cleanest of the fossil fuels. I don’t see anyone building new nuke plants to charge electric cars, so how much cleaner would a full conversion really be?
    5. Screw the poor people. I’m not talking homeless people, but the working class that currently rely on depreciation to afford a likely 3rd hand or greater vehicle, which in the electric realm don’t exist yet. They can’t afford to buy a house, so they’re packed into inexpensive apartment complexes or rental houses. Neither one is likely to have charging infrastructure any time soon. They may also have a significant commute. When you mention the word commute, I think most people immediately think of white collar commuters in suburbs, but around here a significant portion of the hourly workforce come in from smaller towns because they can make $2-3 more an hour for relatively menial jobs. Cheap gas and cheap cars make this possible.

    I think that left alone, electrics will continue to make gains in market share but forcing the issue and throwing money at a non-existent problem is not the way to go. I know, I know, the world is going to end in 10 years if we DON’T…DO…SOMETHING!

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      Good analysis, and so much more useful than some others here who call anyone whose politcal policies they don’t like “traitors”…

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        we live in a country where people (like an MLB umpire) think it’s perfectly OK to publicly say you’re going to buy a gun and murder anyone who disagrees with you.

        And I know for sure there are a lot of “people” who comment here who think the same as him.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          I love it that you don’t realize you come in and insult everyone who isn’t as ignorant as you are whenever you visit. I’d happily sponsor you in the world championship of self-delusion.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “Electric cars are great 2nd cars. The people that can make the best use of electric cars own houses where they can install charging stations and also afford to own a second gas vehicle for longer trips. I live in an area where a combination of good incomes and affordable home ownership has allowed a proliferation of electrics, but few if any are relying on an electric as their sole vehicle.”

      I’d have to agree 100% with all of that. I’ll always need a truck for towing duty but for the other 99% of the time I leave home the Volt is a much better choice than the truck.

      The reality is that the electricity charging my Volt tonight is all power that would have gone to complete waste anyways. So it truly is a zero emissions vehicle anytime the gas generator isn’t running.

  • avatar
    Roader

    Careful, Chucky. Don’t you know: You take on the oil companies — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you?

  • avatar

    EV’s has one percent of the market so there is really no debate. The only people who buy electric cars are the socially conscious rich, which are mostly Tesla customers. Most people will not tolerate 7 hours nightly charges for their vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      For one thing, EVs have more than 1% of the market. In some areas, that number is even higher. Socially conscious? No, electrics are smooth, quiet, and have loads of power. That’s why people really buy them. 7 hours to charge a vehicle not tolerable? On a Model 3 at 30 miles per hour charging rate, that’s 210 miles of range to add every night. I didn’t know the average commuter was working 105 miles from home. You’d think with that kind of commute they’d need more than 7 hours of sleep each night.

  • avatar
    Joe K

    Politics aside, this wouldn’t get me to buy a electric car, or for that matter any new car. At 30-35K that’s a lot of money to pay for a throw away car, which is what most new cars are.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Joe K, “this wouldn’t get me to buy a electric car”

      A very good friend of mine in Visalia, CA has two Tesla Model S, one for him, one for his wife.

      This past summer they undertook a road trip from Visalia, CA to Littleton, CO, and back in his Tesla.

      Using “A Better Route Planner” they had to make 15 re-fueling stops to get to Littleton.

      To me, that’s insane. I fill up with gas ~every 300 miles or so, or whenever one of us needs to pee. But that does not amount to 15 refueling stops in each direction.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I’m cool with it. If they are going to take the giant chunk of my income every year that they currently do, I may as well have a means to “redistribute” some of it back to me instead of giving ot to a bunch of societal leeches.

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