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Federal Aid For Electric Cars - Good or Bad Idea?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
edited June 2010 in General
From today's (6/23, section B3) Wall Street Journal:

"The Obama administration on Tuesday backed a proposal to spend up to $6 billion more on subsidies for electric vehicles, amid renewed interest on Capitol Hill in measures to cut petroleum consumption in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill..."

I don't think this would be good policy, for a variety of reasons. What do you think?


  • kernickkernick Member Posts: 4,072
    edited June 2010
    As far as I can tell, the current government will solve all our problems if it is allowed to grow, accumulate more control, and be powered by a near-infinite amount of borrowed $. ;)

    Here's the best reason not to even go any further with this topic - As long as there is a growing GLOBAL population with a growing demand for petroleum, whether for plastics, heating-fuel, or transportation, ANY and ALL sources of oil will be tapped over the years. IN THE END, all recoverable oil is used, unless there is some easily tapped alternative energy which doesn't exist today.

    Tell me when we have nuclear fusion or black-hole-singularity energy generation, and I'll say the oil (or coal or natural-gas) will stay in the ground.
  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,747
    They subsudised Hybrids till they discovered they were losing tax money and are now booting them out of the car pool lanes in California. At least with EVs you have a true city car that is an alternative to ICE. Not ICE plus something. Bring on the Leaf. May they start hitting the streets in droves. Not likely to happen but it would be the first real attempt to keep a promise the government made 30 years ago when they were going to force the manufacturers to make a percentage of zero polluting cars.

    And for power bring on more Nuclear plants. We may be skittish but the Chinese are planning on building a bunch and it may help thier oil consumption.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited July 2010
    And for power bring on more Nuclear plants.

    I think BP may be interested in going that way after their small problem with one of their wells. Can't wait to see them try to shut down a nuke problem in 90 days. :P

    Obama checks out a Volt:

    President Obama Stands Next to, Sits in, Talks About Chevy Volt (Straightline)
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Member Posts: 7,704
    I think BP may be interested in going that way after their small problem with one of their wells. Can't wait to see them try to shut down a nuke problem in 90 days.

    Bite your lip, you...Boise-an? Boisean?

    2021 Kia Soul LX 6-speed stick

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Let's get real here...even if the inner metro areas are buzzing with cute little electric cars in the next 10 years...when people go to plug them in, chances are pretty darn good that the electricity will come from a coal-fired or nuclear plant.

    Essentially nothing has changed, only "shifted".

    This is not a renewable energy source, but rather a conversion from one type of energy into another, both of which are used up and not replenished.

    For instance, if you go to "green" cities like say self-touting Boulder, Colorado---yes, there are bike paths and innovative recycling and green space and solar panels on roofs---but 5 miles out of town there's a big coal-fired plant that keeps Boulder lit up, as well as the tons of SUVs that blanket the 95% of the city that isn't a bike path or pedestrian mall.

    What we have there is "look good" and "feel good" but it's not a "sustainable future".
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Member Posts: 7,704
    edited August 2010
    but if enough of us run all-electric cars won't we cut a lot of emissions down and take away a whole bunch of that kind of environmental mess, in your view?

    I know that coal-fired electrical plants still emit a whole bunch of belch, and we should go nuclear to produce electricity, solar doesn't seem to provide enough punch and wind won't make it without the eco-freaks busting in and stopping that energy production method before it even gets started.

    But it seems to me that for me to do my local errands driving a Mitsubishi i-MiEV instead of my ICE Lancer GTS overall it should help the environmental picture out. No need for gasoline and way fewer parts inside to move the car. And no emissions coming out the tailpipe. I know it's a trade-off but doesn't it favor the all-electrical idea more than the ICE idea at the end of another hard-fought day?

    2021 Kia Soul LX 6-speed stick

  • euphoniumeuphonium Member Posts: 3,425
    When I visited friends in Boulder, I discovered it was a few square miles surrounded by reality.
  • kernickkernick Member Posts: 4,072
    I know it's a trade-off but doesn't it favor the all-electrical idea more than the ICE idea at the end of another hard-fought day?

    Everyone likes to think they have some control over the way the world is going. Is that realistic? Heck no, even President Obama really can't control much. It seems that the 6.5B people in the world each have their own agenda - which for the most part is to improve their own individual situation/wealth/power. So whether you or a few million "yous" conserve and are good citizens, there are many, many more people who will be glad to fill any vacuum you leave in using resources.

    There is a certain amount of resources/energy in this world, and we continue to use them up. Whether you slow that usage up 1%, 5% or 20%, the resources still get used up. The only thing that changes slightly is that date. In the millenium that have gone and will come on Earth, the age of fossil-fuel usage will last a few hundred years - a mere blip in time. Your and my effort will be lost in time, just as the billions and billions of people who came before lived and died for causes or work that are now ruins or lost forever.

    Enjoy your life, and forget about the desire to be Superman and save the world.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Whether or not "we have control" should not interfere with doing what WE BELIEVE is the right thing.

    Millions of people do things every day which are unselfish and with the intent of helping someone besides themselves.

    People LIKE that feeling. I know I do.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited August 2010
    Perhaps but really, one should be calculating their nifty new electric car's MPG as CPM (coal per mile). Not only that, you may be quite disappointed in the range of your Mitsubishi is you choose a) highway travel and b) air-conditioning.

    Modern cars are pretty darn clean right now, so IMO any advantage to electrics would be in noise reduction, not emissions reduction. Someday soon, if it hasn't already happened, the exhaust out the tail pipe of a modern car in *certain cities* will be cleaner than the air going into the air filter.

    Electric cars merely change the energy delivery system, not necessarily do they decrease energy use.

    They are advertised as getting the "equivalent of 75-100 mpg" or some such, but this is the DOLLAR equivalent to gasoline---it's not saying you get the same performance equivalent.

    I'm not even sure America's energy infrastructure could support a vast number of electric cars---we already have "brown-outs" in summer months in any number of cities.

    Here's an interesting article on this subject:

  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Shifty says, "I'm not even sure America's energy infrastructure could support a vast number of electric cars---we already have "brown-outs" in summer months in any number of cities. "

    Most of the "serious charging" will take place at night, when the load on The Grid is minimal.

    Also, with GM only selling only about 10,000 Volts the first year, hoping to sell more in coming years, The Grid has time to prepare:

    Given the Volt’s very low initial production levels (8,000-10,000 for the first year), it is assured that it will be a virtual sell-out heading into 2012. But what happens when full line utilization is reached?

    GM hopes to be producing 50,000-60,000 copies a year starting sometime in 2012. Looking even further out to 2015, Bob Lutz (GM’s vice chairman) predicted that the total market for the plug-in vehicles “will reach 250,000-300,000 units annually,” and added “they will mostly be our products.” /that is a lot of Volts Bob.

    Other posters have wringed hands about stressing The Grid but I don't think that's anything we need to worry about for a few more years. It would take electric cars becoming more popular than Justin Beiber for them to stress the infrastructure anytime soon.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited August 2010
    The grid dies tonight. Better stock up on milk, bread and batteries. :) (National Geographic)

    (Actually this one is going to be a minor one)
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Too bad it hits at night. Maybe it would boost the production of my solar panels for an hour or two....:)
  • cybersaurusrexcybersaurusrex Member Posts: 7
    I am retired electronics technician and mainframe programmer/analyst, my income consists of pension and Social Security. I have no taxable income, therefore any tax rebate is worthless! I would really like either an EV or hybrid, but paying the full price is not an option!!!

    What recourse do I have?

    Who else has this problem?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    I don't have an answer to your question. However, if paying full price for a new hybrid isn't an option, perhaps you could consider a used Prius. While buying a used one wouldn't give you a direct tax benefit, I presume the depreciated price of a used one would factor in some of the tax benefit that went to the first owner, in the form of a lower price than would be the case without the original tax advantage.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think all the tax credits are gone for Toyota. Ford may have some. I would think long and hard before buying a used hybrid with no warranty left. It would have to be dirt cheap.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    True, but on the other hand the Prius owners I know are very careful, responsible drivers who are easy on their cars.
  • mike_bukomike_buko Member Posts: 1
    So the CEO of Edmunds testified today and he says that people don't want energy efficient cars or alternative energy cars because people aren't buying hybrid cars as much as gas SUV's/Minivans.


    Show me an SUV/Minivan that is electric powered and is the same price and will cost me $5-$10 (electric cost) a week to operate instead of $80 - $100 (for gas). Which would you buy?

    The CEO so naively asks why does the government need to regulate fuel efficiency? Another ridiculous question... If you don't the car makers along with the oil companies would just continue to collude to make inefficient cars so that they can drive profits higher. Sorry CEO man. Fail.

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited October 2011
    I think your conclusions fail.

    "Show me an SUV/Minivan that is electric powered..."

    They're unavailable because they can't be produced, profitably, at a cost that's competitive with what's on the market. If electric SUVs/minivans offered consumers a better value proposition than internal combustion powered ones they'd dominate the marketplace.

    "The CEO so naively asks why does the government need to regulate fuel efficiency? Another ridiculous question..."

    I guess only government has the wisdom to make sound business decisions, free of negative influences.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Here's the link and a blurb:

    CAFE Standards Debated by Congress, Edmunds.com CEO

    "Anwyl argued that proponents of the new CAFE standards mistakenly overestimate the importance of fuel economy to consumers by relying on customer surveys while vehicle sales figures show that utility and vehicle features supersede fuel economy for many customers. Anwyl added that automakers who had professed support for the CAFE standards in July were strong-armed into taking that stance because of the very expensive threat of California enacting a separate set of fuel-economy standards if such federal regulations aren't adopted."
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited June 2012
    From today's Detroit Free Press...

    "At an equivalent of 118 m.p.g., the electric Honda Fit is the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the U.S. But getting that mileage isn't cheap.

    Honda announced the eye-popping figure Wednesday, making the small, four-door hatchback more efficient than electric rivals like the Ford Focus, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. It goes on the market this summer in Oregon and California.

    The electric Fit has an estimated price tag nearly twice as high as the gasoline-powered version. It would take 11 years before a driver makes up the difference and begins saving on fuel.

    With gas prices falling, high sticker prices for electric vehicles are becoming more of a barrier for American buyers, even though the vehicles are far more efficient than their gas-powered counterparts.

    Through May, carmakers sold just over 10,000 electric vehicles, less than 0.2% of U.S. car and truck sales.

    That's because the numbers don't add up for the average consumer.

    • The electric Fit needs 28.6 kilowatt hours of electricity to go 100 miles. At a national average price of 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour, that costs $3.30.

    A gas-powered Fit, which gets 31 m.p.g., needs to burn 3.2 gallons to travel 100 miles. At the national average price of $3.57 per gallon of gasoline, that's $11.52.

    • People drive an average of almost 13,500 miles a year, so a typical driver would spend $445 on electricity for an electric Fit over a year, and $1,552 on gasoline for a regular Fit.

    • The price of an electric Fit is $29,125 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. That's $12,210 more than the gas-powered Fit -- a savings of $1,107 per year to make up the difference between the electric and the gas-powered version.

    'Customers don't want to spend the extra money up front and wait for years for payback,' said Geoff Pohanka, who runs 13 dealerships in Virginia and Maryland.

    'People are smart. They're looking for the deal,' he said. 'Is somebody going to fork out $15,000 more for something that gets them less range than their car now? It's not happening.'

    At first, Honda will be leasing Fit EVs only in Oregon and California, for $389 per month. The subcompact seats up to five people and can be recharged in three hours with a 240-volt charging station. A fully charged Fit EV can go 82 miles, meaning a daily commute could cost nothing for gasoline.

    Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence for the car buying site TrueCar.com, said he tested an electric Chevrolet Volt, driving it less than 35 miles a day from his Los Angeles-area home to work and back. The cost of leasing it -- $369 a month -- is comparable to the $300 he would spend on gas.

    'In a lot of these cases, I'm surprised that people are not lining up to get these things,' he said.

    The comparison between gas and electric cars also can vary with geography, largely because energy prices vary wildly across the country. In Oregon, where gasoline is 18% more expensive than the national average and electricity is 16% lower, an electric Fit will save $121 per month in fuel. In Connecticut, which has the highest power prices in the country, the monthly savings are just $83."
  • greenrogergreenroger Member Posts: 18
    You could lease a Hybrid or an EV.

    I know Ford Gave us $10,750 in lease incentives on our new Focus Electric.
    Basically the manufacture gets to keep the tax rebates, but Ford then offers it to you as an incentive to buy by reducing the purchase price.

    The C-max Energy has about $4,000 in incentives.
    Check it out on Fords web site.
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