EV’s: To Be or Not To Be?

The real answer right now seems to be maybe, leaning heavily, as we speak, toward “not to be” as backtracking on production is the surprising status quo.  The only question, at this point then, is to what extent, given the huge amount of government grants and subsidies available to U.S. manufacturers, which ironically may prove to be inadequate over the intermediate-to-long run.   EV issues and concerns are emerging from those same manufacturers, plus dealers.  Along with and the diminished level of hyped public attention and enthusiasm, now that the initial drumbeat of ‘excitement,’ originating from the administration and their media cheerleaders, has largely gone silent, in favor of our understandable attention to the war in Israel/Gaza and the fear it might spread.  Along with a whole bunch of important, gnawing domestic issues now dominating screens, papers, and concerned American minds. Issues likely caused, at least in part, at home and abroad, by our perceived weak, respect-challenged national leadership.  The latter a very large, unfortunate, nation-concerning set of issues, but that  being such as it is, let’s get back to the immediate subject at hand: Electric Vehicles.

To put the current EV issue most succinctly: “The Big Three automakers are diminishing EV output because, according to the Wall Street Journal, coupled with a need to make rechargeable cars more profitable, there is a slowing in demand from consumers.” The Texas Public Policy Foundation found that, over time, the cost of owning an EV “is, in reality, much higher than they are leading us to believe,” even with the $7,500 federal tax credit.  The Foundation conclusions took into account strain on the nation’s electric grid, which would require billions in taxpayer money to modernize in order to accommodate a huge increase in EV’s, along with the other electrification efforts being pushed by the federal government. And that, like an adequate number of charging stations nationwide, another huge expense, which if and when is started in earnest, will take many years to complete.  The availability of abundant charging stations, and overall charging time for longer trips, are issues holding EV enthusiasm back among potential buyers.

From Fox News: “It is not an overstatement to say that the federal government is subsidizing EV’s to a greater degree than even wind and solar electricity generation and embarking on an unprecedented endeavor to remake the entire automobile industry.” The is a classic case of government overreach: handing out gobs of our tax money we don’t have to “encourage” (i.e., force) vehicle manufacturers to convert to primarily EV production, while the desire of most American consumers remains with gasoline-powered vehicles.  Another example of our ultra-liberal administration, supposedly ‘dictating” on our behalf, by handing out “free” tax money (we now must borrow it) in order to force our traditional auto industry into a totally different mode of production, in order to satisfy the irresponsible whims of our ‘leaders’ to get rid of fossil fuels, in vehicles, in home, and in businesses, so as to satisfy the imagined needs of our government commitment to preserve our nation from the ravages of the “climate change” myth.

In the harsh words of a columnist, who is very obviously a critic of the government-forced rapid (in dreams) EV transition: “You see, the EV scam was hastily hatched by far-leftists who are so detached from reality that they actually believe it is possible to just stop using earth-based fossil fuels on some arbitrarily timeline with nothing visible to replace them.” The thought, of course, was that wind and solar could take over for natural gas, oil, and coal, now clearly revealed to be a pure fantasy, due to the unreliability of those renewable alternate power sources.  The reality in sensible minds is that the only true renewable energy substitute currently developed and available is nuclear, which America has been against until more recently when one survey indicated that 57% of Americans would now be in favor of expanded nuclear use.  To continue with the pro-gas-powered / anti-EV transition, the thoughts of Ron Ross: “The mass conversion from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles has never more than a Democrat / environmentalist hallucination anyway.  It was the most ill-conceived government policy objective in modern history.” Continuing and concluding on the coerced anti-EV move, in the words of Ethan Huff, the article’s author: “When the EV house of cards finally falls, trillions of dollars will have been lost.”  And those lost trillions of dollars will have been ours, the taxpayers!

The higher cost to consumers of EV’s (vs. more affordable gas-powered models) has been a stopping point for most less-than-wealthy consumers.  It’s becoming a stopping point for manufacturers, as well, who are realizing that they have got to reduce the cost of producing EV’s.  One wonders about the impact of the recent Ford & GM strike settlements, with reportedly higher worker salaries and benefits, on their need to reduce the production costs of EV’s.  Currently, a backup of EV’s is already said to be over-accumulating on dealer lots, as the manufacturers are feeling the production cost pinch, while customers are rejecting the higher cost of EV’s vs. the gasoline models.  An apparent flow-through stalemate from manufacturers to dealers to consumers, is presently occurring.

For consumers, then, when it comes to EV’s, “affordability is an issue.” So said Ford’s CEO Jim Farley: “It’s been a challenging situation, for sure,” he said, after reporting greater losses than expected on EV’s for the first nine-months of 2023 ($3.1-billion!).  “Matter of fact, our business is never short of challenges, especially right now with the evolution of the EV market and new global competitors from China, as well as the technology disruptions.” Following in line with Ford’s conclusions, GM CEO Mary Barra spoke of slowing down the launch of several EV models to cut costs.  Said she: “We are moderating the acceleration of EV production in North America to protect our pricing, adjust to slower near-term growth in demand, and implement engineering efficiency and other improvements that will make our vehicles less expensive to produce and more profitable.”  So, regardless of the socialist pipe-dreams and impractical desires of our federal government crystal-ballers, market realities are, at this point, determining the responsible, loss-limiting way forward for these two dominant vehicle manufacturers, and quite likely for the remainder of U.S. vehicle makers, as well. It’s called capitalism, and, thus, regardless of D.C., the American marketplace continues to rule.  And thankful are we all for that!

A recent article by Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Director of the Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at the Heritage Foundation, she begins with a concise statement that seems to sum up our EV analysis: “Driving through rural Georgia, I have yet to see an electric vehicle or a charging station.  And at the Walmart in nearby Tiger, Georgia, and in local gas stations, I, again, didn’t see any charging stations.” After promising to deliver on the Biden administration’s rose-colored wish that most of the cars Americans want to buy (gas-powered) would be eliminated from dealer lots by 2035 (Biden’s goal year for eliminating most gas-fueled vehicles), GM and Ford are now waking up to reality. They are cutting back on projections of EV sales and “lowering production targets for the cars and batteries.”  Accurate, and more realistic, echoes of the respective CEO’s predictions cited above.  To give credence to the now-obvious need to cut back on production, regardless of White House urging, only about 6% of new vehicle sales in 2022 were electric!

Unrealistically, and read this with disbelief, Mr. Biden is said to want electric vehicle sales to reach 66% of all vehicle sales by 2032, Ms. Furchtgott-Roth reminds the reader. He plans to force the issue by imposing stringent MPG and other regulations from the Transportation Department and the EPA that will favor electric vehicles, while punishing gas-powered cars, the latter which can’t begin to reach the purposely unrealistic MPG mandate.  The author went on to list four reasons why most Americans continue to favor cars with internal combustion (gas) engines: Cost, Convenience, Climate, and China.  “Cost: of EV’s remains well above what average U.S. consumers want to pay.  Convenience: If you can even find an open charging station, it can take 45-minutes or more for even a partial charge.  Climate: EV batteries lose range in both cold and hot weather. AC in the vehicle also uses battery power.  China: Close to 80% of EV batteries are made in China. With the fantasy assumption that EV’s will reduce the old ‘global warming,’ a reminder that the biggest producers of greenhouse gases are China, India, & Russia.”  The author concludes: “Ford & GM are finally realizing that Americans area smarter than their government and are not buying into the EV fantasy.  If Georgia is any guide, the automakers ‘pause’ on EV investment might end up as a permanent stop.”  Examples of the EV production ‘pause:’ there’s now a hold by the top two manufacturers on re-tooling of existing facilities for EV production, a hold on constructing new factories for EV, and a delay in the construction of EV battery factories in the U.S.  Such does raise a question and concern about the new EV factory being built by Hyundai near Savannah, GA.  We hope all goes well for them through this challenging time.

The Mercedes-Benz CFO, Harald Wilhelm, in reference to current EV manufacturing and sales status, said: “This is a pretty brutal space. I can hardly imagine that the current status quo is fully sustainable for everybody.” M-B is having to lower their Electric Vehicle sales price “by several thousand dollars just to get them in customer hands.”  As we’ve said previously, this current production cost and pricing situation for manufacturers simply cannot continue. Oh, and another issue with EV’s: They risk catching on fire (lithium-ion batteries) and those fires are VERY difficult to put out, as unfortunate experience has already shown. And one more: due to the very large, heavy battery, it’s said that the EV’s can take longer to stop and can create more damage to opposing objects in a collision, than regular gas-powered vehicles.

As the current EV manufacturer pull-back continues, GM and Honda have just announced cancellation of their collective plans to jointly develop smaller, more affordable EV’s. The reason, not a surprise: “slower-than-expected demand” for the more expensive currently available models. A Daily Mail article headline read: “The Death Knell for the Cheap EV?” in direct reference to the Honda-GM cancellation of their smaller joint EV development plans. Another article: “Tesla, GM, and Ford have reportedly all hit the brakes on EV production, citing concerns of economic uncertainties and fears of a slowdown in EV demand.”

Over the last two years, less than 10% of all news car sales were EV’s.  The Texas Policy Foundation estimates that all-in EV subsidies could reach $40,000 per vehicle. ‘It would practically be cheaper for the government to purchase a new gas vehicle for every American car-buyer!”  Writer Stephen Moore continues: “In 2023, the world has used more fossil fuels than at any time in human history, even as the developed countries spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to stop oil, gas, and coal.”

And while the fancy-pants climate change elites are working overtime to defeat fossil fuels and “save the planet,” Exxon and Chevron have just completed “combined multi-million-dollar acquisitions to expand oil and gas drilling in the Permian Basin in Texas, one of the biggest oil fields in the world. And they both just reported their largest profits ever.” Sounds like somebody in Washington, D.C. isn’t reading realities tea leaves correctly.  Or will the D.C. anti-fossil-fuels sledge hammer come down on American consumers in the months ahead?  But then, how can they realistically stop mega-coal burners like China, India, & Russia, among others?

‘Henry Ford guaranteed hundreds of thousands in sales for a new car (named after his son).  But one big thing went wrong. Nobody ever bothered to ask car buyers what they thought of the new car. Turns out, they hated it. So instead of sales of 400,000, Americans bought 10,000 and the model was embarrassingly discontinued.”

Wrote Breitbart News Senior Editor-At-Large, Rebecca Mansou: “A Biden-led administration’s rapid push toward an all-electric future would rob U.S. auto workers of the advantage of experience and U.S. auto plants of the advantage of previously-built manufacturing capacity…. (Administration) rushed and without tariffs, most of this will likely end up in China.”  And a reminder that China already controls much of the EV lithium-ion battery supply chain !

On the current confusion and mess regarding EV production and, especially consumer adoption, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford was quoted as: ‘feeling that EV’s have become collateral damage in a broader cultural war, he correctly observed that “Some of the red states say this is just like the vaccine, and it’s being shoved down our throats by the government, and we don’t want it.”  To summarize this and conclude the overall imposed EV and electrification issue, Wall Street Journal columnist Allysia Finley correctly observed: “Progressives aren’t only force-feeding the green energy transition. They are pushing their supposedly superior cultural values on a public that doesn’t share them.”

“All of this to say that there is NO ‘global energy transition’ going on.  If there is one, it’s going away from green energy, not toward it.” (Stephen Moore).  Let’s hope so.  There’s already far too much of our literally out-of-our-pocket “green” going to fantasy “climate” causes.  It’s time to listen to the needs, and the economy, of the nation, rather than to politically self-centered Progressive government, corporate, know-it-all elites, and boorish activist dreamers! Time to put debt and deficit damaging, security-threatening, unrealistic, and impractical pipe-dreams back on the shelf.

(Fact Sources:  EV reality hits manufacturers plus government subsidies via americanthinker.com, Olivia Murray, 10-26-23; The EV scam hastily hatched via naturalnews.com, Ethan Huff, 9-16-23; Ford & GM comment on the EV demand weakness via foxbusiness.com, Breck Dumas, 10-27-23; Automakers wake up to the reality on EV’s via dailysignal.com, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, 10-27-23; Mercedes EV status via breitbart.com, John Binder, 10-27-23; Economics forces impacting EV production slow-down via breitbart.com, Akana Mastrangelo, 10-19-23; Total EV sales and sky-high subsidies via dailycaller.com, Stephen Moore, 10-29-23;  Rapid push toward all-EV will end up to China’s advantage via brietbart.com, John Binder, 10-31-23;  Progressive force feeding what America doesn’t want via wsj.com, Allysia Finley, 10-30-23).