Car Dealers Warn Biden Administration to Pump Brakes on EV Plans

Yves here. Yours truly often has the unwelcome task of being a voice of realism. And the evidence keeps piling up that, as they say in Maine, you can’t get there from here, as in you can’t get a green energy transition anywhere near soon enough in a neoliberal system. You need a ton more dirigisme, as in top-down planning and control. But you’d also need widespread acceptance of the urgency of the problem and a willingness to change behaviors, which because freedumb, is not likely to happen either. And you’d need a lot better and less self/grifting motivated planners than we seem able to produce under neoliberalism. I know this sounds like a fable, but it was not all that long ago that people often went into government roles or became university administrators not for the current or eventual financial opportunities, but because they had made what they deemed to be enough money and saw these roles as public service.

The EV mandates/planned timing for phaseouts of gas cars are one example. Consumer mandates without economic benefits and needed related investments, like upgrades to the grid, are a prescription for limited uptake. Nevertheless, take note of the cute branding of the car dealers’ lobbying effort. That does not mean their point is not valid. We’ve been getting reports from readers of big dealer inventories of EVs for some time.

By Julianne Geiger, a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Originally published at OilPrice

Most US car buyers aren’t interested in purchasing electric vehicles, incentives or not, a group of US car deals known as EV Voice of the Customer warned the Biden Administration on Tuesday.

In a letter addressed to US President Joe Biden, EV Voice of the Customer persuaded the Administration to pump the brakes on federal regulations that would require two-thirds of all vehicles sold in the United States in 2032 to be electric—because it simply isn’t what car buyers want, even with the current incentives.

The group of 3,700 dealers spread across all 50 states and covering all major car brands stated that electric vehicle inventories on car dealership lots are growing as deliveries outpace demand.

“The reality is that electric vehicle demand today is not keeping up with the large influx of BEVs arriving at our dealerships prompted by the current regulations. BEVs are stacking up on our lots,” the letter read in part.

According to EV Voice of the Customer, the reason for car buyers’ reluctance to purchase EVs stems from the still high price of EVs—even with incentives—and the fact that most buyers don’t have a garage. Other concerns cited include insufficient charging infrastructure, energy grid instability, and critical minerals required in the manufacture of EVs batteries.

The group referred to the federal push as “Draconian,” recommending instead that the Administration “Allow time for the American consumer to get comfortable with the technology and make the choice to buy an electric vehicle.”

The letter acknowledged that the appeal of EVs will grow over time. “Early adopters formed an initial line and were ready to buy these vehicles as soon as we had them to sell. But that enthusiasm has stalled. Today, the supply of unsold BEVs is surging, as they are not selling nearly as fast as they are arriving at our dealerships — even with deep price cuts, manufacturer incentives, and generous government incentives.”

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Car dealers are not exactly neutral on this. EV’s require far less post-sale aftercare and parts, plus the industry knows full well that car manufacturers see EV’s as more suitable for direct sales and leasing. If direct selling takes off, then traditional dealerships are toast.

    The IEA, which has a long record of underestimating the growth of renewables and fossil fuel alternatives, as of 6 months ago was measuring strong growth in sales in EV’s worldwide

    1. Socal Rhino

      Hertz, the car rental company, has reported that contrary to expectations their Tesla fleet has been significantly more expensive to maintain than ICE vehicles.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thats because Teslas are more fun to drive than the usual Hertz cars – particularly with Uber drivers who rent/lease from Hertz, and so more are being returned damaged. Plus, price slashing by Tesla and increased output has hit resale values.

        Part of the problem is linked to Hertz’s plans to rent EVs to ridehail drivers. Of the 100,000 Tesla acquired by Hertz, half were to be allocated to Uber drivers as part of a deal with the ridehail company. And drivers said they loved the Teslas! But Uber drivers also tend to drive their vehicles into the ground. This higher rate of utilization can lead to a lot of damage — certainly more than Hertz was anticipating.


        AFAIK, the Hertz fleet is mostly Polestar 2s, not Teslas. I rented one from them (in the UK) and as I was checking out, the staff was trying to upgrade another customer to an EV. That customer said ‘I don’t understand how they work,’ and he had a point.

        One night (in Gravesend) I tried seven chargers, three apps, and nothing worked. I’d still do it again because ended up paying like 50 pounds total on ‘fuel’ for 10 days, but it’s understandable why people go with reliable ICE. And I don’t think ‘fun to drive’ explains wear and tear. The Polestar is like a computer and you have to ‘restart’ it to fix most problems, and then take it back to a Polestar (not Volvo) dealer for any repairs. It’s simpler to use, but more complex to service.

    2. Carolinian

      Here in my state the wealthy car dealers are a big lobby and we have a law saying that direct internet sale of vehicles is forbidden. Tesla buyers have to go to neighboring states to get their cars.

    3. IMOR

      Might I, half in jest, throw out that when Tesla is your benchmark for aftercare, you don’t have aftercare? Similarly on availability and access for the 1st 18 months of any new model?
      Doesn’t vitiate the broader/larger points, but was odd to read, here, consecutively!

    4. vao

      The IEA […] as of 6 months ago was measuring strong growth in sales in EV’s worldwide.

      Combined with

      the reason for car buyers’ reluctance to purchase EVs stems from the still high price of EVs — even with incentives

      And we understand the issue:

      a) In the West (USA and Europe), manufacturers are focusing on high-end, expensive electric vehicles.

      b) Meanwhile, the Chinese have taken over the segment of affordable EV; previously unknown brands are seeing very rapid growth in China and subsidiarily in other countries where Chinese manufacturers have a strong presence.

      c) However, Europe and the USA are all looking towards protectionist measures to prevent cheap Chinese EV from eliminating their own manufacturers that specialized in expensive products that people, struggling with inflation and diminishing real wages, are not interested in…

      It is all consistent after all.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’m not really sure its true that US/European manufacturers focused on high end vehicles. The first mass market EV was the Nissan Leaf and its cheaper European cousin, the Renault Zoe. A list of the 10 cheapest EV’s in Europe from Top Gear puts the only Chinese car at no.9. In Europe the French tend to be at the forefront of cheaper EV’s- the Renault owned Dacia Spring next year is reckoned to be the cheapest by far mainstream EV when its released – Dacia is the king of tough practical budget cars in Europe, so its likely to be a big seller.

        That said, the Chinese have a stranglehold on the battery/drivetrain supply chain, so they will rule the EV market worldwide for the foreseeable future.

        1. vao

          Chinese EV manufacturers have not yet established a strong presence in Europe, and as you mention, it is the low-end EV segment that has been successful.

          The problem is that most manufacturers (with special mention to German firms) have not focused on that kind of offering, and as the latest reports indicate, their EV products are not selling that well.

        2. NYMutza

          Americans tend to prefer large and jumbo sized vehicles. Relatively low cost EVs are too small for many American consumers, so their uptake will likely remain low. Large EVs will always be pricey because the extra batteries to power them are pricey. Not many American consumers can afford to spend $80K – $100K for a jumbo electric vehicle. Similar sized ICE vehicles are considerably less costly, even though still costly.

    5. New_Okie

      Perhaps I missed something in the link you offered but it seems like they were actually saying that consumers want to buy all cars online. Why would EVs be a special case?

      Consumers have been shopping for cars online for years. Now they want to complete all their other vehicle-related transactions online, too.

    6. Laughingsong

      They are more expensive here in the states PK, and our distances are often much further. Not to mention the struggle to find charging points, especially once one leaves heavily built areas.

      I wish they were cheaper here, we’d like to have a small cheap and cheerful runabout for most of our in-town travel, but there’s nothing in our price range.

  2. Lexx

    ‘Other concerns cited include insufficient charging infrastructure, energy grid instability, and critical minerals required in the manufacture of EVs batteries.’

    I would have guessed it was the range. ‘Range’ has come up in every conversation I’ve had with anyone about replacing their gas car with an electric one. The second issue is how slowly the cars recharge. We’re accustomed to just getting in our cars and going. The car goes until is gets low on gas, then we pull over at a gas station, fill up quickly and go again. That kind of convenience is hard to give up and we know how fond Americans are of ‘convenience’ (aka immediate gratification). A tougher sell when ‘doing the right thing’ comes with such a steep price tag. The present (reality) wins over the future every time.

    The Tesla office though doesn’t seem to be struggling here. Those cars and trucks are a growing presence out on our streets. Which makes the streetscape increasing disjointed looking, a battlefront in the class war where on any given day I’ll see very expensive cars beside 20+ years old clunkers waiting for the light to change. Cognitive dissonance perhaps?

    1. Carolinian

      I am seeing more Teslas including in my neighborhood but not more chargers. Presumably the Tesla owners charge them at home.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Anecdotally, nearly everyone I know who has an EV charges at home overnight, its just easier and cheaper. The overwhelming majority of journeys don’t need a full charge – the average US car does 37 miles a day and 95% of trips are less than 31 miles according to US DoT figures.

        I recently talked to a Taxi driver here who was driving a Chinese MG EV. He said he does more than 200km a day without a problem on an overnight charge and a booster at home when he eats his lunch. He said he calculated the cost at 7 euro a day with a half price overnight tarriff.

        1. heresy101

          In the outer reaches of the Bay Area, we have two used EVs that we charge at home at night.
          A 2014 Toyota RAV4 EV (2,000 made originally) that has 40,000 miles and a 100 mile range for around town trips that cost $18k and a 2014 Tesla Model S with 45,000 miles and a 250 mile range that can reach anywhere in the Bay Area and cost $30k. We put about 1,700 miles a month on them with my wife going to school for qi gong (like tai chi). We put in a 20kW charger and it takes 4-5 hours off-peak rate to charge the Tesla at night and then we top off the RAV4. Costs are about $200/month even at PG&E’s outrageous rates. Next year I am putting in solar and wind on the hill behind our house. We also have an old Ridgeline pickup to haul animal food and straw bales and it costs $90 to fill up the tank. Also, I still have to sell a plug-in Prius that gets 49 mpg and has 147,000 miles.

          Our power is 100% renewable from the MCE community choice aggregator in our area. The Tesla is definitely the better car, especially with regenerative braking and one peddle driving, without counting acceleration.

    2. Planter of Trees

      In other words, ICEs simply outperform EVs in critical respects. I don’t see how they can ever replace diesel engines for agricultural purposes, especially at the level of small-to-medium operators.

  3. BillS

    One very important thing that is little discussed is the limited operating temperature range of lithium batteries. Generally, the operating range is limited to 0C to 40C. Normal fast charging cannot be done below 0C without using a heater to warm the batteries to a temperature above 5C. Can you imagine the charging efficiency hit you take in cold climates with lithium batteries? Also, high temperature operation (above 40C) reduces battery longevity and temperatures above 50C can cause damage (venting, battery overheating).

    1. Oh

      As more people buy these EV’s (lured by the tax credit) I expect to see quite a few of them waiting for tow trucks as the battery charge runs out because they put off charging. This is more likely to happen on the interstate highways where people get stranded between the few and far between charging stations.

      This move to put more EV’s on the road will only increase air pollution fro power plants because emissions from autos are transferred to power plants. It’s time to crack down on CO2 emissions from from these plants but the EPA would never do that since the Utility crooks have a strong lobby and can bribe the right people.

      It’s too bad that people are so wedded to their automobiles. Conservation of energy by driving less would have an immediate effect and help but most people don’t care.

      1. XXYY

        This move to put more EV’s on the road will only increase air pollution fro power plants because emissions from autos are transferred to power plants.

        Of course, utility power plants are vastly lower in emissions per unit of energy than ICEs, even if the utility plant is not solar or wind. AFAIK losses between the power plant and the car drive wheels (transmission, battery storage, and electric-motor-to-axle) don’t amount to much. This is the reason conversion of utility power to ICEs has never been a feature of emission reduction plans!

        It’s fair to ask about the climate impact of EVs over the entire cradle to grave lifecycle (mining, manufacturing, shipping, maintenance, and disposal), and also fair to ask about the one-time cost of replacing the entire existing global vehicle fleet with a completely different set of vehicles. It might well be that excessive subsidies and mandates result in perfectly serviceable cars being discarded before their lifetime is up, which doesn’t exactly seem like a low-impact thing.

  4. Scottd

    The apartment complexes here in DFW are disconnecting external outlets. Explain to me how to charge my EV…go to Buc-ees and wait half an hour to pay $0.55/kWh when I pay $0.14 for electricity at home?

  5. thoughtful person

    I’ve been thinking an electric vehicle as a second car for local trips makes sense. However if you need a garage because you can’t charge below 0 deg C that would be a deal breaker. I suspect regular slow overnight charging can be done below 0 deg C.

        1. The Rev Kev

          True, but those lithium batteries are in a class of their own in causing fires aboard aircraft, burning down building as people were just recharging their e-bikes & e-scooters, burning down garages as they recharged, etc. It’s almost like this technology was deployed across society without being fully tested. But in any case, carports are better than garages for keeping cars in.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            EV’s are far less likely to burn – according to US NTSB figures EV’s catch fire at a rate of 25 per 100,000, compared to 1500 per 100,000 for ICE vehicles. Thats 50 times less likely. Hybrids are more likely than both, probably because gasoline and lithium are not a good mix.

            Lithium burns a lot hotter than ICE cars, but regular ICE fires can cause enormous damage – a shopping centre was completely destroyed a few years ago in Ireland from one, I believe the insurance payout was 200million euro.

            In the US in 2021, 650 people died in 174,000 car fires, overwhelmingly ICE cars. We don’t think of ICE car fires so much because they are so common they are almost never newsworthy, unlike with a Tesla or similar.

            1. c_heale

              The ease of extinguishing a fire is the most important factor. Lithium reacts with water and carbon dioxide, two of the most common fire extinguishers. I think Halon extinguishers would be useful in an enclosed area, but these are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. Apparently an L2 powder fire extinguisher can be used on liithium.

              Gasoline fires can be extinguished using carbon dioxide, and coolef with water – although since oil floats on water in some situations it wouldn’t be suitable.

              Finally, hydrogen fluoride is generated in a lithium fire, and this an extremely corrosive and unpleasant substance.

        2. CanCyn

          Our garage isn’t attached to the house and even so, I never start the car until the garage door is open. Many years ago I had a yoga teacher whose studio was in a room above their garage. Her hubby went out once during a class and even with the garage door open before he started the car, I was amazed at the fumes that entered the space we were in

        3. Carolinian

          Putting garages in with houses is one of the more stupid later 20th century architecture ideas.

          Interesting. In my mostly older neighborhood (most houses are from the early 20th) there are hardly any attached garages and presumably the perceived fire danger was the reason.

          Whereas in the outlying suburbs houses may have triple attached garages. This also goes for the few new houses where I live.

      1. vao

        Scandinavia is a special case.

        There, basically all cars, whatever their type, come with motor-heaters.

        Houses have electric plugs (with a programme clock) in their parkings that serve to heat the motor (technically, its cooling fluid for ICE) from about 05:30 till about 08:30 (it varies). If those plugs have enough oomph, you can even add a heater to warm up the passenger compartment — so you are not freezing inside the car and the windshields are easier to free from ice.

        I presume that existing infrastructure is being adapted to the specific requirement of pre-heating EV batteries instead of the ICE cooling fluid.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m not sure how arguing that Scandanavia is so cold all cars have special requirements negates the basic point – EV’s are proving practical even in the very coldest climates.

          1. vao

            It does not negate the point, it nuances it: things work provided the required infrastructure is in place and widespread.

            In Scandinavia, parking places have had electric plugs for decades — long before Tesla sold its first car. They can be repurposed, and therefore make the transition to EV serendipitously easier — while in other countries, everything remains to be done.

          2. Bill Malcolm

            All modern EVs, except the Leaf and other cheapies, have a liquid climate control system for the battery pack. Includes a radiator, obviously, but it’s not stuck necessarily where the traditional radiator is in an ICE car. Heat to warm them just prior to charging in cold weather, cooling for hot weather and after heavy power draw. Standard equipment that uses energy and reduces EV effiiency. Likely why government bureaucrats and manufacturers do not dwell on these systems in literature. Check it out — you’ll find I’m correct. There are many EV enthusiast and news sites on the internet.

            So Scandinavian or Minnesotan cold has nothing to do with whether you can charge a lithium battery in cold weather — that’s why these heating and cooling systems were developed in the first place for EVs — engineers aren’t completely numb. Norway has the highest BEV adoption rates, not Sweden, anyway.

    1. John Steinbach

      Several analyses show that, because of the energy embedded in the batteries & technology, the energy payback time fo EVs is quite long. Using them as a second car for short trips is ecologically destructive.

        1. John Steinbach

          According to Forbes study driving 5-10,000 miles/year takes 5 years to repay & 3-5, 9 years. They say hybrids usually best energy choice.

  6. Darius

    Americans are raised to think of their cars as vital human organs. Public transportation goes wanting even though people would use it if it was frequent, reliable, and went places people need or want to go. It’s always an afterthought.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, the bus and streetcar system is free. And, according to a local organization, it’s now a conduit for criminality. Link:

      One of my neighbor-friends works in a grocery store, and she gets to and from work on the bus. She and her coworkers can time the increases in shoplifting to when that bus stops outside the store.

      As for my friend and the bus, she wants to buy a car so she doesn’t have to deal with those fellow passengers, who, shall we say, are not on the up and up.

      1. Reply

        Subways fulfill a similar function in other cities. That was one of the original concerns when BART was being planned in the SF Bay Area. One, uh, solution was to have fewer stops in certain areas. Added, uh, benefit was to have said areas pay taxes without getting access to services those taxes were helping to fund.

        Now people are more sophist-icated in their arguments about public transport. See LA Light Rail as one current exhibit.

        1. Darius

          Public transportation in many American cities is supposed to suck because it’s for poor people. In most of the rest of the developed world and much of the developing world, public transportation is integral to the functioning of cities.

    2. NYMutza

      Many Americans are class conscious. The bourgeoisie rarely will use public transit no matter how convenient their use would be because, in their minds, only the poor and the mentally ill use buses and trains.

  7. Lex

    I’m for EVs. They have their drawbacks but so do ICE vehicles. The real problem is that they’re the wrong primary solution to the overarching problem. They’re like putting everything in single use plastic packaging and telling consumers to recycle.

    The fundamental problem is that environmental protection and mitigating climate change are issues that can only be managed at the governmental level with things like industrial policy, legislation and direct investment. Our politicians are both unwilling and incapable of performing that sort of public service. Hence we get EV “solutions” like mandating a percentage of vehicles sold be full EV with a convoluted subsidy scheme through tax returns as an enticement.

    What we don’t get is a government program to rebuild the rail network so that the majority of freight can be moved within 100 miles of its destination by rail where it can be distributed by electric trucks. We don’t even get diesel-electric trucks. What we don’t get is a clear and massive program to install municipal electric car charging locations everywhere. Ad nauseam. All we get is vague, neoliberal hand waving in the direction of the mythical market to sort this all out. And even when the market responds negatively (people not buying enough EVs) our answer is reduced to how wrong the people are, individually. The market is there waiting for them all with its warm embrace.

    1. Saving Myself

      Please do not take this as a personal criticism. The follow sentence from your post encapsulates the basic reason why absolutely nothing will be done in a planned way and like lemmings to cliff we have become. In short you are stating that as an individual, you can do nothing to help solve the issues but have to wait for “government” to do it. You are helpless according to this line of thought. You need “government” to do something because you cannot. And I use the pronoun “you” to include everyone who believes the sentence below is true.

      “The fundamental problem is that environmental protection and mitigating climate change are issues that can only be managed at the governmental level with things like industrial policy, legislation and direct investment.”

      Let George do it!!! In this case substitute Government for George.

      You can do something. Why not do something? To paraphrase someone I knew from the 60’s, “Inaction is betrayal.”

      1. Arizona Slim

        Hear, hear!

        And, Saving Myself, were you overhearing me this morning? I was out at dawn, doing a trash pickup on my street. Poor street needed the help, and I was only too happy to provide it.

        While I was picking up the gar-bazh, I said, “Somebody’s gotta do it. I identify as somebody and I am DOING it!”

        Government didn’t make me do this community service. I just do it as part of paying my rent on this earth and in this society.

      2. John Wright

        I live in Northern Calif and have driven a Chevy Bolt EV since 2017.

        But I also believe that EV’s cannot scale up enough to have any serious impact and the large scale manufacturing of EV’s and their supporting infrastructure will have other environmental consequences.

        I also don’t believe that there must exist a solution to every problem, and do not assume there is a politically acceptable solution to climate change / environmental degradation / resource shortage issues.

        In my view change will come, not driven by US government actions and not driven by grass roots efforts.

        Change will be forced on the US population as resources (energy, food, water, materials) become more costly,

        Individually, one can try to consume less, walk more, repair and reuse products.

        American George will, very, very reluctantly, “do it” when forced in the future.

        1. Karl

          I believe the big difference between Lex and most commenters to his post is TIME. I think Lex assumes we don’t have the time to overcome George’s reluctance. I happen to agree with him.

          I agree totally with Yves introductory statement:

          …you can’t get a green energy transition anywhere near soon enough in a neoliberal system. You need a ton more dirigisme, as in top-down planning and control.

          This reminds me of Adam Tooze’s book on the Nazi economy “The Wages of Destruction.” The German industrialists opposed Hitler’s rapid military build-up, not because it was unfeasible but because it wasn’t sufficiently profitable. Hitler forced them to build massively at cost + 5% flat profit, and also forced them to plow the profit into new tools and factories. Those who resisted were jailed for sabotage against the State. Needless to say, the Nazi’s got the cooperation they demanded.

          If you need a massive “anything” you need top-down control, as Yves says. The neoliberal model prioritizing freedom may be a luxury. FDR faced similar resistance from U.S. industrialists. The auto makers in particular prioritized civilian production (cars) until FDR got the War Powers Act. That changed everything.

          You will never get Detroit to make EVs at scale voluntarily, only as a PR sideline. We are fast approaching a confrontation between States like California, that are mandating no-ICE sales by a date certain, and the auto companies. The auto companies (AND the UAW) will fight EVs tooth and nail. It’s the UAW that may well have the clout to prevail with the Democrats.

    2. Adam Eran

      “The real problem is that they’re the wrong primary solution to the overarching problem. They’re like putting everything in single use plastic packaging and telling consumers to recycle.”

      This is exactly right. Working transit is an actual solution, but to have that, you have to have pedestrian-friendly mixed use neighborhoods. In the US, we build sprawl, sprawl, sprawl and more sprawl. I can’t afford to live in the older neighborhoods built as non-sprawl.

      So we bought a plugin hybrid (Volt). My wife’s commute in a Honda cost $70/month in gas. Our electric bill’s increase after the (all-electric) commute in the Volt: $4.

      ICE has roughly 2,000 parts in its engine. EVs have 7 – 17. Maintenance is much simpler. No oil changes required. The anxious hand wringing of articles about range anxiety are moot (how often do you drive five hours in a day?) especially if you have a home charger.

      Meanwhile, I’ve read plenty of propaganda saying EVs are more expensive (one said $131,000 in maintenance!)… Brandolini’s law applies

  8. Dave

    I recently purchased a new car. Considered purchasing a hybrid but opted not to, and cost wasn’t the issue. I buy and hold my cars until they die, and for this purchase I purposely choose a vehicle that I could easily get 200K miles, if not 300K, miles out of. That’s 15 to 20 years, and potentially more. The hybrid batteries are good for 10 to 15 years, and are expensive to replace, which puts an artificial ceiling on the life of the car which defeats my original intent.

    1. GramSci

      We just traded in our 2009 Camry hybrid. It was still getting 41 mpg but we got a new one because at 170,000 miles it would soon have needed its first brake job, its first $500+ repair job ex tires. Never worried about garage fires. That might have changed our mind.

    2. notabanker

      That is assuming in 10-15 years (and I would say this is a very optimistic timeline) you can still buy the batteries. If Apple made EV’s they wouldn’t last anywhere near 10 years and would always cost more to repair than to replace with new. Anyone who believes the auto co’s would never do such a thing deserves exactly what they will get.

    3. Laura in So Cal

      We have an 18 year old Honda CRV (165k miles) and a 27 year old Ford Truck (125k miles). I recently had a very large repair on my Honda that made me stop and ask “should I buy a newer car”. I decided to repair it and keep driving it for multiple reasons.
      1. I like my car with its manual transmission, manual dials and knobs, lack of any screens and minimal “helpful” beeping.
      2. This car does what I need and since I only drive maybe 7K miles per year, the 21mpg isn’t a big problem.
      3. I don’t worry about dents, dings, etc and it doesn’t scream “steal me”, or “I have money so stage an accident and sue me”. It is a super anonymous car.
      4. I take the old saying about “use it up and wear it out” seriously.
      5. There is so much embedded energy in the car so as long as I can get it fixed, I think I’ll continue to drive it.

  9. ambrit

    As others above have noted, the ‘real’ problem is the lack of public transport infrastructure in American cities. Gone are the days of driving the station wagon to the train depot and taking the commuter rail into work in the Big City. Gone are the days of hopping a train to go across the state, much less the nation. Gone are the days of light rail, the trolly systems that worked very well before the Auto Cabal “engineered” the death of municipal light rail nation wide.
    Just a cursory glance shows there to be a lot of “anti-disinformation” action going on around this subject. Where there’s smoke…
    The death of light rail shows the problem starkly. This ‘social engineering’ project was conceived and managed by Classic Neo-liberals. They decided that they, and their interests, were the definition of “The Market.” The rest follows “organically.”
    Society wide problems need society wide solutions, which can only be properly managed by entities that place the ‘interests’ of the society first.
    I stopped believing in Fairy Tales years ago. One of the biggest and most dangerous Fairy Tales still told today is the “Tale of The Market.”
    Thank the deities that our ‘Philosopher Kings’ have a solution in progress: The Jackpot.

    1. Carolinian

      The 1980s not so much an “end to history” as a return to history? i.e. as the song says, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

      The cyclical nature of everything is grist for those of us holding the “baked in the cake” theory.

      1. polar donkey

        I showed my 7 and 9 yr olds the Harold Lloyd movie Safety Last from 1923. They liked it. There is a scene of people catching the street car during rush hour. Dozens of people hanging off the sides and back of the trolley. My boys had never seen street cars before. I had to explain what they were.

  10. timbers

    The EV mandate looks to be a perfect plan to price a lot working folk out of the car market and generally drive up their cost of living.

    1. pay the piper

      Exactly. Any broad mandate, no matter how well intentioned, that does not factor in economic issues like this is doomed to chaos and failure. Many working folk already have inadequate transportation options and pigeonholing car purchases to expensive EVs is likely to simply create “car ghettoes” over time.

      1. timbers

        And on top of the chip shortage which contributed the last car shortage…no time for car prices no normalize.

  11. dave -- just dave

    Spouse and self got a new car this year – replacing one from 2007 – as our first mission was to drive a thousand miles from the east coast into the midwest, a BEV was not a possibility – we got an ICE after all. This one has radar! As the Firesign Theatre prophetically said, this is the future.

    Yves states

    as they say in Maine, you can’t get there from here, as in you can’t get a green energy transition anywhere near soon enough in a neoliberal system. You need a ton more dirigisme, as in top-down planning and control. But you’d also need widespread acceptance of the urgency of the problem and a willingness to change behaviors, which because freedumb, is not likely to happen either.

    “Soon enough” is sort of like “How’s your spouse?” I wonder whether the scenario of Oreskes and Conway’s The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future is too pessimistic, or not pessimistic enough – they imagine a return of global – not western – civilization within a few centuries.

  12. MicaT

    Charging an EV in colder climates is done all the time. Norway has a huge population of EV. Pretty sure it gets cold there.
    All newer EV’s have heating and some cooling for the batteries. Yes most lithium chemistries don’t accept charge below 0°c.
    And yes it makes for yet another set of variables when owning an EV like I do.
    The range is less when it’s cold because of the battery which loses capacity/range and because of the cabin heater. With a ICE car you get free heat.

    As to charging I pay attention to the outside temps. It gets well below freezing where I live. When it’s cold I charge the car after I’ve driven it as the batteries are warm from use, mine doesnt have a battery heater. It charges normally. When it’s hot out, say 85°f or more I wait until morning to charge it.

    EV’s in cold weather is workable. And it takes some added though and operation to do it.

  13. JCC

    I own a Prius Prime, rechargeable plug-in. I just finished a cross country, 2800 mile, trip from Seneca Lake, NY to the Mojave Desert at a cost of about $175.00 in fuel and 4 days of driving (with 3 nights of Holiday Inn Express (approx $400.00). I got over 40 mpg which would have been better if I didn’t have a roof-top carrier mounted on the car. Last year, same trip, I got over 45 mpg.

    If I was driving a non-Tesla EV and based on the link Flora added above, it would have taken me at least 8 days and and who knows what in supercharger cost – but definitely more than double $175.00.

    Interestingly, over 3 months of running between Elmira, Ithaca, Geneva, Seneca Falls, and Canandaigua NY I don’t specifically recall seeing any BEVs and only one street accessible charging station, although admittedly I never bothered looking. Hybrids were not uncommon, though.

    I also have a 6 cyl Toyota 4WD that would have cost me in the neighborhood of $550 in fuel if not more. I like hybrids, great mileage and quick refuels (only a 10 gal tank), relatively inexpensive battery replacement costs when the time comes and much, much lower gas usage.

    BEVs for me are out of the question.

    1. Carolinian

      My ICE Hyundai uses the same Atkinson cycle type engine as the Prius and can get 45 mpg on the open freeway. Gasoline cars have become more efficient even as so many of my neighbors drive giant brutalist inspired pickups that go in the opposite direction. While the EV revolution may be premature, a willing government could put penalties on the guzzlers.

      1. flora

        The price of gas can be the penalty for the guzzlers. If price per/gal goes way up again expect to see a lot of the huge pickups and 4wds being offered for sale by owner. / ;)

    2. Synoia

      The difference between Gas and electric costs IS obviously an opportunity for electric Companies.

      Refueling times with electric cars is a limit to the practicality of electric Vehicles. Good luck when the vehicle is undercharged and one is in a hurry.

      As for Eclectic trucks, the payload of a truck is greatly reduced with the electric truck battery weight.

  14. Cynical Engineer

    The bigger problem is that EV’s are very much bleeding-edge technology. Nobody knows for sure what the lifespan will be on the individual battery packs….technology is too new.

    And the early information is not promising: GM had to recall every single Bolt they made and replace the battery pack due to a tendency to burst into flames without obvious provocation. To this day, some parking garages will not admit Chevy Bolts due to concern about the safety of the battery pack.

    The Ford Mach-E has had multiple recalls and are massively backlogged on those repairs. The latest recall is for a part (high voltage contactor) that if it fails, the car won’t move. And because it’s buried deep in the battery pack, it takes almost 20 hours of labor to replace.

    I recently read an article about the high-performance EV’s….mostly focused on the Porsche Taycan. The liquid cooling system for the battery pack is hugely complex, containing hundreds of pipes, hoses, connectors and components. And as anybody who has ever owned a house (or an older internal-combustion car) knows: The entropy state of plumbing is “leaking”. As these cars age, those cooling systems are going to turn into a maintenance nightmare.

    And there’s the Genesis G80e….I had one of those (with under 2,000 miles on it) that decided to break when I tried to charge it: L3 charger announced there was an isolation fault and killed the charging session. When I tried to move the car to another charger, it refused to move announcing “Unplug charger first”. Only problem was that it wasn’t plugged in. I couldn’t even put it into neutral so it could be towed. Ultimately got it moving in limp mode (25mph max) by pulling the On-board-charger fuse. This all happened in October.

    It’s currently at the Hyundai dealer awaiting parts for the repair, with the current estimate being end of December (and both the dealer’s service advisor and myself are not confident in that estimate). Two months+ with an $80k car sitting broken. Not impressive.

    Apparently Hyundai was pushing so hard to get these cars on the street that they neglected to even create inventory for the repair parts: The dealer had to call distribution verbally to order the part because it didn’t exist in their computer system. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that this manual order will actually be filled. My biggest fear that they’ll get this part, it won’t solve the problem and we’ll be back at square one.

    1. KLG

      Apropos of something, perhaps, Hyundai is building a gargantuan EV assembly plant just west of Savannah with the battery plant in another location in a nearby county. Spreading the “wealth” generated through tax credits provided by the State of Georgia? Probably. The rat’s nest of special interests is difficult to untangle. This may not end well. The state is scrambling to develop training programs for the future workers at these plants.

      Meanwhile, Rivian is building an enormous truck assembly plant in a rural county east of Atlanta, where the only supportive locals are those who made a killing selling the beautiful rolling farmland that has disappeared, about 2000 acres IIRC. A forensic accountant would have a field day illuminating the various shenanigans that led to this, which is also likely to be an expensive boondoggle.

      The alternative? Serious work that will restore what I saw in the local train station that is now an “event space” a few years ago: The schedule that included about 30 arrivals and departures per day, mostly “local” with a half-dozen express trains to distant destinations. Clear rights-of-way for the express trains exist and are ready for development, in the form of I-75, I-20, I-16, I-95 and I-85…the only thing lacking is imagination. Of course, those destinations will need local light rail and trams for this to work. Nah. A new Dark Age is coming.

      1. Carolinian

        the only thing lacking is imagination

        And lots and lots of money. I once took the Southern Crescent–which I believe still runs from New Orleans through Atl and then my town to the North–and it was the bumpiest rid of my life. It was not exactly Euro travel. Apparently few American railroads have passenger grade tracks much less high speed rail grade. Political support for changing that seems vanishingly small.

  15. Keith Newman

    I bought a new car three and a half years ago and never considered getting an electric one. Neither has a close friend who is picking up a new car in two days. Maybe a plug in hybrid but as Dave says the batteries die after 10-12 years and we keep our cars longer than that. So that’s out too. Even though we each only drive about 5000 km a year and mostly locally, an electric car would be inconvenient. We would need special installations at home. How about the odd time I drive to Montreal to visit my sister or down to upstate New York to visit family? Neither has a driveway and the nearest charging station is three blocks away and is often full. We live near Ottawa, Ontario and temperatures in the winter can go down to minus 10 and sometimes even minus 20 C. Do electric cars even work at those temperatures? Note that electricity where we live is quite cheap: 0.065 to 0.10 Canadian dollars per kwh depending on consumption (about 5 to 7 cents US) but the lower expense is not worth the inconvenience. I see electric cars as suitable for exclusively local driving such as pizza delivery and for virtue signalling by high income people who own several cars. I suppose the latter accounts for the increasing number of Teslas I see on the streets.
    In any case as noted by Darius and ambrit EVs are no solution for pollution. Much better public transportation is. Obviously.

  16. Randy

    My EV is more “convenient” than an ICE vehicle. Here in Wisconsin winters get damn cold. I pull into my garage, plug in to my 220V L2 charger (which I installed myself) at night and wake up in the morning to a full charge. I get about 300 miles/charge in summer and about 225 miles/charge in winter. It costs about $4 for a full charge. I do not miss standing next to my car on a 10 degree day in a 20mph wind watching gas flow into a gas tank.

    We also have a fuel sipping ICE vehicle and a full size truck for towing and hauling only.

  17. pay the piper

    Many comments on EVs themselves and the issues around owning and driving, but none on the whining of car dealers and whether or not (the classic doublespeak-ed named) EV Voice of the Customer is working with a clear head. Car dealers buying too much inventory as a response to pending mandates sounds like a “them” problem. Car dealers applying their outdated business models and practices to a new product/market and finding that it is not working, and then putting the blame on customers (“they’re not ready!”)? Really? It sounds to me more like the car sellers themselves are not ready. It’s like trying to remove a car engine with a claw hammer. New tools in the form of business practices and selling models are needed to make this EV transition work (in addition to a host of infrastructure and policy changes already mentioned). Car dealerships are a bottleneck/chokepoint. Their potential difficulties in this EV transition is not the fault of customers or regulatory mandates.

  18. polar donkey

    I think EVs are losing the PR battle badly. Saw a meme yesterday with 2 pictures. Top picture was 4 smiling oil workers with a caption of “these guys produce the diesel for my truck”. The bottom picture was poor children in Africa digging with barehands in an open pit mine “these kids produce the lithium for my electric vehicle.” While those kids may be actually digging colbalt, much of population has internalized those images of child miners. EVs are trailing only pedophiles and Israel’s Gaza War, in the bad for children rankings.

    1. Karl

      My guess is this a sophisticated PR campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry, joined by the auto industry (and its workers) to save their ICE assets and jobs. I see so many of those memes that it has to be orchestrated.

  19. Socal Rhino

    In my neighborhood, EVs paired with rooftop solar have become a popular combination (I drive a 10 year old CRV with ICE). Recent changes to CA law for net metering make the financial calculation less attractive and that may be another factor that dampens EV enthusiasm over time. Electrical utilities do not like distributed solar generation preferring a centralized approach. I mention because EV adoption is much higher in CA than other states (I recall something like 70 percent of EV sales have been in this state).

    1. Randy

      I have PV solar and I have an EV. When I installed my PV panels I had net metering. In 2021 I lost my net metering so I now pay my power company retail prices for their power and they pay me wholesale prices for my power. That is why I bought an EV. I can put my excess power generation into my car instead of Basically Giving it to my power company.

  20. Gregory Etchason

    A predictable narrative is on the way. OEMs were never making EVs for environmental reasons. It was about eliminating 30% of labor then cashing in on fees and subscription services. GM estimated $50 billion/yr in fees. Biden took the bait and put up $trillions to assist already flush manufacturers. Only for GM Ford and VW to fall flat on their face. I see the blame BIG government excuse coming. “The government made us move too fast.” The only upside to this debacle is finally Tesla fanboys will need to sit down and shut up.

  21. boooze

    Bought a 2019 Bolt for ~17k before tax incentives this summer. Due to the recall mentioned upthread, the battery had been replaced in June. Best car I’ve owned. My commute is 35 mi each way, free charging at work. The savings in gas more than pays for the car payment. “No” maintenance costs. No smog checks. It’s a joy to drive. It requires a tiny bit of forethought about plans. Well worth it.

    If I “need” to go on a road trip I can rent a car.

    The spate of articles talking about how no one wants EVs and what a nightmare they are is puzzling to me. Cui bono…

  22. Starry Gordon

    You all are going to drive right to the end of the road, aren’t you? It’s not
    that far off.

    I’ve been trying to get an ebike that won’t explode. Hitherto I rode
    on muscle power, but I’m getting old and decrepit. A delivery-style bike
    with a trailer would carry almost everything I ever need to carry. It seems
    to me that an advanced civilization ought to be able to produce a non-
    exploding ebike, but a nearby dealer just got totally wiped out when part
    of his stock blew up. Luckily he was out of the store at the moment.

    1. JBird4049

      Nope, there will be no trains, planes, automobiles, e-bikes, trolleys, street cars, subways, affordable cars, or anything else unless our Beloved Elites can make bank on it (and they can downsize some of us surplus population from existence.)

      Plenty of people live in the boonies, many more live in apartments without outdoor electrical outlets, and who knows how many people live where there use to be affordable and practical public transit, never you mind where it could be built. Unless there are practical, well thought out, detailed plans that will be funded and carried out, electric cars are either a luxury item, impractical or unusable for much of the population. For millions of Californians, never mind the tens of millions of Americans, that is just reality.

      We could have public meetings, create commissions and task forces, and have well trained technicians to build the transportation system we needed. Heck, much of the business community would probably love it, not to mention the general American population.

      But this is commie talk. Let’s build that unaffordable, impractical, oligarchic, dystopian, panoptic America complete with exploding flying cars and armed, autonomous police dogbots and flying death drones that Protect and Serve™, instead.

      However, isn’t that the point? We can talk all day and all week, and twice on Sundays, but it will not matter, unless we deal with the corruption and obscene rentierism. Right now, we are just speculating.

  23. NYMutza

    Electric vehicles are not a climate panacea. Instead, they are a distraction. Just as natural gas as a “bridge” fuel is a distraction. Both distractions have been purposely created in order to convince most of us that nothing fundamentally need change in how we organize, build, and maintain our societies. That the band will play on, the wine will continue to flow, and that the good times will continue to roll.

  24. Jeremy Grimm

    I suppose an electric car — a ‘full’ size, 300 mile-range, electric car — might be a great idea for the u.s. …
    — If the u.s. had a reliable electric grid adapted to solar, wind, ‘safe’ and cost-effective nuclear power, non-fossil fuel and non-“bio-fuel” — non-wood-based — or other[?] sources of electric power;
    — If batteries were smaller, lighter, less expensive, lasted longer, recyclable, and safe;
    — If electric cars were affordable.
    But I do not believe any of these ‘ifs’ represent the situation in the u.s. I live in and I seriously doubt any of these little deal breakers will ever be overcome.

    I am much more optimistic about a small one or two person vehicle designed for speeds less than 50 mph with a range of 25-30 miles might be possible although I am not sure how to gauge the capabilities of lead acid batteries — the deep-discharge kind of lead acid batteries. It may be necessary to settle for a one person vehicle with no heater, radio or other gadgets, designed for speeds up to 25 mph and a range of 5 – 10 miles, and carrying or pulling light loads. However the u.s. is not ready for vehicles like this. The existing cars would make them as dangerous as bicycles or walking and I doubt there is adequate supply of deep-discharge batteries or chargers — via Grid, while it continues to operate — or solar while solar cells still operate or can be replaced … two very big ‘ifs’ if parts need to originate somewhere inside the u.s. within transport distance to where they are needed. I am equally optimistic about the future for bicycles and pedal-power, although again I worry about domestic supplies and about the future of steel making, gear stamping, and bicycle chain production without fossil fuels.

    How many wheelwrights are there these days? What are the long-term prospects for rubber tires without petroleum.

    Of course, for the short-term, mandating electric cars makes perfect sense in today’s u.s. economy. The idea fits right in with ‘Green New Deals’ and the wonders of Bidenomics.

  25. chris

    According to EV Voice of the Customer, the reason for car buyers’ reluctance to purchase EVs stems from the still high price of EVs—even with incentives—and the fact that most buyers don’t have a garage

    Jokes on them! Sooner or later EV owners get a notice that you can’t keep the vehicle in a garage because of the fire risk…

  26. Glen

    I always thought it would be better to just have large organizations/corporations/agencies which rely on fleets of cars and trucks for short range service to get told switch to partial BEV fleets instead of just telling Detroit to make more EVs and sell them to the public. This puts the cost and learning curve of design/make/maintenance in the hands of fairly experienced people that work professionally with vehicle fleets, gives the manufacturers a better idea of how many vehicles will be made/sold, and lets the “buying public” get introduced to EVs at work.

    Personally, we own a very small farm, and need a truck as a tow vehicle and to haul around small loads. Plus we tend to buy new, and hold onto our vehicles for a long time. I bought a new truck three years ago because my old truck was thirty years old. There were EV trucks available, but these were very expense so I went with a fleet configured F-150. It just does not get driven very much. Our other vehicle is a small five door wagon. It gets good mileage (about 38 mpg), and you can actually put a lot of stuff into one of these small cars. A good cheap EV version of that would be a good replacement, but right now, all vehicles being sold new are too expensive so we’ll just keep what we have running.

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