When President Joe Biden declared that he wants all cars sold to be “zero-emission” by 2035, carmakers didn’t raise a peep of protest. Worse, they are starting to fall in line with promises to go all-electric, even though the vast majority of consumers don’t want these cars.
General Motors made a big splash earlier this year when it promised to sell only electric cars by 2035.
“General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world,” CEO Mary Barra said days after Biden was sworn in. “We encourage others to follow suit.”
Honda later announced plans to make only battery-powered cars by 2040. Volvo said it will go all-electric by 2030. Ford said in February that it would invest at least $22 billion worldwide in the next few years to build electric vehicles.
These announcements were all greeted with Hosannas from the left (even though the overall environmental benefits of “zero-emission” cars is far from clear). But there’s one thing missing from all this cheering. The consumer.
These companies are throwing billions of dollars into researching and developing a product that consumers overwhelmingly reject.
Despite massive taxpayer rebates to electric car buyers, a multitude of subsidized recharging stations, and the constant talk about how electric automobiles will save the planet, sales of plug-ins accounted for a tiny 2% of all cars sold in the U.S. last year. Domestic sales of Chevy’s gas-guzzling Silverado pickups alone last year doubled the combined sales of electric cars from all makers.
We keep being told that what’s holding sales back is the lack of charging stations and insufficient taxpayer incentives. But since when have such inconveniences ever held back a product that is wildly popular with consumers? If consumers actually wanted EVs, there’d instantly be charging stations on every corner as companies looked to cash in.
What’s really hindering electric car sales is the inconvenience factor. Even when charging stations are nearby, they simply can’t go as far as gas-powered cars and require far too long to refuel.
“EVs can travel average barely half the distance of gas-powered vehicles,” notes Car and Driver. Driving speeds, weather, and other factors can dramatically shorten the range of EVs. When Car and Driver tested a Tesla Model 3 in cold weather, it found that using the heater can “kill 60 miles of range, a significant chunk of the Model 3’s 310-mile EPA rating.”
Worse, while it takes minutes to fill up an empty gas tank, it can take hours to fully charge an electric car. Leaving a car plugged into a conventional outlet overnight will give you enough juice to go all of about 30 miles. Even so-called fast-chargers are tedious compared with a simple fill-up at the gas station. (Tesla’s “Superchargers” take a little more than an hour to fully charge its cars, Business Insider reports.)
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