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Vehicle manufacturers, which are losing serious money on every EV they build, are compensating by raising prices on the ICVs that customers actually want. Manufacturers begging government for ever-more multibillion-dollar subsidies resemble 9-year-old Oliver Twist holding out his gruel bowl: “Please, sir, I want some more.” Vehicle manufacturers, having become government appendages, also want government to provide more charging stations to combat potential customers’ “range anxiety.” What could go wrong?

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In 1920, there were only 9.2 million U.S. passenger cars and commercial vehicles; by 1930, that number had nearly tripled. And there were more than 121,000 filling stations provided by the private sector. A miracle, like the multiplication of the loaves and fishes? No, just the market working. In the two years since Congress allocated $7.5 billion for government-built charging stations, seven have been built.

This glacial pace is partly because government regulations about implementing government regulations cause government to congeal. “Equity” considerations (charging-station money is skewed toward “marginalized” communities) and vote-buying (electricians unions are favored) converge.

Businesses relying on electric pickup trucks find that time (which is money) is squandered on charging. When the trucks are used as, well, trucks — loaded, and towing things — batteries sag even faster.

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Winter is unkind to EVs: Cold slows the batteries’ chemical reactions. Some drivers who joined lines at charging stations with (supposedly) ample miles of remaining battery capacity had to be pushed, after long waits (high-speed chargers are slow — 30 to 60 minutes — compared with five-minute gas fill-ups), to the chargers. Hot weather, too, makes the chemical reactions less efficient.

Spring, however, is Goldilocks season for EVs — neither too hot nor too cold. And soon, perhaps, government regulations will require temperatures to be mild, always and everywhere.

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Government’s language often radiates contempt for the governed, as when the Environmental Protection Agency recently said limits on automobile emissions in model years 2027-2032 will “give drivers more clean vehicle choices.” The regulations are, of course, explicitly intended to restrict consumers’ choices by forcing manufacturers to produce fewer cars that have tailpipe emissions. Drivers will be able to choose any vehicle they want — from the “clean” category government prefers. As Henry Ford reportedly said, the Model T would be available in “any color” the customer wants, “as long as it’s black.”

The Biden administration’s costly and coercive crusade to replace internal combustion vehicles (ICVs) with electric vehicles (EVs) is disproportionate to its minuscule climate impact. The American Enterprise Institute’s Benjamin Zycher says the EPA’s own assumptions project that the new regulations will mitigate global warming by 0.023 degrees Celsius by 2100. Because the standard deviation of the Earth’s surface temperature record is 0.11 degrees Celsius, “that effect would not be detectable.”

Each half-ton battery for “clean” vehicles requires, reports Mark P. Mills in City Journal, digging and processing 50 to 250 tons of earth for copper, nickel, aluminum, graphite and lithium, the prices of which will increase (as will the vehicles’ prices) when the easily accessed supplies decrease. All existing and planned mines can meet “only a small fraction” of the needed increase of those materials. The International Energy Agency says hundreds of huge new mines will be needed, each taking a decade or more to open.

EPA emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks will require more of them to be EVs (currently, 99 percent are not). Electric semis are heavy (because of their batteries), damage roadways and generate particulate-matter pollution from roads and their necessarily special tires. The Wall Street Journal reports that “an electric semi consumes about seven times as much electricity on a single charge as a typical home does in a day.” They require frequent recharges (95 minutes to charge the battery from 25 percent capacity to 93 percent), as well as multiple time-consuming, load-delivering trips because their weight limits load sizes.

Consumer Reports finds that EVs have 79 percent more problems than ICVs. This is one reason Hertz, having preened about its plans to purchase 100,000 Teslas, is selling 20,000 of those it has. Other reasons include: Hertz cycles its fleet into the used-car market, where an EV glut caused prices to plummet 33 percent between 2022 and 2023. Hertz’s Teslas are involved in four times more accidents than its ICVs. (Teslas’ braking and acceleration require getting used to.) Tesla’s complex electronics make them substantially more expensive than ICVs to repair. Consumer resistance to EVs has pushed down their prices, which has slashed the value of Hertz’s multibillion-dollar investment in them.

Vehicle manufacturers, which are losing serious money on every EV they build, are compensating by raising prices on the ICVs that customers actually want. Manufacturers begging government for ever-more multibillion-dollar subsidies resemble 9-year-old Oliver Twist holding out his gruel bowl: “Please, sir, I want some more.” Vehicle manufacturers, having become government appendages, also want government to provide more charging stations to combat potential customers’ “range anxiety.” What could go wrong?

In 1920, there were only 9.2 million U.S. passenger cars and commercial vehicles; by 1930, that number had nearly tripled. And there were more than 121,000 filling stations provided by the private sector. A miracle, like the multiplication of the loaves and fishes? No, just the market working. In the two years since Congress allocated $7.5 billion for government-built charging stations, seven have been built.

This glacial pace is partly because government regulations about implementing government regulations cause government to congeal. “Equity” considerations (charging-station money is skewed toward “marginalized” communities) and vote-buying (electricians unions are favored) converge.

Businesses relying on electric pickup trucks find that time (which is money) is squandered on charging. When the trucks are used as, well, trucks — loaded, and towing things — batteries sag even faster.

Winter is unkind to EVs: Cold slows the batteries’ chemical reactions. Some drivers who joined lines at charging stations with (supposedly) ample miles of remaining battery capacity had to be pushed, after long waits (high-speed chargers are slow — 30 to 60 minutes — compared with five-minute gas fill-ups), to the chargers. Hot weather, too, makes the chemical reactions less efficient.

Spring, however, is Goldilocks season for EVs — neither too hot nor too cold. And soon, perhaps, government regulations will require temperatures to be mild, always and everywhere.

QOSHE - Biden’s impossible dream: Any car you want, as long as it’s an EV - George F. Will
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Biden’s impossible dream: Any car you want, as long as it’s an EV

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12.04.2024

Follow this authorGeorge F. Will's opinions

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Vehicle manufacturers, which are losing serious money on every EV they build, are compensating by raising prices on the ICVs that customers actually want. Manufacturers begging government for ever-more multibillion-dollar subsidies resemble 9-year-old Oliver Twist holding out his gruel bowl: “Please, sir, I want some more.” Vehicle manufacturers, having become government appendages, also want government to provide more charging stations to combat potential customers’ “range anxiety.” What could go wrong?

Advertisement

In 1920, there were only 9.2 million U.S. passenger cars and commercial vehicles; by 1930, that number had nearly tripled. And there were more than 121,000 filling stations provided by the private sector. A miracle, like the multiplication of the loaves and fishes? No, just the market working. In the two years since Congress allocated $7.5 billion for government-built charging stations, seven have been built.

This glacial pace is partly because government regulations about implementing government regulations cause government to congeal. “Equity” considerations (charging-station money is skewed toward “marginalized” communities) and vote-buying (electricians unions are favored) converge.

Businesses relying on electric pickup trucks find that time (which is money) is squandered on charging. When the trucks are used as, well, trucks — loaded, and towing things — batteries sag even faster.

Advertisement

Winter is unkind to EVs: Cold slows the batteries’ chemical reactions. Some drivers who joined lines at charging stations with (supposedly) ample miles of remaining battery capacity had to be pushed, after long waits (high-speed chargers are slow — 30 to 60 minutes — compared with five-minute gas fill-ups), to the chargers. Hot weather, too,........

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