The reason we must have the electric car tax credit

“If you look at total cost of ownership and factor in the cost of the vehicle, the cost of fueling and the cost of maintenance, many electric cars are already cheaper on a total cost-of-ownership basis than conventional vehicles,” Gina Coplon-Newfield, the director of the Clean Transportation for All campaign at the Sierra Club, told Salon.

Because they’re already cheaper therefore they must be subsidised.

Well, that is indeed the argument.

42 thoughts on “The reason we must have the electric car tax credit”

  1. How long do the batteries last? Replacing them every 3 years must be much more expensive than keeping a modern petrol car serviced

  2. I imagine they’re cheaper in the same way that windmills produce cheaper electricity i.e. they’re not but if you selectively choose the figures you use you can convince the gullible, and true believers they are.

  3. Hmmm… Endorsements from the Sierra Club, GreenCarReports and CleanTechnica… Not exactly disinterested parties. If a similar report was produced by, say, the SMMT I might give it a bit of credence.

  4. ‘many electric cars are already cheaper on a total cost-of-ownership basis than conventional vehicles’

    Name them, dumbass.

    You could buy a new Honda Civic with the 2-year depreciation of a Nissan Leaf. The depreciation is nothing less than catastrophic. Yet morons tell us the electrics are a great deal. Amanda is criminally stupid.

  5. Worth noting that this factors in the currently reasonably high demand for used electric vehicles and the subsequent low depreciation; when the market hits saturation and the battery packs start needing replacement I suspect the economics will shift markedly. Already there are weird noises in the used market about cars like the Renault Zoe where the battery pack isn’t the owner’s property but leased in a possibly non-transferable way from the manufacturer

  6. Looking at the statement in as favourable a light as possible, there is still a high up-front cost to electric cars. If the total cost of ownership really is lower, then at most it only merits a loan from the gummint.

  7. The greenfemm nitwit needs to be torn in half between two cars. Preferably in the HoC parking garage–just to make leftist femmi-fantasy come true for the girlies– and using two electric cars.

    That would cause the problem of finding electric shitwagons powerful enough to pull a greenfreak in half but it does raise the possibility she could be tortured by electric shock for the several hours she is lying on the concrete waiting for the two jumped up milk floats to be sufficiently supercharged to finally carry out the awful deed.

    Care will have to be taken to see she doesn’t win free from her bonds otherwise she could escape to Edinburgh in under 24 hours via coach and horses ( appropriate with Christmas coming up) and the UK’s entire force of electric squad cars would not be able to catch her.

  8. How long do the batteries last?

    The battery on my Mitsubishi Outlander is guaranteed (to retain 80% of capacity) for 10 years or 200,000 km. But it’s on a 3-year lease-rental, so isn’t my problem 🙂

  9. Has anyone thought about setting up an electric car battery derivative market. Making good on the guaranteed battery life might be expensive for either the car makers or battery suppliers

  10. I recently read a long-term review of a Tesla in Car & Driver. The cost of ownership was significantly lower than just about anything else on the road… It spent quite a bit of time C&D had it in the shop having all sorts of problems fixed under warranty. Cost of ownership isn’t all that much when you’re driving a loaner all the time.

  11. DtP, across the road from where I work is a Jaguar service centre that also services the Tesla. There is one particular Tesla that is up on the ramp at least once every 3 weeks.

    Serious question, did that cost of ownership analysis include the cost of electricity?

  12. Very simply.
    If they’re right then the things will soon be selling like hotcakes, and the manufacturers will have plenty of money to repay all the subsidies.
    If not subsidies should be stopped.

  13. BiS

    Too right

    Right now, if I pull into a petrol station and there are 6 pumps each with two cars before me, I might gently curse but in five minutes I’m pumping petrol and in 3 minutes I’m paying.

    Try that with a Tesla.

    True an electric car would be ok for our second car for commuting except when and there is always gonna be a when…. eg the kids get back from Uni and I lose my car

    The infrastructure needs are enormous and battery technology needs a quantum leap, costs are currently a lie, otherwise bring it on!

  14. Dennis: “There is nothing in Elon Musk’s history?” Really? What about SpaceX? Reusing 1st stage rockets by landing them on a a barge *in the sea* isn’t an engineering achievement?

    I don’t say this will definitely lead to electric car practicality but you have to give the man *some* credit.

    Interesting alternative, more positive viewpoints in these articles (though, again, I don’t say they are guaranteed answers):

    Typical complaints are addressed e.g. range, recharging practicality, overall system load. Worth a look.

  15. Roamer

    Read it when published. I agree it is interesting but not convincing YET. I also agree that if the infrastructure problem (and I think it is bigger than he wants to make out), the battery cost, contamination, range and charge time are overcome, the scale of manufacture is achieved (hmm) against a currently superior consumer vehicle then it’s time may have come.

    The problem is then that we have become accustomed to a level of convenience that we will find impossible to give up. If we all become average and people decide not to travel long distances because it’s anti-social….. well…

  16. BBB

    I agree about the not YET. However, the time to YES may be shorter than we think. Tesla’s Model 3 might be the turning point – $30K (still pricey for US, but plenty of interest), projected 500K/year production, battery gigafactory coming along. Yes, highly publicised delays in initial production capacity right now but true for other Tesla models too. It will be fascinating to watch.

  17. I don’t say this will definitely lead to electric car practicality but you have to give the man *some* credit.

    I’ll give him credit for being a master at mooching off the federal government for funding. And I’ll give him credit for always being the first to find the microphone in any room.

    But when it comes to building an affordable, reliable and practical automobile, not so much.

    At this point in time I view him as closing in on being the 21st Century’s Baron Munchausen of technology and business.

  18. Dennis, I don’t think we have to wait too long to see which way it turns. Personally, I’ll be surprised if it’s a colossal disaster but you never know.

  19. DtP is correct.

    Musk will be remembered for his Martian visions not his jumped up golf carts.

    Not that Mars is going to be delivered out of a collapsed empire of ecofreak roadsters.

  20. “…many electric cars are already cheaper on a total cost-of-ownership basis than conventional vehicles,” Gina Coplon-Newfield, the director of the Clean Transportation for All Campaign at the Sierra Club, told Salon. But she added that the average electric vehicle is still slightly more expensive at the point of purchase than a conventional vehicle, describing the federal tax credit as “a helpful incentive for American consumers to make that switch to these cleaner vehicles that have so many benefits.”

    Normally Gov’ts would view that as a justification for additional tax, but Global Warming religion wants other taxpayers to subsize their congregation.

    “The government needs to do more to encourage consumers to make the switch — and not just because electric cars emit far fewer air pollutants and greenhouse gases than gasoline-powered engines.”

    Really? Electric cars are NOT as green as you think (and some are worse polluters than petrol!)

    The correct solution, as always, is no subsidies/tax-incentives on EVs – let them compete in a free market where consumer uses their money to buy what they want/value.

  21. The question then moves to how does the government make up the fiscal gap without those fuel duties, tobacco duties etc

  22. I’ve mentioned this before but bears repeating:
    All this talking about the cost of electric cars & no-one is discussing the cost of upgrading the entire electricity generation & distribution network to charge an electric vehicle fleet. And you need to be talking about a lot of billions. The existing infrastructure is barely adequate to serve current needs. There isn’t spare capacity because capacity costs money & no-one’s been wasting money on unnecessary capacity. And it really is everything from the generating station to the cable coming into your house. You want to draw several kW/h’s to charge a car then the kW/h’s aren’t available for other purposes. The electrical service to your house is adequate for your current power requirements. No more. The builder didn’t slap in extra capacity because the cable suppliers were offering BOGOFs on 16mm single core.

  23. True BIS. I have seen 2 charging points in Marylebone! 2! You want to recharge 100 cars in that square mile, without blasting the battery with too much voltage.

    The idea is fictional.

  24. Sorry but have to disagree. I live in Tesla town , Hong Kong. There are thousands of them here, not so much because they are subsidised as because they are not taxed. If you buy a Tesla for 60k, that’s it, same as rest of the world, but buy a 60k BMW and its another 50k tax. Sort of subsidy, but a) Tesla doesn’t get any govt money and b) people with 60k to spend on a car get a 60k car. I have driven mine every day for 3 years and it is totally brilliant. The driving experience is everything a non petrol head could want, smooth, quiet, staggeringly quick when you want it to be and with no gears and regenerative breaking it drives like a go-cart. Almost nothing to go wrong mechanically, no roadside emissions and state of the art in car tech. BMW and Mercedes have managed to lobby and bribe to reduce the tax benefit here just as they lobby and bribe the media in Europe and the US to say ICEs are more green than electric – note the letter in the crony capitalist in house rag the FT yesterday from MIT professors complaining that the FT big read on EV had completely subverted their findings to favour ICE. I plug mine in at the car park, but could plug it in at home just like plugging in a phone at night. Reality is, that EV and hybrid EV – check out the Nissan E-note, the best selling car in Japan and likely category killer – are here to stay. The Chinese want them because while they pay lip service to co2 they really care about pollutants from ICEs. BMW et al know that, they can’t admit it yet, because who wants a 3 year old petrol BMW when all the new ones are EV?

  25. Minus 50k in tax is a whopping subsidy.

    And driving your piddle-power toy car around Hong Kong is somewhat different even than the UK let alone the vasty spaces of the US.

  26. Ecksie

    ‘Piddle power toy car’ no longer applies.

    Electric motors provide spectacular acceleration in virtual silence. Doesn’t make EVs a good thing.

    It’s all the rest makes them inviable today.

  27. Ecksy, bilbaoboy is correct. There are plenty of things wrong with electric cars and the governments’ pushing them that you don’t need to make a straw man.

    The Tesla S is a spectacular car, as is its price.

  28. BIS: Infrastructure is discussed in the article I linked. It’s also untrue that there’s no spare capacity – see Economy 7. (There also used to be the lesser known Economy 9, maybe still is.)

    Possibly there wasn’t much petrol infrastructure when the Model T started rolling off the production line (I can’t be bothered to google but you get the point), but things change.

    I realise there is a pre-existing solution in the ICE but there’s a pre-existing solution to a BMW called a Ford. People have wants as well as needs and we generally like personal choice around here.

    BTW I’m not advocating subsidies nor worried about the carbon-monster, just think it’s interesting, or as Gamecock says, spectacular, tech.

  29. Mpg of a model T was about 21. So you could strap on a couple of jerrycans and reach the next fuel depot. Or even get it towed there by a friendly farmer and his horse. I imagine you don’t have the option of carrying a spare battery in your Tesla or Volt. And there aren’t so many horse – drawn vehicles either. And surely your climate ethics stop you calling out a towtruck with an ICE

  30. @Mark T, November 15, 2017 at 1:09 am

    …note the letter in the crony capitalist in house rag the FT yesterday from MIT professors complaining that the FT big read on EV had completely subverted their findings to favour ICE…

    Does HK receive a different FT to UK?

    FT is the opposite of your rant, it’s a socialist EU & One World Gov’t supporter in favour of more tax, less progress to stop Global Warming.

    btw: google “paragraphs” and learn.

  31. I’ve had a Tesla Model X for a few months now and absolutely love it. I’m also a total petrol head and am very much a lukewarmer (in a nutshell: climate change may be happening, we may be having a minor effect on the rate at which it is happening, it isn’t going to make much of a difference either way, and technology improvements will make our already minor effect even more negligible).

    We don’t have much in the way of subsidies over here (for completeness our annual license is about $50 cheaper; I’m allowed to use some high occupancy lanes – and that is it). I also totally agree with this as I don’t see why poor people should subsidise my purchase of a $140,000 car that they could only dream of.

    In terms of the car itself I am really pleased with it. Whilst it is only a base model the acceleration is jaw dropping; I can easily beat my boss’ BMW M5 to 50kph; but he is faster to 100kph; but the acceleration is very different as the Tesla is instant – foot down and off you go – there isn’t any waiting for turbos or engines to spool up.

    I also like that every morning I wake up and it is fully fueled; I’ve got 350km worth of usable power to get me around (would be more if I didn’t drive like an ape … but where is the fun in that). On the rare occasion that I need to go further then there are chargers around that will fill me up … and the 350km range means that it is about the right time for a pit stop anyway. I haven’t had to fill up away from home yet though.

    The other thing that I like about the Tesla is the tech – it is about 5 years ahead of similarly priced cars and keeps getting better as they update the tech regularly over the air.

    I used to be a bit anti electric vehicles as they are milk floats; but my Tesla really is something else!

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