The Electric Car’s Short Circuit

Some day, the electric car will be a great product – just not now. It costs too much, it is inconvenient, and its environmental benefits are negligible (and in some cases non-existent).

PRAGUE – For decades, the idea of the electric car has captured the imaginations of innovators – including Henry Ford and Thomas Edison more than a century ago. Celebrities, pundits, and political leaders alike have cast these vehicles as the apotheosis of an environmentally responsible future. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proclaimed that there will be a million electric cars on the Autobahn by 2020. President Barack Obama has likewise promised a million electric cars in the United States – but five years sooner.

Someday, the electric car will, indeed, be a great product – just not now. It costs too much; it is inconvenient; and its environmental benefits are negligible (and, in some cases, non-existent).

Many developed countries provide lavish subsidies for electric cars: amounts up to $7,500 in the US, $8,500 in Canada, €9,000 ($11,700) in Belgium, and €6,000 even in cash-strapped Spain. Denmark offers the most lavish subsidy of all, exempting electric cars from the country’s marginal 180% registration tax on all other vehicles. For the world’s most popular electric car, the Nissan Leaf, this exemption is worth €63,000.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/6mmgcGw;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.