Taxpayer-Subsidized Electric Vehicles Are a Bust

NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser was interviewed last night on Cavuto on the Fox Business Network. Paul asserted that electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt have failed in the marketplace, despite massive taxpayer subsidies. Here’s a transcript:

Neil Cavuto: Well as you can tell, I have been somewhat subdued in my criticism of electric cars, especially the Volt.  But despite my downplaying Americans seem to be plugged in to the fact that plug ins are not in.  I want you to check out this USA Today headline, that’s right, copying me, questioning if electric cars are losing their spark.  Of course it is a misleading headline since they never had a spark.  But I digress because you have lost me and USA Today, well I think that it is fair to say you lost the nation.  Paul Chesser over at the National Legal and Policy Center says that these electric lemons never had a chance.  Do they now?   What do you make of it, Paul?

Paul Chesser (National Legal and Policy Center): Well, you stole my line, they never gave out a spark.  It is like Steven Chu, the Department of Energy Secretary is the proverbial Cub Scout who can’t ignite a fire by rubbing two rocks together.  Yeah, the Volt has sold that is fully electric has sold something like eighty seven hundred.  Both have heavy subsidies.  There is another story out today from the Mackinaw Center out in Michigan, an analysis that showed that about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in subsidises went into each Volt that has been sold.  The public is not buying it.  The only way these can be viable is if they are heavily subsidized.  Even with that it is showing that it is not viable.

Neil Cavuto:  It is almost like it is an auto field of dreams thing; its proponents say if you build it they will come.  You build these power charging stations where you plug them in and they will come.  That is what is hurting it, there are not enough of these things.  I think it is a goofy explanation, an excuse.  What do you make of it?

Paul Chesser:  Well, those are heavily subsidized.  The whole system is subsidized.  The chargers are subsidized.  They have this think called the EV Project with this company called Ecotality and another one called Cullom Technologies.  

Neil Cavuto:  Right.

Paul Chesser:  They are receiving millions in subsidies to deploy these chargers in six states.  Lets say a car gets to one of these charging stations.  Even if you could get to one of the fastest charging stations, it is still going to take thirty minutes to recharge your vehicle to go another sixty five or seventy miles.  It is ridiculous and it is not viable.  Consumers are so used to be able to stop at a gas station refill for five minutes and be back on your way.  This technology has such a long way to go to make it.  We are pouring billions of dollars into it for no benefit.

Neil Cavuto:  I have always found that the hybrid technology is something that Americans do like and buy.  They have no problem buying even without the sensitivity.  Hybrids have at least the appeal that you do not have to plug them in.  What was the game this weekend where the lights went out in the stadium?

Paul Chesser:  Candlestick Park.

Neil Cavuto:  Candlestick Park.  I tell you what happened there.  They have not proven it, but I think someone was plugging a Volt in.


Paul Chesser:  Well one of the Steelers alleged that one of the Forty Niners wanted a new stadium so bad that they went on national TV and wanted to show how badly they needed a new stadium. 

Neil Cavuto:  It could be that and a Volt. Very good to have you Paul.  Thank you very much.

Paul Chesser:  I enjoyed it. Thank you.