by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The left likes to treat skeptics of electrical cars as if they were Luddites. Truth is, making an existing product less efficient but more expensive doesn’t really meet the definition of innovation.
Even the purported amenities and technological advances EV-makers like to brag about in their ads have been a regular feature of gas-powered vehicles going back generations. At best, EVs, if they fulfill their promise, are a lateral technology.
Which is why there is no real “emerging market” for EVs in the United States as much as there’s an industrial policy in place that props up EVs with government purchases, propaganda, endless state subsidies, cronyism, taxpayer-backed loans, and edicts. The green “revolution” is an elite-driven, top-down technocratic project.
And it’s increasingly clear that the only reason giant rent-seeking carmakers are so heavily invested in EV development is that government is promising to artificially limit the production of gas-powered cars.
In March, Joe Biden signed an executive order to “set a target” for half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be zero-emission. California claims it is banning combustion engines in all new cars in about 10 years. So carmakers adopt business models to deal with these distorted incentives and contrived theoretical markets of the future.
In today’s real-world economy, though, Ford announced this week that it was firing at least 1,000 employees — many of them white-collar workers on the EV side. Ford projects it’s going to lose $3 billion on electric vehicles in 2023, bringing its EV losses to $5.1 billion over two years. In 2021, Ford reportedly lost $34,000 on every EV it made. This year it was losing more than $58,000 on every EV. In a normal world, Ford would be dramatically scaling back EV production, not expanding it. Remember that next time we need to bail out Detroit.
Then again, we’re already bailing them out, I suppose.