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Colliding with Reality

The problem with electric cars.

Oct 25, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 06 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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Tesla used the government’s loan to purchase and prepare the Fremont facility—which once produced 450,000 cars per year. Which is more than the entire projected EV demand in 2020.

But that’s the sort of fantasy world in which electric cars exist. In 2004, Tesla said it would develop its Roadster in two years for $25 million. It took four years and $140 million. In 2007, GM’s Bob Lutz told Newsweek he envisioned selling hundreds of thousands of Volts a year, probably priced below $30,000. The company will make 10,000 Volts next year and sell them for $41,000 each. In 2009, Chrysler claimed it would have 500,000 electric cars on the road by 2013 under a new brand, ENVI. The ENVI group was shut down before it could even muster a single production design.

The great irony is that there probably is a niche for the EV. Cars have always been badges and the electric car is no different. But instead of saying “I’m richer than you are” or “I’m cooler than you are,” the electric car says “I’m a better person than you are.” In Barack Obama’s America, surely there’s a market for that. If only the rest of us weren’t forced to subsidize it.


Jonathan V. Last is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard



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