The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) projects that there will be 26.4 million electric vehicles (EV) on American roadways in 2030. This is a massive spike from the 2018 EEI prediction that there’d be only 18.7 million EVs on American roads by 2030. By 2030, the EEI assesses that 32 percent of all annual light-duty vehicle sales will be EVs. These are massive upswings for a product that a decade ago was considered merely a status symbol for the rich and powerful.
Electric Vehicles are cool, too. Particularly Tesla EVs. They combine unique design with cutting-edge technology. And their costs are coming down as more people embrace the technology (though they’re still higher than your average gas-powered car).
Complications to the EV Market
But not all is not well in the land of EVs. The problem facing EVs are twofold: first, there are inherent limits on the size and capacities of the batteries that power the EVs. Second, America’s ailing energy grid cannot sustain such increased demand that the expanding numbers of EVs on America’s roadways will place on the system.
There’s another spanner in the works for EVs: the fact that the batteries are made from rare earth minerals. These are expensive commodities found in specific parts of the world (such as Africa). They are considered rare not because they are hard to find, rather, they are rare because they are hard to acquire from the depths of the Earth.
Interestingly, it is China that has come to dominate the essential rare earth mineral market, meaning that America’s increased dependence on EVs will equate to an increased dependence on Communist China.
These facts have not stopped the U.S. government from pushing subsidies and policies meant to force Americans to abandon their vehicles that rely on traditional, cheaper, fossil fuels for EVs. The reason that the U.S. government wants to push EVs on as many Americans as possible – consequences be damned – is because so many government officials are believers in climate change.
It also doesn’t hurt that many of those political elites and politically connected business leaders in America are heavily invested in climate change “solutions,” and stand to benefit massively from the EV subsidization program that the Biden Administration has been pushing.
Rarely, though, is the question asked: is this the best, most practical solution for ordinary Americans in the near term?
Sadly, the answer is a resounding “no.”
EVs: An Impractical Solution to a Theoretical Problem
Part of President Joe Biden’s “Inflation Reduction Act,” which passed earlier this year, grants a $7,500 tax credit to those families who purchase an EV. Left unsaid is that the average cost of an EV in America is much higher than the average cost of a similar, mid-size, fossil fuel-powered vehicle.
The Inflation Reduction Act, we were told, was aimed at helping Middle-Class Americans get a leg up economically. How is a meager $7,500 tax credit going to help a Middle-Class family that hasn’t had a decent increase in their pay for years—and one that is currently being squeezed by the twin evils of high inflation and high interest rates?
We’ve seen this play out in California, where Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has presided over a massive investment into EV-friendly policies. In fact, California is setting the dangerous precedent that Democrats across the country hope to replicate everywhere: Newsom says that new gas-powered cars will be “phased out” of California entirely by 2035.
This, while his government has had to restrict charging times for the massive number of EVs that populate California because the Golden State’s power grid cannot sustain the increased demand for energy.
Patience, My Young Padawan
Electric Vehicles will play an important role in America’s future. But it is critical to let the market sort that out with as little interference from an overzealous government as possible. It’s one thing to encourage – or even offer incentives – families to purchase or lease EVs.
The dream of making America’s roadways mostly populated by EVs is exactly that, a dream, and will be nothing more than the stuff of Leftist fantasies unless the energy grid is modernized. New sources of energy production – notably nuclear – need to be embraced if the EV revolution is ever to happen, too.
The Left’s fixation on EVs is missing the point. Forcing Americans to make the switch to costlier, less efficient, more limited (in terms of range) vehicles before building up the infrastructure necessary for supporting these vehicles is going to lead to a national nightmare.
It’s already doing so in California. Imagine the horrific experience of most Americans if the cars they were forced by the government to buy cannot be reliably charged or are simply too expensive to maintain.
The Biden Administration needs to get its priorities in order. Fixating on theoretical climate change rather than helping ordinary Americans get through increasingly difficult economic times is the absolute wrong pathway forward. Let the market sort out the EV issue and focus instead on building the infrastructure needed to maintain these technological marvels.
And don’t wed Americans to any single product. Keep in mind that there are also various models of hydrogen-powered cars that might be even better – if the technology is allowed to mature – than EVs. Right now, though, Democrats are obsessed with forcing Americans to switch to a limited and expensive EV. If this transition isn’t done properly – and affordably – we will all live to regret it.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.