CLAYTON, GEORGIA—Driving through rural Georgia, I have yet to see an electric vehicle or a charging station. After promising the Biden administration that they would eliminate most of the cars Americans want to buy from dealer lots by 2035, GM and Ford are now waking up to reality. They are cutting back on projections of EV sales and lowering production targets for the cars and batteries.
Ford Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said Thursday on a media call, “Given the dynamic EV environment, we are being judicious about our production and adjusting future capacity to better match market demand.” He announced that Ford is postponing $12 billion of spending and investment on EVs, including a Kentucky battery plant, after it halted its $3.5 billion Michigan-China battery partnership in September.
This follows an announcement by General Motors on Oct. 17 that it is pausing expansion of electric pickups “due to evolving EV demand.”
About 6% of new vehicle sales were electric in 2022, and President Joe Biden wants to bring this share up to 60% in 2030 and 66% in 2032 through regulations from the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. These regulations would penalize automakers for selling gasoline-powered cars. California is going further, requiring all new vehicle sales to be electric after 2035.
But there are four reasons that most Americans prefer to buy cars with internal combustion engines: cost, convenience, climate, and China.
New electric vehicles cost more than gasoline-powered vehicles. As I drive around the Clayton area (median household income $47,000), I see two-door and four-door pickup trucks, some battered and some shiny.
The electric version of the base version of the Ford F-150 pickup truck, the best-selling vehicle in America, costs an additional $26,000. And Tesla’s base prices start at about $40,000 for a Model 3 and go up to almost $100,000 for a Model X. Few Americans can afford these vehicles.
Many people who love their EVs recharge them at home, overnight. But not everyone has a garage at home. Some live in apartments and homes without garages. Many of these people have to rely on charging stations for their EVs if they can’t run extension cords from their residences to the parking lot.
At the local Walmart in nearby Tiger, Georgia, and in local gas stations, I didn’t see any charging stations. A lack of charging stations is a major problem in rural areas. Plus, gasoline-powered cars can be refueled in five or 10 minutes at a gas station. Recharging an electric vehicle can take 45 minutes—or much longer if you want a full charge. If someone is in front of you at the charging station, the wait can double. Most people don’t want to let their EV battery go below 20%, and the charging rate goes down when it is charged over 80%.
Batteries lose range in cold weather. Many of us have awakened on a cold winter morning to find our car batteries dead and in need of a jump start or a replacement. The American Automobile Association has a fleet of small vehicles whose sole purpose is to rescue troubled motorists in chilly situations.
A study by truck manufacturer Autocar shows that electric vehicles lose, on average, a third of their range in the winter, which reduces the typical 240-mile range to 160 miles. If a heat pump is added to the car, the loss is less, but still, the 240-mile range would shrink to 180.
In cold climates, batteries lose 20% to 40% of their range. That’s one reason only 380 North Dakota residents chose EVs in 2021 and Alaska had just 1,300.
Temperatures got down to 13 degrees in Georgia last Christmas, and it gets hot in the summer. Batteries lose range in weather above 85 degrees, too, according to a study by the electric battery company Recurrent. Additionally, car air conditioning uses electricity, and so the range is lower when the air conditioning is running—something people prefer in hot weather.
The forced push to EVs is making America weaker and China stronger, because almost 80% of batteries are made in China.
America is energy independent due to vast resources of oil and natural gas that have been discovered and produced through innovative technology. However, should Biden’s EV goal come to pass, America would become less energy independent and more dependent on China for electric batteries and associated components. One major reason is because China is buying up many of the world’s mines where rare earth minerals used in batteries are found.
As the world has seen from Russia’s cutoff of natural gas supplies to Europe, it is not prudent to rely on an unfriendly country for a vital resource such as energy, because restrictions can raise energy prices and carry disastrous economic and social consequences.
Moreover, the Biden administration’s push for EVs is to supposedly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But in order to produce supplies of batteries for EVs and other components, China is increasing its construction of coal-fired power plants. America has 225 coal-fired power plants (which the Biden administration is trying to put out of business), and China has 1,118 (half of all the coal-fired plants in the world).
Research by Kevin Dayaratna, chief statistician and senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, has shown that even completely eliminating all fossil fuels from the United States would result in less than 0.2 degrees Celsius in temperature mitigation by 2100. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)
Biden says that EVs will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that regulations on tailpipe and power plant emissions reduce global warming. But this is a fantasy. Emissions will not be reduced until the biggest producers of so-called greenhouse gases—China, India, and Russia—reduce their emissions, which they show no signs of doing.
Ford and GM are finally realizing that Americans are smarter than their government and are not buying the EV fantasy. If Georgia is any guide, the automakers’ “pause” on EV investment might end up as a permanent stop.