Op-EdAppeared in The Messenger on December 28, 2023By Alfredo Ortiz

Electric Vehicles Have Become Solyndra on Steroids

Consumers’ message to electric vehicles: We’re just not that into you. As a result, 2024 may be the year that the taxpayer-inflated electric vehicle bubble bursts.

Earlier this month, Ford announced it is halving production of its electric F-150. Tesla, GM, and Volkswagen also have recently scaled back their electric vehicle (EV) plans. According to the Wall Street Journal, at least 18 EV and battery startups, including big names like Nikola and Fisker, are on track to run out of money in 2024. Lordstown Motors, Proterra, and Electric Last Mile have declared bankruptcy.

EVs are piling up on car dealership lots. Car dealers report a six- to 12-month supply of EVs versus a month of gas vehicles. “We have a steady number of clients that have attempted to or flat-out returned their [electric] car,” says Paul LaRochelle, a dealership executive in the Washington, D.C. region. According to S&P Global Mobility, half of non-Tesla EV owners purchase an internal combustion engine for their next vehicle.

Auto dealers recently sent the Biden administration a letter asking it to “tap the brakes” on its radical plan to reengineer American transportation by mandating that two-thirds of all new cars sold in America by 2032 be EVs — up from only 6% today.

Consumer opposition to EVs isn’t a big surprise. Start with their price tag. The average new EV sells for more than $50,000. Even with generous taxpayer credits, that’s far more than a gasoline equivalent.

Then there are the range problems. Reports suggest EVs’ real range is 25% shorter than advertised. The lack of a reliable charging network is also a big hurdle. A Wall Street Journal analysis of the non-Tesla superchargers in the Los Angeles area found nearly 50% were out of order. Drivers often face long waits at ones that are working.

“I rented an electric car for a four-day road trip,” recounts one driver. “I spent more time charging than I did sleeping.” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm had the police called on her during her summer publicity-stunt EV road trip after her advance team tried to reserve the last working charging station ahead of her arriva — preventing a family with a young baby from using it.

These meaningful EV costs come with only minor operational savings. “Over four days, we spent $175 on charging,” reports the four-day EV renter. “We estimated the equivalent cost for gas in a Kia Forte would have been $275.” Other analyses show a fast charge costs around $13 for 100 miles of range — the same amount as $3.25-a-gallon gas for a car that gets 25 miles to the gallon. EVs are also more expensive to maintain, with Consumer Reports finding they have nearly twice as many problems.

But the Biden administration doesn’t care about consumer preference. It wants to impose its top-down EV mandate on everyone, whether they want it or not. The Biden administration has spent tens of billions of taxpayer dollars promoting this transition, showering unproductive and unpopular companies with taxpayer cash because they are politically popular. Call it Solyndra on steroids — the failed Obama-era solar company that ate up millions in taxpayer dollars.

Even with government help, the EV economics are brutal. Except for Tesla, they continue to sell below their manufacturing cost. Lucid Motors recently reported losing $227,802 per car sold. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), chairman of the House Small Business Committee and a car dealer for 52 years, highlighted on a recent episode of Job Creators Network’s Main Street Matters podcast that EVs are very difficult to insure.

The kicker is that EVs may not even be good for the environment. Observe the gut-wrenching images of African children mining cobalt with their bare hands for EV batteries. EVs are also far heavier than their internal combustion counterparts, potentially causing twice as much road degradation, even though EVs don’t pay the gas taxes that help fund road maintenance. The components in one EV reportedly can make 90 hybrids, reducing 37 times more emissions.

The government has a terrible record of picking winners and losers. EVs may replace Solyndra as the poster child of this reality unless President Biden’s EV mandate can be stopped.

Alfredo Ortiz is president and CEO of Job Creators Network, author of “The Real Race Revolutionaries,” and co-host of the “Main Street Matters” podcast.