Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply:
Andrew writes: Interesting article – about the $4,500 Chinese EVs Americans aren’t allowed to buy. Thank you. Could you give me details on actual cost comparisons? How long are batteries guaranteed? I think it impossible to convert all cars to EV because we don’t have electric generating capacity or transmission lines top deliver it. Would it take more fossil fuel for EVs than for gas? Just how big is the scam?
My reply: I agree that EVs are not for everyone; that there are numerous serious issues yet to be overcome, such as the additional grid capacity necessary to support them. That said, at least these little Chinese EVs are affordable, something no American-available EV is. These Chinese EVs are of course less practical – in some ways, such as being not suited for highway driving. But in other ways, they are more practical – as for example in the role of a “city” car for people who rarely, if ever, need to drive any distance on the highway.
I’d like to see the market decide which types of cars make sense. I suspect we’d have a wide range of vehicles, some electric – others not – ranging from very basic little things like these Chinese things to over-the-top things like the Bugatti Veyron. This is as it ought to be. Choice. Our choice.
Instead, the government chooses – and for that reason, we lose.
As far as the rest: It’s hard to do a direct comparison because electricity costs are different in China than here. But – clearly – a car that costs $4,500 (electric or not) is going to cost less to own than a car that costs $25,000 (or $50,000).
. . .
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