It’s been almost 15 years since Tesla began selling cars – and Tesla is still pleading for federal subsidies to help it sell cars.
In particular, the best-selling Tesla, which is the Model Y. Which is a more bulbous version of the Model 3 hatchback sedan. They are similar because EVs are essentially all the same. One “skate” fits all. Just change the shape of the plastic extruded over it.
The $66,000 to start Model Y, however, is even pricier than the Model 3 – by about $16,000. That makes it even harder to sell – without subsidies – for reasons that have nothing to do with it being electric but rather expensive.
Battery-powered vehicles are becoming more expensive, too – because there is less lithium available. And without lithium to make the massive battery packs that power even small EVs such as the Model 3 and Model Y (both about the same overall size as a Honda Civic sedan) the EV is a no-go.
This may prove to be the EV’s Achilles Heel, too. Lithium batteries have a number of advantages over lead-acid, sodium and other batteries as power storage devices for EVs but one of these is not lower cost. As EV production – goaded by mandates and subsidies – increases, so will the cost of lithium and thus, of EVs that use lithium-based battery packs.
This being what has come of putting all their EV eggs in one basket.
At any rate, the Model Y is as expensive as a Porsche Cayman – and very few people can afford a Porsche Cayman. The difference is Porsche caters to a small audience of people who have the means to buy a Porsche, whereas Tesla wants a larger audience of people – the taxpayers – to “help” a small audience of people buy its cars.
“Messed up,” Tweeted Elon the other day when it was revealed that the two-row/five-passenger version of the Model Y would no longer be eligible for the revised federal tax subsidy of $7,500 that was put back into effect as part of the Biden Thing’s Inflation Reduction Act.
Because the two-row Model Y is considered to be a passenger car by the federal apparat and eligibility for the subsidy does not apply to that category of vehicle if the MSRP is higher than $55,000. The reason for that being the perceived obnoxiousness of paying people to buy a car with a price higher than that.
But isn’t it obnoxious, regardless?
The average working stiff who is trying to live within his means and keep his fifteen-year-old non-electric car going – because that’s all he can afford – is forced to pay taxes that are then used to subsidize the purchase of a brand-new $55,000 luxury-performance car – or an $80,000 SUV (eligible under the Thing’s decree) that happens to be an electric car or SUV.
It has been fifteen years.
We were told EVs would become more rather than less affordable once they had been given a chance to get their legs under them, so to speak. By which was meant subsidize their manufacture and sale. Kind of like paying people to buy Pontiac Azteks in the hope that GM would build a better Aztek. But why would GM do that if the government were subsidizing Azteks?
GM would likely still be building them.
In fact, the price of every EV save the Chevy Bolt – a subcompact that is practical only for commuting – has increased by thousands of dollars over the course of just the past year. Partially, this is because of the cost of lithium going up, a function of the increased demand for it and the cost/difficulty involved in refining enough of it to meet demand.
They have encouraged a cost-no-object profligacy that encourages EV designers to focus on performance and luxury, two things at odds with affordability.
The Model Y being one of many “Exhibit A’s”.
This little extruded plastic electric crossover does 0-60 in about 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 MPH. Can anyone provide a legitimate reason why such gratuitous speed ought to be subsidized?
Mark the italicized text.
No reasonable person objects to the person who wants a speedy car – and has the means to pay for it. He has earned the indulgence. Just the same as the person who worked hard all day and decides that, tonight, he’s going to have himself a nice steak for dinner is entitled to have a nice steak dinner.
The objection – arises from the outrage of the person whose pockets are picked to pay for the other guy’s steak dinner – or luxury-performance EV. Salt in the wound being the insufferable smugness of the affluent welfare-recipient claiming virtue for driving around in what you and others helped pay for.
Take away the welfare-for-the-affluent and maybe there would be affordable/practical EVs.
These would no doubt take longer than 4.4 seconds to get to 60 and would probably not be capable of achieving 150 MPH top speeds. But they would also not have starting prices of $66,000 like the Model Y does.
Or even the almost $50,000 that a Model 3 costs.
They would have to compete with practical/economical cars and so might end up being more like that, too.
EVs have had fifteen years to show us that they can reduce the cost of driving. Instead, they have shown us how “ludicrously” quick they can be. How features-laden and fancy. All of which they are able to do for the same reason the federal government is able to do essentially whatever it wants.
That being because both have endless access to other people’s money.
. . .
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