The editorial section of yesterday's Press Enterprise dealt with the issue of keeping electric vehicle subsidies going. While it's always good to see EVs in the news, seeing it this way is a bit sad. So, I decided to weigh in on the topic.
I recently had the pleasure of attending Plug-in 2013, a conference and expo for the electric car industry. Many EV makers were there, showing off their latest models, as well as talking about the future of the industry.
While many were happy to report an increase in sales over the last couple of years, most also agreed that the push was still being aided by the government subsidies. Many of the speakers said that they were working towards a future where the subsidies wouldn't be needed, but it was clear from the figures that we aren't at that future yet. Most of the sales still seem to be coming from Coastal areas like California, Oregon, and countries like Japan and Norway. So, although it may look like everyone is driving a Prius around SoCal, that is just a local phenomenon.
The point I'm trying to make is that we need the subsidies because we're still not to a place where everyone can afford a hybrid or EV without them. Why is that important, you might ask? Well, it's important because we're rapidly loosing the fight against global warming, and this is the one bit of that battle we might still have a chance of gaining ground in. That is, if we don't shoot ourselves in the foot, just as we seem to be moving forward in the race. Keeping subsidies around makes sense, especially if we use them as an incentive for the car companies to keep making more efficient models in order to qualify. Ending them at this point would simply be too big of a mistake to make; one so big that the world might not be able to rebound from the true expense of it for centuries to come.