Obama's Electric Car Future Gets Zapped
This week, the world's largest carmaker said electric cars are a joke, and a congressional report said federal subsidies are a waste. You'd think that would shock President Obama out of his electric car fantasy.
Back in March 2009, Obama announced plans to pour billions of taxpayer dollars into the development of electric cars in the form of grants, federal loans and tax credits. "This investment will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it will put Americans back to work," Obama promised.
"It positions American manufacturers on the cutting edge of innovation and solving our energy challenges." Plus, it would help meet Obama's goal of getting a million plug-in cars on the road by 2015.
Fast forward to this week, and take a look at how Obama's grand vision is paying off.
First, the Congressional Budget Office released a detailed report on Obama's massive electric car program. Its conclusion: The money "will have little or no impact on the total gasoline use and greenhouse gas emissions of the nation's vehicle fleet over the next several years."
It also found that, even with the $7,500 tax credits, electric cars are a bad buy, costing owners far more over the life of the car than traditional gas-powered vehicles.
Translation: Obama's electric car subsidies are a complete and total waste of money.
A few days later, the biggest carmaker on the planet pulled the plug on its Toyota iQ, a car it once talked about mass marketing but now says will be limited to just 100. No doubt Toyota noticed Nissan's Leaf and Chevy's Volt aren't exactly flying off showroom floors.
As Toyota Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada ever so politely put it: "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars run or the costs or how it takes a long time to charge."
Translation: Electric cars suck.
Then, to complete Obama's industrial policy failure trifecta, Tesla Motors, which got a $465 million Energy Department loan, announced it had cut its revenue forecast and is now trying to get a waiver on the terms of that loan if it can't raise enough money from investors. The Energy Department already amended the Tesla loan once.
But Tesla actually looks good compared with Obama's other most-favored electric car startup — Fisker Automotive. Three years ago, Vice President Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu stood in front of a shuttered GM plant in Wilmington, Del., and announced that Fisker Automotive would soon be cranking out 100,000 plug-ins a year after getting $529 million in taxpayer subsidized loans.