I try to stay out of politics. I don’t vote, I avoid cable news channels, and I generally shy away from political conversations. It isn’t easy to stay out of politics these days though, especially as talk about the economy, trimming the fat from the government, and such ramps up ahead of the midterm elections. Over in Europe though, the talk is much the same, and one of the items on the chopping block is cutting incentives for electric and alt-fuel cars.
Ford, who is preparing to enter the EV market with an electric Focus and Transit Connect van in the coming years, is afraid that the government might cut incentives before many of these cars even hit the road. Unfounded fears, or grounds for concern?
We know by now that electric cars cost more than conventional automobiles, mostly because of their battery packs. Government incentives, like the $7,500 tax credit we have here in America, are supposed to help offset those higher costs. Many European countries are offering incentives of up to 5,000 Euros, not exactly chump change. Hopefully, this will get more electric cars into the hands of people who otherwise can’t afford them, or might not consider them due to the higher price. Chief Financial Officer of Ford Europe, Lewis Booth, told Automotive News that “We believe government assistance will be a challenge in the next few years,” Booth said at the Paris auto show. He added that electric cars sales will not take off without incentives.
Cutting these incentives would likely cut into sales. Honestly, I could care less what Europe does because they already have plenty of cars that get 60 mpg or better. America doesn’t have a single car with that kind of gas mileage. Right now, it is looking like conservative candidates running on a cut-back-the-government platform are poised to take control of Congress. I have little doubt that they plan on putting a number of green initiatives, including green car incentives, on the chopping block.
If that happens, the question becomes…can electric cars stand on their own four wheels?
Source: Automotive News | Image: Ford