An energy and environmental policy analyst is shedding more
light on what he calls "subsidy-powered vehicles."
In a new article for The American, the online magazine
of the American
Enterprise Institute, resident scholar Kenneth Green says the push for all electric
vehicles goes back over 100 years. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford,
for example, put their weight behind the effort. Still, even
after subsidies, stimulus money and mandates like those in
California, the number of electric vehicles on the road today is
minuscule compared to those equipped with the internal
"On range, on performance,
on horsepower -- you simply cannot get as much energy into a
battery pack as you can into a gas tank," Green asserts. "And that
has been the driving force which has led the internal combustion
engine to trounce electric vehicles every time that they're
introduced, which seems to happen roughly every 15 to 20
One of the sticking points in today's market involves price. A
Chevy Volt sells for just under $40,000, while its chief
competitor, the Nissan Leaf, is available for about $35,000. Both
automakers offer gas-powered vehicles of the same size for about
half the price.
In 1915, The Washington Post ran an article claiming
that "prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they are
within reach of the average family."
Price aside, Green says the environmental benefits for electric
vehicles are scant.
"Most of the energy we consume is fossil-fuel energy in large
parts of the country," he points out. "And if you're charging your
electric vehicle with power made from either coal or natural gas,
you're putting off a certain amount of emissions."
While Green recognizes that trivial amounts of wind and
solar power are available to charge electric cars,
he warns that the ability to charge vehicles with those
resources would quickly be outshot if these cars on
any significant scale are adopted.