The Electric Car Revolution is Coming Crashing Down

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by Will Jones, Daily Sceptic:

The state-subsidised electric car market has crashed in China and the country is trying to dump the vehicles on the West, but the same is happening here as well. For manufacturers it’s going to be a blood bath. Ross Clark has the details in the Spectator.

China is often characterised as a copycat when it comes to industry and technology but in one way it has proved to be a pioneer. It was China which saw the first boom in electric cars – and it was China that was the first to suffer when demand for them collapsed. The vast graveyards of unsold vehicles found in Hangzhou and other Chinese cities are the result of a huge, subsidised push to manufacture electric vehicles, demand for which has never caught up with supply. Ride-share services bought the vehicles– in a rerun of the great cycle-share fiasco of 2018, which led to piles of unused and unwanted bikes. But private buyers have been notably less keen.

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Where China leads, the rest of the world seems doomed to follow. With China’s manufacturers struggling to sell their electric cars at home, last year they started shipping them in large numbers to Europe – where many are now accumulating in ports at Rotterdam and Antwerp. The window in which to sell them may prove small, as the EU is considering measures to prevent the ‘dumping’ of cheap Chinese cars in Europe. The Biden administration has already taken action, increasing tariffs on cars imported from China from 25% to 100%. While that may put paid to Chinese imports, it won’t do anything to alleviate unsold stocks of U.S.-made electric cars. The great electric revolution that was promised just three years ago is already failing – and it will bring the car manufacturers down with it.

If there ever was a real-world demonstration of the old proverb ‘you can lead a horse to water…’, it is electric cars. Elon Musk’s visionary work with Tesla panicked the old combustion engine firms, which set themselves ambitious targets to phaseout petrol completely: Fiat, Ford, Jeep, Nissan and Lexus by 2030, Vauxhall by 2028, Jaguar by 2025. One of the most dramatic announcements came three years ago when Hertz declared that a quarter of its entire rental fleet would be electric by 2025. “The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company,” it said. It certainly did lead the way – into headlong retreat.

At the time, Hertz signed a $4 billion deal with Tesla and announced plans to buy 175,000 EVs from General Motors. In January it went into reverse and said it would instead start selling 20,000 EVs (later raising this to 30,000). It has pledged to “re-invest a portion of the proceeds from the sale of EVs into the purchase of internal combustion engine vehicles”. Its share price (down 80% since the Tesla announcement) has made it a case study.

In Britain, things don’t look much better. The slowing EV momentum led Rishi Sunak to drop his target of banning new petrol car sales by 2030 and push it back to 2035. The number of electric cars sold to drivers (as opposed to companies) was falling by 20% as of last month. The U.K.’s market for EVs is being propped up by fleet companies which, spurred on by Government incentives, now buy five in every six EVs sold.

They’re not even cost-effective, says Clark: “Not only are EVs themselves 40% more expensive to buy than petrol cars, but they are also costlier to run. The average charge for refuelling at a rapid charger is 22p per mile, compared with 17p for petrol.”

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