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Arguments for/against Promoting Electric Vehicles

Canberrans offered free registration for electric vehicles in bid to get more zero-emission cars on ACT roads

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This is little more than welfare for the rich. It is the rich who can afford electric vehicles, not the battlers. Why should the rich get discounts on their car’s running costs when it is their vehicles’ demand for electricity that will surely increase the price of power.

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I wonder if you live in an apartment as that is often forgotten by would be e-car buyers. Surely if you do live in a strata you’ll need an electrical outlet near your car for charging. These are neither cheap nor easy to arrange in a commune like a large strata complex.

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Nope. I have a house and garage. No power issues.

In that case the only issue you need to add to your decision making is that of resale. As prices of electric cars falls over time, the loss on resale say 3 years after purchase will rise. 4 years ago I looked at buying a new Prius, but decided against it because after looking into the second hand market for the car, I concluded that there was little appetite for say a second hand Prius with say a 3 yr old battery at the prices owners were asking.

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How will that be changed?

Agreed. It’s not an ideal system but as it stands ANY new technology benefits the wealthy first. Solar panels, electric cars, medical advancements, covid vaccines. Is that fair? Hardly. Does that mean we should stop funding new developments? Also no.

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But we should not have the public subsidise it is my point.

Yet We, the public, subsidise Fossil Fuel and the corporate profits of Fossil Fuel linked Corporations without much complaint it seems. Fossil Fuelled anything including Vehicles, Refining, Exploration, Mining, Fossil Fuel Power supply (Generation and usage) all receive public funding so why should Renewables not benefit?

An added bonus of Renewable Energy powered vehicles (or indeed any renewable energy resource or usage) is a reduction in Greenhouse gases (not a complete zero due to various ways of recharging and the manufacture), this helps Australia and the World by reducing emissions and helping hopefully to make the World a better place to live in. Why shouldn’t we embrace public spending on such a cause?

Indeed on that basis alone the Public should subsidise it, cleaning up Greenhouse gases comes with a Public cost because people and industry are causing the problems and thus we all need to pay.

The argument not to subsidise anything renewable energy related is a Fossil Fuel industry campaign to de-legitimise Renewable Energy production & usage, it is a Furphy or a con or a lie that is now repeated due to the Industry propoganda machine and their lobbying and donations to political parties.

Who took up Fossil Fuelled cars in the beginning? It certainly wasn’t the poor, it was the Rich. But the desire of the businesses was to profit so cars were made cheaper by using mass production (you could have a Model T in any colour as long as it was black). If you want an newer industry to mature/prosper you need to fund it by buying it’s products. So again we are placed in the position of; Do We want to help reduce emissions? If Yes, then we need to fund it.

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Subsidise or encourage?

The whole world is moving on. Low emissions vehicles are more expensive to produce (currently). Hydrogen powered FCEVs are the most expensive option. Pure electric battery powered vehicles BEVs are approaching break even with ICE. There is a cost from carbon emissions, (present and future). Although some national governments might not admit to that reality.

P.S.
The only thing stopping us purchasing a BEV today is the higher up front purchase cost compared to a hybrid or ICE alternative. We’re hanging into our gas guzzlers longer. Most of us know anyone buying a brand new ICE in the next 10 years will not be able to give it away in the near future when only a BEV will do? Another point some national governments might have difficulty admitting to?

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You are correct as the capital cost for purchasing a EV is out of reach of many Australians, and EVs have mostly been purchased by middle to high income/net worth households, businesses or governments. This is unlikely to change until such time EV new and used purchase costs are similar to existing ICEs. I include used cars, which are often forgotten, but form the main purchase type for low to middle income households .

It will some time before this occurs.

Edit: There are industry commentators which have indicated this could occur as early as 2025 (with taxes on ICE and subsidising EVs)…to 2030 (governments banning ICEs)… 2040 or later through usual market mechanisms. Assuming EVs depreciate similarly to ICE vehicles, for low to middle income earners the initial purchase cost may be affordable 3-8+ years after these years. The same challenges apply to other alternative technologies such as hydrogen.

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Consider that Evs will become more affordable as the numbers produced grow and the industry starts to reap the benefits of mass production and to pay off their research costs. The longer that takes the more the vehicles will be out of reach to the less wealthy and the longer those people will be paying more for fuel. Not to mention the longer we all breath the particulates and deal with all the other negative effects.

You also seem to have overlooked that if EVs are subsidised the wealthy will pay more of the subsidy than the poor.

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Subsidies by taxpayers only misdirect consumption. Surely folk will buy EVs when their price falls and that will happen when they have decent range and charging stations are up and around most everywhere. Arguments against fossil fuel don’t wash with me because at the end of the day we are economically and geologically closer to Saudi Arabia than Switzerland. Why should we not exploit our natural resources? There is an argument that we should not perhaps subsidise fossil fuels, I grant you that.

But there is no fuel tax on EVs at the moment. So while battlers hop around in their 15 year old Mitsubishis paying so-called road taxes, silvertails will be able to dodge that bullet unless rego for EVs are lifted or a levy is placed on 3 phase power systems and the electricity consumed.

In Victoria, EV owners will be paying 2.5 cents per Km travelled via their registration from July this year.

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That is another issue again and may well change fairly soon.

Do you see it as desirable for all of us to move to EVs?
If so, should this be encouraged or left to market forces?
If encouragement is good what is the best way to do it?

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Hi All who contributed above. As the original topic was about the vehicles on offer, I have excised posts about the evolving discussion focusing on the politics, value of subsidising, and so on. There is also a related topic albeit with a focus on the viability, not explicitly the politics or economics.

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But how will we achieve decent range and more charging stations? Both take a significant amount of investment into emerging technologies and general R&D. There are two (well three) ways a government can do this:

  1. Invest directly in said R&D (for example a new research body within the CSIRO) with sufficient funding to rapidly develop and license EV technology to a government founded EV manufacturer.

  2. Provide incentives to the private sector and early adopters to support the technology (for example tax incentives and free registration)

  3. Do nothing and hope that eventually the industry tires of fossil fuel profits and/or gets forced to develop EVs by other countries.

The question is which we do. I for one am willing to rule out 3.

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I for one don’t believe governments should pick winners. For decades governments subsidised ICE (internal combustion engine) manufacturers, to what end? Australians paid who knows how much per locally made car ($5,000? $10,000) and still folk voted with their wallets and bought Japanese and Korean cars (as well as high end european makes). Who is to say that subsidies to EV makers will prove value for money? Also providing disincentives to using fossil fuels hits all but the top end of town pretty hard.

True. One of the only smart moves (IMHO) of Chairman Dan.