It seems as if the green energy agenda is coming up short once again. Despite promises of windmills, solar panels, and renewable energy, there is precious little in place to deliver on any of those notions, at least in terms of widespread viability. However, that hasn’t deterred the left from pushing renewables as part of their climate agenda. Of particular note is Electric Vehicles. Aggressively pushed by the Biden Administration to the point of becoming a mandate, Americans have been very slow to warm up to the idea of a plug in car or truck.
There are numerous reasons for this, such as extremely high prices of the vehicles, unreliable performance, range and technical issues, and availability of some models due to supply chain issues and scarcity of the raw materials needed to make the cars. Another factor is, for the most part American car buyers just don’t want them. Sales have been sluggish, leaving many dealers with unsold inventory, prompting a coalition of dealers to pen an open letter to Biden asking for a brief pause on the push.
However, probably the chief reason most people don’t want them boil down to range. Even the models with the longest advertised range do not provide enough charge to even consider a road trip or family vacation without an extra couple of days baked in to stop and charge. Couple that with the fact that the advertised range seldom matches real world performance, and you have a general public that is still choosing reliable gasoline-power as their go-to.
Since the vehicles need charged more frequently than one would need to pump gas, the major hurdle has been a charging infrastructure capable of supporting a mass amount of EVs. In 2021, Congress decided to address the situation as only Congress can, and threw a reported $7.5 billion at the problem, aimed at developing a nationwide charging infrastructure. Two years later, with the world facing an alleged existential threat in climate change and $7.5 billion earmarked toward addressing that, there have been a grand total of zero chargers built.
According to Politico, the United States has 180,000 chargers today, of which only 41,000 are so-called fast chargers. It is estimated that the country will need 1.2 million public chargers by 2030, including 182,000 fast chargers. States and the charger industry blame the delays on contractors and regulations, and less than half of states have even started taking bids from contractors. Meanwhile, Democrats in Washington blame Republicans for the delays, and the finger pointing continues.
Of the funding, $5 billion is dedicated to fast chargers along the countries sprawling interstate system. The chargers are to be built every 50 miles, remain operational 97 percent of the time, and be equipped with card readers for payment. It is unknown how the administration plans to maintain upkeep and functionality of such a large amount of chargers, but in order to support customer needs, it will have to be maintained regularly for risk of stranding thousands of potential motorists.
Democrats fear that if the infrastructure hasn’t progressed by election time, the GOP will be able to hammer at the failings of the EV agenda. Former President and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump addressed the situation when he met with the United Auto Workers in September. He said: “They say the happiest day when you buy an electric car is the first 10 minutes you’re driving it, and then after that, panic sets in because you’re worried, ‘Where the hell am I going to get a charge to keep this thing going?’”
Trump is not wrong, and the buying public is reflecting his reticence to rely solely on cords and plugs to keep their vehicles on the road. There are numerous pitfalls still in the way before the industry gains widespread acceptance. Range and safety issues as well as pricing will need to be addressed before electric vehicles become anything more than just a novelty. Perhaps they are better served as an alternative rather than a mandate. Judging by the glacial pace of the charging infrastructure, it may be years before consumers warm up to electric vehicles.