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Automotive

Current EV strategy charging ahead to failure

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Dan McTeague  Written By Dan McTeague

For years now I’ve been saying that electric vehicles, and EV mandates, are bad for Canada.

Back in 2020, when the then-CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, voiced his concerns that governments were moving too fast in their push for an all-electric car market when there were other good options available which didn’t require the same multi-billion dollar infrastructure overhaul or increase in electricity generation, I asked why we weren’t listening to a man who knows his own business.

When Europe found itself in an energy crisis in the winter of 2022, and the Swiss government asked its citizens to avoid driving their EVs, even considering an outright ban, to protect their fragile electricity grid, I said that with our already-strained grid we were seeing our future playing out before us in Switzerland and mandates or no, consumers just wouldn’t stand for it.

And more recently, as stories have piled up of EVs’ vulnerability to the cold — “We got a bunch of dead robots out here,” as one frustrated EV owner put it, surrounded by frozen EVs that had run out of juice while waiting for a charge in a cold snap — I’ve asked over and over again, why on earth our government is trying to force the large scale adoption of an automobile technology which functions so poorly in a normal Canadian winter.

I take no pleasure in being proved right, but nearly every day brings about a new story of EVs failing to meet the lofty expectations our leaders have set for them.

  • Recent headlines have trumpeted the difficulties EV drivers are having getting their cars fixed, because so few mechanics know how to work on them.
  • People are finding that the resale value of their EV is falling at a much faster rate than their neighbour’s reliable internal combustion engine vehicle.
  • Rental car companies like Hertz have been taking major losses after over-investing in EVs, that no one wants to rent. Apparently people don’t like the idea of pinning their vacation on a car they might not be able to charge.
  • And major auto manufacturers have been significantly scaling back their annual EV production, despite impending mandates which will force consumers to buy their product in just over a decade.

Even with the generous government subsidies handed to Ford in order to produce made-in-Canada electric SUVs, that company has decided to push their release date for the vehicles back two years — a decision that means layoffs for the majority of the 2,700 workers at the plant, according to the Globe and Mail. GM has followed suit, with recent  reports  claiming that they are “having a second look” at plans to build EV motors at their plant in St. Catherines, Ontario.

Those companies are beginning to accept reality, something various nations around the world have started to do, as well. The U.K., Germany, Italy, and other European countries, as well as the U.S., have had resistance to EV mandates play a big role in their politics lately. The Biden campaign was even forced to issue a statement saying, “There is no ‘EV mandate,’” after Donald Trump predicted to Detroit autoworkers that the White House’s pro-EV policies would put them out of work.

In the face of all of this, the Trudeau government continues to double down, reaffirming mandates and shovelling more and more tax dollars into the EV fire.

They should know better.

And maybe they do.

But maybe the dollars and the promises to their activist friends have just gotten so big that they feel like they can’t change course now.

Or maybe they are just too stubborn to admit that people like me were right all along, that they bet big and they bet wrong. And they can’t say they weren’t warned.

Buckle up.

Dan McTeague is President of Canadians for Affordable Energy

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Automotive

It’s Time To Abandon Reckless EV Mandates

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From Canadians for Affordable Energy

Dan McTeague

Written By Dan McTeague

Already, billions of tax dollars have been handed out in subsidies to companies that have no accountability to the Canadian taxpayer. This experiment in societal re-engineering will disproportionately harm Canadian workers and families, especially those who live in rural communities.

And it will surely fail

Canada is not nearly ready for the wholesale adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

That was the message of the letter I sent to every member of Parliament recently, urging them to drop the “Electric Vehicle Availability Standard” introduced by the Trudeau government late last year. That’s the policy that mandates that all new vehicles sold in Canada must be electric by 2035. There is no way, considering the economic, technological and infrastructural realities of our country — and our world — where this is possible.

Stubbornly attempting to achieve this goal would do serious damage to our economy, leaving Canadian taxpayers on the hook for generations to come. Already, billions of tax dollars have been handed out in subsidies to companies that have no accountability to the Canadian taxpayer. This experiment in societal re-engineering will disproportionately harm Canadian workers and families, especially those who live in rural communities.

And it will surely fail. In my letter I highlight a few of the central reasons why staying the course on EV mandates by 2035 is extremely reckless. Right off the bat, the technology is simply not there for electric vehicles to be a reliable source of transportation in Canada’s climate. The batteries cannot hold their charge in frigid temperatures. Forcing Canadians to rely on vehicles that can’t handle our winters is irresponsible and dangerous.

Electric vehicles’ cost is another issue. Right now, the EV market relies heavily on government subsidies. These subsidies can’t last forever. But without them EVs are prohibitively expensive. Even with them, the costs of maintaining an EV are high. Replacing a damaged battery, for example, can cost upwards of $20,000. Mandating that people buy vehicles they can’t afford to either purchase in the first place or maintain if they do buy them is political malpractice.

A fact long ignored by decision-makers in Ottawa is that our electrical grid isn’t ready for the excess demand that would come with widespread EV adoption. These mandates, paired with the government’s goal of fully decarbonizing the grid by 2035, put us on a collision course with the reality of unreliable power. A grid powered, not by reliable fossil fuels, but by spotty wind and solar energy would be further burdened with millions of cars relying exclusively on electricity.

Beyond the electricity itself, the EV mandates will require additional transmission and distribution capacity. But there are no signs any plan is in place to expand our transmission capacity to meet the 2035 target.

The sheer number of new charging stations required by wholesale adoption of EVs will strain our distribution networks. Natural Resources Canada projections show that Canada will need between 442,000 and 469,000 public charging ports by 2035. At the moment, we have roughly 28,000. And that doesn’t include the private charging stations people will need to install at home. Closing that gap in such a tight time frame is almost certainly impossible.

All of those considerations aside, at a fundamental level the government’s push for electric vehicles encroaches on the operation of the free market, all in the name of emissions reductions. The Canadian economy is founded on the market principle that the consumer drives the economy (no pun intended). Thousands of times over, it has been shown that if there is enough demand for a product, supply soon follows. In the case of EVs, however, the federal government is operating under the assumption that if you somehow create a supply, that will inspire a demand.

This hasn’t worked in any of the countries where it’s been attempted, which is why nations around the world have started to tap the brakes on EV mandates. Decision-makers in Ottawa need to follow suit and abandon these reckless and costly mandates. Let the market decide when EVs are ready for prime time. In other words, let Canadians decide.

Dan McTeague is President of Canadians for Affordable Energy

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Automotive

Many Gen Z and millennial Canadians don’t believe in EV corporate welfare

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From the Fraser Institute

By Tegan Hill and Jake Fuss

The Parliamentary Budget Officer recently estimated federal government support for EV initiatives will cost Canadian taxpayers $31.4 billion, which represents roughly $1,043 per tax filer.

According to a new Leger poll, a significant percentage of Gen Z and millennial Canadians don’t believe that billions of dollars in government subsidies to build electric vehicle (EV) plants—including $5 billion to Honda, $13.2 billion to Volkswagen and $15 billion to Stellantis—will benefit them. And based on a large body of research, they’re right.

The poll, which surveyed Canadians aged 18 to 39 who are eligible to vote, found that only 32 per cent of respondents believe these subsidies (a.k.a. corporate welfare) will be of “significant benefit to your generation” while 28 per cent disagree and 25 per cent are on the fence.

Unfortunately, this type of taxpayer-funded corporate welfare isn’t new. The federal government spent an estimated $84.6 billion (adjusted for inflation) on business subsidies from 2007 to 2019, the last pre-COVID year of data. Over the same period, provincial and local governments spent another $302.9 billion on business subsidies for their favoured firms and industries. And these figures exclude other forms of government support such as loan guarantees, direct investments and regulatory privileges, so the actual cost of corporate welfare during this period was much higher.

The Trudeau government has shown a particular proclivity for corporate welfare. According to a recent study, federal subsidies have increased by 140 per cent from 2014/15 to 2023/24. But again, the money used to fund these subsidies isn’t free—its funded by taxpayers. The Parliamentary Budget Officer recently estimated federal government support for EV initiatives will cost Canadian taxpayers $31.4 billion, which represents roughly $1,043 per tax filer.

And Canadians are right to be skeptical. Despite what the Trudeau or provincial governments claim, there’s little to no evidence that corporate welfare creates jobs (on net) or produces widespread economic benefits.

Instead, by giving money to select firms, the government simply shifts jobs and investment away from other firms and industries—which are likely more productive, as they don’t require government funding to be economically viable—to the government’s preferred industries and firms, circumventing the preferences of consumers and investors. If Honda, Volkswagen and Stellantis are unwilling to build their EV battery plants in Canada without corporate welfare, that sends a strong signal that those projects make little economic sense.

Finally, higher taxes (or lower government spending in other areas) ultimately fund corporate welfare. And higher taxes depress economic activity—the higher the rates, the more economic activity is discouraged.

Unfortunately, the Trudeau government believes it knows better than investors and entrepreneurs, so it continues to use taxpayer money to allocate scarce resources—including labour—to their favoured projects and industries. And since politicians spend other people’s money, they have little incentive to be careful investors.

Canadians, including young Canadians, are right to be skeptical of corporate welfare. As the evidence suggests, there’s little reason to think it will lead to any economic benefit for them.

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