web analytics

Dissatisfied EV Owners Spell Doom for Electric Car Manufacturing

The continuing saga of a 21st-century flop.

A recent consumer survey revealed that 46% of US electric car owners wish to switch back to a gas-powered car. In an industry already facing hurdles with charging stations, cost, and public skepticism, consumer distaste over performance and a hefty price tag threatens to eviscerate future EV sales. Despite subsidies and claims of world-saving environmental necessity, consumers are balking in droves at lackluster EV performance in a declining economy.

The comprehensive global survey, released by consulting firm McKinsey and Co. earlier this month, offered insights into the divergence between European and American EV drivers. Behind the obvious consumer concerns over range, cost, and rechargeability are issues not considered by the survey that also may be undermining consumer enthusiasm, such as increasing awareness of pollution in manufacturing, plummeting resale prices, and aversion to regressive subsidization.

“The Survey Said”

The survey revealed very different motivations for EV customers in Europe versus the United States, reflecting fundamental cultural and demographic differences: 29% of global EV car owners expressed plans to return to internal combustion engines, compared with 46% of Americans. This divergence is understandable when life in Europe and other parts of the world is contrasted with the United States. Many Americans commute vast distances on remote highways in a nation with large swaths of sparsely-populated rural areas where EV charging stations also have a long way to go. Most EU member states offer subsidies for EV purchases. Despite hefty federal and state subsidies in the United States, economic anxiety is an increasing driver of EV aversion for American car owners struggling with nosebleed housing, energy, and food prices.

The world rejected the electric car once before – in the 1990s, when consumers wouldn’t bite on a product with range challenges, high costs, and dubious technology. These same hurdles remain despite improvements in range and technology. The McKinsey and Co. consumer survey affirms that the failures of the past are in redux: Globally, 35% of respondents expressing a desire to revert to a gas-powered vehicle claimed the reason was a lack of charging infrastructure in public places (an even greater problem in the US); 34% said total ownership costs were prohibitive; 32% found that EVs compromised long-distance trips (again, compounded in the US); 24% complained they could not charge their car at home; and 21% reported that “needing to worry about charging is too stressful.”

All of these reservations are amplified for most American car buyers. The United States boasts the world’s highest share of personal cars in the commuting population, as well as the drivers who tend to go the longest distances: The average American commuter travels 42 miles round-trip daily, versus about 17 miles for Europeans. Americans also love their famous road trips, traveling by car for summer vacations, business trips, and exploring the great American frontier. This is not merely a cultural predilection, but a natural consequence of the comparatively vast open spaces in many parts of the nation.

Writing on the EV Wall

The recent survey surprised EV industry hopefuls but is no shock to US consumers influenced by more than just cost and charging access. Many Americans understand that the very term “renewable” is deceptive: Lithium mines inflict child labor horrors while coal is incinerated to smelt Chinese aluminum, and a laundry list of PFAS, heavy metals, and other non-greenhouse pollutants are steadily spewed from an industry that claims it is “clean” and planet-saving. For those willing to pay an EV sticker price premium to spare their children from future ecological risk, the climate-rescue pitch is rightly waning.

The EV market was plugged forcefully without full consideration of the major obstacles remaining to achievement. Those realities continue to mount challenges for which the Utopian dreamers have not fashioned technological solutions. The US electric grid is precarious even before adding millions of cars for charging; EV tires wear out faster than gas-powered; EV repair costs are much higher. Relevant to many Americans, EV cars and chargers did not exhibit stellar performance in the 2023-2024 cold snap, highlighting another difference from Europeans: Arctic cold. Growing awareness of regressive subsidization of EVs at the expense of low-income taxpayers is also a turn-off for many social justice buyers. Most US EV car sales have been of pricey models for wealthy car owners who can also afford home charging stations. This car tale is the opposite of Henry Ford’s universally accessible Model T.

It Will Get Worse

Despite all the best government-supported marketing plans and alluring subsidies, the 21st-century EV rollout will likely prove to be the second death of the electric car. The recent survey did not weigh plummeting used EV car values in the US, the accumulating losses incurred by manufacturers on EV sales, or growing consumer awareness that EV technology pollutes the planet in spades.

American car buyers can be enticed but not compelled. Much like vegans running from high-priced fake meats that are as processed and unhealthy as that which they are supposed to replace, even eco-conscious Americans understand that they are being sold a bill of profit-motivated goods in EVs that do not deliver. Electric cars are a boondoggle that makes money for a few in the short term while damaging the environment, regressively transferring wealth from poor to rich, and stranding rich buyers in storms or long lines while folks driving jalopies move on down the road. American consumers struggling with shrinking real incomes and sticky inflation are figuring this out in short order.

Read More From John Klar

Latest Posts

JD Vance – The Running Mate

By Andrew Wolf, Jr. The Republican VP pick, JD Vance, has not always seen eye-to-eye with the former president,...

The Canonization of Joe Biden

Even before the white puff of smoke could be seen rising above the Democratic National Headquarters in...

Exit Stage Far-Left: The Biden Aftermath

President Joe Biden on Sunday, July 21, officially pulled out of the 2024 race, leaving a slew of issues that...

Donald Trump and the Weight of History

The world has changed, will politics keep up? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V-VtqLWJEw [roku-ad align="center"...