President Donald Trump and many Republicans have made no secret about their disdain for the federal tax credit for electric vehicles. And on the surface, it’s easy to see why. By 2019, by some estimates, the federal government is expected to have subsidized the EV industry to the tune of $7.5 billion.
Even worse, these benefits have gone mainly to the wealthy, and have only nudged the needle toward EV adoption on a mass scale. Despite low gasoline prices and record SUV demand, sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids managed to reach their highest levels ever in the first quarter of 2017, but that record is a paltry 42,537 units — a mere 1 percent of the overall market.
But even in light of the current SUV craze, when automakers talk about their future as “mobility companies,” that future is largely electric. Both domestic and foreign automakers have proudly promoted their plans to bring more EVs to market in the next three years, and several of today’s EVs are being used as prototypes for tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles.
But while many in the industry may believe EVs are the future, the unfortunate reality is that they’re not the present.