The Biden administration is insisting Americans adopt electric vehicles (EVs) to do their part to fight climate change and cut vehicle emissions. 

In April, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a rule to mandate that 67% of new vehicle sales in America be electric. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) currently offers a $7,500 subsidy to anyone who purchases a new electric vehicle. 

This month, the White House announced additional actions to speed up EV adoption across both the public and private sectors. Federal employees, for instance, will be encouraged to seek EV options to “save taxpayer money and reduce pollution that jeopardizes people’s health and fuels the climate crisis.”

17 U.S. states adhere to the California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s Advanced Clean Cars II rule creating a roadmap for 100% of new cars and light trucks sold to be EVs or hybrids. Maine was expected to sign onto this EV mandate but its Board of Environmental Protection indefinitely postponed the vote, slated for December 21st,  due to a winter storm.
Despite this whole-of-government major push for EV adoption, and claims that the EV market is growing, Americans don’t appear to be warming up to EVs this winter. Is this true?

“The U.S. consumer market for EVs is rapidly growing. …Through the Inflation Reduction Act, [President Biden] has worked with Congress to lower the price of new and used EVs by thousands of dollars and to incentivize American EV and battery manufacturing, attracting more than $152 billion of investment into the sector since taking office.”
The White House, December 11, 2023

Mostly true. Minor mistakes or inaccuracies.

Much to the chagrin of the Biden administration, EV adoption is not heating up this holiday season. 

Expected snow and icy driving conditions this season could imperil EV road trips. Questions about reliability—namely battery life and driving range—are top of mind for consumers this winter. 

An EV’s battery drains faster in cold weather in order to heat up the battery and car’s interior. Unlike gas-powered cars, which use coolant to heat cabins, EVs use energy from electric coils or heat pumps to mimic this action. Recurrent explains, “Unlike in a conventional car, electric cars have to use energy to produce cabin heat. In the internal combustion engine (ICE) that powers traditional cars,  the ‘waste heat’ generated by the engine can be pumped directly into the car to warm people up. On the other hand, an EV has a much more efficient motor which does not generate nearly as much heat. The heaters that keep the car warm generally draw energy from the high voltage battery, reducing how much capacity is left for driving.” 

Regardless of model, all EVs lose range during winter months—upwards to 30% in below-freezing temperatures. Its driving range is notably lower than that of a comparable gas-powered car—meaning multiple stops to charge the car. This is attributable to cold weather slowing chemical and physical reactions for optimal battery function. 

Regardless of IRA enticements, consumers appear to lack interest in buying EVs altogether—whether new or used. A Toyota Motor Company executive even admitted there’s no demand for used EVs. 

Who could blame American drivers for being skeptical? In October, an Ipsos poll found 57% of Americans have no interest in purchasing EVs. A May 2023 Pew Research poll found that 63% of Americans aren’t likely to buy one nor would ever buy one.

IWF Visiting Fellow Sarah Montalbano analyzed the true cost of EVs and found that sans subsidies or perks, an individual vehicle actually costs $50,000. And confidence in EV ownership appears to be low according to a November 2023 Consumer Reports report revealing new EVs have “79 percent more problems” than gas-powered vehicles while plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) have “146 percent more problems” compared to them. 

Manufacturers and car dealerships also notice the icy reception EVs are getting. As a result, GM and Honda nixed plans to co-develop an “affordable” EV model while Ford paused its $12 billion EV investment. There’s also a 506% increase in EV inventories at car dealerships this year—with fewer of them driving off lots. CarGurus reports EVs are typically sold within 82 days compared to 64 days for gas-powered cars. As a result, 3,000 car dealers nationwide are demanding the Biden administration pump the breaks on their EV mandate.

The free market—not forced mandates from the federal government—should dictate the viability of EVs. 

To learn more about the drawbacks of forced EV adoption, go HERE