Electric Cars: Not Ready for Prime Time
by William O'Keefe
December 16, 2010
The George C. Marshall Institute released a new paper examining the viability of electric cars. Authored by the Institute's CEO, William O'Keefe, Electric Cars: Not Ready for Primetime, considers whether public subsidization of electric vehicles is worthwhile, concluding: "Like many of the solutions to national problems that are invented in Washington DC, there is less to the electric car movement than the public has been led to believe. The image created for electric cars does not match today’s reality."
O'Keefe reviews the arguments used to justify public investment and finds that there generally are more efficient and effective ways to achieve the same ends.
After reviewing the costs of electric vehicles and the associated technical and infrastructure requirements, O'Keefe concludes that: "Without subsidies and political pressure, it is doubtful that there would be much demand, except by the wealthy early adopters who want to make an environmental statement."
Furthermore, he notes that government has a poor record of successfully teasing commercial viability out of its preferred technologies.
"O'Keefe's piece is a call for caution in the rush to spend taxpayer resources on a boutique technology for which there is little need and even littler public demand," Jeff Kueter, the Institute's President remarked.