Wednesday, November 22, 2023

EVs Are a Niche Product

Gasoline powered golf carts exist, but electric carts dominate the market. Why? Because electrics have proven more practical on golf courses and in adjacent residential developments like, for example, the various Sun City enclaves where many homes include a golf cart garage. Bottom line, they have found a niche and consequently prospered.

The problem with electric automobiles is that they are trying but failing to be practical non-niche products - general purpose automobiles. In this role they are not practical, consequently not prospering, and likely never will.

As we have argued, they are properly thought of as elaborate, even luxury golf carts masquerading as automobiles. EVs are practical almost exclusively for individuals who (a) own a garage in which a charger can be installed, (b) only use this particular vehicle locally (within 50 miles), in most cases (c) also own a hydrocarbon fueled vehicle, and (d) wish to spend significant resources to virtue signal. 

A market can theoretically exist for a modest number of TVs produced by one or two manufacturers. Trying to make the entire market for cars an EV market will be like trying to teach a pig to sing: unsuccessful and frustrating for both teacher and pig. 

Markets like CA which wish to put a legislative ‘thumb’ on the EV side of the scales could legislate lower EV registration fees, close-in parking spaces reserved for EVs and permit EVs in HOV lanes to create additional incentives for EV ownership. But they’d better get busy building nuclear power generation plants in order to not overload the electric grid.