Atlantic Writer Blames Slow Electric-Vehicle Sales on Donald Trump

March 9th, 2024 6:19 PM

Andrew Moseman goes into some detail in Friday's Atlantic magazine as to why electric vehicle sales have slowed down recently to the extent that he is now calling 2024 a lost year for EVs as reflected in the title, "America’s Lost Year for Electric Cars."

Despite Moseman providing us with a myriad of obvious reasons why consumers appear to be rejecting EVs, he falls back on the easy all-purpose explanation for liberals to blame for whatever the woes: Trump's fault!

First let us see how precisely Moseman blames Orange Man Bad for slowing EV sales.

Then there is the election, the outcome of which may compound this lost year. Donald Trump has made electric-car antagonism part of his campaign, and his victory would sap federal support for electrification just as EVs are maybe ready to turn a corner in 2025. During an election year, “I think there’s a natural tendency [for car companies] to hedge, just because we don’t know how things are going to shake out,” Cantor told me. Car companies that charged ahead with electric models under Joe Biden might rethink their ambitions in the case of a Trump win, Cantor said. (The CEO of Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler and Jeep, has basically said as much.)

This just underlines that the car companies went down this road because they were forced. On a related note, Moseman also blames pickup truck buyers:

Politics could stymie the advance of EVs in other ways. Rapson’s third batch of American buyers after the enthusiasts and pragmatists is the holdouts—people who might reject electric cars outright. That includes millions of potential buyers of electrified Ford and Chevy trucks who, for reasons political and mechanical, have shown little interest in battery-powered pickups. “Pickup buyers do not want electric trucks,” McDonald said. Their reluctance casts doubt on the goal of total electrification put forth by politicians and car execs.

Yes, place the blame upon Trump and redneck pickup truck people, yet Moseman himself provides more than enough real reasons for the slowdown in EV sales.

The demise of the Bolt was supposed to mark the end of the beginning. In place of the Bolt—GM’s first mass-market EV—the company had planned to unleash a fleet of more advanced EVs early this year. It hasn’t gone as anticipated: Software bugs, battery problems, and factory delays have plagued the cars. The battery-powered Equinox SUV has yet to go on sale, and its larger sibling, the Blazer, was released before GM suspended sales. You can buy the fully electric version of the Silverado pickup truck—but demand has been so lukewarm that GM has delayed production at a factory that, you guessed it, used to make the Bolt.

Right now, America’s transition to electric cars is stuck between stages. For electric cars to accelerate toward world dominance, car companies must sell millions of EVs to Americans with no attachment to the idea of battery-powered driving, not only to the early adopters who had few good options beyond Tesla and the Bolt. Now there are at least 50 models available, and nearly every large carmaker has at least one true EV on the market. But few of them are affordable enough for many car buyers, and the next generation of EVs—the ones designed to entice people who have not yet gone electric—isn’t coming soon enough. As a result, 2024 is shaping up to be a lost year for EVs, with little movement toward our supposed all-electric future.

Yeah, so by Moseman's own admission the higher prices for EVs over gasoline powered cars would be a good reason for the slow sales of the former. A much bigger reason than because Donald Trump said mean things about EVs. And beside price we have more from Moseman as to why consumers would need to think twice before purchasing an EV such as rapid depreciation and loss of driving range:

The current slate of EVs isn’t winning them over. Tesla’s Model Y, the top-selling EV by far, starts at $44,000. Popular models such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Volkswagen ID.4, and the Hyundai Ioniq5 are in the same ballpark, and many early entrants in the EV race cost much more. Meanwhile, the gas-powered Honda CR-V that rules the suburbs starts at $29,500; a Toyota Prius starts for even less. Without the Chevy Bolt, a bargain-EV shopper has few options beyond the uncertain market for used electric cars. They can be had for cheap, because older EVs are depreciating fast. But driving range declines as EVs age for the same reason your smartphone battery fades.

So there are very real reasons to not purchase EVs besides Trump but since this article appeared in Atlantic magazine, it is necessary to invoke the Orange Boogeyman as an explanation for slow EV sales.