Skip to comments.‘Green’ cars still a giant waste of money
Posted on 05/16/2014 12:37:47 PM PDT by rickmichaels
The only thing environmentalists revel in more than predicting a fiery doom for our planet is gloating over the successful replacement of the infernal combustion engine with good, clean electricity. So, it is, then, that theres been much trumpeting of the news from Norway and, more recently, the Netherlands, where plug-in vehicles have seemingly achieved the enviroweenies holy grail: mainstream acceptance.
The numbers are startling. While North Americans remain devoted to their internal combustion dinosaurs drinking, well, dinosaur juice Toyota sold barely 200 plug-in versions of its Prius hybrid last year in Canada and Nissan only 470 Leafs both the Netherlands and Norway boast that plug-in vehicles represent more than 5% of their total car market.
Even those impressive numbers dont reflect the 42-point, above-the-fold headlines that EV sales were generating in Holland last year. In December, PHEVs accounted for an incredible 23.8% of Dutch new-car registrations. Yes, almost one in four cars sold in Holland in December was some form of plug-in electric vehicle, either the plug-in hybrid version of Toyotas Prius, a battery-powered electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf or an extended-range EV such as Opels Ampera (Chevrolets Volt in a slinkier dress). Indeed, four out of the top five selling passenger cars in the Netherlands plugged into the electrical grid. Surely, it is the green car revolution we have all been told is imminent.
Or is it?
Whats driving or, more accurately now that updated figures are available, was driving the Dutch EV boom was incentives. A recent study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) revealed that Holland, along with Norway, is throwing money around like Justin Bieber at a Miami strip club. Taxes and registration fees are waived, electricity is subsidized as are the stations, and parking fees, seemingly an issue in overcrowded Europe, are often waived.
The totality of the incentives is staggering. According to the ICCT, Norwegian subsidies are worth up to 11,500 euros, equivalent to 55% of the cost of a new car. Hollands numbers are even more generous: Depending on the exact propulsion system and the carbon emissions the government deems it may save (the Netherlands subsidizes plug-in hybrids more favourably than EVs, while Norway promotes pure, battery-powered electric vehicles), going electric in Holland could save you as much as 75% of the purchase price of a Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid.
Also lost in all the hype is that the Dutch subsidies greatly favour corporations and private business. Private purchasers are, according to Peter Monk and Zifei Yang, authors of the ICCTs Driving Electrification white paper, eligible for much less (1,800 euros for a privately bought Renault Zoe versus 6,100 euros for a company car, and 20,900 euros for a privately owned plug-in Volvo V60 versus 38,300 euros out of a purchase price of 51,571 euros for the company-leased alternative). Small wonder that, depending on the exact nature of your vehicle, up to three quarters of Dutch plug-in sales are to corporations and private businesses. Yes, Hollands green car revolution is really just a corporate tax dodge.
And the Dutch really have been following the money. As of Jan. 1, the government has reduced its corporate welfare program, and sales of anything that requires an electrical umbilical cord have plummeted. EV and PHEV sales in December were 9,309; in January they were 404. Sales of best-selling models were particularly hard hit; Mitsubishis hybrid Outlander dropped to 83 in January compared with 4,988 just the month before. This drop was made all the more calamitous for Mitsus electrification prospects since, of the 8,197 Outlander PHEVs sold in Europe last year, 8,009 were to Holland. Other marques saw equally precipitous losses; BMWs i3 from 225 to 15 units, Teslas Model S from 578 to seven and Nissans Leaf from well, you get the idea.
But, youre thinking, at least they got some of those horrible fuel-sucking pigs off the road with a commensurate reduction in tailpipe emissions and fuel consumption.
Not so fast. According to autobloggreen.com, Fleet owners in the Netherlands are finding out that you can overshoot the mark by 80% in fuel consumption with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Arval, a leading leasing company, told Dutch Nos television that the 60 corporately driven Opel Ampera, Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Plug-in Prius vehicles it surveyed were consuming 80% more fuel than their government rating (2.2 L/100 km for the Prius; 1.6 L/100 km for the Ampera/Volt) the worst case, an extended-range Opel, consuming as much as 7.8 L/100 km.
It seems that while the corporations like the write-offs the tax exemptions bring, the people actually diving these plug-in write-offs arent bothering to, well, plug them in, instead often driving them as if they were gasoline powered only (where the Ampera/Volt is particularly inefficient). Indeed, Arval director Dick Bakker told the broadcaster, Most people dont use the car properly. If someone with an Ampera or Prius plug-in hybrid is using the same amount of petrol as you in your old (Renault) Clio (subcompact), then we have made few advances over the past few years.
So heres another take on Hollands green car revolution. The Dutch government offered massive tax incentives to promote green cars. Corporations welcomed the huge write-offs. The resultant emissions reduction in no way warranted the vast amounts of public monies spent. Its funny how we havent seen that headline.
Why can’t we be more like Europe. Land of welfare, free health care, 45% income tax, 19% VAT, tax, and have another country pick up the tab for national defense? They have trains!!!
There was a program on solar panels. Said the same thing about the panels. And also that they will always have to be subsidized.
“Why cant we be more like Europe.”
I used to hear that from my Israeli friends all the time. Their ignorance made me slightly nauseous. They’d extol the virtues of their “free” medical system. Then, in the next breath they’d say, “Well, if you want good service, you slip a few bucks under the table.” The worst thing is, you can’t argue with them. It’s as if they figuratively poke their fingers in their ears and scream, “La la la la la!”
Well, it only takes 15 minutes to drive from one end of Holland to the other, right?
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Many Europeans believe in the old adage: “You can pay now or you can pay later,” however, the vast majority of them seem only to pay attention to the latter half of that statement.
I have had several green cars.
A green Oldsmobile Cutlass.
A green Chevy Malibu.
A green Chrysler Cricket.
A green Ford F-100.
A green Ford Aspire.............
seriously, a car named the Cricket?
Yes, it was called the Hillman Avenger in the UK where it was made, hence the name, Cricket. It was a great little car, had a 1250 CC engine and a side draft carburetor.................
I would love to have either of those now.......................
You must be a youngster.
The Plymouth Cricket was sold in the early 70s.
It was from Britain where it was the Hilman Avenger.
WSJ had a story this week that the high sulfur coal from here in Indiana (that the EPA says can’t be used in the US) is barged down the Mississippi, then freightered across the Atlantic, and is burned for power in Germany - and it’s still cheaper than their domestic coal.
I had it for several years and then sold it privately. A few years later I spotted it thru the fence at a local junk yard. It had been wrecked. It’s kinda sad to see and old friend like that......................
I was born in the early 70’s
My sister lives in the Netherlands and she bikes or takes city transit everywhere — she has no car. So it’s not surprising in a small, urban setting where distances aren’t so great that you can’t walk/bike that an electric car makes sense. In the USA & Canada it’s a far different story. Commute distances are just too far and re-charging while at work is not a real option.
Right next door in France they have nearly 100% clean affordable energy. The greenies gasp. It’s NUCLEAR. They do, however, plant a few stupid awful eyesore windmills to keep up appearances.
That ad wouldn’t fly these days. The “fat agenda” lobby would be up in arms. Using a fat family to promote the spaciousness of a car just isn’t PC.
You didn’t miss much on the Cricket, it was widely regarded as a typical British problem vehicle.
Ah yes, the rebadged Hillman Avenger.
Oh, I dunno about that. Maybe they could get Kirstie Alley to hawk it.................
Well, OK. I mean, normally I wouldn't but if it's gonna save the penguin-eating baby polar bears from drowning and the planet too I guess I'll get my next Lambo in green. The dealer says sure, OK, but I dunno - they acted like they'd never heard the words "trailer hitch" before...
The humor is that back then, people of that girth were fairly uncommon and today they are ubiquitous.
I had very little trouble out of mine.
Oh there was that time I was coming back to Florida on I-95 in Fredericksburg, VA when the Automatic Transmission fell out and it had to be towed back to Florida behind my mom’s van who had to drive all the way up to get us, after me and my wife spent the night in the local jail for having a stolen car that wasn’t stolen at all.........................
At least it wasn’t a Morris Marina.
Many have been destroyed on Top Gear. :-)
dropping rather big pieces of the motor doesn’t sound so great
When we got it back to FL, I bought a manual transmission and associated parts from a junk yard and converted it. It ran fine until the gear shift came out of the floor on a busy downtown bridge in Jacksonville. Had to drive 30 miles in 2nd gear all the way home..........................
Some cars should come with a spare
I can vouch for that..............
The cops said, “This car is stolen!”
I said, “Who in their right mind would steal this car?”.....................
Awesome! Not a bad looking rig for its era, just bad mechanicals and electricals.
My sex life is just like my Lamborghini!
(I don’t have one...)
It was the license plate from the former owner (of an AAMCO transmission shop of all things!) that I had bought it from was the problem. When we bought it there was still several months left on the sticker, so I didn’t go and get a new registration. He apparently called the plate in to the DMV as ‘stolen’.
When we broke down on I-95, a highway patrolman gave us a ride to a AAMCO Transmission shop (!) just off the interstate about a mile or two away. They towed it in and told us they could not fix it, so we called my mom to come get us, and stayed with the car that night because she wouldn’t be there til the next day. The shop owner said is was okay to stay in the parking lot.
About 11 pm that night, I was reading a book and my wife was asleep in the driver’s seat. All of a sudden we were surrounded by cop cars and blue lights and sirens all over the place!
We were ordered out of the car with our hands up and all the rest.
We were taken into the local police station and questioned for what seems like hours, separately of course.
They got the same story from both of us, called the former owner in Florida and got everything straightened out. All I had to do was pay a fine for improper registration, about $52 IIRC, at the local Justice of the Peace office.
By this time it was daylight and the cops even bought us some coffee just as my mother and brother pulled into the parking lot, up from Florida..............................
Like my Fiat X1/9 I owned............
“WSJ had a story this week that the high sulfur coal from here in Indiana (that the EPA says cant be used in the US) is barged down the Mississippi, then freightered across the Atlantic, and is burned for power in Germany - and its still cheaper than their domestic coal.”
I understand that they still “make things” other than software, porn, and regulations there, so, I guess they need it.
When I was in the UK in the 90s, I had a 1978 Vauxhall Chevette. Faded green that looked like infected snot. Paid 350 dollars for it
I called it the “Booger.” Even wrote it on the rear fenders and the trunk lid with permanent marker.
Best car I had over there. Lasted almost a year and half till it lost second gear. Took me all over.
We had a Vauxhall here in the states. My parents bought it brand spanking new in 1962 to replace a 1949 English Ford.
My brother totaled it 2 weeks after the purchase. My parents bought a used one from a second hand dealer, and bought the totaled car from the insurance company and put it in the back yard.
They used the parts as needed on the used car. I got my license a bit later, and used to drive that car all over the place. I loved it. It cornered well, and was easy on gas. It lasted forever it seemed.
I can imagine
Thanks for the reference.
While I was in UK for 4 years, I bought many old cheap pieces of crap-drove them until they died and sent them to scrap yard.
The net result was even though I bought so many cars (around 6), I was still way ahead of the game financially, comparing the cost vs. a meager 250 dollar a month car payment
On our honeymoon in 1971, my wife and I rented a Hillman Avenger in Scotland, but as I recall, it didn’t look a bit like that car in post 10. I note that the tag on that car is 1972 and likely the car we rented was around that model year.