EV Fever Cooling . . . in California

  • February 1, 2024

Automotive News reports that “EV sales start to fall in California, an industry bellwhether.” Then comes the good part – assuming you’re as weary of the force-feeding of EVs as you probably were of the force-feeding of drugs to people who didn’t want to take them, either:

Following a long, seemingly inexorable climb, registrations of battery-electric vehicles in California fell in the fourth quarter of last year. EV sales have now fallen for two consecutive quarters in the state, even as California regulators set a 2035 deadline for all new auto registrations to consist of zero-emission vehicles.”

This is happening in California – the state where the most EVs have been sold. Italics to emphasize the past tense. It is the state most favorable to EVs, politically as well as practically and financially. The climate is generally temperate – neither particularly hot nor cold. Optimal conditions for an EV in that such conditions don’t have the same effect on an EV that extremes of heat and cold do. And much of the driving in California is stop-and-go, also ideal for an EV as they go farther when they don’t have to go very fast for very long.

California is also politically very Left and so very favorable to expressions of Leftism, such as the wearing of “masks” – and the driving of EVs. Leftists are often affluent in these latter days (as opposed to former days) because government employment has become so remunerative and so pervasive. Those suckling on the teat of taxpayers often take in – as opposed to earning – tens of thousands dollars more each year than a person who earns his living in the private sector, which is getting smaller almost daily as the government gets commensurately bigger.

In summary, you have a lot of affluent Leftists in California who wanted to be seen driving an EV at least as much as they wanted to be seen wearing a “mask.”

Italics to emphasize the passing tense.

Just the same as we see far fewer people “masking up” – even out there – so also we’re beginning to see waning interest in battery powered devices. Even out there. The place where EV Fever has been the most widespread.

Two things probably account for this flaccidity.

The first thing has nothing to do with EVs, per se but everything to do with the fact that there are only so many affluent people, irrespective of their politics. There’s a reason why there are brands like Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota as opposed to only brands like Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. It is that most people cannot afford to buy a Mercedes-Benz or a Lexus – regardless of their politics.

Whether it’s electric is incidental.

What’s not is that a Mercedes or a Lexus is a luxury-brand (and priced) vehicle. If everyone could afford to drive one, there would be no market for Chevys or Hondas or Toyotas. But there is a much larger market for Chevys and Hondas and Toyotas than there is for luxury-brand (and priced) vehicles such as those sold by Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, et al. In fact, the latter’s share of the market is less than 20 percent vs. the rest. This has nothing to do with the putative desirability of a Mercedes or a Lexus. Many of us would love to own such a car.

But most of us can’t afford one.

Which brings us back to electric cars, which are as or even more expensive than luxury cars. Whatever their putative desirability, there are only so many people who can afford one – and most of those appear to have already bought one. The term here is market saturation. Those who want and can afford an EV probably already have one. There is a much smaller market remaining of people who haven’t bought one and want one and have the means to buy one.

And there are also probably fewer potential buyers, regardless – for the same reason there are fewer people buying into the latest “booster” offerings. The truth about both has begun to get traction in the minds of more and more people who were led to believe in untruths about both. The “uptake” – as it’s styled – of “booster” shots is something in the range of 20 percent of the general public. The “uptake” of battery-powered devices isn’t even that high – and is unlikely ever to come close. Akio Toyoda – the grandson of the founder of the company that bears his name – said as much a few days ago.

And – just wait!

At just the moment when EV Fever is cooling, more EVs are coming. Chiefly because of the mandates and regulations effectively outlawing alternatives to them. What was until just recently almost exclusively Tesla’s market – as almost no one else was manufacturing battery powered devices as recently as just three or four years ago – is now a market on the cusp of being flooded with battery powered devices manufactured by others. And all of them are luxury-priced vehicles – including those offered by non-luxury brands such as Honda, which is now trying to sell a rebadged GM-made EV as the “Honda” Prologue.

It has a sticker price just shy of $50,000 to start.

It may be badged a “Honda” but it might as well be a Mercedes or a Lexus in that not many Honda buyers can afford a “Honda” that’s as expensive as a Mercedes.

Or a Tesla.

This will end one of two ways. Either with the end of the EV pushing. Or with the pushing of three out of four us out of the driver’s seat. Just as three out of four of us won’t ever sit in the driver’s seat of a Benz or a Lexus.

. . .

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