By Todd Thurman
The City of Los Angeles is offering $2,000 rebates toward home chargers for electric cars. Once again, the government is actively choosing winners and losers and skewing the free market.
If the electric car is viable, and it very well could be, the government would not need to offer rebates to buy the cars or the charging infrastructure. Charging infrastructure is a necessary market hurdle for electric vehicles to overcome, and the government has no role in overcoming that hurdle with other peoples’ money.
Los Angeles is planning on handing out rebates to the first 5,000 people who qualify for them. In other words, the government is offering incentives for purchasing items made by private corporations instead of letting the market work it out.
In 1996, GM introduced the EV-1, the first commercial electric car, but it failed because the market was not ready for it. When GM announced the cancelation of the EV assembly, it said that it simply could not sell enough cars to make it profitable.
In 2010, 100 percent electric cars like the Nissan Leaf started coming into the marketplace in hope that, 15 years later, the public would be more interested. With gas prices on the rise, it seems to be a good time to test that theory. However, if people are really interested in buying electric cars, the charging infrastructure should be part of the purchase price. If it were a dissuading factor, it could certainly be worked out with the local dealer. The units range in price from $300 to $350 with installation ranging from $500 to $2,000. The price of the home charger is like the price of gasoline for a regular car. Los Angeles is planning to give up to $100,000 in rebates to people who likely do not need them. The government is there to call balls and strikes, not to hand out free home runs.