While they may make the transition a little faster, the financial realities of renewable electricity and electric vehicles (EVs) mean that government incentives for solar power, batteries, and electric vehicles are not necessary. They are a waste of money at a time when our national budgets (and state, local, business, and personal budgets) are all strained.

EVs are reaching the point where they are cheaper to produce. They cost less to operate. They have almost no maintenance costs other than tires and windshield washer fluid. They cost less to charge. And as renewable electricity capacity continues to grow, will get even cheaper over time.

Renewable energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels. It costs less to install solar or wind power along with associated battery packs than it costs to operate a fossil fuel power plant of comparable size.  This trend will continue as more solar panels are made and Wright’s law demonstrates that with each doubling of solar panel manufacturing, has led to a cost decrease of between 30 and 40 percent. This trend shows no sign of decreasing.


Streets of New York City in 1900 with horse drawn traffic

Back in 1910, when the automobile was beginning to make an impact on transportation, cities were still overrun with horse drawn transport. There was no national network of gas or service stations. There were few paved roads and no interstate highways. Then Lt Eisenhower was tasked with taking a convoy of trucks and cars across the US, it took him six weeks to make the trip. That experience was one of the things that led to our modern Interstate Highway system, named in his honor. That system did not get started until the 1950s. long after the transition to internal combustion engines was complete.

Easter Parade NYC 1913

Despite no national incentives, the transition from animal transport to combustion engine transport took place in less than a decade once it got started. It did so without government tax credits, it did so without government-built gas or service stations. The current cry for government subsidies and tax credits for the transition to EVs and renewable energy are well intentioned but unnecessary. Given the present budget crisis, perhaps it is time for government to allow private enterprise and consumer choices to let the adoption of EVs happen naturally, without government expense that we cannot afford.

Exponential Growth

Another thing that people do not understand is how fast this transition is going to be. People think linearly, that since there was a growth of 2 percent this year, there will be a growth of 2 percent next year and the transition will take decades. The adoption curve for new technologies tends to be exponential. A one percent growth last year, a two percent growth this year, four the next, and eight after that. Then 16, 32, 64, and basically 100% in less than ten years. EVs basically got started before 2020 and full adoption (except, maybe, for some edge cases and the long tail) will be before 2030. For legacy automotive counting on ICE vehicle sales until 2035 to fund their transition to EVs, this is not good news. For humans who live on earth and breathe the air, it is very good news indeed.