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The EV Backlash Builds

Tell me about it, Ford. I took the Spritzler Report all electric Jan 1st this year and am losing $25,000 per issue. I thought all these Sierra Club woke idiots would flock to my editorials like moths to a porch light.

I'm going back to natural gas.

The EV Backlash Builds

Companies cut output amid flagging demand. Could it be the product?

By The Editorial Board, WSJ

Jan. 19, 2024

The Biden Administration keeps throwing around billions in subsidies for electric vehicles, and the press corps keeps hailing them, but consumers don’t seem to want them. The evidence is building that this green industrial policy is a bust.

Ford Motor said on Friday that it’s slashing production of its F-150 Lightning truck amid flagging demand. The F-150 Lightning drew oohs and aahs from the press when it was unveiled in May 2021. Yet the electric pickup has been plagued with defects that have required recalls. It sold a mere 24,165 Lightnings last year and lost roughly $36,000 on each EV in the third quarter.

So now Ford is cutting production at its Lightning plant in Michigan while increasing output of its popular gas-powered Bronco SUV and Ranger pickup. “We are taking advantage of our manufacturing flexibility to offer customers choices while balancing our growth and profitability,” said CEO Jim Farley.

Or consider General Motors, which last month told its Chevrolet dealers to stop selling its electric Blazer SUV owing to software and other problems. Consumer complaints have piled up on social media about glitches including inoperable window switches and batteries that won’t charge.

A Consumer Reports survey in November found that new EVs have 79% more problems than internal-combustion cars. “This suggests that legacy auto makers need more time to work out the kinks under the hood of their EVs,” the report noted. “What matters most to consumers remains the same: finding safe, reliable cars,” Consumer Reports CEO Marta Tellado said. People want safe, reliable cars—who would have thought?

Hertz, the rental car giant, is also bowing to consumer demand by selling about a third of its global EV fleet and buying more gas-powered cars with the proceeds. Car renters have no doubt read stories about the long lines of Chicago drivers unable to charge their EVs as batteries drain power faster in freezing weather.

None of this is stopping the Biden Administration, as this week the Environmental Protection Agency sent its final rule on auto greenhouse emission standards to the White House for review. This back-door EV mandate will punish Ford and other auto makers if they respond to consumer demand by selling more gas-powered cars. It will also compel the companies to roll out EVs before technological and engineering kinks are worked out. This is a recipe for making EVs less popular, not more.

Amid the private jet-set at Davos this week, Biden climate czar John Kerry attributed consumer resistance to EVs to “disinformation.” That’s hilarious. The automobile press couldn’t be more in the tank for EVs.

We’ve got nothing against electric vehicles if consumers want them. But the Administration is trying to force them on the public with mandates and subsidies. This misallocation of capital harms consumers and workers. Mr. Biden’s green industrial policy isn’t failing because of bad marketing. It's failing because Americans don’t like the product.

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