Biden Wants 54% of New Cars to Be EVs by 2030

A wildly ambitious goal.

AP (“EPA car rule to push huge increase in EV sales“):

The Biden administration will propose strict new automobile pollution limits this week that would require at least 54% of new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2030 and as many as two of every three by 2032, according to industry and environmental officials briefed on the plan.

The proposed regulation, to be released Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency, would set greenhouse gas emissions limits for the 2027 through 2032 model years for passenger vehicles that would be even stricter than goals the auto industry agreed to in 2021.

The EPA will offer a range of options that the agency can select after a public comment period, the officials said. They asked not to be identified because the proposal hasn’t been made public. The proposed regulation isn’t expected to become final until next year.

Environmental groups are applauding the ambitious numbers, which were first reported over the weekend by The New York Times. But the plan is likely to get strong pushback from the auto industry, which pledged in August 2021 to make EVs half of U.S. new car sales by 2030 as it moves toward a history-making transition away from internal combustion engines.

Even the low end of the EPA’s 2030 range is 4 percentage points higher than the 2021 goal, which came after strong pressure from President Joe Biden. An executive order signed by Biden set a target for half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be zero-emissions vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric or fuel cell electric vehicles.

Biden also wants automakers to raise gas mileage and cut tailpipe pollution between now and model year 2026. That would mark a significant step toward meeting his pledge to cut America’s planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 as he pushes a once-almost-unthinkable shift from gasoline-powered engines to battery-powered vehicles.

With electric vehicles accounting for just 7.2% of U.S. vehicle sales in the first quarter of this year, the industry has a long way to go to even approach the administration’s targets. However, the percentage of EV sales is growing. Last year it was 5.8% of new vehicles sales.

If this is a serious policy proposal, it borders on the absurd. If it’s instead an opening gambit in a negotiation, it’s merely ambitious.

In principle, I’d very much like my next vehicle to be electric. Aside from the environmental benefits, EVs are likely cheaper to operate, more fun to drive, and roomier than comparable gas-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs. And I live in an area where the charging infrastructure is beginning to make relying on an EV possible. Unfortunately, they’re currently radically more expensive.

There are simply too many obstacles to overcome to make EVs the predominant vehicle type in seven years.

While the Biden administration included a significant investment in charging infrastructure in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, it’s not nearly enough to support such a massive increase in EVs on the road. I’m especially dubious that we’ll be able to meet demand in rural areas anytime soon; it’s just too expensive to install chargers in places with low population density.

I’m also very skeptical that we have the raw materials and industrial capacity to produce enough batteries. Or that our electrical grid is ready to handle the extra load.

Presumably, economies of scale will bring down the cost of EVs at some point. Currently, we’re trying to incentivize the switch with federal subsidies. Ironically, though, those cut out when the vehicle reaches the price point of the large SUVs and trucks that American consumers want to buy.

Again, though, it’s quite possible that these proposed regulations are just an attempt to get the ball moving faster. There are a lot of problems, only some of which I’ve listed, that need to be solved to get Americans switched to EVs and it’ll likely take considerable government intervention to make it happen. Realistically, though, it’s not going to happen by 2030.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tony W says:

    Plug-in hybrids are included in the mix, so there’s nothing absurd about the goal at all. They are readily available, and behave exactly like ICE cars – no concerns about range or charging or anything else. Don’t want to charge it? Then don’t.

    And California has already announced an even more aggressive plan, so that’s a huge percentage of US cars right off the bat.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    It’s hard to see the world reaching the climate goals when the path to success is through the use of rare metals that are environmentally and socially damaging to mine. Add to that the goal includes sourcing raw materials and the manufacturing of the final product in the US. Good luck getting the permit in mine the undeveloped, existing deposits, any attempt is likely to be tied up in litigation for a generation.

    As @Tony W: points out, hybrids will help, potentially. But plug-in hybrids are also a bit of a snare and delusion, on paper they provide nearly as much clean air benefit as pure EV’s, but that assumes that the owners plug them in, but growing evidence shows that a high percentage of owners simply charge them while driving around. That reduces the clean air benefit.

    Frankly, while I can agree with the goal, I can’t see how we get to the goal and I feel the same way about CA goal and Europe, at least Europe has a varied transpo infrastructure that provides alternatives that support the goal.

  3. Scott says:

    I think EVs are going to go on a steady trajectory for the next few years and then just explode. I’ve been eyeing them but, by nature, I am not an early adopter. I will wait until some intersection of technology and value and utility is met.

    In the meantime, there are issues being addressed:

    With more electric vehicles expected in Texas, two bills pave the road for fast-charging stations statewide

    Traveling across the vast state in an all-electric vehicle still lacks the convenience of refueling a gas-powered vehicle. There are just 329 fast-charging stations across the state’s 270,000 square miles, leaving travelers with limited options as they plan their routes.

    It’s something of a chicken-or-the-egg problem: Companies need enough customers to justify building charging stations, but drivers want a sufficient number of charging stations before buying an electric car.

    Two pieces of proposed state legislation would provide what supporters say is a needed foundation for companies to put in more fast-charging stations to meet the expected demand. Senate Bill 1002 creates guidelines for how electric vehicle charging stations would be paid for and built. And Senate Bill 1001 establishes how they would be registered and inspected.

    Now a more important issue to be dealt with is the taxes that build our roads. Currently, it is based on a per gallon gas tax. This has worked because a gas tax is a good approximate measure of a usage tax for driving. More you drive, the more taxes you pay. The heavier the vehicle, the more taxes you pay. Wear and tear on road is a function of weight and distance. Read somewhere that 18 wheelers cause 16X more wear and tear.

    With electric vehicles coming into use, there is going to have to be a change. If weight and distance are measurements of wear and tear, how do you tax that in an EV. An annual tax on vehicle weight can be instituted but how do you measure distance driven. Documented at an annual inspection?

    In the meantime, Texas is considering this:

    Lawmakers are also considering various legislation that would impose fees on electric vehicles, such as Senate Bill 505, which recently passed the Senate and would impose a $400 registration fee for a new electric vehicle and a $200 annual renewal fee.

    There will be a lot of sorting out like it always occurs when new technology drives new business and behaviors.

  4. Lounsbury says:

    @Tony W: It is in fact absurd from both an industrial production transition PoV relative to time-to-retool and cost and from a charging infra PoV.

    If there is inclusion of general hybrids, not absurd.

    EU has had to walk back similarly overly aggresive goal. California will be the same, administrative fiat declarations do not change physical infra and physical facilities timelines

    They would better spend their time and effort on Elec Grid rationalisation and upgrading – natioal integration, regional integration, metro level upgrading. And all the bureuacracy smoothing, permitting smooting to enable continental level power wheeling. The US grid is shambolic and archaic mess. This needs their focus.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:
  6. MarkedMan says:


    Now a more important issue to be dealt with is the taxes that build our roads.

    A huge benefit would be to tax by weight, or at least make weight a part of the equation.

  7. Jen says:

    I won’t be comfortable with an all-EV until I can be convinced that public charging stations aren’t going to end up like highway rest stop bathrooms: mostly out of order with a ridiculous queue for the ones that work.

    It never occurred to me that EVs would be that much heavier than a standard car, that’s a bit eye-opening.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    I take deadlines seriously. I wish people would stop with phony deadlines that are inevitably going to be pushed back. It’s more of the ‘manifesting’ nonsense, if you build it they will come. It contains a large degree of virtue signaling. The ambitious goal gets the headline and the inevitable failure to meet said deadline gets a whimper on page 3. Easy virtue points.

    That said, yes, EVs are the thing. I have one. I also have an ICE because the go-kart is great for around town, but for doing distances just get me a Conestoga and a team of oxen. That’d be faster than trying to get an EV to go 400 miles. It’s all about the infrastructure, and as @Lounsbury points out, the grid is patchy at best.

  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    54% of new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2030 and as many as two of every three by 2032

    This struck me as a strangely exact figure. Not half. Not 55%, despite our love of rounding to 5’s and 10’s. Fifty Four.

    Out of curiosity I wanted to see how much the rate of EV growth would need to change to reach it, or when we would reach 54% if the rate of EV increase is static.

    5.8% of all vehicles to 7.2% of all vehicles sold is an increase of 24.14% in one year, let’s call it 25%. If EVs continue to increase by 25% each year we get:
    2023: 7.25%*
    2024: 9.06%
    2025: 11.33%
    2026: 14.16%
    2027: 17.70%
    2028: 22.12%
    2029: 27.66%
    2030: 34.57%
    2031: 43.21%
    2032: 54.01%

    Could it be that whomever crafted this doc just plugged in continual 25% growth and got to their 2032 goal? If so, this is an opening gambit, not an actual policy goal.

    To your other qualms–which are not unreasonable–I think this is a chicken/egg situation. Rural charging infrastructure away from major highways and interstates will be cost prohibitive until there is adequate demand. There wont’ be adequate demand until people have EV’s. There won’t be EV’s until there is adequate charging infrastructure. Yes, the current grid might not be up to snuff, and we will need a mighty expansion in power generation–but our grid has been antiquated for decades and population growth is already dictating a mighty expansion in power generation. The biggest thing that worries me is the lithium shortage, but if we don’t solve that soon–through greater recapture/recycling, increased lithium production, new battery tech, or likely all three–the rate of EV growth is going to be the least of our issues.

    Related: world’s second largest lithium deposit discovered…in Iran. Because God has a wicked sense of humor.

  10. Andy says:

    EV’s and hybrids are already in high demand – such high demand that you can’t find most models in showrooms, and if you want one, you have to order it and wait up to a year. We need a new(er) car this summer but getting one on any kind of reasonable timeframe is just about impossible. Used vehicles command new vehicle prices in many cases and are also in very short supply.

    Point being, the demand is there, the problem is production capacity and one can’t create production capacity by issuing a deadline.

  11. Andy says:

    Forgot to include this link of a story I read this morning:

  12. MarkedMan says:

    Stuff like this is one of the reasons I just can’t identify with the modern Republican Party (you know, aside from the misogyny, sexism, racism, corporatism, etc, etc etc 😉 ). James brings up reasonable challenges. “The American Way” (TM) response to tough challenges is to get to work and figure out how to make it happen. Man on the Moon. National Highway System. Tennessee Valley Authority. Hell, Chicago had a sewage problem and solved it by raising a huge section of the city and building a sewer system underneath! “Impossible” problems that we solved. But the modern Republican Party is just a bunch of defeatists who sit around and carp and tear down everyone trying to work on anything. One of the most annoying things is their “Everybody is an idiot but me” attitude, where they come up with a challenge and automatically assume that the people who have dedicated years of their lives to this issue have never even considered such a thing.

    (James, I’m not lumping you in here. Like I said, the challenges you mentioned are very real. They have to be dealt with, and are being dealt with. And yes, we will have to come up with additional breakthroughs and commit our wills and treasures to a huge infrastructure build out. But, goddammit, we can do it.)

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: The standard conservative response to everything is, “Nothing can be done, that’s just the way it is.” The standard argument on any subject at TAC is, “A cannot be allowed to change because if A changes other things might change.” I’ve always loved the irony that people who religiously defend capitalism refuse to see that the big virtue of a free enterprise system is that it adapts.

    I think Reynolds is right, it’s at root a lack of imagination.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I wish people would stop with phony deadlines that are inevitably going to be pushed back.

    The thing is, those deadlines are real. “Pushed back” means the coastal US and the rest of the world virtually disappears. All those people need to go somewhere or die. Every time we fail to meet an “unreasonable” deadline is simply a failure that will result in untold deaths. Play around with this. In some parts of the US even a 1 foot rise is going to displace people within a quarter mile of the current coast. And consider that the map is about everyday flooding, not those caused by storm surges.

    There was an article a couple of years ago that looked at one town in the Florida Keys that is experiencing flooding of their main road in and out of town.

    The results released Wednesday focus on a single three-mile stretch of road at the southern tip of Sugarloaf Key, a small island 15 miles up Highway 1 from Key West. To keep those three miles of road dry year-round in 2025 would require raising it by 1.3 feet, at a cost of $75 million, or $25 million per mile. Keeping the road dry in 2045 would mean elevating it 2.2 feet, at a cost of $128 million. To protect against expected flooding levels in 2060, the cost would jump to $181 million.

    And all that to protect about two dozen homes.

  15. Jen says:


    But, goddammit, we can do it.

    Perhaps it’s the Free Stater nonsense that I’ve had to deal with repeatedly on a town level, but this attitude is GONE. No one wants to pay for anything anymore, and solving problems costs money.

    We have so many pressing needs across the state right now and frankly there are a lot of people running around with their hair on fire screaming and yet…tax caps and a stubborn refusal to look at any new revenue sources. I’m at a loss for how we get things done if there’s no money.

  16. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @MarkedMan: @gVOR08: @Jen: I didn’t flesh out the last paragraph because I lacked both the time and the detailed knowledge to do so. Ultimately, though, this is a collective action problem that only government can solve. The free market isn’t going to create the infrastructure fast enough. At the same time, we can’t simply set artificial floors on how many vehicles will be EVs without rolling out the infrastructure and other investments required to support it.

  17. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    It’s hard to see the world reaching the climate goals when the path to success is through the use of rare metals that are environmentally and socially damaging to mine.

    Aluminum-sulfur batteries are coming.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    The free market isn’t going to create the infrastructure fast enough. At the same time, we can’t simply set artificial floors on how many vehicles will be EVs without rolling out the infrastructure and other investments required to support it.

    Agreed. Although I would change that first sentence to, “The free market alone…, but with the right governmental incentives it can operate much faster than the government alone”

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: I feel for you. Becoming a Libertarian outpost must be a frickin’ nightmare. But I honestly don’t believe the American Spirit is dead. Nor the Swedish Spirit, nor the Dutch one or the UK or Chinese, Japanese, Singaporean one, or, well, all those places that have shown a willingness to rise to immense challenges.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    Something that has remained true for the past three decades: the climate models have been too conservative. But the most recent real world measurements have been a frickin’ eye opener, although the main stream media and general public have not absorbed yet just how bad the news is. I just saw this new study released that shows certain parts of the American Southeast and Gulf coast have waterlevels rising 3-4 times faster than predicted, and no one knows why. 4/10 of an inch a year, and accelerating. A lot of the flooding models of a few years ago said it would be 1/10 of an inch a year by now, or perhaps 1/8.

    Or how about this on melting sea ice? Although melting icebergs don’t cause sea level rise, they are a harbinger of melting land ice in the Arctic and especially the Antarctic.

    The Arctic Ocean is warming much faster than predicted by climate models used by United Nations experts, thus accelerating the melting of sea ice, two Swedish studies released on Tuesday warned.

    Relatively warm currents in the deep Arctic are actually warmer and closer to the surface than experts previously thought, according to the studies from the University of Gothenburg, published by the Journal of Climate. These warm currents are coming into direct contact with sea ice and accelerating its melting in winter, they say.

    The researchers compared their observations with calculations from 14 models considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the panel of experts responsible for the UN’s major climate reports.

    The role of deep water flowing under the Arctic from the Atlantic is underestimated by these models, they conclude.

    “We are sure that what happens in the Arctic in real life does not happen as in the models,” said Céline Heuzé, a climate scientist at the University of Gothenburg and leader of one of the studies. “The forecasts shared by the IPCC are a little too optimistic. It’s going to be even worse and faster than predicted.”

    Already last year, a study found that the Arctic atmosphere had warmed four times faster than elsewhere over the past 40 years, twice as fast as the modelling used by the IPCC.

    The disappearance of sea ice is accelerating warming because of a phenomenon known as “Arctic amplification”.

    This occurs when sea ice, which naturally reflects the sun’s heat, melts and reverts to dark seawater, which absorbs more solar radiation and warms.

  21. Andy says:


    “The American Way” (TM) response to tough challenges is to get to work and figure out how to make it happen. Man on the Moon. National Highway System. Tennessee Valley Authority. Hell, Chicago had a sewage problem and solved it by raising a huge section of the city and building a sewer system underneath! “Impossible” problems that we solved.

    And the newest of those is now over 50 years old.

    It used to be a lot easier, quicker and cheaper to do those things. Over time, we’ve slowly added various veto points that exist now for large projects which make doing similar projects today much more difficult. And you can’t blame Republicans solely for those, because many of them were (and still are) promoted by Democrats. California’s high-speed rail project isn’t a complete mess because of Republicans, for example.

    As I point out all the time, everything comes with tradeoffs. All those regulations, veto points, and legal requirements that can generate lots of lawsuits that were added over the past 1/2 century have some valid reasoning behind them, but they also come with the downside that the big projects of the past are simply much more difficult, especially at a collective level.

    And this permeates most things we do here in the US. One example I’ve pointed out in the past is that it takes the US government longer than the entirety of WWII to define the requirements for a new major weapon’s system. Not design the system, not contract for the system, but to define the requirements.

  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Will that be, before or after the second coming? Cold fusion and cheap hydrogen are also coming. Until one or others are here, it is all, if wishes were horses…

  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    As in they already exist, they’re just figuring out how to industrialize and mass produce them.

    Which keeps getting easier as the price of lithium keeps going up

  24. Jay L Gischer says:

    I just wanted to note that first, most driving I do, and most people do, is not long-haul. It’s a daily commute. It’s well within range of an EV, and you can go to lunch or do some shopping, too. The charging station is at your house. For some vehicles, you plug into an outlet.

    I would guess that a charging station – on the order of a gas station – is probably a lot cheaper to build. No big underground tanks to build. Much reduced safety concerns.

    The rural life I once led would STILL mostly fit within an EV’s range comfortably.

    Yeah, long haul doesn’t work well, or maybe even at all. Yet. I’m sure it will, after some fashion. I have made one driving trip in the last 5 years that wouldn’t work with an EV.

    Consequently, I do not see the lack of charging stations to be an impediment to this goal, which is ambitious, for sure.

  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That could be a 20 year project alone. Add to that there is already a massive investment in lithium battery production that simply won’t be written off for the next shiny new object.

  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Yeah, long haul doesn’t work well, or maybe even at all. Yet. I’m sure it will, after some fashion. I have made one driving trip in the last 5 years that wouldn’t work with an EV.

    The long drive I do occasionally is LA to San Fran, and honestly if we had even half a dozen more high speed charging stations on the 5 or the 101, it would be problem solved, at least for that route.

    Liberals are very fond of making the perfect the enemy of the good, and the ‘perfecting’ is always in the nature of more rules and regulations. We cannot build housing for the homeless not from lack of funds, but because of the layers of paralyzing bullshit, most coming from NIMBY liberals.

    The cause may be urgent – is urgent – but the deadline is still bullshit. Not going to happen. And the problem with bullshit deadlines is that coming off the grand announcement of a program people imagine something’s been done, sorted. Five years later when nothing’s been done it’s on to the next round of bullshit deadlines.

    Unexpected contributor to slowing climate change? Almost 7 million dead worldwide from Covid. That’s 7 million people who won’t be buying a Hummer. Meanwhile, however, China and India are building more coal-fired plants. My unscientific guess is that we’ll curb climate change, but too late to stave off a lot of the consequences. Famine in Africa is almost a given, mass migrations which will engender more wars, some island nations will disappear, a lot of Bangladesh will be submerged, the thawing arctic will be a cold (heh) war battlefield.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Back in the day of GM’s EV1, electric cars were viable second cars, if you could charge at home. Today, range isn’t an issue for most uses, but charge at home is still needed for hassle free ownership.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    Meant to add that long-term – if you define long as long enough – demographics solve the problem. The rich countries – the ones that use energy and other resources – are all seeing declining populations. Even the not-quite-rich like China. Fewer people, new technologies, yeah it’ll sort itself out, just a couple decades too late.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I take deadlines seriously. I wish people would stop with phony deadlines that are inevitably going to be pushed back. It’s more of the ‘manifesting’ nonsense, if you build it they will come. It contains a large degree of virtue signaling. The ambitious goal gets the headline and the inevitable failure to meet said deadline gets a whimper on page 3. Easy virtue points.

    It’s very, very clear that you haven’t spent any time working on large, multi-person projects with a lot of unknowns.

    Estimates suck ass. In theory, there should be an equal chance of getting something done before the estimate as after, but nothing ever gets done early. An estimate ends up being “there’s no way in hell this will be done before X.”

    Sounds useless, right?

    But what happens when you add padding to make it more realistic? Surely this project will be done at some date, Y, and if we put in enough padding to the estimate to account for optimism and unknown issues, we can get a better estimate, right? If we know it won’t be done by September, then October is a better guess, right? And if you estimate November there’s a chance it will come in early?

    Nope. There’s less urgency, people piss away the extra time, and your entire project takes even longer.

    This is a mild exaggeration, as there are some hard deadlines in life, and people can perform miracles as those approach, but it’s a good rule of thumb. (Even with hard deadlines, there’s a lot of “well, what if we just don’t do the entire thing? What’s the least we can live with?”)

    If we have a target of 54% electric vehicles by 2030, that tells me there is no way we will have hit that target in 2029, and a very low chance by 2030. However, if we put it off so we have a target of 54% by 2040, there is no way we will hit it by 2039.

  30. Michael Reynolds says:


    It’s very, very clear that you haven’t spent any time working on large, multi-person projects with a lot of unknowns.

    True. Frankly, certain people I know very well but shall not name, take a much more casual attitude. But if I say I’ll have a manuscript ready on X date, it’s ready on X date. 150-ish books and I have never been late on a manuscript. Sometimes I think being raised in an Army family left a deeper mark on me than I realize.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I’m not sure that the goal is unreasonable or unrealistic, at least for the US. With our current race to the bottom economic model for wages, what percentage of US citizens can even buy a new car, let alone pay a 10-15k premium for an EV? Beyond that, what percentage of US citizens are in the market for Eddie in LA’s one-passenger drive to work and the gym car? As Neil’s math showed, the “goal” may simply be the extrapolation of the current buying curve, in which case the chances are fair. Now all we’ll need is the electric grid.

  32. MarkedMan says:


    It’s very, very clear that you haven’t spent any time working on large, multi-person projects with a lot of unknowns.

    Amen to that. And the idea that in some glorious past we used to be able to meet all the deadlines? Hah! “The Mythical Man Month” was first published nearly 50 years and was based on a senior managers experience for more than a decade before that. Or take a close look at the Washington Monument. See that the color changes slightly part way up? They delayed construction so long the original quarry was spent and they had to get different stone.

    Construction of the presidential memorial began in 1848. The construction was suspended from 1854 to 1877 due to funding challenges, a struggle for control over the Washington National Monument Society, and the American Civil War. The stone structure was completed in 1884, and the internal ironwork, the knoll, and installation of memorial stones was completed in 1888.

    Do you think anyone’s schedule had “40 years” on it? But despite everything it got done. National Highway System? Started planning in 1953, funded in ’56 and completed in ’92. And lest you blame government programs, know that in the 80’s it was a widely accepted figure that 2/3 of all major new technology development projects (as opposed to incremental model changes) in the US never got out the door. From 1980-1988 I worked at Xerox on three major (200-600 person) projects, each lasting 5+ years. Only one of them made it out the door, and the some of the old timers were a bit jealous that my rate was that high.

  33. Lounsbury says:

    The American general Omar Bradley I believe is said to have said that amateurs talk strategy and tactics, professionals, logistics.

    For electrification, the Grid is the logistics.

    EVs are a tactic. Hybrids as well (for which any form of hybrid should be considered a win in reduction of consumption and an overall transition from classic ICE car to electric manufacturing infra even if not a plugin)

    Grid Grid Grid: at transmission (long, medium) and distribution. None of which is Fit for Purpose at this time, relative to scaling massively electrification (and integration of intermittant RE).

    All professionals in my business – which I remind is literally financing this sort of thing, RE and EE projects (hundreds of millions of euros of it, I of course want to see such grow) – consider the US to have a horrific grid state, shambolic, fragmented and you’re not taking it seriously.

    Green left prattle on about EVs and the like but you have no serious plans on addressing your mad patchwork grid at transmission and distribution levels, nor serious plans to address your permitting and authorisations morass, which the Left can never seem to admit in any instance needs lightening to speed.

    Grid upgrading enables investment, enables RE expansion, and grid is your major binding constraint (along with access to sites in a timely fashion, the nightmare stories one hears about USA for utility scale access on grid and on sites…).

    That will drive cost to achieve – and is a better and indeed necessary intervention by government rather than pie-in-the-sky EV goals ignoring the electric infrastructure, the logistics of electrons.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    ‘perfecting’ is always in the nature of more rules and regulations. We cannot build housing for the homeless not from lack of funds, but because of the layers of paralyzing bullshit,

    This applies to Grid.
    considering how long it takes you lot to build any Infra at all, and considering timelines you need to be considering a nationalisation of Grid policy as an absolute emergency action (not to say Europe or my market also is not facing substantial challenges for grid moderisation for RE balancing, new base balancing etc).

    @Sleeping Dog: Correct. Achieving stable industrial level production of new battery chemisty and doing so at economically competitive pricing is fiendishly difficult and industrial scael production is indeed easily 10-20 years. Anyone financing such investment needs substantial base focus.

    Fixed battery storage is rather more likely than EV to see new chemistries penetrate market as vastly more use paraemeters tolerant than mobile and less demanding on stability. Replacement of Lithium chemistry for fixed installations is quite market plausible and my firm is actively tracking this.

  34. Andy says:


    So this isn’t a “multi-person project with significant unknowns.”

    We are talking about the fundamental transformation of personal transportation via an EPA rule on pollution mitigation. It’s not a project. Right now, this is just a proposed rule by the EPA rule and the rule isn’t public yet, much less final. After all the comment and review hoops – assuming no hiccups – it won’t even be final until next year, which means the actual timeline is even shorter.

    And since this is a regulatory action by a single agency and not a whole-of-government effort, no one knows how the implementation will work – ie. the “project” part of making this happen. The EPA doesn’t care about that because such details are someone else’s problem.

  35. Gustopher says:

    @Andy: They are setting expectations for a whole bunch of large, multi-team projects.

    I’d say my simplification still applies. If the targets aren’t aggressive, no one will be aggressive, as the easiest thing to do is nothing. Work (or “work”) expands to fill the schedule.

    (In the corporate world, you would set additional goals for “projects” that will be successful so long as you don’t accidentally burn the office down… so overall, you have 1 out of 3 big goals running late and underdelivering and everyone looks good…)

  36. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: The country that really uses the “arbitrary deadline we can’t go beyond” is Japan.

    Ask me how I know this….

    The reason Japan has such an attitude towards its projects is because if they didn’t, nothing would ever get done. The average Japanese project brings together a whole gaggle of people and everything is done very carefully, cautiously, getting buy-in from everybody, etc. nice and leisurely–until suddenly someone realises they’re one month out from deadline and everyone starts running around in a total panic throwing equipment in boxes and begging all-nighters out of the coders.

  37. Gustopher says:


    Only one of them made it out the door, and the some of the old timers were a bit jealous that my rate was that high.

    Huh. Everywhere I’ve worked has had a > 50% quit rate after projects were cancelled. A side effect of hiring for people strong on “ownership.” One of those jobs gave out lavish retention bonuses when projects were cancelled, which had the effect of encouraging some people to seek out projects that were doomed — you get the behavior you reward.

    (At another job, I suggested we hire people who had absolutely no ambition or desire to get things done, as then they won’t be disappointed. Everyone was somehow surprised when I quit a little while after.)

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I’m with you. Until the utility and convenience of these vehicles, at a minimum , matches that of my current vehicle (and that means range, refueling time, acceleration & performance, quality of internal appointments, fit & finish / build quality, the whole bundle), I’m not interested. Don’t like them (in truth I tend to dislike EV owners more than I dislike the vehicles, but I really don’t like the vehicles either), don’t want one, likely won’t ever buy one unless absolutely forced to do so.

    Nobody above touched on the subsidy problem either. We have already spent billions upon billions in subsidies to convince the relatively tiny slice of current owners to switch. Are we to presume that these subsidies will also scale? If not, we currently have to pay people to want these things. What happens when we stop?

  39. Andy says:


    They are setting expectations for a whole bunch of large, multi-team projects.

    What is the evidence for these other projects?

  40. JMWinPR says:

    @Tony W: Simply amazing. CA currently does not have the capacity to charge EV’s during a hot spell. Do you think they can add sufficient grid capacity in 7 yrs ?
    Germany has already backed off from its I.C.E. ban. They have discovered that they too do not have the electric grid capacity. They are far more technically oriented than the US. They even have started adding coal powered generating plants. Burning wood pellets and cow dung apparently wasn’t sufficient. No, this has absolutely nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with destroying the middle class. Gasoline taxes will start edging up in the near future. That will finish us off. Which is the goal

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Well sure, but the people who’ve taken the deals and have situations that permit them to mostly charge for free have no complaints at all. What better recommendation could you ask for?

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If somebody paid me to buy a car and gave me free fuel to boot, I’d probably find a way to like it too, but since (here in the real world) we obviously can’t scale either of those incentives up to fit covering half of the vehicles in the country, let’s focus on on reality.

  43. Gustopher says:

    @Andy: we have charging infrastructure being built up by the Inflation Reduction Act, and the government is now mandating that the auto manufacturers start those projects as a part of this.

    (Although it remains to be seen whether the auto manufacturers will try to meet these requirements, or stop selling automobiles and start selling three-wheeled conveyances or something that doesn’t meet the definition, like how they avoided CAFE standards on cars by pushing the sales of SUVs and other small trucks)

  44. Gustopher says:

    @HarvardLaw92: If we cut subsidies for oil and gasoline, or add taxes, we can start to equalize the costs of electric and gas.

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

    Is it the best way? No idea — it’s definitely not the least painful way, but if we need to move quickly*, we may need carrots and sticks. Just pointing out that there are a lot more options than you are quickly considering.

    *: I think it’s too late to avoid environmental catastrophes, and that we are just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. That said, I want my deck chair in a nice, comfortable location until we sink into the waters.

  45. Lounsbury says:

    @HarvardLaw92: nice to see you comment.

    From an economic and business perspective, EVs are scaling and the economies of scale are starting to come into play – in fashions similar to RE.

    RE once was written off as requiring permanent subsidy – still is apparently among the right in the USA, but in fact with scale and efficiency that is no longer the case. The economics of PV and wind kill new hydrocarbons (at utility scale installation, not really for micro-scale).

    The risk is not scaling subsidy – rather the risk is mistaking the power of adminstrative fiat and regulatory pressure relative to economicaly and financially feasible investment – transition costs and the physically binding constraints of transitioning – new or retooled plants, grid of course – as getting ahead of that will cause a price shock and discredit entirely EV (as well as ignoring that EV will need not be universal use case, to exclusion of positives of hybrids).

    And the excess focus on consumer facing items like home PV and EV, rather the difficult and truly binding constraint of the logistics of moving electrons at the right price, that is grid – both long distance transmission and retail distribution all of which need massive upgrades or the Greeny dreams collapse with grid instability and max-out on intermittancy.

    Unless there is regulatory smoothing the RE goals will be not only not met but become nonsensical.

  46. HarvardLaw92 says:


    We sold 13.75 million cars and light trucks in the US last year. If we only subsidize half of those sales as electric vehicles, at $7,500 a pop, we are on the hook for $51.562 billion per year in direct subsidies just at the federal level. We haven’t even touched on the cost of the electricity subsidies being extended (which obviously we have neither the grid capacity nor the funding to underwrite).

    Direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry in the US amount to $20 billion per year, with 80% of that going to oil and gas. Factor in another $2.875 billion per year in indirect subsidies (lost tax revenue) and we are at a grand total of $18.875 billion per year. We get a good bit of that back in the form of fuel tax revenue and income taxes paid by the workers producing the fossil fuels, but let’s ignore that and just assume it’s a straight-line net comparison. So where is the other 32.7 billion (minimum) per year going to come from?

    Beyond that, is it a one time deal? Only get the bennie on your first buy, or do we keep offering it every time someone trades their shiny Electrosled in for a newer model? What do we do about all of the laid off oil and gas workers? The pipeline workers? The secondary layoffs among their suppliers? The lost tax revenue from shrinking oil and gas companies?

    This is exactly the sort of thing that annoys me about EV owners – lofty and noble goals, but zero concept of how to pay for them.

  47. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I don’t disagree. I was mostly tossing out the low-hanging fruit as way of pointing out the obvious. Grid capacity is obviously the 900lb gorilla in the room. People tend to love things that they don’t have to pay for. I suspect that when they see the true cost of these proposals, or more aptly put their expected contribution to the recovery of those costs, they will be slightly less enthused.

  48. Thomm says:

    @HarvardLaw92: sorry that the Mercedes EQS (basically an electric s class) doesn’t fit your rarefied tastes. Everything but the refuel time in you supposed list of criteria. And if you are charging in home and using Europe’s excellent rail system, that is a moot point. I’m sure you can come up with more excuses tho.

  49. Thomm says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Good news tho…Rolls is having an all electric out soonish. Maybe that will do

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I wonder what other ways we could spend $52B to get carbon out of the air, and how that would compare.

    And for what it’s worth, I have twelve people on my current team and two of them have bought electric in the past six months and another bought the new Prius plug in hybrid.

  51. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Funny how these discussions are as if there is an option. We’ve already hit the iceburg… So how about we move 54% of the deck chairs over there?

    Oh, too many? ok, 30% maybe? It won’t matter soon anyways.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: In the US, it doesn’t have to scale to fit half the vehicles in the country, only half of the new vehicles being sold. The millions of us who will never be able to afford an EV (and have virtually no access to the ability to charge one for that matter) will still be buying the same ICE used cars that we buy now. Possibly for 2 or 3 more generations given that no one, so far, knows whether used EVs will be affordable for used vehicle buyers–assuming those used car buyers will be able to afford to replace the nearly expired batteries and absorb other repair costs to keep those cars in running condition (I’m thinking right now along the lines of how many of us repair computers or solid state TVs for example.) I’m imagining that I’ll probably have been dead for decades by the time EVs show up at Irv’s Fine Used Cars or in private sale want ads. But I could be wrong.

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Thomm: Looked up Mercedes EQS just for yuks. First thing I saw was a “great deal” on for an EQS with 10 miles on it for only $128,585. Now, I’ll admit that’s a touch out of my ideal price range, but the more important question to me is why someone sells a car on with only 10 miles on it. But I don’t actually follow the collectible tchotchkes market at all.

  54. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Why would I pay the same or more money for less functionality?

    And I make no apologies for success. If that offends you, that’s your issue, not mine.

  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Which I addressed. Subsidizing half of the new cars and trucks sold in the US alone would run to nearly 52 billion per year at the current rate, just at the federal level. Doesn’t even touch the massive costs of upgrading the electrical grid to shoulder the increased load, which will be borne in the end by ratepayers. Magical solutions tend to be neither.

    Mostly the hysteria and virtue signaling around this whole thing just annoys me.

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:


    According to the UN, spend it on reducing methane emissions. Far, far more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, and according to them “immediate reductions in methane emissions are the best, swiftest chance the planet has at slowing climate change.” Landfills are ginormous methane generators and that’s with the truly rudimentary monitoring we actually do. In actuality they’re probably far worse than the disaster they’re already termed as being.

    I get it, though. Landfills aren’t as sexy as cars, and they’re far harder to use as a virtue totem.

  57. Kathy says:

    On the matter of deadlines, I always set an earlier one when I request samples.

    Say the samples need to be delivered on the 10th, but delivery is in another state, so they have to leave the office (labeled and packaged) early on the 9th or at any time on the 8th. I’ll want all my samples by the 5th, so we’ll have time to replace defective ones (rare, but it happens), or correct problems with not-quite-correct ones (far more common).

    We still get calls from operations asking when is the latest we can receive the samples. they don’t like it when I say “the 5th, of course.” I’l say 90% of the time, we get them all by the 6th anyway, sometimes the 7th.

  58. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Or, for real fun, focus on eliminating sulfur hexafluoride. Used as an insulator in electrical switchgear (including wind turbines …).

    One ton of the stuff in the atmosphere has the global warming potential of 23,900 tons of CO2, and worse, it has no natural sink or effective disposal methods. It just sticks around essentially forever (atmospheric life of up to 3,200 years versus 100 – 200 for CO2). I saw one estimate which equated the yearly SF6 emissions to the exhaust from 100 million cars.


    Best part – all that new electrical infrastructure we will have to build out to service all these nifty Electrosleds will be loaded with the stuff, so maybe we’d be better off spending the money finding a viable alternative. End of the day, are we on net making the problem better or worse?

  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    Much the same attitude, but I add that I want a convertible. That said, the Volvo EV we have out-accelerates my Mercedes – you step on the pedal and it jumps – and the interior is not offensive. It’s not Mercedes, but it’s not a Lada, either. And I have to admit, it’s cool just plugging it in. But if you’re still in Paris I doubt you have a garage which would complicate matters.

  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We have a garage, but it’s occupied by my BMW. Aside from electricity being hideously expensive in Paris, I generally prefer to walk whenever I can. This is one of the most walkable cities in the world*

    (* not so much at present, with the local Communards up in arms about the tiniest change in their beloved pensions, and protesting being the French national pastime even under the best of circumstances, but it is what it is.)

  61. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have not kept track but at a guess, half the occasions I’ve been in Paris something was on strike, and I’ve seen the American flag burned. But the worst was being with a camera crew when Metro was on strike and we had to schlepp our gear clear across town at a run. Fortunately Paris is not physically large.

  62. Ken_L says:

    The numbers bounce around, but about 14 million new cars and light trucks are sold in America every year. More than 280 million vehicles of all kinds are currrently registered in the country (can’t find a number for just cars and light trucks). If half those 14 million sales are EVs, it would mean just 2.5% of the nation’s fleet of fossil-fuelled fleet was being phased out in favor of EVs every year. More than half the fleet would still be running on gas in 2050.

    Frankly if that’s wildly unachievable, we might as well stop pretending we’re going to do anything serious about moving to zero emissions.

  63. Lounsbury says:

    @Ken_L: Net zero, not zero is the goal, emphasis on net. And goal setting in this fashion, based on your consumer experience and cards, is simply innumeracy relative to green house gas sources. For USA, Transport sector entirely is around 27% – of transport that includes of course planes trains trucks as well as automobiles, of which the wheeled vehicles are given at about half total. Trucks versus cars not given but one can presume trucks are probably half at least.

    Transport is the hardest sector for decarbonisation.

    The remaining 2/3: elec production, industry, buildings and ag – the half that is elec production and industry is rather more addressable.

    Thinking of emmissions via a personal consumer lens is generally a fallacious way of understanding the greenhouse gas accounting.

  64. Lounsbury says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Flourinated gases are not a significant issue from what you cite, don’t be stupid and repeat nonsense. Their worrisome and problematic source is cooling / refigeration systems, especially industrial, but also by sheer scale consumer, together from cooling volumes are such that this is a genuine challenge. Cooling/refrigeration, which ironically is more needed with global warming.

  65. Lounsbury says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Ha, you are caught up in the horror of Macron imposing on the French that horror of having a pension regime with age limits like those third world hell-holes as Netherlands Denmark, Germany, Norway, or Sweden or Spain…. although perhaps it is Belgium that is most bothersome as benchmark.

  66. Thomm says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Profit taking. Not knowing what they paid, if any, over sticker from the dealer; I would guess they are trying to make about 10-20k. That is what is the usual goal. You can see this with other high demand/low availability vehicles. GM, Ford, and others will track the VIN numbers of some of these (like in GM’s case, the new Corvette Z06) and if the first owner sells it within a certain time frame, usually a year, they void the factory warranty to limit such practices. The manufacturers have easily searchable press releases about that when they do, but a good chunk of people don’t know that until something goes funky and they bring it in for warranty work.@

  67. Thomm says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I know you probably won’t see this, but the reason your Volvo and other electrics have that acceleration characteristic is that an electric motor produces maximum torque at 1 rpm, vs a ice engine that can be anywhere from 1200-3500+ rpm depending. Horsepower is torque over time/revs in physics. Torque is what you feel in the seat of your pants. There is/was a saying in the car business: Americans buy horsepower, but we drive torque. Means that high horsepower numbers sell the car to the masses, but they way we drive and the sensations we want (not reving the beans out of it off stop lights, instant acceleration, etc.), low end torque is what we want.

  68. JohnSF says:

    Sufphur hex is problematic, but as it only contributes about 0.1% of net warming possibly not no.1 item on the agenda.
    UK National Grid is currently working with Hitachi Energy on introducing a fluoronitrile-based alternative.

  69. Lounsbury says:

    @JohnSF: In any case, it’s refrigeration and cooling where the volumes for such flourinated gases have importance in the GHG balance. A real conern as there are energy trade offs in efficiency.