HomeEnvironment & Climate NewsElectric Vehicles Are the Veggie Burger of Cars

Electric Vehicles Are the Veggie Burger of Cars

By David Debertin

Overcoming the impracticality of electric vehicles (EVs) appears to be as big a marketing challenge as convincing diners that plant-based burgers are tasty. Yet, those inspired by the “green” demonization of fossil fuels continue to try.

Detailing such efforts in Seattle was a recent Yale University-sourced episode of “Climate Connections” on NPR. Much of urban Seattle is old and congested. Apartments can be packed together without even offering off-street parking. Single-family homes built before the age of automobiles can lack driveways suitable for a charging station.

Therefore, a Seattle utility is proposing a pilot program to install 30 chargers on certain streets by apartment complexes and older homes to see whether the presence of a street charger encourages residents to purchase EVs. If so, the utility has volunteered to install more chargers.

A charger might work for one EV, but what if two people decide to buy EVs? What if I need the charger and my neighbor has plugged in his EV and gone to bed? What happens if the idea increases EV purchases and several owners need to connect at night for the morning commute? More chargers? Is the utility going to buy a charger for each resident? How will the electricity be billed?

A limited-range, affordable EV, even one used only for commuting in, say,  urban Seattle, would probably need to be recharged every couple days. Is the public really going to accept the changes necessary to accommodate charging EVs in the manner the activists want just so we can reach a nebulous goal of “saving the planet from the horror of carbon dioxide”?

A host of practical problems constrain the willingness of people to purchase EVs. Placing a charger on the street that adjoins an apartment complex is not going to resolve other challenges, such as cost and limited range.

EV adoption might follow a pattern similar to what happened with plant-based patties at Burger King. Initially, a group of enthusiastic customers chose the plant-based Whoppers over a meat version because cattle are a purported cause of climate change and eating meat is said to be “unhealthy.” Another group of customers thought it was interesting to see if a veggie burger tasted like real beef. Soon, however, demand for the plant-based version fell off drastically. McDonald’s has also experimented with a plant-based burger at some locations but recently abandoned that effort for lack of customer interest.

Some of the automakers already seem to recognize that such issues as charging, driving range, and price limit the appeal of EVs to a small fraction of consumers.

The “solution,” of course, is to force the public to buy EVs by prohibiting the sale of other vehicles by a certain date, say, 2035. This has been the strategy of the governors of California and Washington in the hope that other states will follow. A politician who says that only EVs can be sold after a certain date, however, will quickly find himself out of step with much of the public because of unanswered questions of convenience and family budgets.

I am not exactly sure how Governors Jay Inslee and Gavin Newsom can pretend their directives are suddenly state laws without specific legislative authority added to it as they approach the 2035 target. What happens in the meantime if a technology far better than troublesome EVs comes along? Do the governors’ orders mean that the two states cannot have dealers that sell any other technology on that date, regardless of what is happening in the auto industry and in the rest of the United States?

Tying the future of California and Washington to a single idea currently popular with EV activists is simply nonsense designed to appeal to special interests and unrelated to realities of technological development.

EVs deserve the fate of plant-based burgers—available in certain high-income urban areas where issues like cost, range, and charging pose less of a barrier. Or where practicality and palatability take a back seat to green-virtue signaling. For most areas, however, petroleum-fueled vehicles, along with beefy Whoppers, will dominate the market.

Originally published by American Greatness. Republished with permission.

David Devertin is a contributor at American Greatness.

For more on electric vehicles, click here.

For more on California policy, click here.

David Devertin
David Devertin
David Devertin is a contributor at American Greatness.


  1. Is Exxon Mobile still paying you to lobby for them? Phillip Morris also?

    EV’s will be successful.

    Hint: the car co’s want them because they take a 1/3 of the labor to build and half the parts. Minimizing labor and production cost and maximizing profit. Nothing more than that. It has nothing to do with the environment or gov’t mandates.

    Car co’s cannot keep up with the new EV technology it is changing so rapidly..for the better.

    A few years from now you all will be eating crow.

    • That is a false and defamatory claim about The Heartland Institute.

      Here is the fact:

      “None of that work, spanning decades, was due to any financial support from Exxon. When Exxon was a donor to Heartland, from 1998 to 2006, its contributions of about $50,000 never exceeded more than 5 percent of our annual budget.Those donations were also reported by Exxon itself. In fact, Exxon’s last gift to Heartland was in 2006 – two years before the first of Heartland’s more than a dozen major International Conferences on Climate Change and three years before the publication of the first volume of the Climate Change Reconsidered series. Their gifts ceased precisely because of Heartland’s work debunking the junk climate science that is used to set global policies that restrict human freedom and do economic harm to countries, industries, and individuals.”


  2. I live in the Bay Area, California and own a 2020 Mercedes GLC350E Hybrid. It has an EPA calculated and posted gas milage of 25 MPG and an “Elec+Gas” MPG Equivalent of 68 mpg. At $6 gas, the direct running costs using the internal combustion engine are about 24 cents per mile. The 13.5 KWH (actually 15.25 KWH to charge it) battery is good for 22 miles and at our average off peaK power cost of 35 cents per KWH, the direct running cost using the battery only also is 24 cents per mile. Thus in the real world, the Elec+Gas MPG Equivalent is exactly the same as that of the gasoline engine at the current costs of gas and electricity. The EPA numbers are very misleading and if a private company was to publicize such information it would be sued for fraud.

  3. Whenever the Left attacks Heartland and other Think Tanks, based on supposed links to Big Oil, you know that they have no real arguments to offer. And you can be certain that they are trying to divert attention from the fact that those supporting climate alarmism have vastly more conflicts of interest than those opposing it.

    The climate business is an enormous two TRILLION dollar per year industry, with vast numbers of scientifically illiterate people employed just to keep the alarm going. In contrast, the oil money going to those of us who oppose the bad science, is truly negligible. Most of us work for free, because we want objective science to survive. There are very few PhD physicists to dispute the climate nonsense. Even fewer astrophysicists. I am one of them.

    As to electric cars and the push for unreliable energy (wind and solar), that will fail, because the Left has few engineering skills. If they had technical training, they would realize that their dreams have fatal flaws that are already starkly visible in Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States. Germany, with much of the world’s installed solar capacity and enormous wind installations, faces a bleak cold winter without adequate fossil fuels and nuclear power. Germany is too far north to generate significant solar power in the winter, and their vast numbers of windmills do not work when the wind is not blowing. That is about two thirds of the time.

    Everywhere that people have foolishly relied on unreliable energy, they will suffer this winter.

    Even the manufacture of automobiles (electric or otherwise) is threatened in places like Germany, because the price of electricity has gone to about a dollar a kilowatt-hour. German manufacturers are ceasing production of all but the most crucial auto parts to send to their manufacturing facilities in other countries, where the price of power is still reasonable. And of course, electric cars cease being practical at that cost for electricity. European countries will survive the winter to the extent that they can go back to coal, oil, and nuclear power.

    These are some of the arguments that the ignorant will never understand.

    Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
    Corbett, Oregon USA

  4. Great satire on EVs. Typical unpopular liberal ideas with typical response.
    If people don’t like their ideas, they look toward mandates instead of improving the ‘product’ as capitalists would do. Had they been in charge of cell phones, we would all be lugging around the brick phones of the early years.


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