BMW announced the other day it is cancelling production of the i3 - its first and so far only electric car.
The reason is pretty straightforward. They’re not selling well.
Correction: They’re not selling well here.
About 350-400 of them per month for the year so far - which works out to about seven or eight cars in each state per month. Which is probably why you haven’t seen an i3 yet.
And now you may never see one.
But in Europe, it's a different story. BMW has sold lots of i3s over there. About 2,300 of them each month so far this year - which works out to five or six times as many there vs. here.
Why the disparity?
Probably because Americans are still free to not buy the i3 - while Europeans are increasingly not free to buy anything else. Or more accurately put, anything that isn’t an electric car - as a practical matter - because they’re being incrementally prohibited from driving other kinds of cars in various places, such as downtown areas.
Paris, for example, will soon be a combustion-engine-free-zone.
It's hard to commute when you're not allowed to drive.
European car buyers also know these IC verboten areas will almost certainly be expanded (cue that Swedish child of the corn Greta Thunberg screeching about her lost childhood) to the point that owning anything other than an electric car will be to own a useless car.
These IC bans serve the purpose of artificially Harrison Bergeroning (i.e., crippling) non-electric cars, in order to make people more accepting of naturally Harrison Bergeron'd electric cars - which are crippled by their limited ranges and ridiculously long recharge times.
If kneecapping non-electric cars doesn't equalize the playing field, then they'll simply be banned outright. Several European countries have passed laws or are in the process of passing laws that will forbid the sale of cars that aren’t electric within the not-so-distant future.
Norway says by 2025 - which is just five years from now. The UK and Germany are also threatening sales bans that would go into effect by 2030.
This all by itself is an incentive to buy an EV today - because it may still have some resale value five or ten years from now. But what happens to the resale value of a non-electric car you buy today that you may not be allowed to sell five or ten years from now - and which prospective buyers know they won't be able to use tomorrow?
In the meanwhile, punishing taxes are being applied to the EV-recalcitrant, to "nudge" them out of their IC cars by making them unaffordable.
Or at least, just as expensive as electric cars. That way, it won't matter how expensive EVs are. You'll either be able to afford one - or you won't be able to afford to drive. The latter being the preferred outcome.
Ask Greta.
She knows - or rather, the people behind her know - that so long as people remain free to buy (and freely use) much-less-expensive (and much-less-hassle) non-electric cars, most will do so - regardless of "concerns" about "climate change."
Politics talks - but economics walks.
The majority of people can't afford electric cars. That's the reality.
Switching to them represents an increase in the cost of personal transportation on the order of 30-40 percent, which gives you some idea of the costs that being "concerned" about "climate change" will impose on people.
But people in this country are still free to dodge that imposition - as they've been doing here, with regard to the i3 and other EV sales Turduckens like the VW eGolf, Chevy Bolt and even the much-touted Tesla3. Sales of which are down by almost half over the past two months (July and August) after Saint Elon the Carboniferous welshed on his "affordability" promise and jacked the base price of the thing up by several thousand dollars, from the assured $35,000 to an actual $39,000.
So the thing to do - for those pushing electric cars - is to make non-electric cars unaffordable, too.
This has been partially achieved, indirectly, via regulatory cost-burdening that has pushed the price paid for the average non-electric car to more than $35,000 - but that's still several thousand dollars less than electric cars like the i3, which stickers for $44,450 to start.
And comes with all the gimps, standard.
There are a few people - tens of thousands of them, even - who will freely buy an EV over a non-EV.
But not millions of people.
Hence the need to put the legislative thumb on the scales.
We see the effect of this in Europe, where EVs like the i3 sell well for all the reasons adduced above. But EVs will never sell like that here unless people are punished for not buying EVs via new and onerous taxes for "clinging" to their non-electrics, use prohibitions and maybe even outright bans on their sale.
Expect some or all of this to come down the legislative offal chute within the next several years - to prevent what will otherwise be the greatest automotive belly flop since the Aztek.
Times five or six.
. . .
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