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The east is EV

03 Jul 2024 | News Roundup

A prominent peak among the hills on which climate alarmists are determined to die politically is forcing everyone to buy electric vehicles rather than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). And they’re not getting anywhere because of the more general problem just expounded by University of Guelph economist Ross McKitrick in the Financial Post: “The fundamental problem is that EVs cost more to make and operate than most consumers are willing to pay” so the government mandating EVs will drive up the price of conventional cars during the transition, making them more profitable, but not enough to save the auto sector: “If it takes a mandate to force consumers to choose EVs over ICEVs, the mandate will destroy the Canadian auto industry.” Ditto Europe and the U.S. You will have nothing… and you will be unemployed. Stinks, huh? Or as McKitrick put it on X, “if you have to force people to switch and EV costs don’t come down rapidly it’s the end of the auto sector in Canada.” Which brings up the next big problem: China flooding our market with cheap EV imports. Not to worry though, government is on that too.

Having mandated that we must all buy EVs, upon learning that the Chinese are planning to sell them to us cheap and put out of business all the money-losing EV factories the government has subsidized, the plan now is to abolish the cheap options. As the National Post reported, “The federal government is “actively considering next steps” to stop the flow of Chinese-made electric vehicles into Canada, which could include new tariffs. But it will need to act fast to ensure that Canada is in lockstep with its economic partners.” And acting fast isn’t exactly a speciality with these people. Any more than having a clue is.

The Canadian hand was forced, or caused to flap about, because the U.S. “announced in May a plan to slap punishing tariffs of more than 100 per cent on low-priced Chinese EVs to prevent them from flooding the U.S. market.” Yes, nearly two months ago now. And our government is in a cleft stick because it “has been heavily subsidizing battery plants and EV manufacturing facilities to counter China’s supply.” But they’re nowhere near ready to produce enough EVs for us when the same government bans new internal-combustion-engine (ICE) cars as of 2035.

The usual PR babble ensued. Canada’s overwhelmed deputy PM and Finance Minister Freeland sent out her deputy director of communications (you have how many highly-paid people in that department and still look silly?) to insist that:

“Canada is set to be a global leader in electric vehicle manufacturing. Already, we rank first in the world in attractiveness to build EV battery supply chains – as a result of our abundant natural resources, talented workforce, and close collaboration with the U.S. on incentives. China has an intentional, state-directed policy of over-capacity. We are actively considering next steps to counter Chinese oversupply. Protecting Canadian jobs, manufacturing, and our free trade relationships is essential.”

And after lunch, world peace. But what steps precisely, and how long have you been thinking about it?

Chinese oversupply is a problem, of course. But it’s a problem partly because as part of the Politburo’s ataxic lunge for world domination they’re willing to sell EVs at a huge loss in order to corner the market. And we’re all going to be ordered to buy EVs so do we all go broke buying non-existent Canadian ones, or send all our cash to China for theirs, and our jobs as well, including state subsidies of $5,000 per Chinese EV as at present? Oh dear. Economics is tricky.

The European Union is in the same bind, trying to insist that Chinese EVs be expensively cheap instead of cheaply expensive and not getting anywhere.

Ontario premier Doug Ford emitted the usual populist rahr over it, demanding that the feds:

“immediately match or exceed U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports. Taking every advantage of low labour standards and dirty energy, China is flooding the market with artificially cheap electric vehicles. Unless we act fast, we risk Ontario and Canadian jobs.”

Which is sort of true. But how many Canadian jobs actually exist to make EVs even with Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau breaking the bank to buy investment that would not come near here under normal market conditions? And how much will not-artificially-cheap EVs cost even if government subsidies make them artificially cheap? And where was he on this file last year?

You have to love a headline like “It’s expected consumers will switch to EVs if they are more affordable, meet their range needs and there’s sufficient charging infrastructure, but those conditions haven’t been met”. Indeed. And if grandma had wheels she’d be a trolley bus, but those conditions haven’t been met.

The whole thing is turning into a nightmare, not least because subsidies are like potato chips. And auto manufacturers can’t seem to stop, demanding more more we’re still not satisfied on top of the estimated $150 billion in subsidies they’ve already received, including nearly $25 billion for charging stations and over $50 billion for manufacturers. Blacklock’s Reporter tells us:

“‘The bottom line is Canadians need federal and provincial action for better, more reliable charging infrastructure and supports for purchasing zero emission vehicles in every sector of the market,’ said Tim Reuss, CEO of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association. Dealers said more rebates are required in addition to a current $5,000 federal grant to electric car buyers, and more subsidies are needed to build charging stations nationwide. Canada was ‘woefully short,’ Reuss told reporters.”

So the dealers say the scheme is burning money. And the manufacturers say burn more fast:

“Brian Kingston, CEO of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, said Canada is not close to meeting cabinet’s mandate. ‘The mandate requires 100 percent of sales by 2035,’ said Kingston. ‘In the first quarter of 2024 electric vehicle sales were responsible for 11.3 percent of total vehicle sales in Canada.’”

That’s some green energy transition you got going there. Who’s gonna pay for this mess?

It gets worse. As the National Post story quoted one auto-maker:

“Four out of every five vehicles made in Canada get sold in the U.S. So, what the Americans did, essentially, was protect the consumer market for Canadian manufacturers, and I think we have an obligation, as their main partner in North America, to do the same for them. We certainly can’t leave the back door open.”

One option, which sounds crazy but just might work, is to let us buy the kind of cars we actually want. Another, touted by Jesse Kline in the National Post, is to stick to our comparative advantage in natural resources and buy cheap stuff from foreigners. But they’re from the government and here to help. So instead they leaped into committee, with the hapless Freeland saying:

“On July 2, we will launch a 30-day consultation on potential policy responses to protect Canada’s auto workers, our growing EV industry, and to prevent trade diversion.”

Just that? You hadn’t thought of anything in nine years but now you hope in a month someone will have a brilliant idea? That’s your idea of a plan? No wonder we’re in trouble.

Compounding the problem, the people running Canada are apparently convinced that they enjoy too much public respect and must repeatedly don fright wigs and red putty noses to shed some of the excess. Thus our Deputy Foreign Minister felt that now was a good time, with an enormous kerfuffle over Chinese Communist subversion of our elections and Parliament and all, to praise the PRC for “actually helping” on climate with their aggressive slave-labour solar-panel manufacturing drive: “Chinese production is helping countries around the world transition off dirty fuels.”

OK, he noted vaguely that “we have real issues with how and where they are produced”. When a Tory MP chimed in with “That is built by Uyghur forced labour. You didn’t express any concerns about that” the DM said “I believe I did express concerns about that with all respect.” And all circumlocution.

So we buy slave-labour Communist-world-domination cars and destroy our economy, or get rid of gasoline cars and buy nothing and can’t drive and destroy our economy. What will they think of next?

8 comments on “The east is EV”

  1. In the UK reforestation is a major plank of the Net Zero madness and probably the origin of Trudeau’s two billion tree planting target.
    The Royal Society estimates that each hectare of woodland sequesters 10 tonnes of CO2 per year. So for Canada with a shorter growing season and more common forest fires let’s assume each hectare sequestered only 5 tonnes per year. Canada has 362 million hectares of forest and that will therefore sequester over 1800 million tonnes of CO2 annually. Canada emits approx 700 million tonnes per year so voila Canada is not just carbon neutral but we could be selling credits to the world.

  2. SHAME on anyone who buys a COMMUNIST Chinese EV!Just don't do it!But I won't buy any EV regardless of where it is built...

  3. The majority of the rare-earth metals needed for EV batteries and motors already comes from China, if I recall correctly. So what happens to Canadian or US EV production if China decides to keep all those essential minerals for their own EV factories?
    Politicians aren't just nearsighted. They're blind.

  4. China has become the largest EV manufacturer in the world not because of any worries about climate change (they’re not concerned by it) but because of geopolitical necessity. With a population four times that of the US they have become the largest automobile market in the world, yet have very little oil and gas of their own. They do however have lots of coal with which they can generate massive amounts of electricity. The more EVs displace ICEVs on their roads, the less oil they have to import at world prices. Moreover, in the event of a war with the US and its allies it wouldn’t be too difficult to interrupt the sea routes to China from the Middle East, so China would be foolish to rely too much on oil imports.
    China almost certainly built up its EV manufacturing capability for its own internal use initially, but if you have this capability why not use it to capture the global market. Labour is relatively cheap, quality assurance standards aren’t particularly high so they can undercut prices almost everywhere. As far as the Chinese are concerned, what’s not to like. And as far as the West is concerned, if we want to work ourselves into a frenzy about climate change, that’s our problem.

  5. I saw an interesting piece about a family in Oz that very publicly bought a Chinese EV. They were featured in all sorts of news pieces and were real cheerleaders for CEVs. Then about 9 months in the thing puked. Stopped dead in the road in the middle of nowhere. It had to be hauled to the dealership (at 9 months it was for sure still under warranty). Then the dealership got pissy about fixing it. Now that family is on foot and very public about disliking their "marvelous" CEV. Funny how that worked out, isn't it?

  6. Tom Hope: I understand that the whole trees calculation is a bit of a wash. Trees are continuously burning, or dying and decomposing, releasing their stored CO2 back into the atmosphere. The fact that Canada has 370 billion trees means that we probably have multiple times that many in various stages of decomposition. I don't think we deserve (or need) any carbon credits for our forests.

  7. Trade is a function of supply and demand. If you force consumers to buy EVs, their high price will crimp the demand. If you force manufacturers to make EVs - and thus lose money - you crimp the supply. Presto! A population without the ability to easily move about. It looks like the '15 minute city' agenda is being given teeth.

  8. And how many news pieces covered the story of it breaking down and stranding the family, and not being able to fix it in a timely manner?

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