Tuesday, September 28, 2010 03:34
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Logical Caterpillars in the Nissan LEAF
Something’s rotten in the tree that sprouted Nissan’s LEAF. For instance, the hype behind the new electric subcompact and how it's being subsidized by Uncle Sam. Electric cars, should they become practical, need to be financially obtainable without dealership welfare. Concepts worth their salt will prove themselves in a free market, but the LEAF comes to the dinner table with $7,500 in federal tax dollars propping up each sale, plus what’s offered by the government in your state.
I’ve been banging this gong for months, because California’s rebate has been in effect for some time. Too bad other states had to catch the same disease. If you buy a LEAF in San Diego, for instance, the Obama administration will give you $7,500 then Governor Aaaahnold will give you $5,000 more. That means that taxpayers are footing $12,500 of the bill for every LEAF sold in California—when you pay the $33G for a new LEAF, taxpayers (still you, ironically) cover about 40% of EACH LEAF. That’s an expensive tree there, hippie. Now Georgia gives you $5,000 too, though typically granolacious Oregon only offers $1,500.
You can split hairs between a tax rebate (money given to you, such as California), and a tax credit (the $7,500 from the feds, Tennessee and Oregon), but it all ends up being money that comes from our paychecks keeping the LEAF from becoming a pricey Nissan paperweight. The LEAF is not the only hybrid/electric/battery-powered runabout that is eligible for these givebacks, but it’s the one in my crosshairs right now.
Electrics need to stand on their own two feet to be a real option (and don’t get me started on the pollution generated making the power to charge those batteries). Just as we will argue for the use of hybrid technology despite being skeptical of the overarching argument behind cutesy hybrids like the Prius, the truly efficient use of electric-car technologies won’t need welfare nor a booster seat to eat with the grownups, and your neighbor shouldn’t have to help pay for your car.