GUNTER: Electric vehicles are a burden on the taxpayer

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I’ve always believed that the difference between the cost of a government subsidy and the value of the project it subsidizes is nothing more than a political premium – the price the government at the time was willing to pay to make an uneconomic project a success to lead or region that the ruling party considers important for its re-election.

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Economy has nothing to do with it.

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Still, I’ve never seen a political bounty quite like what the Trudeau Liberals gave Volkswagen for building an electric vehicle battery plant in St. Thomas, Ontario: $13 billion in subsidies for a $7 billion -dollar plant.

Very sweet. If you are Volkswagen. Not so sweet when you’re a taxpayer.

Of course, VW’s ridiculous sweetheart deal between Ottawa and the provincial government of Ontario was bound to make rival automakers jealous. Proof of that came Monday when Stellantis, Chrysler’s parent company, announced it would halt construction of its $5 billion battery plant in Windsor until Ottawa and Queen’s Park softened Stellantis’ political sting.

The subsidy war could end up costing Canadian taxpayers far more than the original $6 billion bounty.

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Welcome to the EV (electric vehicle) cult. No price is too high (with your money) for the moral piety emanating from politicians who associate themselves with electric vehicles.

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On an economic level, electric vehicles make little sense.

Not only are there huge subsidies for making them, but there are also huge subsidies for the consumers who buy them. In some provinces, these taxpayer-sponsored incentives amount to $8,000 or more per vehicle.

There are also huge costs for the taxpayer to install charging stations in remote locations. It could be profitable for oil companies to build gas stations every few hundred kilometers. But it is not worth installing charging stations every 50 kilometers in northern Ontario, for example. That means EV-obsessed politicians have more of their money to spend.

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I also bet that if consumers are reluctant to jump on the EV bandwagon, politicians will also pay for home charging stations, expanding local power grids, and maybe even building new power plants.

By the way, where are all the new powerhouses that will drive this EV revolution? Recharging all electric vehicles mandated by the Trudeau government by 2035 would require at least six new nuclear power plants. The average time from design to completion of a nuclear generator is 12 years, which means that at least six should be out of development now.

There are none.

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In addition, the typical subsidy for a nuclear power plant is more than $2 billion. That’s another big taxpayer contribution to making this EV cult a reality.

And since the average electric vehicle buyer now and for the foreseeable future has an annual income of $100,000 or more, compared to about $60,000 for the average internal combustion vehicle buyer, all of that tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money amounts to a huge wealth transfer middle- and low-income Canadians to their higher-income compatriots.

I haven’t even mentioned the infrastructure yet.

In the UK and US, owners of some older car parks have started to ban electric vehicles. Because of their mega batteries, they weigh about 40 percent more than comparable internal combustion engine vehicles, and some insurers and rental companies worry that older concrete structures won’t be able to support the extra weight.

More frequent repairs and resurfacing of roads and highways will also be required as heavy electric vehicles wear down asphalt more quickly.

Even if EVs were far more environmentally friendly (debatable), the cost of moving to an all-EV fleet makes that goal prohibitive. GUNTER: Electric vehicles are a burden on the taxpayer

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