The one big problem with the electric-car movement – by Mark Richardson (Globe and Mail – September 13, 2017)

Auto makers are meeting government demands to develop more electric vehicles, but consumers don’t want to buy them

Half of Canada may not care – yet – but this week’s huge Frankfurt auto show is all about electrification. If it doesn’t have an electrified engine, or at least the option for it, then it just doesn’t matter.

The auto makers have little choice. Governments are insisting on it. Entire countries, such as the U.K., France, even China, are preparing to outlaw the internal combustion engine. In California and nine other states, and in Quebec, state and provincial laws are calling for huge penalties on auto makers that don’t do their part to save the planet by selling electric cars.

At this week’s show, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover promised their fleets would offer electric options for every model, with a deadline of 2020 at the earliest and 2025 at the latest. BMW showed its all-electric Mini, which will be sold in 2019, and a sporty version of its i3; Mercedes showed its all-electric EQA and EQC concepts, and Audi showed its all-electric Elaine coupe concept.

There’s just one problem, and it’s a biggie: while governments want us to drive electric cars, we don’t want to buy them.

They’re too expensive if there are no rebates to bring them in line with regular cars (as there are not in seven of Canada’s 10 provinces), and their range and acceptance is only just getting there.

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