Electric-vehicle sales more than doubled in Ontario in 2017 as rebates worth up to $14,000 per car propelled the province past Quebec to become Canada’s EV leader. Many electric-car fans celebrated this as proof that Ontario’s latest incentives to encourage EV sales are working.
Working for them, maybe. But what about for taxpayers and the planet? We already know that government rebates on EV purchases are a horrendously expensive way to reduce carbon. Encouraging consumers to move to smaller gasoline-powered cars by increasing sales taxes on fossil fuels would do so much more to cut emissions.
What’s more, it is now becoming clear that mining the massive amounts of cobalt and lithium needed to manufacture the bigger batteries required to increase EV range and reliability risks creating a slew of unintended social, economic and environmental consequences.
Raising such concerns is not to signal one’s membership in the “EV-hater club,” as Josh Goldman of the pro-EV Union of Concerned Scientists has labelled critics. It simply seeks to ensure that politicians and the bureaucrats who enable them are asking the right questions before they act.
So far, they are not. If they did, they would consider a life cycle analysis of carbon emissions. One such study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed that a compact Mitsubishi Mirage with an internal combustion engine produces less carbon over its useful life than an all-electric Tesla Model S in the U.S. Midwest, where coal-fired electricity is predominant.. So, why should the buyer of that Tesla get a $14,000 subsidy in Ontario?