TO THE EDITOR:
In a perfect world, I would agree with Keith Crain’s May 28 column, “We need to slow way down.” He calls for the elimination of electric vehicle mandates to see how the market performs without government intervention.
But we live in a world where EV mandates have existed for over a decade. More than 35 percent of ALL vehicles sold in the U.S. are sold in states that fall under the California Air Resources Board mandates.
Government can mandate — and manufacturers will build — cleaner cars. But the point is not to build them; it’s to get consumers to buy them. And that requires automakers to price them to compete with internal combustion engine vehicles. In the short run, it may require government intervention and cash-on-the-hood incentives.
Automakers have invested billions in clean-car technology, and they must be allowed to recoup that investment — but not on the backs of dealers. CARB doesn’t mandate that consumers buy EVs but simply that manufacturers “deliver” EVs for sale.
This removes any real incentive for automakers to price EVs to compete. In this respect, the problem isn’t government mandates, per se; it’s government mandates that allow automakers to dump EVs on dealers.
Crain seems to suggest we should retreat to a bygone era. A better path would be to change the CARB mandate to deny automakers compliance credits until a vehicle is retailed and/or placed in service. And it’s time that government ponied up with real cash-on-the-hood incentives for EVs and the necessary charging infrastructure.
JIM APPLETON, President, New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, Trenton, N.J.