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Mike's Minute: The EV hype machine is over

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Apr 2024, 10:02AM

Mike's Minute: The EV hype machine is over

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Apr 2024, 10:02AM

The forecasts were right. 

The sales of electrified cars were bad in March. They said it would be after they were bad in January and bad in February. 

The next question is - will they be bad in April? 

There is a good piece in the Financial Times, and re-printed in the NZ Herald, with the headline "The big worry for car makers: what if the EV slowdown is not a blip?" 

I can answer that. It isn't a blip. 

If you want to give me any credit, I have been saying this for several years. 

All this is going to end badly for car makers who, rightly or wrongly, responded to legislative heft, mainly from the European Union policy wonks who were determined to make enough rules around petrol engines to drive them out of business. 

Now, there two things going on locally at the moment. One is that sales are down generally because that is what happens when you have a double dip recession. 

The second thing is a specific slowdown in electric type cars. It's important to remember EV's are not all EV's and most coverage doesn’t differentiate, I suspect, because most people who do the covering don’t actually understand the differences. 

You have three sorts of cars; the hybrid, the plug-in hybrid (often called a PHEV) and the full battery electric, or BEV. 

The BEV and the PHEV's are the ones with the trouble. 

Next problem is all the acolytes who now claim that the RUC rules, the road user charge changes, have damaged the market. 

I can assure you they haven't. A few hundred bucks a year is not going to scuttle a market. The previous Government's subsidies making PHEV's and BEV's cheaper has had an impact. 

But my bet is that was a false economy, given there was always a small, early adopter, greenie-type group who were keen no matter what. The taxpayer just made it cheaper. 

Once you soaked those people up the real world was always going to arrive and arrive it has. 

My best advice to the acolytes is: flag it. Stop looking for excuses. EV's, for most people, are too expensive, have range anxiety issues and are a pain to charge outside your garage. Lord knows what the secondhand market will do. 

That’s the really big question - will it ever and, if it does, when? 

Until that changes the hype machine that’s driven the story to this point is over. 

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