Is this the end of favorable loans to electric carmakers?

Romney Reiterates No Loans To Electric Vehicle Companies

This season of intense but shallow political debates sparks another fear in the heart of alternative energy vehicle proponents. Will Romney kill the electric car?

It would be easy to jump to that conclusion and we can only see one of the two parties using this to instill fear in the heart of would-be voters. Nonetheless, the question is valid. If candidate hopeful Romney wins, he pledged his administration would cut loans to electric car companies and focus more on drilling for petroleum locally in order to boost output. Is this a myopic strategy bound to tie the economy even more to petroleum and kill electric car advances or does it even matter at all anymore?

Early Adopter Phase Over. We can look at Romney’s reiteration of nipping loans to electric cars in many ways. Is the glass half full or half empty, in other words. While a presidential win from candidate Romney would certainly spell the end of loans for electric vehicle companies, or at least on the surface, it doesn’t spell the end of electric cars. Too many people now own, have driven and simply understand the value of an alternative energy car in a world where gasoline price has never shown to come down to the levels of yesteryears.

Nissan knows it, Ford knows it and CODA is well aware of it, the early adopter phase for electric vehicles is over. Welcome to the early mass-adopter phase. If the early adopters are not reflective of the mass buyer’s segment, they do help pave the way. They are willing to pay a premium for something new and often have different motivations. For early adopters, the electric car has two general meanings. It can be a way to have something new, bringing them out of the same old technology with a different skin. It’s a way to satisfying their need for modern, bleeding edge technology tools as well as satisfy their technological curiosity. They are forward thinking people with a good eye for future technologies. The other lesser wave of early adopters are those concerned with the environment. Buying an electric car, no matter what studies you will show them still means not putting gasoline in their cars and “get their hands dirty”.

What Did Romney Say. In essence, Romney is sticking to his gun, which does not necessarily oppose the Democrats’ future plan. It barely shifts the funds and shuffles the energy policy dance, which taxpayers will pay for ultimately. According to his speech in Ames, Iowa: "Rather than investing in new electric auto and solar companies, we will invest in energy science and research to make discoveries that can actually change our energy world. And by 2020, we will achieve North American energy independence," It doesn’t say much, nor are we any clearer about what that “actual technology change” is.

In the end, the results are the same. We will pay taxes, the IRS still exists regardless which candidate wins. What we can say though is that the electric vehicle industry is not on such unstable grounds as the media makes it out to be. Electric cars and hybrids are doing very well in the reliability reports of Consumer Report, as I pointed out yesterday here: Consumer Reports Says Electric and Hybrids Have High Reliability
and electric cars, EV, hybrids, HEV and plug-in hybrids, PHEV have shown to sell as well as when hybrids were introduced over a decade ago, and that’s in the middle of a downturn and a modicum of a recovery.

So does Romney’s plan to cut access to favorable loans for electric carmakers kill the alternative energy industry? The answer would have to be no. Will it slow it down? Perhaps, yes. But one thing is for sure, the electric car early adopter phase is now over and electric car companies, as well plug-in hybrid makers are now focusing on those who were shy about such vehicles until a year ago and are ready to g

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