This week, Ontario Premier Dalton McGinty borrowed a page from America’s green do-gooders and showered $50 million in taxpayer largesse on Magna International Inc., according to The Globe & Mail. McGinty evidently hopes electric cars will amount to 5 percent of the provinces operating vehicle fleet by 2020.
Only problem is the numbers. As in, current electrics demand a roughly $20,000 (CAN) premium, a prominent auto industry consultant tells the Globe. And Ontarians would need to buy 100,000 electric cars per year over the next, oh, eight years to achieve McGinty’s goal. (Sales of electric cars in the States total roughly 10,000 units annually, by comparison.)
“Please don’t blame me for this splash of cold water,” columnist Margaret Wente writes in today’s editions. “Blame the greens, whose grasp of basic consumer behaviour, energy economics and political realities are shockingly inadequate. Time and time again, the greens have harmed their cause with their uninformed fervour and simplistic thinking.”
Time and time again, indeed. Electric cars and gas-electric hybrids are likely occupy a growing space in automotive fleets around the world, but not as many or as quickly as people ready and willing to spend other people’s money would like.