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Opposing Camps Square Off on California Electric Car Mandate

To an electric vehicle advocate, the worst epithet to hurl at a new EV is to call it a “compliance car.” The term is used to denote a plug-in electric car that is made only to comply with California’s zero emissions mandate (or other regulations)—rather than being produced out of a firm conviction that electric cars will be robust profitable automotive products. EV fans believe that automakers are misguided in not enthusiastically supporting the early electric car market with large production numbers.

But the Wall Street Journal, in a live web interview on Nov. 23 with its reporter Mike Ramsey, expressed the opposite view: that it’s the state of California that is misguided in forcing an EV mandate destined to fail because there’s no demand. “Electric cars. The government wants it. The people don’t,” states the host of WSJ Live.

Ramsey concedes that there is a small market for EVs, and that “California would probably attract a number of people to electric vehicles even if the [state] weren’t demanding it.” But he says electric cars are not popular because the vehicles are “very expensive, have limited range, and take a long time to recharge.” The price of the Nissan LEAF, the most popular all-electric car, starts at $35,200. The effective price drops to about $25,000, after a $7,500 tax credit and a $2,500 rebate in California.


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