Source: The Guardian
The electrification of the US’s vast fleet of cars and trucks is a cornerstone of Joe Biden’s plan to tackle the climate crisis. But the ballooning size of electric vehicles, crowding out smaller, more affordable models that strip fewer resources from the environment, threatens to undercut this goal.
Last week, General Motors announced that it will axe its Chevy Bolt electric vehicle by the end of the year. The compact Bolt, launched in 2016 as a way to challenge Tesla for mainstream EV buyers, is one of the cheapest electric cars on the market, costing less than $30,000 and eligible for the $7,500 tax credit offered to drivers for EVs in last year’s mammoth Inflation Reduction Act, unlike the similar Nissan Leaf, which doesn’t qualify due to its foreign manufacture.
In a sign of how the US’s fixation upon large SUVs and pickup trucks is now infiltrating the nascent EV market, General Motors, which aims to sell 1m EVs in the US by 2025, said that the Michigan plant currently churning out Bolts will switch to new electric models of the Silverado and the GMC Sierra – hulking, and more expensive, alternatives that will probably provide the auto company a greater financial return than the modest Bolt.
But the move has underlined how threadbare EV options are for Americans, removing one of the only affordable, soberly sized options from the market at a time when the White House aims for half of all car sales to be electric by 2030, up from barely 5% today, in order to slash planet-heating emissions. The average price of an EV is still $15,000 more than the average non-luxury gas car.