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The EV ‘bloodbath’ arrives early


Daily Caller News Foundation

Ever since March 16, when presidential candidate Donald Trump created a controversy by predicting President Joe Biden’s efforts to force Americans to convert their lives to electric-vehicle (EV) lifestyles would end in a “bloodbath” for the U.S. auto industry, the industry’s own disastrous results have consistently proven him accurate.

The latest example came this week when Ford Motor Company reported that it had somehow managed to lose $132,000 per unit sold during Q1 2024 in its Model e EV division. The disastrous first quarter results follow the equally disastrous results for 2023, when the company said it lost $4.7 billion in Model e for the full 12-month period.

While the company has remained profitable overall thanks to strong demand for its legacy internal combustion SUV, pickup, and heavy vehicle models, the string of major losses in its EV line led the company to announce a shift in strategic vision in early April. Ford CEO Jim Farley said then that the company would delay the introduction of additional planned all-electric models and scale back production of current models like the F-150 Lightning pickup while refocusing efforts on introducing new hybrid models across its business line.

General Motors reported it had good overall Q1 results, but they were based on strong sales of its gas-powered SUV and truck models, not its EVs. GM is so gun-shy about reporting EV-specific results that it doesn’t break them out in its quarterly reports, so there is no way of knowing what the real bottom line amounts to from that part of the business. This is possibly a practice Ford should consider adopting.

After reporting its own disappointing Q1 results in which adjusted earnings collapsed by 48% and deliveries dropped by 20% from the previous quarter, Tesla announced it is laying off 10 percent of its global workforce, including 2,688 employees at its Austin plant, where its vaunted Cybertruck is manufactured. Since its introduction in November, the Cybertruck has been beset by buyer complaints ranging from breakdowns within minutes after taking delivery, to its $3,000 camping tent feature failing to deploy, to an incident in which one buyer complained his vehicle shut down for 5 hours after he failed to put the truck in “carwash mode” before running it through a local car wash.

Meanwhile, international auto rental company Hertz is now fire selling its own fleet of Teslas and other EV models in its efforts to salvage a little final value from what is turning out to be a disastrous EV gamble. In a giant fit of green virtue-signaling, the company invested whole hog into the Biden subsidy program in 2021 with a mass purchase of as many as 100,000 Teslas and 50,000 Polestar models, only to find that customer demand for renting electric cars was as tepid as demand to buy them outright. For its troubles, Hertz reported it had lost $392 million during Q1, attributing $195 million of the loss to its EV struggles. Hertz’s share price plummeted by about 20% on April 25, and was down by 55% for the year.

If all this financial carnage does not yet constitute a “bloodbath” for the U.S. EV sector, it is difficult to imagine what would. But wait: It really isn’t all that hard to imagine at all, is it? When he used that term back in March, Trump was referring not just to the ruinous Biden subsidy program, but also to plans by China to establish an EV-manufacturing beachhead in Mexico, from which it would be able to flood the U.S. market with its cheap but high-quality electric models. That would definitely cause an already disastrous domestic EV market to get even worse, wouldn’t it?

The bottom line here is that it is becoming obvious even to ardent EV fans that US consumer demand for EVs has reached a peak long before the industry and government expected it would.

It’s a bit of a perfect storm, one that rent-seeking company executives and obliging policymakers brought upon themselves. Given that this outcome was highly predictable, with so many warning that it was in fact inevitable, a reckoning from investors and corporate boards and voters will soon come due. It could become a bloodbath of its own, and perhaps it should.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

1 Comment

  1. Buying an electric vehicle is fatuous. My great-grandfather bought one, a Detroit Electric, in 1914 for commuting the 125 miles between New London and New York City. After six frustrating months of two-day commutes of 125 miles, because of the charging time and scarcity of public charging outlets, he got rid of it for (what turned out to be one of the last models) a Knox, a luxury gas-powered car built in Springfield. After four years of futility trying to find a mechanic who’d work on it, he went mainstream and bought nothing but Packards until he died in 1951. He told my dad (his grandson) more than once what a nice car the Detroit was until the batteries died down. The Old Man fell in love with Packards (“ask the man who owns one!”) and the Patrician he bought and barely owned for a few months when he died was inherited by my grandfather. My dad had plenty of opportunities to acquire the Patrician, but he was a died-in-the-wool Ford and Hudson buyer. Lord knows what happened to that Patrician. Damn…the was one NICE automobile. Wish I’d been 20 years older at the time…I’d still own it now!

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