Editorial: Why Trump Can’t Kill the Electric Car

Trump won’t be able to kill the federal tax credit for electric vehicles without cooperation from Congress, and his efforts to ease fuel-efficiency standards will face serious legal and bureaucratic obstacles. But while the clean power revolution is in its adolescence, the electric vehicle revolution is only in its infancy, and Washington could conceivably help strangle it in its cradle. EV sales are up nearly 80 percent this year, but they’re still under 2 percent of all vehicle sales. EVs still cost more upfront than internal-combustion vehicles, and with gas prices low, it takes longer for EV drivers to make up the difference in fuel savings. Lithium-ion batteries keep getting better and cheaper, but “range anxiety” still scares away many potential EV buyers, and there still aren’t many charging stations on the roads. As tough as it has been to persuade utilities that have a legal obligation to select cheaper options to abandon expensive coal plants, it has been far tougher to persuade consumers who are accustomed to gasoline to spend extra money to change their lifestyles.