AD #2550 – White House Goes After EV Credits Again, Electric Semis Will Work Just Fine, Audi Station Wagons Coming to U.S.?

March 12th, 2019 at 11:43am

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Runtime: 7:05

0:06 White House Goes After EV Credits Again
0:51 Skeptics Wrong About Electric Semi Usability
2:26 Honda Has to Recall Its Recalls
2:52 Audi Station Wagons Could Come to the U.S.
3:22 Porsche Restores 1st 917 Back to Original Specs
4:15 Karma Automotive to Show New Cars
5:02 Renault, Nissan & Mitsubishi Shake Up Alliance
5:35 New Explorer Gets Run-Flat Tires
6:08 Toyota to Help Develop Lunar Rover

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50 Comments to “AD #2550 – White House Goes After EV Credits Again, Electric Semis Will Work Just Fine, Audi Station Wagons Coming to U.S.?”

  1. MJB Says:

    Maybe the Avant is what I saw last week. I just remember that it was a very sharp looking Audi, which I only saw from the rear as it passed me on the freeway. It was definitely not either of their current lineup (A4 allroad, or Q series).

    I really like the modern day interpretation of the Porsche 917 you showed. I find the original design quite repulsive.

  2. Victor West Says:

    After watching the Autoline show last weekend about Auto Shows, I have an idea why they are less necessary. I used to go to them, but now every city has an auto center or auto mall where almost all makes are represented. There are many models present which you can drive and compare. There is more product and choice, not just the loaded models. And it is also free to attend. My city has more dealers represented than the last Detroit show. Manufacturers can show and sell at existing facilities at lower cost than auto shows in event centers.

  3. Jim Haines Says:

    Zero reason taxpayers should have ever gifted electric car buyers one penny same as cash for clunkers. all that did was scrap vehicles that the repair and auto parts world have kept on the road and part of the economy but it was an obamy union gift as usual.

  4. Lambo2015 Says:

    When it comes to the EV tax credit I wonder if democrats are in favor of keeping it simply because President Trump doesn’t want it,or if they really feel its something the people they represent still want?

    Is Takata still in business?

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I’ve been in Europe, I have always seen a lot of A4 Avants, most of them with diesels and manual transmissions, and probably FWD. If/when they come back to the US, I suppose they will be automatic and AWD mandatory, and understandably, probably no diesels. Still, it will be nice to see some of these attractive wagons on the road.

  6. Barry T Says:

    It’s very confusing that on one side we hear a daily never-ending stream of gushing accolades about all the EV developments, and yet we’re also told it’s all dependent on taxpayer subsidies … If the technology has matured so much and is so awesome why do taxpayers have to help at all?

  7. WineGeek Says:

    Since global warming is a myth then there is no need for a subsidy on electric cars. Trump doesn’t even believe that the sun rises in the east. Global warming is real we see the results of it almost every day and to deny it is foolish. Anything we can do to mitigate the damage we are doing to the environment and slow down or reverse, if possible, the damage we have already done deserves to be done. The Chinese see it, the Europeans see it, probably one of the only people who doesn’t see it is Trump.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If there continue to be tax incentives for EVs, they should be available for non-wealthy people who don’t pay as much as $7500/year income tax, who might consider a “base” Model 3, Bolt, or Leaf.

    4 Good or bad, the dems always favored the EV tax credit, but between his anti-environmental bent, and because the dems want the tax credit, Trump will automatically oppose it.

    Yeah, it’s hard to believe Takata can still be in business, after replacing millions of air bags, with millions more in the queue to be replaced.

  9. Drew Says:

    @7 – But is the electricity to charge your EV comes from a dirty power plant, then the EV is not solving the global warming issue. It is reducing demand for fossil fuels from terrorist nations, and redistributing the smog. We really need an Electric Grid environmental/capability/infrastructure/security strategy and plan.

  10. ChuckGrenci Says:

    To make the tax credit equitable for all purchasers, if your tax return is less than the $7,500, your return should reflect the whole ’75′ back (as in money back for the full amount). But if you ask me, the credit should have never been offered to begin with.

  11. MJB Says:


    I think the logic here is that America is already doing quite well in the race to purify our air quality (California is an anomaly due to its unique geographic properties that cause the atmosphere to simply linger instead of being cleared out by wind patterns). Google old photos of Cali, and you’ll see that even before industrialization, that place was a smog bucket.

    America’s far enough ahead (of really horribly polluted places like China) that there really is no need to continue pouring billions into the ‘jump-starting’ of a technology that has had arguably since 1997 (the first Prius) to catch on, when those billions can be put to better uses elsewhere.

  12. MJB Says:


    BTW, the U.S. is now the largest oil producer in the world. Quiet as is kept, we’ve already achieved our independence from Middle East oil.

  13. Brett Cammack Says:

    MISTU? MISTU??? :)

    EVs are the only vehicles that get cleaner and greener after manufacture as “dirty old powerplant”s are replaced with renewable power sources.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    Interesting show, Sean.

    Re Semis with batteries. 11,000 lbs for the batteries is perfectly ok and insignificant compared to the total weight of a semi plus containers, which is around 100,000 lbs. Even if the diesel engine was so unbelievably heavy, 11k lbs is less than 5 tons and is quite manageable to a truck that weighs 50 tons (with cargo).

    Containers carry mostly empty space (or air), they are volume-limited, not weight-limited. But even oil and steel carrying semis will work out fine, given the above.

    For the EV credits, as I mentioned many times,

    first of all they should NOT be “Tax Credits” but Rebates, so even the poorest consumers can get the full benefit of the $7,500.

    second, the 200,000 unit rule is 100% unfair. Either have the credits available to both winners and the losers, than ONLY for the slow-selling losers with their inferior EVs!!!

    So, either cancel all ill-conceived tax credits, OR make them available to all pure EVs (you may consider exempting mere plug-ins like the VOlt, though)

    third, savings of $2.5 bill over 10 years, which means barely $0.25 bill/year, are utterly insignificant in a 5 trillion a year budget.

    In other news, I heard from European makers that they expect the EV to be one-third as time consuming to make, and that lots of jobs will be lost as a consequence.

    I also heard a prediction that confirms my belief that the US EV market, currently second in the world after the giant CHinese EV market, will go to no 3 if Europe goes whole hog EV and anti-diesel as the current trend. The prediction said that by 2022 or something, the EU EV market will be far bigger than the US EV market.

  15. Larry D. Says:

    12 Not only is the US the biggest oil producer, what is amazing is that in a few years, according to the International Energy Agency Official predictions I read today (I copied the article for future use), it will become also the biggest oil EXPORTER, an AMAZING Feat. Here is an excerpt:

    “The United States will drive global oil supply growth over the next five years thanks to the remarkable strength of its shale industry, triggering a rapid transformation of world oil markets according to the International Energy Agency’s annual oil market forecast.

    By the end of the forecast, oil exports from the United States will overtake Russia and close in on Saudi Arabia, bringing greater diversity of supply.

    While global oil demand growth is set to ease, in particular as China slows down, it still increases an annual average of 1.2 mb/d to 2024, according to the report, Oil 2019.

    Still, the IEA continues to see no peak in oil demand, as petrochemicals and jet fuel remain the key drivers of growth, particularly in the United States and Asia, more than offsetting a slowdown in gasoline due to efficiency gains and electric cars….”

  16. merv Says:

    the newest corvette on line featured your story with Don Sherman and friends

  17. Larry D. Says:

    6 First of all, these are not subsidies like subsidies the US government pays to various LOSERS to make them compete. When you tax gas, it is NOT a tax like you tax you pay when you buy an appliance. If you know your economics, the tax on gas barely pays for the huge environmental damage your emissions cause. So like the great Ronald Reagan always wanted, “PAY AS YOU GO”. The scientific economic term is “externalities”, to make a fair comparison between clean and unclean energy, you need to calculate both the internal costs (which we already do) AND the EXTERNAL ones like the above damage to the environment. Some put the amount of tax on gas needed to cover all the grief it causes at such a high level, that gas would cost $8 a gallon or more, as it does in the EU.

  18. Larry D. Says:

    14 typo, I meant even if the Truck diesel engine was NOT so unbelievably heavy, the EV version would still be quite fine.

  19. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Brett – Thanks for catching that mistake. We’ve fixed it.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 There is a huge difference in the amount of greenhouse gases resulting from EVs, depending on where they are used. Indiana gets most of its power from coal, which is not so good. Florida gets about 60% of its power from natural gas, which is a lot “cleaner” than coal, both in greenhouse gas emissions, and otherwise. Also, 12$ of Florida’s power is nuclear.

  21. Larry D. Says:

    20 this is changing very rapidly. Due to their pollution, new coal plants cost much more than the equivalent natural gas plants. Only in fourth-world sheetholes, to quote Trump, like India, do they still build them. Nuke plants are 100% emissions-free, but due to the damned lawyers, they are extremely expensive to build, and even CHina recently is slowing down with nukes.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 The maximum GVW for trucks in the US is 80,000 pounds, at least for “18 wheelers,” unless something changed recently. Maybe double trailer rigs can weight more, based on weight/axle.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Over the last few years, two relatively small coal plants near me in Florida were first converted to natural gas, and then replaced completely by more efficient plants designed for natural gas from the start. I think the new plants are still boiler/steam turbine, which is apparently more efficient than gas turbines for plants that run all the time. Of course, there a lot of gas turbine “peaking” plants if Florida, and elsewhere.

  24. Lambo2015 Says:

    #14 11k lbs is not less than 5 tons as a ton is = 2000lbs but I suppose you meant metric tonnes of 2205lbs. Also most semis are restricted to 80k lbs max, so 40 ton with cargo.
    Most of the trucks I drove back in the day were between 22K and 27.5K empty and I agree that a battery and EV motors although weigh more would not very likely put many trucks over weight. What might be a bigger problem is a maximum weight per axle of around 17K lbs. I’m guessing all EV trucks will be tandem for that reason.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 I suspect any serious electric tractor-trailers would put some of the batteries in the trailer.

  26. Lambo2015 Says:

    25 Yeah for many of those trailers that are way underweight that would be the ideal spot for the batteries as there is a lot of wasted space under the cargo area. If on a slide they could position them to equal the axle weight too.

  27. Larry D. Says:

    24 Seriously? You think I don’t know how much a SHORT ton is, like your 2,000 lb ‘ton’? I was using the standard LONG TON or 2,240 lb. You know, the REAL ton, that in the rest of the world, is defined as 1,000 KG. Do the ‘math’.

  28. Bob Wilson Says:

    Tesla and GM handled the tax credits differently. Tesla held back production so the 200k limit would be reached in July, month 7, and maximize the customers who would get the full $7.5k credit. In contrast, GM did nothing to delay the 200k limit in December, ending early almost three months of the tax credit.

    A Tesla (TSLA) stock holder, ending the tax credit early reduces competition. So Tesla continues to add new models while GM killed the Volt, their only competitive plug-in hybrid.

    EVs really compete at the traffic light were they silently scoot across the intersection faster than gas and motorcycles. In contrast, gas and motorcycles announce their intent with sound, vibration, and rapidly draining gas tanks … in my EV rear view mirror.

    Unlike Elon, I am not charitable to Tesla competition. They were late offering gutless wonders so let them pay the price for their sloth and laziness. As for gassers, properly designed EV like the BMW i3 and Teslas leave them behind where they belong.

  29. Larry D. Says:

    In any case, in most of the US the trucks are on very flat ground and weight is not as important for their efficiency and fuel consumption as is in the much less densely populated states out West in the mountains.

    On the other hand, in Australia and other places you have far bigger trucks, articulated etc that carry 3 or more 40 foot containers and must weigh 100 TONS or 224,000 lbs. I am checking now quickly and even within the US and Canada, the heaviest trucks can be over 170,000 lbs.

    and the record so far is down under,

    “Darwin driver Malcolm Chisholm with a 290-tonne (285-long-ton; 320-short-ton), 21 trailer rig extending 315 metres (1,033 ft).”

    That’s 640,000 lbs!

  30. Larry D. Says:

    29 it got much crazier after the above (1993), ssee below

    “..On February 18, 2006, an Australian built Mack truck with 112 semi-trailers, 1,300 t (1,279 long tons; 1,433 short tons) and 1,474.3 metres (4,836 ft 11 in) long, pulled the load 100 metres (328 feet) to recapture the record for the longest road train (multiple loaded trailers) ever pulled with a single prime mover.”

    1,433 short tons, or 2,866,000 lbs!!!

  31. Phred Says:

    I want to “shout out” a big thanks to the Director and production staff that “do the show script and broadcast”. It is very professionally done, informative, watchable, and a true part of my day to watch at work your broadcast. I forward specific shows to friends that are car people to help them also stay informed on what is “current and important” in the world of cars and trucks.

  32. Larry D. Says:

    VW’s Huge EV plans. not 50 models, 70!!!

  33. Gerry P Says:

    If we could stop calling them Station Wagons and call them Touring like they do in Europe, they might begin selling again. I always try to get one as a rental in Europe. Like they say, Business in the front, party in the back.

  34. Lambo2015 Says:

    #27 SERIOUSLY!!!! You use the metric ton to describe what can be driven on US roads? Which is all that really matters and is followed in the US. And I have no IDEA what YOU don’t know but I assume its allot.

    Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt..

  35. Lambo2015 Says:

    #27 Besides if the long ton is all that matters to you then why didn’t you compare it to Kg like the rest of the world. Yet you compared it to lbs which is why its 2000 lbs per ton. Sorry you get so ^55 hurt over being called out. Must be a very fragile ego to get so bent so easy.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    Spare me your professional anklebiting, lambo. Do you REALLY think I can’t do the 1st grade arithmetic to see that 11,000 lbs is more than 5 of your SHORT tons, while it is 100% CORRECT for me to write what I did write, that in TONS, which are 1,000 KG a ton all over the WORLD, 11,000 lbs is INDEED 5 tons?

    I would really APPRECIATE it if you stop WASTING MY TIME with such petty INSULTS, playing amateur shrink and related BS. Maybe you don’t know better. In the past I asked you to just not read my posts, you will never learn anything from them anyway.

  37. Lambo2015 Says:

    Anklebiting? LOL My post was just to correct the mis-information that you posted. Trucks are restricted to 80K and in the US and when using lbs we use the short ton. I don’t post to waste your time. I try to refrain from insults as you often do when anyone posts anything that is slightly in disagreement with your opinion. I posted a correction politely and even prefaced it with you probably meant long tonne. The defensive and erratic behavior just supports the preconceived vision I have of you from my amateur shrink opinion. However you have attacked many other people on this site too so I’m guessing it doesn’t take a professional shrink to see the true Larry. Have a great day!

  38. JWH Says:

    #21 -Nuclear plants are expensive to build due to regulations to mitigate risk, which can be very great, & I learned many years ago from personnel that worked in the industry that decommissioning cost exceed the commissioning costs. Once upon a time I was much more pro-nuclear than I am today.

  39. JWH Says:

    #14, #22 – In most states GCVW is 73,280 lb with an allowance for snow/ice build up in winter months.

    Michigan allows 150,000 for Michigan trains with sufficient axles to maintain consistent axle loading with standard 5 axle rigs at 73,280.

    While many loads cube out, certain products will hit gross allowable before all the space is utilized. Many years ago I knew a wholesale distributor in Phoenix that would exceed max weight allowable hauling batteries from California to Arizona. Less expensive to pay the fine when caught vs more trips.

    I also remember when steel haulers in southeast Michigan were caught with vehicles at 300,000 lbs – slightly over the 150,000 lb allowed with sufficient axles.

    Appears that greed, I mean profit motive wins out over regulations & common sense.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I was a kid in the ‘50s, there were predictions that nuclear power would become so cheap they wouldn’t meter it. Things didn’t turn out that way.

  41. Maverick Says:

    Renting a car in Germany this summer…small diesel wagon…don’t believe I can reserve the favorite US car reviewer color…brown. :)

  42. w l simpson Says:

    FIVE TONS of Batts ? Why not follow Nissan example –few batts small diesel generator

  43. Albemarle Says:

    I am concerned about the changing discussion tone and personal attacks since Larry D. joined. We all love cars and talking about cars.We need to be as polite to each other as if we were having breakfast and a coffee together. No lectures, no name calling, just personal opinions and chat please.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    41 To make a semi that worked like a Nissan E-power, you would need a 400 hp diesel, a 500 hp motor, a 400 kw generater, a one ton battery, and it would get lousy fuel economy, especially on the highway. There is a reason they use diesel-electric powertrains for railroad locomotives pulling millions of pounds, but those reasons don’t apply with trucks, even relatively big trucks.

  45. FSTFWRD Says:

    @42 Albemarle. +++ I couldn’t agree more.

  46. JWH Says:

    14, #22 – In most states GCVW is 73,280 lb with an allowance for snow/ice build up in winter months.

  47. JWH Says:

    Michigan allows 150,000 for Michigan trains with sufficient axles to maintain consistent axle loading with standard 5 axle rigs at 73,280.

    While many loads cube out, certain products will hit gross allowable before all the space is utilized. Many years ago I knew a wholesale distributor in Phoenix that would exceed max weight allowable hauling batteries from California to Arizona. Less expensive to pay the fine when caught vs more trips.

    I also remember when steel haulers in southeast Michigan were caught with vehicles at 300,000 lbs – slightly over the 150,000 lb allowed with sufficient axles.

    Appears that greed, I mean profit motive wins out over regulations & common sense.

  48. Bobby T Says:

    #43, Albemarle, couldn’t agree more!

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47 It sounds like the fines are, or were too low, given the damage grossly overloaded trucks would do to roads, not to mention the extra risk they would be to other road users.

  50. Rgeniec Says:

    Gas is app 8 lbs/gallon and on average the truck holds 250 gallons….so……2,000 lbs of extra weight. EV for the win.