International Electric Vehicle Free Trade Agreement

International Electric Vehicle Free Trade Agreement

One of the biggest factors affecting lackluster electric vehicle adoption worldwide is price. In places like China, tariffs and additional sales taxes on foreign automobiles hike up the price for already expensive, albeit necessary technology. I know white house petitions aren't the most effective venue of changing government policy, but it is a start. If you want to sign the petition, the link is below:

jlin005 | August 31, 2013

For changing*

PorfirioR | August 31, 2013

I believe that Tesla might have something up their sleeves on this one. They are flying under the radar right now - I am sure intentionally.

The final production assembly of the Tesla Model S is simple enough to be carried out at what would eventually be Level 3 maintenance centers that Tesla would have to build anyway, but that Tesla can call "factories" in certain countries in order to avoid or reduce import tariffs. That might be part of Tesla's international strategy.

China has their own ambitious EV industry and aggressive protectionist policies. I would not count on them to lift a finger to help an American company sell cars in China.

In my opinion, it is up to the citizens/governments of the countries affected to do something (Norway did). The United States could not even get the Kyoto Protocol ratified, so it would be quite hypocritical to seek the lifting of tariffs in other countries in the name of EV adoption which clearly benefits the US commercially. Heck, we can't even sell in Texas right now.

I am not a "global warming guy" but I recognize that pollution is a big problem with real health risks. Additionally, our dependence on foreign sources of energy is a matter of national security - been there, done that, got the medals. I want to achieve Tesla's goals as much as anyone. However, the best way to achieve them is to take care of business right here at home.

Let's take an extreme hypothetical scenario as a mind exercise for a moment. What if 100% of passenger vehicles on US roads were required to be electric? That would mean that any foreign auto maker would have to figure out how to produce EVs that would sell in the US. Meaning that worldwide EV adoption would be almost assured.

But nothing that draconian needs to happen.

I could see a time when, without government intervention, EVs would be the American vehicle of choice for purely economical and reliability reasons. So keep selling Tesla vehicles to your friends and neighbors, and tell them that more models are coming. It is only a matter of time.

jlin005 | August 31, 2013

You're right: nothing that draconian needs to happen. I think that, if we want up to speed up the process, government intervention is absolutely necessary. Without the 465 million dollar loan from the federal government, Tesla Motors may not have succeeded in making the Model S a reality. Without the federal tax credit and varying state rebates for electric cars, sales might not have been as high. But I guess if you aren't a global warming guy, rate of adoption might not be priority number one for you.

Brian H | September 1, 2013

TM has always denied that the loan was necessary for survival. It was directed at advancing the development of the MX and battery technology. Note that it was paid off in 1/20 of the nominal term.