Is the Electric Vehicle Panacea Crashing in California and America?

Is the Electric Vehicle Panacea Crashing in California and America?

A station for charging electric vehicles in Irvine, Calif., on March 25, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

John Seiler
John Seiler


Updated: 6/6/2024


The idea that the panacea of electric vehicles will end “climate change” may have finally crashed into the wall of reality.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was interviewed on May 26 by host Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.” The full interview is on YouTube. Ms. Brennan is the most informative and objective of interviewers in the mainstream media.
Although “Mayor Pete,” as he came to be known, was merely the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, population 103,000, in 2020, he won the Iowa caucuses, briefly gaining national attention. He previously worked at McKinsey & Co., which hires really smart people to consult for corporate clients. According to Mr. Buttigieg, his work “consisted of doing mathematical analysis, conducting research, and preparing presentations” on studies for clients. That means he’s one of the smarter people in the Biden administration.
At 9 minutes and 30 seconds, Ms. Brennan said, “Donald Trump repeatedly talks about President Biden’s decision to force the industry toward making 56 percent of car batteries electric by 2032, 13 percent hybrid.” She then played a video of President Trump at a rally in New Jersey.
“We’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars subsidizing a car that nobody wants and nobody’s ever going to buy,” President Trump said.
Then she continued, “He’s not wrong—”
“Oh, he’s wrong,” Mr. Buttigieg interrupted.
Ms. Brennan continued, “—on the purchasing. He’s not. Of the 4 million vehicles purchased, you know, what, 269,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. market.”
And the electric portion is just 6.7 percent of the total. She didn’t mention the time period, but Cox Automotive ran the numbers, and it’s the first quarter of 2024.
Mr. Buttigieg responded: “Every single year, more Americans buy EVs than the year prior. There are two things that I think are needed for that to happen even more quickly. One is the price. Which is why the Inflation Reduction Act acted to cut the price of an electric vehicle. The second is making sure we have the charging network we need across America, even though most EV owners will do most of their charging at home. If you live in an apartment building or you’re driving long distances, you need other options in those chargers. So that’s exactly what we’re working on.”

A Gramscian Childhood

He then mentioned he grew up “in the industrial Midwest, literally in the shadow of broken-down factories from car companies that did not survive.” He didn’t mention his father was not a laid-off auto worker. Instead, young Pete grew up the privileged son of a left-wing, Marxist professor at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend.
The late Joseph Buttigieg is described by Wikipedia as the “translator and editor of the three-volume English edition of Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, published from 1992 to 2007 with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.” Your tax dollars at work.
“He was a founding member and president of the International Gramsci Society, founded to facilitate communication between those who study Italian philosopher and politician Antonio Gramsci, one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy,” the Wikipedia entry reads.
Gramsci is considered the father of what’s now called Cultural Marxism. Seeing economic Marxism wasn’t working in the Soviet Union, and wasn’t attractive to the workers in Western Europe and the United States, he posited Marxism first had to conduct a “long march through the institutions” to prepare the people for full-blown Marxism. That’s the theory that gave us diversity, equity, and inclusion; environmental, social, and corporate governance; corporate social responsibility; “wokeness”; and political correctness in general.

Communist China’s EV Challenge

“The EV revolution will happen with or without us, and we have to make sure that it’s American-led,” Mr. Buttigieg continued. “Under the Trump administration, they allowed China to build an advantage in the EV industry. But, under President Biden’s leadership, we’re making sure that the EV revolution will be a made-in-America EV revolution.”
Mr. Buttigieg criticized President Trump for emphasizing gas-powered cars on the campaign trail. Ms. Brennan pointed out: “It’s resonating for him. Because he wouldn’t bring it up so frequently if there wasn’t some anxiety that he’s tapping into.”
She then switched to a new topic: “The Federal Highway Administration says only seven or eight charging stations have been produced with the $7.5 billion investment that taxpayers made back in 2021. Why isn’t that happening more quickly?”
Mr. Buttigieg replied: “The president’s goal is to have half a million chargers up by the end of this decade. Now, in order to do a charger, it’s more than just plunking a small device into the ground. There’s utility work, and this is also really a new category of federal investment. But we’ve been working with each of the 50 states. Every one of them is getting formula dollars to do this work.”
Ms. Brennan insisted, incredulous, “Seven or eight, though?”
Then—here’s the breaking point for the EV panacea—she started laughing as he repeated: “Again, by 2030, 500,000 chargers. And the very first handful of chargers are now being physically built. That’s the absolute, very, very beginning stages of the construction to come.”
Ms. Brennan then brought up how long-distance travel isn’t possible without a large network of chargers. Mr. Buttigieg said the private sector already has chargers but the federal program is to “fill in some of the gaps.”

Pew Research Study of EV Stations

For perspective, a May 23 Pew Research Center study found: “As of Feb. 27, 2024, there are more than 61,000 publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations with Level 2 or DC Fast chargers in the U.S. That is a more than twofold increase from roughly 29,000 stations in 2020. For reference, there are an estimated 145,000 gasoline fueling stations in the country.
“EV charging stations can be found in two-thirds of all U.S. counties, which collectively include 95 [percent] of the country’s population. ...
“As has been the case in the past, California has the most EV charging infrastructure of any state. ... Californians with an EV might also have a harder time than residents of many states when it comes to the actual experience of finding and using a charger. Despite having the most charging stations of any state, California’s 43,780 individual public charging ports must provide service for the more than 1.2 million electric vehicles registered to its residents. That works out to one public port for every 29 EVs, a ratio that ranks California 49th across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”
So California, the center of EV popularity, isn’t doing well in providing adequate chargers. Here’s Pew’s map of EV charging stations:
(Pew Research Center/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

(Pew Research Center/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Mr. Buttigieg said charging your car is much like charging your phone. However, with my car, unlike an EV, I can fill up a couple of jerry cans with gasoline and throw them in my trunk or truck bed, extending the vehicle’s range by hundreds of miles. It’s not recommended because that can be dangerous. But it can be done.
Mr. Buttigieg then brought up how EV prices are dropping and now are close to those of gas-powered cars. Ms. Brennan, who always comes to her interviews well-briefed, then brought up President Biden’s recent 100 percent tariffs on EVs from communist China.
Mr. Buttigieg responded, “Part of what we see is China pouring huge resources into uncompetitive means, or I should say ‘unfair’ means, of competition; President Biden’s not going to allow that to happen to the American auto industry.”
Mr. Brennan then mentioned how Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the tariffs “horrible news for American consumers, a major setback for clean energy,” and he said that “this tax increase will hit every family.”
The interview then moved on to drunk driving and traffic safety.

Beginning of the End for 100 Percent EV Mandates

Mr. Buttigieg immediately was lambasted across social media platforms and in news stories:
  • Newsweek: “Pete Buttigieg Ridiculed for Joe Biden’s $7.5 Billion ‘Massive Failure.’”
  • Real Clear Politics: “CBS’s Brennan To Buttigieg: How Is It Possible That $7.5 Billion Investment Has Only Produced ‘7 Or 8’ EV Charging Stations So Far?”
  • Fox News: “CBS anchor tells Buttigieg that Trump is ‘not wrong’ about Biden administration struggling to implement electric vehicle agenda.”
I have a good antenna for political trends. After this interview, with Ms. Brennan’s laugh at Mr. Buttigieg’s numbers repeated many times across the internet, it’s going to be hard for the EV-pushers to get their message across.
Next to crash into the wall of reality: California’s mandate for 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at and his email is

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