It should come as no surprise that President Joe Biden’s administration has now hatched a plan to push more electric vehicles into the mainstream. An Environmental Protection Agency plan calls for electric vehicles to compose two-thirds of new car sales by 2032, largely by making gasoline cars too costly to buy. It is, in effect, a tacit admission that EVs aren’t yet ready to compete with entry-level gasoline cars on their own merits.

For many, this is hard to believe. During the past decade, we’ve been told that the electric vehicle is on the cusp of broad adoption, awaiting only a few minor tweaks to its battery. But while we’ve been waiting, the tweaks haven’t sufficed, and the modern electric car is still predominantly a product for the wealthy. EVs, it seems, still can’t compete with the low-priced Civics and Corollas of the world. And those vehicles continue to make up a large percentage of global auto sales.

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