There’s a Hint

This is the subhead on a Wall Street Journal article over the weekend:

New registrations of company’s vehicles dropped to zero from 2,939

This happened to Tesla’s electric car sales in Hong Kong, but it’s a lesson that’s universal.

Not a single newly purchased Tesla model was registered in Hong Kong in April, according to official data from the city’s Transportation Department analyzed by The Wall Street Journal.

The March sales figure was that 2,939, albeit the number is artificially high: it occurred after the subsidy’s end had been announced, but before the end was to take effect.  The drop to zero, though, is not at all artificial.

The reason for the collapse?  Hong Kong taxing authorities ended the tax break folks got for buying a “green” car.  It’s not just that side of the world:

Last year in Denmark, an incentive program expired and was replaced with a less generous one. New car-registrations for all-electric vehicles of all brands fell 70% in 2016 in the country to 1,373 vehicles, while across the European Union the number grew by 7% to 63,278 vehicles. In the first quarter of this year, only 48 all-electric vehicles were registered in Denmark.

In the rest of Europe, existing “incentive programs” were unchanged in the period.

Here’s the hint: if a technology can’t sell in a free market without government subsidy, it’s not ready for sale; it’s not economically viable.  Full stop.

In the US, the tax subsidy remains in place in the form of a $7,500 tax credit for each Tesla or other electric car bought.  Who do you suppose is actually paying those $7,500?  Anyone? Bueller?  Bueller?

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