Industry analysts also questioned whether the incentives -- particularly electric car tax credits, which call on average Americans to subsidize vehicle purchases for consumers who tend to be wealthy -- would last long enough to create an impact on EVs 10 years from now. (GM has publicly acknowledged that the average annual income of a Volt buyer is $175,000.)
Cole said that the tax credits are likely to lose popularity over time. "We can justify the concept of tax credits over a short period of time with the idea of helping create a bridge to a new technology. But any tax credit is always going to be temporary. You can't base a business case on a tax credit."
Still, the White House said that EV buyers would see monetary advantages: Driving such a car would save the average consumer roughly $100 a month, and those savings would ultimately combine with lower up-front vehicle costs to create a better bottom line for energy consumers.
"We just can't rely on fossil fuels from the last century," Obama told the autoworkers. "We've got to continually develop new sources of energy."