I would like to propose a lottery.
Cost of ticket: $10.00
Prize: The winner's choice of an American-made electric car or hybrid car off of an approved list.
The cars would be provided at discount from them manufacturer. The manufacturer benefits from the publicity (free-ish advertising) and from having more of their cars on the road in communities where they might otherwise be very rare.
This would act like a Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA). A ROSCA is a way that a group of people can obtain a costly item with little available cash and low or zero interest loan. Every member of the ROSCA puts a set amount of money into the fund on a periodic basis, and one at a time each ROSCA member gets access to the entire pool, usually in random order.
The lottery would be run as a government project attached to an existing agency that covers the cost of operation so that all of the money acquired through lottery ticket sales goes into the car purchase. The ticket purchasers benefit from the excitement of a lottery produced by the thrill of possibly winning, and occasionally, by actually winning a new car.
The most expensive car out there that fits the criteria for inclusion on the approved list is probably a Tesla, but not everyone will want a Tesla; some people will want a much less expensive hybrid because the hybrid will not be tethered to charging between uses. So, each winner gets to chose the car they prefer, and if less expensive cars are chosen, then more individuals win on each drawing. It would be required that the winner keep possession of the car for one year or more in order for it to be free, which would discourage people from simply re-selling the car. However, if winners do manage to simply pass the car they've won on (in order to get the cash) the objective of the lottery is still met. There will be more cars of this type on the road either way.
I suppose this could be done by a state or a collection of states, but also, why not by a commission set up by the Federal Government?
There are lotteries like this for charitable causes done regularly. It is not a ROSCA but a standard 'take a chance' thing. Often it is for some kid's medical bills (thanks ACA!) or to build a new church. The chances are $10 or 25 or even 50. I have seen them in the back of Car and Driver over the years.
Question: other than maybe getting me a nifty car for fifty bucks, why would this add to the discussion?
Bob - because more people who otherwise would not have considered an electric or hybrid vehicle (too expensive) before, would now have one, or be talking about how nice it would to have one.
It's a marketing stunt for green energy with the side effect of a few more electric cars getting on the road. If one million people participated each month, it could be 5000 or more hybrids a year with virtually no other investment.
Great idea; this could boost interest in electric vehicles in general. At minimum it will get a buzz going, and entice more people into looking at electrics, and some of them will buy.
It would also be worthwhile having the Chevy Volt on the approved list, since the range-extending small gas engine alleviates worries about range for people who otherwise wouldn't buy an electric. Most owners report filling up the gas tank two or three times a year, compared to the gas-powered vehicle average of once a week.
Lastly, let's also include commercial vehicles: electric minivans and tradesworkers' vehicles, which presently operate on a fleet basis but have yet to become widespread for small business users.