Despite what you may hear on Fox News, which recently aired an anti-EV rant (the latest of many) that was riddled with misleading statements, by no means all conservatives are opposed to electric vehicles.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been taking flak from both left and right since his administration approved a new rule outlawing Tesla’s direct sales in his state. Ironically, about a week earlier, Christie had said, “We are for a free-market society that allows your effort and ingenuity to determine your success, not the cold, hard hand of the government.”
Conservative icon Newt Gingrich weighed in on the controversy in an email message to his supporters. “There is no rational justification for the state to intervene and impose an obsolete business model on a 21st century startup. But the car dealers want to co-opt the law to protect their profits,” he wrote. “In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie now faces an important choice about whether to passively defend the past or to actively fight for the future.”
Republican politicians are reliable critics of government support for EVs, but they can hardly object to companies like Tesla when they create US manufacturing jobs (see the planned Gigafactory), and at least the younger ones clearly see the need to appeal to younger, tech-savvy voters.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio touched on this theme at a recent Google-hosted policy event, referring to Uber’s car-on-demand service. “Well, the Miami-Dade commission didn’t allow Uber to come in because of regulations,” Rubio said. “So for the first time, I see young people that potentially might be friendly to more government involvement in our economy arguing against regulatory impediments to an existing business – in this case, government crowding them out.”