How are they regulated differently? What regulations do you think need to be put in, and why would it balance the equation wrt electric verse internal combustion using fossil fuels? Would it make the Chevy Volt not costs $42k, or would it make regular cars cost that much?
Of course it’s biased towards fossil fuels, especially gasoline…they won the market race early on, so we have over a century of built up infrastructure towards utilizing fossil fuels, we have a huge investment in fossil fueled personal transport, and tons of R&D money have been poured into making IC engines operate more efficiently, lighter and safer. None of this has anything to do with conspiracies, it has to do with reality. The only way all of that built up momentum is going to be overcome is if the rising cost of oil gets to some point where other technologies CAN compete with them. That’s because right now, and in the past they simply couldn’t…oil and oil based fuels are just cheaper and logistically support, and have been since pretty much the turn of the LAST century. Otherwise steam or hydrogen or all electric vehicles would have won the market and have dominated it ever since.
One day the fossil fueled ICE will go the way of the whale oil lamp…not because we’ll run out of oil, and not because some evil cabal of mustache twirling capitalists have finally been vanquished by the forces of goodness and light, but because the price of oil and oil based fuels will reach a point where these other technologies can start to really compete…at which point, we’ll see a gradually increasing move by the market towards whatever the new winning technology will be, which will then dominate the market until either some newer, better tech is invented or it starts to cost a lot more and something else that is waiting in the wings is able to start competing for price.
I realized I didn’t really answer the OP:
They were betting that the time was ripe to try and bring this technology to the wider market place, and hoping that if they got enough early adopters to buy the things, that eventually they’d be able to ramp up their production and lower costs (economies of scale or some such), and/or that the injection of capital AND interest would spur new development which could lower costs. Right now, the batteries are the most expensive parts, and a lot of that cost from what I understand is due to things like rare earth elements that are used in them, and which have limited availability (a lot of it comes from China, IIRC, and they have put restrictions on how much anyone can buy…which means they can pretty much influence the price due to tweaking the supply).
Right now, from a purely economical perspective, it’s not cost effective to purchase something like a Volt, if the plan is to save money. I looked into it and did the math about 2 years ago, and basically I can buy an ICE vehicle that gets pretty good gas mileage (used) for half as much or more as something like the Volt…and in the long run I’ll save money, even if gas goes up to $5/gallon. If it goes beyond that, then it gets into some serious number crunching to see which ends up being better…but gas where I live right now is only like $3.50/gallon and doesn’t seem to be climbing a lot atm in the area (it was below $3/gallon less than half a year ago).