Obviously I'm a strong proponent of electric vehicles and I think subsides for their development are necessary and money well spent. However that doesn't mean we can't improve the way that money is distributed. Specifically addressing the vehicle purchase rebate I don't think we need to subsidize vehicles such as the Fisker Karma, a $90,000 plug in hybrid vehicle with poor efficiency. Frankly I'm not even convinced we should continue to offer purchase incentives for vehicles over the $50,000 dollar mark, which would include the Tesla Model S. It's an awesome vehicle that needs no support other than what it is and it's target purchasers really don't need the financial incentives. I think it can stand on it's own, and the money can be better spent on building out the charging infrastructure and driving the development of lower priced EV's. We should reward efficiency by tying incentives to some relationship between vehicle watt hour per mile energy use as well as it's overall cost. This would push manufacturers to get more mileage out of smaller battery packs by using better aerodynamics and lighter weight materials. While the LEAF is a good EV it's drag coefficient is too high, as is it's weight, and consequently it's range suffers a bit. We need to rethink and redesign the automobile to get the most out of our battery packs, the single most expensive component. Jamming in a huge battery pack is fine for an upscale luxury vehicle such as the Tesla Model S that can absorb the cost but obviously mass market vehicles cannot do the same, nor is that a sustainable and efficient way forward.
With the current political and social climate pushing for reduced government spending and an increasing attack on "green" products it's hard to justify giving tax breaks to people who really don't need them. If EV's are seen as toys for the rich it's going to be difficult if not impossible to continue to get funding for battery research and charging infrastructure development.