Issues & Insights

EVs Are The Yugo Of The 21st Century

Way back in the mid-1980s, communist Yugoslavia exported the Yugo, a compact car that sold for around $4,000. It was so poorly made that bumping into a pole at 5 mph could total it.

Fast forward to today, and a new class of cars has a similar problem. A minor accident can cause a total loss, even if the car’s been driven only a few miles. The only difference is that these cars aren’t cheap imports from some godforsaken socialist state. These are state-of-art electric vehicles that come with an average sticker price of $55,000.

Why are insurance companies totaling low-mileage EVs that have been in a fender bender? For the same reason you could total a new Yugo when backing out of a parking spot. The cost of repair is exorbitant.

As Reuters reported recently, “For many electric vehicles, there is no way to repair or assess even slightly damaged battery packs after accidents,” which means the only viable option is to replace the battery, which represents about half the cost of the car.

A replacement battery for a $44,000 Tesla Model 3 can cost up to $20,000.

One expert told Reuters that Tesla’s Model Y has “zero repairability” because its battery is built into the structure of the car.

As a result, drivers are finding that even a minor accident ends up with their shiny new EVs being hauled away to the junkyard.

Reuters’ search of EV salvage sales in the U.S. and Europe found a large number of low-mileage EVs made by Tesla, Nissan, Hyundai, and others being scrapped.

SEE ALSO: “It’s Time To Admit It: EVs Are EVIL” and  “The Electric Vehicle-Blackout Connection

“At Synetiq, the UK’s largest salvage company, head of operations Michael Hill said over the last 12 months the number of EVs in the isolation bay – where they must be checked to avoid fire risk – at the firm’s Doncaster yard has soared, from perhaps a dozen every three days to up to 20 per day,” Reuters reports.

Insuring an electric car is already 27% more expensive, on average, than a gasoline-powered one. If insurers keep totaling new EVs with minor damage, those rates will only go up.

This won’t be a problem just for EV owners. You can bet that the environmentalists pushing electric cars will soon start complaining that insurance companies are “discriminating” against EVs and demanding that they spread those costs around more widely – forcing owners of conventional cars to subsidize EVs.

EV advocates say not to worry. Car makers, they say, are designing batteries to be more modular and replaceable. They promise that repair costs will eventually come down, and all will be well.

Maybe so, but that’s why force-feeding this technology is so reckless.

In a normal market, carmakers would work out such kinks before mass producing a vehicle, much less converting their entire fleets over to a new and relatively untested technology. If they couldn’t resolve problems of affordability, reliability, and repairability to consumers’ satisfaction, automakers would scrap the effort and move on to something else.

But our elites think they know better. And they want new cars to be 100% electric within a decade. So, carmakers feel like they have little choice but to plow ahead.

Which brings up another way that today’s EVs are like the Yugos of yesteryear.

One auto critic said of the Yugo that it “had the distinct feeling of something assembled at gunpoint.”

That was probably literally true in the case of the Yugo. But it is essentially the situation with EVs today. Consumers aren’t banging on dealership doors demanding EVs. Ford reported last week that its e-car division is losing billions of dollars a year.

Car companies are pouring money into electric cars only because the government is holding a gun to their heads, saying build EVs or die.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Yugo’s had an economic premise. EVs need expanded grid, expanded electrical power generation, and massive amounts of charging stations. All that cost adds no economic benefit. It is taking those Trillions of Dollars and burning them. Only a country in decline would be so stupid.

  • Worthless cars!! The government is trying to force these piles of junk on us at horrendous cost. Don’t be a sucker!

  • It’s not bad enough that inflation and taxation aren’t stealing your money fast enough. Buy an EV (electric vehicle) and turn yourself upside down. No different than any other aspect of the war on carbon, it is an organized theft of sinister anti humanity propagators.

  • The EV cheerleaders insist that any critical comment about EVs is a conspiracy directed by big oil or rightwing nuts. EVs, RE, and other Rat forced economic choices are a bottomless pit. Massive subsidies leads to higher prices, inefficient production, misallocation of scarce resources, and asset bubbles. EVs and RE have received massive subsidies for decades. There is lots of great EV technology, but EVs are not ready for mass adoption for a variety of reasons. Subsidies will lock in inefficient producers and immature technology. Rats want to run the economy. They think that they should dictate consumer choices.

  • It was reported that the Yugo had a magnetized chassis so it would pick up parts that fell off on the roadways, and also had an external rear heater that would keep your hands warm while pushing the vehicle in the winter.

  • There is a place for EV’s in the marketplace, they just need to bring the cost down.

    • “they just need to bring the cost down.”
      and that is the problem! the billionaires(running specter) like larry(the)fink, george soros, klaus, etc(there are too many to name); do not want to wait for the technology to become honestly competitve with “carbon based energy” to be able to grow their fortunes by huge percentages and they cannt do it “the old fashioned way”. they cannt buy oil companies outright in order to take all that profit and put it in their pockets so they have to foist the green new deal on everybody. basically, they see all this money in the middle class’ hands and they want it any way they can get it. kind of like the government sees all the 401K money in middle class hands and they cannt stand not getting their hands on it so they are devising ways to do just that.

  • The entire line of EVs is accurately depicted by the name of the most popular model: Yugo Sruyurself.

  • Electric vehicles have been around since the mid 1800’s they predate the ICE by decades. How is it considered new technology? Mrs Benz had an electric car, the problems were range, recharge time and weight. Mr Benz invented the ICE automobile to solve those problems. He was told that he was wasting his time because longer lasting faster charging batteries were ” just around the corner “, fortunately he ignored the experts. Batteries have improved a lot in 150 years, but so has ICE technology. Let the market decide, the government always backs losers.

    • That is an important part of history that somehow gets lost in all these debates.

    • Ca me when any EV can beat an original Henry Ford 1927 Mode A in a 500 mile road race. Bonus points for doing it in either hot or cold weather.

  • I backed into a Tesla in a parking lot doing no more than a 1-2mph, I was in a small pickup truck with a bed full of materials and could not see the Tesla behind me. It was literally 2-3 feet from my bumper. When I hit it there was a small dent no longer than 12-18 inches and one inch deep. Not a scratch on my truck. The bill exceeded 15K. My agent remarked that this was the norm for Tesla. wow

  • Yugo’s were really better than most folks believed. They were a fiat clone with much cheaper parts, but real fiat parts would fit it. My daughter had one in the early 90’s and gave it to me when I was doing a daily 160 mile commute. I considered the car to be disposable, and would have bought another if they were still available when it eventually died due to the timing belt breaking and crushing one or more of the valves. Picture this – a Yugo pushing a full size Crown Victoria across town for repair. I did this more than once.

  • I had fun with my Yugo, paid $300 for it, drove it for a couple of years, rolled it going around a corner too fast, drove it home & sold it for 300. Bought a Pinto.

  • The two EV’s I’ve owned have been excellent vehicles. My Tesla Model X had some quirks, but overall incredible piece of technology. My Rivian R1T is the best off road vehicle I have ever driven. I didn’t buy either for the environment, or to be trendy, etc, I bought them because they were superior to other vehicle options. I had multiple fender benders with my Tesla, true that it’s not cheap to fix, but nether is any luxury vehicle. My point, not a great analogy because the Yugo was a POD and many (not all) EV’s are solid.

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