Some Cars I Can’t Review

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You’ll probably never read a road test review by me of the Nissan Leaf, or the Chevy Spark, or the Toyota RAV4 electric. And that may tell you every thing you need to know about these vehicles.

I can’t review them because they can’t make it down here for me to review.

“Down here” being about 220 miles and five hours’ driving time from the hubs where the car companies keep their fleets of new cars, which ordinarily get sent out for hundreds of miles in every direction to guys like me for week-long evaluations. The problem is that not one of the new electric cars has the legs to make it even halfway here before it conks out and requires a lengthy (several hours’ worth, at least) recharge. And that’s if a special high voltage charging station is available between Here and There. If it’s not (and it’s not – because such installations are as hard to find as a gas station that sells 100 octane leaded premium) then you are looking at an overnight stay midway while the car rejuvenates itself from a standard 110 volt household outlet at the Motel 6 or some such.

Hence, no electric press cars for me. Or for any other automotive journalist who doesn’t live within say 50 miles or so of the press car hub – which is a lot of us, by the way. Anyone who actually enjoys driving will do almost anything to escape a major metro area such as Washington, D.C. I know, because I used to live up there. And up there, the traffic is such an omnipresent boggle that it really doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a new BMW M3 or minivan to test-drive. Because you can’t drive. All you can do is sit and stew, briefly moving forward a little, then stopping – staring at the bumper of the car in front of you. That’s why I left – and ditto many others like me.

Thus, the only evaluations you’ll read – and have read – are written by guys snuggled up close to the press car hubs or flown in for the day – which I used to do but don’t anymore because of the TSA and its despicable Slave Training sessions.

Of course, for the electric Leaf, Spark, RAV4 and others that rely on hundreds of pounds of caustic batteries and the juice provided by C02 and soot-spewing coal and oil-fired utility plants rather than clean-burning, energy dense and readily portable gasoline, the DC area and similar environments are ideal. There’s very little driving going on – and lots of just sitting. And at this, the electric car excels. When not moving, the electric car is not running. And thus, it is consuming no or very little of its minimal reserves of power. The less you drive an electric car, the more “efficient” it is. Of course, this is an odd definition of efficient in that you’re not going anywhere. And maybe that’s the point of the exercise.

On the other hand, if you do try to go someplace in one of these things, you’ll run into trouble.

The Nissan Leaf, for instance. EPA says it is capable – under ideal conditions – of going about 73 miles on a full charge. In less-than-ideal conditions, such as extremes of cold or heat or extended highway use, the Leaf’s range will be significantly less. And you’d better err on the side of caution, because if you run out of juice, you will be staying put for awhile. In a gas-burner, running out of fuel just means calling AAA or hoofing it to the nearest Exxon station. Once you’ve found fuel, in five minutes, you’re back in business. In an electric car like the Leaf, it means 4-8 hours hooked up to the 110 volt IV.

Did I mention it costs $35,200? For the “base” SV version? The  higher-trim SV lists for $37,250. For that, you could have bought something like the snarky 2012 Volvo C30 Polestar coupe I test-drove a week ago (see here for that).  It’s a luxury-sport car with a turbo, 250 hp, a six-speed stick and many bells and whistles besides. And it goes a lot farther on a tank, too.

But, don’t worry: You can use Uncle Sam to beat some funds out of your fellow Americans to help ease the bite. There’s a $7,500 “tax credit” up front for electric car “buyers” – a dubious term in this context.  This, incidentally, is more than I paid – out of my own pocket, not by picking  someone else’s pocket  – for my little Nissan pick-up truck. Which by the way goes about 320 miles on a full tank and  only takes five minutes or so to refuel. “Buyers” of the Leaf can also hit up their neighbors for the $2,200 it takes to erect a specialty charging rig that feeds 220 volt current to their Leafs, reducing the down time to around 30-45 minutes or so. That would buy me a year’s worth of “free” gas at least – if by “free” you mean paid for via funds extorted at gunpoint by Uncle from my neighbors. No thanks. I’d rather fill my tank with my own money rather than blood money.

It’s a similar story with the others.

Well, it will be. The Chevy Spark electric and the electric version of the Toyota RAV4 are 2013 models and so not yet available. But when they become available in a few months from now, you can expect the same performance – and cost – characteristics.

You can also expect not to read a review by me of them – unless the car companies double-down and send them here on a flatbed. Hey, that gives me an idea: Maybe they should include one along with the car itself. They could call it a “range extender.” And naturally, they could send the bill to the taxpayers via Uncle.

It’d probably “create” a lot of “jobs,” too.

A win-win for the government and the car companies and the tax-feeders. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Throw it in the Woods? 


  1. You really brought your best stuff with this one Eric. A great analysis and a great read!!

    And kudos to the poster who pulled out the South Park “Smug” clip. I thought of the same thing as I was reading.

  2. The government doesn’t need to support this technology since it wouldn’t work for most people. I’ve ridden motorcycles most of my life and now there are cars that get motorcycle mileage that make more sense than these electric cars.

  3. I like your example, Sagami. It shows that when a company is unresponsive to consumer demand, it goes out of business.

    On the other hand, when a government operation fails to meet the needs of the people, it doesn’t get discontinued — it gets expanded.

    As I was saying above, which you failed to grasp, is that I think consumer demand is there for high-mpg vehicles, RIGHT NOW. Manufacturers, however, are prevented from supplying that demand. There are already 80-mpg cars in Europe — but the feds won’t let them in here.

    Government **is** the problem.

    • Marc, I like the possibility of an 80-mpg car car. Why aren’t such cars allowed in the US? Manufacture sector lobbying? GM, like Kodak, missed the boat so to speak by not investing in new technology. The Japanese gave people what they wanted: fuel efficient cars, while GM continued making gas guzzlers. My little car is no frills, but it does what I need it to do: get me to the mountains with my mountain bike and a friend inside, on 50-mpg. BTW, Kodak did invent digital photography as you mentioned but tied up with a little company that didn’t know what it was doing so the resulting product was a flop. Kodak was too proud to do negotiating with a real company like Canon or Sony, both of which have put out fantastic digital cameras. Some years later, when the company was already in financial difficulties, the CEO came to Japan in his private jet hoping to promote business. This spendthrift folly had the opposite effect–no one wanted to do business with a company that didn’t know how to allocate its money properly.

      • Sagami,

        The main reason there aren’t 80 MPG cars is the conflict (engineering and economic) between “safety” and efficiency. The government requires all new cars meet bumper impact and crashworthiness standards that are met, to a great extent, by adding structural elements – weight – to the car. The average new car today is hundreds of pounds heavier than the average new car of 30 years ago. For example, the old Beetle weighed about 1,600 lbs. Current “compacts” typically weigh around 2,500 lbs. – or even more.

        Now, with modern technology – fuel injection, low rolling resistance suspension/tires, an aerodynamic body and a modern overdrive transmission – a 1,600 lb. car would probably be capable of 60 MPG with a gas engine and considerably better with a diesel engine.

        But, such a car can’t be built – legally – because it would not comply with all the “safety” folderol. The government has decided for you that “safety” is more important than good gas mileage.

        Now, it might be possible to build a 1,600 lb. car that did meet all the “safety” standards – if cost were no object and the car could be made of exotic composites or alloys. But then it would be economically impossible to sell.

        • Eric, I’ve pondered the safety versus fuel efficiency issue quite a bit lately. What if it were legal to build something Spartan in the size range of a Civic or Miata out of carbon fiber and alloy weighing in at 800 or 900 lbs sans power source? You’d have a chassis that would not only allow phenomenal fuel efficiency with an ICE, but even a potential EV platform that would have a tolerable range. Now when I say Spartan, I mean it. No heated seats and steering wheel, power windows and locks, AC or even power steering (good old mechanical rack and pinion would be all you need on a sub 2000 lb. vehicle). No bells and whistles at all, minimal electronics and no air bags; it would be fairly cheap that way. You could probably get decent performance with a 650cc air cooled engine and still reach 60+ MPG just carbureted. If someone offered a vehicle along those lines, even I might consider buying new.

          • Absolutely.

            As you’ve implied, though (and as Rob confirmed) many Americans want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want “all the bells and whistles” – not just AC, but also all the power (and power using) options. Plus the “safety” of six air bags and an IIHS Five Star crash rating. This makes it no easy (or inexpensive) thing to produce a sub-2,000 lb. car.

            But for demonstration purposes, it’d be interesting to see what could be done with an existing lightweight unibody such as the old VW. Fit it with an updated version of the original engine, fitted with a modern roller-type camshaft profile designed to optimize efficiency, a TBI and, a CVT (or OD) transmission, low rolling resistance tires… I’d bet this arrangement would result in at least a solid 50 MPG – as good or better than any current hybrid and much better than any standard (existing) car. Even better, such a car could probably be manufactured and sold – at a reasonable profit – for less than $10,000 brand new.

            Now, if you could start from scratch, as you’ve described, and design/build an optimized platform and 650 cc or so engine, I have no doubt 60-plus MPG (and more) could be achieved.

          • With carbon fiber especially the cost will skyrocket.

            Eric, the way I see it, the problem is that americans are largely removed from the process of making things and working with their hands. Even if someone doesn’t understand engineering the daily acts of working with, maintaining, and repairing equipment brings an understanding.

            On one had you have the masses who think engineering is magic. They complain endlessly about compromises that people who are involved with making stuff understand immediately. The expectations are often absurd. On the other hand there are political social climbers on the corporate and government ladders. These people have no clue how things work. Really? A community activist who’s background is as a lawyer telling us how automobiles should be engineered? They are all like that. They think that issuing the edict and having the “political will” is work involved. Us slaves will just make it happen after that. Even their technical people in the bureaucratic ranks often lack the in the trenches real product experience never having had a job in the real world.

            Want a light weight little car? Want it affordable? A chassis or uni-body of inexpensive steel stampings (for mass production) and then drape it with aluminum or composite body work (which has become considerably more affordable over the years) for the bolt on panels.

            The rigidity of the uni-body can be maintained by full length rails (subframe connectors essentially)

            • Brent, you’re exactly right.

              I know and have dealt with (as you have) people like this. Completely unreasonable expectations. Just issue a legislative fatwa and we “could have” 50 MPG cars! At no cost – and with no significant compromises, either.

              It’s a form of psychosis as regards the people issuing the fatwa, too. I mean, what kind of gall do you have to possess to dictate “policy” about things you literally know nothing about? I doubt Barry would know where the oil dipstick is located, much less has ever changed a car’s oil himself. Yet he wants to dictate engineering parameters to engineers. And then make us pay for the costs – and compromises. It is startling, isn’t it? It’s as though their internal STFU button never developed.

              But the worst part is the lowing masses, who enable all this. Who don’t question the idea of these know-nothings dictating terms to the know-somethings.

      • Some of Kodak’s early digital cameras were well received as I recall.. GM invested in new technology consistently right up until the G was changed from “General” to “Government”.

        What we are looking at when a corporation dies usually has to do with internal politics and culture. It is the internal politics and culture where people get ahead. Where they make more money. Their decisions are heavily weighted that way.

        When companies are dominated by their engineers creativity and innovation rule. When they are dominated by ladder climbers internal politics rules. GM’s innovation side was attacked rather successfully by Ralph Nader. In fact that hurt the entire US auto industry. It was something to point to that said ‘don’t innovate’. Government got involved. Regulators don’t like change. Innovation is change. The bean counters took over the companies. They believe in status-quo, don’t rock the boat. Don’t change things. Because change is risk. That’s how companies die.

        Government is a huge problem when it decides to regulate an industry. Government has divergent mandates and regulation for autos. I personally have more experience in medical devices. Dialysis is one of the first treatments government took over. The entire model is based on 1960s cost-effective 3 times a week treatment. It hasn’t really changed. This model destroys attempts at innovation because the entire business model around dialysis is based upon the system the government set up in the 1960s and has modified since as different games were played to maximize profits under the model. The problem is, even now good treatment, modern, innovative treatment doesn’t suit the model well. To work well, it kills the profit centers. Can’t change it. Stuck with it. The innovation dies. The 1960s roll on.

  4. I do acknowledge that the oil industry gets major subsidies. If the US military wasn’t holding the spigots open, things would be radically different in the domestic energy market. I consider the US defense budget to be largely a subsidy of the oil industry.

    Bring the troops home, end all support of 8th century bigoted foreign tyrants, repeal taxes such as the gas and income tax, eliminate regulation on domestic energy production, abolish all regulation on the US auto industry, sell off all public roads to the private sector, eliminate insurance requirements for drivers (make it a matter between you & the private road owner), eliminate zoning and land-use regulation, not to mention pursuing other withdrawals of state power that affects energy usage — and watch how the market will change.

    I predict that without government subsidies, the way people choose to live will be drastically different. I think at that point, EV technology will quickly come of age. And I have absolutely NO doubt that 80 and 100-mpg vehicles would quickly become common.

    The problem with environmentalists is that they continue to expect the state to bring them a more energy-efficient future. It simply can’t happen. Only liberty works constantly to minimize waste.

    • Marc, unfortunately if the government doesn’t help out, companies will generally only look for the immediate profit and thus will not support actions that ensure a better future for mankind. Although this is not an example to do with autos or government support, just look at what happened to Kodak. Instead of investing in digital technology as advised by its research lab, it chose to stick to film in order to keep up profits for its shareholders. When the obvious turn to digital technology happened, Kodak was left in the dust. Again, instead of thinking of the future, it sold off some of its best technology to pay its shareholders, fired thousands of its employees many of whom had worked for years at Kodak, took away their pensions, stopped payments to individual agents, and then gave nice fat salaries to its managers who had been with Kodak only a couple of years, during which time they destroyed the company. If all companies were run by altruistic people like Mr.Eastman, government overseeing of such important issues as the environment wouldn’t be necessary. Companies nowadays will think first of their profits and last of their impact on the world. The business world is ruthless.

      • The idea that companies need government help to see the long term is one of those things that I cannot help but laugh at. There is nobody with shorter time horizons than people in government. Government is about get while the getting is good. The next election might not turn out well.

        Corporations as we know them are creatures of state creation and regulation. Because of this, they too are populated with people with short time horizons, but those time horizons are many times longer than those of people in government.

        Now that said, some businesses in particular are even longer because of the nature of their business. Oil is one of those.

        Kodak was one of the innovators of digital. But the innovators didn’t run things. It’s a typical way a corporation dies. The people running things got to their jobs by not making decisions, by not changing the status quo. It’s a corporate culture thing. It’s how the internal politics work. People who innovate have flops. If you have a flop you can be blamed for something. If you can be blamed for something you don’t get promoted. The innovators, the creators, they lost. The status-quo people won. The corporation dies.

        It is never share holder value that kills a corporation. It’s internal culture and politics and how compensation for executives works that does it time and time again.

        • oh and to add… share holder value can murder a corporation, but that’s influence from the outside as corporate raiding, stock manipulations, etc. But what kills them like a disease is what I am getting at.

      • Sagami,

        You cite Kodak. How about Ford? I mean early Ford. When old man Ford was running the show. Would you not describe Henry Ford as a forward thinking guy? He consistently lowered the cost of his cars, and improved their quality, by improving manufacturing techniques (Ford perfected the assembly line). Ford provided better and better cars, at lower and lower prices, putting the masses behind the wheel. The government did not “help” Henry build the Model T – or the Model A – or the first mass-produced V-8 engine, either.

        Before government began to mess with the car industry, it was a wildly successful enterprise.

        Fast-forward a bit. When did the car industry’s major problems begin to occur? During the late 1960s – just as government began to really stick its nose in the car industry’s business. Just one example: The government gave Japanese cars a massive artificial leg up by imposing fuel efficiency and emissions standards (via the 1970 Clean Air Act, among other things) that could not be complied with without a sudden, almost wholesale re-engineering of engines and entire vehicle platforms. Billions that had been invested in existing engines and vehicle platforms that should have been amortized over a long period of time were effectively flushed down the toilet – at the same time that massive new investments (costs) were necessary to build engines and vehicles that met the government’s – note carefully, not marketplace – demands.

        The Japanese, who at that time only built small cars – were thus given a huge and artificial competitive advantage – which they naturally exploited.

        Just one example.

        • Old man Ford nearly ran the company into the ground by being unchanging in product.

          Cost reduction is one way to run a company, the problem is the competition innovates the product and cost reduction eventually hits a wall. Sales start falling faster than cost reductions can keep the product attractive.

          The high margin is also always with innovation. Old product has to be low margin (low price to the end user) to keep it attractive.

          • By the time he began to geeze in the ’30s, yeah.

            But before then, he revolutionized everything.

            Gotta give him his due! Before he came along, motor cars were the playthings of the rich. After he came along, they were accessible to almost anyone. Including V-8s. That is something, no?

          • It is. My point is that innovation has to keep being done. There’s innovation in cost reduction but the product gets old eventually and can’t be made any cheaper. New designs and methods have to come in. Most times it will be better than the old one and often cost less in real terms.

            The reasons companies turn to government is so they can stop innovating. The idea that government drives innovation or secures the future of man kind is like saying pharaoh makes the sun rise in the morning. Just completely silly and untrue.

  5. Well it is true that only a fraction (~50% currently) live in urban areas, but that’s certainly not what I was referring to. I meant your second alternative — only a fraction of those who live in urban areas would find them practical.

    There are certainly people in urban areas who have structured their lives so they don’t need a car. Others who live in urban areas who do own cars would not find an EV practical.

    • It’s been my experience living in San Francisco during the late 70’s that owning a car was actually a liability unless you were wealthy enough to own your home. Most renters in the city couldn’t own an EV even today for lack of affordable parking. So in that sense I see your argument; only a fraction of a fraction of urban dwellers would be attracted to an EV.

      I’m not sure this is true of other cities but I know from the experience of my daughter during the early 21st century that it’s still true of San Francisco. However, it’s important to understand that not being practical is a quality of *any* car, not just an EV. I learned to ride a motorcycle when I lived in the city not because it had superior fuel economy, but because I could park it on the sidewalk.

      • The EVs on the market are totems – just like a Navigator with 22 inch ree-uhms, only expressing a different ideal.

        Which is fine – provided the owners are paying for their totems themselves and not demanding that you and I “help” them.

        • I think you’re right that they’re totems for a large number of people today. I had a smug fellow pull up next to me in a Prius while I was riding shotgun in my wife’s K3500 (she let’s me drive it once in awhile but not often). It was a warm day, we both had our windows down and we were sitting at a stop light. I asked him how he liked the car and he just gushed about it (OK, I gush about Porsches too, this isn’t a character flaw) but after me smiling and nodding for a minute or two, he hadn’t said much beyond “It makes me feel good”.

          Now there’s a LOT to be said about a car that makes you feel good. It beats the hell out of heroin (which does the same thing and costs a whole lot less). But it really isn’t a technical argument.

          • Yup – Rob’s a case in point.

            He’s clearly affluent – at least, he has the discretionary income to indulge in a $35,000 EV – which means, he’s buying an accessory, not an essential. He rationalizes his purchase to the Moon and back – but the bottom line is, the people buying EVs (and hybrids) are exactly like the people who buy M3s and 911s. It’s about image, or politics, or just because they “feel good” about it.

            It isn’t an economic decision. At least, it isn’t an economically sensible one.

          • Agreed (for now). But I’m a forward looking person and there may well come a day that I buy a used EV, hook it up to my PV array and moon Mr. Cheney. It’s my dream 🙂

            • I’ve got no major issues with the oil companies. The chief reason we’re spending so much of our money on gas (and related products) is because our money is worth less each year (and soon to be entirely worthless, probably). Take inflation – or put another way, devalued currency – out of the equation and we’d be paying about the same for gas today – in real terms – as we were paying 30 years go. All that’s changed is the loss in purchasing power of our dollars.

              I don’t buy “peak oil.” I have come to the conclusion it is another bogey (or straw man) designed to justify more control (and less freedom) as well as higher costs. One of the chief reasons I began to doubt the idea that we’re even close to running out of oil is the massive – and increasing – investment in industries and technologies that absolutely require (mostly) affordable oil. The word would have gotten out – about impending shortages – and you’d see these industries “getting out” – in a way that could not be hidden from public view. Yet instead, they continue to make huge, long-term capital investments that are predicated on affordable oil into the foreseeable future.

              If hydrocarbons are biologic in origin, then how come they exist in vast oceans in places devoid of life (apparently) and off this Earth?

          • Eric, I’d like you to recite the words “Useful Idiot” just once in awhile. What other use can you find for them?

          • BTW: I share Rob’s affluence and his dream. It *is* a dream but it’s a dream of independence. Put up an 8×10 photo of Darth in your garage. We’ll declare a mooning day when it all comes together.

            “I love it when a good plan comes together”

            — George Peppard, “The A Team”, 1982

          • Yep. The reason “peak oil” is a scam because of how the insiders behave, do, write, etc.

            Big Oil’s annual reports disclose huge reserves, a good future, etc and so forth. If this is a lie why don’t the “peak oil” believers have these big oil CEO’s charged and put on trial for fraud. Lying on a corporate annual report is a significant crime. These environmentalists are supposed to hate big oil right?

    • I think another thing worth mentioning is that part of the reason for owning a car in the city is to have a way of getting out of the city. In other words, you don’t own a car to get to and from work since you most likely work less than 5 miles from your home and you can walk, take a bus, bike, cab or train to work. You own a car for the weekends, when you want to get out of the city. An EV may be a poor choice for urban dwellers.

      To make a real difference in fuel consumption, an EV needs to be practical for suburbanites and rural folks who commute longer distances to work. I live in remote locations that would require me to drive around 100 miles per day round trip if I needed to be physically present at the central office of the company that employed me, which is a rare event since I have the ability to telecommute. Assuming I had to travel to work every day though, a car that could do 100 miles on a charge would suit me, though I’d prefer a margin of at least 50% (say 150 miles). A car like that would be practical for me.

    • For me, “need” is a subsidiary issue. The point as regards EVs is that they are not commercially viable.

      What I mean is, people don’t need BMW M3s or Porsche 911s, either. But they freely buy them at a price that is profitable (honest profits) for the manufacturer – in other words, free exchange. Great!

      EVs are not like that. They aren’t wanted – not in a free market sense. If they were, then subsidies would not be required. People would freely pay for the perceived value they provide. But of course, almost no one wants to pony up the almost $40k for one of these things. The only way they can get any significant “sales” going is by – in effect – paying people to “buy” them.

      That includes Rob, incidentally. I very much doubt he’d buy a Leaf at full freight, no government “help.” That would mean at least $35,000 of his own money. Probably more like $50,000 – if the manufacturing-level subsidies were amortized in the form of MSRPs. Does anyone here believe he’d pony up?

      When EVs sell on their merits – freely bought at a price that makes building them economically sensible – then I’ll be all for them.

      But not until then!

  6. Electric cars are impractical except for a very few who live in urban areas and/or have little need to drive more than 10-15 miles at a stretch.

    I do think electric will become more practical when battery packs become commoditized. Robotic “filling stations” simply remove your pack, stick in a new one, and send you on your way after you pay for your “fuel”. This has the potential to remove almost all of the problems with downtime; making refueling no more of a hassle than refilling gasoline.

    Next on the list will be getting the range of the packs up to the 300-600 miles you can get with gas or diesel.

    It ain’t here yet, but it will be eventually.

    For now, I stick with my older gas-powered vehicles.

    Took my 77 Matador lo miler out a few days ago — had a blast. Seats six comfortably; AC with FREON freezes you right out of the car effortlessly; handles great…

    • Marc I don’t understand this comment. “Except for a very few who live in urban areas”. Are you saying that only a fraction of the world population live in urban areas, or that only a fraction of those who live in urban areas would find EVs practical?

  7. Dear fellows! This is not difficult to sort out.
    Would you accept today free electric cars from your Uncle Sam for two years to use and maintain in exchange for all your cars you have and use today? After two years, the exchange would reverse and you would get back your cars used by others during that two years. What do you think, how much that two year would cost you in “fuel”, maintenance, insurance, depreciation, headaches and all what comes with it?
    I said before, I would not want an electric car today, even if it was free. How about you guys?

    • An EV in exchange for my Durango and two 928’s? No. Not even for free. I think my wife would say the same about her Chevy K3500 dually crew cab Duramax diesel. There’s no EV around that can haul a horse trailer.

      But then I spend most of my year living 15 miles from the nearest supermarket. For me, an EV would be a special use vehicle, just like the crew cab dually and the 928. The Durango on the other hand is the only general purpose vehicle I own and it gets fairly poor gas mileage (12-18 mpg). For the past year or so we’ve been looking for an older car that gets better mileage than the Durango for general purpose driving. I bought the Durango when I lived full time in the Norther Rocky Mountains and needed an AWD capable vehicle with room for 4 and a dog. Now I need room for 2 and a dog so I’m looking at luxury economy cars like the 98 Audi A4 turbo. For the right price I would consider an EV but I think I’ll wait until batteries get better and I can buy one used.

      • I would not trade my pushing 15-year-old truck for a new Leaf.

        * The truck is paid for (by me, so my conscience is clear).
        * It costs me very little to own and operate. (About $150/month, including fuel).
        * The truck goes anywhere, anytime- rain or shine, hot or cold – even when “anywhere” is 300 miles away.
        * I can fix anything that goes wrong with the truck myself.

        The Leaf, on the other hand:

        * Is a monument to corporate welfare and wealth transfer (and I want no part of that).
        * Costs a small fortune to own, even with subsidies.
        * Does not go anywhere, anytime, hot or cold – useless for long trips.
        * If something breaks – or just croaks – call “the man.”

  8. eric wrote “PS: Your money is gone. Whatever has been taken from you by taxes – poof. Gone. All of us are in the same predicament, and few if any of us have the option to choose not to accept our tax refunds, say. But you had an easy choice not to support this grotesque transfer payment scheme. But you chose to participate because it makes you feel smug and good to own an electric car. You just wanted it. And you don’t care that it requires billions of dollars be extracted by force from taxpayers to “make it so.” Lovely. ”

    Perhaps your just too stupid to understand the term “non-refundable tax credit”. The tax credit on an electric vehicle is not taken from others. It is a reduction in the amount of taxes you pay. If you don’t pay any taxes, you can’t take the credit.

    So what you are saying is because I take advantage of a way to reduce taxes I pay that I’m depriving all those parasites of money they would other wise get – and that’s wrong? I assume that you are also against itemized deductions, home interest deductions, etc. I’m assuming since your not a hypocrit that you don’t take advantage of any of them.

    • Rob Maynard Keynes-

      You’re reducing your taxes by spending four or five times the money on government-directed manufacturing that only exists because of subsidy that creates artificial demand for the product. How libertarian of you.

      People who eff up “your” and “you’re” ought to leave stupid in the holster.

      Perhaps you’re too stupid to realize that people who don’t pay taxes aren’t buying a nearly $40k car. This among other things is welfare for the upper middle class. You won’t find many of the proletariat in these cars.

      This is really splitting a gnat’s eyelash, this “it’s not a tax refund it’s a reduction in the amount you pay.” The effect is the same. If I use a 40% off coupon at the store, is the effect to my bank balance any different than if I paid full price and the clerk gives me back 40 cents on the dollar? No.

      Now you’re a good libertarian because you’re taking advantage of a scheme that wouldn’t exist without government meddling in the auto markets, and saying it’s libertarian because it reduces your tax liability? Will someone please take the shovel away from this guy?

      • Well-said, TOG!

        Thanks for the back-up…

        I understand – and reluctantly accept – that most of us have no real choice about partaking of some of the reciprocal parasitism that permeates this society. As I tried to explain to Rob, it is one thing to use government-subsidized roads, put (allegedly) subsidized gas in our cars. What real choice do we have? But buying a BMW-priced electric vehicle is an indulgence – an indulgent choice – made with cavalier disregard for the screwing-over (of your fellow citizens) that it entails.

        If Rob’s commitment to the Libertarian ideal of non-coercion is this superficial, it’s hard to understand how we can consider him a Libertarian at all.

        • The roads and fuel, being things people want, are negatively subsidized.

          That is the taxes collected for roads are often diverted elsewhere in greater sums than monies diverted to roads from elsewhere.

          As far as subsidy to big oil is to maintain their corporatist status-quo and prevent even lower prices (in real terms) than we have now. The military action and such that is often attributed as a subsidy to gasoline car drivers is really just a subsidy to big oil for them to maintain their market share and not lose it to potential new comers under cutting them.

          • Do you understand that governments building roads is also a distortion even if it’s what most people want? Particularly when it’s undertaken at the Federal level versus local level?

            The funding of roads subsidizes those who want to live in the country or suburbs. It encourages sprawl, more car use, etc.

            If we didn’t have a huge government spending for roads would we have more trains? planes? private roads? Would places in the desert southwest have grown so unsustainably large without the distortion caused by roads and damns being built by governemnt?

            Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect this to change anytime soon, but anytime a government spends money on anything it is probably causing a distortion in the market. The higher up in the government the larger the distortion.

            It’s an intricate web and the only solution I see is to dismantle large goverment and move to more local governments where people are directly taxed for the things they want. It’s also important for people to have the abilty to leave a taxing authority if they disagree. As we have pushed more and more things to the federal government we have removed that abilty for people to vote with their feet and wallets.

          • Of course it is a distortion, first of all it is huge subsidy to long haul trucking. second, the political process decides where the roads will be and where they will go. However I was posting that this idea that we suddenly lose credibility for using “government roads” is simply bullshit from a cost point of view. We pay far more for more than what is actually used.

            Meanwhile billions of tax dollars were passed on to automakers to develop electric and hybrid vehicles which are then further subsidized with tax breaks. My new car cost me a couple grand in taxes. It seems yours actually reduced your net tax loss. This seems far more outrageous than having a road system that is simply crippled and driven by politics but is still fully paid for and then some by the actual users of the road with the exception of long haul trucking, pretty fairly.

          • Why the hell isn’t there a “Reply” button under each entry?????

            BrentP wrote “However I was posting that this idea that we suddenly lose credibility for using “government roads” is simply bullshit from a cost point of view. We pay far more for more than what is actually used. ”

            Exactly, it’s the same for me at the Leaf. I paid far far more in taxes than I received in tax breaks for buying the car. So why am I evil and you are not? It’s the same thing. People who don’t drive should really be angry?

            BrentP wrote “My new car cost me a couple grand in taxes. It seems yours actually reduced your net tax loss.”

            Same for me, I paid sales tax for the car to the state. The tax break was on income taxes.

            It’s exactly the same as buying a house. You pay sales taxes on the house, but then get to write off the interest payments for years on income taxes versus the one-time credit for the Leaf. The tax break on EV encourages me to buy an EV the same way the interest deduction encourages one to buy a house.

            If you really want to be pissed off about something it should be cash for clunkers, a major subsidy for primarily ICE cars. That was 10x ($3B) the subsidy that has been paid so far for EV cars and it was a direct subsidy paid to car dealers as opposed to a tax credit. So do you have the same argument that people shouldn’t buy any car because government gave a huge subsidy to coporations to support them?

          • Actually BrentP, I can go one step further. If you really want to starve the government of funds, you should encourage everyone to buy an EV. It doesn’t pull funds from other taxpayers, but it does cut the revenue stream for general government funding….. 🙂 🙂 🙂

            • “…. It doesn’t pull funds from other taxpayers.”

              You mean aside from the billions the government (using taxpayer dollars) ladles out to major automakers and their suppliers to develop and manufacturer these economically not-viable turduckens?

          • I shouldn’t have to rehash every subject every time (cash for clunkers).

            What you are missing is the fact your EV would not exist except for government. In fact Nissan wouldn’t exist except for government. (The Japanese government interfered a little less than a century ago to boot GM and Ford out of the market in Japan.)

            The tax reduction doesn’t irk me that much, what irks me is that government gives money away to develop products but if I want to start manufacturing a product I have to save up my money and risk it in the market in the face of a government that will do everything it can to make my business fail. Others meanwhile get to take my money through the government to develop their products.

          • eric wrote “You mean aside from the billions the government (using taxpayer dollars) ladles out to major automakers and their suppliers to develop and manufacturer these economically not-viable turduckens?”

            No, the tax credit does not pull from other taxpayers. It removes revenue from the government, perhaps you should get your facts even remotely straight.


            Yes, all the other stupid government subsidies via direct payments to manufactures do. Tax incentives while they distort the free market they are much better than direct payments as subsidies. (This is something even Ron Paul says – look for other post on this thread).

            However, since you claim to be against all this corporate welfare, are you against all purchases from companies that have benefited from this government largesse? If so, I assume you advocate no purchases of cars from any of the major manufacturers. Correct?

            • Rob,

              Where does the government get its “revenue”?

              Government has no wealth of its own. It merely disposes of the wealth of others.

              And you want your slice, apparently.

          • Rob, automakers were handed specific grants (and sometimes loans) to develop electric and hybrid cars. This is above and beyond the typical government largess of tax breaks for building a factory or farmer subsidies. These were outright grants to develop these sort of vehicles.

            Rather than cover the billions that have gone to just about every player in the automotive game, I’ll focus on Nissan, hell I’ll focus specifically on the leaf.

            The USDoE loaned Nissan 1.4 billion dollars (probably at an interest rate of zero or close to it) to modify their TN plant to build the Leaf. There’s lots more of more generic electric car stuff of which Nissan benefits from, but there’s $1,400,000,000 just to get the leaf production going. Loans that will probably be forgiven if the vehicle flops if past history shows anything.

        • So I wanted an electric car, not for environmental reasons but because I wanted a way to be self sufficient. Exactly what options do I have to be transportation self sufficient other than an EV? Particularly when I don’t have access to feedstock for biodiesel or wood for gasification, nor a gas well in my backyard?

          Also according to you, taxpayers have already funneled lots of money to the development of an electric car. So I have already paid a lot for that development and your argument is I should just kiss that malinvestment completely away?

          As pointed out, my buying an EV does not take money from others, rather it lowers the theft I’m already facing. (non-refundable tax credit)

          So exactly how is it Libertarian for you to tell me I can’t have an EV because you disagree with the way they have been developed? How is this any different than those that want to force you to buy an EV?

          There have been many technologies funded by government (including development of the internet by DARPA). Does that mean we should not be using the internet because it was funded through theft?

          You said you don’t partake in theft, but it sounds like you live in a rural part of VA. I’m guessing you benefit a lot from government forcing utilities to provide you service at competitive rates. You are stealing from those that live in dense population areas so you can have cheaper electricity. Are you about to cut your connection to the grid?

          I always vote for politicians that support minimal government. I contact my representatives regularly to try and stop unconstitutional behavior. However, I have no problem making use of the money that has been stolen from me already, nor do I have a problem not giving more of my money to government if I can use incentives.

          I also would prefer to do business with companies that also support that behavior. I would have preferred to buy a Focus EV instead since they actively declined the bailout money that GM took, but they are still not on-sale.

          I guess that would mean I shouldn’t have a problem buying a GM, but I do have a much bigger problem with them, since the total incetives to date for people buying Leafs is about $225M (in lost tax revenue for the government) and is capped at $750M, where as GM took over 50x that amount in direct subsidies that were taken from taxpayers thru taxation and inflation.

        • Even if you think I’m whacked and not very Libertarian, I assume you believe Ron Paul is a pretty good Libertarian? If so, you do realize the type of tax credit offered on EVs is supported by Ron Paul, because it lets us keep more of our money and starves the government. It’s thinks like cash for clunkers or refundable tax credits (where if you don’t pay taxes you get money back) that are really really awful. Here is the quote from his website:

          “As a congressman, Ron Paul has consistently endorsed legislation to let Americans claim more tax credits and deductions, including on educational costs, alternative energy vehicles, and health care.”


          • If Ron Paul advocates throwing money at corporate boondoggles financed by coercion then I disagree with Ron Paul. At some point, this shit has got to stop. Yes, even if it means we’re left holding the bag. Otherwise, we might as well embrace the politics of parasitism and collectivism – and “get ours” while we can. Become maggots – and stop criticizing maggots. Because we’re all maggots.

            Not me. You go ahead, though.

            Here’s the bottom line:

            You’re actively supporting a government boondoggle you could easily not support. That’s the key thing here.

            Note well: I am not arguing that you or anyone ought to base their buying choices on criteria laid down by anyone except themselves – with one exception: When they are choosing to encourage and so help to legitimize a loathsome wealth transfer scheme. So, if you want to buy a new M3, great. That you may not need an M3 and merely want an M3 is entirely your business, since you are paying for the car with your money and BMW isn’t forcing anyone to buy the M3 or subsidize its purchase.

            But an EV?

            You are defending the subsidization of an absurdly impractical, uneconomic vehicle that would never have been built absent massive subsidies. This isn’t some old lady who has no real choice about accepting SS dole. Or me buying the gas I need to get around. You don’t need a $35,000 EV. No one does. The whole thing’s absurd – and despicable.

            Want to buy one of these electrified albatrosses on your own nickle? Be my guest. Just don’t tell me you’re a Libertarian if you think it’s ok to buy one with other people’s blood money.

          • eric wrote “You are defending the subsidization of an absurdly impractical, uneconomic vehicle that would never have been built absent massive subsidies.”

            I have absolutely said I do not advocate any form of subsidy. So no – I do not advocate it for it in anyway. However, you seem intent on labeling me as doing so no matter how many times I’ve said no.

            You seem blinded by a hatred for EVs and seem to hide behind a Libertarian facade. You can’t seem to see that some of the same things you complain about with EVs apply to so many other areas of which you benefit. It’s just hypocisy.

            eric wrote “You are defending the subsidization of an absurdly impractical, uneconomic vehicle that would never have been built absent massive subsidies.”

            I find it quite practical for its intended purpose as a commute vehicle and tried to demonstrate with numbers showing TCO (total cost of ownership) that is not nearly as uneconomically as you make it out to be. I’ve provided numbers to back up my assertion while you simply throw around emotional terms. Bottom line is for a consumer looking to purchase a vehicle like a well equipped Mazda 3 or similar, the TCO difference between that car and a Leaf is probably less than $5K even without the $7500 tax credit over a 8 year use of the car at current gas and electric prices. If the cost of oil rises faster than electric rates, then the difference will narrow.

            Note, the statment above in no way advocate use of EVs or has any political commentary.

            Anyway, it’s time to get back to work. While this conversation has been entertaining, it’s been rather pointless.


          • Forgot, for anyone that actually cares how the numbers actually stack up (less the emotion). Here is a Leaf SV, Mazda 3 5-door auto, and Versa 5- door auto. All base models with no options. Prices are MSRP including destination charge. Leaf price does NOT include $7500 tax incentives.

            Gas is shown for 8 years @ 12,000m/yr at $4/g at mfr. listed city MPG.

            Electric cost is show for 8 years @ 12,000m/yr at $0.12/kWh at 3.5 m/kWh (what we have been getting).

            Vehicl Leaf SV Mazda 3 Versa
            Cost 36050 20945 16550
            Oil 0 576 576
            Fuel 3291 13,714 16,000
            Total 39341 35235 33126
            Diff. N/A 4106 6215

            With $7,500 tax credit at current fuel prices the Leaf has a lower TCO.

            • Jeasy peasy!

              The Versa 1.6 sedan has a base price of $10,990 – not $16,650!

              The Mazda3 starts at $15,200 – not $20,945!

              Your maff is off by five thousand dollars!

              And: Gas is currently about $3.20 – not $4.Granted, it may go up again. It might also go down. Or stay the same. But right now, gas is about $3.20 – 80 cents less per gallon than you quote.

              $576 for oil? Really? I do oil changes all the time. Using non-synthetic oil and a standard-type filter the cost is around $25 ($5 per quart times four plus $5 for an oil filter). Let’s call it $30. Twice a year, that’s $60. Times eight years equals $240.

              Next, you leave out longevity. Decently cared for, a conventional car such as the Versa or Mazda3 can reasonably be expected to last for at least 15 years and well over 150,000 miles. Getting to 20 years and 200k – reliably, without major repairs – is realistic.

              Do you really think your electric turkey will last for 15 years and 150,000 miles without requiring major work, such as replacement of its battery pack?
              Have you priced EV battery packs?

              Will you expect a subsidy for your replacement battery pack as well?

          • Not sure why I’m responding since you are clearly an idiot!

            “The Versa 1.6 sedan has a base price of $10,990 – not $16,650!”

            Note I said 5-door auto Versa – the car closest to a Leaf. The price 16,650 is directly from the Nissan website.

            “The Mazda3 starts at $15,200 – not $20,945!”

            Note I said 5-door auto Mazda 3 – Notice that the leaf is a hatchback and auto. Oh wait, you’ve never been in one I forgot. Also, the price is directly from the Mazda website.

            “And: Gas is currently about $3.20 – not ”

            Well the current US average as of 5/28/12 according to the EIA ( is $3.69. So yes, I picked a nice round number. I don’t think it effects things much unless you think gas prices are going to stay low…

            “$576 for oil? Really? I do oil changes all the time. Using non-synthetic oil and a standard-type filter the cost is around $25 ($5 per quart times four plus $5 for an oil filter). Let’s call it $30. Twice a year, that’s $60. Times eight years equals $240. ”

            12,000 miles/yr * 8 years and change every 5000 miles for $30 = $576. FYi – I see you can’t do math either, 8*60 = $480, which would be a change every 6000 miles.

            I picked 8 years because that is the estimated life of the battery pack maintaining 80% of it’s capacity. The average passenger car life in the US is 9.4 years. Both cars will likely last longer with maintenance and repairs. Notice, that the only major maintenance on the Leaf is battery changes, and individual cells can be changed. How much residual is left at 8 years for both cars? Worst case with average depreciation, at the end of 8 years, the Mazda will be worth about 5,000 and the Leaf 0 (unlikely). Note, there are several ICE only type maintenance items that I didn’t try to include that will narrow the gap (timing belt, plugs, alternators, water pumps, etc.) that often need replacing around 100K miles.

            • That’s right Rob – I’m an idiot for using cost (and functionality) as the measure of the Leaf’s sensibility. It makes so much sense to buy a heavily subsidized $35k-$38k EV that’s slower than a three thousand dollar used econo-box and which has a maximum range of 70-100 miles, maybe, under ideal conditions that needs hours vs. minutes to refuel and that’s got maybe a 6-8 year useful service life before it needs a few thousand dollars’ worth of new batteries … in order to do an end-run around high gas prices – as opposed to buying a conventional economy car that with decent treatment canbe counted on to last at least 15-20 years … for $15k-$20k less!

              You’ll save so much money!

              Oh, that’s right. I forgot. You are not looking to save money. You just want an EV. No, scratch that. You want a luxurious EV. With heated seats and GPS and all the latest gadgets, too.

              So, we must compare the BMW-priced EV with comparably luxurious (and comparably costly) conventional cars. Who cares how much it costs, after all – since Uncle is paying the bill.

              Or rather, Uncle is forcing your neighbors and fellow citizens to pay the bill. So that you can putter around in your BMW-priced, taxpayer-funded feel-good mobile. At the expense of people who choose to live within their means – as opposed to living off the means of others.

              It has been pointed out to you, several times now, that cars such as the Leaf are massively – and directly – subsidized. Not just at the retail consumer level but at the manufacturing level. To the tune of billions of dollars directly earmarked for corporate boondoggling. The apotheosis of corporate welfare. Of corporate fascism.

              And you support this – you choose to aid and abet an egregious theft of and misallocation of other people’s resources in the name of some “greater good,” to manufacture a product that would otherwise never see the light of day because it could never succeed in the market. Because it makes no economic sense.

              You thus have no basis for objecting to anyone else’s boondoggle “investment” – be it in the form of “helping” failed Wall Street banksters or passing along your hard-earned dollars to “the poor.”

              That makes you part of the problem.

              You’re just another opportunist looking to cash in – using the government to do the cashing-in on your behalf.

              I may be an idiot – but I’m an honest idiot. I try not to live off the theft of other people’s stuff.

              You revel in it.

              I didn’t put a gun to anyone else’s head to “help” me buy my cars.

              You did.

          • Rob Keynes-

            I hereby declare you “the winner” as well as smarter than all the engineers, mechanics and auto journalists on this site.

            Now please go away.

    • The problem with tax credits on certain things isn’t that they reduce a person’s taxes. I am all for reducing taxes. The problem is the market distortion caused.

      • Then are you also against the home interest deduction? It heavily benefits the realestate industry?

        Are you against the tax credits given to oil producers? It clearly distorts competitive energy industries?

        So it’s not a problem on certain things, it’s a problem on all tax credits. If you don’t have a consistent level playing field for all industries and people you create distortions.

  9. Battery power is great for Golfers* and Walmart shoppers. It ain’t worth a shit for automobiles and it likely never will be.

    Petroleum is top dog and will remain so.


    *Anyone who would bulldoze a forest for a gawddamned golf course ought to be shot.

  10. eric wrote “Rob is a Libertarian and opposed to subsidies… except when they promote electric cars… etc. ”

    I don’t care if you call me a clover, it’s the same type of ad-hominum attacks the fucking democrats and RINOs use when they get cornered. I have never said I support subsidies for electric cars or PV. In fact I’m adamently against them. But I also pay a huge amount of taxes to support these stupid subsidies so no, I do not feel guilty in any way taking my money back. There is a significant difference.

    I suspect the only difference between us is that I have the balls to admit I’m taking advantage of the system while you take advantage but just like a progressive think you are above it all. So please spare me the “holy than thou” attitude. If you take child tax credits, home interest deductions, have a below market rate mortgage due to FHA or Fannie and Freddie guarantees, buy any import, use roads, … You are benefiting from the theft from others either via direct subsidies or inflation tax. So you can fight against it which I assume you do as a Libertarian, but pretending your not benefiting is just hypocrisy.

    As far as the question about would electric cars be viable without subsidies? I don’t know, because we would have to remove the massive array of subsidies that distort the entire economy to know.

    • Rob – I understand your position on taxes. I’ve taken energy credits when I could as well. It’s like they steal about 30% of the fruits of your labor, then at the end of the year they let you have a small portion of what they took from you back. If you can say the right magic words, you get a little more of your property back. But as it stands, I usually end up giving the tax feeders about 25% of my wages. Not dividends, not capital gains nor corporate taxes; I trade my time and effort even up for money, no profit realized, an even swap, which is my fundamental right. Rights are not taxable, so what we have here is lawlessness.

      The very people supposedly charged with protecting my Liberty and property steal both from me through the wage withholding taxes. So you can bet your ass I’ll do whatever I can to get as much of it back at the end of the year that I can (without risking the government dirt-bags beating, kidnapping and caging me that is). No, I don’t feel bad about taking every deduction, credit or exemption available to me because they still take a pound of my flesh every year. It’s totally different than the Wal-Mart clerk I heard bragging to her coworker that she’d paid in $1500, but with the “Earned Income Credit” she got back $8000; that’s theft straight up, because she took back more than she paid in, from our wages.

      If you’re paying in, taking advantage of a credit to recover some of what the bastards stole from you the previous year is no sin in my book. If you can figure out a way to get it all back, do it. It will merely help lead to Leviathan’s demise that much sooner. And, no, recovering your stolen property as soon as you can is not the same thing as using the Gun-vernment to mug your kids 30 years down the road for “your” Social Security, not even close.

    • Yes, there’s a difference.

      But you’re still actively supporting corporate welfare – which is much worse than merely attempting to get back some of what has been taken from you.

      This is not ad hominem. It’s just the truth.

      I do not and have never supported any such corporatist scam. I oppose them all. You should, too.

      • You can lie to yourself all you want, but I can be nearly 100% certain the you support corporate welfare in the same way buying a Leaf does. Let’s do a little test:

        Have you ever bought an imported item?
        Supported by FED monetary policy that benefits those closer to the initial release of the money at the expense of all other dollar holders.

        Have you ever bought gas?
        I’m sure some of that gas has contained ethanol, or did you forget about all the subsidies to farmers for growing corn?

        Have you ever bought produce grown in the US?
        Have you forgotten about all the farm subsidies?

        Do you have kids? Do they go to a public school or have you attended one?
        Oh yeah, there’s that money being forcibly taken from those of us without kids for your benefit.

        Do you own a house? Was it financed?
        Since 90+% of all home loans are guaranteed by the US government either through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mace, you got a lower interest rate by pushing the risk onto other citizens.

        Ever eat fish from a US producer?
        Fisherman are heavily subsidized in the US.

        Ever flown on a major US airline?
        Did you forget about all the bailouts over the last several years?

        Ever bought a GM or Chrysler product?
        Have you forgotten about the bailouts, not just the latest?

        How about all the foreign governments that take from their citizens to promote cheaper exports?

        The list can go on and on.

        The point is not that I think any of this is right. I think it is all theft by proxy. I don’t support subsidies for anything. However, to try and say you haven’t been the beneficiary of them or supported them via use is just plain hypocrisy or are you just dellusional?

        • Rob,

          In no way do I (or have I ever) actively support(ed) corporate welfare; you on the other hand do. Buying gasoline or an imported item is all but unavoidable. Buying a Leaf, on the other hand, is not.

          You chose to participate – knowingly, going into it – in a gross rip-off of your fellow citizens. That is something I will not do and have not done.

          • eric wrote “In no way do I (or have I ever) actively support(ed) corporate welfare; you on the other hand do. Buying gasoline or an imported item is all but unavoidable. Buying a Leaf, on the other hand, is not. ”

            Total cop out to make yourself feel good. You can easily choose to walk or bike rather than buy gas. You could choose not to buy imported goods. You just happen to be on this kick against electric cars and it’s clouding your thinking.

            Also, since my credit for the car is a non-refundable tax credit, are you saying that I’m ripping off my fellow citizens by not allowing you to use the government to take more of my money by force?

            What your saying is that you want the government to take my money that I’m getting off my taxes for buying the car and use it to fund those things you say are unavoidable.

            Total hypocrisy!!!


            • No, Rob – it’s not a cop out. You chose to buy yourself a heavily subsidized toy built through corporate welfare. An item you could easily have chosen not to buy. Something you do not need – that no one needs – that you could easily, comfortable, have done without. It does not save you money. It is not more useful or convenient than a normal car (quite the opposite).

              You just want the electric car. Heated seats, gadgets galore.

              Very different than needing to buy gas.

              In re that: No, I can’t “easily choose to walk or bike rather than buy gas.” I don’t live in the city – and selling my place and moving to the city in order to not buy gas and thus (as per your reasoning) be true to my principles and not a hypocrite vs. you electing to buy an EV when you could easily have chosen not to is so obviously different – such a silly comparison – I won’t bother to elaborate further.

              PS: Your money is gone. Whatever has been taken from you by taxes – poof. Gone. All of us are in the same predicament, and few if any of us have the option to choose not to accept our tax refunds, say. But you had an easy choice not to support this grotesque transfer payment scheme. But you chose to participate, because you just wanted an EV. A fancy EV. One with heated seats and steering wheel, high-end stereo… etc.

              And you don’t seem to care that it requires billions of dollars be extracted by force from taxpayers to “make it so.” Lovely.

              Your position is one Mussolini would endorse. You’re a good corporatist.

              I at least try to be true to my principles. I would not choose to buy a massively subsidized Leaf or any other EV when I can choose to buy (on my own nickle) a good used economy car. Or whatever – just so it’s not directly helping to enable a loathsome transfer payment scheme.

              Big difference there.

              Notice that only affluent people can indulge in the EV lifestyle – and they’re doing it on the backs of people who try to pay their way.

  11. Until now, hybrids appeared the best compromise. A small petrol/diesel engine (range extender) charges the battery of the electric motor. Each of these need space, add weight and cost money. The aggregate efficiency is less than that of the engine itself. Say 60% (engine) x 80% (battery + charger) x 90% (motor) = 43% (drive train). Add 7% for regenerative braking gain and you have 50% overall efficiency. That is still less than 60% engine efficiency for less space, weight and price.
    Grid power generation is not more efficient either and the grid loss is 10% more.
    So much for economic feasibility.
    Volkswagen already sobered up. Others at the brink of it.
    Hayek pointed out, that inflation is like drug: Euphoria followed by assured devastation, with overall net loss.
    So much for exporting inflation. Just do not tell this to your grandchildren.
    China started to trade oil with Iran in Yuan Renminbi, not in USD. So much for the world reserve currency.
    Everything is temporary. Even the electric car. It lasts as long as subsidies last.
    I would not want one even if it was free.
    If it goes this way, it could be given free to substitute food stamps.

    • Zoltan, I really don’t think hybrids are the way to go. I think you either go full electric or ICE and pick the tool that best fits the job. The problem with hybrids are your increasing complexity dramatically for a small efficiency increase and to mitigate against the range issue for an electric vehicle.

      It looks to me that we would be much better off removing the massive safety regulations and getting the weight of cars lower to improve gas mileage and have pure electric vehicles for shorter range commutes.

      Also, as you point out the US is loosing it’s reserve currency benefit. There are quite a few countries now engaged in direct currency exchanges without using the dollar – a bad sign. This can have significant impact on the US abilty to import cheap oil. The US is in a much better position with natural gas (even though that is massively over hyped) and coal to produce electricity than we are for petroleum.

      I would love to see the end of the incredibly stupid regulations that makes natural gas conversions for older cars economically not viable.

      What happens if we have a significant conflict in the middle east? US dollar collapse? What happens if we truly are at or approaching peak oil and prices for petroleum will only rise from here? We are incredibly dependent on imported oil for trucks, cars, agriculture, etc. It seems stupid to put our eggs in one basket. I for one prefer options so I have multiple vehicles that run on different fuels.

      • I am with you. Agree in all points. That was my argument. For most of the car makers, going along is PR, mostly paid by subsidies. Aggregate efficiency is less than component efficiency. There are losses all along.
        As to pick the best for cars, the engine is still the norm.
        One engineer asked me this: If you are rich in oil, would you deplete your own oil reserves first or other countries reserves? When all others ran out of oil, you will remain to be oil rich.
        Weird, isn’t it?

  12. Electric cars are a joke! Eric, you’ve said it before, but where is interest in CNG automobiles? They’re far easier to convert and actually WORK. All without the toxic batteries and other ridiculous “feel-goodism”. It’s absurd!

    • MoT – There are some problems with using CNG, although they aren’t insurmountable for those of us with some technical acumen and plenty of initial capital to invest. It requires a high pressure cylinder (~3000 PSIG) for the vehicle’s fuel tank. The compressor you will need to fill up that tank is rather costly (I found one capable of filling an 80L tank in 3 hours on EvilBay for a pittance…merely $12,096. (Like this one: That of course excludes the vehicle mounted tank(s), diffuser for your throttle body, high pressure hose and fittings, regulator and fuel line to the diffuser, wiring, breaker and 220V outlet capable of handling a 2.5KW single phase motor. You will also need a natural gas source to compress; so if you live in a town with natural gas or have a well head in your back yard you’re all set.

      Of course you’ll want to be careful not to run out of fuel, because unlike an IC engine or even the slower refueling EV, you’ll be hard pressed to find a fuel source away from home. I suppose you could come up with an onboard compressor of some sort, but size would limit the fill rate and unless it ran off gasoline, you’d need one hell of a deep cycle battery to refill the CNG tank with something that small. You would also have to be very careful with valve lineup when connecting and disconnecting the fill line, because rapidly expanding high pressure gas will freeze your hide and cause frost bite. Heavy insulated gloves would be in order.

      In the event you were to have a traffic accident, a high pressure tank failure (even just the rupture disk) could create an explosive atmosphere (albeit briefly) in the vicinity of the vehicle. One spark, poof, no eyebrows and mustache, bad deal. In the event that the accident was so bad that the tank valve broke off and the tank itself escaped its mounting straps, you would have a serious missile headed who knows where.

      I personally like the idea, but I think propane (LP Gas) would be a better bet.

      • CNG can be dual fuel. A simple small gasoline tank and a switch and two fuel maps in the computer takes care of running out of CNG where none is available.

        • Quite right BrentP – there are even some pretty cool diffuser set ups available to convert gasoline powered generators over to dual(or even tri-) fuel as well (like this: A couple of nice things about propane (as opposed to CNG) is it doesn’t go bad like gasoline (or even diesel) and it’s a store-able as a low pressure (typically <150 PSIG) liquid at room temperature. So for my money, I'd probably go with propane and have a 500 or 1000 gallon (dip tube) tank in the backyard (preferably buried) since NG is not readily available in my neck of the woods. That way ambient temperature wouldn't be an issue for summertime fill and no one would be able to see if from the road if the SHTF.

          My main consideration was for a CNG only vehicle due to space constraints. If you were to add the cylinder(s) in the trunk for instance, you give up cargo room, but retain your original full size gas tank. If you replace the gas tank with two CNG cylinders to keep your vehicle's range reasonable, you lose dual fuel capability. Now I suppose you could shoe-horn a couple of CNG cylinders and a smaller (say 5 or even 10 gallon) emergency reserve gas tank all under a vehicle just so you could get home to your CNG compressor and keep your carrying capacity. But I was more considering (a) a straight conversion to CNG in my musings above to compare apples to apples with an EV (as opposed to a "dual-fuel" hybrid), and (b) using an older vehicle with a carburetor rather than an ECU equipped “modern” vehicle with all the bells and whistles, since you'd be able to work on it more easily under the old shade tree.

      • Perhaps, the best would be producing gasoline by the Mobile process or diesel fuel by the Fisher-Topsch process from natural gas or methane. Every petroleum refinery is equipped for that. The price of the so produced synthetic fuels would be about the same as the mined and refined fuels. The abundance of the natural gas would ensure that. Synthetics burn cleaner than minerals. The infrastructure is there. Flex fuel engines, which run on gasoline and/or diesel would solve our problems for about 50 more years.

    • I actually favor the idea of H2O2 over CNG for the reasons Boothe gives. Industrial grade H202 (80% or better) is hard to handle safely and there are problems to be solved making safe automobile tanks for the stuff, but it isn’t much (if any) worse than CNG. H202 has about 1/5th the energy density of hydrocarbons fuels but it can be manufactured fairly easily using solar or nuclear fuels. I sort of lean towards H202 generation using thorium nuclear fuels but it could be manufactured on site using our existing power grid if we replaced our coal generators with thorium nuclear plants.

      • We can produce fuel even from moist air (or from dry air and water) using solar panels to split water. However, first we would have to make methane so the synthetic fuel would cost more than the mineral fuel. However, starting with natural gas (98% methane), the price can be in parity. The side product would be Naphtha and Paraffin.

    • Here’s an interesting thing: Back in the mid ’90s, there was a brief burst of interest in CNG (and propane). I attended several events held by Ford and GM where I test drove converted existing models as well as dedicated CNG/propane prototypes. They seemed to be very committed to developing these cars for the private market. Then, the interest just went away. I could never come up with a reasonable explanation. Unlike these filthy electric cars, which are typically small and poor-performing, the CNG cars I tested were “normal.” One was a CNG version of the Crown Victoria – a six-passenger, V-8 powered RWD sedan. It ran and drove just like the standard Vic. At the time, the conversion cost was estimated to be about $2,500. If accurate, it would mean a much less expensive vehicle, relative to an EV. Also, much less expensive to own and maintain. CNG and propane are plentiful and affordable. They burn cleanly (which also helps the engine live longer and require less in the way of maintenance).

      But, we lose – these vehicles are not being produced and apparently there is no interest over at the OEMs to produce them. The good news is this is a conversion that’s backyard doable. Might be worth looking into…

  13. “Once charged, the Leaf’s maximum range on one charge is 73 miles, according to the EPA.”

    38k to go 73 miles at a time!


    Oh shit, there’s more…

    “Because the Leaf is all-electric, it isn’t powered by gasoline. In most cases, that means owners must charge the Nissan Leaf before they leave home, which can take up to 20 hours without an optional quick charging station”

    If you had to haul ass and your battery is dead you’d need to wait 20 hours before even thinking about it!

    • And don’t forget: That 73 mile range (100, being generous) is under ideal conditions. Battery performance declines under extremes of temperature as well as load.

      So, in winter – not an issue for Rob in sunny SC – the Leaf’s range would decrease, probably a lot. Last December, it was in the low 20s every day for almost the entire month – teens at night. I doubt the Leaf would have been able to make it the 35 miles into town and back. It might not have made it to town – let alone back.

      Then, there’s summer. When it’s 98 degrees out and humid, most people will want AC. AC requires power – and in the Leaf, that means a good portion of the available juice is being used to operate the compressor. Since that power is not being produced or replenished, it means there’s less available to run the motor – which equals less range.

      Then there’s terrain: The Leaf (and all EVs) is most at home on flat terrain. Climbing hills puts a load on any car’s powertrain. I would dearly like to subject the Leaf to Bent Mountain – which I climb every day. You go from appx. 900 feet ASL in the valley t 3,200 feet ASL near our place – in the course of about three miles. This trip makes a Prius squeal. The little LCD indicator showing battery charge? It’s almost drained by the time I get to the top. The Prius, though, can recharge itself. The gas engine comes on and you keep going. But in the Leaf? Drained battery = stopped.

      • I’m not in SC (southern california or south carolina). 🙂

        We have a 2000′ elevation change across town, so yes, the car regularly spends lots of time on hills. Temperature ranges so far while we have owned the car have been from 16 to 93.

        Heat so far hasn’t been a problem, we shall see when it gets over 100 how the AC does. Cold does have an effect, but I’m not sure it’s the effect of cold on the batteries or the fact my girlfriend uses the heated seats and steering wheel on high all the time. It does have a lot of instrumentation so you can see how much juice various systems are using and it tells you expected range changes if you turn off climate control. Generally it reports 3-5 mile change.

        As far as range, again, it’s picking the right tool for the job. When you routinely drive 50 miles or less every day it’s never an issue. We have even forgot to plug it in an been fine for two commute days – we just drive a bit mellower.

        As far as a charge, it generally takes ~3 hours if it’s pretty drained. We generally only charge to 80% to increase battery life, and charge it fully when we expect to drive farther. If we come home in the middle of the day and expect to go out again, you just plug it in and by the time we leave again, it’s ready to go.

        For you with 35 miles to town each way, with hills, yeah, it might be pushing it. So probably not a good fit. Again the right tool for the job.

        If I want to go camping, I don’t take the motorcycle (well I have), but generally that’s the job for the Jeep. Haul stuff to the dump – take the truck. Want to have fun in the twistys – that’s the job for the Miata, want to go fast take a motorcycle, quick trip to the store I take the electric scooter. Commuting – the Leaf is perfect. If I had to have only one vehicle, I probably wouldn’t make it the Leaf, Miata or a motorcycle.

  14. I have some exciting renewable news. In 2010, 1 million megawatt hours of US electricity came from solar. Makes you proud to be green doesn’t it?. Here’s where the other 4,124 million megawatt hours we used in 2010 came from:

    Geothermal 15, Trash Burning 27, Wood Burning 37, Oil Burning 37, Wind 95, Dams 260, Nuke 807, Methane Burning 999, and Coal Burning 1847.

    Politics is at root a war against reasoning, calculation, and self-preservation. Anyone trying to get you to act against the reality of energy production is in the same class as mass-murderers and holocaustic psychopaths.

    • Tor, if this is an attempt to argue against solar power it’s right up there with “Would you jump off a bridge just because your friend did it?”

      Try arguing against solar from an economic standpoint. If you’re somewhere south of 42 North, solar usually makes sense and it doesn’t matter if your skin is Green, Blue or Purple.

      • Oh and PS, I *did* jump off a bridge just because my friend did it. Looked like he had fun so I just said what the hell and jumped. Go figure.

      • As I attempted to point out earlier, electric consumption plays a huge role in it making sense as well. Buying your own generation system for economic reasons requires a certain level of consumption in the first place.

      • Electric cars are worse than regular cars. The fuel to run them is burned somewhere else with much worse emissions than gas and catalytic conversion.

        Robbing productive citizens to give preference to the more damaging electric car technology is ludicrous.

        Solar is .00024 of America’s energy. Even with Obama in power for 2 full years as of the stats compilation.

        Telling Americans they can live on solar is like telling an obese man he can live on a half a calorie a day. Its fucking sadistic nonsense.

        Anyone who ranks politics, media manipulation, and feelings above the realities of deployable technology is the lowest form of anti-human vermin, IMHO.

      • I’m only saying solar is irrelevant to America’s energy needs as a whole. Like the Иew Radıcals once said: “Wake up kids, we’ve got the dreamers disease…”
        I fully support any individual who uses alternative energy sources, I hate the control freak grid and the way you have to legally identify yourself to use it. Why can’t I just pay anonymously for a year of electricity in advance with cash, and not have to give a name or LLC tax id number?

        • Tor-

          Across the street from my house is a ditch that runs with spring water all year, even in the summer when it doesn’t rain for two months, and is quite a strong creek in the winter months when it rains continuously. It has micro-hydro written all over it. But in the Pacific NW we have an even stronger force paralyzing progress than “the children.” Here it’s “the salmon.” You cannot slow, impound, impede, or otherwise molest in any way a single drop of water that is trying to make its way into a salmon stream without a gajillion-year environmental impact study.

          It’s sad because this area is perfect for micro-hydro like Southern CA is tailor-made for solar, but the watermelons spend their weeks trying to tear down dams all over the state that have been up for 100 years because of “the salmon.” Then they bitch about coal on the weekend.

          • There is no one dumber in the history of the world. The amount of things Americans wrongly believe gives them a negative IQ on average.

            I’m surprised all rivers aren’t lined by homeland security cameras, scanners, and water quality drones.

            The American watersheds are some of the most highly damaged and disfunctional in the world.

            The best thing would be to reintroduce subsistence tribes that require functioning hydrological systems to live.

            Secondarily, all manner of hydro-frontier profiting and scientific works should also be undertaken and privately funded.

            It’s time to return to reality and tangible accountability. One deals with a river in the physical reality space. Agreeing that words, regulations, or political actions have any beneficial bearing on our precarious water vulnerabilities is negotiating for our own annihilation and subjugation.

          • We’re getting ready to dig a pond… out in the pasture… so as to have a water source for livestock (plus fish for us). Luckily, here in SW Va., one can still do such a thing without asking permission first – or getting a “study” done.

  15. eric wrote “Yeah. I’m shoveling shit by questioning the notion that a compact car priced in the mid-high $30k range which requires nearly $10k in direct subsidies is “economical.””

    Your the one who keeps saying I’m claiming it’s economical. I have never made that claim. I said without subsidies and when you take total cost of ownership into effect, you pay a premium, but not a substantial one. I also said there are other reasons to buy a Leaf – expectations of higher gas prices or distruptions, or perhaps you just like them. Why do you buy one car over another? Do you always buy only based on price?


    • Yes, because that’s the primary reason touted for the car. Not performance (which sucks). Not convenience (which is inferior to a conventional car’s). Not roominess (nothing special there). Not style (please!). The premise is: This car doesn’t burn gas – which amounts to: It saves money! But it doesn’t.

      Leave out the fact that it’s an EV and what have you got? A 10 second to 60 compact economy sedan that’s equivalent to a nicely equipped Corolla or similar. Except it costs easily $15,000 more than the nicely equipped Corolla.

      So of course, the car is unsalable. Hence it must be subsidized.

      Hey, I like ice cream. Maybe the government should buy me some on your nickle?

      • eric wrote “The premise is: This car doesn’t burn gas – which amounts to: It saves money! ”

        Did you miss why I bought the car, because I wanted something independent.

        Also, for those that think gas is cheap, it is because it’s subsidized heavily. So if you don’t agree with buying something that is subsidized then you better not buy anything that is imported, and that includes oil based products.

        The US economy is heavily subsidized due to the petro-dollar reserve currency. Because oil and most international trade is done in dollars it means the FED can print and export the inflation to other countries. It means we don’t get the effects of inflation, but get the benefit. However, that is changing and gas as well as all other products we import are likely to get much much more expensive in the future until we can produce more products to export and balance against our needed imports.

        Buying the leaf and putting PV on the roof is a hedge against that issue, and yes I would have probably done both without the subsidies.

        • Independence – purchased at the barrel of a gun. How is this different in principle from my going out tonight and robbing some poor bastard so as to make myself more independent?

        • Exported the negatives of inflation but kept the benefits? Do you have a maid that does all your shopping for you or something, or do you just not look at the price tags when you buy things?

          Gas is cheap because it’s subsidized? Doesn’t the cost of something go down as innovation makes it’s production more efficient? I’d say gas would be cheaper if it weren’t so heavily regulated.

          • No, I don’t have maid. 🙁

            The prices I see for most goods make me think we are running 10-15% inflation/yr for the last 3 years. So yes, it’s bad here – particularly for food, clothing, things you need. Far worse than the BS figures we are getting from the BLS and FED.

            However, we are experiencing much less than the 30% inflation seen in other countries (China). That’s what I mean by the FED exporting our inflation.

            As far as gas being cheap, it’s primarily subsidized due to the petro-dollar. So yes, I believe it is cheaper than it should be under our inflation, but because we have the reserve currency we get oil and other imported goods at a considerable discount. If all subsidies and currency manipulation were removed, then less regulation would most likely result in cheaper oil assuming production was keeping up with world-wide demand.

            However, if you look at production statistics for countries over the last 5 or so years, it’s pretty evident oil production is not keeping up with demand. The cost of each barral produced is also rising – ie. the EROEI is dropping. In a non-distorted market, this would result in rising energy prices.

      • I disagree with the performance statement. Electrics have a potential of much higher performance because of the higher power density of PM electric motors and enormous instant current and locked rotor torque.

        Any performance issues are a result of a particular design, not electric cars per se.

        Watch this electric car smoke a Dodge Viper off the line:

        Most electric cars have so much torque that they have to be moderated by the motor controller so that the driver doesn’t peel out every time they take off.

        Everything else you talk about is spot on though. The batteries are way too expensive, don’t last long, and the whole thing is subsidized. I would guess that in about 15 years batteries will be good enough to be economically viable without subsidies.

        • There are a number of ways to hit a limit. It could be the battery pack’s ability to deliver current. It could also be the torque limitation of the motor. Or it could be a current limit in the motor controller or battery management system to prevent damage, excessive heat, etc.

          Also the kind of motor (brushless DC, brush, inner rotor, outer rotor, etc and so on) used as well as the geometry of the motor plays a big role in how much torque it has.

          • This is true. I was mostly speaking to the fact that all things being equal, PM motors have a higher power density than gas engines. The only motors that have higher density are jet engines and hydraulic motors.

            A lot of RC planes are using LiIon batteries and brushless synch motors and can achieve thrust/weight ratios greater than 1:1 so they can hover. Any propulsion system that can do that has a very good power density.

          • I actually have a Electric Scooter (Current C130) as well. It’s pretty much a prototype – yes I like my toys. The limiting factor for acceleration is the current through the motor and supply wires. It actually has thermisters in the motor and along the wires, and the computer cuts power if the wires get too hot.

            The batteries are capable of providing far more current than the motor or supply wires can handle. I suspect the Leaf is the same way.

            One thing to keep in mind about electric vehicles is they are mechanically much simpler than an ICE based vehicle. Motor, batteries, charge controllers, and motor controllers. They are basically a couple of moving parts attached to a computer(s).

          • current delivery is a function of the cells. Often the BMS will limit current. Sometimes there is an actual fuse in the BMS that stops high current draw that lasts more than a very short while. A last ditch safety measure for a hard short.

            Mechanically simpler is a matter of perspective. IMO the problems are usually different but the work is still there. Sometimes electric is more simple for us mechanicals sometimes its not. It’s a product by product thing.

    • You don’t support subsidies, but power your smugmobile with heavily subsidized solar, by your own admission.

      You say you didn’t say the Leaf was economically viable, but you did say it was almost economically viable about 15,000 times. What happens to “almost” when you take away all the “rebates” for the solar juice and handouts from Uncle to the car manufacturer?

      You also said it was almost a host of other different things. What a great car. The Almost.

      There’s gotta be a funny way to apply “leafshitter” to this discussion. Come on help me out I haven’t eaten dinner yet and my mind is fuzzy.

    • Rob, I for one understand your argument and agree completely. I don’t own a Leaf because I NEVER buy new cars (I gave that up shortly after I met my first girlfriend).

      You do need to say something to support the Mazda 3 MSRP though. The numbers are available on the web for anyone who bothers looking. The base price of a Mazda 3, as Eric points out, is advertised to be $15,995 exclusive of destination charges, tax, title and license fees.

      • I thought I had. While the base Mazda 3 is 15,995, comparing it to a Leaf is not accurate. You really have to start with a much higher end car. For example, you have to compare it to a 5 door (hatchback) with an automatic since the Leaf is much closer to a CVT type automatic than a standard (the leaf has no transmission). Also the SL level of the Leaf has good stereo, navigation, backup camera, heated front/rear seats, homelink auto dimming mirror, keyless start/entry (RFID type tag), multi-cd stereo/mp3/usb player, fog lights. So comparing it to a base Mazda 3 is just not a fair comparison. You have to compare it to comparably equiped similar size/power car. So I went on the Mazda site and built a car as equally as I could find and that’s what I posted – not just the starting base number on the front page.

        I think that makes sense, do you?

        • Then the leaf is what? Certainly not an economy car. People looking to save money don’t buy all that stuff. So why compare it to a economy car for operating costs? Might as well compare it to a BMW 1 series or something. The car’s market becomes more or less the “smug” market. It’s an image car, not an economy car. It’s for people who want their luxuries but also project a certain “green” image.

          • I don’t think it is an economy car. I think of an economy car as something like a Yaris, Corolla, Versa Sedan, Fit, etc. Perhaps it should be compared to a lower end BMW. What makes a car worth more? Is it only the name for BMW, Porsche, Audi, Lexus?

            I actually think you get better build quality as you go up into the luxury lines. Better sound proofing, higher performance, nice leather, real wood, …

            In that case the Leaf is probably much more comparable to a well equipped similar sized hatchback. That’s why I picked the Mazda 3, too me it seemed the most similar.

            When we were considering other cars, our actual next closest competitor was probably a Suburu Legacy or Outback, but those are AWD which the leaf is not, so I figure the Versa or Mazda were more similar.

            Another way to look at things is that you are essentially pre-paying for a discount fuel with the Leaf. The car is more expensive because it means much less later for fuel and maintenance costs (or at least it looks to be the case). So comparing the cost of the car without taking that into consideration is misleading.

            Saying look the Leaf at $38K is comparable to a $20Kish car is probably pretty accurate. I don’t dispute that, but then you have to take into account that the Leaf will most likely be much less expensive for the miles driven (in the case of the Versa, it looks like about $3k versus $13K for fuel at todays fuel prices.

            It’s the same way to look at PV. When we installed our PV system, based on the cost of the system and expected output I could essentially say, we were essentially prepaying for 400K kWh at about $0.14/kWh. Is that a good deal? Depends on what happens with fuel prices in the future. If you think they are going to go up substantially then it’s a good hedge.

            • I understand you don’t think of the Leaf as an economy car, but the fact is that it fits the profile. It is a smallish sedan that’s rather slow and clunky-looking. Here’s a test: If you did not know it had an electric powertrain, what category of car would you put it in? The answer is obvious.

              Ok, so it has an electric powertrain. Now you have an small economy-type sedan that costs nearly $40k!

              Comparing with with a BMW: I mean no offense but to say that tells me you are not very knowledgeable about cars. Here’s why. A BMW is a luxury-performance car. A major justification for its price is that it delivers much higher levels of performance (acceleration, handling and braking) than a regular bread-and-butter car. It is also more luxurious, featuring equipment and amenities not generally offered in lower-priced cars. To compare a car such as the BMW with a car such as the Leaf and try to paint them as even remotely equivalent is ludicrous.

          • The ‘real wood’ and so forth is part of the image that people want to project with those cars. Instead of that, the leaf offers a different image.

            The mazda 3 and others are actual economy cars. They are less about image and more about cost. That’s why all gizmos and such are options and not standard if they are available at all.

            The leaf offers all the gizmos, but has an electric drive train at a cost to size and trim. Set up like that standard It’s a car for someone who wants to project an image. Someone who wants to save money would want their electric car to be equipped like the base mazda 3.

        • Similar in power? The base 3 is slightly quicker than the Leaf, 0-60 (which needs about 10 seconds to get there). It is much faster – top speed-wise.

          Other than its tall roof profile, the Leaf is about the same size as most current economy compact sedans – like the 3 sedan.

          You want “a good stereo, navigation, backup camera, heated front/rear seats, homelink auto dimming mirror, keyless start/entry (RFID type tag), multi-cd stereo/mp3/usb player, fog lights” Hilarious!

          Brent’s right: You’re all about having an expensive toy. Subsidized by others.

          Is this not pretty obnoxious?

  16. The problem with electrics are the low energy density of the batteries. Their advantage however is the high [i]power[/i] density of permanent magnet motors. Electric cars properly designed can out-accelerate any gas engine, but they won’t go very far.

    Also, by using pulse width modulation techniques on the motor drive, it acts much like a continuously variable transmission, but with >90% efficiency.

    They aren’t anywhere near cost-effective yet, but when they are, they will be much better than gas cars because of power, acceleration, and almost no maintenance.

  17. Until there will be a breakthrough in battery technology (10x more energy in 10x less space and weight), electric vehicles will remain economical only for short commutes and golf carts and such.
    Government subsidy is is unfair to the taxpayers, yet may have long term benefits if induces that breakthrough.
    So far, it seems we already paid–at gunpoint–high price for miserable return.
    It is amazing that such subsidies induce voluntary private industry investment for not wanted to be left behind.
    Even destructive policies can have unintended constructive side effects.
    Eric just wanted to point out that private development of ideas, whose time is not here yet, is OK, as long as it does not imposes on the taxpayer or anyone else.
    I just have pointed out that with layman’s example that even without any subsidy, the electrical option is still lagging far behind the internal combustion one.
    That will be here for long time to come.
    We better focus now on how to run it on cheap and abundant natural gas, for having difficulty obtaining cheap gasoline and diesel fuel now.
    The main drive of the electric car is pollution reduction in cities.
    Electric cars shift and boost that pollution to remote or rural areas.
    It makes the planet less–not more–green.

  18. I guess the problem I have is that you are not reviewing a car, how can you, you’ve never driven it, but using a “car review” as a vehicle for political commentary. I suspect we are close to 100% agreement on goverment issues, after all I link to your articles from Lew Rockwell.

    I would have no problem with the “review” if it was an actual review that lists the pros and cons of the vehicle. Yes, it’s expensive compared to other vehicles, but that can be said for many other vehicles. Do you hold the same distain for buying a Boxster versus a Yaris? After all you can get better gas mileage, range, and a much cheaper perfectly good vehicle for a lot less. As far as I know the Leaf, and other pure electric cars have one giant advantage over other vehicles which is why some of us have one: independence.

    You can be relatively independent of outside resources for an extended period of time if necessary. And you can do so without a huge premium over other new car choices. Say we have break down in the currency, or another energy crisis like the 70’s. An electric car paired with a large off-grid PV array is an insurance policy that is hard to get with other transportation choices. As far as I know you have the following options:

    Electric vehicle – and an off-grid PV setup.
    Bio Diesel vehicle – and the capability to make the bio-diesel w/feedstock.
    Wood-gasifier vehicle (if you have a woodlot and the expertise to run it)
    Natural Gas – if you have a natural gas well and off-grid compresssor.

    Unless you want manualy powered transportation, electric vehicles w/PV are a proven, and easy way to obtain that insurance – just a bit expensive and heavily politicized. I think you do a disservice to your readers by not reviewing the car for what it is versus using it as a political football.

    I personally think the Leaf is an excellent first generation mass produced electric vehicle and were not all hippy environmentalists that drive them.

    • Hi Rob,

      The article was not touted as a review! It’s – clearly, I hoped – commentary. The reviews are identified as such. They are posted in their own specific section.

      This one’s identified as what it is – commentary. Under politics.

      That said:

      I just don’t see the sense in paying almost $40k, pre-subsidy, for what amounts to an “economy” car.

      The Boxster is a high-performance sports car; you are paying to get a high-performance vehicle. Now, if the Boxster took 10 seconds to reach 60 and handled like a Yaris, then yes, I’d denounce it for those reasons – that is, for being stupid.

      How is a nearly $40k electric car economical? And if it’s not economical, then why bother?

      One can buy a very nice compact hatch for around $16-18k – or about $20k less than the pre-subsidy cost of a Leaf. The standard car not only costs much less, it does not require a massive subsidy to get people to buy it. And it has none of the functional compromises such as an operating range much less than the standard car’s, much longer recharge times, etc.

      in re “first generation” –

      Electric cars have been “almost ready” for decades – literally. They never come close to achieving even rough parity with a conventional IC economy cars in terms of cost considerations – and isn’t that ultimately the one thing that matters?

      In re insurance –

      You’d be much better off setting aside a little cash for a good used motorcycle. Something along the lines of a DRz250 or KLR250 can be had used for less than $2,000 in very good shape and will give you 90-100 MPG and go almost anywhere, anytime.

      • “One can buy a very nice compact hatch for around $16-18k – or about $20k less than the pre-subsidy cost of a Leaf. ”

        Your off on your pricing. I just put together a quick spead sheet of the costs comparing a Mazda 3i Grand Touring 5 door and the Leaf SL and tried to match the feature set. The Mazda had a sunroof and power seats which the leaf doesn’t have but the rest of the equipment was close.

        Mazda 3
        Cost $25,155 (from Mazda web site)
        Fuel $ 9,600 (12000/yr * 8 years @ 40m/gal @ $4/gal)
        Service $ 768 (oil changes every 5000m @ $40)

        Leaf SL
        Cost $37,250 (from Nissan web site)
        Fuel $ 3,291 (12000/yr * 8 years @ 3.5m/kwH @ $0.12/kWh)

        I figure both need regular services outside oil changes, including tires, etc so those should be relatively equal.

        So without any subsidies at all for the car, the difference over 8 years is only about $5,000 (not $20,000). With the $7,500 subsidy you are about equal assuming you use the $2,000 to fund the charger – ours was about $1,500 installed – those should get cheaper as well.

        So yes, the subsidy is wrong, but it really brings the two cars to about parity, without it you are paying a premium but not near as big as you make it out to be, in fact probably less than picking a German versus Japanese manufacturer.

        “You’d be much better off setting aside a little cash for a good used motorcycle. ”

        Already have 4 bikes in the house – Z1000, 919, Ninja 600R, Current C130 (electric scooter). Hmm, I only get 40mpg on my 919 – perhaps it’s the way I drive. 🙂 All but the last one still require gas, and none of them can carry several hundred pounds of cargo or 5 people.

        “Electric cars have been “almost ready” for decades – literally. They never come close to achieving even rough parity with a conventional IC economy cars in terms of cost considerations – and isn’t that ultimately the one thing that matters?”

        As I have shown above they are getting very close, and while they have been around for decades, no one has ramped up to true production quantities. There are about 30,000 leafs now on the roads with Nissan thinking they will hit 50,000/yr this year.

        I still say, not bad for true first generation production car. As other manufacturers get to market I suspect electric vehicles will get to parity pretty quick with ICE cars on price once you consider fuel. If you have to travel long distances, an electric car will probably never be a solution, but for in town commuting, I can easily see a fairly large adoption.

        • Hey, I see that work again. SUBSIDY.

          I may have pissed someone off, but this is a Libertarian car website.


          To the guy who pays a lot of taxes, ok that would be a rebate.

          To the guy who would buy and refurbish a USED EV, good for you….. I may do that too. I buy used, so in a way, I am a parasite on those who buy new. I am not a tax parasite though.

          If the shoe fits……. Don’t blame me for pointing out the obvious though.

          I will wait until I can buy a used rooftop solar installation on Craigslist for pennies on the dolllar. Then power a used EV. Thanks for making my day.

          I truely appreciate the idea!

          • I consider those who get subsidies tax parasites as well and advocate for the immediate end to all subsidies.

            I consider it a rebate since I have paid way way more than I have ever received back from government.

            jvg wrote “I may have pissed someone off, but this is a Libertarian car website.”

            Not pissed off, completely agree with the Libertarian commentary, what I disagree with is the irrational anti-electric car mentality. That’s not Libertarian, your not being forced to buy one. If it was semi-logical I could understand it, but the facts show that even without subsidies (at least not those directly to the consumer) an electric car for commuting is becoming viable.

            Also, when you consider GM got a huge bailout, how much of a subsidy was that for each ICE car they manufacture? Do you also condemn buying any GM product, not just the Volt? I certainly do.

            • Rob,

              I’m only “anti electric car” in the sense that the electric cars which exist only exist because of massive government subsidies. They’re economically/commercially not viable absent these subsidies. Why should a company get paid to produce that which does not sell freely, on its own merits? That is the Libertarian view.

              I have no problem with you or any other person (or company) working to develop a viable electric car – and if they succeed, would applaud them.

              Do you see the distinction?

          • I consider it a rebate since I have paid way way more than I have ever received back from government.

            Isn’t this the “don’t touch my Social Security” argument?

            If an electric car were economically viable, more people would drive them. In reality it’s an enormous pain in the ass. It requires far more day-to-day thought from the owner to work. Have you ever been busy and forgotten to fill your gas tank, then found in the morning on the way to work you had to make an extra five minute stop to fill up or else wouldn’t make it where you were planning to go? I sure have. What happens when instead of a trip to the station you need to charge up for 1/5 of the length of the day?

            It’s not a conspiracy, it’s not idiocy on a grand scale, it’s just that not enough people want one of the damned things.

            It’s a technological step backwards. It decreases your efficiency, freedom of movement, ability, it does not increase these things. This is the antithesis of progress. It’s of a piece with it now taking longer to fly cross country than it did 40 years ago. You used to be able to cross the Atlantic at Mach 2 on the Concorde. Now they cram you into an A380 like sardines and call it the new way. Volume instead of speed. Thrift is the it thing now. Higher, faster, better, and more comfortable are dead. It saddens me greatly.

        • The base price of a new Mazda3 is not $25,155! Jeasy Peasy! Where do you people get this stuff? The 2012 Mazda3 sedan starts at $15,200. You are off by $10,000!

          The most expensive version of the ’12 Mazda3 sedan – the s Grand Touring – has an MSRP of $22,900!

          You’d have to buy every option – and pay full dealer mark-up – to pay $25k.

          Re-do your maff, mang!

          And PS: What sort of crack do you have to be smoking to factor in sunroofs and other luxury amenities when discussing the economic virtues of a car? This is not unlike the fatso who orders a triple Thickburger… and a small diet Coke. If saving money is the object, then you don’t buy “loaded” anything. You buy the necessary essentials. You try to pare down your costs. Not just what you spend on gas (or electricity). The whole thing. Otherwise, you’re just posing. Look at me: I drive an electric car! I care about conservation… and frugality… even though I just spent twice what it would cost to buy a decent economy compact … Please. Spare me the enviro-posturing! A new Leaf – or Volt – is a rich (or at least, comfortably affluent) person’s car. It is ludicrous as a money-saver.

          On bikes: Your 900 cc sport bike (and mine) won’t get 70-plus MPG. But my 250 cc dual sport gets 80-90 or more. My 650 cc touring bike averages 55 – and it can carry home a load of groceries. It’ll do almost anything a Leaf can do – and will do many things the Leaf can’t do. PS – I paid $1,400 for it – less than you paid for your subsidized by me charger!

          On the production numbers of the Leaf: Wait and see. GM’s “estimates” for the Volt were off by just a wee bit. I expect the same to be the case for Nissan’s electric Turducken!

          • Wow, are you really that pissed that a manufacturer won’t give you a car to drive?

            eric wrote “And PS: What sort of crack do you have to be smoking to factor in sunroofs and other luxury amenities when discussing the economic virtues of a car?”

            I looked for a model on the Mazda website that had the same features as the Leaf. After all if you are comparing cars, you should try to compare cars that are equal. I picked the Mazda3 because I would consider it about the same size/performance as the Leaf – at least the last time I drove one. The price was from the Mazda website, and yes it was the MSRP price for the features I could find that matched the same features on the SL Leaf. If I look at the topline versa, it still is missing some featues on the leaf and it’s 19,970 and your fuel cost in the scenario I outlined above would be 13,714 since it only shows 28mpg in the city. You are back to looking at roughly the same costs I outlined above +/- 2000.

            I never said I was trying to be frugal or save. I said I bought the car because we were going to buy one anyone, and we wanted certain luxury oriented features (heated seats, keyless start, nice stereo, etc). The leaf had them.

            Also, clearly you can’t surf very well:

            Mazda 3 (5 door) s touring starting price 21,800, w/Auto transmission, destination brings you to $23,395. add XM, Homelink auto dimming mirror, floor mats, and wheel locks (all of which the leaf has) and tada, your at $24,255. So no, you are completely whacked in your price.

            As far as paying MSRP, you can bargain on all cars. So yes, you should pay less for either car.

            NOTE AGAIN – NOT LOOKING AT SAVING GAS OR MONEY! If you buy a Leaf you are probably not a person looking to save money because you most likely won’t,unless gas prices rise considerably. You will probably pay a bit of a premium over a similarly equipped ICE car. And yes, Leaf buyers are most likely fairly affluent and would be buying nicely equipped ICE cars as well – like the high end versa or mazda 3, or camry, or …

            But when you do a comparision of a Leaf with any other car you have to compare total cost of ownership. That includes vehicle cost, fuel cost over the time you expect to own it, maintenance costs. When you do, the Leaf and a similarly equipped ICE car are not that far apart.

            Have I clearly stated – SAVING MONEY WAS NOT THE OBJECTIVE. Buying a nice car for commuting and an insurance policy for higher gas prices and/or gas disruption was the objective.

            Do I give a crap about the image – no. Do I give a crap about the environment – not really.

            eric wrote “It’ll do almost anything a Leaf can do – and will do many things the Leaf can’t do.”

            I’d like to see you haul 15cu ft of cargo and 5 people on your bike! I think not….

            eric wrote “On the production numbers of the Leaf: Wait and see. GM’s “estimates” for the Volt were off by just a wee bit. I expect the same to be the case for Nissan’s electric Turducken! ”

            Perhaps, but they already have 30,000 on the road. So they are well on their way. Will they get 50,000 this year, maybe, maybe not but I’m sure they will do far far better than the volt (and many volts are sitting on showroom floors!)

            Also, you keep calling it a compact, did you look at the numbers on the dimensions I posted. It’s almost the size of a camry in passenger space and cargo. If you don’t consider a camry a subcompact then you can’t consider a Leaf one either.

            I think your letting irrational rage at government cloud your thinking.

            • No, I’m pissed that the government steals money from honest people to “help” dishonest ones – who live by force rather than by free exchange. I don’t like thuggery, whatever its form. That’s all.

              And please stop trying to tell me the MSRPs of these cars. I have the press materials given to me by the car companies right here. Jesus Christ! The 2012 Mazda3 sedan’s base price is $15,200. The i Gran Touring sedan’s base price is $22,550. These cars sell nicely equipped for about $18k. That’s with AC and most power equipment.

              You’re adding all sorts of optional high-end luxury equipment – at full mark-up – to get to the $25k mark.

              Well, why not just go ahead and buy the fucking Tesla? It’s got everything! All the bells and whistles! Who cares about its cost…. I’m being green!

              Yes, I call it a compact – because it is. By definition. According to Nissan. According to EPA and DOT. Christ! Do you get to make up the categories now, too?

          • Rob insists on framing the argument in his own terms rather than in those laid out in the article. You’re shoveling shit against the tide, Eric.

            And as can always be expected when a person argues long enough in favor of social engineering boondoggles, the truth about Rob outs:

            …irrational rage at government…

            This statement alone should earn one some greenery, if you know what I mean.

            • Attempting to discuss anything with these Clovers is immensely frustrating. Thy just skip along, arbitrarily changing the terms of the debate, loosing non sequiturs and maddening contradictions. Rob is a Libertarian and opposed to subsidies… except when they promote electric cars… etc.

              A $38k car that in every objective way is similar to a $15k standard economy car is somehow not to be judged by that standard… even though its sole reason for being is to reduce or eliminate fuel costs – meaning, the cost to operate the thing… which means economy is the primary consideration. But if it costs $38k then it’s pretty damn uneconomical, isn’t it?

              Not as Clover sees it!

        • Once again, gasoline includes taxes, electricity does not. The use of electric cars is more subsidized than cross country trucking.

          • TheOneGuy wrote “You’re shoveling shit against the tide, Eric.”

            You got that right, eric is shoveling shit. 🙂

            ThatOneGuy wrote “And as can always be expected when a person argues long enough in favor of social engineering boondoggles, the truth about Rob outs:”

            How many times have I had to say I don’t support any form of subsidies. Are you just stupid?

            ThatOneGuy wrote “…irrational rage at government…”

            Your right on that, I don’t think his rage at government is irrational, I think it correct, that should have been worded:

            Your letting your rage at government make you thinking about electric vehicles irrational.


            • Yeah. I’m shoveling shit by questioning the notion that a compact car priced in the mid-high $30k range which requires nearly $10k in direct subsidies is “economical.”

            • Rob,

              I don’t give a hoot what you choose to buy with your money – or how a company chooses to invest its money. I do object, very much, to your defending the idea that you’ve got some right to force me (and others) to “help” you buy a car – or anything else. Or that EVs – or anything else – are entitled to subsidies at gunpoint.

              By all means, go out and spend $38k of your money on a Leaf – a car that’s inferior in every respect to a $15,200 Mazda3 or other such car. And if Nissan wants to build 250,000 of them on their nickle, by all means. Go for it.

              Of course, Nissan would not have made even one production Leaf – absent the subsidies. Just as I suspect you would not spend $38k of your money on a Leaf, either – absent subsidies.

          • Fine, take the average gasoline tax of $0.48 off and so you have to have gas at $4.50/g to be equal.

            However, government has screwed up gasoline and electric prices so completely, how can you possibly measure the value of either?

            Gas and electric prices are severely distorted from what they would probably be in a free market.


            • As has been mentioned previously, gas prices are actually at or near historic lows in real terms. It is inflation of the currency – our devalued currency – that makes gas appear to be more expensive than it actually is.

          • You can say you don’t support subsidies until you’re blue in the face. As long as you continue to sing the virtues of subsidized boondoggles I’m going to call bullshit.

            It’s kind of hard to take your so-called liberty bonafides seriously when you come on here and try to sell us on products that would not exist without subsidy, then attempt to say it’s all ok because you oppose the subsidy that makes it possible.

            Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken, to quote a favorite film character of mine.

          • @ eric: “As has been mentioned previously, gas prices are actually at or near historic lows in real terms. It is inflation of the currency – our devalued currency – that makes gas appear to be more expensive than it actually is.”

            Right on, eric. I remember the early 60s, when a gallon of gas cost a quarter. In those days, a quarter contained about .17 ounces of real silver. Today, that same amount of silver is worth about $4.70, more than enough to buy a gallon of gas. So is gas getting more expensive or is our money being devalued?

          • That’s an excellent point Brent, one that bothers me too. I figure eventually we’re going to see some kind of attempt to tax EV fuel.

            I have my own water well and a few years back, during a drought year, there was talk of putting water meters on private wells. I dread the day they suggest putting meters on my PV array so they can tax me on the “fuel” I use.

            Kind of like pink diesel I suppose.

          • Eric ‘m sure you know I’ve been working on my Clover badge for quite awhile so I hope you take this comment as it’s intended.

            Although Rob is verifiably understating the base MSRP for the Mazda 3, I kind of have a problem calling people who take advantage of tax credits “Parasites”. I’m not sure how the tax thing works on EV’s because I don’t own one, but I *am* sure how it works with PV arrays and it’s a credit, not a subsidy. In other words, if you buy a PV system you *don’t* have to pay as much income tax as you would have because you did something the Government Likes.

            I couldn’t take advantage of that credit when I bought my array because I don’t make enough money to pay taxes anymore.

            Not paying taxes is a good thing. Finding ways, however perverse, to legally not pay taxes should be the goal of any liberty loving person. There you go. I probably just blew my chances for a Clover badge AGAIN. Next time I’ll keep my mouf shut.

            • Here’s the thing, Scott.

              He’s actively promoting corporate welfare – which is very different than an individual accepting a tax rebate. He is helping to legitimate the very things we, as people who resent the Total State, corporatism and collectivism, despise.

              I have this argument often with Republican “conservatives.” I point out that if they defend (for example) shoveling money at Raytheon or Lockheed Martin then they have destroyed any basis for objecting to the government shoveling money Solyndra’s way. Etc.

              I understand practical exigencies. Even though I am very uncomfortable with partaking of any of the state’s stolen boodle – notwithstanding what has been stolen from me – I understand and don’t condemn people for accepting their tax refunds, etc.

              But I won’t cross the collectivist Rubicon and partake of anything that overtly helps further collectivism, such as encouraging/legitimizing these grotesque EV boondoggles.

              They (EVs) should sink – or swim – on their merits. Or lack thereof.

          • BTW, according to the reckoning of the Fearless TAX FEEDER Killers, buying a car manufactured by GM is an instant ticket to hell. You make the stakes, I’ll go get the pitchforks and torches.

          • Nope gas is nearer to its all-time high than its all-time bottom. It doesn’t occur to Libertarians that gold and silver might be trading at higher than normal prices alongside higher than normal oil prices. It’s probably due to all the Libertarians trying to stock up on gold and silver in preparation of the financial end-times.


          • But that isn’t all taxes on gasoline. That’s just some of the taxes. For instance, Illinois charges a sales/use tax percentage on top of the per gallon taxes. It does not do that with electricity.

            Furthermore purchase price is part of the cost of ownership. The purchase price of electric cars is subsidized and the operating costs are not as heavily taxed while the development costs are also subsidized and that’s a fact. Electric cars, if they had to cover their development costs like other products would cost even more or not exist.

            • Yup. As a case in point, I submit Tesla. This company would not exist absent corporate welfare. At least the other automakers do build cars that actually sell on their merits.

              If one were to add in all the subsidies that result in a car such as the Leaf – not just the obvious ones like the $7,500 “cash back” rebate but the huge sums ladled out to the major automakers and suppliers down the line – the true cost of the Leaf would probably be twice the published MSRP.

              The relevant point, though, is that absent these subsidies these cars would not exist – at least, not as production models. That tells us all we need to know, doesn’t it?

    • In the culture here in the USA practically everything is political to one degree or another now as so many people use the government to dominate, control, guide, etc in so many areas of life.

      Driving became political a very long time ago. My interest in automobiles was initially almost entirely technical. I wish it could have stayed that way, however when around every corner is another person or group who thinks he or they have the right to tell everyone else what they should be driving and what should be subsidized and what should be taxed, the political aspects cannot be ignored.

      It is possible to make most gasoline cars into ethanol burners for emergency purposes. Yes damage will be done, but it is long term damage. So as far as independence in terms of making ones own fuel or usable energy when it comes to that it isn’t a particularly huge difference. Plus if things get that bad we aren’t going to be driving much of anything for reasons that have nothing to do with fuel.

      But while some may choose it for independence the products themselves represent considerable taxpayer funds over the many years. Wealth taken and then used to advance private companies that happened to have the right connections. I’d love a couple billion dollars to develop an electric car. But I don’t have the political connections or ability to get it. Well guess I won’t be developing an electric car. I develop products for living but I don’t get grants of taxpayer funds and newly created FRNs to develop stuff. I suppose maybe I should get to know Mark Kirk a little better… Oh wait that’s politics in cars again.

      • I like to restore old bikes. I could make a persuasive case for them as “low-impact” transportation. No “externalities” associated with them because their major components were built decades ago; no need to mine/manufacture anything – or at least, very little. These bikes are “affordable” and get better mileage than any current car, including hybrids.

        But do I go peddling my wares to the government, wheedling for handouts provided by shaking down my fellow human beings? Hell no! The idea repels me.

        I don’t want a god-damned penny that’s not mine by right – and I despise people who believe they have the right to take anyone’s rightful property to “help” their cause, whatever it may be.

        If you would not threaten your next door neighbor with a club or gun in order to make him do “x” – then don’t go doing the same thing like a pussy (in addition to a thug) by getting Uncle and “the law” to do it for you.

        Damn. I’m angry today!

        • I was being sarcastic. I wouldn’t do it. Well unless I have one of those “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” days. 🙂

          Mark Kirk once visited a former employer that no longer exists. It no longer exists in part because federal law wasn’t changed to better allow for new technology and competition. (yes, a freer market) Kirk promised to work for that and of course then didn’t. No federal subsidies either. So people continue to die needlessly at cost to the taxpayers and profit to the status quo with miserable 1960s technology.

        • eric wrote “If you would not threaten your next door neighbor with a club or gun in order to make him do “x” – then don’t go doing the same thing like a pussy (in addition to a thug) by getting Uncle and “the law” to do it for you. ”

          Completely agree. My favorite story is Button, button – here is your interested:

          • Well, if you do agree, then you’ve gone against your own stated principles by advocating for the Leaf and other electric cars. If you own one, you’ve lost a great deal of moral standing to criticize anyone else’s subsidies – which would make it rather hard for you to be a credible Libertarian.

            I’m not trying to be mean. I’m just pointing out that you pretzelize yourself by saying you agree with the statement above… after a rousing defense of subsidized EVs!

          • Eric, I’m not advocating for or against electric vehicles. I’m saying, the Leaf for the cost and depending on what you want it for is a reasonable car that deserves to be fairly examined independent of political view.

            You can buy one or not. I agree with you that they shouldn’t be subsidized, nor should anything else, but we currently live in a world where I’m not the supreme dictator so we have what we have. Personally, I would much rather buy a subsidized Leaf (since at least the subsidy is fair to all manufacturers), than any GM bailout car.

            Do you take advantage of the home interest deduction or the child tax credit? Those are the same things. You can fight for what is right while still taking advantage of the stupid game to limit your tax consequences – or as you put it the theiving government – of which I agree.

            Also, as Scott pointed out, the tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit which means you get to reduce your taxes but don’t get any back if you don’t pay enough taxes to take it. In addition the charger credit phases out when you get too high an income, we didn’t get to claim it…

            • How can the Leaf be examined independent of politics when it is the creation of politics? This car would not exist absent politics!

              Reasonable? Your car is an electrified economy compact platform – loaded with cute options, sure – but nonetheless, a car that is fundamentally an economy-type car… slow, ungainly, poor handling and ugly … that costs more than a new BMW 3!

              Meanwhile, for less than half the cost, one can buy a solidly functional legitimate economy car, with all the essentials (AC and the major power options) for $15k or less.

              So yes, I think the Leaf is absurd.

        • Eric, If you think you can buy a new similarly equiped car for under 15k please prove it. What car? Compare the feature list.

          I originally compared the Leaf to a well equipped Mazda 3 hatchback, because that is what I think it’s is probably most comparable (features & size). The only reason it was compared to a BMW (by someone else) was due to ammenities, not the performace aspects.

          However, the performance of the Leaf is quite good for in-town driving. I can easily pull away and get in front of most cars from a light. Particularly where we are at 6000′ where an ICE car takes a 20% or so performance hit and the Leaf doesn’t.

          Also, you can’t compare strickly on initial cost, you have to compare to ownership over the expected use of the vehicle. Any even remotely similarly equipped BWM will be substantially more expensive to own over say 8 years due to gas, maintenance costs and repairs. The original point of my first post, was once you count total cost of ownership, the Leaf is not near as expensive as you make it out to be.

          • The performance (acceleration) of the Leaf is inferior to virtually every new car on the road. The average new car is capable of reaching 60 in 8 seconds or so. Your car needs 10-plus seconds.

            Your car would have trouble outrunning a $10,000 Nissan Versa!

            And if you use your car’s limited available power frequently, your range will plummet. Unless the Leaf is spayshull, and somehow dramatically different than the EVs I have driven and also the hybrids – which if driven at all hard get tired real quick.

            This is surely the reason why the car is not in the media test fleet. Five hours on the highway at 70-75 MPH? I doubt the car could maintain 70 for even one hour before it croaked out.

            Not as expensive as I “make it out to be”? The base price is $35,200 – which is “entry luxury” in today’s market, comparable to the cost of a Lexus ES350 or BMW 3.

            That’s a pile to pay for a car that’s among the slowest things going, and which looks sadder than the old Geo Metro. Your car should have a “kick me” sign taped to it back!

            It is also easily twice as expensive as a decently-equipped conventional economy sedan. By which I mean equipped with AC, a decent stereo and power windows/locks – easily buyable for around $17k. I have test driven three or four such cars at that price point over the past couple of months.

            Do some poking around and look what you could have bought for even $20k – something like the Hyundai Sonata, for instance.

            Bottom line: You are trying to justify to yourself and others your purchase of a massively costly toy equipped with all the bells and whistles. Subsidized by other people.

  19. “And: While the BMW can carry four adults effortlessly, if you put four adults in the Leaf, the pitiful little POS would probably not make it 50 miles due to the increased curb weight.”
    “How’s that for credibility?”

    Calling a car you’ve never driven a pitiful little POS and using “facts” like ‘probably not make it’….

    Yer right, that’s credibility. Or an agenda. Your readers can decide.

    Have a nice day.

    • Cap’n –

      I have driven many electric cars: The EV1/Impact, electric versions of the CR-V and several others besides. Remember, I do this for a living. While I haven’t yet tested the Leaf, I have the context provided by my experience with very similar EVs. And then there are Nissan’s (and EPA’s) published numbers. Who shall we believe? You – some guy posting on a blog making anecdotal claims? Or the company that makes the damn car? Or the government that ran the car through extensive testing? Or the observations/evaluations of a professional car journalist with 20 years of experience?

      I’ve pointed out – with facts – that you’re wrong about the Leaf’s classification (it’s a compact). Wrong about the cost of an average mid-sized car (about $22k – not $32k). Wrong about the cost of gas.

      Of course, you just drive on and continue to tout the wonders of your BoondoogleMobile.

  20. Okay, I’m with JimmyDreams. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the forced subsidies, large governemnt interference, but I view it as getting back some of my money that was taken from me already. I’m not a tree-hugging environmentalist at all, in fact I’m quite the hard core Libertarian.

    However, Eric, while you bad mouth the cars, the Leaf is actually a very fun car to drive. Electric vehicles, unlike hybrids are mechanically much simpler than ICE vehicles and are approaching (not quite there yet) economically viability. The Leaf is also very quick and I have a great time shocking people when the light turns green. It’s great where we live because of the high altitude performance penalty doesn’t apply making the Leaf even faster.

    While you complain about the range, it’s choosing the right vehicle for the job. If you have to commute 20 or so miles each way to a job the Leaf is a great car. It’s quick, nimble, has nice features. We’ve had a Leaf for about 6 months now and are completely happy with the decision to buy it. By my calculations if gas prices remain around $4, then the car is about the equivalent of buying a similar equipped ICE vehicle over a life of about 8 years. I look at it as a hedge against higher gas prices so I can save the gas cost for the fun longer drives in my Miata, Jeep (total gas hog), or Honda 919. 🙂

    We fuel our Leaf with heavily governemnt subsidized solar – sucks to be you! But even PV arrays have dropped in price that without subsidies they are becoming more viable.

    On the mid-sized argument, I would call the Leaf a smaller mid-size car, not compact. It does seat four (normal sized) adults quite well, and the performance doesn’t seem to change much (no more than an ICE car). 5 adults would be tight, but as you point out, your not driving long distances. As far as luxury, I would consider it pretty high up – nice stereo, heated seats all the way around, navigation, backup camera, etc. Definitely not an entry level model, but not as luxurious as an A4 – but it’s very quiet. As far as size, it’s not that different from a Camry and much bigger than a Fiat 500, and the leaf would clearly be better for tall people in the front seats:

    head room (front)
    Leaf: 41.2 in
    Camry: 38.8 (no moonroof)
    500: 38.9

    hip room (front/rear)
    Leaf 51.5/50 in
    Camry 54.5/54.5
    500: 47.8/42.6

    leg room (front/rear)
    Leaf: 42.1/31.1 in
    Camry 41.6/38.9
    500: 40.7/31.7

    shoulder room (front/rear)
    Leaf: 54.4/52.5 in
    Camry: 58.0/56.6
    500: 49.4/46.4

    cargo volume
    Leaf: 14.5 cu.Ft
    Camry: 15.4
    500: 5.4

    Eric wrote: The oil industry isn’t a candidate for sainthood, but it produces a product that people are willing to pay for and able to pay for without government “help.”

    I think you are right, there should be no subsidies, but oil is pretty heavily subsidized, particularly via the petro-dollar standard (which may come as quite the shock to most people as the dollar looses it’s reserve currency standing).

    Note, I don’t advocate the hybrids, particularly the Volt with Government Motors massive subsidies. Hybrids really don’t make sense because you are doubling the complexity of a vehicle versus a ICE or pure electric vehicle. So please rag on the volt all you want! But pure electric cars do have a place, particularly as battery technology becomes cheaper and they get more price competitive with ICE cars.

    Alex who commented on NiMH versus Lithium Ion batteries. NiMH have weight, energy density, high self discharge and memory issues – that’s why they aren’t used in cars – or other high energy devices anymore. Battery techology is just now getting to a point to make electric cars feasible – previous electric cars all suffered from battery related issues (weight, low energy, short lifespan). Thanks to the craze for small electronics (laptops, cell phones, etc) , battery tech has increased a lot in the last few years.

    Flame away!

  21. This blog couldn’t contain more errors if it tried.

    I’ve owned a Leaf for 17 months, and I’ve put over 23,000 miles on my Leaf. I haven’t run out of juice once. Of course, I ALSO had never tried to take it to Vegas…..I use it for it’s intended purpose: commuter car. (I also never try driving my lawnmower to Mexico nor do I try to ride my bike up Mt. Everest….as I said, ‘intended purposes’)

    I put about 1400 miles a month on my Leaf, and my electric bill for the car is about $35/mo. (it has a separate meter for the car, so that number is accurate). So let’s do the math, shall we?

    1400 miles a month at $35/juice = $.025/mile
    At $4.00/gal for gas, $35 will buy you 8.75 gallons of gas.
    To go 1400 miles on 8.75 gallons of gas would mean you’d need to get 160mpg. If you pay $4.50/gal for your gas, that’s equivalent to 180mpg. I think your readers can guess which way gas prices tend to go….

    But wait, you said if everyone bought electric cars, electricity prices would shoot up overnight!! Uh, no, because utility companies are regulated. Sure, they will go up, but not between breakfast and lunch as gas prices do. I can only speak for myself, but I ENJOY a steady $35/mo for my Leaf juice. Do you enjoy your ever-fluctuatiing gas bill? (be honest here, Eric, because we all already know the answer.)

    Consider this as well: if you buy a new car that gets 35mpg and intend on keeping it for 8 years and you drive 15,000 a year, you’ll be buying over 428 gallons of gas EVERY YEAR. At $4.00/gal, thats $1,714/yr or over $13,000 for the 8 years. Conversely, my Leaf would cost $375/yr or $3,000 over the 8 years. That’s assuming gas prices don’t go UP, (which we know they will)… I think I’ll save the $10,000 AND not polite the air with exhaust, etc.

    Not every car is for every person, but can you make an ATTEMPT at using real information instead of regurgitating the latest rumor and made-up ‘fact’ about something you obviously know little about?

    I’m happy to go over more facts and numbers with you if you’d like.



    • Hey Capn’ Planet –

      Your anecdotes aren’t facts. Sorry.

      In contrast, I’ve repeatedly disabused your BS with facts – such as regards the size of the Leaf (it’s a compact) how many people it accommodates (five tortuously; four uncomfortably; three adults and a kid or two adults and two kids realistically) how much a current mid-sized family car costs (about $22k), etc.

      Here’s another one: Gas is cheaper now in real terms than it has been in years. The only thing that’s gone up is inflation.

      And another: The EV subsidy alone ($7k) is almost enough to buy a new Nissan Versa 1.6 – without putting a gun to anyone’s head.

      If these cars – electric vehicles – are so gosh-darned cash-saving and efficient and practical, then why, pray, must they be massively subsidized? The fact is, Cap’n, that absent the subsidies – that is, absent sticking a gun in taxpayers’ faces and forcing them to help you buy a car – these cars would not exist except perhaps as engineering demonstration projects.

      I see from your “solar” ID that you have an agenda to peddle. Me? I’m just relating the facts.


      • How can my factual numbers be ‘anecdotes’ compared to your opinion?

        The only agenda I have to peddle is to combat FUD and BS when I see it.

        Let’s compare:

        – you admit you’ve never even driven a Leaf, but your opinion trumps my real-world stats.
        – you looked into solar but it would take ‘decades to break even’. My solar will break even in just under 1 decade (and the panels are warranted for 25 yrs).

        You got me…..I have NO idea what I’m talking about and my anecdotes are myths and legends. Your facts, on the other hand, while having never had solar and having never so much as driven a Leaf are correct.

        Who REALLY has an agenda, Eric?

        • How much electricity are you using to break even so quickly?

          It would take way more electricity than what I use to justify it. I’d have to buy an electric car just to justify the solar panel installation! 🙂 Which then puts me further in the hole.

          When it comes to generating your own electric power, how much you use is a huge factor. The more you use the better it looks. For instance where I went to school the campus is heated and powered by it’s own co-generation plant. It makes sense over several large buildings.

          For my miniscule electric usage? Foolish.

          • Before solar (and before I installed central A/C), my monthly bill averaged $250/mo. My yearly electrical bill is now $110. For the year. My solar was just over $24,000 installed.

            It rains sunshine here in SoCal…. 😀


            • Solar may make economic sense in an area such as yours, where it is sunny and temperate almost year ’round. But many places are neither sunny nor temperate year ’round – in which case, solar makes much less economic sense.

              Similarly, electric cars:

              If you live in a temperate, mostly flat urban area then you have an environment best-suited for an EV. But if you live in an area that has months of cold weather – then months of very hot weather or which isn’t flat (or urban) and you need to have a car that can reliably deal with those circumstances, then you do not want an electric car.

          • In dollar terms you’re using considerably more than I am. AC weather is less than 2 months a year.
            It would take me over 30 years to pay for an installation costing the same.

          • I just kept most the trees on my lot and planted some bamboo for even more shading. We run the AC no more than five days a season and even then not for the whole day.

    • This electric car thing is getting like the SUVs. People going through torturous arguments of why they ‘need it’ or what benefits they get from it. Why can’t people just admit they buy what they _want_? Tired of hearing these lame justifications.

      Oh and Jim, the gas math doesn’t work. Hybrids always fail to payback in the typical useful life of a car. (I did that math on this site as a comment in another thread) Meanwhile electric car owners never use a level playing field in their calculations. First they don’t compensate for fuel taxes which are a major component of the pump price*. Nor are electric costs ever realistically measured as often the costs are highly variable upon location, political climate, etc and so forth and then are mixed in with other household energy costs. Once all these factors are considered and brought to par the cost of going a particular distance evens out considerably.

      Anyway, if saving money is the goal then a new car of any sort, especially an electric or hybrid is not the answer. If the desire is to save money, then the purchase of a used economy car in good condition is the answer. Pay single digit thousands for the car, get high mpg.

      Ultimately the reason for an electric or hybrid is the same as it is for the SUV. It is what the buyer wanted. The rest is just justifying their choice to the world. The economic and environmental arguments for hybrids and electrics are just as silly as having the towing, hauling, and other reasons SUV owners used to use. Same social crap.

      Try not justifying your preferences to the rest of the world. You might find it liberating. You might also make different choices when you stop being concerned what other people are going to think of your car.

      *Of course they expect to use the road not only without paying the fuel based user fees but to get priority treatment, which is yet another issue.

      • Brent…

        You are correct. Everyone buys their car for personal reasons. The simple fact is is that no car will be free to own and operate, and those costs vary by vehicle type, length of ownership, etc.

        I don’t feel I’m so much as justifying my preferences here as combating Eric’s opinions-disguised-as-facts with real world experience.

        As for using the road without paying for it, trust me, that free party won’t last long. If EV’s become poplar, the powers that be will institute a per-mile-driven EV tax in order to get their revenue stream where they want it.

        Some people like to go fast, so they buy a sports car. Hardly suitable for many things, but it goes fast, and they’re happy. Some people feel they need cargo space so they buy an SUV or a truck. Me? I got tired of fluctuating gas bills for my commute, so I thought I’d become an early adopter and try an EV. I love it. YMMV.


        • I don’t particularly want to be subjected to having my movements logged forever because other people want electric cars. That is simply unacceptable. Make the electric car users get tracked or put a meter on their charging station or whatever. However that is outside the point I was making, which is that the costs are not being captured in these comparisons. It’s been this way for about 20 years now. Admittedly I haven’t done the math recently but when I last did the savings for the electric car vanished. Any difference currently would be the result of the fact that inflation doesn’t occur evenly throughout the economy.

          I haven’t found any of Eric’s facts to be wrong and disagreed with some of his opinions and agreed with many others.

          Simply put, a new electric or hybrid car is not a way to save money and the leaf is a five passenger car like my mazda protege is. It’s got seat belts for five but it can’t actually hold five adults my size. I’ll take an old RWD Olds 88 type car to actually carry five or six people.

          • Olds 88 was a nice car. It was big roomy for five and a strong engine. I have no idea about the specs, but as a young kid the feel of that car moving was something else. 🙂

            • When I was a kid, my parents had a succession of Olds 98s – same as the 88, only higher trim. Great big boats with three-across bench seats, swimming pool-sized trunks and torquey, simple, V-8s under their hoods.

              Aside from these things, the other huge difference between cars like the 98 (and 88) relative to modern luxury cars is that the old boats made no pretense about being “sporty.” They were designed to float along, and the highway ride was ideal for endless road trips.

  22. One thing not mentioned is that the appeal of electric cars is that the pricing model for electricity used in the present time makes them appealing. The comparison of cents/kWh of electricity against $4.00 gasoline is tantalizing. Imagine, though bazillions of electric cars charging on the grid. Then the $$ rates for electricity would skyrocket. (& gas prices would come down)

  23. Eric, thank goodness there are good tea party folks like you who tell the truth. Gasoline power rules!!! God gave us oil, so we obviously shouldn’t be using these sun powered solar electrical things. God never intended the sun to power anything. Batteries are part of a government plan to get one in every household, and then they blow up and burn you and your house up. That’s how they will kill us all. Thank God that gasoline doesn’t do that.

    I know you’re a good Fox News viewer like me… did you see the story about electricity that costs $1.18 per gallon? It cost something like $58 dollars to drive a tankful in a Volt!!! Thank God for oil, and when we get a good Tea Party president, we’ll have $1 gallon gas again, as God intended.

    Obama is forcing us to accept these terrorist devices known as electric cars which are so quiet when driving, they’ve been killing people all over the country, especially children and our elderly. These cars need to be outlawed before more folks die in electric car fires and collisions, and we should make sure our soldiers and sailor are proudly dying to defend our God given right to oil.

    Do you think these Obama electric green people would die to defend their sun powered cars? Of course not. That’s why we need more soldiers to keep our gasoline at $1 gallon. That’s the way God intended it.

    Keep up the good work. Your a true talent of journalism who’s not afraid to tell the truth.

    Tony Williams

    • Tony,

      All you’ve done here is spew childish insults. Can you factually rebut the points made in the story? I’m not opposed to investigating the possible viability of any form of alternative energy. If someone can make an electric car that works better than a gas car, and which costs about the same to make/operate, sans subsidies – great!

      I am opposed to boondoggles subsidized at gunpoint. And that’s what the Tesal, Leaf and all the rest of them are.

  24. I agree, electric cars aren’t ready for prime time – I believe even the heavily promoted Volt was a sales flop. I have seen some interesting electric scooters and motorcycles though – with a 100 mile range, they’re practical commuters for many city commuters.

  25. You must be talking about the limited range of today’s EVs with the unproven inferior LION batteries. Not recyclable, limited charge cycles,short life,and critical temperature parameters.
    Don’t you remember the EV-1 at 140 miles per charge and the 1997-2003 RAV-4 EV that would go over 100 miles? Let’s see…why are we stuck with these expensive low range EVs of today? What happened to those longer range,less expensive EVs that are still doing 100 miles per charge after 15 years? Oh, they had NIMH batteries. Where are the new NIMH EVs? No one is allowed to build them. Why? Chevron is holding the NIMH patent hostage! FREE NIMH!

    • I do remember the EV1/Impact because I drove one back in the ’90s! Same problems: Absurd cost, heavily subsidized, limited range and extremely limited practicality (being a two-seater). Remember that this car had an MSRP around $32k some 15 years ago. Adjusted for inflation, the EV1’s price today would be about $48,000!

  26. Can’t go 200 miles? $50K? WTH? I just drove my Leaf, which cost $26,500 ($2000 less then the average car) 223 miles today. Not rocket science or some magic glitter farting unicorn fantasy, reality, today.

    The author and most of the posters in this poorly research opinion piece really should do some more research prior to spouting their own “truths” about electric vehicles.

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

    • So, let’s see: You claim to be getting about three times the range listed not just by the EPA but also by Nissan? And $26,500 is $2k less than the cost of the average car? Really? I guess my maff skillz must impaired, but last time I checked, a new Camry – the archetypical average mid-sized family car – starts at $22k. But the Leaf is a micro-car, so the more relevant comparison would be to something along the lines of a Mini Cooper or Fiat 500. The Fiat starts just over $15k, the Mini around $19k. There are a dozen cars in the Mazda3/Corolla range that are around the $15-$17k mark.

      Oh, and no one else has to subsidize their purchase, either, Capn’ Planet.

        • Dude,

          The Leaf is a compact. It is 5 inches shorter overall than a Toyota Corolla (175 inches vs. 180 inches); it is much smaller than a mid-sized car like the Camry. (189.2 inches long overall).

          Nissan may list the Leaf as a “five passenger” car but good luck trying to squeeze five adults in it or any other compact-sized car. I test drive cars for a living; been doing it for 20 years. I can tell you that there isn’t a single compact that “seats five.” Maybe two adults and three kids. Or Three adults and two young kids. Maybe. But not five adults. Moreover, if you did put five (or even three) average adults inside the Leaf, its already feeble performance would degenerate to the downright palsied by dint of the extra 300-350-plus pounds of deadweight.

          And $32k is entry luxury territory – BMW 1 Series, Audi A4, etc. – not “average mid-sized car” territory. A Camry is an average mid-sized car; its base MSRP is $22,055.


          So much for credibility.

          • Compaing wheelbase or body size doesn’t address the main issue: CABIN SIZE.

            I sold a BMW 330, a luxury mid-size, to swap for the Leaf and I can assure you beyond ANY measure of doubt that the interior of my Leaf is much, MUCH larger for passengers than my BMW.

            I have owned both. That’s credibility.

            • “Midsize” and “compact” are defined by such things as wheelbase and overall length. Not my opinion, Cap’n. That’s the EPA/DOT’s standards.

              BMW 3:

              110.6 inch wheelbase; 182.5 inches long.

              That’s mid-sized.

              The Leaf is compact-sized.

              And: While the BMW can carry four adults effortlessly, if you put four adults in the Leaf, the pitiful little POS would probably not make it 50 miles before its batteries ran dry due to the increased curb weight.

              But even if not, the thing still costs $3-$4k more than a new BMW 3 – a luxury-sport car. Even after you’ve held a gun to taxpayers’ heads, the thing costs easily $10k-plus more than something like a Mazda3 SkyActiv which gets 40 MPG and doesn’t need several hours to recharge. Better yet, buy a used Mazda3 (or similar) for $10k or so – a third the cost of your BoondoggleMobile.

              And dude: I drive more cars in one year than you’ve probably driven in your life so far. Four to six new cars per month, every month. That’s (roughly) 60 cars per annum. For 20 years. About 1,200 cars – conservatively. How’s that for credibility?

  27. I was browsing at Harbor Freight Tools this Memorial Day weekend. They have low prices on electrical motors and small engines. I compared prices and weights of the 1 to 1.5 hp category. The electric motors were about 50% more costly than the gas engines. The weight and volume (size in within 15%.
    Then I looked at a portable 3.2-4.0 kW Predator Generator for $ 300.
    It has a 212 cc gas powered 6.5 hp engine and a Chicago Electric generator (a motor reversed), so it is like a hybrid. It can power a car the size of a Volt (electric passenger car) for 10 hours at half load on 6 gal gasoline. That could propel the Volt chassis from Phoenix, AZ to Las Vegas, NV back-and-forth for about $ 22 today. It only weighs about 100 lbs and fits in a 2x2x3 cu.ft box.
    You can learn a lot just by window shopping. Do people use their calculators nowadays?

  28. My wife and I carpool 50 miles daily, roundtrip, in our Leaf. In the PNW, electricity costs around 9 cents per kilowatt-hour (from generally green sources). So, a roundtrip that used to cost us $7-9 in my fuel-efficient Mazda now costs $1.

    Range hasn’t once been an issue for us. Our gas car now just sits in the garage, except for the longest of trips.

    Just speaking from experience. We needed a new car, my analysis showed that the Leaf would satisfy 95%+ of our driving needs, and that seems to have proven itself accurate after one year (18,000 miles) of usage. Best purchase we’ve made.

      • Which taxpayer figures are you looking for; before the ridiculous wars (plural) over in ‘the sand-box’, or after? Or is that before subsidies to big oil, Haliburton, pharmaceutical companies, farmers, bridges-to-nowhere, etc or after?

        Subsidies for EV’s are a minuscule portion of the taxpayer money that is wasted on a daily basis, but unlike subsidies to big oil (which, btw, is having quarter after quarter of record profits), at least Ev subsidies are going towards something that can have a positive outcome. (unless, of course, you ENJOY watching the price of gas go up between breakfast and lunch.)

        • So, let’s see: Your argument comes down to, since the government subsidizes X then it ought to subsidize Y. My position is that the government shouldn’t be subsidizing anything. The only legitimate function of government is keeping the peace – period.

          PS: The oil industry isn’t a candidate for sainthood, but it produces a product that people are willing to pay for and able to pay for without government “help.”

          You can’t say that about electric cars.

          • “The oil industry isn’t a candidate for sainthood, but it produces a product that people are willing to pay for and able to pay for without government “help.”

            Are you kidding me? A 2009 study by the Environmental Law Institute assessed the size and structure of U.S. energy subsidies over the 2002–2008 period. The study estimated that subsidies to fossil-fuel based sources amounted to approximately $72 billion over this period.

            That’s 72 BILLION in “help” before they hold you hostage at the pump for the daily price fluctuation!!

            I agree, the gov’t shouldn’t be subsidizing anything, but the cold hard facts are that they do. A LOT. So I’d rather they subsidize something that will help detangle us from the Middle East BS, clean up our air, keep our fuel dollars in THIS country while providing energy jobs for us, etc. etc. etc. Subsidizing EV’s and clean energy have many upsides and few downsides. Where are the upsides for 72 billion to oil and gas?

        • Why bother quibbling with men from an entirely different state of mind? California should declare independence and break free of America altogether.

          The federal government is hopelessly corrupt and democrats and republicans are busy trying to score points, pleasing lobbyists, and looking for new foreigners to rape and pillage to give a damn about “we the people.”

          California is radically under-represented in the federal government. It has 10% of America’s population yet only 2 senate seats out of 100.

          It’s on the west coast and rigged presidential elections are decided long before your votes are even registered.

          Californians only get $0.70 for every dollar it pays in federal taxes because the fed uses our money to pay for midwestern and southern crop subsidies and other perks to less industrialized states.

          The difference between what California pays in federal taxes and what it gets back is more then twice the size of its entire state budget.

          California is forced to cut school lunch programs for poor kids and everything else because it doesn’t have enough money.

          As part of america, California is dead broke and tied to a stagnant economy and a corrupt murderous government that doesn’t give a damn about you. As an independent nation you’d be flush with cash and the 5th largest economy on the planet with everything you need to compete globally.

  29. Anything new usually is expensive. The people who can afford the new technology pay for it and by doing so enable the technology to improve. Eventually a Model T comes along making the new technology affordable. The reason for supporting electric cars is 1)free us from the political stranglehold of using oil and 2)free us from the looming destruction of mankind caused by our disruption of the Earth’s ecological balance. The ideal is that every household will be an independent producer of electricity or be part of a local electrical hub. A friend of mine has a solar farm on his property that supplies his Leaf, all the electricity for home use, and the electric kiln for a professional potter. He also is able to sell his excess electricity. The innovation we need now is a practical type of battery to store the electricity produced at home and to power electric cars efficiently. This is not so distant in the future. Watch TED talks. The world is full of fantastic innovators with intelligent ideas.

    • Most people pay for new technology because it’s better in some way. The only thing electric and hybrid cars have going for them at present is “smug”. People who want to portray this better-than-you green image.

      You will not see homes independently producing electricity. Even if it were to become cost effective the government will not allow it. Government licenses and protects monopolies and cartels in energy production and distribution. The state of Illinois is known for sending out collection agents to harass people who produce their own fuel. They demand various bond and license fees into the many of thousands of dollars or more. Simply put, the cartels will continue and the electric car will make us more dependent on the central state, not less.

      Those who want to use electric cars, that’s fine. But what I dislike is that I am told that I am somehow destructive of the planet or some such because I don’t. Well I keep my cars forever or close to it. No electric car can touch the ‘green’ of that. Meanwhile those buying these ‘green’ cars tend to be those who don’t keep a car for timescales measured in decades.

      • Please tell your friend that he is a TAX PARASITE. He receives SUBSIDIES FROM THE TAX PAYER for his LEAF.

        He recieves SUBSIDIES FROM THE TAXPAYER for his solar generation system.

        Then to ad insult to injury, he sells the excess power, which was SUBSIDIZED BY THE TAX PAYER to the utility. The utility is FORCED to pay him for his power at rates that are FAR HIGHER than power produced by the utility its self. This forces rates up for the other RATE PAYERS.

        Your friends set up makes no economic sense. A PARASITE does not make sense either, but life is good for the parasite, as long as it lasts.

        Your friend sucks……. just like a parasite.

        • Hey JvG? I have a solar array that produces 60KWh on a good day. I didn’t get a tax break for it at all. I sell my excess power at market rates, which you may argue are fixed by a cartel (aren’t all of them?) but that really isn’t my problem.

          Someday soon, when battery technology catches up, I’ll buy a used EV for almost nothing and put new batteries in it. Then I’ll plug it into a 220 outlet in the garage and drop my pants, bend over, and moon a photo of Dick Cheney I installed just for that purpose.

          And BTW? I paid over 1.2 million dollars in taxes in 2001. You can call me a PARASITE if you want I suppose, but I’lll tell you right up front that I consider those fighting words and you’d be well advised to stay clear of me.

          Thanks for playing.

          • When we needed a new roof about six years ago, I checked into the possibility of solar panels. I really, really like the idea of being independent of the power company and the oil companies, too. But the cost for a “whole house” system was on the order of $40,000 – three times the cost of the 50 year architectural shingles we went with instead. It would have taken decades to reach break even – and that assumes the system lasts for decades without requiring major work during that time.

            It’s similar with electric cars. The promise is tantalizing. But the reality is they’re massively expensive (even with subsidies) which pretty much negates whatever “savings” you enjoy from not buying gas. And that’s talking new. For about $6k or so – about one-fourth the subsidized price of the least expensive new EV – one can buy a very solid used economy sedan that will provide reliable, economical transportation for years. I’ve mentioned my ’98 Nissan pick-up before. I bought it almost nine years ago for $7,000. Even if you assume it is currently worth nothing, this truck has cost me about $64 a month. Of course, it is not worth nothing. Book value is around $3,500. So really, the truck has cost me about $32 a month to own. Let’s say I burn $3,000 worth of gas a year – far above average and more than I do actually burn, but just for the sake of discussion. I’m still around $60 a month to own and drive this vehicle.

            That’s economical. A new electric car isn’t.

            Again, I like the concept. But the reality is another thing.

          • Oh and BTW, Global Warming is pure horseshit. I’m energy independent because I’m *independent*. I can’t make gas and I’m not fond of the people who do, but as it turns out I *can* make electricity.

            That gives me this warm fuzzy fuck you feeling I just can’t get from any other soft drink.

          • I don’t know who you talked with Eric. My system costs out in 7 years and is warranted for 20. Shop around, you can do better.

            Here’s the problem; you’re in Virginia. Solar doesn’t like ice or snow. I wish I could tell you different but I can’t.

            My only point here is that there *are* people like myself that have a practical use for solar and for EV (second owner USED EV’s) and we don’t like being labeled PARASITES nor do we like being thrown in the same intellectual cesspool the Global Warmist are swimming in.

            • This was six years ago, so maybe prices are better now. Back then, they were not – and I did shop around!

              And yup, VA is a problem. Mountainous VA even more so. Poor exposure, especially during the winter. As an adjunct or “assist,” a partial solar system (such as solar water heaters) can be a good deal. But for the whole house I think at least for the foreseeable future I am stuck with the power company. The upside, for us, is that we heat with wood (I cut and chop so free) and rarely need to use the AC in summer – so our power bill is not outrageous.

              On parasites: That wasn’t me!

          • @Scott–you had me at “fuck you” 🙂

            That gives me this warm fuzzy fuck you feeling I just can’t get from any other soft drink.

            Best. Quote. Ever.

            Now if only you could license it to Coca-Cola for their next campaign…

            BTW–you’re in software, right? Or is that someone else on the board?

          • Chinese manufacturers were starting to make affordable solar panels. Our environmentally protective ruling government decided we can’t have such things and put a tariff on them.

          • I’m glad you enjoyed it Methyl, it just sort of jumped out 🙂

            Am I in software? Not professionally, at least not for the past 15 years. I had ths brief love affair with software in the 80’s and 90’s. The first fling resulted in ATMs. The second in the Internet. After the Internet, I decided to quit while I was ahead.

          • Methyl, just Google me if you want the entire, sad story 🙂

            Gerald “Scott” Cherf. I’m in the book. ( )

            Eric, I know you didn’t call me a parasite, that comment wasn’t directed at you. How do you deal with the security issues that must arise from being so vocal? I don”t have secret service guys protecting my family. I worry about it.

        • jVG, how much do you think the US government spends to subsidize oil companies? That is taxpayer money, too! Answer: up to 52 billion a year!
          So, by using oil for your gas guzzler, you are a parasite, aren’t you? Google the internet to find what is behind the low price of gas in the US.

    • I applaud your future-oriented outlook.

      May I suggest you apply the science you laud to your thinking on the rote phrase, “…looming destruction of mankind caused by our disruption of the Earth’s ecological balance.”

      Really? We’re going to do that all by ourselves? The whole planet Earth?

      Do the math, friend, and consider the lie you’re being sold.

      Earth’s landmass emits, annually, 60 gigatons of carbon as CO2 and the much more potent greenhouse gas CH4–through natural processes such as decay and vulcanism. The ocean emits 90 gigatons of carbon annually.

      And humans? Yes, our vicious depradations, our best efforts to rape and despoil pristine Gaia…our feeble straining manages to release 5 gigatons of carbon a year.

      In other words, our destructive efforts are about as effective as answering thunder with a loud fart.

      Global warming, nee climate change, nee sustainable development; when something has to change names this quickly, you know it’s got bad PR. It’s finished. Stick a fork in it, the hoax is finished scamming us.

      • Global warming is not a hoax. Unfortunately science education in the US is at a pitifully low level nowadays. We do, however, have excellent sources of information, such as Scientific American, to which I recommend you subscribe.

        • Because it is at a pitiful low level people fall for social pressures and do not have the ability to analyze or determine the quality of the data and analysis (or lack there of) in front of them.

          Essentially, to anyone who has any basic scientific knowledge, the idea of CO2 driven “climate change” is obviously false. Since the release of the ‘climate gate’ emails it should be no mystery to anyone that the whole thing is nothing but a giant scam to keep state paid intellectuals and their publishers with an income while providing great power and wealth to many of those with political office and those close to them.

          The data is cooked and spun. Even then, the best they would have is correlation, not causation. “Science” is just as political as any other field. With those things which provide people with incomes and upon which their careers are based are to have dissenters crushed. Truth does not matter.

        • I’ll gladly go toe-to-toe with you on science, Sagami; and no, I don’t subscribe to “Scientific” American…at least not since they dropped the equations and reduced themselves to baby-talk and political pandering in place of real science. You know, with equations and stuff.

          As BrentP points out, science today is highly politicized, and the shysters foisting the global warming scam are at the top of the dung-heap.

          Science is not democratic. We don’t reach conclusions by consensus; it is about truth and cold, hard facts–not warm kum-bai-ya moments in committee.

          • Methylamine, science is not conclusions by consensus; science is based on conclusions derived from strict, critical research. People with financial interest in the production and sale of oil would very much like you to believe that the data behind climate change is baloney. They have personal reason to spend billions on lobbying and spreading disinformation on this matter. Isn’t it strange that only in the US there are so many people who refuse to accept the facts?

          • Sagami, you ruin your own casse by recommending Scientific American.

            And… are you *really* saying that the scientists who are part of Algore’s great “consensus” **don’t** have a financial stake in the debate?

            What, the alarmism industry **doesn’t** get a windfall of tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer-provided grants and subsidies from governments all over the planet?

            Much of the alarmist “science” comes from state-supported institutions, mainly colleges but also entities like CRU and NASA. Get them out of *my* pocket — make them all privately funded by donations from whoever they can persuade — and then I’ll say they can have all of the academic freedom they want. Until then, I want all state funds removed from the alarmism industry.

            Anthropogenerated Climate Change is a fraud, plain and simple.

        • Sagami – any eighth grade science student of my generation understood that carbon dioxide is essential for photo-synthesis. Any competent pot grower of the 1970’s understood that by introducing artificially elevated CO2 levels into their greenhouse they increased their yield. Anyone now with Internet access can do a minimal amount of research on Climate-gate and see that the “boys” at the East Anglia CRU were involved in religious dogma rather than the pursuit of truth. Folks like you have blinders on when it comes to corruption in the sciences. You also ignore that big fusion reactor in the sky in your over exuberance to protect “Mother Earth.” How does Bill Chameides over at Duke University put it (he’s a “warmist” by the way)? “This initial warming precedes the rise in CO2 indicating that a different mechanism, most likely astronomical, was responsible for the onset of warming.” Of course he goes on to point out that he believes that CO2 augments the effect completely ignoring the “travesty” of a decade of no warming or the failure to physically find the atmospheric hot spots the infallible climatic computer models predicted. What we do find is some very real ecological destruction in China where they process the rare earths used to manufacture your precious wind turbine magnets:
          Warming and cooling cycles long predate mankind, power plants or the infernal SUV. I’ve read estimates that CO2 levels may have been as high as 4000 PPM in the distant past and yet somehow, someway, the planet self destruct at 384 PPM. To you and people (like one of my coworkers) that view humanity as “a bunch of hungry rats gnawing away at the planet”: Set the example for the rest of us, leave Earth immediately. Then you won’t be part of the problem anymore and your conscience will be clear. I on the other hand won’t have to wait pass your slow moving “elsewhere emissions” EV and can enjoy my driving that much more. Scott on the other hand, will be able to buy your used EV for a song at auction on the free market after you’re gone (with enough cash left over for new batteries). And since he’s actually able to use that giant fusion reactor in the sky to charge it up, he really is cutting emissions not just moving them to someone else’s back yard. So if you flip a switch and the lights that come on are powered off the grid, you use any modern manufactured products (like a PC, iPhone or Droid), ride in any fossil fuel fired conveyance or frequent stores, libraries or schools that use commercial power, you are a hypocrite. Come back and talk to us when you’re totally “sustainable.”

        • Sagami – any eighth grade science student of my generation understood that carbon dioxide is essential for photo-synthesis. Any competent pot grower of the 1970’s understood that by introducing artificially elevated CO2 levels into their greenhouse they increased their yield. Anyone now with Internet access can do a minimal amount of research on Climategate and see that the “boys” at the East Anglia CRU were involved in religious dogma rather than the pursuit of truth. Folks like you have blinders on when it comes to corruption in the sciences. You also ignore that big fusion reactor in the sky in your over exuberance to protect “Mother Earth.” How does Bill Chameides over at Duke University put it (he’s a “warmist” by the way)? “This initial warming precedes the rise in CO2 indicating that a different mechanism, most likely astronomical, was responsible for the onset of warming.” Of course he goes on to point out that he believes that CO2 augments the effect completely ignoring the “travesty” of a decade of no warming or the failure to physically find the atmospheric hot spots the infallible climatic computer models predicted. What we do find is some very real ecological destruction in China where they process the rare earths used to manufacture your precious wind turbine magnets:

          Warming and cooling cycles long predate mankind, power plants or the infernal SUV. I’ve read estimates that CO2 levels may have been as high as 4000 PPM in the distant past and yet somehow, someway, the planet self destruct at 384 PPM. To you and people (like one of my coworkers) that view humanity as “a bunch of hungry rats gnawing away at the planet”: Set the example for the rest of us, leave Earth immediately. Then you won’t be part of the problem anymore and your conscience will be clear. I on the other hand won’t have to wait pass your slow moving “elsewhere emissions” EV and can enjoy my driving that much more. Scott on the other hand, will be able to buy your used EV for a song at auction on the free market after you’re gone (with enough cash left over for new batteries). And since he’s actually able to use that giant fusion reactor in the sky to charge it up, he really is cutting emissions not just moving them to someone else’s back yard. So if you flip a switch and the lights that come on are powered off the grid, you use any modern manufactured products (like a PC, iPhone or Droid), ride in any fossil fuel fired conveyance or frequent stores, libraries or schools that use commercial power, you are a hypocrite. Come back and talk to us when you’re totally “sustainable.”

        • Sagami,

          You need first to define your terms. “Global warming”? Or Anthropogenic global warming?

          Does the planet experience temperature variations, include periodic extremes? Certainly. For example, the Earth’s average temperatures were much warmer during the dinosaur era. But was this caused by cars and industry? Or natural, cyclical processes? How about the recurrent eras of glaciation? At times in the past, the Earth was also extensively iced over – long before humans were in the picture, too.

          The earth (globe) does warm – and cool.

          AGW is a hoax.

          • Now Eric, how do *you* know there weren’t intelligent dinosaurs that developed cars and industry, and thus drove up the CO2 content to 4000 ppm, and caused their own extinction — which we misread as an asteroid strike?

            Ignore the mistakes of the past, and we are doomed.

            Sorry, couldn’t say it with a straight face.

            • You’re right! David Icke says there were sentient saurians with advanced technology… perhaps they, too, warmed the globe and it caused the end of their civilization…?

          • Eric, you are right. I shouldn’t have used the expression global warming. I was replying to a statement that global warming is a hoax. The correct expression is climate disruption or climate change as some areas will experience colder weather. In general the seasons are already diverting from the normal, meaning what we have come to expect of the weather from generations of human experience. We will be having more Katrinas, more tornados, more severe winters, rainier in places, drier in others, hotter when it should be warm and so on. Certainly there are effects on the climate other than what we humans cause; however, they are insignificant compared to our own folly. Ice samples from the Antarctic clearly show the effect we humans have had above and beyond any natural warming or cooling. There is a plethora of information about the cause of the natural warming and cooling of the Earth. Just visit the science section of a good bookstore. Make certain that the author of whatever books you choose is qualified to write on the subject. You may also wish to visit TED Talks on the internet to listen to experts talk on the causes of climate disruption, James Hansen, for example.

            • Oh, there’s no question there will be “diversions from the normal” as regards weather events – because that is normal! Earth’s climate isn’t static and periods of perceived “normalcy” are just that – periods of perceived normalcy.

              Humans tend to measure things against their own experiences, which are limited by the span of their lives. Thus, a person who during his youth experienced relatively few harsh winters (or very warm summers) will be alarmed by some alteration of this pattern during his middle years. Here’s a good example: Large numbers of farmers moved to the Texas-Oklahoma area during the 1880s, ’90s and early part of the 20th century, beckoned by the vast grasslands and the apparently steady climate (including rain) that fed these grasses. They farmed very successfully for several decades. Record crops were brought in, year after year. Then, it stopped raining. And it didn’t rain again – measurably – for years. Result? The Dust Bowl. It turns out that this part of the country tends to experience episodic drought, but the episodes tend to occur cyclically over periods of time that are far enough apart to be deceptive to human observers. It had been “ok” for 20-odd years, or as far bacxk as people could remember. So, surely, it would ok for the next 20 years. But of course, it wasn’t ok. The climate changed. But it did not change because of Model T exhaust. It just stopped raining. The ground dried up. The earth blew away. Catastrophe. But not a catastrophe caused by human-affected “climate change.” The climate just changed. It does that. Naturally.

              Boothe mentioned another example – the period of warming that occurred during the late Middle Ages, that made it possible (among other things) for Vikings to establish what they thought would be permanent settlements in North America. Then the climate changed. It got colder. Much colder.

              This happens over and over, as long as the Earth has been spinning. The geologic record tells us that the entire planet may once have been almost entirely covered in ice – and then, much later, it got much warmer – such that enormous reptiles could thrive almost the world over. Atmospheric C02 concentrations during the dinosaur era were also much higher than they are now. How do we account for this? Did the dinosaurs drive SUVs – and warm (or cool) themselves into oblivion?

              The idea that human activity – operating cars and industrial machinery – is responsible for “global warming” or (latest etymology) “climate change,” is political propaganda, not science. Boothe explained what it’s all about: Fear to justify control. The ancient game.

          • Sagami – the anthropogenic “climate change” (the last decade has put the lie to “global warming”) alarmists, to whose camp you apparently belong, now contend that the Antarctic ice sheet data is not representative of the world’s historic CO2 levels, since it is such an isolated region. You need to keep up with your people’s propaganda a little better. This new position is probably due to the fact that the Antarctic ice shows that global warming typically precedes (that means “comes before”) increased atmospheric CO2 levels by about 800 years. In theory this is due to the vast capacity for sea water to sequester carbon dioxide and the long time span required for currents (induced by atmospheric temperature rise) to bring deep sea water to the surface where the CO2 is released. This would help explain our current increased atmospheric CO2 levels as being due to the Medieval Warm Period.

            The Medieval Warm Period was accepted as undisputed scientific fact until the 1990’s because there is so much historical, archaeological and natural evidence that it occurred. In 1990 the IPCC even published a chart showing it was warmer in the late Middle Ages than it is now in their first progress report. How do you explain that? Horse and cow farts? Knights of yore and Ladies in waiting riding around in big SUV’s while their steel mills and power plants belched smoke all over the renaissance? Since you can’t explain it, they now deny it or claim evidence shows it was just regional. Tthat’s called data manipulation to achieve an outcome you want; it’s not very scientific. You appear to be intelligent, you’re just a bit misinformed.

            There’s even a new theory that explains how “greenhouse gases” wiped out the dinosaurs . You see the large herbivorous dinosaurs consumed so much vegetation that they farted themselves to extinction: This goes under the heading of “Here’s a test to see how stupid the public really is.” This whole anthropogenic global warming / climate change scam is a tool to make you feel guilty about using inexpensive energy to improve the quality of your life. It is about controlling you, taxing you and restricting what you are allowed to do. The people that literally want to tax the air that you breathe (don’t forget, you exhale CO2) could not care less about the environment, “the children” or you. They care about controlling you and extracting wealth from you. Algore even purchased a seaside estate in Montecito, California for >$8 million that’s barely above sea level. Apparently he doesn’t believe we’ll be living in “Water World” anytime soon. Why should we?

            So Sagami, get over all this guilt about “greenhouse gases” and climate change. The climate has always changed and it has more to do with astronomical conditions (i.e. the sun and the earth’s relationship to it) than dinosaur, SUV or power plant farts. Stop worrying and enjoy life, the world will probably be here long after you’re gone.

        • The climate models were created with certain assumptions (what they wanted to show) as fact. Garbage in => Garbage out. Their computer models could do nothing more than show dramatic increases in temperature. But it came out of a computer programmed by experts so we were simply supposed to be in awe of it and accept it.

          Years ago one of their models was tested with random number garbage data input. Result? Temperature would increase dramatically. The modeling system could only produce one result.

          Those of us who knew how computers actually worked could see the models as faulty from day one. I was outside the hassle free zone for this assessment in late 80s and 90s and while the actual data vindicates that assessment of bad science, I still stand largely outside the hassle free zone on the topic.

          The reason is that ‘global warming’ is and always has been a political/social manipulation. It’s a very ancient one wrapped up the dressing of “science”. The high priest(s) would tell the population if they did not “sacrifice” the whatever would ruin the climate, withhold the rains, prevent the flood, cause the flood, etc and so forth and the people will all suffer and die. So our high priests now call themselves scientists (going full circle really, since the high priests were those who understood some science and used it to manipulate others and improve their status) and use power-point slides. Big deal. Fundamentally the same scam as used several thousand years ago.

          Human nature sadly does not seem to change. The same tricks work over and over and over again. Sadly, those of us they don’t work on are usually eventually murdered by those perpetrating the trick with the approval of those tricked. After all, power and wealth are at stake. Our wealth going to the ruling class and us obeying them.

        • LOL I use aliases for chemicals that are on the DEA watchlist. It amuses me to think of some low-level parasite at one of the Operation Paperclip agencies having to wade through all my drivel looking for a case.

          That, and I’m a strong nucleophile.

    • Two things. First, economies of scale aren’t a simple formula of volume and cost; there are all kinds of other factors. The effect depends absolutely on the choice of industrial technique, each sort of technological regime having a sweet-spot volume before blowing over into diseconomies of scale. The problem is that the sweet-spot for current methods is way bigger than what would correspond to anything like natural spontaneous demand, so the State, of which big industry is an effective organ, has to engineer ways to get rid of the surplus. At the same time this scale of operation represents considerable economic and consequently political power, which causes industry forever to seek higher and not lower sweet-spots. That is the real reason for the move to hybrids and electrics: in the form in which they are happening they are closer to cellphones, i.e. volume-dependent and pretty much disposable.

      It is ironic that you should mention the Model T, as a fairly cursory study of the development of the design between 1908 and 1927 – which development had to do with nothing but the sort of machinery used in production – reveals only that economies of scale don’t work the way people think they do. See

      Secondly, I totally accept climate change and the human part of it. I am just not convinced that the mooted solutions will do the job. In fact I am fairly convinced that they will make it worse, due to the process I described above. That is my real objection to electrics and hybrids.

      • Ha, that’s funny too, Ned Ludd “I totally accept climate change and the human part of it.” …Maybe funny/sad though.

        You ever study volcanoes?

        Or notice where studies which were once cited as proof of climate change caused by mankind had this thing called – a pack of lies – as facts?

        … Or maybe you were talking about weather modification programs?
        Now that, has an impact. Do you know about them? Lots of official links about that around, for those who care to look.

        • I accept it as a matter of praxis, an attempt to deal sanely with the situation before me, i.e. a lot of information, a lot of possibilities, a lot of theories, and no absolute certainty. In point of fact I just don’t know – and neither do you. But it makes sense to proceed from a working assumption in terms of which the consequences of an eventuality of error is the least disastrous. (In other words, Pascal was wise :))

          I have no particular interest in maintaining the status quo, for though we are indeed under threat of tyranny we aren’t exactly free now, and haven’t been for some time. So, the status quo won’t make us free. To become free requires a change – and while change is being proposed it is best to do whatever we can to steer it in the direction of freedom.

          Programmes intended to get us to give up our freedom to avert ecological collapse are logically flimsy. All it takes is a bit of perspective to see that they won’t work – and that the programmes that will work (assuming the problem to be real) are also the ones that will leave us closer to free.

    • Electric cars are not new! Along with steam powered cars, they fought the early IC cars for market share 100 years ago. They lost, because the IC car is superior – as measured by cost, ease of use and performance.

      People have been trying to build a cost-competitive, performance-equivalent, functionally and economically viable electric car for generations. Let them keep on working, I say. Just not on my nickle, extorted from me at gunpoint!

      • What I said earlier about use patterns: the early electric was never really an alternative to IC (or steam, for that matter), so it isn’t quite accurate to say that there was a contest between the two, and that IC won it. Rather, early electrics just happened to suit the demand profile of American east-coast society ladies of the time around WWI. The electric car enjoyed no parallel success anywhere else in the world, or among any other social group, at that time.

        It was a freak convergence of cultural, economic, and geographic factors that allowed that early boomlet for the electric car. Similar popularity today would require duplicating such conditions artificially, but due to other issues at a much larger scale. I am not convinced that those conditions are otherwise particularly desirable.

  30. Close to my home in Portland, Oregon, some entity built a recharging station for electric cars. I have NEVER seen it used. How many bus rides could it have paid for?

    It would make more sense to ask for gasoline credit cards for anyone who asks….. perhaps a minimum EPA requirement of 40+ mpg to qualify for one.

    I just took a drive from Portland to Redding California (Northern Calif) This was to see the eclipse of the sun (darn cool….)
    My 1996 Nissan Maxima six cylinder with 170k miles on it got close to 30mpg, up and down considerable hills and mountains with the A/C on. It would be difficult to drive a Nissan Leaf for those 430 miles each way. Too bad that my car is worth only 3000 dollars or so.

  31. Rather a lot of words to not review a car you have never driven. Got most of your facts wrong but that’s not surprising since you have never driven the cars you are talking about you probably didn’t research them either, just repeated a lot of rumors you heard third hand. I’m not surprised they didn’t get a car out for you to test drive, no matter how much battery capacity they have, you can’t drive a car out to 1955.

      • Ha, that’s funny, That One Guy, and I don’t even know where Ballard is.

        “The only thing electric and hybrid cars have going for them at present is “smug”.”

      • As in, Ballard the fuel cell company?

        Then it’s DOUBLE-funny TOG! Good on you.

        I love the hydrogen myth. I don’t know if people actually understand that hydrogen is an energy carrier, not a source, and it has to be expensively generated with electricity–probably from coal if Dear Leader Obama will allow it. May the fleas of a thousand camels afflict his groin.

        Add on the nigh-impossible storage and transportation problems. Then deal with the metallurgy–it’s the smallest molecule, embedding itself in metals and rendering them brittle…and on, and on.

        Possibly the worst idea ever. I scoff at the hydrogen fantasists.

      • He links to his webpage and it says he lives in Ballard. Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle. It’s also a stereotype. If you can remember the early 90s grunge craze, you have seen Ballard. The whole world looked like Ballard for a few months. Think flannel, long grimy hair and too much time between showers. Biodiesel. Also extremely militant bicyclists. The only thing it has going for it is a fledgeling separatist movement. It was once its own city and wishes to be again. Other than that it’s a nest of looney leftism where people tell you how much wronger than them you are without any specifics. Paul belongs in Ballard.

    • Hey Paul,

      Did you read the part about the car companies not sending these cars out beyond a certain radius from where they keep their media test car fleets? Wonder why that is? They send me every make/model of vehicle built to test drive. Except for the battery-powered ones. Do you suppose that might be on account of them not being up to a 220-plus mile highway drive? Not without stopping once, twice and maybe three times to recharge for several hours, anyhow. Which would be both ridiculous as well as expensive (the delivery drivers would be taking two days to deliver a car vs. a single day’s drive, up and back). Also, we live 35 miles from town. Thus, going into town and back is about 60 miles – pushing the envelope of an EV’s range under ideal conditions. Conditions are not ideal here. There is, for example, a steep (9 percent) grade “up the mountain.” You climb up from the valley at about 930 feet ASL to about 3,200 feet ASL. This is murderously hard on a battery powered car. It also gets hot here – and cold, too. It would be very likely I’d end up with a croaked car halfway between town and our place. And there are no charging stations to hook up to, either. See the problem?

      PS: I have driven the Volt (and the EV1 from the ’90s). They operate ok – for short distances – at ridiculous expense – which defeats the purpose of the exercise.

      If these cars are so brilliant, then why must they be massively subsidized? Is it because they are “new technology”? Nope. The GM EV1 was almost 20 years ago. The latest stuff is no significant improvement. After 20 years! How many decades will it take for this “new technology” to “mature”?

  32. When electric cars have a range of over 500 miles on a single charge, and look better than a Trabant, then it might be competition for my MR2.

    • And when they achieve at least rough cost-parity with otherwise-equivalent models. Otherwise, why bother? Who cares how many miles an EV can go between charges if the cost of the vehicle itself is so exorbitant one would have to drive it for years just reach “break even” relative to an equivalent gas burner?

    • agreed fellow MR2 owner
      even just a range of 300 miles and a charge time of say 1 hour (get a relaxing bite to eat) then it will be feasible.

  33. I think you put your finger on the main problem with the electric car: The job it does best is the job for which a car – any car – is the worst tool.

    Isn’t it ironic that when people have visions of ecologically responsible cars, they are usually conceived as “city cars” or “commuter cars”: the exact two things no sustainable city is likely to have in any appreciable numbers. In a truly sustainable city people might have use – or simply desire – for a car, but faced with the performance envelope of an electric most of them would probably just not bother having a car at all. When people who don’t need cars choose to have cars, those cars are likely to be light for their size, responsive, and oriented to the open road; and that is better achieved with well-sorted IC propulsion.

  34. Screw the electric car – just give me the “Range Extender” – I can then make money to pay for the gas by picking up electrical trash from the roadside.

  35. It seems that you’re confining yourself to the WRONG Electric cars! Why don’t you try to review a TESLA Series S which can go 300 miles between charges? They are scheduled to start filling orders in June 2012! Now THAT’S an exciting electric car! 😀

    • Well, but there’s another problem: That car starts at $58k! This is farcical given that the primary purpose of building an electric car is to reduce the vehicle’s operating costs. Otherwise, why bother?

      The S does not perform better than cars that cost much less – and it costs much more than cars that are far more economical.

      Right? Am I missing something?

      It also imposes the surcharge on people who don’t buy them – to help subsidize those who do. Thus, I’m being taxed so that somebody – a rich somebody – can go out and buy a $57k electric car.

      Why the hell should I be forced to pay taxes for that? I paid for my vehicles myself – as everyone should. Or do you think I should be able to use the government’s thugs to place a gun to your temple in order to help me “afford” my car? If not, why?

      My car imposes less of a net energy cost on “society” than your $58k brand-new electric wonder.

      Look, if someone wants to buy this overpriced, under-performing POS, fine by me. Just don’t tell me I or anyone else ought to “help” them do so.

        • I understand that the major fuel for generating electricity is coal. Does coal generate less “smog” than gasoline on a smog-controlled car (catalytic converter and all that, I live in California and to have undergo emissions testing every two years)? I feel that this whole electric thing is totally bogus from one end to the other.

          • Yes, considering most city-dwellers don’t live near a coal-fired power station. A city full of electric cars would have no smog.


        • Gil,
          If you wish to cut air pollution, SHUT THE F*CK UP.

          What I, or any other adult, does – IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Until I stick a gun or knife in your ribs, at which point – YOU have failed to defend yourself.
          This begins to get at the concept of honor, something I know you won’t understand, but I’ll explain by analogy anyway.
          A gentleman issued a public challenge, declaring his intent to attack you, and allowing you to publicly answer that challenge in a controlled environment.
          The cut-throat or highwayman attacked without warning, accepted no limits on his actions, and would rape and kill and do what he felt like until killed or captured.

          You and yours have issued the highwayman a uniform and a badge (letter de marque, if you will – privateer’s license) – and you believe you have not aggressed against me?
          You’ve given a pitbull training to efficiently kill, a license to do so with impunity, and pumped it full of steroids.

          I am justified in killing ALL of you, as an act of self-defense.

          And I am capable of it. So best stop pushing it.

          Of note: The same principle has been applied all over the f*ckin’ place: Farmers paid to NOT grow a crop, which they do – and then they get a tax write-off for the crop rotting in the field. (And with corn, they even get to then sell that rotting crop for ethanol production, AT A PROFIT.)

          Monsanto indemnified, in perpetuity, BY LAW, against any and all possible harm their crops could cause to any and all creatures.

          Big Pharma is responsible for deaths left right and center; they even ADMIT they have more, better drugs, which they are sitting on – because the MONEY is in the patented drugs. (Further, they recover the R&D costs from Americans alone – the rest of the world pays LESS for the same drugs, many of which don’t need a prescription elsewhere.)

          Big Medicine is responsible for more deaths than guns every year. And, IIRC, for more than CARS, as well, though malpractice and shitty conditions. At the same time, medical practitioners WILL NOT stop and help others – they are not considered good samaritans, they are treated as experts. When I dated a nurse, I was told in no uncertain terms: We DO NOT stop to help others, as she could be f*cked for life. No longer able to be a RN, permanently denied license. And even criminally charged. (AND IT HAS HAPPENED.)

          You people, you have blood on your hands. I can’t WAIT until the state devours you. I only hope I can be safely elsewhere.

          • Nice rant, Jean. sPOT-the-fuck-on. And How very old school american. Freedom and Liberty are so out of fashion these days. …Sigh.

          • Oh man, Jean, you are ON today my friend!

            I’m grinding my teeth in pleasure. “I can’t WAIT until the state devours you.”

            And it will. The stupid fucks are too selfishly blind to see it, though, until they’re in the State’s maw. And then they’ll find yet another way to blame us, who saw it coming.

            I’ll be safely elsewhere; probably still right here in Texas, my HK91 slung over my shoulder…no doubt trading sweet potatoes and eggs for silver dimes.

            We’re going to win this thing. The only question is–how long and how severe will the Hell be that we cross to the other side.

      • Comparisons of the cost of electric/hybrid cars always seem to use the current gas prices. I bought my first Prius in October 2000, when gas cost 79 cents a gallon. Hard to believe it was ever that cheap, right? If you buy a Leaf or Volt for $35-40k and the price of gas goes up to $10 a gallon, you will look pretty darned shrewd.

        • Maybe – but if gas goes up to $10, or anything remotely close to that, the entire economy will shut down and very few of us will be driving anything – EV or otherwise.

    • I’ll go with what Consumer Reports said about it, so I don’t have to worry about spending the cash.

      CR said that their car broke down after about 180 miles. The fix was not a simple jump-start; it required replacing the entire charging system on the car! That’s more like 300 km instead of 300 miles, according to my calculator.

    • Nothing ruins a car like electrifying it.
      Case in point: almost every morning, my commute coincides with that of a Tesla Roadster.

      We take the same exit around a 270 degree loop. I drive a large 4-door family sedan; admittedly with good suspension and tires.

      He’s driving what is essentially a bastardized Lotus Elise–in its native form, one of the best-handling cars ever made.

      I’m forced to sit on his tail snoring, while he grinds his way around that curve at the best speed he can make.

      When he finally exits the turn, he gamely continues the race by flooring it…only to have me tear past as though he’s engaged reverse.

      It’s a travesty. I almost feel bad for him–except he CHOSE that P.O.S. and now he has to live with a thrice-weekly thrashing at my hands.

      One day, perhaps, battery technology will advance to the point that people will actually buy those cars on their own merits–and not for a farcical sense of “environmentalism”, and without forcibly extracting money from me.

      • Dear Methylamine,

        “One day, perhaps, battery technology will advance to the point that people will actually buy those cars on their own merits–and not for a farcical sense of “environmentalism”, and without forcibly extracting money from me.”

        Exactly. If one day humanity zips around at breakneck speed in the unobtainium powered vehicles depicted in the Star Wars films, I’m hardly going to object.

        Gasoline engines aren’t the only way we car enthusiasts can get our thrills. Who knows? There might be some exciting alternatives in store for us in the distant future.

        The key issue is whether the new technology replaced the old on its own merits, or was foisted upon us at gunpoint.

        • Excellent point, Bevin. And isn’t the free market far more likely than the gunpoint to lead us to the successful new technology? To state the obvious, the market rewards merit, while the government guns reward the politically connected.

          • Dear Mike,

            It is indeed!

            The historical examples of governments betting on the wrong technology are too numerous to list.

            Governments constantly lead us up blind alleys. They squander the very resources they insist are so precious and irreplaceable. They waste valuable time and energy that a free economy would have channeled into to truly workable solutions.

            This is not a weird coincidence. There is a clear causal relationship.

            The non-aggression axiom is a moral concept. But it is not merely some ivory tower concept to be hashed over by pointy-headed ethics professors.

            Scrupulously honoring the non-aggression axiom maximizes individual liberty, and by extension, individual creativity.

            This ensures the swiftest possible technological progress over the long run, Algore to the contrary notwithstanding.

        • I share your enthusiasm (and optimism) for a bright future–even though it looks like hell’s on the way right now!

          But I’ll tell you what: I can’t imagine what will sound as good as:
          a) a V12 ripping down the straight near redline
          b) a big V8 coming hard off a slow corner
          c) a hyper-turbocharged 4, wastegates crackling, heel-and-toeing into a slow corner
          d) a straight-6’s baritone howl
          e) a flat-6 accelerating hard

          I think it goes beyond conditioning; of course we’re used to those sounds and their association with speed and excitement.

          But I think there’s something primal there too.

          Not to be too graphic–this is a family forum after all–but my suspicion is that the sound of an engine revving toward redline, dropping back at a gear change, and revving again…is similar to the sounds of female climax.

          Talk amongst yourselves. I’m verklempt.

        • Bevin,
          We will be restricted of anything that smacks of “fun” or disorder, enforced at gunpoint, for generations before any such vehicles are even possible.

          It’s like the pool I went to as a kid. At 7? No diving in the shallow end.
          At 9? No running, no diving.
          At 10? No splashing, no running, no diving.
          At 12? No splashing, no running, no diving, wear shoes to the edge of the pool.
          By 15? No splashing, no yelling, no diving, no running, no skipping, hopping, bothering the adults, and wear foot coverings to the pool.

          And it just kept getting worse, I basically only went to swim anyway by that age – great exercise. But no FUN any more, just exercise.

          The next step in human statist evolution is either a Borg hive-mind, or a perpetual “slave” class who will thank Massa for the beating. All the Clovers think they’ll be Massa, of course. They don’t realize they’re intended to be slaves, if allowed to LIVE at all. (And once engineers make AI feasible – who would need humans? Replace the organics with synthetics, and live a life of luxury with auto-repairing slaves who are incapable of plotting a rebellion…)

          As in the Dune series, humanity was “domesticated.” Soon after, they could be replaced. If there are only about 500,000 people on earth anyway (UN Agenda 21), might as well make AI robots as servants. Money would be unnecessary, food grown by machine, people cared for by machine… Wall-E’s human blimps may have been a prophetic vision….

    • 300 miles between charges is extremely exciting, especially at $100k! Sitting and waiting for the hours it takes to recharge would be way to much excitement for me to handle though. In my opinion a moped is more useful. A car is made for travel, not sitting around charging! It’s that simple.

      We’d be better off moving to the top of a mountain and coasting to our destinations. Then we can ride the wind back up when it is time to go home!

      Sail Car

      Anchors Aweigh Matey!

      • Dom, don’t you know it’s all about conformity. You’re supposed to live in densely populated area and drive your car to work and back or once a week taking transit for most trips and that’s all. It works for the people who love electric cars and it will work for you too if you just conform to their way of life. That’s why we have our dear leaders to make these decisions for us all.

        Sarcasm aside, if I drove so little and so predictably to make an electric car useful for me what’s the point of buying one? I would be using so little gasoline that I would never make up the purchase premium.

  36. Let me get this straight… Electric cars are most efficient when not moving and can’t make a 200 mile trip. Okay got it.

    Note to self, electric cars are shit.

  37. Thank you for some common sense talk about these electric boondoggles. I recently bought my wife a Sonata 2.0 turbo. The thing puts out 270hp, gets 30+ mpg and with the 18 gal tank we can get to Vegas and back (500 miles) on a single tank of gas. If left alone, and if the demand is there, manufacturers will come up with innovations to make more efficient cars. When was the last time the government innovated anything?

  38. Battle tanks have to be ferried around on flatbeds cuz they get about 0.5 miles to the gallon. So maybe since the DOD already has a bunch of flatbeds to tote *their* useless crap around, then…..

    • Mikehell, those flatbeds they use for tanks are pretty big. I’ll bet you could put three or maybe even four EV’s on one. Then we could claim we were carpooling with electric cars to be even more efficient. That would help make the tax payers feel better about be footing the bill for that big diesel Kenworth pulling the trailer. Plus we’d create another job in trucking as well. It’s clearly a win-win…

  39. If you want a range extender, why not consider a Queen Anne set up with sails around the top. As long as the wind blows you can keep going.

    If you can reduce the weight you can extend your range.

    On a more serious note: My 2001 TDI Golf (Cty42/Hwy49) mpg and 600-750 miles per tank.

    One day an all electric power plant may be practical, but it is not practical yet in my opinion.

    • Agree –

      The fact that these things require massive (outrageous) subsidies proves they’re not yet practical, leaving aside considerations about range. Take away government “support” and no one will step forward to spend $40k – BMW 3 Series money – on a shitty little electric “economy” car. It’s absurd.

      • Dear Eric,

        In fact, if we look more closely at the total picture, the outrageous subsidies are precisely the amount of energy wasted, converted to dollars and cents.

        Convert the dollar amounts of the subsidies back into Kilowatt Hours and we have the actual amount of energy expended by The Government’s supposedly “energy efficient” technologies.

        It’s an iron law. Freedom works. Coercion doesn’t.

        • “Freedom works. Coercion doesn’t.”

          And: Freedom’s right. Coercion turns us into animals – creatures who live not by persuasion, cooperation and mutual assent, but who prey on one another and who thus must live in a state of fear, suspicion and mistrust all our lives.

          • Dear Eric,


            Popular entertainment is an uncannily accurate reflection of the Jungian Collective Unconscious.

            Back in the 50s, films such as “The Day the Earth Stood Still” reflected the collective fear of nuclear annihilation.

            Today “Zombie Apocalypse” films such as “Resident Evil” and and TV series such as “The Walking Dead” reflect the collective fear of human beings reduced to mindless cannibals eating each other.

            The literal cannibalism is a metaphor for Ayn Rand’s “moral cannibalism.”

        • Yup!

          The aspect that bothers me the most, though, is the causal acceptance of plunder by all-too-many people. It does not nag at the conscience of the people who “buy” these cars that they do so with funds extracted by violence from their fellow men. Whether it’s an electric car or “cash for clunkers” – they are using the government to obtain a car at the expense of other people.

          I understand, of course, that there are subsidies built into almost everything on the consumer market. But many – even most – are unavoidable. What chafes me is when people choose to support egregious wealth transfer, thereby encouraging more of it and legitimizing it as a “normal” thing.

  40. Although I seldom drive more than forty miles round trip, I disabused myself of any notion to go electric long ago.

    I’d no more depend on batteries for ground travel than I’d count on the Gossamer Albatross for air travel.

    • In my area, we often have severe winters. For example, the winter before last, the entire month of December daytime temperatures remained in the low-mid 20s and at night plummeted to single digits. I can only imagine what that would do to the functional range of an electric car.

      Then, there’s summer. And running the AC when it is is 98 degrees and humid. How long will the AC run? How long will the car run?

      • “in the low-mid 20s and at night plummeted to single digits.”

        Yeesh, in January around here that’s called called a warm front.
        I doubt those cars will ever work in areas with lower temps.
        I can just imagine the guys up North of here laughing.

    • Pretty much does not matter if you review them or not. Anyone that thinks a 1970s car is better than what we have today I would not believe anyway. why would we read a review from somebody that believes in spending less than 10 grand for a car anyway?
      clover returnsclover returnsclover returnsclover returnsclover returns

      • I’ve spent less than 1k on many cars/bikes/vehicles. Guess that automatically makes me super unbelievable! Shoot, I think you just gave me a compliment and didn’t even know it. Thanks Clover!

      • Dear clover,

        Thanks so much for the valuable consumer advice.

        From now on I will only listen to car experts who advise me to drop a bundle on a car.

        I will ignore the know-nothings who show me how to conserve my hard earned cash.

      • So if modern cars are so much better Clover, why do you drive something built before 1986?

        (Clover stated on clovercam that his/her/its vehicle does not have a CHMSL, which means it was made before 1986)

        • Clover

          Go kill someone Brent. Go back to your whole in the wall on your own web site. Millions of cars built after 1986 to do not have high mounted brake lights. If your definition of high is level with the other tail lights then good for you.


          • Poor ol’ fact-impaired Clover strikes again!

            The Center High Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL) has been mandatory since 1986. Not “after 1986.”

            It’s almost unfair even taking you on, Cloveroni – like beating up a cripple.

          • Notice how Clover invokes violence again.

            Anyway, CHMSL, to repeat what Eric posted has been required for all passenger cars and light trucks since MY 1986.

            What you (Clover) think is high mounted is irrelevant.

          • As usual, champions of the Leviathan State cannot help making Freudian slips and Jungian projections.

            They project their own violent coercive tendencies onto individuals who merely want to be left alone to mind their own business.

            We talk about live and let live.

            They talk about weaponizing viruses and killing people.

            • “We talk about live and let live.

              They talk about weaponizing viruses and killing people”

              It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

              I’ve mentioned this to Clover myself several times. I’ve pointed out to him that we don’t want anything from him. That we have no interest in controlling his life in the smallest way. That he, therefore, has nothing to fear from us.

              But conversely, that we have much to fear – because he and his ilk won’t leave us alone. They aren’t content to live – and let live. They do want to use force against people who have caused them no harm and merely wish to be left in peace.

              Clover, in other words, is a violent psychopath. His ends justify whatever means. It’s all about him – and our expense doesn’t matter.

          • They aren’t so much afraid of us. They are afraid they will have to carry their own load. They are afraid of boogiemen that they think government protects them from.

            We remove childish illusions and demand others carry their own weight and that’s why clovers don’t like us.

            • Brent,

              I think you’ve hit on something important here: At some deep, unconscious level, Clover knows he needs us. In the same way that a farmer needs his cows.

          • Dear Eric,

            “Clover, in other words, is a violent psychopath. His ends justify whatever means. It’s all about him – and our expense doesn’t matter.”

            I’ve been mulling over your “psychopath” characterization of clovers. My initial reaction was “Okay. A bit hyperbolic. Chalk it up to poetic license.”

            But as I thought about it some more, the less it seemed like poetic license, and the more it seemed like scientific definition.

            TV series such as “Criminal Minds” invariably feature a “psychopath of the week” for the profilers to profile and capture.

            In one episode a psychopath kidnaps a young girl and keeps her prisoner his basement for years. After being caught, he explains, in utter sincerity, that he “merely wanted to look after her.” Translation: control her.

            We clearly recognize this as psychopathology.

            But how different is this from the clovers within the Leviathan State, whose justifications for enslaving people sound eerily similar to the sick, twisted “logic” of the psychopathic kidnappers depicted in some of these crime shows?

            No. On second thought, “psychopath” is right.

            • Good morning, Bevin!

              I also used to regard it as hyperbolic to describe Clover as psychopathic. But, as you say… once you think about the essential nature of the thing, the conclusion is inescapable. Notice the fact that Clover’s posts are often overtly violent – and usually always implicitly so. Just because he himself is a physical coward who would never attempt to control someone else directly doesn’t change the essential psychology. The same lust drives him that drove Stalin. The difference is one of degree, that’s all.

          • Dear Eric,

            Funny how some of our own libertarian reasoning leads inexorably to conclusions that surprise even us.

            I may do a side by side comparison of the two types of psychopaths when I get a chance. it should be fun.

          • Dear Eric,

            “Just because he himself is a physical coward who would never attempt to control someone else directly doesn’t change the essential psychology.”

            Well said!

            This of course is where “democracy” comes in to play.

            Your average run of the mill clover would never have the effrontery to do what Tony Soprano does. Drive up to the local shopkeeper’s place of business in his black Lincoln Towncar, take out a sawed off baseball bat and demand “my money.”

            But he has no trouble extorting money from you indirectly, via “free and fair elections,” IRS agents, and police with guns and handcuffs.

            He will even congratulate himself on being a “solid citizen” and a “pillar of the community” because he “participated in a sacred rite of democracy,” better known as cannibalizing your neighbor.

            • Exactly!

              And, I think the key to making headway is calling them out on this – making them confront the essential nature of their “plans” and “policies.” Get it out in the open: Make as many people as possible see that what it all comes down to is violence.

              Murderous, bloody violence.

              If they have any decency, any moral sense left – it will begin to bother them. And that’s the way to turn things around!

          • Dear Eric,


            This is why plain talk is so invaluable for libertarian polemics. Because we need to tell the truth.

            This is why double talk is so indispensable for authoritarian polemics. Because they need to conceal the truth.

            A good example is HL Mencken’s famous quip: “Every election is sort of an advance auction of stolen goods.”

            This is what you and the many highly principled libertarians who leave comments here are doing.

            They are calling a spade a spade. They are telling it like it is. They are speaking truth to power. They are saying that the emperor has no clothes.

          • eric,
            Clover is the zombie of movies. Unthinking, uncaring, and oblivious – and highly destructive of civilized society as a result.

            To be fair, I talk about similar things: Weaponizing everything available, killing clovers, statists, control freaks of all types. To me, they have already aggressed: They demand at point of Uncle Sam’s guns shares of my “wealth,” be it money, knowledge, time, property, whatever: They they demand I PAY for the privilege of being robbed!
            If I could concoct a nanotech virus or a cyberasassin, and have it trigger only in those who seek control over others, it would be a great day, and I’d have no moral qualms in the least about executing them. I’d aim to make it something public and painful, even, and lay claim to being God.
            But, then, I’m a brutal f*ck and I make no excuses, either. In the long term, there is a case for self-defense and defense of the race; in the short term, it’s genocide, but I’m not going “up” at time of death anyway. Might as well leave the world better than it was…

            Of course, I am acting on the theory that Clover isn’t just a troll, making his arguments just to make dumbass arguments.
            And regardless: Clover is just a sociopath, inflicting himself on others.

            As someone using the handle Uzziel elsewhere phrases it: WHY AREN’T WE SHOOTING YET?

            It’s almost at the point where it CAN’T get worse…

            I know the real answer, though. The ancients even catalogued it, and it was repeated by the founders. To paraphrase: A person who has no self-control will DEMAND greater restrictions and controls be placed upon him. Control must come from somewhere, so the immoral and unjust, to prevent their abuses of others, inflict that external control – ultimately tyranny – on OTHERS as well. After all – If President (or pope) X cannot be trusted with that power… Or if _I_ cannot be trusted with that power – then NO ONE ELSE CAN BE EITHER.
            People worship the iron fist in the velvet glove, even as it chokes them to death.

            The tyranny removes from the weak-minded individual the responsibility and need for thought and individual action. They can hide in the herd.

            Only solution: As in Nature, cull the weak. We are not meant to be a herd, but a pack, men especially. The Way of Men is the Way of the Gang. (Jack Donovan)

            Women are herd animals. (And we won’t get into the racial disparities, but feel free to look up Zimbabwe, South Africa, Congo.)

            The Town needs an ENEMA.

          • Mang, Jean, make me search and scroll for the reply button will ya.
            What’s the difference between the herd and the pack? I don’t get that. Seems to me they are one and the same.

            Insert image of dog gnawing tail, here: X.

          • Downshift,
            Packs are smaller than herds, and there are specific social roles.
            Herds are interchangeable, near-identical (IE, uniform) animals. The herd survives, whether you do or not. A pack may die if the right (wrong?) member is removed.

            We are “planned” to be herd animals per gubbermint mandate. Only the beautiful people and the Elites are to be individual in any way whatsoever.

            Simple comparisons for you:
            Flock of birds / herd of zebras / herd of cows / herd of sheep / school of fish / murder of crows / gaggle of geese

            Compare to: Pride of lions / pack of wolves / pod of whales, even.
            Packs are predators.

            Herds (of any name) are PREY.

      • There is this concept, Clover, of living frugally – below one’s means. So as to avoid debt and have resources for unforeseen problems that crop up. To have the options that come with having money in the bank rather than a monthly payment.

        I realize such a concept may be foreign to a government “worker” who feeds off his fellow men.


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