Vidcast: Electric Lemonade

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Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Welcome to the wacky world of electric cars!

Going on 100 years now – and they keep churning them out (with “help” from Uncle, natch).

There are now at least a dozen different makes – and models – to choose from. VW just debuted an electric version of the Golf; Kia an electric version of the Soul. They are the only versions of these two otherwise popular cars that will collect dust on dealer’s lots, until either a fool comes along or the cash inducements offered are sufficient to make the “buyer” a partner in this crime.

Not one of these electric lemons is capable of making it on the merits – that is, as a cost-effective way to get around. Especially given that they don’t get very far.Brezhnev pic

VW, for example, has not been able to send me an eGolf to review because the thing is only capable of moving under its own power for about 70 miles. After that, it needs a recharge – or a flatbed. And for this, they want $36k.

It’d be funny – except the joke’s on us. The taxpayers who get held up to “help” fund the perpetuation of this long con, which has been going on for at least as long as I’ve been writing about cars – which is since the early ’90s.

How do we stop this crazy train?

Easy. Pull the plug. Disconnect the electric car from politics – and political correctness. Let them succeed – or fail – on the basis of their cost-effectiveness, their performance, their virtues. Wouldn’t that be preferable to emulating the old Soviet Union, which “helped” the Trabant and other automotive atrocities exist, Dracula-style, long after they should have died a natural death?Trabant image

I’d like to see electric cars succeed. I’m all for anything that reduces the cost of getting around. But electric cars don’t do that, unfortunately. I don’t trust corporations or the government and accept at face value that when money and power are at stake, they’ll do anything. But the electric car is – to date – a shimmering mirage in the desert. Something we can see just over the horizon, but which we never quite seem to be able to reach.

I’m not being paid by GM or anyone to slam electric cars. I’m simply telling the inconvenient truth about them, based on hands-on experience and facts. And the truth is none of them can compete with otherwise comparable IC cars on the merits. Maybe that “someday” will come when the “battery breakthrough” I’ve been hearing about for the past 30 years will have been achieved and an electric car will be able to go at least 200 miles on the highway, with accessories running – and be capable of re-juicing in less than 10 minutes and cost about the same – without subsidies – as an otherwise similar IC car.

But until that day, these cars are losers– and all the wishful thinking (and government “help”) won’t change that fact.

Site stuff: Clover Cam is now on the EPautos main page. Not just Clover videos, but a library of them. See the new category (and section, which is located under the Auto Anything ad).  We hope you enjoy them! And also, that you’ll submit videos. Help spread the shame!Clover1

A big thanks to the people who’ve chipped in over the past several days. We’re still about a third of the way away from making it to the black (and out of the red) for the month, but I’m hopeful you guys will come through again. I have a bunch of “EPautos” (no Clovers!) stickers ready to ship out. Please be sure to let us know you want one when you send in your donation – along with an address to send it to.

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  1. Jack Hinson was active during the Civil War, which was your typical cookie cutter affair where the larger group(North) conscripts a mob to subjugate and plunder the smaller group.(South)

    Ukraine and Far Western Russia is the latest Confederate State under siege. Most likely its land and facilities will all be “liberated” and put under the control of the majority group.
    – – –

    Jack Hinson, (1807–1874), was a farmer in Stewart County, Tennessee who operated as a Confederate partisan sniper against Union forces in the Between-the-Rivers region of Tennessee and Kentucky during the American Civil War.

    Hinson, a prosperous plantation owner of Scotch-Irish descent, was neutral at the outbreak of the war but took up arms after two of his sons were executed as suspected bushwhackers by Federal troops; their heads were cut off and stuck on the gate-posts to Hinson’s home.

    Hinson used a custom made 50 caliber 41-inch barrel Kentucky Long Rifle to target Union soldiers more than a half-mile away on land, transports, and gunboats along the Tennessee River and the Cumberland River, killing as many as a hundred.

    Hinson also served as a guide for Nathan Bedford Forrest in his assault on the Union supply center at Johnsonville, Tennessee in November 1864.

    He was the father of Robert Hinson, who served as the leader of a highly effective partisan band in the Between-the-Rivers region until his death in combat in September of 1863.

    Jack Hinson was never apprehended despite the commitment of elements of four Union regiments to pursue him, and survived the war, in April of 1874 in Houston county, Tennessee.

    Jack is commemorated in a roadside marker in Kentucky,

  2. I can not admire somebody who went to the other side of the globe and shot people who didn’t want foreign occupiers in their country.

    Now, if you want a sniper who really was a “hero” and whom you can admire for defending his home against invaders, check out Jack Hinson. I just started reading his history in a Kindle book I bought from Amazon.

  3. I am of the opinion that government subsidies ARE one of the biggest reasons for the failure of the electric car. It will also continue the failure of the electric car for the foreseeable future too. They will never find success until the current policies are gone.

    All the automakers are going about it basically the same way when it comes to R&D, largely due to how the government policies dictate. So the chance of a breakthrough gets broken down to virtually zero. Plus, even if somehow there is one, the government will probably step in and claim “ownership” of it as well. It would be done in the name of the “common good” but we all know what that really means, it will be put in the hands of the “right” crony.

    There is a big difference between how R&D is done in the private, non-crony, smaller company or organization, maybe guy working alone sector vs. the publicly funded, sometime university setting, crony large corporate company sector.

    The private inventor has to do it at low cost, because that is really his only option. The money is coming out of his own pocket. He is giving up something like a boat or a big TV etc. So he will gravitate towards affordable materials and methods (think computer business using silicon aka sand) . He won’t have a purpose built lab, just whatever is on hand (think Henry Ford in his garage). He also knows he fails even if he is successful at inventing, if his invention isn’t affordable or doesn’t has a purpose that people will want to pay money for. He doesn’t make dime one until he has a product to sell.

    The public crony inventor is not too concerned about the costs of R&D. There will be another taxpayer provided grant coming. He will only complain about a budget when the grant is a little late, darn those politicians. So keeping costs at bay isn’t much of a problem. Often expensive materials or methods are used. He probably has a custom built lab, often built at huge expense. Its never his own money on the line, in fact he is getting paid, sometimes handsomely. So its no wonder there isn’t a economical product to be had.

    The first group, unfortunately, is small and getting smaller. Most small time inventors are seduced by government grants, which removes you from the first group. Most won’t realize until its too late what happens when you take taxpayers money.

    Frankly I never see a workable electric car come from the existing automakers or any of the crony groups. If one ever comes, it will be from a person or small company-organization that hasn’t taken taxpayers money. It will the best way to keep ownership of your invention as you won’t be beholden to taxpayers interests.

    • This is how R&D and science work in a corporatist system.
      If the market were left alone development would happen. That’s why its not left alone. It is better that a technology never be if it were not to be in the “wrong” hands. Crappy electric cars made by the right people are better than good electric cars made by the wrong people. Also R&D like any other cost or risk is to be socialized while the profits are privatized.

    • richb – I agree with your logic. That’s why there is no cure for cancer or many other diseases – all the funding comes from the gunvermin, so there is no room for thinking outside the box.

      • Also the Big Pharma sector of the corporatocracy makes billions selling drugs to TREAT a disease until you die. Much less money to be made in a cure.

        • Hi Phillip,

          Yup!. They want you buying drugs – in perpetuity (until you die) – to suppress (sort of) the symptoms. But never, ever cure the underlying problem.

      • The government -prevents- cures for cancer. It’s big money for the vested interests. Anything that actually sets the immune system back right and thus ‘curing’ the cancer will never be FDA approved.

        The medical regime doesn’t even recognize the form of medicine that is likely required to deal with cancer properly. The one which should be obvious if it wasn’t for the status-quo.

  4. eight,
    I can’t speak about other Kia’s. But my 2011 Kia Soul that I use for Taxi is the worst car I have ever owned. I have owned more than I can count. The engine seems to be fine, but outside of that, the car is trash. The drive axles are terrible and expensive to replace. The clutches are terrible and expensive to replace. The transmission went out at 107,000 miles–also expensive to replace. This is all in comparison to 3 Scion xB’s. Two 2006 1st Gen’s and one 2008 2nd gen. I have replace a clutch on 1 scion(because of driver error, same as the Soul, but with the same drivers, the soul’s clutch lasts less than 50% of what the scion’s will)drive axles, replaced once on one scion about 120,000 miles ago. I replaced them on the Soul at 110,000, they need replaced again at 128,000. Used ones on ebay are about 3x the money of brand new ones for the scions. Don’t have comparison for transmissions, because I haven’t had to replace a scion tranny, even at 250,000 miles. Kia replaced at 115,000(it didn’t totally fail, but the case split and leaked fluid out so bearings growled really bad. Little things like the interior doesn’t seem to hold up. Fabric on the seats seems less durable. I could go on and on, but the Soul has put me in a position of never buying another Kia.

    At the end of the day, there is a reason Kia’s are a couple thousand cheaper than their competitors. If you are driving a car for 30-50,000 miles, the Kia makes sense. If you are looking for durability past 100,000 miles, Kia’s are worse than an 86 Chevy Celebrity.

    By the way, 2 of my 3 Scions are rebuilt titles from accidents. They are so damn good, I think I may get 400,000 miles on them. Maybe more. The parts are cheap enough that I can rebuild them for cheap. The Soul seems to need a rebuild at 100,000 miles. It would be cheaper to throw it away and buy a scion, so it aint happening for the Soul.

    I was impressed by the Soul when I drove it. Their other cars seem impressive too. But real world experience taught me a lesson. I tell everyone about it too. I think I’m going to put an ad on the back of my Kia and advertise just how crappy they are. Who knows, maybe the dealer in Idaho Falls will buy the damn thing from me, just to shut me up……better yet, maybe they will trade me out of it into a used scion that they have on their lot.

    I can only hope.

  5. Just when I thought there couldn’t be anything worse than the Kia Soul, they made an electric Kia Soul. The electric version may be better in the mechanical failures department….it would be damn hard to be worse.


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