Electric Car Putsch

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It’s not just the government that’s pushing electric cars. The media is equally complicit. Both are engaged in what has to be described as nothing less than a concerted propaganda onslaught to convince the public that the naked emperor is indeed wearing a suit of the finest materials available.

But the question – why? – remains mysterious.

What is so important – to them – about electric cars? Why the urgency to create the impression of inevitability?

The media, in particular, seems to be obsessed with this – even to the point of exaggerating the confected enthusiasm for electric cars displayed by major car manufacturers, who must at least pretend that electric cars are The Future – in order to not offend politically correct orthodoxy.

For example, this CNN “news” story. The headline reads, GM: The Future is All-Electric.

The lead eructs:

“That’s what the automaker said Monday as it unveiled plans to roll out two new electric vehicles over the next 18 months and a total of 20 over the next six years.”

Except GM – in the person of CEO Mary Barra – said no such thing.

She talked about – sigh – the need to “increase diversity” among engineers. This being a politically correct dogma right up there with the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Such talk at a car industry press conference is becoming as predictable as Pravda during the Brezhnev years.

GM’s head of product development – Mark Reuss – did say that “GM believes in an all-electric future.” But that is not the same thing as “The Future is All-Electric.”

Belief – vs. is.

The distinction is important.

Of course GM “believes.” Just as most kids under the age of ten believe in the Tooth Fairy. But is the Tooth Fairy real?

Belief – vs. is.

GM says what it must. But it is what sells that will determine whether belief in the “all electric future” becomes actuality. And – so far – electric cars don’t.

Sell.

Not without monster “incentives” that dramatically lower the purchase price. The Chevy Bolt, for instance. GM’s latest electric car – on which many hopes were pinned – stalled like a ’78 Pinto after it was introduced at the beginning of this year. Its $37,500 base price being the obvious reason for buyer reluctance. The Bolt is basically a compact economy car – except for its electric drivetrain, the same sort of car as a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.

Except it costs twice as much as they do.

Plus change.

And only goes half as far – and takes at least six times as long to “refuel.”

Unlike the government, which can lavish money on anything it likes – having limitless access to taxpayers’ pockets – car buyers have to think about money, above everything else.

It is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Press conference cheerleading aside, a car like the Bolt makes no economic sense. It costs about as much as a Lexus ES350. But it is not a Lexus ES350. It is an electrically-powered economy car . . . that isn’t very economical. Because it costs more rather than less to buy than a non-electric equivalent –  so the fact that  it costs less to drive is economically irrelevant.

This is one of those stubborn facts old John Adams used to talk about but which politically correct orthodoxies prevent being discussed today.

Mary Barra – whose origins as a human resources golem are not encouraging – may know this. Mark Reuss definitely knows. Neither are imbeciles but both know they must not touch the third rail and publicly speak ill – that is, factually – about electric cars. No matter how poorly they sell; no matter the desperation tactics that must be deployed to simply move them off dealership lots.

Which is what GM had to resort to in order to – stimulate is the word that comes to mind – artificial demand for the Bolt.

In addition to the disgusting federal and state subsidies (i.e., transfer of taxpayer dollars) to the buyer – which weren’t enough to sway enough buyers – GM dealers began throwing in a $5,000 additional discount (see here) which along with the federal and state subsidies brought the Bolt’s ludicrous $37,500 sticker price down to a merely silly $25,000 – only about $10k more than a decent IC-engined economy car.

This was enough to stimulate “sales” from around 900 a month to about 1,900 a month (as of September; see here for the actual numbers).

This is good – and very bad.

Another important distinction.

GM can crow about the Bolt’s sales increasing. Which is true. But only because GM is giving away the Bolt. Imagine a restaurant that only charged $5 a plate for a full course prime rib dinner. Plus “free” drinks.

The restaurant would be very busy.

Until it ran out of prime rib and Scotch and sodas to give away.

It is baying naked at the Moon, on all fours, wearing a meat helmet – economically speaking. Barra and Reuss know this, too. They are probably embarrassed and – between themselves – shake their heads and wonder how much longer this can go on.

All the way, I suspect.

The economic facts are simply too bulgy to be swept under the rug. The lumps show. This is why, incidentally, the sudden stampede to pass laws banning other-than-electric cars. If people no longer have a choice, then they have to choose an EV!

Now, they’ll sell!

This is a measure of both the desperation of the EV putchsers and the seriousness of their intent. They are determined.

The same applies to the media whores who are un-indicted co-conspirators in this mess. Who purvey this EV inevitability BS.

Who never ask:

Where, exactly, will the billions come from to erect the nationwide fast-charging infrastructure that is absolutely essential for EVs to ever be more than subsidized curiosities?

Without these “fast” chargers, using an ordinary household outlet, an EV needs 8-12 hours to regain its ability to move.

Erecting a network of fast chargers is a project on the order of building the Interstate Highway System – but we are told that there is barely enough money to maintain the highways which already exist.

So where will the got-damned money come from? Who will pay? 

Why is the cost of battery replacement – which involves several thousand dollars –  never discussed when electric cars are discussed by the media? To fathom the dereliction of this, imagine them failing to publicize some known-to-them defect affecting a non-electric car. An SUV, for instance, with a engine that needed to be replaced somewhere around 100,000 miles as part of is routine service schedule.

Yet they never mention that fact that battery replacement is a routine part of the electric car ownership experience. It is outrageous.

No mention – ever – by mainstream media people of the fact that the range of an electric car is greatly reduced when the EV must cope with very cold or very hot weather, as either of these require the use of electrically powered accessories (heat and AC, respectively) that draw lots of electrical power, which is another way of saying their use drains the battery and so reduces the range.

These – and more – constitute the line in the sand that separates belief vs. is.

You decide what The Future will be.

And ask yourself why this business is being pushed so hard, in defiance of some very stubborn facts.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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107 COMMENTS

  1. Article asks “…Why is the cost of battery replacement – which involves several thousand dollars – never discussed when electric cars are discussed by the media? ”

    First of all, because every EV maker warranties the battery system for at least 8 years. Tesla’s warranty is 8 years, unlimited miles.

    Second, because modern EV batteries are modular. It should almost never be necessary to replace an entire battery. Instead just the weak or failing cells are replaced.

    Data suggests a Tesla battery pack could last 500,000 miles.

    • “Data suggests a Tesla battery pack could last 500,000 miles.”

      Riiigggghhht. And I could be king of Persia, too.

      8 years is nothing. I don’t even look at a vehicle unless it’s at least 15-20 years old. My daily driver is over 40 years old and the engine, trans, and rear axle have never required serious work.

      I strongly suspect that all of the cells will become weak or fail in an electric car when you start talking about a vehicle that is decades old. As far as the 500,000 mile claim is concerned, let us know when a Tesla battery pack actually achieves that in real-world use.

        • Studies will generally reflect the outcome desired by those conducting and/or funding the studies. Like the studies conducted by the tobacco companies that showed no link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

          300,000 miles is not 500,000 miles. It is also not that remarkable, I have seen many conventionally-powered vehicles reach 300,000 miles without requiring a major overhaul. Age is also a factor in batteries, probably more so than mileage. Show us a Tesla battery pack, or at least a battery using the same technology, that is fully functional after 20-30 years use. (Plenty of gas-powered cars are doing just fine after that time period.) As I said, an 8 year battery warranty is nothing to those of us in the used car market.

          • You may not be impressed, but I personally have never driven a car to even 300,000 miles. I have a hard time considering 300,000 to 500,000 miles to be somehow impractical.

            • No, I am not impressed. Not at all. I have run several cars to 300,000 miles and more, and run them for decades. Also as I said, chemical batteries deteriorate over time – mileage is not the only factor. Ditto for the number of charge/discharge cycles and the manner in which the batteries have been charged.

              I can buy a 15-20 year old (or older) used car with a gasoline engine and with the application of due diligence fully expect it to provide dependable service without requiring major repairs. A 15-20 year old electric car is very likely to need a replacement battery pack costing as much as an engine or transmission overhaul. I have seen nothing to indicate that today’s batteries will overall last as long as a well-maintained conventional drivetrain.

              • Fair enough. That’s you. As for everyone else, Consumer Reports points out that “…the average life expectancy of a new vehicle these days is around 8 years or 150,000 miles. Of course, some well-built vehicles can go 15 years and 300,000, if properly maintained.”

                This means the vast majority of drivers will not ever be dealing with anything as major as an EV battery change.

                This is why the press doesn’t point out the cost of a full battery change. After all, they don’t point out the cost of an engine overhaul or transmission change, either.

                • Consumer Reports are statist shills and are not an authoritative source for anything automotive.

                  Even taking their statement at face value, your idea that the “vast majority” of drivers will never face having to replace the battery does not ring true unless you expect that the car will be junked after the batteries fail. There are many more used car sold than new and it is very likely that older used electric cars will require battery replacement.

                  • If – in your opinion – 300,000 to 500,000 miles isn’t an adequate battery lifetime, all I can do is disagree. I stand by my previous comments and invite reasonable judgement from readers.

                    In your world, apparently, cars routinely last a million miles or so.

                    • You are simply not getting it. I’ll say it again, today’s batteries deteriorate over time as well as mileage, deteriorate over multiple chargings, and can further deteriorate depending on how they are charged.

                      You are also being disingenuous. Please show me where I made the statement that cars “routinely last a million miles or so.” Of course I made no such claim. I do stand by my statement that with proper maintenance 300,000 miles without an overhaul is a quite attainable goal. However in most cases such mileage would be accumulated in 20-30 years. You have not at all shown evidence that electric car batteries will last over that period of time.

                      I stand by my quite reasonable comment that older used electric cars will likely require battery replacement despite the handwaving of the electric car fanboys.

                      I have found that the people who buy new, expensive luxury cars such as Teslas tend to have tunnel vision and have absolutely no concept of the way that many if not most people live. A huge number of people cannot afford new or late model vehicles. An older electric with a failing, out-of-warranty battery pack is going to be of no use to anyone except the scrapyards.

                    • All you can do is type words on blog? Really??

                      In that case, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you simply have to buy, on my word of course.

                      Are EV products too holy to offer some method of testing marketing claims?

                      Are EV advocates selling better transportation mousetraps or snake oil guaranteed to cure any environmental ailment?

                  • Exactly so.

                    How about letting a truly independent entity like Eric test things?

                    What are they afraid of?

                    Not many are going to take these things seriously until they allow some independent testing of their “miraculous breakthroughs.”

                • Dave,

                  Jason and others have already handled this excellently, but – again – you are being disingenuous or perhaps simply don’t grok it. The CR statement that the average life expectancy of a new car is “eight years” is ludicrous. My ’02 Nissan is just getting warmed up. It’s 15 years old and has about 130,000 miles on it. The drivetrain is in excellent mechanical condition and the truck will probably run reliably for at least another 5-10 years. This is typical of the life expectancy of any newish/late-model car that is decently maintained.

                  You continue to evade the facts about chemistry; that batteries deteriorate over time and with use. This includes all the “cells” in an EV battery pack.

                  As several readers have pointed out, you – like pretty much EV advocate I have debated – appear to be an affluent person willing to spend a large sum of money on an EV and then keep it for just a few years. Then you lease or buy another expensive one. In other words, you are a luxury car buyer, no different – in terms of the economics – than people who buy BMWs and Porsches on a revolving door basis.

                  But this is economic unreality for two-thirds of the car buying public. A very large number of people buy a car based on its affordability and with the idea that they will keep it for at least a decade and perhaps 15 years or longer – in order to get their money’s worth out of the thing.

                  What will a Tesla be like after ten or 15 years?

                  No one knows! Because not one has been around that long yet.

                  Why won’t Tesla send me a car to review? I’ve been getting them from every other car company for decades. But no electric cars.

                  Guess why?

                  Leaving aside animosity:

                  I live too far from the press fleet staging areas; there is not an EV available that could make the trip without a pit stop to recharge overnight. No “fast” chargers on I-81.

                  I would test the damned thing properly. I would use its vaunted quickness repeatedly – to see what the effect would be on the battery pack’s charge. Also the AC – full blast, not tepid to “save energy.” And the heat, full hot. Because if I am buying a $40k car, I want to not freeze in winter or have sweat stains under my armpits in summer.

                  I would bet real money that the touted range is utter bullshit when the car is driven remotely aggressively and the accessories uses liberally.

                  Tesla knows this and so is very careful about who gets seat time and what is written about the experience.

                  • Only 2 hours away.

                    Used 2013 Tesla Model S

                    Private Seller
                    919-338-3338
                    Wake Forest, NC 27587

                    Wanna call him, I’m dying to hear from him, aren’t you?

                    Mileage 37,663
                    Body Style Sedan
                    Drive Type 2 wheel drive – rear
                    Transmission Automatic

                    VIN 5YJSA1CP1DFP13646

                    ATC Car ID AT-1BB6CA0F

                  • “…The CR statement that the average life expectancy of a new car is “eight years” is ludicrous…”

                    I don’t think that statistic is made up. More likely, you and your readers are not average car buyers.

                    “…batteries deteriorate over time and with use.”

                    Of course, but the study I referenced does indeed measure both. Model S has been on the road for 5 years. The Tesla Roadster for 10 years. Even 5 years is enough to spot trends.

                    “…appear to be an affluent person willing to spend a large sum of money…”

                    That’s what’s called a predjudice. I am of course not wealthy. My reserved Model 3 will cost me $35k, but savings on fuel and maintenance will put half the purchase price back in my pocket over 10 years of ownership.

                    “…No “fast” chargers on I-81… ”
                    Clearly this is something you haven’t checked. See Supercharger map:

                    https://www.tesla.com/findus#/bounds/44.3473503,-75.75229949999999,41.9978261,-76.18216719999998?search=supercharger&name=I-81%20new%20york

                    • Hi Dave,

                      Last time I checked, the average car on the road was just under 12 years old. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-ihs-average-car-age-20150729-story.html

                      Most people keep their cars for a good long time these days, because (1) they cost so much to buy, so they keep them in order to amortize the cost and (2) because they last so long. 12-15 years is more like it, as far as the average service life goes. Disposing of a car after just eight years is wasteful as hell. Especially if the car cost $35k.

                      And: If you buy a $35k car – it’s actually closer to $40k – you are buying an entry luxury car that is about twice the cost of a current typical economy sedan. The idea that this purchase will save you money is risible. Gas prices would have to double, at least.

                      You’re buying a gadget, something you think is neat. Something you just like. But it’s innumerate to characterize an EV as an economical purchase.

                      On the “fast” chargers:

                      Well, you’d have to find them. Then, wait. 30-45 minutes, at least. As opposed to stopping anywhere in an IC car and refueling in less than 5 minutes.

                      I get that you and other committed EV fans are willing to tolerate such extended waits to recharge and all the other hassles. But most people will never put up with it – and most people can’t afford a $35k car, either – electric or not.

                  • “…the average car on the road was just under 12 years old…”

                    I don’t disagree. This is not inconsistent with what CR said – most cars last 8 years, but a significant fraction last 15 years. 12 years probably is the average.

                    “…you are buying an entry luxury car that is about twice the cost…”

                    Average new car cost today is $33,560. Not far from the Model 3 cost. Source:

                    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/05/04/new-car-transaction-price-3-kbb-kelley-blue-book/26690191/

                    Again – it’s the savings in fuel and maintenance costs that will bring down my cost of ownership.

                    “…The idea that this purchase will save you money is risible…”

                    I’ve been an EV hobbyist long before EVs were mainstream. We used to have to make our own EVs back then. I know exactly how to do this math. I fully stand by my money-saving claim. I would even wager significant $ on it.

                    • Dave,

                      A majority of cars on the road today are more than ten years old.

                      The average price paid for a new car is $33k.

                      But there are numerous cars that cost far less. You could buy any of several economical compact sedans for around $16k – half or less the price of your Tesla.

                      If you were interested in saving money, you’d buy such a car.

                      But what you want is a luxury-performance car that happens to be electric.

                  • “…You could buy any of several economical compact sedans for around $16k. If you were interested in saving money, you’d buy such a car. ”

                    I dispute your conclusion. If my Tesla saves me $2000/year in fueling and maintenance costs, I save enough over 8 years of ownership to make my Tesla cheaper than the compact car. (I will justify this number if you ask.)

                    The Tesla will also have a higher resale value than the cheap car.

                    Not to even mention a MUCH nicer driving experience.

                    • Hi Dave,

                      The $16k car will go – easily – 15 years without major mechanical problems or repairs. I doubt your Tesla will go more than ten without requiring costly service, and not just the battery pack. The thing is laden with intricate technology that is certain to have a shorter life than a simpler, more fundamentally durable car. It is in this way like any other high-end luxury car; these cars are all money pits, post-warranty. They are designed to be “the latest thing” for about as long as the warranty/lease lasts… after that, they depreciate like Enron stock, because the cost to keep them going becomes increasingly prohibitive.

                      Also, you will still be buying tires and brake pads and so on – all of which will almost certainly cost you more than the same parts/service would cost with the $1k car.

                      You write:

                      “Not to even mention a MUCH nicer driving experience.”

                      And there you have it. The truth. You want a nicer car. A sexier car. A car that is quicker and has more “stuff.”

                      Nothing wrong with any of that. But it’s not about the economy of the thing!

                  • So you think the Tesla will require more repairs? We will simply have to disagree about this. Warranty repairs, perhaps, due to the newness of the model. But as the car ages it will require far less. EVs don’t have complicated engines, fuel or oil systems, radiators, etc. Electric motors have ONE moving part.

                    Of COURSE it’s not just about economy. But a really nice car for around the same overall cost of ownership as a cheap compact is a no-brainer.

                    • Hi Dave,

                      Yes, I think it will require repairs comparable to other high-tech luxury cars. Not the engine (the motor) but the electronics and gadgets. All modern luxury cars – electric or IC – are money pits, once they get a few years and miles on them.

                      This is why most people only keep them a few years – usually, lease them or sell/trade right around the time the warranty expires.

                    • EVs are just magic. All the stuff they share with other cars never wears out.

                      See it is all that other stuff that wears out and then when something expensive needs doing the car gets junked EVs won’t live any longer simply be tossed aside for some other straw.

                    • Hi Brent,

                      Dave seems like a nice guy… a guy who has money to burn and likes the idea of EVs.

                      For him, the “economics” of the EV are defined within the context of a luxury-sport sedan. “The Tesla will cost me less to operate than a Lexus ES350 or BMW 3!”

                      It may, assuming that – like most luxury-sport buyers – Dave trades in for a new one after 3-5 years. But he – like every single defender of the faith I have dealt with – seems unable to grok that spending entry-luxury money on any car by definition makes “economy” an irrelevance. Economy means spending less than you have to – and not just to drive but to buy. It is not economical to buy a $35k car – whether electric or otherwise – when you can buy a $16k car that gets you from A to B just as well (better, vs. the EV) and in no way is a miserable shitbox (all new cars have AC, basic power options, a nice stereo, etc.) That is how you save money – if saving money is the primary consideration.

                      But Dave wants something more.

                      Which is fine, but he ought to quit it with the pretense, the disingenuous arguments and – most of all – the virtue signaling.

                    • This is why people turn into “greenies”. When they realize that they can’t justify the economics of EVs, greenie-weenie-ism is the only other way to do what they want while still maintaining the facade of virtue-signaling. (Why they feel they need to do do this, and can’t just do what they want because they want to, is beyond me- but apparently it’s part of their culture.).

                      Don’t ask me what they do if they ever come to the realization that there is nothing “green” about EVs, because they produce just as much in the way of emissions, if not more, than an ICE car…they just do so remotely- because I’ve yet to see one of ’em think it through that far.

                  • I’m not worried about gadgets on the car. If I own the car long enough that gadgets start failing out of warranty, I typically just let that stuff go.

                    It’s the powertrain that matters. CU just rated the Chevy Bolt as GM’s most reliable car. EVs are hard to beat for reliability.

                    • Hi Dave,

                      You should be worried – the electronics are interwoven; when the complex systems that control the operation of the motor (and accessories) fail, prepare to dig deep.

                      And the Bolt? It’s barely been on the road for a year. To describe at as “GM’s most reliable car” is simply more EV fanboi cheerleading.Let’s see how “reliable” it is after ten years on the road.

                      I know … you would have traded yours in before then. So the next owner gets the big bills. But you got a big bill, too. This business of spending $35k or so every eight years on a car (plus the insurance, plus the taxes, plus the upkeep) is economically insane – unless you are making hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, in which case it is merely an indulgence.

                    • It’ll be like my z 71 only worse. It was electronic drive and shocks and all that bs. Now with no electronics it rides like a Ford, handles like shit, like no other GM pickup I’ve owned. It’s information center is just full of disinformation. I’m returning to early 90’s pickups, those I can fix anything on and ride and handle better than anything that came after. They’re quieter, no tire noise like newer ones, are lower to the ground and handle better but have as much clearance as anything made now except for those ridiculous high riding things fit for not much of anything. Oh, you could off-road with them…..but nobody’s gonna spend that kind of money and then beat hell out of them. They sure do shine though. So what’s the point? Damned if I know except to impress people who don’t know anything about pickups and spend lots of money on bling after the fact.

                    • Dave, just remember- all the magazines heralded the Ford Fairmont as “The car of the future” when it was new. How’d that turn out? LOL!

                      The freaking Fairmont!

                  • Hey there. I can see I’m not popular here, so I’m trying not to insert myself into all these conversations around my comments.

                    However, accusing me of “virtue signaling” is a bit too much to ignore. I am certainly allowed to argue for things I believe in as much as anyone else is. That is no way implies I am “more virtuous” than anyone else. People are entitled to their choices. I would never claim my choice of car makes me somehow “better” than others here.

                    “…a guy who has money to burn…” This is also untrue, as I have of course already pointed out.

                    “…For him, the “economics” of the EV are defined within the context of a luxury-sport sedan…” I have also already responded to this nonsense. I showed how a Tesla Model 3 could have an overall cost of owning and operating similar to a $16,000 compact car. Just look higher up comment chain, it’s there.

                    “…like most luxury-sport buyers – Dave trades in for a new one after 3-5 years…”

                    Nope, I typically keep my cars 8 – 12 years. And “LUXURY SPORT???” My previous EV was a (near-antique) 1981 Jet Electra Van – I bought from eBay in 2004 ($2000 plus some elbow grease) and sold it in 2016. Picture here:
                    http://www.evalbum.com/775

                    “…It is not economical to buy a $35k car – whether electric or otherwise – when you can buy a $16k car…” Hey, you should look at my actual response to this scenario, instead of pretending I didn’t answer you. I showed my Tesla cost the same as the compact car over 8 years of ownership.

                    I’m right here. Your responses wind up in my inbox. Don’t make up stuff about me, please.

                    • Dave,

                      If the “virtue signaling” thing was in reference to my post- sorry- I was not aiming that at you personally, but rather just at many EV fans in general.

                      I would just have more respect for those people, if they’d just be honest, and say that they want an EV ’cause they think it’s cool, etc. rather than feeling the need to justify their purchase in the eyes of others.

                      Hey, speaking of a Jet Industries electric van, there’s currently one pictured on oldparkedcars.com (I had never even heard of them until the pic there!)

                      http://www.oldparkedcars.com/2017/08/1980-jet-industries-electravan-electra.html

                    • Hi Dave,

                      Cuing my best Buford T. Justice voice: There is no way in hell you can economically justify the purchase of any $35k car – electric or otherwise- vs. the cost of a $16k car.

                      What you “save” on gas you spent on the car. And will spend to insure the car (premiums will be much higher because they are based on the replacement cost of the car and the $35k car costs twice as much to replace) and this doesn’t even begin to take account of the certainty of costly repairs to the complex electronics and related systems in the Tesla vs. the much simpler, inherently more durable technology in the $16k car.

                      This isn’t an EV issue, per se – it’s an issue that pertains to all luxury-type cars, which is what all Teslas are. The imbecility of that – as an economic matter – ought to be obvious.

                      PS: If these massively compromised, over-expensive electric Turduckens ever do become widespread, wait and see what happens to the cost of electricity. You are Charlie Brown. Lucy is holding the football.

                    • I am not sure the price of electricity will be allowed to rise. I think the end game may be to ration it. If the price simply rose a lot of people would be impoverished further but there would still be the ability to buy. I don’t think that’s enough for the social engineers. They want control. Price controls with rationing will do that.

                    • Nay, nay, Brent. Electricity can and will go up- and is in the process of doing so in many places.

                      First, consider that in most of libtard/blue areas, electricity is already often 4 times higher than it is in other places (And this is often not reflected in statistics, because the way the charges are structured- a mere KW/hr perusal doesn’t show the difference to be as great as it truly is).

                      Electricity back on Long Island was literally 4-5 times higher than it is here in Bublephuc.

                      And even here in Bumblephuc, just one county over, they are using the smart meters to do a variable price based on time of day/demand thing, so that their rates are now equal to those back on Lawn Guyland- even though their electricity comes from the same plus us does the electric in my county, which is among the cheapest in the country.

                      They didn’t put in all of these “smart” meters for nothing. There’s always a method to their madness. It’s coming.

                      As for the people who can’t afford it? Uncle will just take more of OUR money to redistribute to them, to pay their bills- just like they do when the “poor” who once owned their own homes can no longer afford the ever-increasing property taxes… Uncle just sets them up in a subsidized HUD apartment, and we pay the rent.

                      Uncle LOVES this kinda stuff! More people on the dole=more people who are controlled, and more people who will vote to perpetuate/expand the welfare state; more communism.

                      All of those new generating facilities and the cost of running them has to come from somewhere. and guess where that somewhere is? If they’re already making US subsidize the cars which we don’t even own nor drive, one can only imagine what they’ll do when it comes to something like electricity which we actually use.

                  • Thanks for the picture link. the ElectraVan was obviously a hobby car for me. I used to drive it in the Detroit Woodward Dream Cruise every year.

                    I also used it to commute to work and for local driving. Not enough range for much else.

                    It’s a converted Subaru 600. That’s a mini-mini van designed for Japanese city driving, it was never officially imported to the US for any other purpose. Jet Industries made several hundred of them in 1979-1981. A dozen or two are still on the road.

                    I had it on the freeway once, but it didn’t feel very safe at freeway speeds.

                    Had a lot of fun with it.

                    It was bought by a museum in Iceland, believe it or not.

                    • Thanks for the info on the Electrovan, Dave! That’s pretty cool. I had no idea that they could even DO freeway speeds!

                      It’s always fun to drive something unique and different. I oughta get one to carry around in the back of my Excursion as a spare! 😉

                    • Hi Dave,

                      The tragic thing – one of them – is that electric cars could make great urban cars; if the car is not expected to be capable of (and not need to achieve) speeds greater than 50 MPH or go more than 50 miles, the problems of range and recharge effectively disappear. If the emphasis were on efficiency and economy rather than high-performance, technology and luxury, these small “city EVs” could be made light and cheap – which would make them a very appealing way to get around within a city.

                      Instead, we have – are made to subsidize – economic atrocities such as the Tesla.

                    • Ha! Eric, that seems to be their model these days with regard to all vehicles.

                      e.g. where can you get a full-sized (or any, really) SUV that is truly a “utility” vehicle, which can actually go off-road, and carry lumber and stuff, as opposed to being a luxury land yacht/soccer-mom heated leather seat DVD-player festooned mobile? -or a real full-sized car with a vinyl bench seat?

                  • “…There is no way in hell you can economically justify the purchase of any $35k car…”

                    Yet I have indeed done precisely this, per the example I cited earlier.

                    “…What you “save” on gas you spent on the car… ”

                    So what? It’s the total cost of ownership – monthly payments plus fuel, maintenance, insurance etc that comes out of my pocket over the period of ownership that impacts my wallet.

                    “…premiums will be much higher…”

                    Yes, this is a valid point, but it also depends on the level of insurance I choose. The difference isn’t enough to make my math invalid. I can still drive a very nice car for something very near the overall cost of a cheap compact.

                    “…costly repairs to the complex electronics…”

                    This one is probably an irreconcilable difference of opinion about the reliability of EVs VS gas vehicles. I stand by my assessment of a much lower maintenance cost for EVs based on my personal experience with both types of cars. My 36-year-old Jet ElectraVan had all the original powertrain components. No maintenance was ever needed in all that time on the motor or controller system.

                    “…wait and see what happens to the cost of electricity…”

                    Unlike gasoline – there is a limit to how high electricity prices can get. Too high, and home solar systems begin to catch on. Utilities won’t let this happen.

                    • Errr, Dave? It’s not “the cost of monthly payments”- for they are dependent upon such things as trade-in value and down payment. If you paid cash, the payment would be zero.

                      It’s about the total price of the car + interest vs. what it’s worth when you get rid of it- as far as the actual cost of purchase.

                      Then all of the other stuff, like operating cost; insurance; maintence; repairs; taxes/fees, etc.

                      Cost of electricity to charge ’em must be figured in, too- which may be somewhat skewed right now, as some charging can be had for free…but that will not always be the case.

                    • Hi Dave,

                      You have done no such thing! You’ve asserted that – somehow – the purchase of a $35k car makes more economic sense than the purchase of a $16k car. Your claim is that the EV will cost less over time because you spend less on gas and maintenance.

                      This doesn’t add up.

                      First, $15,000 buys an ocean of gasoline at today’s roughly $2.25 per gallon. Roughly, about 6,600 gallons. Assuming a car that averages about 30 MPG – a feat any current economy sedan easily manages, that is fuel enough to drive almost 200,000 miles. So, your $35k EV won’t begin to “save money” vs. the IC car until after the IC car has been driven 200,000 miles.

                      That is a long goddamn time to wait for “savings.”

                      Meanwhile, you have been spending more to insure the car and will almost certainly be spending more to maintain it – whether it’s the batteries or the complex electronics. Your 36-year-old EV reference is nonsensical. It is like my comparing the simplicity of maintaining my 40-year-old Trans-Am vs. a modern car. Apples – and oranges.

                      As I have tried to explain several times already: It is not just the motor that’s at issue. It’s the electronics – all the complex crap that is in every $35k-plus car these days, electric and not. These things cost a fortune to replace when they stop working, which is why a used luxury-sport car (which the Tesla is) is probably the worst car to buy used and the worst car to keep for much longer than the warranty lasts.

                      And this doesn’t address the battery issue. The fact is the battery pack will eventually degrade; when it does – look out! And it will probably have degraded significantly after 200,000 miles. Meanwhile, 200,000 miles is nothing for any modern IC car. Assuming decent maintenance, the IC car can be counted on to run reliably for another 50,000 miles or more.

                      Let’s also discuss the opportunity cost of your Tesla Turducken. You pay twice as much to get this thing vs. a current economy sedan. You have $15k-ish locked up in the Tesla that could have been used for other, more economically productive things.

                  • “…You have done no such thing!”

                    Yet my post is there for all to see.

                    “…your $35k EV won’t begin to “save money” vs. the IC car until after the IC car has been driven 200,000 miles…”

                    A lot of assumptions are in your explanation. Of course assumptions matter. Future costs of gas and electricity, fuel efficiency of the cars, etc. There are of course a set of assumptions that makes me right. A worse set will only make me “close” to right.

                    In your worst-case example – 200,000 miles to reach cost parity – well, that might just be how long I keep a car. If so, I’d certainly rather have a nice comfortable Model 3 versus a rattling spewing 200k mile econobox.

                    “…will almost certainly be spending more to maintain it…”
                    “…The fact is the battery pack will eventually degrade…”

                    Nope. Again, I absolutely DO NOT agree. Maintenance will cost me lots less. The battery will last the likely lifetime of the car, as shown by actual data.

                    “…Let’s also discuss the opportunity cost of your Tesla Turducken. You pay twice as much…”

                    Partially correct. My downpayment may be greater than yours. But then my monthly payments + fuel & costs won’t be all that different from yours. (Higher payment but lower fuel cost.) You’ll have some savings up front compared to me. I make up for it later with lower maintenance and higher resale. It’s well worth it to drive a nicer car.

                    I don’t expect you to agree. You’ll just have to consider these assertions to be my delusion. I’d wager money, but the bet would take a decade to resolve.

                    • Hi Dave,

                      And your Tesla will somehow not be a “rattling, spewing” hooptie at 200,000 miles? Electric cars wear, too – they have suspensions and other components just like an IC car; these will age – and may age faster, because of the EV’s greater weight. And – god – I tire of repeating myself about the facts of life about luxury-sport cars (like the Tesla) that have far more elaborate electronics and systems than an IC economy car. Such cars always cost more to maintain over time. The Tesla will be no different.

                      Even leaving aside the battery issue, the EV will cost more to own than the $16k IC car for hundreds of thousands of miles – unless gas prices rise dramatically, which does not appear at all likely unless the got-damned government begins to ladle on even higher taxes. I think it must be driving EV fanbois to carpet chewing paroxysms of despair that gas is so cheap – which indicates strongly that supply is massively abundant.

                      EVs can’t compete on the economic merits – so they tout style and performance and luxury and gadgets.

                      Your math does not make any economic sense – but you betray the truth of your position when you deride “econoboxes” and reference “nice comfortable Model 3.” You are not concerned about economy. You want luxury and performance – and the virtue signaling of owning a “green” electric car.

                      PS: Current “econoboxes” – cars like the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and so on – are very nice cars. They have AC, most power options, good stereos and plenty of power for normal driving. Many even come standard with LCD touchscreens. There is certainly no hardship involved in driving one. Anyone interested in economy – in saving money on a car – would drive such a car.

                      But you want something other than economy. Again, this is fine. But you look silly attempting to disguise this by claiming a $35,000 EV is an “economical” choice. And you’d look even sillier if the crony capitalist subsidies went away and you had to pay the real cost of your Tesla .. . which would be closer to $50,000 (probably more).

                    • The cost difference between electricity and gasoline for transportation is dominated if not entirely the difference in taxation of the two.

                      Back in the 1990s I listened about how great electric cars were. The presentation included cost to operate. The electric did not include the taxes on motoring. When I added them the cost advantage evaporated. Every instance where I’ve repeated this calculation on a level taxation playing field there isn’t a difference worth mentioning.

                      Government will not permit this tax avoidance to go on forever. It allows it for now because of the social engineering and political power electric cars may bring but ultimately the government is going to want and take the money.

                  • Really, the “virtue signaling” nonsense again??

                    It’s a very simple value proposition. A Tesla Model 3 will be a nicer, better performing, and more comfortable driving experience, for the SAME money as a bargain-basement econo-car, calculated over the ownership lifetime.

                    I’m not “signaling”, I’m enjoying my car, just like everyone else on this board likes to do. What are they all “signaling”??

                    • Dave,

                      “A Tesla Model 3 will be a nicer, better performing, and more comfortable driving experience, for the SAME money as a bargain-basement econo-car, calculated over the ownership lifetime.”

                      Nicer, better performing and more comfortable – certainly. I am glad you’ve admitted the real reason you bought a Tesla!

                      But the “same money”?

                      Nonsense.

                      I’ve carefully shown why, using actual facts – such as the amount of gas that the $15-$16k difference in cost between your Tesla and a $16k economy car would buy and the fact that this sum would keep the IC car going for 200,000 miles before your EV begins to “save money” by not using gasoline.

                      You claim that maintenance costs will be less. I’ve shown you this is not so. Do you comprehend that luxury-sport cars like the Tesla are more complex, feature elaborate systems that always cost more over time than the simpler cars that do not have such “features”?

                      Again, this does not even get into the battery/longevity/cost issues. If these are added, your “lifetime” costs go through the roof!

                      And you’ll pay at least a third more to insure the car because of its higher replacement cost.

                      Etc.

                      The bottom line is you don’t want an economical car. You want – your own words – “a nicer, better performing, and more comfortable driving experience.”

                      Tell me why this ought to be subsidized by other people?

                    • I’ll be curious to see the resale value of Teslas after they age a bit, and the newfangledness wears off….and the problems become well known (And they ARE having lots of electronics/computer problems already).

                      Also, I have a feeling that the insurance costs will increase out-of-proportion compared to normal cars, because Tesla is remotely disabling their cars which end up at the salvage auctions, as they don’t want there to be such a thing as rebuilt Teslas available to the public- so they’re going really cheap at the salvage auctions; and that means less money that the ins. co.s are able to recoop on them, so the insured must be charged a higher premium to make up for that.

                      Big difference between a $75K Tesla with light damage that only goes for $5K at the auction because it’ll be bricked the next time you connect the battery, vs. a $75K ICE car with similar damage that goes for $30K…..

                      It will also be interesting to see if the clueless masses just fall out of love with Teslas one day- when the novelty wears off, and the reality of the economics and logistics of having to live with them sets in, what will then happen to resale values….. (Yes, Tesla NOW guarantees the minimum resale value of their higher end stuff, for the first year or two, so you “only” lose $20K or so….LOL)

                    • ” A Tesla Model 3 will be a nicer, better performing, and more comfortable driving experience, for the SAME money as a bargain-basement econo-car”

                      Oh, is that so? Please tell me where I can pick a used one up for a couple of grand that will provide any kind of driving experience at all. I can do that all day long with any number of gasoline-powered vehicles.

                      Don’t get me wrong, no one is begrudging you your expensive toy per se. We just object to a criminal gang looting other people to subsidize it and force the market in that direction.

                    • Elon Musk is the king huckster of virtue signaling.

                      Perhaps you are the exception.

                      But most EV drivers consider themselves a cut above dirty IC car drivers.

                      Because their car is the epitome of a clean vehicle.

                      This is false virtue.

                      Also known as virtue signaling.

                      Their overall apex predator footprint is just as bad as the IC.

                      Their emissions merely happen at the Power Plant. And the Lithium mine.

                      Are you claiming most EV owners don’t brag about being zero emission?

                  • “…I’ve carefully shown why, using actual facts…”

                    Funny, I’ve done the same thing. 200,000 miles on gasoline (gas near me is 2.49/gal) in a realistic 25mpg car (I do mostly city driving) costs $19,920. Model 3 gets 4 miles per KWH, my rate is 10 cents/kwh. So same miles on electricity is $5000.

                    Savings on fuel: $14,920. Plus savings on maintenance, plus a higher resale value. I believe the savings will put around half the car’s purchase price back into my pocket.

                    “…You claim that maintenance costs will be less….”

                    I guarantee it.

                    “…Do you comprehend that luxury-sport cars like the Tesla are more complex…”

                    Do you comprehend how much more complex a gasoline engine is compared to an electric motor? Engine/transmission problems are the biggest maintenance costs a car owner has. An EV has neither of these.

                    “…the battery/longevity/cost issues. If these are added, your “lifetime” costs go through the roof…”

                    I have already presented a study of Tesla’s existing fleet showing there should be no significant “battery issues” in the car’s normal lifetime.

                    • That study is worthless. It’s easy to claim that there will be no significant “battery issues” in the car’s normal lifetime when it’s the life of the batteries that will dictate that normal lifetime.

                      Show me a 15-20 year old Tesla with its original battery pack still providing its rated range and you’ll have a point. Not before.

            • I just recently sold my old Ford van- had 300K miles on it and was still going strong- never needed anything in the 15 years that I had it, except a fuel pump and a heater core. Still ran like new. New owner hopped in and drove it several hundred miles home. The A/C even worked.

              So I’m really not impressed if an $80K car’s battery is warranted for 8 years (By which time, Tesla will likely be bankrupt and defunct)- So the battery fails at 8.5 years- then you have an $80K car that is worth $200.

              300K miles in 2 years may be O-K, but batteries degrade not just with useage, but over time, with or without useage. Find an 8 year-old Tesla with 30K miles, and the battery will still be near end of life- while a traditional car will still have a lifetime ahead of it.

              Also, as for the Li-ion batts being modular: That may be an advantage if you have an anomaly- like one cell going bad prematurely when the rest of the battery is young (Which is moot anyway, as it’d still be under warranty)- but when the battery gets older- even if you have one or two dead cells and replace them, a few weeks later, you will find another cell gone bad, and so forth down the road- and taking the battery out and testing and replacing the bad cells willy-nilly piece-meal would be a losing proposition.

              I typically get 7-8 years out of a lead-acid battery (Interstate!) -but once that battery turns 7, I’m replacing it, so as to avoid getting stuck on the side of the road- even though she still may be holding a charge perfectly well.

              Like Jason, I only drive older vehicles- but I don’t even want to think of a ten year-old Tesla! That baby’ll be in a museum or scrap pile- something to point and laugh at, like an Amphicar.

            • The modern ev is designed for consumers in a way the rest of us can’t work around. 8 years is nothing to someone who takes care of things.

      • How about a standing offer from EPA to any of the EV guys.

        Bring him a battery, or a part of a battery, or a scale model of a battery.

        And let Eric find out for all of us just how good these batteries really are.

        If they really are that good, we’ll get on the Elon bandwagon lickety split.

        Only morons buy things based on words on a page. Words on the radio. Words on a the television or an internet network.

        You’re not dealing with morons here. So devise a way to have us prove your product with our owns senses.

        Or prepare to waste your time.

        No one here is swayed by your mere argumentations.

        • “…No one here is swayed by your mere argumentations…”

          Granted. But of course there’s not much else I can do in a place like this.

          In my opinion, the best evidence that EV batteries have indeed evolved past regular replacements are the long battery warranties offered by EV makers.

          Every EV maker today seems to offer 8-year battery warranties. Tesla took this a step further by making it 8-years, unlimited mileage.

          I have been driving a Chevy Volt for the last few years. I did have a battery problem, under warranty. All GM did was to replace one of the 200 battery modules (if not under warranty, this would cost perhaps a couple hundred dollars.). Replacing an entire battery just isn’t necessary with current battery designs.

          • Hi Dave,

            One advantage the Volt has – as a hybrid – is that the battery is always maintained at a certain state of charge. In a pure EV, the battery depletes to a discharged state and then is recharged. This is much harder on the battery – it is chemistry – and it is certain to negatively affect the life of the battery pack.

  2. eric: “But the question – why? – remains mysterious.”

    Possibly akin to the “Tulip Mania”.

    Book: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
    – Charles MacKay

  3. There’s a Lexus commercial running now that says, “… we’ll reach our final goal. A world with no accidents!”, in reference to some auto stopping/steering junk car they have now. Not to mention the other zombie cars that will drive for them in traffic. They can boast these new slave pods all they want but if the market doesn’t buy them then they wont be on the road. That is until they become mandatory and ICE becomes banned like in europe. The driver for all this? profit and control for a select few.

    • I’d say it’s ALL about control- no profit, Brazos. The more complex the cars, the fewer people will be able to afford them- and we’re already seeing that, as new car sales are plummeting; and many of the people who do buy them are over-extended, and half the cars are getting repo-ed.

      They’re acting like the average blue-collar worker can easily afford to have the latest state-of-the-art Star Wars technology; pay top dollar for it; watch it become obsolete on Tuesday and buy a new one on Wednesday. Reality isn’t so.

      But all the execs were schooled in socialism and environmentalism; and think only good thoughts, and never consider reality or the bottom line anymore. Instead of businessmen whose job is to earn a profit and perpetuate their company, they are now “businesspeople” with a “social conscience” who sell dreams and statist compliance; and whose primary loyalty is to the state, and not their company; their families, nor the public.

      If all of this crap comes to fruition before the world ends, it will result in there just being one or two car companies left. Companies like GM, which make garbage, and whose primary business is diversity and social engineering; and who are owned and directed by the government.

      The new breed of executive has drunk the Kool-aid; they are hastening their own demise. There will be little profit to be had when only a small percentage of the population can afford to drive (or is allowed to).

  4. Electric cars won’t become truly economically viable until the development of batteries that can go 400 miles at full throttle, can be recharged to 100% in less than five minutes and don’t rely on strategic materials.

    Either that, or until someone invents a fusion reactor the size of a five-gallon bucket that can run on tap water and power the traction motor in lieu of batteries – which, truth be told, would be the best long-term solution.

  5. I’m reading the book “Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World.” It’s basically about how the Argonne National Lab is working to improve lithium batteries with the goal of getting them to 2X the current storage per weight they have today. The fruit of their efforts is being used in the Chevy Volt and probably the Bolt (this was written before the Bolt was released). I’m about half way through and so far the author has compared batteries’ stored energy to gasoline exactly once.

    One of Chu’s hubs was to be aimed at revolutionizing batteries. As impressive as NMC 2.0 (the batteries used in the Chevy Volt) was compared with its predecessors, it couldn’t power an electric car competitively with the internal combustion engine. After accounting for the loss of energy in combustion, a kilogram of gasoline contains 1,600 watt-hours of stored energy. State-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries, by comparison, delivered about 140. Thackeray’s goal for NMC 2.0 was to double current performance plus cut the cost. But even that would leave batteries still about a sixth the energy density of gasoline. The Battery Hub’s goal was to make the next big jump after lithium-ion— to 600 or 800 watt-hours a kilogram. Toward that goal, the Battery Hub would receive $ 25 million of federal funding a year for five years, $ 125 million in all. A competition would decide which university, national lab, or consortium would host the Hub.
    Levine, Steve. The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World (p. 132). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    It’s a shame in a way that “we” sent men to the moon and back. It gave the politicians the idea that the answer to every engineering challenge was to throw money at it until it was solved. Engineers are usually buzzkills because they point out how hard all this stuff is, but these days there are enough who’s hubris gets the better of them to keep Congress and the media happily ignoring the naysayers. The only reason “we” were able to go to the moon was because of petrochemicals, everything else was just coming up with heat resistant materials and finding people foolhardy enough to go.

    As the quote from the book says, even doubling the current state of the art in battery design means about 280 Watt-hours, compared to gasoline’s 1600, only about 18% of the carrying capacity. It is a very tough slow row to hoe to get up to parity, and likely will never get there because of physics and chemistry. Remember we’re causing a chemical reaction (burning) of gasoline, while batteries are moving lithium ions back and forth while forcing the free electrons to take a different path from the path taken by the rest of the lithium atoms. When you’ve used up the potential energy you still have lithium, electrolyte and the cathode/anode structure. That’s great for a cell phone or electric toothbrush, but not really all that useful for transportation unless you get to parity with burning. If you burn lithium it makes an incredibly energetic reaction (called thermal runaway when it happens in your cell phone), but then you’re stuck with lithium hydroxide and lithium oxide, neither of which has much potential energy. And the more you discharge a lithium battery the greater potential for damage and shortened lifespan, so you generally have to recharge when there’s 30-50% of the charge remaining (this BTW was how Tesla was able to send a “software update” to vehicles to increase their range when Irma was coming to Florida, they just allowed for a greater discharge than ideal).

    Again, I’m not against electrics, I think they are a pretty good answer for commuter vehicles, anything that is within their limited range. If I had a short commute and no company vehicle I’d be looking at them. And I do think batteries will improve over time but it will take decades, not years. If there were going to be a breakthrough it would have happened by now, with the millions of dollars in subsidies and potential for patent licensing. No amount of government subsides will change that fact.

    • Hi Rich,

      GM is run by a frau obsessed with political correctness; her lackeys are people of similar mind and none of them think about cars the way we do. They view them with vague distaste, as necessary appliances. Hence the push toward ride sharing and automated cars. When that happens, why not have characterless and homogenous cars?

      • Who were the drooling morons who thought a far left radical HR manager would make a good CEO? I have always thought the HR department was chock full of incompetent morons would could not pass the civil service exam.

        • This is the way it’s been engineered, Bill In IL. All of the execs now are a product of our liberal culture; media; and edumacation system, and are thus at best, crony-capitalists; and at worst, bleeding heart “green” socialists. They’re so indoctrinated with BS that pursuing such garbage as “social justice” and “environmentalism”[Read: Global Warming BS] takes precedence above all else; even above earning a profit, or even being able to sustain their business. They don’t even know how to make a profit and or they don’t realize that what they are doing is antithetical to sustainable business, and is in-fact destroying their businesses; the economy; and and society. They are so blind, they think they are doing good. This is the kind of mind control we are dealing with today- with the top down.

          If you’ve ever read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, this is exactly the picture that is painted in the novel; of how even the rich and captains of industry have bought into the very philosophies which are destroying themselves and every institution of society.

    • This is all about adapting factories to robotics. People are pretty flexible when it comes to assembly. We can adapt easily to production changes. If you have to reprogram the robots every time you change the product it gets expensive. So you standardize as much as possible, and reuse as much “code” as possible. Things like door handles and steering wheels are already pretty standard across models, so this is just an extension of that idea. And once you get everything modular, you can ramp up production in third world countries with lax environmental laws and just do final assembly in the states. Mo money! Mo money! Mo money!

      This is also why Apple is so successful. Steve Jobs when he came back to Apple, cut product lines and basically had 4 products for a few years. The iPhone shares a lot of the same software with the MacBook, which shares a lot of the same software with the Apple TV. It’s not a new idea, GM was kicking around the idea of a unified platform back in the 1990s. But it means scrapping entire factories and starting over, something that the shareholders tend to balk at unless there’s a very fast payback.

  6. Why would anyone question GM’s business acumen (electric vehicles, etc.)? After all GM went from about 50% of the market to about 20%, to bankruptcy – while still claiming to have The Answer. I’m so impressed, I’ve unloaded all my GM vehicles, probably never to return. Diversity lives!

  7. The irony of it all. Gas powered cars are the best they have ever been..faster then ever, almost zero pollution, build quality of even the lessor brands being pretty good, most going to 200,000 miles with little problem.

    And would continue to be if not loaded up with heavy safety crap and flaky electronics.

    The reality is: we don’t need ALT fuel sources at all. We even keep finding huge amounts of oil. If these stupid anti-car governments are stopped, we will be driving gas powered cars for centuries without major issues. Maybe even bring back the styling of the past we loved.

  8. What you’re seeing is the beginnings of a bubble.

    Like during the dot-com era: “All you need is a website, and customers will /flock/ to your business!”

    Comments about lack of battery production, e-waste disposal, and the inability of the national electric grids to support the charging of large numbers of EVs are also correct.

  9. We don’t need batteries based on 1920s technology and chemistry. If we had continued with the generators made by Nikolai Tesla in the 1930s, today we would be driving cars generating their own electrical power. Advertisements in the 1950s were talking about putting atomic power in yachts and trains. Crude oil is too valuable as plastic and fertilizer to burn in an engine. Nonetheless, this is the hand we are dealt with, and have to fight to keep, lest we degenerate even further to neo-feudalism.

    • I have stated many times that if someone launched to the public today a clean zero point energy device it would be banned before tomorrow morning. Odds are he would be dead before ever launching it, but just say that he lived long enough to start selling them for illustrative purposes. The ruling class wants us paying to live on what they believe to be their planet.

      Also, there’s probably limited alternative use for the parts of crude oil that become gasoline and diesel fuels. Oil is broken up into various constituents for the product types. Natural gas however I think is rather flexible on what can be made from it. I would need to review again to be sure.

    • Tesla’s “fuelless” generators were a neat experiment, but you can’t get real energy out of them. The atmosphere has a voltage gradient. If you stick an electrode high in the air, and another one below, there’s a measurable voltage across them. You can even use it to power something tiny, like an LED light, but you can’t get any real power out of it, because the moment that you do, the local gradient collapses. Tesla’s miracle generator has been an example of conspiracy theorists claiming that the government is withholding free energy from us.

      There are many places in nature which can create electrical potentials, but few which can do so at the power levels needed to power a car.

      As for oil, it’s cheap because it’s plentiful. It’s energy dense and cheap, so it does make sense to burn it, not just use for plastic and fertilizer. This equation may change if oil supplies ever dwindle, but we are a long way from running out of oil. The Simon/Ehrlich wager is a famous example of this. For all intents and purposes, we’re never going to run out of oil, because as its price goes up, so will demand, which will drive people into alternatives. Seeking alternatives early makes no sense because they have to be forced.

    • There are miracle batteries just on the horizon. I was just reading about one that is supposed to be able to power a 5-passenger car with a range of 3000 miles, cost competitive to gasoline. Manufacturing for use in electric cars to begin within 5 years.

      You can read all about in in the April 1981 issue of Popular Science magazine.

    • In the 50’s they also said we’d be living in colonies on the Moon by the year 2000…..LOL. Apparently, somebody got a hold of all that LSD and other really strong drugs before the hippies of the 60’s did….

      Who was it that once said :”We all build castles in the sky; the trouble starts when we try to live in them”?

      The wild “scientific” fantasies/predictions of the 50’s were the building of the castles in the sky.
      Today, by making all of these not-quite-ready-for-prime-time unsustainable technological abortions, like EVs, they are trying to live in those castles!

  10. My extremely liberal friend thinks that the old car batteries will be used by the power companies and we will be *required* to retain these at our homes for power storage. The Kool Aid he has been drinking states these used batteries still have 80% power to be used as storage units therefore never hitting the landfill and also solving the electrical storage engineering problem.
    First: electrical storage has and is an engineering problem that has not been solved completely. Yes, you can store power in batteries but significant power storage would require an ocean of batteries. There has been attempts with capacitors that again require too large areas. There was an idea to power a pump when wind and solar are available to compress air into a salt mine and then run a generator on the stored compressed air. This also proved not practical. This is why we generate power constantly and to a variable degree which is called “dispatchable power”. So storing wind and solar when it is conveniently available is not practical. Electrical power was on course for hitting a titanic iceberg with the closing of nuclear plants and coal plants except for the advent of fracting which as given us an abundant amount of natural gas. So instead of clean nuclear plants we have natural gas turbines hiding behind all those wind mills dotting our landscape. So your Bolt or Volt or Tesla runs on Natural gas. Why not jus run these directly on natural gas?

    • Hans, a great article by Joseph Mercola today about wholesale nuclear waste pollution still going on as if nothing has changed since the 60’s. Indeed, nothing has changed and waste dumping in the ocean goes on every day. Wish the “no drilling for oil” bunch would educate themselves.

      I have no illusions if we’re to keep producing electricity, there’s a price to be paid and depends on what poison you like. We just built a drilling pad location this week. I’m damned glad of it. The west Tx. air is pretty clear except for the dust. The dust could be avoided for the most part if there was no agriculture. Pastures don’t blow much.

      So what we need to do is get rid of 99% of mankind to stop that nasty pollution. We haven’t reached that Star Trek technology where things just appear magically out of a machine. Whatever powers that machine will use, “something”, if nothing but gravity or light, and that will deny same to wherever it went before the machine was invented.

      Sorry deluded people, TANSTAAFL. I have no problem with people dreaming of utopia, just don’t try to impose your idea of how that happens on the rest of us. Frankly, utopia sounds like a drag.

      As far as batteries go, lithium is a rapidly dwindling supply we’ll use for more pollution. Let’s see what lithium poisoning looks like. We already know about lead…..and natgas sounds better every day.

  11. I’m curious about how the powers-that-be expect worldwide battery production to ramp up to such a profound level as to meet the demands of having ALL new vehicles be battery-only. It is my understanding that production of such batteries requires labor-intensive and polluting processes that require a tremendous amount of energy. That’s just to produce the demand for vehicle batteries now. Imagine ramping that up a thousandfold.

      • Is it really? Manufactured shortages and rationing are the ultimate control and source of power for a bureaucrat. What better way to control a population than by pulling the batteries out of anyone not sufficiently going with the program or insufficiently attaining high party status?

        Bolsheviks exterminated by some estimates 25 Million Ukrainians by manufacturing food shortages. Think of the possibilities of manufactured energy shortages and how they can be used to cull a target population.

        • Hi Thought,

          Yes. Indeed.

          Part of me just wants to get out while I still can. Another part – the part that is still dominant – says stand and (if it comes to it) fight. Even though I know it is probably a losing battle. Ragnarok. Twilight of the Gods. Which, for me, translates as twilight of reason and goodwill… as the West descends into something unimaginably horrible.

          • I am giving thought to leaving myself. I have some ideas, but nothing concrete. I am indecent shape, but I can’t shoot a gun, have no desire, so I would rather be surrounded by beautiful women and car exhaust before I die. lol

          • Welcome to middle age. 🙂

            It’s always tease tease tease
            You’re happy when I’m on my knees
            One day is fine and next is black
            So if you want me off your back
            Well come on an’ let me know
            Should I stay or should I go?

            Should I stay or should I go now?
            Should I stay or should I go now?
            If I go there will be trouble
            An’ if I stay it will be double
            So come on and let me know
            Should I stay or should I go?

      • People have a hard time understanding large numbers. The media throws around the word “billions” like we all just understand it. A billion of anything is a f***’in huge amount of stuff. I think because they’re in the bubble they are just desensitized to it. Or because of the incredible shrinking transistor, Uncle’s budget or cellular biology they just accept that billions or trillions is just normal. Millions of cars with billions of batteries aren’t going to just spring up out of the ground. And because the vast majority of them have no experience in anything other than being reporters they don’t know what questions to ask, let alone what the answer might mean.

    • Alchemy. Just have faith that we’ll find the way and it will happen. Just like when you put a shoebox full of cotton or wool into a barn it will spontaneously produce mice…

  12. Something accidentally leaked by the mainstream media today about how little people actually want electrics (and this is the UK where people actually love hippy dippy green-ness): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/cars/article-4943684/The-10-fastest-depreciating-new-cars-revealed.html

    The top 2 most depreciating cars – electrics!! so to save on a pound a liter gas, you are losing over 20K in 3 years! Thats a lot of driving (and charging) for this to make sense…… I can imagine it makes even less sense in the US where you have longer range driving and gas is about quarter what we pay here…..

    • Hi Nasir,

      Yup. In the course of more than 20 years as a car journalist, I have never seen anything like this. A concerted push to force these things down people’s throats, with the media as complicit as the government is coercive and the car companies supine and compliant.

      PS: I will have an article up shortly about GM’s politically correct policy of punishing journalists who stray from the partei line.

      • Look forward to reading – more then GM I suspect others (like a certain Mr Musk) are also up to this….

        What I find surprising is how I cant find actual road tests of a model S, the kind which they talk about stuff like cornering, or say a drive on a nice scenic bendy road or how much you can push before loosing the front / back. Its always about 0-60, the size of the screen, the apps on it, the fact that it is so futuristic and always connected, etc etc….. but nothing that matters to an actual driver….

        • Thanks, Nasir!

          It’s gonna get ugly.

          On Musk and Tesla: Yup. They restrict access to the cars (as GM is doing, to me) in order to favor certain journalists – and disfavor others. To – as they style it – “control the narrative.”

          The Model S is, indeed, quick. But it’s handling is probably mediocre because of the weight of the thing. Also, electric motors deliver power differently; I suspect that hard cornering at or near the limit requires a very different technique.

          I am, however, on the Enemies List so I can’t road the damned thing.

          I feel like Thomas More probably felt after he fell out of favor with Henry VIII!

          • Perhaps us readers could crowd fund a Toro account for you to test the cars you have been blacklisted from…

            Who’s in?

            As always thanks for the material Eric!

              • Damn, eric, when you gonna quit mentioning the elephant in the room?

                I worked for a major corporation back in the 80’s. They would have paid top wage or probably much more to employ a native American, black, Hispanic, transgender person and not even required them to show up to avoid injury.

                Women there knew they had to fuck up really badly and not just really badly but right out where nobody could ignore it to be terminated. It just wasn’t done and so you got women who did almost nothing. Not “all” the women who worked there were worthless……I knew One that was a hard worker.

    • I believe the totalitarian dream is to have a car that reflects your socioeconomic worth. If you’re only worth a blue-collar job, you get a “micro-apartment” next to your place of work in a high-crime inner urban neighborhood, with an electric car to go to the nearby grocery store, department store, etc.

      But as your political worth increases, so does your domicile and transport leased to you from the State. So federal politicians get chauffeurs driving gas-guzzling luxury vehicles and licenses to drive Lamborghinis on the weekends from their luxury mansions in the countryside.

      This is what the liberal/Illuminati/totalitarians cannot stand, is the freedom to drive the car you want to drive, as long as you can afford it, which might be better than a car they can drive, without governmental assistance.

      • Do you really believe thoughtcriminals will be allowed anything, even their lives?

        All means of control are a means to attack the unwanted populations. All controls are a means to confine a targeted population and assist in that targeted populations’s destruction

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