Feel The Burn

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Even long cons can only run for so long.

Elon Musk’s electric car con may be on the verge – finally – of coming unglued. This week, he’ll be forced to reveal actual production numbers for the first quarter of the year which are expected to fall well short of what he promised investors – and buyers, who ponied up deposits based on those promises.

Last year, Musk breezily assured both groups that an improbable 5,000 Model 3s – Tesla’s first “mass-produced” electric car – would be rolling off the production line in Fremont, CA each week.

He’s come as close to reaching that goal as he has to sending space tourists to Mars, another promise.

Thousands of people who were promised cars last year are still waiting for cars this year.

They may still be waiting next year, given that Musk – so far – has only been able to build a relative handful of Model 3s. The backlog is giga-normous. Which means that even if he somehow manages to ramp up the production to what he promised last year, it’ll take an increase in production over that promised number just to catch up this year.

Meanwhile, the marks – whoops, buyers – wait.

And wait, again.

It’s scandalous.

If GM, say, took cash deposits from thousands of people and promsied them cars by “x” date but hadn’t delivered them by “y” (or even “z”) the abuse chorus from the press would be shrill and endless. There would be howls from the gypped, demanding their money back. But Musk gets away with serially breaking promises because what he promises jibes with the vision which the technocratic elites who control the press as well as the fanbois who practically worship him are desperate to see realized:

The electrified – and automated – future.

But what if it isn’t workable? Damn the facts! Full speed ahead!

It’s very much of a piece with Lysenkoism – the Soviet-era rejection of inconvenient facts in favor of politically correct bromides.

Wishes vs. reality.    

But reality eventually bites back, whether it’s the idiot nostrums of Lysenkoism or the similarly short-bus delusions about electric cars.

And the reality isn’t “production Hell” – manufacturing problems – as Musk claims. Rather, it is that his cars – and electric cars in general – are not a market-driven product.

They are a mandate-driven product.

Economic (and functional) reality is suspended by mandates. It will be built – or done – because we  – the government – so decree. Not because it makes sense. Irrespective of sense.

If it did make sense, the mandates wouldn’t be necessary. It’s interesting that this basic axiom of economics is not only not understood by the gullible but deliberately stomped on by rent-seeking crony capitalist, Musk being perhaps the greatest of them all.

There is a reason why government contracts for products and services are invariably riddled with cost-overruns and outright fraud.

There is a disconnect between value and cost.

When the market expresses a need/desire for some thing, that value is represented by a cost to the buyer and the seller that makes sense – else the item in question is not worth producing, because it’s too expensive to produce and sell for an amount sufficient to cover its cost to produce, plus a profit for the manufacturer.

This dynamic preserves reality – a natural equilibrium. Things that do not make sense, for which there is no real (i.e., not artificially created, as by mandates) demand, are not produced.

At least, not until they make sense.

Electric cars might eventually make economic and even possibly functional sense. Hear from the top news of the beauty world here. But the mandates and subsidies have literally Frankensteined them. Cars that were supposed to cost us less than cars with internal combustion engines not only cost more, they cost a great deal more.

Tesla’s cars are about style and acceleration and technology. There is no economic case to be made for them – because they have been designed as cost-no-object toys for the affluent, subsidized by the rest of us.

Musk has not had to deal with economic – and functional realities. He builds what he wants – or wishes he wants – irrespective of what the market wants and irrespective of hard nuts-and-bolts (and dollars-and-cents) realities.

He – in his glibly narcissistic manner – simply announced himself as the Great Game Changer who would at a nod end the internal combustion engine’s domination of the roads. An image of Yul Brynner playing Ramses II comes to mind.

So let it be written, so let it be done!  

Musk made promises he couldn’t keep.

Usually, this leads to SEC investigations. Recall the fate of Preston Tucker. He was vilified. Musk is patiently glad-handed, no matter how often he fails to deliver.

Because he is in sync with the agenda.

Because it has been decided that electric/automated cars are The Future  – no matter what it costs us.

Meanwhile, the con has raked in billions for Musk, whose company has yet to earn an honest dollar and burns through dollars at a pace and rate that would leave Kenny Lay boggled, were he still around to witness it.

Of course, Kenny’s con wasn’t PC – which is why he’s no longer around.

Elon may last a little longer. But – eventually – reality will bite.

 . . .

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  1. Eric,

    I got tired of a smaller and smaller width to post in. Is there something you could change to stop going smaller after 3 or 4 levels of reply?

    I agree that EVs have disadvantages (and some advantages) over IC cars right now.

    Subsidies for EVs are peanuts in the grand scheme of things because they apply only to the first 200,000 cars from each manufacturer. Tesla and GM will lose them this year. But with 500,000 model 3 orders just waiting for Tesla to ramp up their build rate there’s no way Tesla will stop selling any EVs just because the subsidy has gone. Volumes sales from all manufacturers will be unsubsidized (because 200,000 total from one manufacturer across all their ranges is hardly volume sales). So your complaint about taking money form your pocket is a temporary one. In fact with the tax reductions causing an expanded deficit it could be argued that the current subsidy for EVs will be coming from the pockets of the next generation. Maybe that is fine as they will be getting the benefits from them in the future.

    The big swinger in the global auto industry is China. One thing you haven’t mentioned is pollution from IC cars. China has a huge pollution problem (see http://aqicn.org). Depending on whose estimates you take, China has up to 1.3m deaths from air pollution each year. Not all of it is due to IC cars, but certainly it is another big source on top of coal smoke and sand from the Gobi desert carried by wind, especially in places like Beijing. If you want an IC car in Beijing you go into a number plate lottery. If you buy an EV you get a number plate straight away. I’d be interested in what your arguments would be to the Chinese for China to allow unfettered sales of IC cars, given the pollution. How many Chinese do you think should be allowed to die of air pollution to support IC imports? Do you really blame the Chinese for saying they are going to ban IC cars from a date not yet announced?

    So any global car manufacturer who wants to compete in China (which is where the market growth is) knows they will have to start producing EVs. That means the majority of manufacturer research and development is going into EVs, leaving rather less for IC new model development that there used to be.

    What’s happening in China is going to have an impact on the US model ranges and prices too. People will find fewer IC cars in new model ranges.

    You are just looking at the current situation. Looking a few years ahead, the huge Chinese market will ensure EVs (including the batteries) will have a sticker price lower than IC vehicles, plus they will have the range most people need. And they will charge faster on a long journey (but not at home).

    There may still be IC vehicles on the road in 100 years, but it’s unlikely they will be the majority of new US vehicle sales by 2030. Even the CEO of Shell expects to make his next car an EV.

    • Peter,

      The subsidies are enormous. You reference merely one of them. The $7,500 per car federal subsidy to the buyer. The subsidies at the manufacturing level amount to billions. Tesla’s entire operation depends on it.

      America is not China. We are talking about America. I don’t give a flip about China, insofar as the cars which are sold here. It’s irrelevant – unless you believe we should emulate China.

      I don’t.

      • Take away the carbon credit scam that helps keeps Tesla afloat financially and how long do you think the company would last? It’s amazing that here is a company that year after year is a black hole sucking in money and making no profit, yet it continues like some kind of undead vampire.

      • http://business.time.com/2013/05/23/loser-no-more-tesla-repays-465-million-u-s-loan/
        Tesla repaid its federal loan of $464m 10 years early.

        Nevada gives Tesla tax breaks (sales and land tax exemptions) for its battery gigafactory. But if Tesla doesn’t deliver these can be clawed back. If Tesla is successful Nevada will make money on the deal on employee and supplier taxes.

        The 200,000 production limit per manufacturer is going to be hit this year, so the $7,500 tax credit for buyers will then start to phase out. No-one expects the order backlog of 500,000 Tesla model 3s to shrink as a result, so there’s no reason to believe it will go bust as a result of the expiry of the tax credit on the first 200,000 vehicles.

        Tesla said early April it won’t need any capital injection this year (which pushed the share price up). Model 3 production is now estimated at 2,400 per week, so Tesla may well hit their (reduced) target of 5,000 per week by end 2Q. If the rest of the year goes similarly well, Tesla should be generating a positive cashflow soon. In any case it won’t go bust because a lot of people would be prepared to invest if the share price went lower.

        The 2008 bailout of GM, Ford and Chrysler was worth $80bn in total. Some in loans which were repaid, and some in share purchases. In total the US taxpayer lost $10bn on the deal, mainly due to Ford shares which were sold for less than they were bought for. Any subsidies to Tesla (which is in a new market segment) pale into insignificance by comparison.

        • Your argument is now that Tesla has repaid the feds a loan that they couldn’t get from a private bank. And that they should be generating a positive cashflow soon, if everything from here on goes according to plan.

          Also, did you read the source you provided? The US taxpayer lost 10B on GM and Chrysler stock, not Ford. This is the exact opposite of your comment.

          Ford received a loan, not stock purchases.

          Because some manufacturers of primarily IC engines took tax money, just like Tesla, does not support your original argument that EV’s are superior to IC’s. Or even market-viable.

          We can look at the other auto manufacturers… or EV bikes vs IC bikes. EV lawnmovers vs IC lawnmowers. EV boats vs IC boats. EV planes vs IC planes. EV space shuttle vs IC space shuttle. E Generators vs IC generators.

          Internal combustion, the superior technology, wins ever single time in every single circumstance, like the market has showed for the past 100 years.

          Let me know when Boeing makes an electric-only jumbo jet that can take me from JFK to Singapore… alive.

          But since you are likely a paid shill, these practical matters are just inconvenient facts obstructing the true motivation of further enslavement.

          • Ford did not get a bailout loan. It got some sort ‘green energy’ development loan before the crisis started. Most automakers got some corporate welfare from that program. It was an ordinary example of corporate welfare.

            What actually makes TM look good is the amount of taxpayer money Nissan got for the Leaf. But TM defenders won’t go there because it is an electric car.

            Once zero point or something effectively close to it is cracked and released to the public then electric cars will be viable. Until then the chemical battery problems will be in the way. They may improve but the problems will remain.

          • Brent there is so much misinformation regarding this subject that I honestly don’t know what really went down. My comment was just regarding the guy’s source, which he didn’t even read. I know Ford once advertised that they didn’t take government money but on Ford’s site, there is zilch under 2008. I don’t know what is fake and what the truth is. If you can refer me to a real account of what actually happened then I’d appreciate it. The whole event got me started in politics and helped the ignorant, younger me realize the US wasn’t a capitalist nation as I’d been taught.

            Eric, no problem. Sometimes I can’t help but argue, even though I have a policy of not doing it. I come here to see sanity not the likes of colvers, get enough of them in the real world.

            • Since this formerly free-market has become so perverted as it has been morphing into the collectivist-crony model, in order to get a true understanding we must also consider that since the Big 3 occasionally make a profit, they also pay a lot of taxes- plus things like property taxes (whether they make a profit or not), inventory taxes and whole host of other fees and taxes to Uncle- so even when they do get some loot, they’re essentially only getting some of their own loot back.

              On the other hand, Musk[rat] has never turned a profit, and receives subsidies and breaks on property taxes; and even his customers are incentivized with tax credits; while his competitors are forced to purchase [PURCHASE!] “carbon credits” from him, AND his businesses are built around models which rely on government contracts and legislation for their existence…..and still no profit…not taxes paid…..

              So to even compare “normal” businesses which were built on the once-free market, to any that are run by this huckster, is an unfair comparison- and yet those free-market businesses STILL come out smelling like roses compared to the crony huckster,!

        • Why don’t I get few hundred billion of taxpayer money to live out my product development dreams? Oh that’s right, I’m not crony billionaire. Never mind I’ve turned far more profit in my career developing physical products than Mr. Musk. Mr. Musk is still in the red. Yes, tooling, capital, it all counts so spare me the fanboi math.

          Government should give me a $100 million loan at a very low to no interest rate. I’ll pay it back. I promise. I mean it. I’ll invest it in treasuries at 2-3% and I should make enough profit to never need to work again.

        • Peter,

          You write:

          “Tesla said…”

          Indeed. But what has Tesla delivered? Musk makes extravagant promises – almost all of which he has failed to keep. His record is one of serial broken promises. If Musk had to rely on private capital to finance his promises, he’d be out of business. Or using his own capital (not taxpayers) to finance his promises.

          You also conflate Uncle bailing out the Big Three – subsidies to failed businesses – with subsidizing a failed product. Tesla defenders do this routinely, to try to justify the subsidies which keep Tesla afloat.

          But the IC-powered car is an economically (as well as functionally) viable product that can and has succeeded on the merits. The fact that a given manufacturer of a particular brand/type of car failed does not mean that the IC car – as such – is a failed product.

          Studebaker, Hudson, AMC all failed – but GM and Ford and Chrysler all prospered – because their cars were viable.

          Not one electric car currently on the market is viable as an economic proposition. Your Leaf would cost you at least $40,000 if the subsidies were taken away. And then we must add in taxes on your “fuel” equivalent to the taxes imposed on motor fuels. Right now, your “fuel” is largely tax-exempt and so seems like a great deal.

          To equalize that playing field, how about we discuss the scenario if gas cost $1.80 or so a gallon – which it would, if you took away the federal and state taxes?

          And then, we should give the IC car credit for not requiring modifications to the house/installation of a “fast” charger system, to avoid spending 6-12 hours waiting for the batteries to recharge. The IC car is ready to go at a moment’s notice and the longest wait to refuel is 5 minutes or less – no special equipment that you have to pay for required.

          These are just facts, Peter. They’re not opinion, open to discussion.

        • Branjonin,

          It’s not important which of the big three lost the taxpayer $10bn. It’s the scale of the loss and the original bailout ($80bn) which is important.


          You ignore their disadvantage of IC cars purely because you don’t notice them any more because you are used to them.Clover

          You may be able to refuel in 5 minutes, but you have to drive to the gas station first. 90% of EV recharging is at home, or maybe the office. Probably upwards of 95% by the time everyone has an EV with a range of 300 miles. And and home/work you don’t have to go anywhere or wait in a queue for a pump or a teller. You plug in the car in seconds once a week (with 300 mile range). Only very occasionally do you have to recharge on a long journey.

          You don’t care about deaths from air pollution in China. Well how about the USA?Clover

          There are an estimated 200,000 early deaths per year in the USA from air pollution, of which road transport is probably responsible for 53,000 per year. Over 20 years that is a million people. $7,500 per car for the first 300,000 cars (200,000 subsidy break plus some allowance for reducing to zero) for, say 10 manufacturers is $23 billion total. $23 billion to end up preventing 20 years of road transport pollution deaths works out at $23,000 per death. That is very cheap indeed.

          The above is not opinion either, but best research estimates.

          And whatever gas costs, it doesn’t affect deaths from air pollution. EVs produce no tailpipe pollution, and any additional generation plant to charge them are going to be renewable or fired by natural gas.Clover

          The electric car is also ready at a moment’s notice, and breaks down much less frequently than an IC car. It is quiet too, apart from an artificial tone under 20 mph to warn pedestrians it is coming.

          Fuel costs? Well because of the large wind power penetration in Texas (17% of electricity) there are plans you can enrol on which provide you with free electricity overnight (though the daytime power costs more). So no fuel costs on that plan.

          No house is going to install a fast charger. It is unnecessary because the car is normally there for hours not minutes. Cost of a 7 kW charger is likely to be under $1,000. Peanuts. If you agree to provide power to the grid when not using the car or about to use it they’ll probably install it free, and provide power for travel for free too if you don’t live in Texas.
          In fairness the IC car served us well for 100 years. But now there is something better, with a lot of advantages. At the moment EVs have a higher sticker price, but that will change in the next few years. For some people the EV cost of ownership is already lower.

          Look at the trends – battery prices coming down, charger networks expanding. You surely must understand by now that IC cars are not going to be around for ever.

          • So, you don’t think the generating plants make any pollution? What are you going to do with millions upon millions of dead batteries eventually needing disposal ? What spurts out of those batteries when the car wrecks? Will we need hazmat teams at every car wreck?

            • After they finish being used in cars they will be used in the electricity grid to fill in some of the gaps in wind and solar generation (Texas was at 17% wind + 1% solar for 2017 as a whole).

              When they are too degraded even for the grid they’ll be recycled – the materials in them are too valuable to throw away.

              Wind and solar power makes almost no pollution – particularly compared with generation from coal . But better than that, they are cheaper than coal generation in a lot of places already. Coal generation is on the way out – it can’t compete with cheap natural gas, nor with renewables.

              Mostly the batteries don’t leak when the car is totalled, but you have to be careful around them in a wreck because they still contain a few hundred volts. At the moment a lot of batteries use a liquid electolyte, so some of the cells may leak if breached. In the future it’s likely to move to a so-called “solid” electrolyte, which means it won’t even flow out if the cell is breached.

          • This is getting pretty funny now.

            Which company cost the taxpayer 10B is just a little detail, not important. What is evident, is that you missed such a detail in your post, as written by your own provided source.

            Speaking of which, please provide sources that do not get funding from tax money. MIT is not an impartial source.

            “The electric car is also ready at a moment’s notice, …”

            So are IC vehicles.

            “and breaks down much less frequently than an IC car.”

            WTF are you talking about? You post a bunch of links and state a bunch of figures, and then throw these little comments in here acting like they’re fact. They’re not. Even if that comment were true though, the one time the car does break down out of warranty, might as well throw the non-serviceable piece of plastic in the trash.

          • Clover,

            You continue to trot out all these reasons – as you see them – why the EV is superior, yet cannot answer the question, asked multiple times now: Why is it necessary to mandate and subsidize a “superior” product?

            The studies you cite are of a piece with the studies supposedly establishing unnatural “climate change” caused by human activity. The deaths you claim occur are postulated – not actual victims whose deaths can be proved the result of air pollution created by cars. They are exactly like the “studies” claiming VW’s diesels hurt people. Not one actual victim has been produced. No tangible harms adduced.

            And cars built during the past 20-plus years emit hardly any pollution – according to the EPA’s own measure.

            More than 95 percent of the tailpipe product is not unburned hydrocarbons, N0X and so on. Mostly, it is inert, environmentally innocuous water vapor and C02. These play no role at all in air quality or public health.

            You describe having to spend $1,000 on a charger system as “peanuts.” How about spending zero dollars on the IC car’s refueling?

            The EV is not available at a moment’s notice – unless it is sufficiently charged. If an IC car is almost on empty, it is still available on a moment’s notice. Can be refueled to 100 percent in minutes. How long (again) does it take to recharge an EV? If you haven’t planned well in advance, you are stuck. It’s ludicrous. Which is exactly why the mandates and subsidies.

            I tire of you, Clover. I tire of repeating myself; of you not acknowledging facts – and spewing endless non sequiturs.

            A $35,000 EV makes as much sense as a way to get around as a $15 Quarter Pounder With Cheese you have to wait a half-hour to get does as fast food.

            • 95% of an IC car’s emissions may well be fine. But the other 5% (or whatever) aren’t. Whatever the figures for road pollution deaths they are too much.

              The blatantly obvious reason for an initial subsidy for any new technology is to get it to a mass-market state FASTER so it can manufacture at scale and thus cheaper and compete with older technologies. It is going to happen anyway, but at a much slower rate without the initial subsidy.

              Tesla is a good case in point. Of the guys spending $70-100,000 on a new, fast electric car, who cannot afford $7,500 more? None of them. Some might have been persuaded to buy it sooner though. Now Tesla is at the stage where anyone ordering even a model S or X right now knows they will probably be too late to get even a partial subsidy on it, because they won’t get delivery for 4-6 months. Put your name down for a Model 3 and you know for sure you’ll be paying the full price with no subsidy.

              But is that stopping anyone putting their name on the list for a Tesla S, X or S? It doesn’t look like it – the model X and S queues are getting longer according to Tesla. Therefore these cars are competitive – people want to buy them rather than an IC car for whatever reason. No-one is forcing these guys to buy Teslas – they have a choice.Clover

              An IC car with no gas is as dead as an EV with a flat battery. It’s no different. Except in an EV you have an option of limping to the next charger at slow speed (range is inversely proportional to the speed). In an IC car you have had it if you run it too low on gas.

              But lack of charge won’t happen at home with an EV because you will charge it if you need to. In fact with an inductive charge system (pad under the road surface) you only need to park it in the right place and the car will decide for itself whether to charge. If it is a Tesla you will just get out and let it park itself in the right place.

              1994 – 203,000 gas stations
              2012 – 156,000
              2020 – ? who knows, but for sure it will be lower than 2012.Clover

              So it is getting more difficult, not easier to find somewhere to fill up your IC car.

              2017 – 50,000 public charge points. With an expected growth rate of 45% by 2022 it will be 200,000 charge points. Some of them are moving to 350 kW, which means recharging at 1,000 miles per charge hour as soon as the EV can take it.

              And, of course, that ignores the fact that 90+% of EV recharging is done at home with some drivers almost never needing to charge elsewhere.

              5 years down the line, probably none of the points you are making now will be valid. EVs will be cheaper, better range in miles, faster charge times, more availability of models than IC cars. Time to look forwards instead of backwards maybe.Clover

              So I dispute your assertion that EVs are not viable. Because it isn’t true. And the Tesla buyers prove you wrong.

              • Another busybody control-freak who doesn’t grok the concept of diminishing returns.

                The market proves you wrong — electric cars are NOT viable for most people. If they were really better people would be flocking to them of their own free will and abandoning gasoline vehicles in droves. They are not. “Looking forward” is in the eyes of the beholder.

                Musk is a carnival huckster running a sham company kept afloat by subsidies and the carbon-credit scam.

              • The number of fuel retailers is not dropping because of electrics. It’s been dropping due to corporate and government action against small independent businesses. This has been well covered as it comes to gas stations over the last 20 years or so. Misuse of data, 15 yard penalty, lose a down.

              • Peter,
                You stated,
                “And, of course, that ignores the fact that 90+% of EV recharging is done at home with some drivers almost never needing to charge elsewhere. ”

                Are you aware that not all people live in a house? Many more people in this country live in apartments (then in a “house”) where they have to park in the street. How are they going to charge their car? Run an extension cord out their second story window to the street?

                • Imagine if the tables were reversed. Imagine if IC cars were the new thing, and you had to refuel them at home from a storage tank, or pipeline?!

                  Even though IC cars have a far superior range, how many people would go for that- having to make sure you get home before your tank is empty?

                  Yet proponents of EVs which have at best, half the range of an IC car, are touting that very scenario as an “advantage” of their vehicles!

          • “Drive to the gas station”? I live in the middle of nowhere, and every time I go somewhere, I pass a gas station. Sure beats having to worry about IF I COULD MAKE IT HOME to recharge…and having my Jetsonmobile out of service for the night if I should need it in the meantime……

            • Morning, Nunz!

              Peter, as always, misses the point – on purpose, I think.

              IC cars don’t need to worry much about gas stations because they have hundreds of miles of range and so are always well within easy reach of fresh fuel. And can refuel in minutes. From empty to 100 percent full.

              This is why you can drive an IC car pretty much anywhere, anytime – and without elaborate planning. Just get in – and go. Spur of the moment convenience. Easy. No hassles.

              With the EV, you have to make sure you are fully charged before you go. Then plan your trip around the lengthy recharge time, unless it’s a short trip within the “safe” range of the vehicle, such that you know you can make there and back without losing charge. You must factor in the effect of heat (summer, AC use) and cold ( winter, use of heater and lights and defroster) all of which affect the range for the worse.

              Peter/Clover can tap dance all he likes, but the idea that it’s “progress” to drive a car that’s very expensive, can’t go very far and takes very long to recharge, forcing you to wait a very long time unless you’ve planned everything out well in advance is bizarre. That people think this way leaves my teeth aching.

              • Most likely Peter is starting a Government subsidized company called “EV Rescue” where he will be paid huge sums to rescue dead EV’s and clean up the hazardous waste at collision sites.

                • Johnny, will there be a special rack in the truck where they can carry adult coloring books and crayons, to pass out to the Tesla drivers as soon as the truck arrives on scene, to minimize the traumatic effects?

              • Exactly Eric,

                Reminds me of this video I saw a while back, where someone attempted to drive their Tesla from DE to Long Island- a trip my friend used to make on a weekly basis, and could do in about 3 hours in his good old F350.

                With the Tesla…what an ordeal it turned into for the people in the vid! First there was a software glitch; Then, they didn’t account for all the stop and go traffic in north Jersey, NYC and LI- with the A/C running. Then they had to find a fast charger on LI…and go way out of their way to do so…but it was broken or blocked or something when they got there…so they had to limp to a regular charger, and wait hours, before they could head home. What should have been an out and back 1 day trip, turned into a 24 hour ordeal!

    • China has a huge pollution problem because it has a government that does not protect the commons and allows cronies and more to pollute at will. Individuals’ rights have been taken away and thus have no power to fight back. As a result of government backing even simple 1970s pollution controls are not implemented. Materials are dumped wherever. Violations of property rights abound.

      That’s why China has a pollution problem.

      • It’s funny, Brent (and all),

        I was watching a vid last night about cars, and it mentioned “the smog and pollution that existed in L.A. and many of the other big cities….” in the 70’s- and how “effective emission controls were in getting rid of it”. And then it dawned on me… In the 70’s we still had tons of manufacturing and heavy industry in those cities….and the demise of those industries just happen to coincide with the rise of emission controls (actually, the emission controls had come first, and were already on the scene), and with the lessening and eventual elimination of the smog and perceptible pollution!

        My, my, isn’t that a co-inky-dink!

        • If we had a true property rights society pollution would be nil or effectively so. As such pollution control is a necessity. However there is a reason China did not implement cheap and effective measures. They wanted the cost advantage and could not care less about the population of the country.

          BTW, one of my early experiences in my career was a visit to a supplier where they showed me the processes that used environmentally banned chemicals because the customer was fedgov. They couldn’t do it for anyone else.

          • It’s not a question of pollution control, its a question of WHO CONTROLS IT. A government bureaucracy subject to politics and bribery, or the people who’s property is being violated with the polluters emissions. when you have a stake in the property, you tend to take care of it.

      • China / pollution
        “Unlike capitalist countries that hold polluters legally responsible for the damage they cause to others, in socialist countries politicians who are responsible for polluting nationalized industries bear little or no responsibility for it. Government ownership of natural resources means, in effect, no one owns them, and when resources are all one big commons they are inevitably overused, abused, and exploited. ”


        • Hi Johnny,

          Yup. The former Soviet Union is an ecological disaster area, too. This is another thing which American “progressives” – the new word for socialists – seem to never want to talk about…

        • “The people” in leftist countries “own” the industries…so I guess they have to punish themselves when those industries pollute. What better way than to have to gag on some of that pollution, or grow a third tit from the junk in the water or the soil? 😉

      • JOhnny,

        Almost right. The Chinese coal plants did have pollution controls fitted, but at one point it was rare to find them switched on because it cost more to run with them on. See https://judithcurry.com/2016/04/06/electricity-in-china/ for a run down on the Chinese grid.Clover

        However, the Chinese have reformed a lot, and put a lot of the corrupt officials in jail, which has concentrated minds wonderfully on what central government want them to do. Last year China spent $126bn on renewables to counter pollution from coal. The USA spent only $40bn, and Europe even less, around $35bn. The Chinese expect to create 13 million jobs in renewables.

        • Clover,

          You write:

          “The Chinese expect to create 13 million jobs in renewables…”

          You mean subsidize make-work jobs funded by taxes. As here.

          If there were any real demand for these “jobs,” the free market would signal that demand. Because value. The natural/real kind. Not the manufactured by force kind the government specializes in.

          • One of the most annoying parts of being a libertarian is explaining that tax-funded jobs are a negative on the economy. Every tax funded job comes at the expense of one or more private i.e. value-driven jobs.

            • sed -i -e ‘s/pandas/peasants/g’
              In non programmer speak – I just replaced the word pandas with peasants. So it would be 100 million peasants running on treadmills hooked to generators

        • IC-er (seems like an appropriate anagram),

          Since you apparently are discussing China….

          Three things about China:Clover
          1) It’s a communist country so they plan and control centrally. And people have to do what they are told, more or less.
          2) China is growing its economy at 8% pa, and the standard of living will double between 2010 and 2020. So they use more electricity all the time
          3) The Chinese communist party see doing something to reduce air pollution as critical to its own survival
          4) There is no free market in electricity grids in China – all the major players are state owned.Clover

          The central governement don’t see much choice but to go big on renewables and nuclear (but renewables are easier to install quickly), in order to reduce the pollution from coal generation. The jobs are real. And in the last 5 years China has put in transmission network upgrades on about the same scale as the whole of the current USA grid. This is to make sure the renewable power can get from the windy and sunny place to the population centres. Pretty much what Texas did a few years ago.

          • China’s mass industrialization occurred after the biggest bang for the buck pollution controls had been invented and rendered relatively cheap. They chose not to use them. That was a centralized government decision. China is the model for the technocratic world where all of human society is managed by a tiny group. Electric cars are certainly part of that plan. The cages may be nice enough for some people but they will still be cages.

            • …..and the commies who advocate the Paris Climate Treaty want to punish the nations which do use pollution controls…and give their money to nations such as China and India which don’t.

              A perfect illustration of what “environmentalism” is all about [You can’t spell “environmentalism” without “mental”!]

              ….and yet 100′ of millions of people are bereft of common sense that they think this is legit and a good thing….

    • Caf, hard to fail when you have government subsidizing you. Take away those subsidies and let us see how well Tesla does.

      And America making a great car for the elite only at the expense of the rest of the population is not anything to be proud of.

      • Keep spreading the misinformation, there, buddy.

        Tesla’s start up loans have already been repaid. The $7500 tax credit is available (and used by) the customers of any manufacturer making qualified cars, including GM. It is not a Tesla specific subsidy.Clover

        Anyway, as I point out below, the EV credit’s impact on the Treasury in dwarfed by the subsidy the Big Three get to produce pickups and SUVs under Sec. 179. I personally drive an SUV because the tax break is $25K instead of $7.5K. And at least at this point, Tesla hasn’t been bailed out the federal government like GM (once) or Chrysler (twice).

        • CAF,

          The fact that other EVs are subsidized doesn’t change the fact that Tesla depends on subsidies (and mandates). Your claim that trucks and SUVs are subsidized is bizarre, to say the least.

        • Caf, the simple fact is is that Musk’s car company could not do anything without subsidies. Subsidies are immoral and unjust because they are nothing less than putting a gun to peoples’ heads and forcing them to invest in Musk’s bullshit.

          Arguing that “The other guys do it too!” does not justify it. No one should be getting subsidies. Period.

          • Hi Skunk,


            Clover/CAF’s claim – probably – is that conventional/IC cars are “subsidized” by the military presence in the Middle East (and so on).

            But he doesn’t grok – apparently – that even accepting his argument, which is dubious, IC vehicles don’t require subsidies to be economically viable.

            EVs do.

    • Hi CAF,

      Tesla has yet to earn a penny in profit. It exists on faith – and subsidies. That can’t go on forever.

      PS: The Tesla S is not the “best selling premium sedan” in America. There isn’t even a category like that. There are “premium” sedans in multiple different classes of vehicle. For example, the BMW 3, 5 and 7 are all “premium sedans,” but each occupies a different niche and the sales numbers for each are considered separately. The Model S, by the numbers is a mid-sized premium sedan. It is in the same class as the BMW 5 (and Mercedes E and Lexus ES). And it’s simply not true that it’s the best-selling car in that class.

  2. True he has had little success actually producing cars. His SpaceX reusable rockets have successfully ,one hopes, ended the Monopoly on throw away spacecraft by the hugely tax subsidised competitor. Political economics is not about producing useful products rather it’s about bilking as much from the taxpayer as possible for as long as possible. Cost and production overruns are normal business in government/industrial programs. The Tucker’s and Deloreans threatened the political powerful so they were crushed.

  3. Elon Musk had zero physical real world manufacturing product development experience before the government, private investors, and the federal reserve money tap (indirectly) began feeding him with billions upon billions of dollars to have these companies. His inexperience has shown from day one and continues to show. Why him? He does the hiring and the hiring of the people who hire. He set up the culture, the goals, the way the companies work from scratch. You would think that when starting a battery powered car company he might well hire someone who understands how a Li-Ion battery pack works? No, he blamed his customers for the cars ending up as expensive bricks because there was no BMS function to prevent the batteries from falling below critical charge levels while in storage. This sort of thing continues to this day as we hear about everything from “autopilot” issues to the glass in the touch screen. Stuff that other automakers know they have to catch before the product goes out the door or else.

    The press allows him and/or his companies to blame the customers in ways GM, Ford, Toyota, Suzuki, Audi, and many more would never be allowed to do. In fact the media on those I listed have done hit jobs on, usually for things that were clearly the customer’s fault and those that weren’t were understandable multivariate failures not the should be obvious failures we get from Telsa Motors.

    • “In fact the media on those I listed have done hit jobs on, usually for things that were clearly the customer’s fault…….”

      Corvair customer: “Front tire pressure of 15 psi can’t possibly be right. They musta meant 25.”

      Three weeks later: “Damned thing just spun out on me! What a lousy design! Somebody ought to write a book about how they are unsafe at any speed.”

  4. Eric, another thing to note is the take rate on the Model 3s that are being produced; it is 30%. This is likely due to Tesla only producing the expensive versions of the Model 3 to date. It was originally pitched as an affordable $35k electric car; none of those versions have been produced yet from what I’ve read.

  5. The battery is the key part that makes or breaks the electric car.
    Our entire electric grid is not set up to handle charging electric cars on a regular basis.
    To do so it would mean having voltage in the 400 plus range. So the recharged vehicle would be available in a timely manner of about 4 hours.
    Our local power company is able to recharge vehicles in the 220 volt range with high amperage.
    Probably looking at 6-8 hours for a recharge on a standard Nissan Leaf electric car.
    The nightmare is replacing the recharged batteries on a regular basis to the tune of 2-6,000 dollars depending on whether it is new or restored batteries.
    So the value of said vehicle nose-dives as the replacement time comes closer.
    That is in a free market of supply and demand.
    Our local bus company used power lines to supply electric buses for years. It is not economically feasible. They eventually switched over to diesel buses.
    The most successful electric compromises. It uses a recharging system of hybrid gasoline/electric to produce a car capable of about 40-50 miles per gallon of gasoline. That vehicle started by using existing C-cell nickel batteries to the tune of about 2,000 batteries recharging constantly.
    Again we are looking at replacement costs that are staggering.
    The real advantage of electric motors is that motors replace brushes and keep on working.
    No radiator, no massive amounts of oil, no antifreeze, and almost no heat to warm the car.
    Though in the summer AC works just fine without a lot of energy expended. So you can actually leave the ac running while you run into a store.
    What is needed is a tech break that allows us to store electricity in a different manner than using a battery at a fraction of the time needed right now to do so. Capacitors might work if the storage is large enough and the power is used slowly instead of all at once. But I leave that to the smart engineers to figure out.
    The reason we have to change to electric is compounding. No one car produces enough carbon monoxide to endanger the planet. Compound that by millions of cars all over the planet and the scale dips into the balance being upset. Not that other sources do not produce huge amounts of carbon dioxide as well. Volcanoes as an example produce more Carbon Dioxide than the entire automobiles on the road. But not on a day by day basis.
    What is needed is to restore the balance of plants and ocean based microscopic backed plants to produce a balance of oxygen. We have a short period of time to do so. Exactly what that time clock is may not be what we think it is.
    One of the keys to this is planting the right trees in a huge planting and make sure they thrive. Another is planting the right plants all over the place. I am no biologist. Pretty sure that is a simplistic solution and it probably won’t work.
    We spend far too much money in an effort to blow up the planet and all nations are guilty of that.
    I suggest we better start an effective programming of guaranteeing everyone the ability to continue to breathe. That atmosphere we have is our greatest blessing and become our biggest curse if we are not careful.
    Right now in my local town over 40,000 vehicles travel the highways every day.
    That is the real reason GM, Ford, and others are so interested in electric vehicles replacing the gasoline dinosaurs we currently drive.
    The only way an automated vehicle would work is some pretty fancy electrical engineering and that will be based on a monorail highway system. The cost alone is pretty impressive.
    I have worked with computers since 1968. They are too much an instrument of things going wrong to depend on them to drive vehicles at this point in time.
    We have made huge advances in programming. Not enough to place your life in their hands.
    Yet more and more the engineers attempt to do so.
    The biggest problem with modern cars is often faulty electrical systems.

    • The electricity grid is not very busy overnight, so there is usually plenty of spare capacity to charge electric cars overnight at home. Since you are asleep it doesn’t matter exactly how many hours it takes, and 220 V provides plenty of power to finish it overnight. You only need to charge away from home if on a long journey, and then there are fast chargers which will give an 80% charge in 30 minutes.

      Our Nissan Leaf charges from nearly empty in about 7 hours, but most of the time we charge it when it gets down to 50%. Mainly just used around town as the primary car, with a small fossil fuelled car for the longer journeys.

      • Hi Peter,

        Okay, but how is this more convenient – better – than being able to refuel in less than five minutes, anytime?

        It fascinates me that we’re being pushed into cars (EVs) that are less convenient and more expensive … why?

        What is the upside?

        The Leaf is a $30,000 car – subsidized. It would cost much more, absent the subsidies. But even with them, it costs easily $10-$15,000 more than an otherwise equivalent (arguably, superior) IC economy car such as a Corolla, for instance.

        I get that EVs are silent and you have immediate torque and some (Tesla) are speedy and very “sexy.” But these aren’t economically valid reasons for these things.

        It’s been lost in the mandate/subsidy shuffle, but once upon a time, the idea was to figure out a way to lower the cost of driving.

        EVs don’t do that… and may never do that.

        So – again – why?

        Gas prices would have to at least double for the math to make sense – and then you’d still have the functional gimps to consider.

        The whole thing strikes me as demented – a kind of mania.

        • I have a friend with a 2011 Corolla. I also have a friend with a 2011 Leaf.

          No question the Corolla is the better car. Not even a contest.

          Lets look at resale value. 2011 Corolla $9400 2011 Leaf $6700 (bluebook value Chicago area). Asked a car salesman friend what he would offer for both as a trade in. $7500 for the Corolla, $1800 for the Leaf. Said he would resell the Corolla tomorrow, the Leaf would probably sit on the lot for two months. And would likely get sent to the car auction at that point, as his boss will get tired of seeing it sitting.

          The Corolla still feels like a new car. The Leaf feels like its almost ready for the junkyard. The Corolla (granted the corolla owner takes better care of the car) hasn’t needed any major work. The Leaf needed a couple thousand for replacement batteries. Both are parked outdoor (neither of them have garages). Being kept outdoors is way tougher on the Leaf then the Corolla.

          The Corolla owner never worries about using the heat and a/c. It’s a different story for the Leaf owner. The Corolla owner never worries about getting home because he is running low on gas. Different story for the Leaf owner, as her commute is at the very limits of the range of the car (thats why she can’t use the heat or a/c at times).

          I wouldn’t touch a Leaf with a ten foot clown pole.

          • Ahh, but here’s the question. How much of that is due to it being a Leaf (versus the number one compact car on the planet) and how much of that is it being a Nissan (all of whom generally feel junkyard ready when compared to Toyotas).

          • “Clown pole”

            LOL- Simpsons fan?

            Krusty:[Giving instructions on making balloon animals]: “….use a cheaper balloon and it goes off in some kid’s face, what’s THAT gonna cost ya? [Turns to account and says in muffled tone: “Hey Bill, what’d that cost us?”]

        • You can bet gas prices will increase to pay for the charging infrastructure that these oversized toy cars will require.

          • Hi Escher,

            I have been dreading just that.

            EVs – and hybrids – have been stymied by the decline in the cost of gas. Seven or so years ago, when fuel was $4 a gallon or close to it, the economics of a hybrid made some sense. EVs, less so – but it was still much more sensible than it is now.

            But with gas around $2.25 a gallon, why would any sensible person – any person concerned about reducing his driving costs – buy a hybrid, much less an EV?

            This is why sales of hybrids (and EVs) are a tough row to hoe right now.

            If we get a Hillary-type in three years, I foresee just what you do: A federal $1 tax on gas (maybe more) to “encourage” people to buy hybrids and EVs.

            • In my case I save $1000 a year on gasoline based on my current commute and current prices. COmparing a Kia Niro plug-in hybrid versus a Hyundai Kona SUV to keep it an apples-to-apples comparison. Obviously that’s still only a limited slice of the market, but for people with long commutes the benefit does exist, making the difference paid off in 2 years or less given current pricing (forget Toyota’s Prius line, they’re overpriced anyway).

              • Hi Paldin,

                I agree a hybrid can save money overall in some cases; but the economic case for EVs is much harder to make – leaving aside the significant functional/practical liabilities.

                PS: I think the Niro is a great ride; it hasn’t gotten much press, unfortunately.

                • That’s because they’re made of unobtanium, especially the plug-in version, which I’m still trying to get my hands on (800 dealers got 400 of them…and most of the dealers that did get them got 2. The tax credit screwed up the demand, made the plug-in cheaper than the regular hybrid. Oops.

                  • Hi Paladin,

                    Yup. That’s my beef with all of this. Not with hybrids or EVs, per se. But with the mandates and subsidies, which have badly distorted not just the market but also the design of these things.

                    Absent the mandates and subsidies, I think EV design especially would have focused on and emphasized economy and practicality; instead we get high-priced exotics like the Tesla, which tout speed and tech and sex appeal. Which of course makes them expensive… which ends up requiring subsidies… vicious circle…

                    • Well, you do have some of them with designs that make sense. Absent the subsidies, the Niro pricing (and Hyundai’s Ioniq” pricing” do make sense. Same with the Kona and Soul EVs. There’s a few others too. GM and Toyota (and Tesla) seem to be pricing at the higher end, working in the subsidies instead, so you do get what you described. Unfortunately, when you try to do it “right” like the Koreans seem to be, then the product mix gets screwed up by the forces that get imposed on the market. Which aren’t going away soon, much as they really should.

                    • Hi Paladin,

                      Hybrids are (my opinion) viable. Economy and functionally. EVs – as they exist today – aren’t. They are much too expensive and their functional liabilities are too significant for most people to accept. I’ve written at length about all of this.

                      My position is that the best vehicle will naturally find its market and succeed; that subsidies and mandates muddy the waters and create false market signals, which leads to gross distortions of the market.

                      Government – if it has any legitimate business at all – should only be in the business of keeping the peace. This business of decreeing what kinds of cars must be built and stealing money from some people to subsidize the production and purchase of favored types of cars by others is obnoxious in the extreme.

              • One has to remember: Any comparison of gas savings is not really accurate unless one figures in such things as the greater/quicker depreciation; battery replacement cost, etc.

                In the end- as it now stands, I don’t think anyone is actually saving anything.

        • “Okay, but how is this more convenient – better – than being able to refuel in less than five minutes, anytime?”

          We got a Tesla Model S about a year ago. My wife, who is the primary driver, hasn’t been to a gas station since. IF a gas station, is right on your way (which oftentimes it’s not), you’ll probably spend 5 minutes minimum at the station, let’s say once a week. My wife plugs in her car in the garage when she gets home, probably about 10 seconds max per day to do so, so about a minute or so a week spent charging. So for anyone that primarily uses an electric vehicle for in town commuting, it’s a time saver. That would probably apply to about 90% of Americans, who stats show drive less than 50 miles a day.

          All that aside, even if the EV took a little more time, I’d want one because it’s simply a better car. It’s faster, quieter, cleaner, and requires no oil changes and virtually no mandatory maintenance. It makes our previous Audis and Mercedes seem downright primitive, which is why they are scrambling as fast as they can to get EVs to market.

          I suggest you spend a week driving one; you won’t really want a gas car again. Personally, I drive an old style gas powered SUV. That’s because the government in all its wisdom gives me a $25K tax break (Section 179) to drive a large SUV. Much better than the EV deduction, but Sec. 179 persists because the Democrats know the automaking unions love it, and the Republicans love it because it’s a tax break.

          • Hi Caf,

            Yeah, but this assumes you plan your recharge times; or rather, you plan your driving around your recharging. For many people, this is extremely inconvenient. It certainly makes long commutes and road trips more challenging; more hassle.

            On “faster”:

            Only briefly. If you use the speed your S is capable of, the range goes down fast – much in the same way that a fast gas-engined car’s tank runs dry fast if it is driven aggressively. But the gas-engined car can be refueled to full in minutes, almost anywhere… while the EV takes a minimum of 30-45 minutes (if you can find a “fast” charger) to recover 80 percent of its charge.

            And “clean”?

            That’s debatable. At the tailpipe, certainly. But one must also factor in the emissions produced during the car’s manufacture as well as the emissions coming out of the smokestacks of the oil and gas-fired utility plants which generate the electricity which powers EVs.

            Bottom line: If The Tesla is so fabulous, how come it needs mandates and subsidies to survive?

          • If Electric Vehicles are so freaking awesome, WHY DO THEY THROW ME IN JAIL WHEN I DRIVE MY GOLF CART TO THE BEER STORE! (because the golf cart companies don’t bribe Congressmen for subsidies)

      • Eric,

        At the moment you are right – EV’s do fast charge more slowly than you want on long journeys. I can’t see why anyone would care about this for regular overnight charging though. Fast charge squirts DC into the battery at a huge rate, supplied by an expensive (e.g. $10k or more) charger. Charging at home uses an AC connection to the car which has its own AC charger – maybe 7 kW or 10 kW.

        At present the sticker price is higher than for ICE cars, even with any subsidy. But it’s much closer when you look at total cost of ownership (servicing, fuel, tax, lifetime), though still EVs are a little more expensive. However, sticker price is what most people care about.


        However, everything is changing fast. The price of an EV used to be dictated mostly by the battery price, but these are coming down rapidly. For the expensive EVs (Tesla model S), the battery is now about 15% of the total sticker price. One, perhaps optimistic, estimate is that top of the range EVs will be the same price as ICE cars in 2019, and that by 2022 the low cost EV models will be the same sticker price as low cost fossil fuelled cars. EV prices would include a battery to give at least a real 220 mile range – you can always pay more or wait a year or so if you need a larger range. For a more pessimistic estimate add a few years – maybe 2025 for most people.

        On longer journeys the article is saying 15 minutes for an 80% charge of 175 miles. That’s dependent on having faster chargers installed, and this will take a few years. With the Leaf on an occasional long journey I’m happy with a 30 minute break, but can understand a 15 minutes target.

        EV maintenance is a lot lower than existing vehicles. The big difference is no engine, just an electric motor and battery which needs very little maintenance. Our Leaf is just a joy to drive – quiet, very smooth and with huge acceleration around town. And never having to visit a gas station is fantastic. Once you get used to it there is no going back voluntarily.

        So the expectation is that everyone will move to an EV at some point, when it is right for you, depending on how many cars you have, and how many long journeys you do, whether you can install a charge point at home, and how tempted you are by the sticker price once it beats a comparable ICE car.

        • Hi Peter,

          One should also consider the cost of battery replacement, which factors into the total ownership cost of the EV and which isn’t a factor for IC cars.

          The bottom line here is that EVs are not organic, market-demanded things. There is very little real demand for them. They exist almost entirely because of mandates and subsidies. This is telling.

          • Tesla model 3 warranty is 100,000 miles with at least 70% of original capacity left, or 120,000 miles with the long range batter. Experience with Tesla mode S and X is that they reach 150,000 miles before getting close to 10% degradation.

            Chevy Bolt is 100,000 miles or 6 years with at least 60% of capacity left.

            Nissan Leaf model 1 30 kWh battery is 8 years or 100,000 miles with 75%. The 24 kWh model is 6 years or 60,000 miles. All the Leaf 2018 model warranties are for 8 years and 100,000 miles.

            In general, the higher the range, the bigger the battery and the more miles and years will be in the warranty because it will be cycled through charge and discharge more often. Not many people are going to be buying an EV now with a range less than 200 miles so expect an 8 year 100,000 mile battery warranty.

            In short, battery lifetime doesn’t seem to be an issue for a new EV owner for 8 years. At the point, if you decided to buy a new battery, it would cost very much less than it would right now.

            • Hi Peter,

              For perspective, imagine a new IC car that was advertised (effectively) as needing a new engine or transmission at about eight years out… it would be scandalous.

              If the car were a high-end car rather than a bottom-feeding POS, it would be incandescently scandalous.

              Again: How is this progress? How is the EV better than its IC equivalent?

              We are going backwards… at Top Speed!

              EVs are more expensive, more hassle and not as durable/long-lived.

              Has the entire country become demented?

            • The USA 2017 Ford Mustang has a 5 year, 100,000 mile warranty only. Applying your logic you wouldn’t want to buy one of those. Either you should compare warranty miles and years or user experience miles or years, not try to switch between the two to try to make one look worse than it is.

              Tesla EV models don’t actually need a new battery at 150,000 miles (less than 10% range degradation). That’s 11 years of use at 13,500 miles / year, which is the average age of cars on the road in the USA at present. Somewhere along the line after that you may or may not want to pay around $3,000 for a new 60 kWh battery (estimated $50 / kWh by 2030).

              All in all the lifetime total cost of ownership (sticker price, maintenance, electricity or fuel costs, insurance) are already comparable between EVs and ICE cars. EV’s come out on top if you do more than average mileage. And no-one is doubting an EV has better performance, is more reliable, and is generally much more pleasant to drive.

              It just isn’t a matter of “if” any more. It is only a question of “when”.

              • Hi Peter,

                It has a five-year warranty, yes. But the Mustang’s IC drivetrain will easily last at least 150,000-plus miles and 15 years – without degradation (loss of performance). Treated well, an IC drivetrain can last decades.

                Batteries – assuming existing technology – have much shorter lives.

                Your suggestion that “All in all the lifetime total cost of ownership are already comparable between EVs and ICE cars” is risible.

                I can buy a new Nissan Versa sedan for about $12k. About a third of the (subsidized) cost of the size-similar/otherwise comparable Nissan Leaf. The Versa will last 15 years, easily, before it begins to show appreciable mechanical wear. By that time, the Leaf will have required a new $2,000-plus battery – and lost $28,000 in value. The Versa will have only lost about $10,000 and won’t need a new battery, except for the $70 one that starts its engine. Which will likely continue to run reliably for 20-plus years and 200,000-plus miles. Note that even though the 15-20-year-old Versa’s “book value” will be low it will still have ongoing value as transportation so long as it remains operational. And that will be twice to three times as long as the Leaf.

                Also, the Versa goes 400 miles on a tank, refuels to full in less than 5 minutes.

                How far does the Leaf go on a charge? How long to recharge?

                The Versa’s range is not affected much by high heat or extreme cold. The Leaf’s is.

                This is progress?

                How? The EV costs more, doesn’t go as far, takes longer to “refuel” and doesn’t last as long. Facts. Inarguable.

                You can tout “zero emissions” and that it’s “cool” to charge at home. But these are not economic considerations and they do not negate the functional gimps.

                It’s only a question of “when” because of the force-feeding via mandates. Take them away and the whole rickety thing topples like a Jenga tower.

                Again: If EVs make sense, then the mandates and subsidies would not be be necessary. The fact that they are tells the story.

                • And let’s not forget, that with batteries, it’s not just miles, but time, charging cycles, temperature of the environment in which it lives, etc. -which can all have major effects on longevity and performance.

                  As for Peter’s idea of the cars putting electricity back into the grid: If the cars are capable of generating a surplus, why wouldn’t they just put that surplus back into their own battery, thus reducing the amount/frequency of charging necessary? I mean, since they are already carrying their own storage device (the battery) around…..

              • Hi Eric,

                The federal subsidies for companies like Tesla will be gone in a year or so, because it is only on the first 200,000 vehicles from each manufacturer. The biggest cost element of EVs (at least mid-size and below) is the battery. Tesla’s battery gigafactory and other battery maker gigafactories will be reducing battery cost significantly because of the huge scale.

                I have a lot of sympathy for auto dealers because the market place is going to change soon. EVs will need less maintenance. Ultimately, as autopilot facilities become more advanced, the number of collisions will also reduce, reducing the need for vehicle body repair shops. But that will be true for either EV or fossil fuelled vehicles.

                The only thing EV owners will have to spend more on is tires. EVs are heavier because of the batteries and they have excellent performance from stationary, so the tires need to be more robust and will wear faster.

                The question is when the disruptive switch happens in various place. The best guess (apart from big oil and maybe big auto who don’t see it) is from 2025 onwards in Europe. Trump’s policies may slow it down in the USA, but various other countries already have mandated 2030 or 2040 for banning the sale of all new fossil fuel vehicles.

                China is the world’s biggest marketplace and has said it will do the same, but hasn’t given a date yet. Norway is now at 52% battery and hybrid sales, though it’s a small market and no-one else is even close to this.

                What all the mandates above will do is to drive the mass market for EVs so costs go down. USA may not have mandates or subsidies in most states, but the lower-cost of EVs from the mass markets elsewhere will be bound to drive a switch for economic reasons at some point.

                It’s not good news for you, I guess.

                • Your first post states: “So the expectation is that everyone will move to an EV at some point, when it is right for you…”

                  And this post states: “but various other countries already have mandated 2030 or 2040 for banning the sale of all new fossil fuel vehicles.”

                  Ah, there it is.

                  I will never move to an EV. I may be forced to, but it won’t be “right for me”.

                  A good idea does not need to be forced. A good technology does not need a competing technology banned. EV advocates try to sell why they’re better than IC’s, but resort to banning the IC’s. Because when people are doing an analysis with their own money, they go for the IC. So since you can’t win on reason or merit, you just ban the competition.

                  I know this is what you want, but at least you’ve abandoned the notion that this is voluntary.

                  By the way, what is “huge acceleration”?

                  • Well-said, Brandon and Jason! And I concur!

                    And re: “Huge acceleration”: So what? Who cares, other than racers and thrill seekers? It’s very wasteful and accomplishes nothing- and once *most people* [not me] have EVs, that huge acceleration will just be the new status quo and will impress no one. What a ridiculous thing to even mention.

                • So basically you want armed goons to forcibly impose your values on everyone else. Nice guy.

                  I for one will never purchase an electric car. There is a huge base of existing fossil fuel vehicles which will be around to choose from for the rest of my life even if dirtbags such as yourself manage to stop manufacture of new ones.

                  A pox on you and all of your ancestors.

                    • That’s pretty much the only way to get the uncooperative to cooperate if deception doesn’t work on us.

                      Ultimately, everything government does is with the threat of violence to those who would not otherwise cooperate.

                      This is what makes government so immoral.

                • For mandating EVs from 2030 or 2040 (the two dates governments seem to choose from) you have to look at it from the overall viewpoint of the countries themselves.

                  For a country with too little oil resources to satisfy domestic demand, oil imports cost money and adversely affect the balance of trade. It makes sense to mandate an end to at least the majority of the imports – those needed to satisfy transport.

                  The US used to be in that situation but, with fracking etc., US oil wells now pump enough oil so the US it no longer needs to import. So there’s no strong government financial reason to ban fossil fuelled cars.

                  The question for you is what sort of TV you bought last. Was it an old cathode ray tube TV – the ones where the set was very deep and very heavy?

                  Huge acceleration in my reckoning is that in my fairly lowly Nissan Leaf EV I can be 40 yards in front of any ICE car when the lights turn green in a couple of seconds. ICE engines have very poor torque at low engine revs, which is why they need gears. EVs generally don’t have a gear box, though may have fixed step-down ratio gearing.

                  And actually, unlike an ICE engine it doesn’t cost me in additional energy to put my foot down because electric motors are pretty efficient at most speeds and loads. But after the start I set the car limiter to stay close to the speed limit, so the other guys can catch up by breaking the speed limit.

                  Another example is that the top-end Tesla model 3 can spin its wheels at any speed up to 60 mph.

                  If you have the money, the Tesla Roadster mark 2 does 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, or 0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds. It also has a 200 kWh battery and a 620 mile range. If you picked it up by the back fender and dropped it over a cliff it woudn’t accelerate as fast as it does on the road!

                  • Hi Peter,

                    All of this begs the same question (again): If EVs are a superior product, why is it necessary to subsidize and mandate their manufacture?

                    What would you think about a “McDonald’s mandate” requiring people to buy Bic Macs – and subsidizing the purchase thereof?

                    PS: Your Leaf does 0-60 in about 8 seconds. This is slightly less quick than a four-cylinder powered IC family car such as a current Camry with the base engine. With the V6, the Camry blows your Leaf into next week.

                  • Peter,

                    If how fast it goes is the criteria, then why not subsidize the purchase of Bugattis? Or at the very least, Corvettes?

                    It is very telling that Tesla has to tout such attributes as quickness. It is because Tesla cannot tout economy or practicality.

                    Bugattis and Corvettes don’t tout economy or practicality, either.

                    But at least they don’t pretend to be other than what they are – toys for the affluent – and their manufacture/sale isn’t subsidized.

                    Every time I mention this – the fact that EVs have to be subsidized and mandated else they would not exist as other than very low volume and very high priced toys – I get dead air. The sidestep. My opponent starts talking up some other thing.

                    The same thing happens when I bring up the facts about EV charging time/range – things which would almost no one would accept if we were talking about IC cars yet somehow the assumption is people will accept it because it’s an electric car.

                    You paid almost $30k to own a car – your Leaf – that costs twice-plus what a Versa sedan would have cost you, that takes 10-20 times longer to “refuel” and can’t go half as far on a full charge.

                    What is the upside? You can charge it at home and so avoid the gas station. I am not dancing in the streets.

                    • Eric,
                      This fanatical Spin-Doctor’s reasoning is so flawed it can only be summed up as Faith. As you well know, you can’t Reason with a Religious Zealot. His FAITH shields him from any and all reality, and that apparently applies to physics, as we know it.

                  • Johnny,

                    Good point about rare earths. The element everyone is most worried about is cobalt. At the moment the lithium-ion batteries with the highest specific energy (kWh/kg) use a lot of cobalt.




                    You can eliminate cobalt completely from a lithium-ion battery, but then it weighs more for a given range.

                    At the moment more than half the cobalt mined comes from the DRC, and there are some issues about child labour and suchlike.
                    Some analysts think cobalt prices are going to go up enough to affect the price of EV batteries. But new source of cobalt are being developed, such as in Australia and a town called “Cobalt” in Canada which used to mine cobalt. It’ll take a few years to bring these on stream. But it will happen and cobalt prices will then start coming down.

                    The question is how important is battery weight to you? A Tesla is already 2 tons, and seems fine at that, so not that important there. Similarly our LEAF is about 1.5 tons – almost half a ton heavier than my older IC car. But I wouldn’t be able to tell, apart from the higher tire pressures.

                    There’s one area where weight vs range matters a lot, and that’s for the Tesla semi truck. If the battery weighs another 4 tons, then that is 4 tons less freight which can be carried against an overall weight limit of 40 tons.

                    So cobalt does not seem to be a show stopper for private EVs. Supply of lithium is not seen as an issue, nor manganese or nickel.

                • Don’t fancy batteries require rare earth minerals? Is there an unlimited over supply of those? They couldn’t possibly be “rare” could they?

                • The “huge acceleration” is 0-40 time on a road with a 40 mph limit.


                  Camry V6 acceleration times in miles per hour
                  0 – 10 mph 1.2 s
                  0 – 20 mph 2.2 s
                  0 – 30 mph 3.2 s
                  0 – 40 mph 4.1 s

                  http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?t=2524 (5th post down)

                  ………..LEAF Volt
                  0-10mph:..0.7 sec 0.8 sec
                  0-20:…..1.8 ..1.9
                  0-30:…..3.0 ..3.1
                  0-40:…..4.6 ..4.6

                  That’s the old LEAF by the way.

                  Because of the better torque at low speed, the LEAF spends less time travelling slower. So although the Camry V6 will be travelling faster after 4.1 seconds, from a standing start the LEAF will likely be ahead at the point where it reaches 40 mph.

                  After 40 mph the Camry V6 will win hands down against the old LEAF.


                  The new 2018 LEAF does 0-60 in 7.4 or 7.5 seconds (SL or SV). The CAMRY is 6.2 seconds. But again, the faster kick out of the blocks of the 2018 LEAF will probably mean it is ahead of the Camry by the time they both stop accelerating at 60 mph. And that is what matters in these things, I am led to believe…….

                  • Hi Peter,

                    God, it’s like pulling teeth with you!

                    First, the Leaf is not quick vs. most IC cars. It is less quick than most run-of-the-mill IC cars with more than a small (and not turbocharged) four cylinder engine. Do you remember back in the 70s when car companies began to quote 0-50 times? They did this to hide the fact that cars had been gimped by government regs and their 0-60 times had become embarrassing.

                    The Leaf’s 0-60 isn’t embarrassing. But it’s also nothing special. You are neck and neck with a four cylinder Camry. Which incidentally costs around $5,000 less than your subsidized EV. And the Camry is a larger, much nicer car. Which refuels in less than 5 minutes and goes 400 miles on a tank.

                    Even if the Leaf were quicker than a Corvette, that is not an economic or practical argument.

                    You have every right to buy a car such as the Leaf – just as another person might buy a Corvette. But the Corvette buyer hasn’t got his hands in my pockets.

                    And they ask me why I drink…

                  • Peter, what does it matter?

                    It wasn’t long ago that zero-to-60 acceleration times were in the high teens.

                    Like, I’m going to buy an EV because it can accelerate to 40MPH a thrid of a second quicker than my V-10 Excursion?

    • “Electric Grid” – so, there isn’t enough electricity currently to run all the cars on electric? I guess that is why they can’t just put cables along the freeway like trolleys use and forget about the batteries. I’ve always advocated an electric wheel that simply bolts onto any car and uses a cable on the freeway like a slot car. Drive to the freeway with your existing IC engine – and cruise to Dallas on the electric wheel.

      • If everyone had an EV then about 10% more electricity would be needed in total. Probably 95% of EVs would be charged overnight at home, and the grid could cope fine. If the grid moves more towards wind and solar then EV charging can be done flexibly when this is fine for the driver – top up the charge when the wind blows or sun shines unless you are going on a long trip in which case charge right now!

        In the end there will be many more fast chargers than there are gas pumps right now. They take much less space because you never need to park a refuelling tanker. They do need bigger local supply cables than street lights or individual houses though, to supply 150kW or 350kW. So it will take a few years.

        The proposal from Nissan is for most cars to be connected to the grid when not in use, and for two-way transfer with the grid (V2G = vehicle to grid). Nissan were proposing that this would qualify for free charging because to use EV batteries to support variable wind and solar power will save the grid a lot of money some time in the future. Nissan says there would be no need for a change to the EV battery warranty in miles or years from allowing the grid to use the battery.

        • Are you saying that the electrical energy equivalent of the 400 million gallons of gasoline America alone burns daily, plus the 100 million gallons of No. 2 diesel burned daily (this excludes No. 1 diesel, agricultural diesel, off-road diesel, etc. etc.) would only burden the electrical grid 10%? According to the feds electricity powers 39% of the energy America uses and transportation 29%. Switch the fuels used in transport to electricity and you’ll need 74% more electricity to run the cars and trucks.

          Care to nearly double the number of power generating plants?

          • Hi Ross,


            One interesting thing about EVs is that the charging costs aren’t separate and easily understood, as the cost of fueling a standard car is.

            You put $25 in the tank, it goes “x” many miles.

            An EV is plugged in to your household outlet and charges for six hours. How much did that just cost you?

            And how much will it cost you when the taxes currently applied to motor fuels are added to the electricity you use in your EV?

          • Ross it would be fine if we could just build more nuclear plants. Unfortunately the government got in the way of that too.

              • I take exception to nuclear power for some good reasons, economics being one and pollution with a half life of a few billion years….but that’s just my take.

                Over a decade ago there was some serious number crunching done in regards to nuclear power and it is very expensive. Just the constant parts and various other things they consume keeps the road hot to them.

                The fact that the “disposers” of nuclear waste use bullshit ways to find spots they can make disposal facilities is one of my main gripes.

                Several years ago a company used small town(I mean really small, like 12 people)newspapers to get “feedback” from the public. After only a few handfuls of letters never published being against it, the nuclear regulatory agency gave them the go-ahead and so they did. They used one of the most remote west Tx. counties occupied by maybe a few hundred people who were busy in the oil patch, to make disposal sites. Never mind it’s been a few years ago now since the first of the badly stored containers began leaking……even while it was still being stocked. Now we have a major aquifer that’s getting polluted and drains into the rest of the aquifers in Tx.

                Never fear though, they’re already trucking that stuff to places like Kansas and La. where the population is illiterate. Ok, they may not be illiterate but they sure don’t ask many questions…..and that’s just perfect for the polluters.

                It doesn’t have to be that easy, and as a group of doctors investing in a toxic disposal well right here in the middle of our county, into a well(oil)that had already leaked so much salt water it had ruined thousands of acres of land. We had county meetings at the courthouse and lots of people showed up and pointed out the obvious. Even the lawyers who showed had to pass right through the ruined land to get to the county seat.

                That was only one of the fights we had. The other was with the Air Farce and their running constant B1B sorties and scaring hell out of everything with super low level C 130 sorties….which, by the way, have started up again.

                We can always tell when there’s war in the air since our houses shake from B1’s and our two way towers barely survive C 130 sorties. Big military helicopter traffic has started up again too so everyone, get ready. I sure wish I’d had the foresight to buy one of the old missile silos long ago.

              • I take exception to nukular power too!

                a)It is not economically feasible without the infrastructure of an authoritarian state [Which is why you tend to see it used only socialistic countires).

                b)Disposal of waste and by-products can have far-reaching catastrophic consequenses, well on into the future.

                c)Like anything else, there WILL be accidents. There have been enough already- Three Mile Island; Chernobyl; Fukishima, etc. and this is just with a relatively small number of nuclear powerplants in the world- imagine if they were ubiquitous?

                d)Expanding the scope of uranium mining would be very detrimental.

                I say, those who advocate nuclear power, should have to host the local reactor for their area in their own backyard.

                And think of the absurdity! Making convenient transportation “clean”…at the expense of using something to do so which can shorten the lives of/kill millions of people in one fell swoop; wipe-out various animal and plant species overnight; negatively and permanently change the whole ecosystem/all living things/the earth itself/the environment so as to permanently alter/destroy life as we know it.

                Just look at what Fukishima has done- and that’s just ONE facility! It is killing a good part of the entire Pacific ocean- and there’s no telling (and probably never will be) how many people are directly or indirectly catastrophically affected.

                Think of all the collectivism and wars we have just to maintain a petroleum products energy system- and the ecological disasters often caused by that stable, natural resource…now imagine that extrapolated to uranium and atoms and nuclear waste…


                • “I say, those who advocate nuclear power, should have to host the local reactor for their area in their own backyard.”

                  Already have one, you have heard of Indian Point? On the other hand, maybe you’re right, maybe more people should live closer to reactors, you might get a better sense of how safe they actually are instead of just how bad the relatively few but snowlake-media-sensasionalized incidents were (nuclear is a threat to wind and solar and fuzzy bunny power after all).

          • Hi Ross,

            Since you queried the additional percentage load on the electricity grid I’ve worked it out from scratch again, and it comes out higher. Here’s the calculation.
            Average miles per USA driver per year is just under 13,500. Average miles per kWh for an eV is around 3.5 (good for town driving with start stop – more on the highway, but less over 70 mph). Total is 3857 kWh / driver per year. Assume you lose 15% efficiency in the battery between charge and discharge so divide by 0.85 giving 4,537 kWh/driver/year.
            210m drivers so 4,547 x 210 gWh/year = 953 TWh / year.
            USA grid generation per year for 2017 was 4091 TWh so EV’s would add 23%.

            So the generation from the USA grid would need to expand by one quarter to handle EV charging for all drivers.

            Most parts of the USA grid have a peak to average demand ratio of at least 1.5, and more often 1.7. Usually the peak load is in the early evening. Assuming drivers are happy to charge flexibly at off-peak times, then very little expansion in the USA grid capacity would be needed to supply another 25% of flexible load. Probably it would need some more generating plants though – maybe 10% max.

            But the other aspect to that is that if a significant fraction of the EVs were able to return power back to the grid (act as grid storage), then some generation capacity would no longer be needed, such as the “peaker plants” which are very expensive to run but aren’t called on very often. Nissan are proposing any EV agreeing to stay connected most of the time to act as grid storage would get free electricity for actual travel, with no reduction in the battery warranty miles or years.

            • Hi Peter,

              One of assumptions here is urban/suburban driving patters. EV math might work out better in that context. But many people routinely drive long distances (more than 30 miles one way) and at highway speeds. This alters the equation considerably.

              I would very much like to isolate the actual charge-up costs of an EV in my area, given the type of driving I do… and then add to the cost of the electricity the cost of the motor fuels taxes which will have to be transferred in some directly cost-equivalent manner onto the kilowatt-cost of electricity as EVs will use the roads (and wear them) as much as IC cars do.

              • Eric,

                EVs may cause slightly more wear on the roads as they are heavier than ICE cars at the moment because the batteries weight a lot more than a full gas tank and an engine. But probably it’s not significant compared with the damage heavy trucks do to roads, and maybe in 10 years the batteries will get a lot lighter.

                The tax cost of road maintenance is straightforward. Federal tax on gaseoline is 18.4 cents and on diesel is 24.4 cents. Average mileage is around 23.6 miles / gallon. So roughly speaking you would have to find a way to collect 1 cent of tax per mile. That hasn’t been updated for inflation for a long time so doesn’t cover the costs of road maintenance.


                Oregon picked 500 drivers, taxed them 1.5 cents / mile, and excluded them from fuel taxes. The article implies 1.5 cents / mile is closer to the cost of maintaining the roads.

                If you are commuting in an EV for a total of less than 100 miles per day you will probably be charging at home, so could take the local cost of retail electricity (varies quite a lot) and assume 3-3.5 miles / kWh (includes battery inefficiency in charging and discharging). That would give you a base cost per mile.

                For long journeys (trips longer than the EV range minus some factor for nervousness of a flat battery) the EV will need fast charging.


                Fast charging from EVGo is $6.75 per 45 minutes. You would expect to get an 80% charge for that. If 200 mile range that could be 160 miles, which would give just over 4 cents / mile. That seemed too cheap because it is comparable with home charging costs. But the EVGo FAQs make the claim it is a similar to home charging costs so it may be right.

                Other fast chargers might cost more – more research from someone is needed.

                One way or another 4 cents / mile seems to be a good starting figure for EV charging costs. To which you should add the 1.5 cents / mile cost of maintaining the roads.

                • Hi Peter,

                  You forgot to add state/local taxes; the total per-gallon tax load is about 50 cents per gallon.

                  But the more significant cost is the wasted time of charging EVs and their much shorter range (necessitating more frequent charging vs. refueling for an IC-engined car).

              • Eric,

                I’ve found another section of the EVGo site which adds more information on fast charging. See


                Among other things it gives the fast charging rate I couldn’t find before. There’s a mistake in the web page because it says, for members, both 15 to 21 cents / MINUTE and 15 to 21 cents / MILE. From information elsewhere it looks like 15 to 21 cents / minute is correct (e.g. compare with level 2 charging costs).

                On this page, for DC fast charging it says 75 miles of charge in 30 minutes. That’s 2.5 miles of charge per minute for 15 to 21 cents per minute, which is 6 to 8.4 cents per mile. That’s a more believable figure than 4 cents per mile for commercial charging. 4 cents per mile seems about right for home charging, assuming all-in electricity costs of 12 cents / kWh.

                Those are today’s figures for EVGo charging, of course.

                The old Tesla supercharger network can do much better. For the first 20 to 30 minutes of charging it will charge at 200 miles per charge hour, so will give you 100 miles in 30 minutes. The newer supercharger network is better – it can provide 300 miles per hour of charging, so in 30 minutes will give you an additional 150 miles of range – twice as far as EVGo.

                And these charge rates aren’t the last word on the subject. Chargers will get more powerful and thus faster, but only once batteries are capable of handling the increased power. Bigger batteries handle increased power automatically because it is the fraction of the battery capacity charged per hour that matters. So a 300 mile range battery (high capacity Teslas) can usually charge twice as fast as a 150 mile range battery (Nissan Leaf 2018 model).

                Note the statements about 80% charging. You can charge to 80% pretty fast, but to get from 80-95% is slower, and to get from 95% to 100% is slower again. It’s because the battery voltage rises when being charged over 80%, and this rise causes increased heating on charging. And the battery lasts much longer if it is rarely charged over 80%. But the occasional 100% charge doesn’t matter as long as it is not all the time.

                At some point you’ll be able to add 150 miles of range on a commercial, non-Tesla, fast charger in 10-20 minutes. Whether this will still be seen as too slow by some is a good question.

                For frequent long-distance driver who hate the thought of stops for charging every 150 miles or whatever, there’s a good solution. Buy a car with a range exceeding the maximum you expect to do in one day. Then you can always charge overnight at home and at your destination and not have to stop during the day for charging at all. I doubt many drivers will be in that category.

                • Peter,

                  Even if they get recharge times down to 10 minutes, that’s still twice as long as it takes to gas up an IC car. How is this an improvement? Think about the wasted time, the inconvenience when you are in a hurry and need to get going right got-damned now.

                  And then there’s range. Almost any IC car can travel 350-400 miles on a full tank. Many can go much farther. The diesel ram truck I just wrote about can go almost 900 miles on a tank.

                  There are affluent city folk who have access to chargers, don’t mind the hassle – or the expense. But for most people, an EV makes as much economic sense as a $10 Bic Mac you have to wait 30 minutes to get.

                  Which is why EVs have to be mandated and subsidized. They can’t make it on the merits – at least, not as mass-market cars. Only as toys for the affluent who are willing to pay extra for the technology and don’t mind the many practical downsides which are not going away anytime soon.

                  It makes my teeth ache.

  6. “took cash deposits from thousands of people and promsied them cars by “x” date” Sounds like the Elio. And the Dale. and the…

    • The Dale was a pure scam from day one. I believe Geraldine, nee Jerry, a 200 pound, 6 foot tall shape-shifter and known con artist in both sexes, exited by a window as the net closed around the Dale swindle. And the story continues from there like a Saturday Serial (some of you may remember those).

      Elio is still trying and facing hurdles far in excess of what would have been faced in the Dale’s 1974 time slot (provided a running prototype of the Dale had even been built). Not likely though since Paul Elio would have been 9 or 10 years old. Wouldn’t have a degree from Kettering (nee GMI) at that age anyway. Check out his bio and try to compare it to Jer/Liz.

      Remember how you could buy a Messerschmidt or Isetta around then? The Elio would have been on the road in two years. I don’t know if they will ever reach production, but it is an honest effort or Paul Elio would have found a window by now. I do not have a deposit on one, but hope the company and I both live long enough so I can own one some day. Its a concept that makes sense.

  7. well, Eric, you brought up Preston Tucker as that thought crossed my mind recently as well. Tucker was raked over the coals by the big three and their prostitutes, oops representatives in congress. A lynch mob if ever there was one. The same congress that went after Howard Hughes for his problems building the worlds largest plane at the time, the Hercules, also known as the Spruce Goose.
    Nowadays congress not only does not investigate waste and fraud, they encourage it. By their very inaction and because they are all so incredibly corrupt, all waste and fraud are ignored by this esteemed body. They could care less. Some of it eventually makes it way back to them.
    Musk is like the televangelist, hell, he is a televangelist, preaching to the choir.
    Jimmy Baker? Jimmy Sweigart? Ted Hagard? Crefloe A. Dollar, Billy Graham juts to name a few. Billy Graham, to borrow the phrase from the late great Christopher Hitchens, should have been given and enema and buried in a match box. A state funeral in the Rotunda no less!
    So with the hundreds of millions in losses each and every quarter, bad production standards witha 90% quality failure right off the line, yet this carney barker continues to defraud gullible little snowflakes out of their money and proves mandated markets do not work.
    The history of Russia under Marxist communism provides a clear and often frightening detail how the nation was run by these evil morons.

    • I’ve learned that in human society who you are and who you know is more important than what you do, how you live, and what you produce. I’ve learned this the hard way. But even knowing it, what you do, how you live, and what you produce at least allows for self respect. Self respect that must usually be compromised to play a role and know the right people.

  8. The recent fatal crash of a Tesla got me thinking. It was reported that the owner/driver had experienced a glitch in the autopilot several time previously in the area of the crash and he’d reported it to Tesla who’d basically shrugged their shoulders…

    I play Ingress which is a GPS-based game, and I and many other players regularly experience GPS variations and fluctuations. It’s not unusual to be standing still and have the GPS “move” you several feet away. There are some locations where this happens more often than others. I’ve noticed the same thing when using Waze or Google Maps while driving. The built-in GPS in my 2006 Land Rover LR3 is much steadier (probably because it uses a DVD-based mapping system rather than relying solely on the cloud), but has different issues as the maps have not been updated since 2012…

    This makes me wonder if the GPS system isn’t sufficiently accurate to be used with an autopilot. If you’re using it for navigation, then it doesn’t matter (much) if the cursor is suddenly running up the shoulder or in oncoming traffic. And if it’s ahead or behind you, you’ll still see the turn coming up. However, if the autopilot is told by the GPS that you’re headed into oncoming traffic, it’s going to shunt you onto the shoulder. If it thinks you’re 10 feet ahead of where you really are, it’s going to want to make a turn a bit early.

    • It does not work that way. The car has sensors all around it that provide it with information of its surroundings. The GPS has little to do with the actual guidance of the vehicle itself other than just giving it directions.

      With that said this article is stupid and not even worth discussing. The author is trying way to hard to shit all over the EV industry. In fact most people here commenting seem to have no clue what they are talking about which would be funny if it weren’t so infuriating. Why is it that people feel the need to state their opinions when they have no knowledge on the matter?

      Anyway, keep talking people cause the more you talk about it the better. No press is bad press as they say.

      • Hi Dickface,

        I’d like to know specifically what you consider to be “stupid” about the points raised in the article; I’m happy to discuss facts – but I’m not interested in exchanging insults.

      • Hey Dick,

        You’re forgetting one very important thing: These turd-mobiles are dependent upon GPS for such things as the location of traffic lights…. There is currently no way for them to recognize traffic lights unless they are mapped precisely on GPS….that’s pretty important- and will likely prove to be the fatal flaw in this driverless BS- as there is no way to make this feasible without every traffic control device in the country being outfitted with some sort of transponder which a car-mounted sensor could pick up on.

        Also: How do you think that the car would know to turn into a driveway or parking lot when warranted, vs. a street and vise-versa?

        Sensors are just to keep the cars from hitting other vehicles and objects…the GPS determines where they go, and appropriate speed and such…..

      • Dickface, “The author is trying way to hard to shit all over the EV industry.”

        The author – Eric – is merely reporting on the EV industry shitting on itself. Which is inevitable with all things based on lies rather than reality.

        • There is no EV “industry.” Industry turns a profit by providing goods and services desired in the marketplace. The so-called EV “industry” was created by and is kept afloat by a violent gang of psychopaths and control freaks. (government). It would collapse practically overnight if subject to the same market forces that shape legitimate enterprise.

    • Civilian GPS does not have the resolution to determine the location of the barrier or even what side of the split the car is on near the start. It has already been admitted by TM wrt to the crash in China that their system has difficulty with non-moving objects at interstate speeds. It also requires striping to be clear and in good condition. Basically an interstate split is something it is not going to handle well and then when the usual lack of road maintenance has taken its toll it gets worse. Even the way some splits are done will confuse the system if my understanding of its function is correct. That is because when one lane splits into two lanes going different directions the lane lines would be confusing to a machine.

      • Exactly, Brent. This is why I believe that this self-driving BS can NOT be successful, unless the entire road infrastructure were equipped with devices specifically designed for a universal system of autonomous vehicle control, which would include lane and roadway demarcation devices; driveway and alley recognition; traffic control device recognition, etc.

        That is why, either the people behind this have not thought it through very well (unlikely) or…it is designed to fail.

        It may seem somewhat feasible on a limited test basis…but if these things ever go mainstream, we are going to see utter chaos and carnage.

  9. I’m not sure that EV’s will work well here in the far north. I see (a very few) Teslas around here but they are all garage queens, probably kept warm and plugged in most of the time.

    If you have something like a hybrid it can always resort to the gas engine until the batteries have been deemed acceptably warm. With a full EV what does it do when it sits outside at -10 without being plugged in? Use battery power to….heat it’s own batteries?

    Phones will shut themselves off if the internal temp dips too low for the battery. How the fuck will a car be any different.

    • Edit: All the engineers live in California and never seem to go anywhere where the temp gets below freezing. Ever. The people in Minnesota are, like, frozen barbarians anyway right? They all ride snowmobiles to work? Too fat and full of cheese to even know what a Tesla is. That is how the California engineers feel. God forbid those of us up north want a car that is RELIABLE in winter because it can mean life or death. At least the engineers in Detroit understand the concept of ‘winter’.

    • Hi Jake,


      Hybrids work because they have… mechanical/IC drivetrains. Which work.

      An IC engine is not hugely gimped by extreme cold; an electric battery/motor is. It doesn’t take much energy to power an IC car’s heater, which is “powered” by the IC engine’s waste heat. In an electric car, heat must be produced electrically. How much does it cost to run an electrical space heater in your house on a cold day? And how much power does it take to keep one lit?

      More broadly:

      How is it “progress” to switch to cars (EVs) that cost 50 percent more to buy, take 5-10 times as long to recharge (vs. refuel) and which have their own serious environmental effluvia?

      Such questions must not be asked, of course!

    • My cousin’s boyfriend works for a big 3 automaker, so naturally I want to talk shop with him when we get together. I mentioned how cool it would be to have one of those testing jobs, since I sometimes see what are obviously test vehicles (covered in cloth, sometimes with a sensor array on the roof) on I-70. He quickly corrected my assumption because the test engineers get stuck in Alaska in the dead of winter and Death Valley in August. He mentioned something about a team being airlifted out of a tundra and suffering from severe hypothermia and frostbite because their test vehicle died.

      Not a good environment for an electric vehicle for sure.

      And that’s the real issue: they aren’t all-weather vehicles. But they are good for a lot of things, like getting around town. But as a second or third vehicle they need to be priced accordingly. And to pretend they are a single vehicle solution, for all environments, is just absurd.

      • City commuting and secondary vehicles are perfect ecological niches for electric cars to inhabit. They were common in the early 20th Century as city commuters and light travel where their ease of use for short distances offset their limited range, all of which is pretty much still true today except their cost is disproportionate as a secondary vehicle and the infrastructure won’t be able to support the energy demand that would take place.

        • Hi Spaz,

          Except for one thing, which is almost never mentioned: How does a person who lives in an apartment plug in his EV? Does he run an extension cord from his window?

          It’s a legitimate problem.

          EVs – ironically – are more suited to suburbia because suburbanites tend to have garages and easy access to an electrical outlet.

          City people don’t…

          • Hi Eric,

            That’s a really good point. I have no idea how someone who lives on the third floor of an apartment building with only street parking available would plug their car in to recharge it, without going to a recharge station. The early electric cars were available for city use by going down to waiting pool; I suppose people in the city could always form their own private car share programs and keep the bulk of their fleet at a centralized location for charging. Maybe that would work, if the organization had the right to decide who could and could not be admitted into the program and it’s members were okay with not actually owning the vehicle but that’s certainly not a model to build anything more than a niche industry off of.

          • BUT – they will throw you in jail for driving your golf cart to the beer store. Seriously, if they want us using electrics so bad – why the hell can’t I get a Govt subsidy for driving my golf cart to the store – instead of getting thrown in jail? And why aren’t golf cart companies making elec cars hand over fist?

            • Subsidy? Heck, in all but a few places, it’s not even legal to drive a golf cart or such on the street! Uncle is a freaking hypocrite!

    • “I’m not sure that EV’s will work well here in the far north.”

      Nor any of the “autonomously piloted vehicles”. Where are the lines on the road when they are under an inch of snow. One big white line, I guess.

      I was thinking recently about another generic problem. What about arbitration of 4 cars at a 4-way stop. “Who’s on first, What’s on second”, seems destined to resolve to “I Don’t Know” most of the time. I also bet the genii who write the software, most of whom do not drive, will impose a “One car in the intersection” rule. (Too many humans do that already. We don’t need to automate it.)

      The problems are mind-boggling, to say the least

  10. I have a question for anyone willing, not really related to this topic but a question on Libertarian philosophy.

    This is the intellectual property debate. Is it a violation of the NAP for someone to steal your (or what you may call your) intellectual property? Are you justified in using force to defend your intellectual property?

    If we pretend we live in a libertarian universe, and you come up with a song, or a book, and somewhere else in the universe, another being creates the same exact song or book, can this really be said to be a violation of the NAP? Can it really be said that either is stealing from the other? Assuming we could somehow know which created the intellectual property first.

    Does the situation change if you’re both on planet Earth, but not selling to the same markets?
    Does the situation change if you’re both on planet Earth, and selling to the same markets?

    Isn’t this a problem the free market would solve?

    Is this only a violation of the NAP if the intellectual property has market value?

    If the owner of the intellectual property is not attempting to sell/profit from their intellectual property, but just to share it, then it is not a violation?

    What got me thinking was a Libertarian podcast I listen to (Part of the Problem). They lean towards intellectual property doesn’t exist, or that if it does, taking it is not a violation of the NAP. You can listen to their discussion here (Intellectual property talk starts at 58:22). They justify their position better than I can explain it

    I would really appreciate some more perspectives on this. Thanks all.

    • Hi Brandon,

      This one comes up a lot. Here’s my take:

      I believe that anything which did not previously exist, which comes into existence as the result of the productive effort of an individual as the result of his brain/body’s effort, is rightfully his property by dint of the fact that it was not produced by anyone else.

      It exists because he created it.

      I therefore support the concept of copyright for written works, songs and so on as well as patents for new inventions. It strikes me as immoral to assert that anyone may freely reproduce, say, a book (or an article or a song) created by someone else and profit from that reproduction. It is a taking – and that is theft.

      Consider, as a case in point, the following:

      Someone decides to create a mirror site of EPautos, copying and pasting every new article as it appears on this site to that site. This person uses my name and my work to generate traffic and money, via advertising and so on.

      Have I not been the victim of theft?

      The problem as regards written work (as well as music) is that it’s much easier to take – courtesy of technology – than, say, a Chevrolet Corvette sitting on a dealer’s lot.

      But what if Nissan reproduced a Corvette – exactly the same car, using the styling and layout and engineering designs created by Chevrolet – and began selling it as their own car?

      That actually isn’t as far fetched as it used to be… courtesy of technology.

      But the fact that something can be easily copied doesn’t entitle someone else to copy it without having secured permission (e.g., a license freely agreed to by the original creator).

      • Didn’t the Soviets do that in the 1970s? I recall an old Top Gear episode where the boys drove a bunch of old Russian vehicles on a road trip and I think they mentioned it.

        But there also the replicas of Shelbys and other classic vehicles, although they’re usually based on some frame like a VW.

      • eric, a lot of good points being made here today and you have made one of the best.

        I’d like to return to Eloi for a sec though since I have just read an article from Simon Black. I’ll paste part of it and credit to him…..since he did write it. If I’d spent my life “creating” what other people already had I’d be very rich or dead….or both. So without further commentary, here is what Simon has to say about the musker.

        “But it’s not just individuals who can’t live within their means.

        Corporations have also taken on record levels of debt– now more than $6 trillion in the US, and $68 trillion worldwide.

        This includes ‘safe’, stable companies like McDonalds who have ruined their once-pristine balance sheets with billions of dollars of debt, to companies who perennially lose money and burn through cash.

        Tesla is a great example.

        Over the past four years, the company has lost $9 BILLION in negative free cash flow.

        Tesla has made up for these losses by taking on enormous amounts of debt, to the point that its interest payments in the 4th quarter of 2017 totaled a whopping 33% of gross profit (up from 15% a year prior).

        [Bear in mind, this is just ‘gross profit’. Tesla’s NET income was resoundingly negative.]

        This means that more and more of Tesla’s sales are being gobbled up by interest payments… making it doubtful that the company can survive.

        Curiously, founder/CEO/cult leader Elon Musk just tweeted an April Fool’s joke yesterday that Tesla was declaring bankruptcy… making light of his company’s dire financial condition as if he either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care.”

    • The intellectual property thing is something I have always pondered with regard to Libertarianism- and I’m still not 100% clear on it.

      There is one absolute:
      If one reproduces the work of another and tries to pass it off as his own….that is a no-no.

      Everything after that is a rather fine line though.

      If I say something to someone, expressing a unique thought of mine, and or in a unique way, is it somehow wrong for someone else to repeat those words or ideas, verbatim or in spirit? Of course not.

      If I write down those words, does that then make it wrong for others to use them? No.
      If those words/thoughts occupy 100 pages, does that mean that others can only quote them in part? No.
      If I write a song and sing it, and the person I sang it to sings it to someone else, and so forth, must anyone who sings it pay me for doing so? No!

      I think a lot of these questions can be settled by simply asking oneself: “Would this scenario be possible without the state to monitor and enforce it?”.

      Maybe the concept of words and ideas belonging uniquely to us, or the right to them being uniquely ours because we were the first to document them, is wrong.

      The idea of physical property rights is ancient and immutable…but the idea of “intellectual property” is pretty modern. A lot of what we say and think is often predicated upon the words and ideas of others. Dvorak writes a symphony, but the idea for it came from sampling American folk tunes- does he owe a royalty to those whom he heard performing the folk tunes? Do they owe a royalty to the originator of those tunes?

      And since, without a massive, all-controlling state which keeps track of everything, there would essentially be no way to prove who came up with a certain sequence of words, or arrangement of musical notes; or invention, first, if we believe that our words and ideas are private property after we choose to reveal them, then we would require a state to enforce such a belief- and we thus become like most others, desiring a coercive violent state to “protect us” from others.

      Maybe our notion that our words and ideas are uniquely ours, even after we reveal them, is wrong? Maybe we look at things wrongly, having come from a statist culture. Maybe restricting the use of what we say or write and share with/repeat to others, is really the crime?

      Something that I have actually observed inciting others to question the state and to inspire some Libertarian thinking, is the fact that one can not even sing Happy Birthday To You in a movie, or in a Youtube video or commercial venue, without paying a royalty to the person who copyrighted the song! (Which as I understand it, is not even the person who wrote the song!). Something which is so oft-quoted as to become a part of the popular culture, and it is “owned” by someone?

      Or how about Alex Graham Bell? He didn’t invent the phone…but was merely the first to patent it. And this is a major problem. How do you prove that you were the first to think of something? Even if you are the first to document it, how can it be proven that the idea originated with you?

      In short, I do not necessarily believe that intellectual property rights are necessarily inviolate, if for no other reason than that they are intangible. It kinda seems to me, that copyrights and patents are much like gun registration: The process by which control of the same is effected.

      I have no qualms about whatever force necessary to defend my physical property- but to point a gun at someone (whether it is I doing so, or my “elected representative”) and saying “You stole my words! Give ’em back!”- uh…no.

      • I too have thought much about this and, being a libertarian myself, watched the debate on this (among other things) rage on between different lines of thought.

        I tend to agree with most of what you’ve written.

        What if someone on Instagram does something unique…is that “intellectual property” because they were the “first” to do it? Do any of the people who do it subsequently owe royalties to the person? What if a person who didn’t post it on Instagram but actually has verifiable proof that they were actually the “first” to do something, does that mean they can sue the “imposter” on Instagram?

        I like to study history and what I find is that when it comes to the arts and things that commonly get associated with “intellectual property” is that many artists had to find a benefactor or patron to support them. It was a fairly symbiotic relationship as the artist got to be able to make a living off of their work and the patron got the social fame or notoriety for having been the financier for the work.

        • Punisher, that is a GREAT point about the artist/patron thing!

          Let’s compare a few scenarios:

          You build a birdhouse, and sell it for $10. The person who buys the birdhouse is now it’s owner- he can resell it because the house is now his property. If he decides to make 10 more birdhouses just like the one he bought and then sold, and sell them, that is no skin off the nose of the person who built the original birdhouse.

          #2: You paint a painting and display it or sell it. Someone sees it and says “Hey, that’s cool!” and paints one just like it. As long as he does not pass it off as having been painted by the original artist, how has he damaged the original artist? He hasn’t. The original painting is still the property of the artist or of the person to whom he sells the painting…but if the original artist says “You can not use the same colors and composition and other combination of elements I used in my painting, because i thought of it first!”, he is essentially claiming that he owns the exclusive privilege to thoughts and ideas and the use of common elements (both tangible and intangible) which may or may not have originated with him- rather than merely claiming the right to the actual tangible product (property) which he has created.

          Even the state must recognize that such “rights” are really not indeed rights, because even they stipulate that such “rights” are only in force for a limited time- e.g. patents and copyrights expire, unlike the right to tangible property, which is perpetual- for the life of the owner and then to his heirs.

          Maybe we’ve been conditioned to look at this wrongly. Maybe by applying to the state for such protections as patents and copyrights, we are securing to ourselves a special privilege by in-fact denying others of their rights.

          I’ve long felt that if I ever publish anything, I would not seek a standard copyright- but rather, something like a General Public License (I think that’s what it’s called) like creators of Free Open Source Software and some preachers and such use- so as to not claim some exclusive use and control of an idea or words- but rather, just as a legality in this statist world, to ensure that someone else does not copyright my work and claim exclusivity over it- but which would allow others to freely use and reproduce it. -Essentially, as a protection from the statist system which grants people exclusivity over words and ideas [and thus thoughts].

          Just my two cents….

          Thanks, Punisher! Your analogy really helped clarify this for me.

  11. I disagree from another angle. All current EV manufacturers are getting the same subsidy. GM, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, etc. I think that Musk is a bit smug and probably certifiably crazy in some ways, but what makes his product unique is that he emphasizes performance and style versus building an electric can opener.

    I have said this before, but I hope that he, as a smaller sized player in the field, succeeds. He is much more attuned to the market than the corporate, politically correct animals at GM and others.

    I hate EVs and what they represent, but if they are going to be around, I want a Tesla to choose from among the pile of batteries.

    Has anyone seen that VW piece of self driving crap they are trying to release? Piece of shit looks scary to me.

  12. I work in tech in Silicon Valley, and many of my colleagues and friends are eagerly awaiting the delivery of the Tesla Model 3’s. These people are paying to wait in line to get one, because they are so excited about owning the future of motorization, and a car that is in every way better than an internal combustion powered car (the marketing really works on a lot of people!). I think there is huge demand for Elon’s car.

    • Just goes to show how brainwashed and narcissistic they are. You DO understand that when the computer and/or software has glitches, your life is at stake, not to mention others who did NOT hit the “I accept these terms” button on the dash? The Jews waited in line for the SS to put a bullet in their heads and push them in a trench, too. What “image” are you trying to maintain, sounds more like your trying to protect the “illusion” of your industry’s infallibility, by selling the lie of a utopia it promises. Who did you understudy, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, W, or all 3? Maybe you will just play the part of Albert Speer, and claim total innocence for the injury that is yet to come. I have no problem with technology as a productive tool, you market it as a lifestyle and a “culture” which sounds more like fanaticism than critical thinking. Maybe you should be less concerned about “image and appearances”, and focus on consequences, good, bad or otherwise. You’re so busy trying to impress everyone with what can be done, you don’t even care to consider whether or not it should be done. Ask the guy who spent 18 months V-Logging on You-Tube about how miraculous and liberating his Tesla Auto-drive was, right up the the moment it took his empty head right off! Better yet, sell that B.S. to his family, or the other parties involved in the whole “avoidable” incident. Keep in mind, payback is going to be a bitch!

  13. Have to disagree a little here. The sheer number of “pre-orders” he’s got indicated there is a market out there for these vehicles (the sanity of those who want the things may be a different story). The fact that Nissan, GM, Hyundai, Kia, and BMW can make actual battery-powered vehicles shows that the technology is there for a limited amount of production. I think the problem here is Musk himself.

  14. I want a you-tube of the long-awaited lynching of this carpet bagger. Too bad tar and feathers aren’t so handy as they once were, guess we’ll just have to fry him with his own incendiary battery packs.

    • Never happen. He’ll be on his way to Mars by then, along with his Jim Jones cult followers. That was the plan all along.

  15. The fact that the idiot builds the cars in CALIFORNIA should be proof positive of his insanity! CA.- the most expensive state to do business in- even when in the service of their snowflake ideologies. Imagine how much cheaper the car could be, or how much closer the company could come to making a profit, if the cars were built in, say, TX. or MT? -or Mexico! Of course, if it were built in Mexico, it might queer the subsidies and incentives…but then again, if it were built there, it might be cheap enough to not need those subsidies/incentives which we are all forced to pay for!

    And if anyone doesn’t think that the state which a business is located in doesn’t make a huge difference, consider this: You can buy a brand new utility trailer down south, for the price of a used one in the Northeast!

    It boggles my mind though. What kind of fool, in this day and age, starts a business- a major business which has to compete on a national or even international level….in CALIFORNIA?!

    • Given that you know how insane California is, would you be surprised at all if California encouraged Musk to build his factory there with tax breaks and other such incentives, just so they could say that Teslas are built in the most….damn I can’t even make myself say it. But that was the idea they had.

      The nice part is that CA did it before NY could, so they’re out the cash instead of us. Oh well.

      • Oh, yeah, that goes without saying, npaladin. “Proudly made by snowflakes, for snowflakes”!

        I’m originally from the People’s Republik Of Nueva York, so I’ve seen how THAT works- even with all the “incentives” and tax breaks…it still can’t hold a candle to a lower tax, lower reg state.

        A “tax break” when ya have some of the highest taxes in the country, isn’t much of a break; and where all the other regs cost ya exponentially. NY gives those breaks…and business has been leaving there for the past 20 years like rats from a sinking ship.

        Just the cost of labor alone- Costs so much to live in those places, what would be a $30K a year job down south’ll cost ya $80K to fill there, and the low-skill/no skill jobs’ll cost ya double what they would somewhere else, and ya can’t even find anyone to fill ’em ‘cept ghetto trash, illegals and drugs addicts.

        And perish the thought ya actually make a profit despite all of that…heeyah come da tax man with a big hand stretched out!


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