The Real Killers

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Back in the ‘90s, a movie came out accusing GM of killing the electric car. The movie was wrong. The real killer wasn’t GM.

It was a tag team of the market – and the government. One of those killers was innocent.

The other  is still at large.

The market killed off the GM EV1 – the electric car that was the subject of the movie – because it was still allowed to work back then. It was a mercy killing.

Justifiable homicide.

There weren’t any “zero emissions” mandates or carbon credits back in the mid-’90s and while CAFE – the government’s fuel economy edicts – did exist, back then it was only 27-something miles-per-gallon and so it wasn’t yet necessary to build EVs as compliance cars, just to even out the MPG math (as it is now; this is one of the non-market mechanisms being used to nudge EVs onto the market).

So the EV1 had to stand on its own two bowed and rickety legs – and of course, couldn’t. As today, it was much too expensive ($35,000 in mid-1990s dollars) to make any kind of economic sense and didn’t go very far and took forever to recharge before you could go not-far again.

Which didn’t make sense generally.

GM tried give-away leases but that was just the problem. The only way to get people into an EV1 was to basically give it to them. GM may be evil but it can’t stay in business that way. So it gave up, recalled the EV1s in circulation ad crushed most of them. That’s what car companies often do with inventory that  would otherwise collect dust and possibly create liability concerns for them

They kept a couple for the museum.

Hardly a conspiracy. Just a market failure.

But there is a villain in this story – and his name is Uncle. He committed two heinous crimes, for which he deserves to be frog-marched to the dock, tried, convicted and (cue Judge Alvin Valkenheiser from Nothing But Trouble) sent for a ride on Mr. Bone Stripper.

The first of his offenses is the murder – really more of a pre-emptive abortion – of the affordable and functionally serviceable electric car.

The second is his assault upon the free market, which resulted in the illegitimate birth of Down Syndrome EVs . . . high-performance electric luxury sport-cars that happen to be electric but which are utterly dependent for their existence on mandates and subsidies – and which most people still can’t afford without assuming heavy debt.

These EVs are only an “alternative” to internal combustion for the very affluent – and the very indebted. For the average person hoping to reduce his cost to drive, they make as much sense as running marathons in OJ’s Bruno Maglis.

As regards the indictments:

If one were going to design an electric car with the object being to make it as efficient as possible, a design criteria would be to make it as light as possible.  A really light EV chassis – around 1,200 pounds or so – would not require a 400 pound battery pack and you could use a much smaller and less energy-thirsty electric motor to propel it.

An EV based on these principles would be able to travel a reasonable distance without using much power. It might not be fancy – or fast – but it would be efficient. Wasn’t that the point?

Such EVs exist – and they are affordable – but Uncle has forbidden their use on public roads, which has made them useless except as buggies in retirement communities and golf carts on the green and such.

They are not “safe,” you see.

Well, not actually. They just haven’t – and can’t – pass Uncle’s crash-test rigmarole.

Because they are light.

That doesn’t make them unsafe, however. It just means they’re  . . . light. So are motorcycles and for that matter, most aircraft.

Which is why they are efficient.

It’s true you are more vulnerable if you wreck. The same could be said of an old VW Beetle or any other small, light – and efficient /affordable car such as you used to be able to buy but can’t anymore.

The effect of these “safety” regs has been to make all cars – not just EVs – much heavier and by dint of that, less efficient. But it really hits EVs hard because of the Extrapolation Effect. A heavy EV needs a bigger (and so, heavier) battery pack and that makes it progressively less efficient – and more expensive.

This is why the mutated EVs for “sale” today emphasize everything except efficiency. Teslas notoriously tout how quick they are – and how luxurious and “tech.” All of which is great, provided the object of the exercise isn’t efficiency.

It is hard to decide which is the greater crime:

Uncle’s regulatory stymying of the development of efficient, sensible electric cars – or his market manipulations, which have created artificial incentives for the development of electric cars which make no sense at all.

. . .

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  1. I remember watching this movie years back. I remember they condemned the consumer as “guilty”, but it never went into why they delivered this verdict. In fact, from watching the movie, you’d only think that the consumer fought tooth and nail to keep his/her EV1, which GM ripped away from them. Guess that wasn’t exactly the entirety of the truth.

  2. It would almost be a grand idea if Uncle could develop a system that regulates the actions of mandates with cross purposes. Sort of like a referee who would jettison the worst of the ideas that work at cross purposes, and allow only one to go forward. That way, if the requirement for higher body structural integrity was working against the requirement for fuel efficiency, then one of the two rules would be abandoned, never to affront us again.

    Wait a moment. Isn’t what I just described a free market?

    I think it comes closer to approaching one than what we have with the modern car market.

  3. Just a market failure

    Poor phrasing, EP. It was a failure of a product to survive in a market; it wasn’t the failure of the market.

  4. The BIG push to electrics without market price,range,or the electricity to power them is going to be disastrous.Especially if they mandate ICE cars off the roads.The only option will be limited,expensive gov controlled mass transit.Very bad to anyone with any forward vision to see that future.

    Now on to the EV-1….man alive I LOVED that thing.When they went from lead acid batteries to NiMh battery pack suddenly we had a battery that DID work.That car could run with all the other cars on freeways,up and down mountains and were getting 140 mile ranges,incredible!!

    It was only a few months after that battery showed its mettle that the whole CARB mandate went poof! and disappeared in thin air.These FANTASTIC super cars with bleeding edge GM tech were destroyed so fast it made your head spin.Like this….” It featured an aluminum space frame, aluminum suspension components, and plastic body panels, to keep weight down. It also had electric power brakes and steering;”

    The large NiMh battery was shelved by the oil company that wound up in possession of it,NEVER to be seen again.

    If GM had advanced this car,at market value,they may have had a niche winner,ala the corvette for people who could afford it.What Im saying is they had a platform to bring to market their most advanced tech.Had they done so who knows,they may have made GM the world tech leader for cars.

    EV-1 was a great machine,its a shame it was junked.So far ahead of its time.

    Now back to the rest of why electric cars now stink on ice,i do agree with todays take on them.They arent cars,they are agendas to destroy our transportation freedom.

    • There’s a reason GM went broke. It made numerous poor corporate and product decisions. On the EV1 I wonder if the thing even passed the crash safety requirements of its era.

      Another aspect to consider is that for a car like that many parts were likely made by processes not suitable for mass production and the parts themselves not suitable for mass production processes. GM pretty much killed everything that couldn’t be cheapened in those days.

        • C’mon guys,save the hate things for todays crap EV’s,the EV-1 was a tech wonder and was loaded with tech that indeed has found its way onto later vehicles.Just decades later.It was a rocket in an era of sailing ships.
          If they had priced it at market,it still would have had a following,people really did love those cars.And if it failed at market,I wouldnt have a problem with that at all.
          But as always with GM,they take world beating GOOD tech and leave it on the shelf for 10-20 years where with some enlightened leadership could set the automotive competition on its tail.Something Ive never understood about GM,their tech is just so good,but where the hell is it?????

          • Back when gay marriage was the big bugaboo Gavin Newsom in Calif screamed at us “BETTER GET USED TO IT,ITS COMING WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!!”
            Replace that with the now mandated electric car.If GM had maintained the EV-1 they would now have a 20-25 year lead on everybody else.But Noooooooo-ooo!! Gm once again shot itself in the foot when it came time to make a bet on their technology,they let it slip through their fingers.

            • Hi Fred,

              I test drove the EV1 when it was new, back in the mid-’90s. It was as EVs are today – too expensive to be justified on economic grounds and not as practical as non-electric cars. I understand you really like the EV1. I also really like old muscle cars. But I don’t let my emotional attachment blind me to the muscle car’s many less-than-practical attributes and would never recommend one as an alternative to a Camry or Corolla for general A to B getting around. And that’s the crux of the EV thing.

              One can make a case for an EV on emotional grounds. They are very quiet! It is neat to be able to recharge at home. They are very fast and require little routine maintenance. Yes, indeed.

              But do they make more economical/practical sense as a general transportation appliance than a current IC engined economy or family car? The answer is – obviously – no. What lunatic – what economic illiterate – spends $35,000-plus on an electric car thinking he is saving money? He doesn’t spend money on gas. But he spent the money he would have spent on gas on the electric car. Anyone capable of doing supermarket math can quickly compute that buying a $15,000 gas-engined economy car makes more economic sense than buying a $35,000-plus electric car. And a car that can travel 300-400 miles on a tankful of gas and be refueled in 5 minutes almost anywhere, almost anytime, is obviously more practical than an EV that goes maybe 150-200 miles before it requires a minimum 30-45 minute stop to recharge to partially full.

              And that is why EVs have to tout things like how quick they are, that they are silent and have lots of cool tech gadgets. Basically, they are marketed as luxury-sport cars that happen to be electric.

              It is also why they have to be heavily subsidized.

              If EVs were a better alternative, the subsidies – and mandates – would not be necessary. That they are necessary says it all.

          • Fred, that’s just it. Then or now- an somewhat viable EV can NOT be priced at a level that the market will bear because of the cost of producing the high-tech components necessary to make such vehicles semi-viable- and thus the subsidies and mandates which we see today, which are the only things propping-up the EV industry, in a market where a much more functional ICE car can be had at a far lower price, which will last longer; depreciate less; offer greater functionality and convenience, and really have no detriment compared to the EV, other than the lack of factory-installed virtue-signals.

          • I wasn’t bashing the EV-1, I was bashing GM.

            The EV-1 was a prototype build. A pilot run at best. There’s no way GM did full tooling for a research project. GM does a lot of high tech things that work at that stage. Like the Vega’s aluminum engine block without iron sleeves. Or the original Fiero concept. These things are just fine until it comes to cost reducing them to meet internal GM cost targets. Then they turn to crap.

            • Morning, Brent!

              Fred also doesn’t take into account the cost. That $350-$400 month lease he mentioned sounds okay… by the standards of today. But in 1996, that $350-$450 per month was equivalent to $570-$670 today. For a subcompact commuter car, that is totally absurd – economically untenable. You’re just paying GM to avoid paying Exxon. But you’re paying – and you’re paying GM more than you’ve have paid Exxon. The leases were also lowballed/subsidized – as today with EV pricing. I am certain that the true cost to manufacture plus a reasonable 3 percent or so profit would have meant an MSRP of close to $50,000 in 1996 dollars. Figure your lease/monthly payment based on that.

              I drove the EV1. It was ok – meaning, it functioned. But unless you’re just emotionally invested in the idea of electric propulsion, I can’t see how it can be justified. It does not save money. It isn’t more versatile/practical.

              So … why?

              The EV Thing is a kind of delusion/hysteria. I am baffled by it.

              • How practical is the cost of a 2 seater vette for that matter?But people pay handsomely for one.But for anyone with a kid,no more practical than an EV-1.Still puts it in 2nd car territory.
                How practical is an Escalade vrs an Oddessy,again people out there willing to pay a handsome premium for one.
                Now if someone wants to play politics,like that EV-1 doesnt need saudi oil,and dictators,and a military and wars to support it,those arent valid points for someone to put their extra money into that vehicle vrs a camry,for a work car that IS viable as such/ Or as a second car that does the majority of their driving needs?

                The EV-1 was all of that.

                And quit hitting me with the tax payments,and gov subsidies of TODAYS MANDATED EV,I get that,and I agree,100%!!!! Getting the EV of today,crammed down our throats is criminal bullshit,agenda and agenda 21!! I DO NOT SUPPORT THAT.

                • But that’s just it, Fred: The Corvette did and can survive -then and now- without the massive subsidies and mandates, merely because practical or not, a market exists for it in which people are willing to pay what it costs for GM to sell it for a profit- whereas with the EV-1 or Tesla, no such market exists without subsidies and mandates.

                  And before you say “But the EV-1 wasn’t subsidized”- True- but that is why it ceased to exist, because GM could not mass manufacture it then at a level that would make it profitable, without the subsidies and mandates- just like Tesla and all of the other current EVs would also go away if the subsidies and mandates went away *Just as Tesla sales fell 96% in Denmark when the purchase subsidy there ceased).

  5. The nonsense behind the idea that GM killed the electric car is perpetrated by people who have no understanding how automakers treat prototypes, even those they let select members of the public play with. Many who had EV-1s liked them but they too don’t understand the process. It has been SOP for decades upon decades that such vehicles are destroyed. That’s why there are so few Chrysler Turbine cars left. Same thing. The program was over. The cars were taken back and crushed. The whole thing was changed into some evil doing when all it was, was the end of the program.

  6. The only way to have a viable electric car is to build it yourself. The problem is so many compromises have to be made to do that with most people’s skill and infrastructure limits it’s not so viable.

    As I would like to see modern small turbo engines in lightweight chassis of the past the same applies to electric cars but those would have to be specifically designed from the ground up to be electric. Imagine something on the order of an early 80s Ford Escort designed as modern electric. To 1980s safety standards the car would be light. It may have a 300-400 mile range. It might actually be affordable. It might actually make market sense. It would be good urban car for city streets with 30mph speed limits.

  7. A little nitpicking: It was Chris Paine, not Michael Moore, that made Who Killed the Electric Car. Michael Moore drives a Chrysler Town and Country gas guzzler. Chris Paine drives a Tesla. You’re confusing your communists. 🙂

    Also, the EV1 was lease-only for $399 to $549 per month (not free). It was green lighted by GM for development absent government mandates as a halo product and they used it as a complaince car after the mandates arrived.

    Let me start out by saying I think you have an unfortunate anti-EV bias. You’re like an old person reviewing modern music. Everything is going to suck in your opinion, and yet its the future mainstream. “Raaaaahhh turn down that racket you young punks. That’s not music it’s just noise. It’s all the same noise.”

    I heard you say in one of your videos that EVs are going to be like cell phones, and how since Samsung phones are practically the same as Apple phones, it’s going to be hard for car companies to stand out from each other beyond just brand identity.

    That might resonate with non-tech people. After all, they both have touch screens, they both make phone calls, they can both send texts and run facebook. The problem with that is just because you can’t articulate the differences between the two products due to ignorance (and I’m saying that not trying to be condescending), doesn’t mean there aren’t differences.

    There are EV reviewers out there like Bjørn Nyland that highlight these differences. There are significant differences between EVs- even ignoring the packaging and focusing only on the electric drivetrain components.

    I think the problem is you just don’t care. EVs aren’t your thing. Nothing wrong with that, except you review cars for a living- and EVs are the imminent future of the industry. And if I asked my dad to try to explain to me the differences between dubstep and trance music, he would just say “rahh that’s all the same noise to me”. He probably wouldn’t enjoy a career that made him listen to it 95% of the time.

    On the point of safety, I would pay more for a safe car. I don’t want an entity of theft and violence telling me I have to have safety, but I do value safety. But to that point, is it just government forces that are making cars heavier and more expensive? Doesn’t the market contribute? Look at IIHS. This is an industry (not government) initiative, with tests that are more comprehensive than government tests, that lead to improvements in safety. Unsafe cars cost more to insure. Automakers design their cars to pass IIHS tests because they know this is important to enough consumers.

    • Eric has an anti-EV bias?

      Oooooo-K…. so then tell us, what advantages do EVs have, which would prompt one to pay 2 or more times the price for one than for a comparable IC car?

      Why do their sales fall flat when they are not subsidized?

      Why do the other automotive journalists not mention the disadvantages inherent in EVs- such as their impracticality in cold climates; limited lifespan/accelerated depreciation; fact that the energy needed to fuel them produces just as many if not more emissions than IC cars…juts at a remote location etc.

      Why must they be mandated and subsidized if they are so great? And why are IC cars being mandated out of existence?

      What you are essentially saying by labeling Eric as having a “bias”, is that anyone who accurately reports ALL of the facts is “biased” because he does not blindly silence himself by ignoring the negative aspects of EVs which truly biased reporters choose to ignore, simply because they want be on the “EVs are cool!” bandwagon.

      To say that the simple truth is bias just because it accurately casts that which is being reported on as negative, is, conversely, to say that ignorance and the hiding of facts is accurate and fair reporting!

      [Sorry Eric…I couldn’t resist!]

    • Herr Kubel,

      I don’t have an “anti-EV Bias.” I have a bias against stupidity and violence. How many times, oh Lord, must I explain this?

      I have no objection to EVs built to meet market demand and bought at market price by those who wish to freely buy them. I would laud an EV that made driving easier and less expensive than a gas-engined car. None such exist, however. Ergo the violence – the mandates, regulations and subsidies – without which all of the current EVs on the market would not exist because they could not survive on their merits.

      You say, “I just don’t care.”

      No, I care very much. That is precisely the point. Which you have missed, completely.

      Were it not for the market distorting mandates, regulations and subsidies, there would probably be a reasonably priced EV that did not emphasize quickness and luxury and tech . . . which current EVs have to because they are unreasonably priced and because they cannot make a case for themselves on economic or practical grounds.

      This isn’t to say there are no reasons to buy an EV as they currently exist. But no good reason for a person who is looking for something that will cost him less to buy/own than a current $15,000 gas-engined economy car and which is more rather than less convenient to use.

    • An Anti-EV bias is considered holding EVs to the standard of useful vehicle one would pay the entire free market price for without any special treatment or considerations. It’s like being called anti-women because you take the world equality literally don’t favor a bunch of special considerations.

      The differences in electric cars are going to be very minor for those of us who have been into cars for a long time. Let me tell a story. Long ago when the internet was text only I was on what was an application of BBS to the internet. It had an autos group where most of the regulars were Oldsmobile fans. Hard core Oldsmobile fans. I got along with them well because my grandfather bought Oldsmobiles so I knew what they were talking about and I had respect for what made a -real- Oldsmobile. Even today with corporate platforms there’s still a good deal of difference between cars.

      Electric cars will not have that depth of difference. Maybe for today’s geek who cares what chipset his video card has it will be something of interest but it’s not the same as what makes an Oldsmobile V8 different from a Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, or any other V8 and those V8s from Olds. It just won’t be. Maybe get a tiny bit of it if you’re talking about distinctly different types of electric motors. Brushless DC or good old analog DC or AC or whathaveyou. But still two manufacturers of the same type of electric motor is going to be pretty much the same.

      If the electric car is lucky it could gather the appreciation of the differences between various computers oh wait, that’s even narrowed to tiny margin these days. Not like the old days. NeXT is just the engine under macOS today and the NeXT GUI is gone. Sun is gone. HPUX is gone. SGI is gone. Atari gone. and much more. We’re down two basically three systems. The electric car if it is successfully foisted on us will be similarly narrow sooner rather than later.

    • “Doesn’t the market contribute? Look at IIHS. This is an industry (not government) initiative”

      When a government holds a gun to your head and tells you that you must buy some industry’s product, there is no free market.

    • Kubel. Erics bias is based upon the concept of “freedom” as in we, I include you, being able to make our own decisions, buy what you want. A “free” market. As the “market” is bent and hence not “free” by the govco mandates. We, and I include you are “screwed”. Enjoy.

  8. Here in South Dakota most cities tend to ignore you using an electric cart on city streets. They will license them and require insurance on them, but don’t seem to mandate it much. ATVs and four wheelers have to be licensed with insurance and they are used most 3 seasons but some of the hardier souls with heaters in their ATVs use them in winter especially with the snow plow options on them.

  9. There is no reason why golf carts can’t be on residential streets and god forbid, all those bike trails they been building like crazy the last couple decades. Yeah, they shouldn’t be on busy arterial streets or highways (that’s why they could be on the bike trails or maybe bike lane).

    At the lake community my family has cottages at, the streets are private, and there are tons of golf carts. Of course the kids love them because they can drive them to visit friends (though some clovers would like that to end citing of course saaaaffffftttteey).

    As long as they stay out of the way of faster vehicles they really work out great.

    • I know a guy who picks up those GEM electric thingies at auction for a few hunnert bucks a piece. If he should ever be coming this way, I’d have him bring me one to use on property- THAT is a great potential market for EVs- as they would be so much better than ATVs/UTVs.

      I had an ATV briefly- but it was just another gas engine to maintain, and of course, it was noisy; and you never knew when you’d go to get it, if it would start after not having been used in a while.

      The idea of having something that’s low-maintenance, always ready, and QUIET is very appealing for getting around my 28 acres; yet, this seems to be a niche that is so-far untouched by anyone…. Crazy.

      • In the summertime Gem electric vehicles are all over Aspen. The work great as an around-town vehicle. But they need to be properly licensed and insured, and don’t handle weather too well so probably garage kept too. And they’re really only useful for 4-5 months (assuming you’re willing to wear a coat, otherwise it will only be about 3 months tops). TCO is actually very high for most people without a 7-9 figure income.

        • Yeah RK- for actual transportation, they’d suck. They’re essentially just toys. And anyone’d have to be crazy to buy one new- but for a few hunnert bucks for a yard car….. and even then, only if one were very diligent about maintaining the lead-acid batteries…

          Why someone doesn’t make a little electric ATV type thingie though, is beyond me.

          • Nunzio,

            They are electric atv and utv’s available. Legit electric dirt/motocross bikes too (although Alta just closed operations, some big player is said to be buying them though, the rumor is KTM or BRP). Granted, none of these toys are cheap but you hit the nail on the head as far as where the market for electric propulsion should be focused. For private property/closed competition/trails/hunting/etc. That said, even there their limitations still rear their ugly head. But I agree, I think they have a place/market in the examples given. And as Eric said, for urban environments and those with short commutes, they could possibly make sense. Uncle has just really perverted the market. A big shocker to those of us here….

            • I just can’t figure out why four wheels, a seat, handlebars, an electric motor and a battery would cost $20K ????

              I’ve actually thought about finding an old ATV with a blown engine and trying to convert it to electric just for running around our 40 acres.

              • Right??!!!!

                Not like it has to be super high-tech or anything. A simple lead-acid battry or two would work just fine. It’d be light- needn’t go a zillion miles an hour, etc.- so it wouldn’t require a huge nor complex motr.

                No need for regenerative braking…

                But of course, these days, it’s become almost impossible to find even a simple non-self-propelled non-bagging lawnmower…..everything has to be super-deluxe luxurious top-O-the-line high-tech state-of-the-fart, so instead of being sold to the few sensible souls who remain, for a modest cash price, they can instead appeal to those who buy everything for status and who are willing to finance it for 7 years……

                I had thought by now at least the Chinese would be marketing a cheap plain-jane simple electric ATV….but I think even they’ve figured out that Westerners are bat-feces crazy, so it probably makes more sense to offer the latest shiny lights-a-blinking eye candy, than simple practical things….

                Kinda just like the gas (and even DIESEL!) UTVs… You see used ones selling for more than I’ve ever paid for a car or truck! What is the point? Why do people pay so much for these flimsy expensive-to-buy-parts-for Gilligan’s Island cars, instead of just using an old Jeep or something?(Which would be more comfortable; more usable; miore durable, etc.)

                • Nunzio,

                  The money people stick into UTV’s is outrageous. Dealerships love them (drive by any power sports dealer and you’ll see where their priorities lie) because they make a killing on them because people drop 1000’s of dollars in accessories at the time of purchase. And they’re saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafer and the whole family can ride along in one. Meh, give me a dirtbike all day everyday. To each their own though.

                  • Hi C,

                    Most new dirt bikes cost as much as most middleweight (500-750 cc) street bikes used to cost. EFI and a computer for a dirt bike.

                    It’s reediculous.

                    But made (temporarily) possible by debt and credit. Ultimately, that is the source of all our problems. If people had to buy what they want rather than finance it, the world would be a far saner place.

                    • Hi Eric,

                      You’re speaking of the 250F & 450F motocross/enduro racing bikes. They are expensive no doubt. The main reason though is the suspension though not necessarily the EFI and ECU (though that is part of it as well). The 2-strokes in the same category (that still exist) aren’t much cheaper than their 4-stroke counterparts. They still have the same suspension components but are still carbureted (thankfully).

                      And it’s one of the reasons MX is dying unfortunately. The other being the move away from 2-strokes. 2-strokes are starting to make a comeback though (esp. in the offroad scene). They’re simpler to rebuild and maintain. And of course they sound and smell better! But the 4 strokes are just superior racing machines at this point. We might not see 250 2-strokes ever make a comeback but 125 2-strokes will and it’s already happening. The demand is their from racers and fans of the sport.

                      You can still buy simple and basic dirt/play/pit bikes though that won’t break the bank.

                    • Hi c_dub!

                      MX used to be affordable such that teenagers could easily do it; now they can only do it if they have parents who can afford it! I miss the days when you could go out and buy an XL250 or similar and just have fun – without going broke! Who has $5,000 to spend on a dirt bike?

                      I think you can still get the Kaw KL650 dual sport with a carb… but it’s the last of the Mohicans.

                  • C-dub, I could see the value of a UTV-type thingie on farms, and for hunting and such- but certainly not at the prices they go for- and considering how limited they are…

                    It’s utter insanity!

                  • Eric, back in the late 80’s I had a 70’s Suzuki 250 dirtbike… I was enamored with it’s utter simplicity, durability, and efficiency of design! What a piece of machinery it was!

                    Man! I miss that thing!

                    By contrast, now, even new zero-turn lawnmowers have EFI (when it breaks…off to the dealer one goes! No fixing it yourself, as the diagnostic equipment is proprietary!) and freaking emission controls!

                    They are ruining the world with this shit!!!!!

                    Instead of buying a new mower, I bought a used diesel one! Not only did it save me money, but now I have an unhindered mechanically-injected good old diesel! (It’s gonna be painful to sell that baby when I go expat!)

                • All the extra high tech stuff is just some pretty basic circuitry, the hardware isn’t much more than a 00’s era cell phone chipset. The software is pretty simple too, even when you add on regen brakes and other fancy battery management stuff. The problem is that it isn’t easily accessible to home builders and probably covered by a pretty heavy patent portfolio.

                • Nunz, I’ve done both. An electric trike for running around the tiny town (great fun, but for an occasional use vehicle battery life/expense can kill the advantages). And a rusty old CJ5- (Great fun, high maintenance and rather thirsty with a 351 4V swapped in). The CJ was just big enough to be a hassle to store and maneuver. TANSTAAFL….

    • And here is a big reason why bike trails and bike lanes are a stupid idea. They become filled with things slower than bicycles.

    • At least stick out your left arm to indicate which direction you want to turn, right or left. All of a sudden, you have no warning which way they’re going to turn. You have to pay attention.

      Like a kid darting out into traffic between two parked cars, you have to pay attention so you don’t run the yute over. It does happen. You have to scold them so they don’t do it again. You stop in time so you know you won’t possibly end a life, why you pay attention. They then pay attention. Prevents an involuntary manslaughter. It’s your life, keep it as long as you can.

      Golf carts on highways are dangerous, even for a short distance, not allowed for obvious reasons. You don’t know what the driver is going to do, they don’t pay attention to the rules of the road, they’re not in an automobile, they’re in a cart.

      It is your responsibility to ensure their safety, it is expected of you. You should know what they’re going to do, your fault if they ignore everything else about how to drive anything.

      You have to know better because they can not, will not and do not.

      Saw a body outside of Seattle in the middle of Pacific Highway 101 that wasn’t moving. Always a hard day on the planet for somebody. Probably for all of us, you just never know.

      Ukrainians know that more than anyone.


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