Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Dave asks: Our Federal government masters in Ottawa Canada, currently a dictatorship patrolled by the Liberalists, have just decreed that there is $5,000 available to purchasers of an EV. This is addition to the $5,000 taxpayer paid subsidy from the province. So, we gas guzzler drivers are to be allowed to thankfully pay down $10,000 towards the purchase of a car most of us detest. There is a great sample of representative government. A free country. Yes, freedom to obey, and pay your taxes, or else.
My reply: I think it’s important to be careful with the words we use. In this case, it is not “our” government – whether yours or mine – but rather, theirs. This conveys the point that we are being ordered about by people who have no legitimate right to do so. Never use “our” when referencing the government – unless you have consented to be ordered around by it and even in that case, it is your government – not mine.
The matter of consent is crucially important, to make – or break – the moral case for the things government does. Take away consent and the crux of the matter becomes crystal clear: Naked force; slavery – the degree being immaterial as regards the fundamental fact.
We are clearly not free. Except to obey (or else) as you’ve pointed out.
EVs are a priority agenda item for the government, which regards them as a vehicle (pardon me) for getting rid of privately owned vehicles – ultimately – or achieving the de facto same thing. EVs will greatly restrict personal mobility and give the government and corporations vastly more control (including via information) over our mobility.
The time to push back against all of this is right now – before the cement sets and it becomes effectively impossible to stop.
Think Obamacare. Too late now.
Let’s hope there is still time – and the will – to stop EVs.
And for the Teslians: By “stop EVs,” I don’t mean EVs per se. I mean forcing EVs down people’s throats. I have no issue with any company that wants to design and build an EV and offer it for sale at a price that reflects its full cost to manufacture, plus adequate (honest/free market) profit margin to make it worth building. If people buy such EVs, that is entirely their right and I would never suggest otherwise. But the rest of us should be free to make a different choice, free of coercion – and without being coerced to “help” the EV builder or buyer.
. . .
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I’d like to see an end to the EV subsidies. That said, I’m curious as to where and how the technology will progress. I think that EVs will become cheaper with time, because improvements will be made in the batteries, drivetrains, and the power electronics. We’ve seen this sort of thing multiple times with new technologies, and I think we’ll see it in EVs too.
I’m old enough to remember when TV video recorders/players were new; I remember VHS vs. Betamax. I’m betraying my age here-ha! They cost THOUSANDS of dollars; before being supplanted by DVD players, they were dirt cheap and anyone could afford them. I remember when electronic calculators were a novelty. They could only add, subtract, multiply, and divide while costing HUNDREDS of dollars in the early-mid 1970s-and we thought that was impressive back then! Now, we can go out buy graphing calculators for a hundred dollars or so; that is to say we can buy calculators that are significantly more powerful vs. those of 40 years ago, and we can buy them for less-in both nominal and real terms. My final example is the PCs we use to get on here and pontificate. They used to cost buku bucks and couldn’t do much. Remember having to take a floppy disk to load the program you were going to use? Now, we can get a laptop that has MORE power than the mainframes of a few decades ago; again, we’re seeing much more capability for less money. There’s no reason to think that the same will not happen with EVs.
Secondly, though many of you guys aren’t into it, there’s an all electric racing series: the ABB FIA Formula E Series. It was created with two aims in mind: 1) to show that EVs aren’t slow or dull; and 2) provide a laboratory for new innovations in EV technology. When Jaguar returned to motorsports after a 14 year hiatus, the chose FE; they did so with the express intent of perfecting technologies that can be applied to their hybrid and EV road cars. Nissan, Audi, BMW, and Mahindra are among the other manufacturers involved in the series. Porsche and Mercedes are slated to join next season. Do you realize that there are MORE manufacturers involved in FE than there are in F1, IndyCar, and LMP-1 combined? It’s true! With all these resources (both financial and intellectual) being applied to EV technology, there are bound to be improvements-especially when done in a racing context. It’s a truism that, if you want a problem solved, you put racers to work on it. Well, there are a lot of racers working on EV technology, so expect it to improve rapidly, both in terms of capability and cost.
My uncle told me that, for his local driving, he was thinking of buying a Nissan Leaf. I told him about Formula E and how Nissan is involved in the series. I told him that if he wants to buy an EV, wait a few years; by then, the capabilities will increase while the price will decrease because of what Nissan will learn in FE.
My point is this: I’m willing to wait and see how this EV thing plays out. I do think subsidies should be ended, and that EVs should stand on their OWN MERITS. That said, given the history of technology development in other things and the fact that there are many TALENTED racers working to perfect EVs, I think that we’ll see less expensive and more capable EVs in the near future.
In general I agree; but there is one very important difference: Powering a car that weighs several thousand pounds vs. powering a laptop or similar. I see no evidence that battery packs will ever achieve parity with gasoline, in terms of cost as well as in terms of time to recharge (which in my view is the greater liability – not range).
I always circle back to the basic question: Why the bum’s rush to jump into EVs? They are a poor alternative to gas engined cars in terms of cost/practicality and there is no reason to abandon IC in favor of EV… other than hysteria over the fraud of “climate change.”
I can only answer with a few rhetorical questions. One, if you’d asked someone from 40 years ago when EVs were glorified, enclosed golf carts, would they have thought EVs would come as far as they have? Wouldn’t they think you’re crazy if you told them that EVs would do the things that they can do now?
The final rhetorical question is: who’s behind the push for EVs? Why? Why are there more manufacturers in FE than F1, IndyCar, and LMP-1 these days? There is a push for EVs; that begs the obvious questions of who and why. I’d LOVE to investigate those, but I don’t have the resources…
Actually given the expectation of technological progress, 40 years ago it would not have been that crazy to predict such improvements in electric cars. The super battery was just around the corner even then! Lithium ion batteries are barely suitable to make EVs practical in limited circumstances. They have a ways to go before even the most expensive electric has the overall functionality of the cheapest gasoline-engined car. (In the used market, forget it – what’s the value of an electric car with a weak or dead battery pack? Even one where the battery is still “good enough” but no longer under warantee?)
As far as who’s pushing them, it’s pretty obvious. It’s not the market, the general public has not been demanding electric cars – it’s being pushed by a criminal gang of armed thugs who have their own agenda. (See the UN’s “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” They want to transform the world. Hint: it is not for OUR benefit.)
I’m just getting into researching sustainability, who’s behind it, etc. While I haven’t gotten to the UN Agenda 21 or Agenda 2030, there is someone I’ve seen who needs a closer look; I’m talking about a woman by the name of Peggy Liu, who’s a shill for the Chinese gov’t.
Who is Peggy Liu? Her father and his family immigrated here in 1965. He arrived in NJ with $1,000 and a chest full of his belongings. On the surface, he and his family are the quintessential American success story: immigrant comes to America, does well, and his kids do even better. Personally, I think there’s more to the story, though I can’t PROVE it.
Peggy Liu, the daughter, is a MIT grad who majored in electrical engineering and computer science. She now lives in Shanghai, China; in fact, her Twitter and Instagram handle is Shanghai Peggy. The woman speaks EXCELLENT, non-accented English; we’re talking better than native level proficiency here. She’s pretty. She’s smart. She’s charming. She’s articulate and well spoken. There’s no better an advocate for sustainability or the Chinese gov’t than Peggy Liu. She likens the Chinese gov’t to a MNC (multi-nat corp) in terms of how they operate; like a MNC, the Chinese gov’t can select a course of action and put the whole COUNTRY on that course immediately. She totally glosses over the fact the Butchers of Beijing make Hitler and Stalin look like choirboys…
I find Ms. Liu’s remarks interesting, because, as I understand it, the TPTB think China is THE IDEAL for the new utopia. As I understand it, the new Agenda 2030 world would be modeled on the Chinese communist government and its authoritarian society. No one-and I mean no one-shills for the Chinese gov’t better than Shanghai Peggy. Do a search for her on YouTube and give her a listen; then, you’ll see why she’s dangerous.
So, what’s my theory on Shanghai Peggy? I think she and her family came here as Chinese sleeper agents. I think she was GROOMED to be a passionate, well spoken advocate for the PRC. She took advantage of everything the US has to offer, only to move back to China and advocate for the Butchers of Beijing. Unfortunately, I can’t PROVE any of that; it’s only a gut feeling based on watching a few videos of Shanghai Peggy.
But they haven’t come farther. They have just gotten much more expensive – for the sake of performance rather than economy of ownership/operation.
If price is no object, then a different standard applies.
Then one can gush over how quick a Tesla is; how “neat” it is. But as way to get inexpensively from A to B, with minimum hassle, it is inferior in every way to a 15 year old used car you bought for $3,500.
I can’t argue that ICEs are better or more convenient. In fact, when I bought a car in November of last year, it was an ICE in the form of a very GENTLY used 2015 Ford Focus that had less than 3,200 miles on it. The car was practically new, but I didn’t pay a new car price. Anyway, I got it for 1/3 of what a Tesla 3 would have cost me. That’s BEFORE figuring in the cost of a charger and paying an electrician to install it.
BTW, I went to visit my mother’s grave yesterday, a trip that’s 2 hours away. The car got 40 mpg! Even though I wasn’t exactly being gentle on River Road (playing with the paddle shifters and taching it up on occasion); even though I set the cruise for 65 on the highways I took back home; it still got 40 mpg-40 mpg! For me, that’s more than good enough. It’s too bad we can’t reduce the weight of ICEs to see what they could REALLY do, fuel economy wise.
Forgive me for being fascinated with EVs, but my former employer partnered with both Tesla and the Buckeye Bullet. The Buckeye Bullet is the EV that set the land speed record for EVs; the VBB 3 was clocked at 341.256 mph @ Bonneville, which is impressive. It may not be in ICE territory yet, but it’s nothing to sneeze at, either.
EVs are capable of phenomenal acceleration – but this is an irrelevant consideration as regards practicality and cost. I am certain that EV companies such as Tesla focus on acceleration to take people’s minds off cost and practicality problems, which remain enormous vs. gas-powered cars.
EVs will remain virtue-signaling boutique toys for the affluent until an EV can be made that is the functional equivalent of a Toyota Corolla – at least 300 miles of range, recharge in 5 minutes; no major reduction in range in extremes of cold or heat, service life of at least 15 years without requiring replacement of its battery pack/motor or other major drivetrain elements – and sells for $20,000 without any subsidies.
I don’t see that happening absent a “Mr. Fusion” scenario.
Ah, Mr. Fusion! I like the allusion to one of my favorite movies, Back to the Future…
Do EVs have to be improved? Most certainly they do. No less than Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of FE, is on record saying as much; he said that until EVs were as good or better than ICEVs, they wouldn’t be adopted by many people for the reasons you’ve often cited.
I never said that EVs don’t need to be improved; there’s no question about that. I think that they will be improved in the future though. Given the rapid pace of technological advancement; given Moore’s Law; and given the resources and talent being devoted to EVs; how can they NOT improve? Doesn’t racing always improve the breed? Given the rapid pace of change, both past and present, I wouldn’t bet against EVs.
I’m guessing the EV racing is all deliberately designed within feasible battery range?
That’s how they do it, but there have been some changes since FE changed to the Gen II car for this season.
Without getting complicated, the Gen I car could only do half the race distance. This meant that drivers had to come into the pits at the midway point of the race, so they could change to an identical, fully charged car to complete the race. Strategy revolved around WHEN to do the car swap.
With the Gen I car, the races were for a set number of laps. On longer tracks, they’d do fewer laps; on shorter distance tracks, they’d do more laps. The races were normally 45-50 minutes in duration.
Now that the Gen II car can do the whole race, races are set at 45 minutes plus one lap. The competitors do as many laps as they can while there is time on the clock. When the clock reads 00:00, they do the final lap to the checkers.
Now that they no longer do the car swap, FE instituted what’s called Attack Mode. Attack Mode is activated by traveling through a box OFF THE MAIN RACING LINE; this means the driver can lose places for activating Attack Mode. However, it gives the driver four minutes worth of extra energy; the boost is like 12.5% extra power, a noticeable increase. The drivers have to use Attack Mode twice in every race. Teams strategize when, where, and how to best use it. Though initially derided as “Mario Kart”, it adds an extra wrinkle to the races.
Hope this answers your questions. If you’re looking for exciting racing that doesn’t take too much of your time, check out Formula E… 🙂
The fundamental problem remains battery chemistry; there have been improvements, certainly – but absent something entirely new, the problems of range/recharge are likely to persist for a long time. They are the same problems EVs had more than 100 years ago, incidentally.
Racing is about performance, mainly. While there are certainly improvements made thereby that translate to production cars, it’s apples and oranges. IC engine can be made more efficient/powerful. But battery chemistry is what it is…
What’s to say that battery chemistry WON’T change in the future? Sure, Li Ion is the best there is now, but what about the future? What about the Na Ion being researched? Could ultra capacitors play a role in EVs? What about the software development? It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Formula E was established to provide a laboratory for improving EVs. The Gen II car is hands down better than the Gen I car was. The Gen I car could only go half the race distance, which meant the drivers had to change cars in the middle of the race. The Gen II car can go the whole race distance, while offering better performance. I’ll be curious to see what the Gen II car will be able to do.
Oops, I meant to say the Gen III car-duh!
Sure, of course. And a man might one day walk on the surface of the sun… anything is possible. But I’m dealing with what’s actual.
I’m dealing with the actual too. I’m old enough to remember the Citicar, which was a glorified, wedge shaped golf cart. The thing could do 35 mph or so, and it had a range of 40 miles. Considering what modern EVs can do, how can anyone say that they haven’t improved? How can anyone say that they haven’t come farther along?
Again, I’m NOT disputing that EVs are not as good as modern day ICEVs; neither am I disputing that EVs need to reach ICEV levels of performance, practicality and convenience to become a viable alternative to ICEVs. Shoot, EV advocate Alejandro Agag has said the same thing! My only point all along is that, given the improvements made to EVs in recent years, don’t bet against them in the future.
Yes, EV performance has improved; but the fundamental problems remain enormous. The two main ones being recharge time and cost. To fix the first, current battery chemistry will have to be abandoned in favor of something entirely new and since batteries are the heart of the EV, you are basically talking about hypothetical EVs nothing like the ones which are actually available. This is apt to cost money – the second major problem with EVs.
It is economically insane to buy an electric car. Or at best, an indulgence – money spent on a toy. Because the tech is “neat.”
But otherwise? A heavily subsidized Nissan Leaf – the lowest priced EV – stickers for $30,000 to start. Keep in mind that price does not reflect its actual cost, which is probably closer to $40,000. But never mind; let’s assume $30k. Well, here we have a car that – if you ignore its electric drivetrain – is basically a compact economy sedan, analogous to a Versa. Which you can buy for $15k. The Leaf has a range – best case – of 150 miles, if its not too cold or too hot and you don’t use the accessories too much. The Versa goes twice as far regardless of temperatures and you can use the AC and heat as much as you like.
The Leaf needs at least 30-45 minutes to recover a partial charge; the Versa refuels to full in less than 5 minutes.
The Leaf will need a new battery pack that costs several thousand dollars years before the Leaf itself reaches the end of its useful service life; the Versa’s useful service life without major repairs needed is likely 50 percent greater; probably more.
None of the above is really debatable, is it?
And the dynamic is essentially the same as it was 100 years ago – when the Model T beat out early EVs like the Baker electric.
Nothing has changed, fundamentally.
Except that today, Uncle is pushing EVs and 100 years ago, the market was allowed to decide their fate.
Chemical batteries need to be replaced for an effective electric car. However that something will be a very disruptive technology. Disruptive to the powers that be, and thus we will never get it.
Speaking of disruptive technologies, do you remember the Moody Diesel? They put a Diesel engine in a Mercury Capri (mechanical twin of the Fox body Mustang), that got 85 mpg? Whatever happened to it?
Good morning, Mark!
I don’t remember the Moody diesel; but I do remember the Rabbit diesel, which was capable of 50 MPG. It was slower than Forrest Gump after five bong hits, but very economical!
I would bet that in a 2,000 lb. car, a modern VW TDI diesel could easily achieve 60, if not more.
Never heard of it. But the late 70s early 80s fox bodies were pretty light weight cars. With the right small engine they would return impressive fuel economy.
With today’s Mustang’s ecoboost 4 cylinder I would imagine 40mpg+ on government tests.
85mpg is probably something arrived at in some unrealistic way.
“There ought to be a law” is right up there with “We need to do something about…” in horrible statements. Even if you accept that global warming is due to man’s creations, the alternative isn’t palatable for most everyone. Because no matter how you do the calculation, to achieve* the steady-state ecosystem desired will mean killing billions of humans. The fear mongers use long shot panacea solutions that will only leave us poorer and less productive in the short run, and cold, and in the dark (if we survive) in the long run. With the anemic GDP growth of the last 20 years in the first world, and the fossil fuel demands increasing in the 2nd and third words, there’s no solution that won’t end in mass death, either by starvation, war over remaining resources or outright mass execution. The first world seems to be volunteering to enter the wood chipper, while the second world seems happy to take their place. The third world is going to be cut off at the knees again.
*Without converting the majority of energy sources to nuclear
It’s even worse than that. Mass death won’t even create the solid state climate the fearmongers seem to think we should have. Historical record indicates that the climate does basically whatever it wants regardless of anything we do or don’t do, or how many of us there are, etc. etc. etc. Literally any human effect on climate, short of a nuclear war, can be overwhelmed to the point of erasure by things such as volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, etc. etc. etc.
Climate change? Yeah, it happens. All the time. Anthropogenic CC? Highly suspect. Catastrophic ACC? Manure of the bovine, in its purest form.
The thing that no one seems to get is that our creations are constantly becoming more efficient and therefore have a smaller environmental footprint. It has nothing to do with wanting to “fix” the climate either. It has to do with getting more for your labor. As Eric points out, putting a modern engine in a 1970s muscle car has tremendous gains in efficiency. Heck, unless you’re trying to keep a old car pure slap an LS in that sucker, upgrade the suspension and hold on! Uncle’s meddling or not, the newer cars are fantastically efficient. I just got back from a short road trip vacation. My Cherokee, a very big heavy car with big heavy mud/snow tires, got 24 MPG the whole trip, at a sustained 75-80 MPH. Try that in a 1980s Bronco II or Jimmy. If I would have been at sea level the whole time it would have done even better.
Mass death IS the solution desired by the fear mongers.
What will we see?
I’m pretty sure that problem was solved with Preston Tucker.
If you’ve been through the self checkout you may have heard “approval needed.”
I wonder what happens if you buy an EV with the credits, insure it, burn it to the ground (accidentally of course) and collect the insurance. Do you get to keep the credit money?
Then go buy a real car.
A lot of people think we are paranoid about this power grab. But just see what happens if someone actually manages to create a real competitive electric car putting a major wrench in their plans.