Regressions in Mobility

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“Electromobility is an excellent fit for our urban, progressive and open minded customers,” says BMW’s Peter Schwarzenbauer.

These being people “open-minded” and “progressive” enough to willingly pay almost twice as much to go a third as far and then wait at least five times as long before they can go less than a third as far, again.

These being the regressions in “mobility” of the just-announced electric version of BMW’s Mini Cooper hardtop – which was an affordable to buy, economical to drive and practical little runabout.

Plug it in – and take all of that away.

Base price: $36,000 – not counting the additional $1,000-$2,000 you’ll have to spend to “fast” charge it at home – vs. $21,900 for the non-electric version of the same thing.

Range: 114 miles, best case – if it’s not too hot or too cold and you don’t drive it too hard – – vs. 300-plus, regardless of conditions, for the non-electric version of the same thing.

Back on the road time: Minimum 30-45 minutes at a “fast” charger to recover 80 percent of the 114 mile range – leaving you about 90 to go before you’ll need to do it again – vs. less than five minutes to recover 100 percent of 300-plus mile range.

Service life: Maybe 8-10 years – after which point, repeated charging/discharging cycles will have eroded the battery pack’s capacity to retain charge, reducing its range to nil, necessitating its replacement at a cost of many thousands of dollars; equivalent to having to replace a non-electric car’s engine every 8-10 years.

Other businesses must be watching this electrified inanity closely. Will “open-minded” ice cream buyers accept paying as much for a pint as they used to for a quart? Maybe it’ll be enough to let them lick the spoon  . . . but only after waiting in a 30 minute line.

How about seats in coach – for the price of first? On an airplane with propellers instead of jets – that isn’t pressurized? Fifteen hours, LA to New York, with three stops instead of nonstop.

And no more free stale pretzels and warm soda, either.

It’d be funny, except the joke’s on us.

And not just the EV-addled.

If you’ve gone grocery shopping lately, you’ve probably noticed you’re already paying more for less. Ten ounces of something for the price that used to get you 12 or even 16.

Bigger boxes – with less inside the boxes.

And at home: Toilets that use less water – but which force you to flush more often (using more water). Light bulbs that cost three or four times as much as before, don’t light as brightly and last much less long than we were told they would.

So it follows, logically enough, that instead of paying less for more car, which would be progress – we are now expected to be “open-minded” about functional and economic regression.

About about paying more for less car.

But unlike 10 ounces for the price of 12 – which we have no choice to buy, if we want ounces of anything – economically and functionally regressive electric cars are still items we’re free to not buy.

Yet some “progressive” and “open minded” people do buy them – and many of these very much want everyone else to be forced to by them, too.

Why?

A  1985 Yugo is functionally and economically superior to any new electric car.  

It listed for $3,995 brand-new back in ’85, which is just under $10,000 in today’s money and so about one-fourth the MSRP of the new electric Mini. It had an 8.5 gallon tank that took less than five minutes to refill and averaged about 38 MPG – which meant it could travel about 300 miles before it needed to stop to refuel.

One needs to be very “open-minded” to accept paying $26,000 more for a car that is incapable of doing what a Yugo could when Ronald Reagan was president and people were renting VHS tapes from Blockbuster.

Regression – presented as “progress.”

A person who spends 40-50 percent more for a car that can only go a third as far as an identical car – and then only if he doesn’t use the AC or the heat much and drives with fingers crossed and a really light foot on the accelerator pedal – and which requires him to wait at least half an hour to recover 80 percent of his third-as-far car’s range and which becomes a throw-away after half the usual time on account of the expense of replacing its major component (the battery) vs. the value of the car itself would – under normal circumstances – be regarded by almost everyone as an imbecile.  

But that makes it hard to sell imbecility.

Therefore, it is important to make the imbecile feel good about being an imbecile. To make him feel he is being virtuous by self-impoverishing.

He must believe he is doing the right thing – and far more important, he must be seen by society as doing the right thing. Virtue-signaling is a public act, performed by collectivized approval-seekers.

Sinclair Lewis called them Babbitts. Arthur Miller gave us Willy Loman, desperate to be liked above all. Whatever it took.

It’s the public approbation which counts. Being thought of as  . . . correct.

The thing being approved is largely irrelevant. Read about Edward Bernays, who was the first in modern times to consciously organize and deploy the techniques now routinely practiced.

Corporations are just as readily brought into line as individuals – which explains why car executives, may of whom are engineers and not imbeciles, are signaling their virtue just as earnestly by building cars they know are functionally and economically imbecilic by any metric . . . except signaling virtue.

The virtue being signaled, of course, is “concern” for the “environment.”

What this means is not concern for facts about things like vehicle emissions or the actual state of air quality, the abundance of resources – and so on – but rather embracing energy austerity and self-impoverishment, required of us for the sins of affluence and ease – on the basis of tent-show revival hysteria. Secular fire and brimstone this time, none of it pending in actuality but portrayed as luridly imminent to vulnerable rubes by expert evangelists.

Make them sweat and faint; go heavy on the guilt. Then offer them salvation in the form of regression.

Less – for more.

The unctuous harangues are delivered almost North Korea-style in their ubiquity; to kids in government-controlled schools and from a mainstream media and cultural entertainment cartel that is controlled North Korea-style by people who want to create a North Korea in America using “concern” for the “environment”  – with themselves as Dear Leaders and everyone else walking or riding bicycles.

Which everyone else will have to, once they can no longer afford to drive.

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

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48 COMMENTS

  1. Like I’ve said before, too bad Smart is dead.

    The old Smart EV could be picked up used under $10k (my used car salesman BIL paid probably half that) and was the perfect run-around-town vehicle (his wife loved hers)

    Easily charged overnight via nothing more than a normal 120VAC outlet, 60+ miles of range even with used batteries.

  2. I have a question.

    I’ve never driven an electric car, but I have used electric motors in model aircraft and quadcopters.

    In models, as the battery becomes depleted, it becomes apparent that ‘full power’ is no longer available. This means that ‘full power’ is only available for the very first part of any flight. As the battery becomes exhausted, advancing the throttle proves useless.

    Does this happen with electric cars, or are their systems more sophisticated, such that ‘full power’ remains available to the driver when the battery is near to exhaustion?

    You will note that, with IC engines, ‘full power’ remains available until the very last drop of fuel.

    Further, the Lithium-Polymer batteries which are used in models, are notorious for their short working lives. I find it hard to believe that car batteries will be good for 8 years of hard use.

    • Hi Twitchy,

      One of the ways electric cars are deceptively advertised is by not mentioning the effect on range of performance. The faster (ad quicker) you go, the less far you can go. Of course, the same is also true of IC cars but the difference is they begin with more range – even the thirstiest Hellcat muscle car can go 200 miles on a full tank – and they can be refueled to full in less than five minutes while the electric car takes hours to recharge to full on a standard charger and can only accept 80 percent charge on a “fast” charger, which takes at least 30-45 minutes.

  3. Cars that don’t go, lights that don’t light, toilets that don’t flush, washing machines that don’t wash, water heaters that don’t heat, air conditioners that don’t cool, gas cans that don’t dispense gas…the list grows longer every day of these “green” Anti-Appliances.

    • Anti Fed,

      You describe the new freedom in a way that makes it much easier to understand war as peace.

      The Seinfeld bizzaro world.

    • People simply can’t afford the old levels of durability and meeting the government mandates immediately and don’t notice they are paying more until it is too late and they’ve replaced something two or three times.

      Meanwhile I continue living in the past so long as my old machines hold out.

  4. In Sweden they have ‘adjusted’ their registration fees to confiscation levels.

    “In the case of Sweden, it has employed two techniques to lower demand for regular gasoline and diesel cars. First of all, for several decades, it has taxed gasoline and diesel heavily.
    What changed on July 1, 2018, is that it imposed a very high annual registration tax primarily for cars that don’t plug in. Here are a few examples of what you have to pay, per year, starting July 1, 2018, in terms of annual registration tax:

    Ford (NYSE:F) Mustang GT: 18,709 SEK = $2,044 per year

    Mercedes (OTCPK:DDAIF) GLS 63: 22,775 SEK = $2,489 per year

    Volkswagen (VLKAY) Tiguan: 7,581 SEK = $828 per year

    Range Rover (NYSE:TTM) 5.0: 20,528 SEK = $2,243 per year
    These are the newly imposed annual registration taxes in Sweden, for the first three years of ownership. Once you’ve had the car for three years, these amounts start to come down. Still, as you can imagine, these are some very steep fees that were imposed July 1, 2018. Most Americans are used to paying a fraction of these $2,000-ish annual registration taxes.

    Then give that money to those that buy the EV trash.

    “On the other side of the equation, an electric car in Sweden now gets up to 60,000 SEK = $6,557 in a government cash subsidy. That’s up 50% from what it was before July 1, 2018.”

    Here are the results of the above policies.

    “As you can see in the table above, when this policy was implemented on July 1, 2018, sales fell to 12,504 cars per month for the whole country. That was down almost exactly 50% from the prior year. ”

    So my point is,,, government doesn’t care. They have an agenda and will carry it out whether it crashes their economy or not.

    California simply puts the onus on the automaker forcing it to sell EV’s at a lower than manufacturing cost. This is passed on to the ‘con-sumer’ when they buy IC powered cars. So the average Joe could care less about the price so long as the tax is hidden. Ignorance is bliss.

    This from an article I saved from last year.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4198496-swedish-car-market-crashes-50-percent-imposing-california-style-emissions-laws

  5. “Electromobility is an excellent fit for our urban, progressive and open minded customers,” says BMW’s Peter Schwarzenbauer

    Here’s hoping the euro-monkey gets incinerated in a lithium battery fire.

  6. Everyone relax. This will solve the problem……
    https://lightyear.one/
    What? Vaporware you say?………

    And even if they actually make one of their “Clean mobility for everyone, everywhere” machines I am still wondering where “everyone” is going to find the $160,000us to buy one.

    Eric, you really should contact them and ask for a demo, just for evasive market-speak hilarity.

      • A good Texas hailstorm, like the one we had one year on Easter day rained down these things more resembling pointed footballs. I couldn’t believe how my old 9500 GMC took it without flinching. That was the ONLY thing that didn’t flinch I knew of.

        One of those would probably have that sucker burning like a bonfire and nobody would be able to stand in that kind of hail to put it out.

        We had a hail in the early 80’s come up so fast in the daytime we didn’t have time to react. We had a 3 car garage so I put on my motorcycle helmet(full face)and moved the car and pickups and my bike. It was invigorating to say the least. Once back in the house, I pulled my helmet off and my shirt. I could take a hell of a hit back then and never show anything. I took my shirt off and looked like somebody have worked me over with a hammer. A couple days later I looked like I had a full upper body tattoo with lots of green, blue and black. I was bullet-proof back then. I’d hate to think of it happening today.

    • I’ve pondered the mystery of police-worship, and I’ve found a sliver of knowin’ I think. Maybe you recall, maybe you don’t, that a few years back a security-camera video surfaced of a man in Wales drifting his E92 M3 through a roundabout in the middle of the night. When that video surfaced, several months after the drift (which harmed nobody; in the video you can see there was one other car in the area and BMW Drifter was out of the roundabout before they got to it) took place, the police hunted him down and hauled him off to court, where the judge jerked his license for 12 weeks (costing him his job) and told him he was lucky to avoid jail.

      I mention this on a car forum, or more accurately a “video game about cars” forum (maybe that’s the problem), and people actually side with the police, saying that “he COULD HAVE hurt someone” and “there should be consequences for hoons who deliberately break the driving rules” even while admitting that it would be unrealistic and onerous to expect, say, 100% speed limit compliance all the time. These people actually claim to oppose “oppressive neo-socialist societies” not realizing that someone getting banged up over a drift they did most of a year ago is a pretty good indicator that you’re already in one.

      And that’s when it hit me. People worship the police because they’ve been programmed to see all these minor, completely harmless offenses as the equivalent of genuine criminality. When the police fill some poor sap with lead over a misunderstanding, they just chalk it up to the victim not being respectful or compliant enough, because to them, the police are just doing what they need to to protect us from the boogeymen lurking around every corner.

      It’s a strange paradox of modern life that we are “safer” than ever before, and yet we are less confident in that safety than ever before. So we cry to the government to “protect” us, and oh boy do they ever answer.

      • Like, what do you even say to someone like this? How do you convince them that arresting someone for a months-old moving violation is about 50 different flavors of stupid?

      • Police worship is at a different level here in the UK… you just cant imagine it in the US…. When the only real purpose they serve is:
        1) Hassling up people who violate minor traffic laws
        2) Police social media for thought crimes
        3) come to your house if you dont pay your tax or “tv licence” (yes there is such a thing – another rant for another day)
        4) go on the media and complain how they are short of money to carry out all the above very vital tasks for the good of society and need more money and if those evil rich people are taxed just a bit more all will be well…..

        That said – once in a while we come across someone who does make some of us proud…. https://metro.co.uk/2018/04/23/man-jailed-giving-speed-cameras-finger-range-rover-7491485/

    • I saw the video of that cop pulling over a woman in beat up small pickup maybe a week ago. What a piece of work that guy is. The Reason author must be a bit stupid or employing some sort of rhetorical device if he has to ask why the cop framed people. Cops do it for performance objectives, raises, promotions, bonuses, and just because they plain enjoy doing it.

      • Former cop turned defense attorney Dale Carson, in his book “Arrest Proof Yourself”, showed the reader a cop’s tally sheet. On it, it lists how many traffic stops, arrests, etc. a cop made in his shift. Depending on the ‘quality’ of the stop or arrest, a cop got points. For example, a felony arrest got more points than a misdemeanor arrest. Traffic stops often nabbed guys with outstanding warrants or nailed guys drinking, smoking pot, etc. Cops, he said, loved those stops, because they got multiple felonies, which meant mucho points. Ergo, cops have every incentive to make arrests and be ‘productive’, which makes their sergeant happy. Local cops are graded on the number of arrests, basically.

        At the state and federal level, cops are rated by the quality of their CONVICTIONS, so they don’t arrest everyone they can like the locals do. If the arrest doesn’t result in a conviction, then the state or federal cop isn’t rewarded.

  7. Hey Eric,

    ‘Will “open-minded” ice cream buyers accept paying as much for a pint as they used to for a quart?’

    Pretty sure that was Haagen-Dazs’ basic business plan, it worked very well.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

      • Hey Eric and Brent,

        Haagen-Dazs was formed by Reuben Mattus as a specialty brand of Senator Frozen Products. Faced with a price war by larger mass producers, he decided to create a high end brand and compete on quality instead. He invented the Danish sounding name and cemented the link with a map of Denmark on the container. He wanted it to evoke an image a high quality, foreign product and, some say, honor Denmark’s good treatment of Jews during WW2.

        “… but hey; at least HD was good ice cream!”

        I agree with both of you on this. H-D was better than much of the dreck available then. However, Breyer’s was around and, at the time, very good for less than half of H-D. I meant my initial post humorously, not critically. Still, the observation is correct. Reuben Mattus figured out a way to get people to pay “as much for a pint as they used to for a quart”, by changing the market. It was his business plan and it was very successful. I don’t begrudge him a thing, not only was the ice cream great (still is) but he created the market for widely available, high end ice cream. From which came Ben & Jerry’s, Boulder, etc..

        Reuben’s business plan and marketing, including the unsubtle reference to it being Danish, were honest and beneficial, as he really did make a product worth 4 times as much of most anything else. The EV con-men, on the other hand, peddle a dishonest and destructive marketing plan because what they are trying to sell is, by every economic and practical measure, inferior for most people. And, for those whose needs could be met more conveniently with an EV than an ICE, it would still be foolish to buy one because the price is ludicrous.

        Thus, they market on virtue signaling, manufactured environmental concern, status rivalry, etc… FWIW, I’ve always found B&J’s ice cream to be significantly worse than H-D’s. Interestingly, they employed (still do) the same dishonest, virtue signaling marketing nonsense as the EV pushers, coincidence?

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

    • Haagen-Dazs came out in the 80s when grocery store mass market ice cream was how should I say this economically made and priced. I suppose that cheap stuff still exists but I can’t eat it. I know the cheap ice cream bars made with it are still on the market and I can’t eat that stuff any more because of the taste. I eat ice cream no more than a dozen times a year so it should be something worth it when I do. There’s a reason for making a better product and charging more for it.

      • And when it comes to transportation, that’s part of the plan. The difference between first class and coach is wide and expensive. The difference between first class and Gulfstream 5 even more so.

        As has been pointed out here many times, the difference between a high end and low end automobile is mostly a matter of inches and seconds. Perhaps changing the playing field by forced abandonment of internal combustion will help put the hoi polloi back where they belong. With the added benefit of taking a lot of our stuff too.

      • BrentP,
        There is poor quality, with low prices, and better quality that is sometimes overpriced.
        The better deal: value. Example: Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream – by my taste the
        best vanilla ice cream available, and it’s at Walmart for $2.97, 1.5 quart.

    • Jeremy, I looked recently at Haagen Dazs and a half pint was nearly as much as a half gallon of Blue Bell which is pretty good IC in my opionin. HD wasn’t always THAT expensive or we made one hell of a better living……the latter I guess.

      • Hey Eight,

        Yep, it seems even more expensive relative to other brands nowadays, especially considering that “in-house” brands are often really good today. I hardly ever buy ice-cream at all anymore. The few times I do, my frugal side is at war with my healthy side. I can buy numerous, excellent brands at a quarter of the relative price. But, only by buying much more than I want. So, I prefer the pint containers because, whether I buy a pint, quart or half gallon, I eat it all within two days.

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

  8. Holy Cow! I just realized this guy is the real-life incarnation of Perry White, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet Newspaper of Metropolis! Right down to the hair that is dark on top, with silver bands on each side, what kind of ComiCon toon-people are we up against here??? Next thing you know, we will have Judge Doom from Roger Rabbit on the US Supreme Court!

  9. Buy the way, Herr Schwarzenbauer also knows when the average sheeple leave their “minds open” for very long, their brains falls out, on the first curve!

  10. These CEOs all sound like circus carneys and two-bit flea-bag used car salesmen from the 70s. They lie as big and loud as any politician, insurance salesman, or lawyer there ever was. Flat out telling people the exact opposite of what they they get, and boasting that all the pitfalls of this crap are “advantages”. What’s more astounding is how the public believes and then parrots this utter bullshit! This country has become a cesspool of professional liars and con-artists, as well as suckers and sheeple, beyond all scope of rationality. I just “disappointed” the 1st of, what will amount to many, crybabies who won’t be getting “instant gratification” at my shop today. This, despite every other shop having twice the backlog of work that I do, is the norm for most people seeking what they now expect from everyone, regardless of the service they are seeking.
    I’m half temp-ted to close my auto shop and open a Crybaby Crisis Center for Adults ages 18-80, because this “instant gratification disease” has infected the sheeple, apparently regardless of age! No one ever told me in my 8+ years of college that I was going to need a degree in Child Psychology to sufficiently communicate with the adult populace.

    • “No one ever told me in my 8+ years of college that I was going to need a degree in Child Psychology to sufficiently communicate with the adult populace.”

      You’re minin’ gold, Buddy

      • Steve Martin used to have a “bit” in his 1970’s monologue about how he “found a way to turn dogshit into GOLD”, and apparently now all the big corporations and Uncle have discovered it too!

    • The school system was designed to create permanent children and while on that subject it was also designed to condition people into thinking that parroting authority is what makes you smart. So that’s what they do, parrot authority.

  11. “Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely; or to be that thing which is the natural and proper object of love. He naturally dreads, not only to be hated, but to be hateful; or to be that thing which is the natural and proper object of hatred. He desires, not only praise, but praiseworthiness; or to be that thing which, though it should be praised by nobody, is, however, the natural and proper object of praise. He dreads, not only blame, but blameworthiness; or to be that thing which, though, it should be blamed by nobody, is, however, the natural and proper object of blame.” – Adam Smith

    “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” -Sally Field (often misquoted as “You like me, you really like me!”)

    “Do you like me? ( ) yes ( ) no” -ReadyKilowatt, passing notes in 4th grade…

    For all the talk of logic and reason, it’s all just a smokescreen to hide the fact that people want to be loved. Even by people they don’t know. Especially powerful people they wouldn’t otherwise know. Even when they know they’re on a fool’s errand. Even when they know they’re killing themselves. Even when their only reward will be a nice tombstone at the end of a life wasted. And perhaps the peace of knowing their grandchildren can know they meant well.

  12. The retardation of the masses.

    But the good news, now we have boner pills so the wait times can be spent increasing the herd.

    Everybody can still do a little pumping at the recharge station.

    In fact, it may become mandatory.

    Maybe you could get an Earned Income Carbon Credit.

      • X,

        You state, “it’s the retardation of the elites.”

        I was using retardation more in the context of turning a distributor. Like advancing it a bit for easier starts in the winter.

        When the masses buy less product for more cash, that would be retarding their forward progress.

        The elites are advancing in their forward progress. No retardation there. Economies of scale have pretty much been eliminated. At least as far as benefiting the masses.

        The mundane have their pantries stocked with 15oz cans vs the one pound cans their parent’s pantry once held. (And that’s a big “if” the mundane can even afford to stock the pantry.)

        As far as cars go, the only reason things like AC, stereos, and power windows (which were formerly optional) are standard is because it costs the elite less to produce.

        If your AC compressor seizes up, your “options” are pay a grand or more to have it fixed or buy a bypass pulley. No more vent windows for the mundane. Just a ventilation of their bank account.

        There was a reason the first thing a kid did when he got a new mini bike or go cart was remove the governor. He didn’t want his forward progress retarded.

    • Recharge stations with “rooms by the hour”. Legalize prostitution and you can have 3 businesses all in one spot. Hey Honey, I’m gonna be gone a while, need to charge the car. Oh no, it’s my turn to charge it.

  13. You talk of the constant hectoring. One thing I’ve noticed is that, when I travel, the more expensive the hotel the more haranguing about “saving the planet” when it comes to linens and such. Placards are everywhere in expensive Marriott properties and no where to be found at the local motel that primarily caters to construction workers. How much, I wonder, is the impact of buying all those little plastic signs that litter the room?

    Your religious analogies are spot on. Environmentalism IS a religion.

    http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/2818/Crichton-Environmentalism-is-a-religion.aspx

    It’s a religion that would make Elmer Gantry blush.

    • Thanks, Mark!

      It’s also more of an early religion – and these tend to be the most fervent and fanatical. It’s also interesting that this secular religion has been put into place to replace the religions no longer considered “hip” and “with it.”

      • As a Christian I try to take the attitude of my Savior, I can offer you the Good News (so to speak) but, I won’t force you to accept it. In other words, I won’t force my faith on you and all I ask is that others return the favor. So far, I’ve kept my part of the bargain, now I’m waiting on the enviros (and CUFI) to do the same.

        • Marc, it appears you might have a long wait. Everything govt. endorses comes at the expense of the “governed”. They want it to appear the governed approve.

    • As a Judeo-Catholic (or a Catholic with Jewish heritage), what concerns me about the false religion of environmentalism is that, unlike Judaism and Christianity, which consider human beings to be made in the likeness and image of God, and special creatures given dominion over creation and charged with stewardship over said creation, environmentalism considers human beings as just another critter (“a dog is a cat is a rat is a pig is a man” as one environmentalist, who was actually a eugenics expert, said once) and a particularly nasty and brutish one at that.

      Furthermore, Judaism and Christianity abhor human sacrifice. Environmentalism believes that human beings need to disappear from the face of the earth for the planet to be healed, and that instead of being fruitful and multiplying, we must reduce our numbers. Simply choosing to have fewer kids isn’t enough for the real hard core extremists — abortion and physician assisted suicide are key to making this happen (Almost all of the extreme greens are pro-choice).

      And as a scientifically minded person, what concerns me about environmentalism as a religion is not only that it is anti-science, but that its entire approach to solving problems is totally out of phase with the way that science and technology have been used to solve problems, particularly in America: We solve problems by expanding, not restricting, personal freedoms, by embracing technology, not shunning it, and by increasing our standard of living, not decreasing it.

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