A Tale of Two Sales

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BMW announced the other day it is cancelling production of the i3 – its first and so far only electric car.

The reason is pretty straightforward. They’re not selling well.

Correction: They’re not selling well here.

About 350-400 of them per month for the year so far – which works out to about seven or eight cars in each state per month. Which is probably why you haven’t seen an i3 yet.

And now you may never see one.

But in Europe, it’s a different story. BMW has sold lots of i3s over there. About 2,300 of them each month so far this year – which works out to five or six times as many there vs. here.

Why the disparity?

Probably because Americans are still free to not buy the i3 – while Europeans are increasingly not free to buy anything else. Or more accurately put, anything that isn’t an electric car – as a practical matter – because they’re being incrementally prohibited from driving other kinds of cars in various places, such as downtown areas.

Paris, for example, will soon be a combustion-engine-free-zone.

It’s hard to commute when you’re not allowed to drive.

European car buyers also know these IC verboten areas will almost certainly be expanded (cue that Swedish child of the corn Greta Thunberg screeching about her lost childhood) to the point that owning anything other than an electric car will be to own a useless car.

These IC bans serve the purpose of artificially Harrison Bergeroning (i.e., crippling) non-electric cars, in order to make people more accepting of naturally Harrison Bergeron’d electric cars – which are crippled by their limited ranges and ridiculously long recharge times.

If kneecapping non-electric cars doesn’t equalize the playing field, then they’ll simply be banned outright.  Several European countries have passed laws or are in the process of passing laws that will forbid the sale of cars that aren’t electric within the not-so-distant future.

Norway says by 2025 – which is just five years from now. The UK and Germany are also threatening sales bans that would go into effect by 2030.

This all by itself is an incentive to buy an EV today – because it may still have some resale value five or ten years from now. But what happens to the resale value of a non-electric car you buy today that you may not be allowed to sell five or ten years from now – and which prospective buyers know they won’t be able to use tomorrow?

In the meanwhile, punishing taxes are being applied to the EV-recalcitrant, to “nudge” them out of their IC cars by making them unaffordable.

Or at least, just as expensive as electric cars. That way, it won’t matter how expensive EVs are. You’ll either be able to afford one – or you won’t be able to afford to drive. The latter being the preferred outcome.

Ask Greta.

She knows – or rather, the people behind her know –  that so long as people remain free to buy (and freely use) much-less-expensive (and much-less-hassle) non-electric cars, most will do so – regardless of “concerns” about “climate change.”

Politics talks – but economics walks.

The majority of people can’t afford electric cars. That’s the reality.

Switching to them represents an increase in the cost of personal transportation on the order of 30-40 percent, which gives you some idea of the costs that being “concerned” about “climate change” will impose on people.

But people in this country are still free to dodge that imposition – as they’ve been doing here, with regard to the i3 and other EV sales Turduckens like the VW eGolf, Chevy Bolt and even the much-touted Tesla3. Sales of which are down by almost half over the past two months (July and August) after Saint Elon the Carboniferous welshed on his “affordability” promise and jacked the base price of the thing up by several thousand dollars, from the assured $35,000 to an actual $39,000.

So the thing to do – for those pushing electric cars – is to make non-electric cars unaffordable, too.

This has been partially achieved, indirectly, via regulatory cost-burdening that has pushed the price paid for the average non-electric car to more than $35,000 – but that’s still several thousand dollars less than electric cars like the i3, which stickers for $44,450 to start.

And comes with all the gimps, standard.

There are a few people – tens of thousands of them, even – who will freely buy an EV over a non-EV.

But not millions of people.

Hence the need to put the legislative thumb on the scales.

We see the effect of this in Europe, where EVs like the i3 sell well for all the reasons adduced above. But EVs will never sell like that here unless people are punished for not buying EVs via new and onerous taxes for “clinging” to their non-electrics, use prohibitions and maybe even outright bans on their sale.

Expect some or all of this to come down the legislative offal chute within the next several years – to prevent what will otherwise be the greatest automotive belly flop since the Aztek.

Times five or six.

. . .

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64 COMMENTS

  1. Those i3’s are all over Rome. They are the cop cars over there. Great for a city car or a short range commuter, but hardly any of us have the $$ to buy separate cars for separate tasks.

  2. Just wait, at some point (once control is well established) they will stop adjusting the current year data (or adjust it less) and then claim all the efforts have had an effect but vigilance must be maintained!

    • Control won’t be well established. Too many of us won’t have that on a fundamental level. Even folks that don’t seem to have fight have fight. This is why America is still a super power. No one can come here and take it. Try.

  3. Eric, you have outdone yourself once again. Your have employed your nounolytic converter, a Rube Goldberg type contraption I suspect you have squirreled away in a musty corner of your garage, to transform a humble and somewhat obscure proper noun into to a shiny new verb! Let this be a warning to all you over-achievers out there lest you be Harrison Bergeron’d!

  4. I am offering to send dear Greta a cornucopia of winter clothes…she’s gonna need them. Thus during the coming cold age, she can go outside and build a snow fort, have a snowball fight, make snow angels and even build a snowman…er.. a snow person, I guess. She would have a chance to recapture part of here lost childhood.

    As far as EV’s go, as long as we are still moving into the undiscovered country of intermittent power (solar and wind) as the means to provide on-demand electricity, the battle for the next watt will be very interesting. There will be no winners.

  5. An electric BMW, or any other EV for that matter, is the four-wheel version of a frigid woman.
    And I vehemently disagree that we are still free in our buying choices. We just have not been sent to the guillotine yet. It is coming as long as we fail to confront the pussification and gynocracy being fed to us by people who want to milk our resources and discard our European culture.
    What I cannot fathom is the virtual lack of awareness of the larger process to destroy us, all by the same criminal interests. In addition to reading Eric, I watch a car guy, Scotty Kilmer, and he laments the lack of quality and high cost in nearly all IC automobiles. I read on Lew Rockwell about the vapid, but costly nature of our current medical care. All in the name of more money. Same for education, food, and the rest of our needs for daily living. Never mind what the Feral Reserve is doing to our money.
    Why we keep seeing the pot holes but not the crumbling highways metaphorically, I can only wonder.
    We must find a way, by what ever means, to say NO to these thugs that are killing us. Do not support any politicians, do not vote, and do not act like the system is not rigged against us. The BMW EV is exactly the same mechanism as thinking that guns are a problem. Take away the IC, or disarm the culture, and all else will be honkey dory.
    This is a WAR on us, and we must understand who is doing this. It is time to Root Hog or Die, and that is NOT a woman’s mission.
    Society will continue going downhill until we resume saying NO to women.

    • Great post Jack. I will try to talk you off the ledge a little:
      My kids, now 21 and 19 get it. Not as much as you and I do, but they get most of it for their lack of experience and history. And the great part is so do almost all of their friends. It is refreshing.
      Maybe this Gen of kids will sway the red tide. I find it hard to believe though as all we see is indoctrinated kids these days. There is a ray of hope.

    • You are on target as they say…. the majority of people are lazy,,, physically and mentally, usually both. It’s easier to ignore than to fight it. Maybe it will go away. Lets lay it on the next generation of indoctrinated Greta’s. Anything to keep “me” out of the fight.

      Women were their first victims. Those in power knew once the women were “empowered” it would end families and societies power structure of several thousand years. The breakup of families,,, the “sexual” revolution and finally career goals which enabled abortion on demand to make them equal with men. Getting women to kill their own children was a major success…. in their eyes since then they could push immigration. The children that survived the womb massacre were indoctrinated from K – university. They would be the leading edge of the new global socialism by means of “Identity Politics” which allowed the next phase which was the “multi-culturalism” or more accurate multi- structuralism. During all this governments pushed the green environmental ideology to give them the power they needed to bring all these forces to fruition.

      Coming for the guns will be the final stage. This is where the rubber meets the road. If the People willingly give up their weapons as easily as they have everything else then it’s a big win for those in power and a total loss for individual liberty.

      We better choose wisely…. or it’s curtains for humanity.

  6. The thing I hated about the i3 in particular was that it doesn’t look like a car of 2019. It looks like what we thought a car of 2019 was going to look like back in 1989.

    Go re-watch BTTF II.

  7. Here in the Bay Area of Commiefornia, we have a TON of these BMW i3’s running around, the version without the range extender, because if you’re driving a pure electric car, you get to use the HOV lane without passengers if you’re in an electric car.

    Even though it looks dopey from the outside, it’s actually a really nice car inside. It’s small, but the materials are great, it drives far nicer than any of the front wheel drive electric cars, and it’s actually manufactured efficiently, so it has a small battery pack relative to electric “muscle” cars like the Tesla, so if you are the sort who wants a car will small ecological impact, this is actually a pretty good one. It’s not a car for the average wage earner, though, as it’s quite expensive.

    One thing that blew my mind about this thing – it has a range extender versions with three gallon range extender tank which doubles its range. The range extender is just a BMW motorcycle engine powering a generator. In the EU, they can use the full three gallons, but in the US, to qualify for various stupid incentives, range extenders must have less range than the battery, so the ECU will prevent you from using that last gallon, stranding you if it must.

    • Sorry OL, I couldn’t let this go:
      “small ecological impact”
      I am a believer that EVs has a greater ecological impact.
      I haven’t actually sat down and run the calcs, but I could, and I already know from experiences in engineering that EV’s claims about ‘eco impact’ are bogus.

      • Well, I think this car is better than most electrics. It’s got a 40kWh battery, half of a Tesla, and even with the smaller Nissan Leaf. It’s made from lots of recycled plastics and woods, and the body is carbon fiber, which is more “eco” than aluminum.

        It’s pretty conclusive with electrics; IF you live in a place which gets its electricity from source other than coal and oil, and IF you drive a lot to get lots of life out of the battery, they’re break even after a few years for the smaller ones, and something like 100k miles for a big one with a big battery. If the battery dies due to age, or you get your power from coal, they’re dirtier.

        Now when it comes to manufacturing energy, batteries take a lot, and currently, lithium extraction is pretty horrendous ecologically, probably a lot worse than drilling and fracking for oil. Don’t know how to judge.

        I should have qualified my statement – relative to other electric cars, it’s pretty ecologically friendly. It’s like someone being the nicest Nazi.

        • I really don’t much care about “ecologically friendly.” I’m driving a gasoline-powered car with a big honking V8 and no emission controls that on a good day might get around 14 mpg. And loving it.

          • Recycling is another sham. I used to support recycling centers in my job with heavy equipment. What I witnessed alarmed me. I used to wonder if this ‘recycling’ made sense and after researching the economics and eco issues, for almost the whole industry, it doesn’t even come close to making sense.
            Part of my research was interviewing my own town manager about costs, etc…. and I made my final determination. It is a sham (paper, plastic, glass, etc….)
            Obviously, it’s smart to recycle hazardous materials, but not the rest.

    • Really? I hadn’t heard of the reg that the range extender has to have a smaller range than the battery. That could explain why Chevy cancelled the Volt. Cars like that are the electric cars that “make sense” imo. Can’t have that.

  8. I’ve seen at least one of these cruising around Aspen. But far more Teslas and Priuses. About the only reason to buy one is because you’re a BMW brand junkie.

  9. I came home today to read the news and find out the governor here in our lovely state of Minnesota has declared a fatwa that our state will be following California emissions standards going forward. This is being done without any deliberation or voting. The elected representatives within the state will not have a say in this, nor will the citizens.

    It is apparently under the powers of the governor to implement that mandate. Committees to write these new fatwas are already being put together and will be fully implemented by December 2020. As someone who works in the automotive business I can’t wait to see how this clusterfuck plays out.

    Going out and purchasing a decent V6 ICE car without all the nanny bullshit (2012-ish vintage) and a new Glock (semi-automatic!) are on my to do list. Not sure either of those things will be available for long.

    • Hi Valhalla,

      You can feel the screw tightening now; it’s no longer fun and games. Notice that it’s now a climate “crisis” – not just “change.” We have to do something right now, you see.

    • It’s even worse in Oregon where the Warmistas tried to pass draconian Climate Change legislation without voter approval. The Dems added an “emergency clause” to that legislation to prevent it going to referendum by the people. Up until that point, the more conservative senators were willing for it to be voted on in a statewide referendum. After the referendum-killing emergency clause was added, enough rural senators fled the legislative session and went into hiding until it was over, thus denying the quorum needed to pass any legislation.

      Not sure how much longer Oregon’s rural legislative representatives can use that tactic to defeat such fascist efforts as the governor is already threatening to hunt them down with state police the next time they hide.

      The Warmistas will do anything to “save the planet” from mankind’s evil presence.

  10. Get on that cattle car, be demeaned, put up with too much of your noise. I’m not coming over to your side. You’re going to need to bring it to my face. Come on. My guess is, you and they won’t try. Should it happen (and if you can find me) come on. I’ll see you long before you/they see me.

    • I’ve said this before, but maybe the old design is exactly what people want. The chassis and suspension under the Charger and Challenger are actually descended from a Mercedes E-class of the 1990s, a car which was well-known for being potentially very fast depending on how it was specced out, but perhaps not so precise in the corners. In the market, it seems, there is currently a wide gulf between the beaten-down (but well-built and luxurious!) Proletarian Transportation Modules at the low end and the hardcore sports cars at the high end. For those who just want a powerful, comfortable cruiser the way they used to be built, well, there are still a few Totally Not Minivans around that haven’t been corrupted by inline-four apostasy. But if you don’t like or want an SUV, then there aren’t that many low-cost options… other than a Charger or Challenger.

      • 100% Rich and Chuck. I recently (18) got a 300 V8 RWD and my daughter has a charger V6 awd. We love them. mine was 42, hers was around 35 I think?
        They are great cars. I really hope FCA just does an update on them (even though I don’t think they need an update) vs scrapping them for the new way (crap).
        And it appears they are still selling well even with minimal updates.
        I really hope FCA is making a ton of money on them so the bean counters say, “let’s just keep them going a little longer”
        ps: my daughter is now saying, I want the V8 like yours Dad. she’s 20, haha. Awesome.

  11. What are car dependent businesses supposed to do when ICEVs are banned in the inner cities? How are delivery & courier services supposed to make a living? What about taxi & limo services? What about the clients these businesses serve? Vehicles in those roles HAVE to keep moving, so they earn money. EVs can’t do this for as long as an ICEV can.

    One, an ICEV can be quickly refueled in the middle of a shift if necessary. In between trips, the driver can take a few minutes to fill up, then get back on the road to take the next run. Refueling should only be necessary once during a shift. That means he and his vehicle can stay at work earning money.

    OTOH, an EV will need at least 30-40 minutes to charge-if there’s a fast charger. How many trips could the driver pick up in that time? Sure, the driver can eat while the vehicle’s charging, but that’s missed revenue. With an ICEV, the driver can fuel up, then eat on the way to the next trip.

    Secondly, the EV can’t run as long and continuously. All that starting & stopping, part & parcel of city driving, means more juice will be used. Can an EV in commercial use keep going for 8-10 hours straight? I don’t know. When I drove limos, 8-10 hours was an average day; sometimes, we went longer than that. With that big, ole Merc I drove (with what, a 20 gallon tank?), if it was full at the beginning of the shift, I could go all day, and refuel when I finished the shift.

    So, how are people who own or work in a vehicle dependent business supposed to earn their living if they can’t go IN to the city?! Even if they’re not based in the city, they have to go there because that’s where the people are. That may be the only line of work these folks know! What, are they going to learn to code? Are they going to work in an office all of a sudden? Get real! Drivers like their job because they don’t HAVE to put up with the BS of working in an office; they can work alone without a boss looking over their shoulder. What are they (owners and employees of vehicle based businesses) supposed to do when they can no longer work their trade? I don’t see how they can do it with an EV. An EV costs more and brings in less money.

    When I drove limos, most of my trips were to & from the airports. However, we did a fair number of trips IN to the city also. Why? That’s where the people are! That’s where they go. We weren’t based in the city; we were far from it in NJ. That said, people like to go to the museums, the shows, tourist attractions, etc. in NYC, so we’d often go there to serve our clients.

    Vehicle based businesses don’t exist in a vacuum. They exist to fill one; they exist to fill a need. People want things picked up and delivered. People want to go places and not use their personal cars. Who takes care of these people? Who takes care of these clients? Folks who own and work for courier services, taxi companies, limo services, etc. These bans only screw over a whole lot of people. Those are my rambling thoughts…

    Banning ICEVs from city centers will cause a LOT of problems. It causes problems for vehicle owners, because they can no longer use the ICEV they recently purchased. These bans hurt middle class business owners and their employees. These bans also hurt the clients of these businesses. WTF aren’t people rising up with torches and pitch forks over this?

    • good points Mark. my guess is it’s all propaganda “no ICE allowed in Paris or NYC, etc…, and then in very little type: unless your a taxi delivery vehicle, etc…..”
      Then it will happen that my little company of engineers will need to help NYC with a big problem and we will say “sorry we can’t get there” and then we will be exempted.
      It’s all smoke and mirrors.

    • ” With an ICEV, the driver can fuel up, then eat on the way to the next trip.”

      That’s what I got to do while whoring for the phone company. Nothing like trying to eat / drink a warm gooey sandwich and drink spilling some for the ants in a hurry to put out the next fire. All the while managers were eating lunch at Chili’s lining out my next day…. But hey,,, I was a productive whore.

    • Like gun control – it’s the control they are interested in, not the guns, climate change isn’t about the climate, it’s about the forced changing of your behaviors.

      This whole banning ice vehicles simply isn’t possible, unless the plan is reduce personal mobility by about 80-90%. If everyone sold their ice vehicle today and bought an electric – the grid would drop like a rock instantly and maybe for months/years. We barely have enough electric gen capacity now, trying to replace fossil fuels with electricity is simply unrealistic and tells you what deep thinkers these eco warriors truly are. Now, imagine all these electrics needing to recharge during the day, even only 15% of them, same as a gas fueled car on average, based on my experience. Where exactly will this occur? Since in my town, there are probably 4-500 gas pumps, and as far as I know, only one charge station (Nissan dealer) I’m not,sure,how that would work. Even if they could build out recharge infra, there isn’t the juice available to supply the station. Is the plan 50 acres of solar around every fueling station, and the associated storage cells (that don’t exist in needed qty either.) morons, every last one.
      This might work in Europe where public transit is a real alternative, but in the USA, not a chance except in a handful of urban areas (that are over capacity on ridership now.) and these are the thought leaders in our country – how does this clown car get taken seriously?

      • It really comes down to BTU’s. Oil has more BTU’s in such a small package than anything next to the holly grail, nuke’s. Nothing comes close. All else is sham and scam.

  12. we’re not. we’re 22 trillion in debt and we do whatever Israel tells us to do. so there you go. Go watch some bullshit football moron

  13. America is still the world’s greatest superpower. Come over here and tell me we’re not. We influence everything and have since we were new.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      Certainly, America remains powerful. Just as the Soviet Union was in 1979. Ten years later, the Soviet Union was on the verge of dissolution. No one saw it coming, and then it just happened. I expect the same to happen, again – here. This “country” no longer is one in a cultural or political sense. It is a collection of incompatible interests held together by tenuous – because artificial – prosperity and of course, force.

      Take away prosperity and the force will become very visible and the whole will fall asunder.

      • We’ve gone from a republic to empire. But not in a Nero/Caligula sense. This time it is far more nuanced. More like the court of Louis XVI, where the day to day operation of the government was left to a proto-bureaucracy while the “rulers” played games. Without oversight they overstepped their duties. And of course there was the debt, the wars and meddling in other countries’ affairs.

        I hate to sound like a libertarian, but we’re one bad economic report away from a serious uprising. People are mad, but they don’t know why and who they’re mad at. Just wait until the lawsuits shut down the supply of Oxytocin and SRRIs. 40% of the population is addicted to some sort of prescription for psychiatric problems. The withdrawal will be harsh and painful. Let’s hope it happens in January and not November.

      • Whatever you say, dude. My mentality remains. Come over here, and make me. This is freedom. I won’t be in line to go to the work camps. Over my dead body. I am afraid of nothing. there are more of me than you’d be comfortable believing.

      • Re: no one saw it coming – they did, just more useful to keep that bogeyman alive and a threat because budgets and influence of certain agencies.

        I think we can turn back, but only if the victimhood industry and entitlement racket are abolished now. Like the medial cartel, there is too much money to be stolen from the proles to allow this to happen. Once the money is gone, these rackets will whither and die, and everyone will wonder how they exited for so long in the first place as they will not be missed.

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