Elon Paw

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It’s been almost 15 years since Tesla began selling cars – and Tesla is still pleading for federal subsidies to help it sell cars.

In particular, the best-selling Tesla, which is the Model Y. Which is a more bulbous version of the Model 3 hatchback sedan. They are similar because EVs are essentially all the same. One “skate” fits all. Just change the shape of the plastic extruded over it.

The $66,000 to start Model Y, however, is even pricier than the Model 3 – by about $16,000. That makes it even harder to sell – without subsidies – for reasons that have nothing to do with it being electric but rather expensive.

Well, except for the fact that it is expensive because it is electric.

Battery-powered vehicles are becoming more expensive, too – because there is less lithium available. And without lithium to make the massive battery packs that power even small EVs such as the Model 3 and Model Y (both about the same overall size as a Honda Civic sedan) the EV is a no-go.

This may prove to be the EV’s Achilles Heel, too. Lithium batteries have a number of advantages over lead-acid, sodium and other batteries as power storage devices for EVs but one of these is not lower cost. As EV production – goaded by mandates and subsidies – increases, so will the cost of lithium and thus, of EVs that use lithium-based battery packs.

This being what has come of putting all their EV eggs in one basket.

At any rate, the Model Y is as expensive as a Porsche Cayman – and very few people can afford a Porsche Cayman. The difference is Porsche caters to a small audience of people who have the means to buy a Porsche, whereas Tesla wants a larger audience of people – the taxpayers – to “help” a small audience of people buy its cars.

“Messed up,” Tweeted Elon the other day when it was revealed that the two-row/five-passenger version of the Model Y would no longer be eligible for the revised federal tax subsidy of $7,500 that was put back into effect as part of the Biden Thing’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Why?

Because the two-row Model Y is considered to be a passenger car by the federal apparat and eligibility for the subsidy does not apply to that category of vehicle if the MSRP is higher than $55,000. The reason for that being the perceived obnoxiousness of paying people to buy a car with a price higher than that.

But isn’t it obnoxious, regardless?

The average working stiff who is trying to live within his means and keep his fifteen-year-old non-electric car going – because that’s all he can afford – is forced to pay taxes that are then used to subsidize the purchase of a brand-new $55,000 luxury-performance car – or an $80,000 SUV (eligible under the Thing’s decree) that happens to be an electric car or SUV.

Why are these vehicles still being subsidized, at all?

It has been fifteen years.

We were told EVs would become more rather than less affordable once they had been given a chance to get their legs under them, so to speak. By which was meant subsidize their manufacture and sale. Kind of like paying people to buy Pontiac Azteks in the hope that GM would build a better Aztek. But why would GM do that if the government were subsidizing Azteks?

GM would likely still be building them.

In fact, the price of every EV save the Chevy Bolt – a subcompact that is practical only for commuting – has increased by thousands of dollars over the course of just the past year. Partially, this is because of the cost of lithium going up, a function of the increased demand for it and the cost/difficulty involved in refining enough of it to meet demand.

But the real cost-driver is . . . the subsidies, themselves.

They have encouraged a cost-no-object profligacy that encourages EV designers to focus on performance and luxury, two things at odds with affordability.

The Model Y being one of many “Exhibit A’s”.

This little extruded plastic electric crossover does 0-60 in about 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 MPH. Can anyone provide a legitimate reason why such gratuitous speed ought to be subsidized?

Mark the italicized text.

No reasonable person objects to the person who wants a speedy car – and has the means to pay for it. He has earned the indulgence. Just the same as the person who worked hard all day and decides that, tonight, he’s going to have himself a nice steak for dinner is entitled to have a nice steak dinner.

The objection – arises from the outrage of the person whose pockets are picked to pay for the other guy’s steak dinner – or luxury-performance EV. Salt in the wound being the insufferable smugness of the affluent welfare-recipient claiming virtue for  driving around in what you and others helped pay for.

Take away the welfare-for-the-affluent and maybe there would be affordable/practical EVs.

These would no doubt take longer than 4.4 seconds to get to 60 and would probably not be capable of achieving 150 MPH top speeds. But they would also not have starting prices of $66,000 like the Model Y does.

Or even the almost $50,000 that a Model 3 costs.

They would have to compete with practical/economical cars and so might end up being more like that, too.

EVs have had fifteen years to show us that they can reduce the cost of driving. Instead, they have shown us how “ludicrously” quick they can be. How features-laden and fancy. All of which they are able to do for the same reason the federal government is able to do essentially whatever it wants.

That being because both have endless access to other people’s money.

. . .

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting that lithium has medical uses but, it’s being mined to run cars.

    I guess that since we’re using massive amounts of prime agricultural land for corn to burn in gas tanks it’s just a natural progression.

  2. I see a few Azteks still rolling around in my part of Austin on a regular basis. One owner has even done a complete “Breaking Bad” restoration on his vehicle.

    I’ll bet that the Breaking Bad Aztek is still rolling 10 years from now when many of the Teslas have gone to EV heaven.

  3. Hey, Eric,
    I saw one of these cars:
    https://www.toyota.com/mirai/2022/
    parked on the street about two blocks from my house, in a modest neighborhood in western Riverside County, CA.
    Not cheap:
    $49,500 MSRP
    approximately the cost of a Tesla Model 3
    Specs:
    Claimed range: 402 mi.
    Fuel capacity: 5.6 kg H2
    Refueling time: 5 min.
    Curb weight: 4255 lb.
    Power: 182 hp
    Torque: 300 lb-ft
    0-60 MPH: 9.2 sec.
    Warranties:
    Power train:
    60 mo. /60,000 mi.
    Fuel cell related:
    96 mo. / 100,000 mi

    Using current California pricing,
    87 octane gasoline ~ $6.00/gal
    compressed H2 ~ $16.50/ kg

    402 mi. / 5.6 kg = 71.79 mi./kg
    Fuel cost = $16.50 / 71.79 = $0.23 / mi
    Compare to gasoline: ($6.00/gal) / ($0.23/mi) = 26 mi/gal
    to break even on fuel economy.

    No data, but I am betting there is no “cold weather range penalty” with compressed H2, as you, and others, have established there most definitely is with BEV (battery-electric vehicles).

    Also using California terminology, if the claimed range is accurate, you could drive from LA to San Francisco without stopping to refuel, unlike a BEV, where you would likely need to recharge once , for ~45 minutes, enroute.

    Is the energy industry seriously interested in this technology? You bet they are.
    Here is what Shell had to say about it in 2018:
    https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/htac_dec18_06_munster.pdf
    Notice who else is interested:
    https://h2fcp.org/members

    I don’t have $50,000 to spend on an automobile, but evidently some people do.
    For that price, it appears to me the Toyota Mirai leaves the Tesla in the weeds, especially as regards long term cost of ownership.

    Perhaps you could get one to test drive, and compare it to a Tesla?

    • Adi,

      Hydrogen has always been a decent option. The primary issue being the fuel cells, whose proton-exchange membranes have a limited lifespan. But I think a 100,000 mile warrantee is a definite milestone.

      I’ve oft thought that simply converting existing ICE engines over to hydrogen was also a viable option, though they’ll be less powerful and have less range than they have using energy-dense gasoline.

      The primary attraction for me is the possibility of producing hydrogen fuel on site using solar electricity. Solar panels are cheap now, but the Sun isn’t always shining (especially lately). Hydrogen could be used for long-term energy storage, to be retrieved on those rainy days, and also used in a vehicle.

      • Hi, BaDnOn,

        Regardless of how this plays out ITLR, it seems to me a basic principle that any type of “portable energy” will involve *some* type of chemistry.

        News flash to electrical engineers: batteries are a type of chemistry (electrochemistry, to be sure, but chemistry nonetheless, i.e., the physical transformation of matter at the level of atoms and molecules).

        As we both know, there are multiple ways to produce hydrogen, as well as multiple ways to use it as fuel. It makes no sense to me to tote around half a ton or more of batteries (which can be complicated devices, and which also have a limited lifetime) when a few kilograms of H2 can store an equivalent amount of energy.

        Just sayin’…

  4. All of the sudden there’s a run on lithium. Or, perhaps, the Chinese are using more of it in-country for their own electrics (that are a replacement/upgrade for 2 cycle engines and scooters, not US style V6 saloon cars and SUVs) instead of exporting to the US and EU. Or perhaps the issue is LG Chem’s troubles with getting good yields out of their production line (they had a massive recall in 2021 for their Chevy Bolt and home battery packs, maybe the new process isn’t as efficient). That pretty much leaves Elon’s Gigafactories in the US and all their production is slated for cars and Powerwalls.

    Someone in DC will come to the same conclusion and blame China as part of the on-going trade war. This is how hot wars start.

    The thing is, the lithium “shortage” is just a response to the highly regulated and controlled marketplace we live in. Plenty never made anyone any money, so bid up the futures contracts, then bring in the EPA to limit new exploration and mineral rights leases. Add in a little ESG action to prevent US and EU companies “exploiting” foreign markets too. Cha-ching!

    Personally I’m looking forward to when we start seeing a shortage of sky prawns…

  5. Years ago i asked a far left family member why the blue collar workers who never went to college should be forced to pay for the college education of white collar workers who earn substantially more than them (student loan forgiveness). Her response was that it was the way that the social compact worked. Apparently that now has expanded to owning a Tesla.

    • Landru,
      “Her response was that it was the way that the social compact worked.”
      Works for HER.
      A compact, or contract if one prefers, is a thing voluntarily engaged in. I did not volunteer to engage in it. I have a gun held to my head forcing me to play.

      • Reply to John Kable:

        That’s what’s I thought. Remember her in my will or just leave her a quarter ($0.25 to be precise) and tell her to call some one who cares is the real question?

    • It’s all very simple. You see, by “investing” in someone else’s kid you benefit from their increased productivity… LOL.

      Besides, if “society” doesn’t pay for everyone’s college education no one will be able to afford college and the colleges will go out of business! Just ignore all that football revenue, endowments, patent portfolios, logo licensing, publishing, etc. That doesn’t count!

    • ‘why blue collar workers who never went to college should be forced to pay for the college education of white collar workers’ — Landru

      Setting aside the fedgov’s interest rate subsidy, a college loan that has to be paid back at least is a minor form of welfare.

      Then ‘Joe Biden’ destroyed that principle by gratuitously offering borrowers tens of thousands in loan forgiveness — illustrating again that Windsock Joe has no scruples and will sink to any level of depravity to buy votes or line his own pockets.

      ‘Joe’ based his executive order on a 20-year-old law targeted at returning Iraq war vets. Courts already have issued injunctions suspending ‘Biden’s’ executive order. Probably the hacks in black will formally shoot it down later this year.

      May 2023 be the year when senile, bribe-taking ‘Joe Biden’ finally meets his downfall. His seedy squatting in the White House is a contemptuous rebuke to each and every one of us.

      • Looks like my nat gas bill this month will be ~ triple what it was a year ago.
        FedGov says we have <10% inflation.
        Appears to me GovCo is innumerate, or else prevaricating.

        Either way, FJB, and the mule he rode in on.

        Effective today, and until further notice, I will not use nat gas for space heating.
        Time to price some firewood. Either that, or cut down a eucalyptus tree (mine or someone else's). Eucalyptus oil burns very hot. Eucalyptus species, native to Australia, were planted in CA as steamship fuel, and are now ubiquitous throughout the state.

          • >Food is the big one…
            Indeed it is.
            For those who have not yet done so, it is time to re-discover the old ways of preserving food without the use of electricity. You never know…

            One of those methods is pressure canning. Check it out, if you haven’t. A freezer full of food becomes a pile of smelly rubbish if the power goes out for any extended duration.

            When I was a young boy growing up in Plainsboro, New Jersey (then a rural agricultural area) it was standard procedure for families to have a cellar full of home canned vegetables and fruits from their own garden. Sometimes the old ways are best…

    • Hopefully, your far left family members have all been double vaxxed and triple boosted, or whatever multiple it’s up to now.

      It’s for their protection!!!

      And that social contract???

      It’s ran out and expired, sometime between 1861 and 1913.

  6. http://www.stationgossip.com/2023/01/german-police-officers-chase-tesla-on.html

    Police attempted to stop the Tesla, but the vehicle refused to pull over. Instead, the car traveled at a constant speed and “kept the same distance from the patrol car in front.” When BSP officers pulled up next to the Tesla driver’s side window, they saw the driver – identified as a 45-year-old male – with his eyes closed and his seat reclined.

    “This strengthened the suspicion that he had left the controls to autopilot and had fallen asleep,” the BSP said in a statement. Further investigation by law enforcement found that the driver had placed a “so-called steering wheel weight in the footwell” of the vehicle’s driver’s side. According to the police’s statement, the device “is attached to the steering wheel to trick the vehicle’s safety system by pretending that your hand is on the wheel.”

  7. “I always invest my own money in the companies that I create. I don’t believe in the whole thing of just using other people’s money. I don’t think that’s right. I’m not going to ask other people to invest in something if I’m not prepared to do so myself.”

    Elon Musk.

    (These pains me as a SpaceX fanboy, btw)

  8. This story doesn’t quit and doesn’t make a lick of sense: the driver of a Tesla Y is charged with attempted murder after him and his family survive a 300′ drop down “Devils Slide”, on PCH1. Watch the video – his neighbors don’t believe he would do such a thing. I say what does make sense is that the car drove itself off the cliff, hacked?

    Why would a Doctor with a really good high paying job and perfect family, try to commit suicide and murder his family.

    No one in his situation does that.

    https://conandaily.com/2023/01/04/dr-dharmesh-patel-biography-10-things-about-pasadena-california-radiologist/

    He lives in Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California with his wife Neha Bubna Patel and their two children.
    He is a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Pasadena. Neha is a teacher at the Polytechnic School in Pasadena.
    He and Neha met while they were both students at the University of California-San Diego in San Diego, California. 
    On May 3, 2008, he and Neha got married at the Mitchell Katz Winery in Livermore, California.
    On June 4, 2008, he graduated from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
    In April 2013, he was issued his medical license in California. It is set to expire in June 2024.
    In 2015, Neha gave birth to their daughter.
    In 2018, Neha gave birth to their son.
    At around 10.50 a.m. on January 2, 2023, he, Neha and their two children were found 250 feet down a cliffside along the Pacific Coast Highway at Devil’s Slide in California. He allegedly intentionally launching his four-door, white Tesla Model Y sedan with his family inside off the cliff. They all survived.
    He and Neha were both 41 years old when he was arrested on January 2, 2023. He was charged with attempted murder and child abuse.

    ——————

    If you all remember, self driving cars can be hacked. Do you all remember Michael Hastings?, a young journalist with the story of the century about the Clintons (as big as Watergate), is killed when his Mercedes drives at high speed into a tree.

    And no skid marks.

    And said he was not suicidal.

    ——————-

    FoxNews: Mere hours before the fiery car crash that took his life, journalist Michael Hastings sent an email to friends and colleagues urging them to get legal counsel if they were approached by federal authorities.

    “Hey [redacted] the Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates,'” read the message dated June 17 at 12:56 p.m. from Hastings to editors at the website BuzzFeed, where he worked.

    “Perhaps if the authorities arrive ‘BuzzFeed GQ’, er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.”

    Hastings added that he was onto a big story and that he would, “need to go off the radat [radar] for a bit,” according to KTLA in Los Angeles.

    Fifteen hours later, in the early morning of June 18, Hastings was driving a Mercedes C250 at a high speed when he lost control in Los Angeles’ Hancock Park neighborhood, causing the car to fishtail and crash into a palm tree. The impact caused the car to burst into flames, trapping the 33-year-old inside.

    • “Why would a Doctor with a really good high paying job and perfect family, try to commit suicide and murder his family.

      No one in his situation does that.

      He lives in Pasadena”

      His elderly neighbor smoking his Model Y with her 413 Max Wedge drove him to it.

      https://yewtu.be/watch?v=6MhiHZvq8zc

  9. Ev’s make up less than 3% of vehicle sales after 15 years on the market (that is a huge market flop…lol),

    ATTENTION: and 80+% of former ev owners say they will not buy one again…

  10. But Eric, they have to be subsidized, or there would be no market for them to justify mass production! Apparently regulating their ICV competition out of the market isn’t cutting it. Nor is our propaganda.
    Subsidy usually favors those who don’t really need it, but this is absurd. These are people who would descend into a caterwauling fit if they had to live on TWICE the median income.
    All for the sake of a computer model that says the seas should have boiled away by now. Or at least ice should no longer exist in nature.
    I don’t think I’m from this planet, and I want to go home.

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