If you had any doubt that the car – any car – is fast becoming a luxury item, consider the pending battery-powered replacement for the VW Passat, which was (it’s already been cancelled) VW’s largest sedan and one that the people could afford.
It listed for $27,575 to start before it was cancelled last year – and for that you got a mid-sized family car with more than 600 miles of highway range that enabled routine long-distance travel the people have taken for granted in this country since at least the 1950s.
Behold the ID.7 – the name VW has chosen for the Passat’s battery-powered replacement. It will list for about $50,000 to start, according to reports – putting it out of reach of most of the people who could have bought a Passat.
For that sum, the handful of people who can afford (and want) such a device will get one that might go 300 miles – or half as far as the Passat – on a fully charged battery, but only if you don’t drive it at the highway speeds the people have been used to driving since the 1950s.
And assuming it’s not too cold.
Also assuming you have the app – and the card – to charge the recharge.
One of the greasily hidden things about these devices is that you can only fill ‘er up – so to speak – by using a credit card tied to an app on your phone. The tooth-achingly mischaracterized “fast” chargers – where you wait at least five times as long to do what the people have been used to being able to do in five minutes or less since the 1950s – do not take cash. In order to use them – assuming they work at all – you are obliged to use a credit card tied to an app on your phone.
The good news is that if you pay VW thousand of dollars more, you’ll be able to go a little farther – though not nearly as far as the Passat could go without costing you a penny extra, as its 650-plus-miles of highway driving range came standard.
The ID.7 will be available with an optional, larger battery that can store enough electricity to power the device for maybe 435 miles – assuming you don’t drive 75 on the highway in the winter, with the heater and defroster running.
The people are not likely to want such a device – and (per above) few will be able to afford it, regardless. Which is both the point of all of this, as well as cruelly ironic. The point part is obvious. It’s self-evident that the people – most of them – cannot afford to spend $20,000 more for a car, which is what we’re talking about, Passat (RIP) vs. ID.7, leaving aside the costs of losing half the driving range and all the time they’d be spending at “fast” chargers . . . assuming they have the electronic money without which they would not be able to pay for a charge.
Assuming they own a single family home that has a garage – devices don’t do well sitting outside, in the cold (and sun) – and an electrical panel that can support a new 240 V circuit on its own 30 amp breaker so as to be able to charge the device at home in less than a couple of days’ waiting.
Assuming they can afford to have their home wired up with two such circuits – or own just one shared device.
Most home panels cannot support two additional 240 volt circuits without major upgrading that cost thousands, which of course most people cannot afford. Ergo, there would only be one place at most homes for people to plug in a device to charge it in less than a couple of days. This is the other way devices will reduce the number of cars a middle/working class average family will be able to have, because it would be pointless to have more than one if only one is regularly drivable on account of only being able to charge one up at home in less than a couple of days.
The cruel irony is that VW stands for volks (the people’s) wagen (car). Which VWs once were. Witness the $27,475 Passat (RIP). Witness the $22k diesel-powered Jetta – a family sedan for the people that could travel nearly 700 miles on 15 gallons of fuel. It’s no longer available, either – and not because VW “cheated” on federal emissions certification tests. That was merely the excuse used to force VW to transition into the rich people’s car.
Cars are to become luxury items – for the few who can afford (and want) them. The people are to be pushed out of cars, by making them unaffordable and impractical for most people.
Perhaps the cruelest irony of all is that VW might have made a case to the people that no people were demonstrably harmed by its $22k (and 700 mile range) diesel-powered cars, which were in fact exactly as clean advertised.
A literally fractional increase in the “emissions” of oxides of nitrogen – and only when the vehicle’s accelerator pedal was held to the floorboards – isn’t “dirty.” It is merely not compliant – and on that hangs all the difference between a car that people can afford and the devices most people can’t and wouldn’t want, regardless.
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