Tag Archives: electric cars

The Ugly Math: GM, Ford, other Legacy Automakers Throw Hundreds of Billions at EVs, Only Auto Segment that’s Growing. Tesla Made Them Do It, by Wolf Richter

The question remains: if electric utilities right now are having trouble supplying enough juice in places like Europe and China, where does the extra juice come from for millions of EVs? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

It’s a zero-sum game that’s eating up a huge amount of cash. But Electric Utilities are loving it.

In the press release for its investor conference today, GM said that it plans to double its annual revenues by the end of the decade as it transitions to EVs. In terms of the math, 8% in price increases a year for nine years would do that without having to jump through the hoops of selling more vehicles. GM’s average transaction price in Q3 in the US jumped by 20% year-over-year. So…  I don’t see this statement as sign of an increase in volume, but an increase in prices.

GM confirmed that logic by pointing out that it expects its margins to increase as it transitions to EVs. It said that half its manufacturing capacity in North America and China will be capable of producing EVs by 2030.

Sales growth in this industry is obtained by selling higher-priced vehicles. But volume growth, in terms of the number of vehicles sold, is hard to come by in the auto industry. There are some developing economies where sales are still growing. But there has been no growth in developed economies in two decades.

In the US, sales peaked in 2000 at 17.4 million vehicles, then fell off, then plunged to 10.4 million vehicles in 2009, and then recovered to hit 17.5 million vehicles in 2016, and that was it. Sales have been falling ever since. Last year, the industry sold 14.6 million vehicles. This year, may be around 15 million vehicles.

But the one segment that is growing in leaps and bounds is EVs. And that’s what GM’s investor conference was about – creating investor excitement about this “transition to EVs,” from a Chevrolet crossover “priced around $30,000,” to the high-end Hummer EV pickup truck with 1,000 hp.

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ICs for Uncle, by Eric Peters

Drive as they say, not as they drive. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Internal combustion-powered vehicles aren’t going away. They are being taken away – from us. But not from them – the ones taking them away from us.

Those people – government people – will continue to drive (or be driven around in) the gas-guzzliest internal combustion-powered vehicles conceivable – a literal handful of specially built Chevy Suburbans designed for the elite.

The latter being a misnomer – as is almost axiomatically the case with anything having to do with government.

They are “elite” in the sense of being a few, certainly. But they are not elite in the sense that Jefferson meant – as regards talent. Assuming you exclude their relentless, pathological urge to control others and their olympian cognitive dissonance as regards what they say vs. what they do.

Especially to us.

As they are doing with regard to forcing us into electric cars – while they are driven around in heavily armored and V8-combustion-engine-powered Suburbans, like the ones that will be built for them per the $36.4 million contract just awarded to Government Motors toward that end. The “carbon footprint” of these full-sized SUVs will be almost as big as their price tag. The contract specifies that 200 be built annually, beginning in 2023, through 2032.

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Electric Social Distancing, by Eric Peters

When a car company tells you to keep your car at least 50 feet away from other cars lest your car’s battery explodes and starts a fire on a nearby car, prudence dictates get a new car. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

GM has just advised owners of the Chevy Bolt electric car to park the thing at least 50 feet away from other cars, so as to avoid burning them to cinders – along with the auto-igniting Bolt.

What’s fascinating about this isn’t the advisory. It is the complete lack of “action” – to use the word so favored by government and those who reverence government – by the government.

What does it say about a government that lays claim to being The Great Protector – the issuer of fatwas and ukases with regard to safety – that it has issued no fatwas or ukases with regard to cars that are so dangerous the company that makes them has issued an advisory that they should be isolated by 50 feet from anything they might cremate?

The dissonance is halting.

Until one realizes it’s not dissonant. It is consonant  with every action of government – which merely uses the pretext of “safety” to further the thing that defines government, that being the exercise of power.

Once one understand this, one understands everything.

It begins to make sense that the same government which issued fatwas and ukases requiring every vehicle be equipped with multiple air bags – in the name of safety – not only didn’t lift a finger to take cars with dangerously defective air bags off the road, it refused to grant permission to the owners of the cars to have these known-to-be-dangerous devices even temporarily disabled, until a non-defective replacement could be installed.

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The Fire Sale, by Eric Peters

If electric cars [vaccines] are so good, why does the government have to pay [force] people to buy [take] them? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Apparently, it’s not sufficient to pay people $7,500 to “buy” an electric car – using your money (as a taxpayer) to facilitate the transaction. Democrats want to increase the amount that taxpayers are forced to subsidize each purchase of an American-made electric car to $12,500.

This will “benefit” America, you see. Or rather, some Americans – at the expense of other Americans. Including Americans who pay full freight for their non-electric Toyota or Honda Japanese (or German) car and then pay more taxes to make up for the tax kickback used to “help” their neighbor buy his American-brand electric car.

That’s how you “build back better,” apparently.

To put what’s on offer in some perspective:   

$12,500 amounts to a near 40 percent “discount” off the MSRP – the sticker price – of an electric car such as the Chevy Bolt,  some 60,000 of which were recently recalled due to their tendency to auto-immolate, which is a function of their being electric cars. Which are all fire-prone because of the nature of the things – because of the inherent susceptibility of the thousands of individual cells in a single EV battery pack to damage in accident or deterioration over time or on account of a manufacturing defect.

All it takes being one damaged/defective/deteriorated cell to trigger thermal runaway – a short circuit – and a searing chemical fire that is faster spreading than a gas fire, hotter than a gas fire and – unlike a gas fire – is capable of spontaneous re-ignition after it has been put out.

Sometimes, several times.

It is why some wrecking yards have giant sarcophagi to douse and house crisped EVs in, so as to assure they do not catch fire again – and crisp the entire lot.

Electric cars are also inherently fire-prone due to the stress on the battery pack of deep discharging followed by “fast” recharging. If the charging circuitry doesn’t keep things balanced just so, if a cell within the pack is dendritically challenged, if the cooling system doesn’t work – it’s hot zig, you’re all fired up.

Or maybe just your house.

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Creating Problems When There’s a Solution, by Eric Peters

Hybrids have a lot of advantages over pure electric cars, but they don’t get electrics’ hype and PR. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

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If something works but its use is discouraged it is safe to assume something else is wanted.

Hybrid cars fall into this category. They work. They address every issue brought forth by the people pushing for the full electrification of transportation – in a way that works, without imposing what does not work. Yet they are being discouraged – even forbidden – while that which does not work (the full electric car) is being pushed, hard.

Why?

Because something else is wanted.

If the issue is “emissions,” whether of the kind that contribute to air quality problems or which are asserted to contribute to “climate change,” then hybrids work. They have small gas engines, it is true. But they are small  – which is just the point. They burn much less gas because they are small and because they are often not burning any gas at all – as when the small gas engine is not running, which is a third to half or more of the time – and so producing substantially less gas, including of carbon dioxide. Less gas – overall – then the typical full-electric car, which (to get people’s minds off that which does not work) emphasizes speed, which burns a lot of electricity – which requires more generating as well as storage capacity, which results in the outpouring of more gas, just not directly – as if that makes a difference to the “climate.”

If the concern is gas rather than politics.

An efficient hybrid like the Toyota Prius – which does not emphasize Ludicrous Speed – consumes less energy overall than a “plaid” Tesla electric car, which does emphasize its Ludicrous Speed – and which, for that reason, is not efficient. Nothing that uses excessive energy to deliver extravagant performance is efficient, by definition.

If the issue is range – and it is a huge issue with electric cars, especially as a function of the next/related issue (recharge times) then hybrids work. They have more range than most non-electric cars – typically 500-600 miles – giving them an advantage over both non-electric and electric cars, as opposed to electric cars being a disadvantage relative to both, as few can travel farther than 250 miles on a full charge.

Most cannot travel even that far – and will travel even less far when driven in winter, when it is cold – and the heat is used, which uses electricity. Or in summer, when it is hot – and the AC is used, which also uses electricity. Most people are unaware of these deficits because most electric cars have been sold in states where it is warm, consistently. Not-too-cold and not-too-hot, year-round – like California – where the range is not greatly affected by electrically powered accessories like AC and heat that aren’t used much because they’re not needed, much.

Ask someone who  lives in Minnesota how much it costs to run electric baseboard heaters or heat pumps in January. Or someone who lives in Phoenix, about the AC in summer.

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Toyota Warns (Again) About Electrifying All Autos. Is Anyone Listening? by Bryan Preston

Oh, what does Toyota know about automobiles? From Bryan Preston at pjmedia.com:

AP Feed
Depending on how and when you count, Japan’s Toyota is the world’s largest automaker. According to Wheels, Toyota and Volkswagen vie for the title of the world’s largest, with each taking the crown from the other as the market moves. That’s including Volkswagen’s inherent advantage of sporting 12 brands versus Toyota’s four. Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bugatti, and Bentley are included in the Volkswagen brand family.

GM, America’s largest automaker, is about half Toyota’s size thanks to its 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring. Toyota is actually a major car manufacturer in the United States; in 2016 it made about 81% of the cars it sold in the U.S. right here in its nearly half a dozen American plants. If you’re driving a Tundra, RAV4, Camry, or Corolla it was probably American-made in a red state. Toyota was among the first to introduce gas-electric hybrid cars into the market, with the Prius twenty years ago. It hasn’t been afraid to change the car game.

All of this is to point out that Toyota understands both the car market and the infrastructure that supports it perhaps better than any other manufacturer on the planet. It hasn’t grown its footprint through acquisitions, as Volkswagen has, and it hasn’t undergone bankruptcy and bailout as GM has. Toyota has grown by building reliable cars for decades.

When Toyota offers an opinion on the car market, it’s probably worth listening to. This week, Toyota reiterated an opinion it has offered before. That opinion is straightforward: The world is not yet ready to support a fully electric auto fleet.

Toyota’s head of energy and environmental research Robert Wimmer testified before the Senate this week, and said: “If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance, and affordability.”

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Choice Antipathy, by Eric Peters

Hostility against free choice continues to mount as our betters decide what’s best for us. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

A long, long, time ago – none apparently remember – people could decide to buy an electric car if that’s what they wanted and weren’t punished if they didn’t want one. They were free to choose.

What a concept!

Americans have, to a sad extent, forgotten what that was like and many are actively hostile to the concept for reasons that are psychologically interesting.

A psychologically healthy person does not care what kind of car his neighbor drives, provided his neighbor pays for it. A psychologically disturbed person cares very much what kind of car his neighbor drives and wishes to make him pay for it. He seeks to punish him for driving a car he does not like, as via exorbitant taxes sicced on his neighbor’s car or the fuel it uses or perhaps restrictions on where he is allowed to drive it.

Yes, of course – there is the putative nostrum about non-electric cars “changing” the “climate”  – a transparently non-specific, non-objective assertion that is of a piece with the one made about people who aren’t sick possibly spreading a sickness they might have. It is a wonderfully elastic, open-ended and difficult to “deny” thesis – which is precisely how it serves its intended purpose.

If it is accepted that vague assertions are synonymous with facts.

The “climate” is “changing”? How, exactly? How much, exactly? It is because people are not driving electric cars? How, precisely? Prove that people who are not driving electric cars are “changing” the “climate” and then prove that this “change” is something that is causing harm.

No vague if scary assertions, please. One can assert all kinds of things. As for instance 3 million dead from the ‘Rona. As for instance “asymptomatic” spread. If assertions, however scary, are to be the justification for impositions than any imposition can be justified by painting a scary picture – as Al Gore did, literally – in his now-ancient movie that asserted we’d be under water by now or at least treading it.

A fact, on the other hand, is objective. Something is  – or it is not. It did – or did not – happen. Like the coastlines going glub-glub-glub under water, for instance. There is no need to argue about it because it just is (or isn’t) and that is the elegance – and justice of it.

If it can be shown – if it is a fact – that not driving an electric car “changes” the “climate” in a way that is harmful then it is not unreasonable to favor it. But it is the definition of unreasonable to demand it when there is nothing more behind it than assertions based on projections; on scary pictures like Al Gore’s movie and Greta Thundberg’s twisted visage.

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It’s Time to Unplug the Hype Over Electric Vehicles, by Robert Bryce

When the government and all its acolyte hype something, be it electric cars or Covid-19 vaccinations, check under the hood extensively before you buy. From Robert Bryce at realclearenergy.org:

For more than a century, the promise of electric vehicles (EVs) has been parked just beyond the nearest traffic light. In 1901, the Los Angeles Times declared “The electric automobile will quickly and easily take precedence over all other” types of motor vehicles. “If the claims which Mr. Edison makes for his new battery be not overstated, there is not much doubt that it will make a fortune for somebody.”

In 1911, The New York Times declared that the EV “has long been recognized as the ideal solution” because it “is cleaner and quieter” and “much more economical.” And yet today, 110 years after EVs were dubbed the Next Big Thing, they account for just 2% of new car sales in the U.S.

Yes, EVs are cool. And yes, sales of Teslas and other all-electric cars are rising at a fast clip. But despite lots of government push, there still isn’t enough consumer pull. Indeed, the history of the electric car is a century of failure tailgating failure.

Consider California. In 1990, state regulators mandated 10% of the cars sold in the state be zero-emission vehicles by 2003. The state now offers up to $7,000 in rebates to EV buyers. In addition, EV drivers can use California’s HOV lanes even if they have only one person in their car. Despite these incentives, only about 6% of the cars in California today have an electric plug.

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Reality Check: Professor Pens Letter Explaining Natural Resource Drain Created By “Net Zero Emission” Targets, by Tyler Durden

Swapping electric cars for internal combustion motors only shifts natural resource and pollution problems, it doesn’t eliminate or even ameliorate them. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

While the idea of implementing net zero emissions by certain deadlines has sounded great for the companies, countries and states that have set targets, the reality of making it happen is slightly more difficult.

That’s what the U.K. is finding out after Natural History Museum Head of Earth Sciences Prof Richard Herrington penned a letter to the Committee on Climate Change on the vast amount of natural resources that will be necessary to make the conversion. The letter was delivered to Baroness Brown, who chairs the Adaption Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change.

In addition to noting that the U.K. would need a 20% increase in UK-generated electricity, the release also notes that “to meet UK electric car targets for 2050 we would need to produce just under two times the current total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and at least half of the world’s copper production.”

The letter reads:

The urgent need to cut CO2 emissions to secure the future of our planet is clear, but there are huge implications for our natural resources not only to produce green technologies like electric cars but keep them charged.

Over the next few decades, global supply of raw materials must drastically change to accommodate not just the UK’s transformation to a low carbon economy, but the whole world’s. Our role as scientists is to provide the evidence for how best to move towards a zero-carbon economy – society needs to understand that there is a raw material cost of going green and that both new research and investment is urgently needed for us to evaluate new ways to source these. This may include potentially considering sources much closer to where the metals are to be used.”

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Electric Elite, by The Zman

The Electric Elite are going to lead us into their conception of Utopia, which will be hell on earth for the rest of us. From The Zman at theburningplatform.com:

Most everyone has looked down at the fuel gauge and suddenly realized the tank is very close to empty. Maybe it is the idiot light going on as you pass the sign that reads “last stop for food or fuel for X miles.” The worst one is when this happens in a rural area or at night. The prospect of being stranded on the side of the road for a very long time quickly crowds out other thoughts. It is a terrible feeling. Almost all of us are conditioned to make sure this never happens.

Running out of gas used to be a common thing in America. In the early days of the automobile, care did not have a gas gauge and gas stations did not always have gas, so it was a common scene. The first “gas gauge” was a marked stick the driver would stick into the tank. Until very recent, gas stations used this method to test how much water was in their tanks. Eventually, more sophisticated solutions were invented and then manufacturers install them at the factory.

Running out of gas is not very common these days. For starters, we have gas stations everywhere people live. They are about 120-thousand gas stations in America. If you live in an urban or suburban area, finding a gas station is not a challenge. The cars are also vastly more efficient today than the old days. Even sports cars get over 20 miles per gallon, so when the light comes on, you have about 40 miles to find gas. It is why it is very rare to see someone walking down the road with a gas can.

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