Tag Archives: electric cars

Making “Investments” in EVs, by Eric Peters

The car industry is all gung ho on electric vehicles…if they can get the government to subsidize them, because their customers aren’t quite as gung ho. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

The verbiage is interesting. As the country relies ever more on force to coerce, it resorts to soft language to hide what is going on.

For example, this news story about what the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – which is the lobby for the car industry – is up to. The Alliance published an open letter to nine governors of states it wants to emulate California’s policy of coercively – legislatively – force-feeding electric cars down the throats of a largely uninterested and unwilling buying public.

It’s not put that way in the letter, of course. Nor the news articles about it – the journalists who write them having learned to parrot the oleaginous verbiage of coercion, whether consciously or not.

The open letter – and the news stories – talk about “encouraging the governors to follow California’s lead” and the need to “commit resources” and make “investments” in electric cars – because of course the free market isn’t interested in committing its resources or making such investments. So what is actually meant by the verbiage is that the car industry – speaking as one through its lobbying arm – wants to see laws and regulations like those in force in California imposed by force (how else are laws ad regulations imposed?)  in other states.

The reasoning is perfectly understandable.

California is the only electric car “market” – and it is only a “market” because California has artificially created one, via the force and coercion of the California General Assembly and regulatory apparat, including the infamous California Air Resources Board. They have issued various fatwas mandating that electric cars be manufactured and “sold” – even if at a loss. The car companies have thus been forced to commit lots of their resources toward the making of electric cars (or the buying of offsetting “credits” from that electric car carny, Elon Musk) even if they can’t make any money making them.

To continue reading: Making “Investments” in EVs

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How to “Sell” an Electric Car . . . by Eric Peters

That most people have to be bribed (“incentivized” in government-speak) to buy an electric car shouldn’t stop the government from continuing to promote them. And if enough people still won’t buy, force them. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Electric cars are a great deal  . . . when you get someone else to pay for them. This appears to be the only way to convince anyone to buy one.

BMW recently offered a $54-per-month lease deal on the i3, its $44,450 (to start) electric car. BMW is literally paying people to take one off their hands – and for those who do, it’s one hell of a bargain.

BMW is not the only company selling electric cars this way. They are allbeing sold this way.

Every single one of them is a money-loser . . .  for those making them.

The problem, of course, is that you can’t stay in business for very long paying people to “buy” your stuff. Cue the infamously frank comment by Fiat’s head, Sergio Marchionne – who publicly urged people not to “buy” the electric version of the Fiat 500, which he admitted cost his company $14,000 per sale.

And yet, Fiat continues to make the 500e – just as BMW continues to make the i3. The market (and economics) be damned.

The absurdity of this would be the subject of national laughter (and outrage, in the “environmental community”) if the car companies were paying people to take home $45,000 SUVs for $54 a month. Someone might raise their hand and ask why the car companies, in such a case, don’t just stop building SUVs they can’t get rid of without resorting to paying people to take them off their hands?

Shareholders would gather pitchforks. Heads would roll.     

The usual rule has been: If a car doesn’t sell, you stop making it. The infamous Edsel comes to mind. More recently, the Pontiac Aztek. Imagine the belly laughs if GM refused to throw in the towel, despite obvious lack of interest in the dumpster-on-wheels and just kept on stamping them out – resorting to ever-more-pathetic “deals” in order to unload them.

There would be calls for men in white outfits to visit the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit – which is GM’s HQ. Take the people on the top floor away for a rest. Come along now. It’ll be all right . . .

To continue reading: How to “Sell” an Electric Car . . .

Without Help From Uncle, by Eric Peters

Would you consider a car that averages 80 MPG and retails for less than $8,000? Too bad the government won’t let you buy it. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Why don’t cars that make sense make it?

Five years ago, Paul Elio bought up a shuttered GM assembly plant In Shreveport, Louisiana with the intention of using it as home base for the manufacture of a low-cost/high-economy car – the kind of car no other car company makes anymore. Instead of $12k and maybe 40 MPG on the highway – the best you can get in a new car sold by any other manufacturer – the Elio would average at least 80 MPG and sell for less than $8,000.

Such a car makes all kinds of sense.

At a stroke, it would cut the cost of getting around by car in half – minimally. Keep in mind that the least-expensive new car being manufactured right now, the one referenced above, is the Nissan Versa. Most new cars cost significantly more. The average price paid for a new car is currently well over $30,000 – and the average new car averages a great deal less than 40 MPG, on the highway or otherwise.

It would also render many “alternative” fuel cars irrelevant; make them look even sillier as economic and functional and evenenvironmental propositions than they already do. The Elio’s “carbon footprint,” for instance, is so small it’s hardly there.

Which is why the Elio faces every kind of obstacle imaginable to preventits manufacture.

Unlike the manufacturers of those other cars, which make no sense at all – including environmentally-speaking – and so are given every artificial advantage (via government) imaginable.

Electric cars.

It is doubtful anyone would by them at a price which reflected their true cost to manufacture, absent all the manufacturing subsidies, including sweetheart deals/financing on their manufacturing facilities – such as the $1.3 billion the taxpayers of Nevada were compelled to provide the billionaire crony capitalist Elon Musk to finance the battery plant for his electric luxury-sports cars. As well as the retail ones, including not only the tax breaks dangled in front of buyers of the cars but also on the “fuel” they use – the electricity – which isn’t subject to any motor fuels taxation (for the moment) and often literally given away for free (well, at taxpayer expense) at so-called public charging stations, to further nudge the electric car into general use.

Elio enjoys no such help.

To continue reading: Without Help From Uncle

Not So Happy Motoring, by James Howard Kunstler

Electric cars must be completely green because their energy comes out of a plug on the wall. And where does the power from the plug come from? Don’t ask. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

It hasn’t been a great month for America’s electric car fantasy. Elon Musk’s Tesla company — the symbolic beating heart of the fantasy — is whirling around the drain with its share price plummeting 22 percent, its bonds downgraded by Moody’s to junk status, a failure to produce its “affordable” ($36,000 — Ha!) Model 3 at commercial scale, a massive recall of earlier S Model sedans for a steering defect, and the spectacular fiery crash in Silicon Valley last week of an X model that may have been operating in automatic mode (the authorities can’t determine that based on what’s left), and which killed the driver.

Oh, and an experimental self-driving Uber car (Volvo brand) ran over and killed a lady crossing the street with her bicycle in Tempe, Arizona, two weeks ago. Don’t blame Elon for that.

There’s a lot to like about electric cars, of course, if, say, you’re a Google executive floating through life in a techno-narcissism bubble, or a Hollywood actor with wooly grandiose notions of saving the planet while simultaneously signaling your wealth and your “green” virtue cred. Teslas supposedly handle beautifully, ride very quietly, have great low-end power, and decent range of over 200 miles. The engine has something like twenty moving parts, is very long-lasting, and is easy to repair or change out if necessary.

Are they actually “green and clean?” Bwaahaaaaa….! Are you kidding? First, there’s the energy embedded in producing the car: mining and smelting the ores, manufacturing the plastics, running the assembly line, etc. That embedded energy amounts to about 22 percent of the energy consumed by the car over a ten-year lifetime. Then there’s the cost of actually powering the car day-by-day. The electricity around the USA is produced mostly by burning coal, natural gas, or by nuclear fission, all of which produce harmful emissions or byproducts. But the illusion that the power just comes out of a plug in the wall (for just pennies a day!) is a powerful one for the credulous public. The cherry-on-top is the fantasy that before much longer all that electric power will come from “renewables,” solar and wind, and we can leave the whole fossil fuel mess behind us. We say that to ourselves as a sort of prayer, and it has exactly that value.

To continue reading: Not So Happy Motoring

Republicans Save EV Subsidy . . . And in Other News, it Will Get Dark Tonight, by Eric Peters

Never forget who congress critters work for. From Eric Peters at burningplatform.com:

The same Republicans who worked overtime to make sure Obamacare wasn’t repealed – or even “replaced” – have done as expected and made sure the $7,500 subsidy for the purchase of electric cars remains in place.

These Republicans are Senate Republicans – the worst Republicans of all.

House Republicans are no great shakes – all politicians are by nature grifters – but a few of them come to Washington still slightly wet behind the ears, a degree naive  . . . in the sense that they suffer a few occasional and temporary pangs of trying to do the right thing. They are like newly created vampires who – for a brief time – are somewhat restrained by their fading memory of being human.

For this reason, language was included in the House version of the Republican spending bill which would have eliminated the despicable $7,500 sop to the electric car “industry,” – which is an “industry,” in the sense of making things that can swim on their own in the way that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman.

But Senate Republicans are like the Ancients in the television series, The Strain. They no longer remember what it was like to be human, if they ever were.

A real-life Master…

What matters to them is retaining and if possible enhancing the federal government’s power – which amounts to the same thing as their power. Once elected, a senator becomes Washington’srepresentative, not yours or even the state from which the creature nominally emanates.

And so, the EV subsidy was restored.

To continue reading: Republicans Save EV Subsidy . . . And in Other News, it Will Get Dark Tonight

Is This The Tesla Killer? by Tyler Durden

A new battery may be on the horizon that is so much better than Testla’s that it will put the company out of business. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

We all know the story behind Fisker, it was one of the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2008, and even had a legal spat between Tesla, but shortly after in 2012 the company crashed and burned in bankruptcy. Last year, Henrik Fisker decided to relaunch his brand. He thought that one failure wasn’t enough—-just like Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets. During Fisker’s relaunch, he made a shocking comment that caught the attention of Musk and it was on the claims of a new breakthrough in battery technology using graphene-based hybrid material that would revolutionize battery storage and make Musk’s batteries appear obsolete.

Thirteen months passed, and Musk wrote off Fisker’s claims, as Musk decided to focus on other things like his Boring company. That might of been Musk’s fatal flaw, because Fisker just came out and dropped a bombshell on the electric vehicle (EV) industry: ‘New Fisker Batteries 2.5x Density, 500 Miles Per Charge & Charging in 1 Minute’..

Musk will shortly developed uncontrollable convulsions with the understanding his Gigafactory producing thin-film lithium batteries could be obsolete.

Autoblog reports the new breakthrough, calling it a solid-state battery revolution:

 It seems that we’re on the cusp of a solid-state battery revolution. The latest company to announce progress in developing the new type of battery is Fisker. It has filed patents for solid-state batteries and it expects the batteries to be produced on a mass scale around 2023.

In the game of electric vehicles it’s all about batteries. Musk’s technology would be considered legacy when compared to solid-state. Here is why:

  • Greater energy density
  • Rapid charging times

Fisker claims the batteries underdevelopment have a density of 2.5x when compared to the standard EV batteries. This should give the range of a Fisker vehicle well over a 500-mile and recharging capabilities in as little as a minute.

Here’s what Dr. Fabio Albano, VP of battery systems at Fisker Inc. claims:

This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies.

We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings. We are excited to build on this foundation and move the needle in energy storage.

To continue reading: Is This The Tesla Killer?

The Udder Runs Dry? by Eric Peters

The electric car industry has been sucking at the government teat, but at least for Elon Musk and company, the milk of human subsidies may be running out. From Eric Peters at ericpetersauto.com:

There must be a rube in the House.

A recent Republican who does not understand how the game is played – much less why it is being played the way it is played. He and perhaps some of his fellows not-yet-initiated publicly wondered why the federal government is underwriting the sale of luxury-performance cars that happen to be electric.

It is a curious thing.

They suggested rescinding the $7,500 tax inducement which the government has been using to “help” electric car manufacturers like Tesla, which sell electric cars that start around $40,000 and which emphasize not economy but performance and style and technology.

Some might look upon the robbing of Peter – who probably drives an eight-year-old Camry in need of front end work – so that Paul can drive a brand-new, $40,000 electric luxury-performance car – as somewhat obnoxious.

But not everyone.

There is, for example, Genevieve Cullen – who is the head shill for the electric luxury-performance car lobby, styled the Electric Drive Transportation Association. She practically squealed the collective indignation of her clients, who are alarmed very much by the prospect of having to make an honest dollar:

She and they “ . . .continue to believe that a reformed tax code should include a robust set of incentives to support the electrification of transportation,” Cullen wrote to House Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, who is the chair of the Ways and Means Committee – which is the government gaggle which weighs how to dispose of our means.

But Cullen is not being straight with Brady – or with the means providers (who haven’t got much choice about that).

The issue on the table is not whether Uncle should “support the electrification of transportation,” as she shysterishly misdirects. It is whether wealth transfers from working people to affluent people ought to be continued.

Elon Musk, for instance, is a billionaire. The idea that anyone who files a W2 ought to be made to fund his operations is haltingly offensive.

To continue reading: The Udder Runs Dry