It’s not just the government that’s pushing electric cars. The media is equally complicit. Both are engaged in what has to be described as nothing less than a concerted propaganda onslaught to convince the public that the naked emperor is indeed wearing a suit of the finest materials available.
But the question — why? — remains mysterious.
What is so important — to them — about electric cars? Why the urgency to create the impression of inevitability?
The media, in particular, seems to be obsessed with this — even to the point of exaggerating the confected enthusiasm for electric cars displayed by major car manufacturers, who must at least pretend that electric cars are The Future — in order to not offend politically correct orthodoxy.
For example, this CNN “news” story. The headline reads, “GM: The Future is All-Electric.”
The lead eructs:
“That’s what the automaker said Monday as it unveiled plans to roll out two new electric vehicles over the next 18 months and a total of 20 over the next six years.”
Except GM — in the person of CEO Mary Barra — said no such thing.
She talked about — sigh — the need to “increase diversity” among engineers. This being a politically correct dogma right up there with the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Such talk at a car industry press conference is becoming as predictable as Pravda during the Brezhnev years.
GM’s head of product development — Mark Reuss — did say that “GM believes in an all-electric future.” But that is not the same thing as “The Future is All-Electric.”
Belief — vs. is.
The distinction is important.
Of course GM “believes.” Just as most kids under the age of ten believe in the Tooth Fairy. But is the Tooth Fairy real?
Belief — vs. is.
GM says what it must. But it is what sells that will determine whether belief in the “all electric future” becomes actuality. And — so far — electric cars don’t.
Not without monster “incentives” that dramatically lower the purchase price. The Chevy Bolt, for instance. GM’s latest electric car — on which many hopes were pinned — stalled like a ’78 Pinto after it was introduced at the beginning of this year. Its $37,500 base price being the obvious reason for buyer reluctance. The Bolt is basically a compact economy car — except for its electric drivetrain, the same sort of car as a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.
Except it costs twice as much as they do.
And only goes half as far — and takes at least six times as long to “refuel.”
Unlike the government, which can lavish money on anything it likes — having limitless access to taxpayers’ pockets — car buyers have to think about money, above everything else.
It is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Press conference cheerleading aside, a car like the Bolt makes no economic sense. It costs about as much as a Lexus ES350. But it is not a Lexus ES350. It is an electrically-powered economy car… that isn’t very economical. Because it costs more rather than less to buy than a non-electric equivalent — so the fact that it costs less to drive is economically irrelevant.
This is one of those stubborn facts old John Adams used to talk about but which politically correct orthodoxies prevent being discussed today.
Mary Barra — whose origins as a human resources golem are not encouraging — may know this. Mark Reuss definitely knows. Neither are imbeciles but both know they must not touch the third rail and publicly speak ill — that is, factually — about electric cars. No matter how poorly they sell; no matter the desperation tactics that must be deployed to simply move them off dealership lots.
Which is what GM had to resort to in order to — stimulate is the word that comes to mind — artificial demand for the Bolt.
In addition to the disgusting federal and state subsidies (i.e., transfer of taxpayer dollars) to the buyer — which weren’t enough to sway enough buyers — GM dealers began throwing in a $5,000 additional discount (see here) which along with the federal and state subsidies brought the Bolt’s ludicrous $37,500 sticker price down to a merely silly $25,000 — only about $10k more than a decent IC-engined economy car.
This was enough to stimulate “sales” from around 900 a month to about 1,900 a month (as of September; see here for the actual numbers).
This is good — and very bad.
Another important distinction.
GM can crow about the Bolt’s sales increasing. Which is true. But only because GM is giving away the Bolt. Imagine a restaurant that only charged $5 a plate for a full course prime rib dinner. Plus “free” drinks.
The restaurant would be very busy.
Until it ran out of prime rib and Scotch and sodas to give away.
It is baying naked at the Moon, on all fours, wearing a meat helmet — economically speaking. Barra and Reuss know this, too. They are probably embarrassed and — between themselves — shake their heads and wonder how much longer this can go on.
All the way, I suspect.
The economic facts are simply too bulgy to be swept under the rug. The lumps show. This is why, incidentally, the sudden stampede to pass laws banning other-than-electric cars. If people no longer have a choice, then they have to choose an EV!
Now, they’ll sell!
This is a measure of both the desperation of the EV putchsers and the seriousness of their intent. They are determined.
The same applies to the media whores who are un-indicted co-conspirators in this mess. Who purvey this EV inevitability BS.
Who never ask:
Where, exactly, will the billions come from to erect the nationwide fast-charging infrastructure that is absolutely essential for EVs to ever be more than subsidized curiosities?
Without these “fast” chargers, using an ordinary household outlet, an EV needs 8-12 hours to regain its ability to move.
Erecting a network of fast chargers is a project on the order of building the Interstate Highway System — but we are told that there is barely enough money to maintain the highways which already exist.
So where will the money come from? Who will pay?
Why is the cost of battery replacement — which involves several thousand dollars — never discussed when electric cars are discussed by the media? To fathom the dereliction of this, imagine them failing to publicize some known-to-them defect affecting a non-electric car. An SUV, for instance, with an engine that needed to be replaced somewhere around 100,000 miles as part of is routine service schedule.
Yet they never mention that fact that battery replacement is a routine part of the electric car ownership experience. It is outrageous.
No mention — ever — by mainstream media people of the fact that the range of an electric car is greatly reduced when the EV must cope with very cold or very hot weather, as either of these require the use of electrically powered accessories (heat and AC, respectively) that draw lots of electrical power, which is another way of saying their use drains the battery and so reduces the range.
These — and more — constitute the line in the sand that separates belief vs. is.
You decide what The Future will be.
And ask yourself why this business is being pushed so hard, in defiance of some very stubborn facts.