There is an episode of the TV show Top Gear involving a Prius hybrid and automatic weapons. Oh, how I wish I could do the same to a Tesla.
Unfortunately, I (like you) am too poor to afford a Tesla. But that doesn’t mean we won’t continue to be forced to “help” Elon Musk build these mobile — just barely (and briefly) — monuments to crony capitalism.
This is a company that bleeds money like a machine-gunned hemophiliac, yet doesn’t die because fresh transfusions are always available. Just the other week it was announced the company lost another $100 million and change while delivering fewer than 10,000 cars. Tesla has yet to earn a single honest dollar. The money it takes in (a very different thing) is obtained chiefly via carbon tax credits ($130 million from the state of California alone; that is to say, from the pockets of the taxpayers of the state of California) and everyone knows all about the $7,500 per car subsidy Uncle dangles in front of prospects to lure them into buying one of these flashy, yet functionally useless, electric Edsels. There are in addition state-level subsidies (in 23 states) ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per “sale.”
Do you know what a “carbon tax credit” is? It’s a tax, first of all — only one paid to an entity like Tesla (I won’t call it a company, as companies are businesses and Tesla is neither) rather than to the government. Here’s how it works. I own a business that makes things people are actually willing to buy without being coerced or subsidized. But, alas, my manufacture of this product results in “greenhouse gasses” — carbon dioxide having been decreed the primary one (even though it is far less of one than several other gasses, such as methane and also water vapor; but we’ll leave that aside for now).
Well, I want to make the thing and you want to buy the thing, but in order for me to be allowed to make it, I must send money to an entity like Tesla as a kind of (no, an actual) kickback. Because Tesla is “green” while I am not — except of course as regards the color of the money that’s been transferred to Elon Musk’s ever-growing bank account, which is very green indeed.
The argument is that each Tesla built with these kickback dollars amounts to “x” quantity of carbon dioxide negated overall. I’m allowed to build my economically viable product, so long as I “help” Tesla manufacture his not-economically viable products.
But Tesla cars are “green,” right?
Certainly. In the same way that an outhouse is clean… before you use it. Only with Tesla, it’s the reverse. The finished car may not produce any noxious emissions, but it took a lot of noxious emissions to build the thing. Do American haters of internal combustion ever stop to wonder why Tesla is building its “Gigafactory” in… China?
Where there is no EPA?
Do you know what goes into making Tesla’s lithium-ion electric battery pack? Caustic, highly reactive solvents and cobalt oxide, a nasty compound that is uber poisonous and carcinogenic. Carbon dioxide and water vapor have been accused of triggering “global warming” (oops, “climate change” now) but breathing either will not give you cancer or neurological problems.
Cobalt, on the other hand….
And how do you get cobalt? By mining other materials such as nickel and copper. Then, using various noxious processes to separate out the cobalt, such as “ froth flotation,” “roasting,” and “leaching“ with sulfuric acid.
Mmmm mmmmm good!
This form of Gaia-rape is okay, though, because it does not occur within sight of Al Gore’s house. Most of the cobalt needed to make Tesla and other electric batteries is located in places like China, Afghanistan, and Africa. Those parts of the earth are okay to ravage.
Battery production (like sausage making) is an aspect of EVs that is routinely overlooked — deliberately. Because the picture isn’t pretty. In addition to the environmental nastiness of the materials, it takes a great deal of un-green energy to transform those materials into the finished product (a battery). Nearly twice the energy that goes into making a conventional (internal combustion-engined) car, as it turns out.
Where does this energy come from? Like mountain oysters, you really don’t want to know. But maybe you should. Coal and oil. Which are used to run the heavy industry plants that make the damned things. And which also make most of the electricity that powers the damned things. Did you know that electric cars that depend on coal and electric utilities are actually 17-26 percent worse, in terms of their total “carbon footprint,” than a gas or diesel-engined car? (Those interested in more will find this study worth a look.)
Captain Planet, phone your office.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk continues to suckle the teat of Uncle. Which he must, because his operation is fundamentally a con. Without the force of government backing him, he’d have to bankroll this epic failure himself — which a smart guy like Musk would be unlikely to do. If we had a free market, he’d have no choice but to do that… or shut down.
Instead, he does the corporatist thing.
Which would less obnoxious if he didn’t constantly preen about the virtues of lightening the wallets of millions of average people so as to further fatten the wallets of millionaires and billionaires, who are the only people buying Teslas and profiting from their existence.
Throw ’em in the Woods.