Disappointed Expectations: The American Market And The Electric Car

by Jack Lifton on April 25, 2009 · 1 comment

in Hybrids & EVs

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By world standards, Americans live, on average, geographically far apart and expect to cover long distances in a hurry. No other country in history has had its personal travel ethic organized in this way. On top of this unique approach to spreading out and moving fast, America has been the victim of a voracious OEM automotive industry that ran to extinction, the logical build up of mass transportation among its cities, other than in a narrow corridor on the East coast ,within which the elites of finance and government lived without any interest in the effect of the absence of mass transportation in “flyover” country. To this day these same elites ignore the effect of legislating cost onto personal transportation for the ordinary person, just so the elites can feel good about “being green” as well as being, economically, just plain stupid. The idea of the electrification of the motor car is actually too late and too narrow to do much good for the majority of Americans.

The electric cars being developed today for the mass market, are essentially inner city mass transportation devices, produced for individual or small group use. They are thus simply replacing the internal combustion engine (ICE) powered cars used today for that same purpose.

It is interesting that we do not hear about the electrification of long distance freight hauling road-using vehicles, which produce, with their huge gasoline and diesel fueled ICEs, probably most of the “pollution” generated by ICEs. Certainly, in pollution creation, there is no contest between the production of an “18 wheeler” carrying 22 tons of champagne and caviar to Palo Alto, California, against even dozens of cheap, poorly maintained, private cars carrying low paid workers from cheaper places to live than the Silicon Valley, to clean the toilets and cut the grass of the offices and homes of those who live in Silicon Valley and drive enormous high powered ICE-powered cars as positional goods and status symbols, each producing more pollution than a fleet of small cars.

An orderly electrification, first of the largest means of necessary transportation, mass transit, both for people and for freight, followed by a condensing of the living space taken up for no purpose other than to show off personal wealth, is step one. Then short range electric cars will make sense if they are for areas where it is too expensive to place mass transportation.

The government of the USA has its priorities ass backwards. It is bent on simply replacing ICEs with electrified private motor vehicles. This is too expensive and highly impractical from the points of view of critical metals resources, power production, power distribution untilization and capacity (for charging), and the need for a “smart” grid to be built.

We need to prioritize our reduction of the use of fossil fuels so that we make a logical transition to an electrified transportation economy.

We haven’t even started, and the pathetic overpriced impractical toys like both the Tesla nd the Volt are simply a waste of time, that will actually add to our waste of fossil fuels by staving off a planned transition in which everyone has to give up something to gain something else. It is not class warfare I advocate; it is the elimination of blind arrogance and stupidity in social planning.

Politicians are too frightened of losing their jobs to tell their constituents that in order to accomplish environmental goals, we all have to change the way we live.

This inconvenient truth is not popular.

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1 Theo Lehner December 28, 2009 at 7:37 AM

Dear Jack Lifton,
first: unfortunately I did not come into contact with your stimulating, thoughtful and joyful www pages before today. It’s good that at least someone raises his voice and speaks out about non-sense in politics as well as in science.

Regading this article: unfortunately you could replace the geographical places mentioned by e.g. “Stockholm” or ” Brussels” and you would find the same story over again. Also here, the politicians have grasped the chance to finance their and their bureaucracy’s future by calling it “green “, ” CO2 reducing” or why not “sustainable”.

With best regards from “fly-over” country in Northern Scandinavia

Theo Lehner – drinking arctic tap-water ….

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