Aw Geez, I just can’t resist


Aw Geez, I just can’t resist

Try as I might, I can’t resist commenting on this article in the Washington Post. Keep in mind that the WP is not a hotbed of conservative thought. The gist is this.

The author is commenting on an article that originated over the weekend in the New York Times. The author had a less than stellar experience with a $100k Tesla, and wrote about it. He was accused by Tesla founder Elon Musk as penning a ‘fake’ and taking detours and not charging the vehicle to the max at charging stations.  Musk was able to download the car’s on board logs.  The NYT is standing behind its story.

The WaPo’s point is this:

The Times is standing by its story. My take is that even if Musk is 100 percent right and Broder (the NYT author) is 100 percent wrong — which I doubt — Musk loses.

Who wants a $101,000 car that might die just because you feel like taking “a long detour”?

A few months ago one of out staff writers, Astrid, wrote a piece about ‘range anxiety’ comparing her SUV to a Nissan Leaf. She never worried about where the next charging station was, she just got in a drove.

Hybrids may make sense, and the fact that the Toyota Prius is selling like hotcakes seem to support that statement. You get great gas mileage and have no ‘range anxiety.

Federal billions cannot overcome the fact that electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids meet few, if any, of real consumers’ needs. Compared with gas-powered cars, they deliver inferior performance at much higher cost. As an American Physical Society symposium on battery research concluded last June: “Despite their many potential advantages, all-electric vehicles will not replace the standard American family car in the foreseeable future.”

Battery technology just isn’t there. Ask Boeing. And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. The cart is before the horse. We developed a phaser, but the battery pack has to be carried on a semi.

The WaPo’s point is that just because you ‘want’ something, and invest hundreds of billions of Federal dollars in it, that doesn’t mean its going to work. The money quote:

As for Vice President Biden’s 2009 forecast of “billions and billions and billions of dollars in good, new jobs,” the electric car factory at which he made that statement sits idle. Ditto the taxpayer-backed Michigan factory of battery maker LG Chem. Two Energy Department-funded lithium-ion battery makers have gone bankrupt.

There’s simply no denying that the administration’s electric-vehicle project was a mistake.

But it’s worth asking precisely what kind of mistake (beyond eminently foreseeable and terribly expensive). As Bruce Springsteen once sang: “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”

I accept the president’s good intentions. He didn’t set out to rip off the public. Nor was the electric-car dream a Democrats-only delusion. Several Republican pols shared it, too.

Rather, the debacle is a case study in unchecked righteousness. The administration assumed the worthiness and urgency of its goals. Americans should want electric cars, and therefore they would, apparently.

There you go.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. John: Your take on all electric cars is right on the money yet the feds keep issuing grants (read: keep spending our tax dollars or keep borrowin money for China) to help universities and cities install charging stations.

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