Last week I posted on what I see as the hopelessness of the all electric Chevy Volt ever finding a real market. Commenter TFS took issue with me I’m glad he did, because as so often happens, when I take a deeper look into an issue, I find that things are far worse than I first thought. The only green I can find in the various “Green Jobs” initiatives is the putrescent sheen of rotting pork.
Here is TFS’ comment:
dear master ranter,
Sorry to let facts get in the way of a good rant but the Volt development started in early 2005 when the car company was privately owned. Tesla technology was the first basis. So could you relate the basis of “And this company manufactured a vehicle using a power train technology that the government chose.” ? Or was that the keyboard that done it??again???
The piddling subsidy isn’t going to get people to buy it unless they can build a good car.
The government has a long history of funding research for military and scientific products that have led to breakthroughs in the public sector. Then the public sector responds to consumer pressure to lower the cost. Mass production of electric cars could help us get away from importing oil ( the Volt has an equivalent 93 miles per hour).
And that money stays in the US!!
Speaking of keyboard glitches I believe you mean 98 mpg, not MPH. GMestimates a
sizzling 100 mph as the Volt’s top speed. I had a ’78 Datsun two door that beat that by 20 on a straight away.
As to mileage, there is a little more to it than that. Check the “buts.” I have no idea how the EPA came up with its MPG equivalent. Electricity rates vary according to season, and location; as does the cost of gasoline. I wonder if folks in Arizona, who have to budget all year long for their summer cooling costs, will be lining up to plug this one in.
And still on the subject of key boards, I think you just hit your macro for feel good green jobs “facts.”
The government funding research for things it needs, and pushing a particular technology onto the private sector are two different things. DARPA came up with the basis of the internet because it needed it for national defense. The same with GPS. That these were of immense benefit to all( when will the world send us thank you note?) is wonderful but was not the thrust of the original work. It’s a good thing Al Gore wasn’t allowed to build the information superhighway or we might have ended up with som3thing like France’s Minitel.
Now we haven’t reached the point – yet – where a politburo tells industry what to do, but the government is very influential. The pics of President Obama behind the wheel of a Volt are a very clear visual representation of what is going on here, which is the latest round in the CAFE two card monte game. Build the vehicles that bring the fleet averages in range, cars that no one really wants, so they are dumped on government and fleet buyers at fire sale prices, while making the vehicles that people really want, a profit.
Development may have been begun in 2005, but why exactly? Did the Sages in Flint sense a ground swell in favor of electric vehicles? I doubt it. However, California’s adoption of a zero emissions program, promulgated in 1998, was certainly an indicator of the way things were headed.
The Volt is a toy for people who don’t have long commutes, and who have the income to afford an additional vehicle for things like family vacations, as the electric Chevy, with less than 40 miles on a 4 hour charge, won’t get you far. And who earn enough to offset against the tax credit.
So we have a vehicle that is zero emissions in electric mode. Tres verte, n’est-ce pas? Hardly: the emissions are simply shifted to the power plant. And this power won’t be coming from the coal fired plants going off line as EPA restrictions kick in.
China, however, is bringing lots of coal fired capacity on line, and will have plenty of juice to manufacture solar panels we can buy, our state subsidized industry certain to collapse as did the one in Spain. Perhaps you believe G.E.’s claims that it will produce competitive panels without subsidy. I don’t, especially since it’s G.E. And there is wind power too, still subsidized after decades, so we can cover our beautiful Southwestern deserts with acres and acres of glaring panels, and stud ridge lines with whirling bird killers.
And driving around with a big battery full of toxics doesn’t seem very green. How will these be disposed of, and who will pay?
I’m betting there won’t be a 2013 Volt.
Interesting that you should mention Tesla, where Mr. gore did lend a hand with a celebrity endorsement., ordering one himself( The former Vice President and arbiter of all things green had a more direct hand in Fisker Motors, which is to produce a high end electric car in with a U.S. government loan. “Fisker Automotive, backed by a powerhouse venture capital firm( I thought venture capitalists put up their own money) whose partners include former Vice President Gore…” These vehicles will be manufactured in Finland, not in Joe Biden’s Delaware, as he promised. Even an insider gets shafted now and then. This time, it’s not evil businessmen off-shoring, but the U.S. government.
Tesla describes itself as a manufacturer of ”Premium Electric Vehicles.” Model S starts at $49,000, after a Federal tax credit. At one point, in Colorado, total subsidies added up to a “piddling” $49,000. They love their green in Boulder.
On the Tesla Motors website:
TESLA MOTORS was founded in 2003 by a group of intrepid Silicon Valley engineers who set out to prove that electric vehicles could be awesome.
Intrepid indeed, takes real courage to lap up hundreds of millions in subsidies.
THE TESLA ROADSTER hit the streets in early 2008 as a car with no equal. Three years later, over 1,800 Roadsters drive emissions-free in more than 32 countries
Proof that you can find suckers with too much money to spend pretty much everywhere. 600 cars a year, wow!
Tesla likes to compare the to a Lotus Elise, while the Model S may as well be a Toyota. I couldn’t find any prices on the Tesla site( it appears that one must go through the order process to come up with a price, and I have better things to do), but one variant requires a forty thousand dollar down payment, which gives you an order of magnitude at least. I’ll settle for wikipedia: The Roadster has a base price of US$109,000 in the United States, £86,950 in the United Kingdom, and €84,000 in continental Europe.
Hardly a People’s car. These are the Volga sedans of the green nomenklatura. These multi million, billion dollar experiments are not only stupid, but corrupt, venal, and brutally immoral.
Ordinary people pay taxes and watch their government accrue even more debt so that Silicon Valley types, tenured professors, Hollywood figures(the first Fisker Karma was delivered to Leonardo DiCaprio) the whole heedless “creative” crowd who have destroyed what was once considered a workingman’s party can show off their membership in the environmentalist elect.
It’s clear they don’t really want most of us driving anyway. Steven Chu continues to repeat his call for higher gas prices. Four bucks a gallon is just spare change at his pay grade. Even at ten bucks a gallon, you can be sure he and his ilk will be tooling by in something sporty while the rest of us wait at the bus stop, electric of course, or scan the tracks for the high speed rail that never arrives.