atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#7586: Is the demand really there?

Rush Limbaugh has been dead for six weeks.

I'm not sure why, but the guest hosts have been doing very little other than playing clips of Rush talking and then answering phone calls. My theory is that they're running out the contracts that were signed, for X many commercials/shows/etc, before they either hang the thing up or start with a new host. Maybe they're trying to find a halfway decent replacement for Limbaugh (good luck!) and maybe they're just running out the clock.

I never tuned in to that show to listen to reruns. I tuned in to listen to the man himself talk about the latest issues. If that wasn't happening, I tuned out again.

Now, since the man himself has died, I'm willing to listen to Mark Steyn in Limbaugh's stead, but the other guest hosts they have are just not very good, and Steyn has been conspicuous in his absence from the show. I get the "let's honor Rush's memory" thing, but a month of that was more than enough.

Still, I will usually turn the radio on when I leave work for lunch (or, like today, when I'm taking a pre-arranged early day for my eye appointment) but usually I turn it off when I hear Limbaugh's voice, because a tale already plainly told is tedious in the retelling and I know Limbaugh is not delivering new material, at least not on the terrestrial plane.

Today, I listened for a bit, because he started by talking about what leftists do to keep third world nations poor, and sequed into talking about electric cars.

He started by talking about a fictional African nation, "San Cordoba", where the average person subsists in grinding poverty on about $14 a week and the country is ruled by the junta of "El Presidente". Your typical third-world country, where diseases we rarely see in the US run rampant, where food is hard to afford, and so on...only then oil is discovered there. And Greenpeace and Al Gore and the rest of them move in and push to prevent the exploration for, and exploitation of, these natural resources, because "the environment!"

Presented with a chance to lift itself from poverty, San Cordoba is prevented from doing this by RICH AMERICAN LEFTISTS who, themselves, will never encounter any of the negative environmental consequences of the exploitation of San Cordoba's oil reserves, yet who will nonetheless move mountains to keep those reserves from being tapped. These rich American leftists all live lives which are so luxurious that even average Americans really don't know what it's like; people like Nancy Pelosi who can afford to have two $5,000 refrigerators in her kitchen, one of which is crammed full of $10,000 worth of ice cream at $10 a pint; or Bernie Sanders with his three houses; or Al Gore and his several mansions, each of which (individually!) have the carbon footprint of your average suburban neighborhood.

Americans can't imagine how their own elites live; to the poor people in San Cordoba, who can't imagine how average Americans live, the rich American leftists must seem to live like gods. John Kerry's pocket change is enough to raise a single San Cordoban family from poverty to the heights of wealth, at least in San Cordoban terms.

And the Americans' answer is, "You're just going to have to pretend it's not there, because MUH ENVIRONMENTS. Here, we'll send a few million dollars to El Presidente to help with that disease thing." Only--of course--El Presidente pockets the foreign aid money and it never makes it to the people, and Al Gore and John Kerry wink at the subterfuge.

Because the American left honestly doesn't give a wet fart about the people living in the third world.

The American left thinks there are too many people, period, and wants to see about half of them (the poorest half, of course!) dead and buried. People starving on the other side of the planet is a problem they give lip service to, but when the reporters and their cameras go away, they keep on pushing to make sure those people never get out of poverty, and never get enough to eat. It doesn't matter what the resource is--oil, rare earths, lithium, cobalt, iron, diamonds--whatever it is, the left does its literal damnedest to make sure that the people who are sitting on top of that mineral wealth do not benefit from its exploitation. That only people they approve of get rich, while the bottom 80% of the country continues to live in poverty and squalor.

"Too bad," they quip. "If you didn't want to be poor, you should have gone to Harvard."

So there I was, with all this half-formed in my head, when Limbaugh (on tape) segued to electric cars.

He was talking about a specific case (Aston Martin, planning to be all-electric by 2030) and made the point that there is little demand for electric cars, and what little there is comes from government subsidies.

I don't think that's entirely so. I do think there are people out there who want electric cars, which is why Tesla was able to sell them at the extreme price point they started from. They have a cheaper model now ($36k-ish) and I've no idea how much government tax credit knocks off of that; what I do know is that there is some demand for electric cars.

I just don't know if there is enough demand for all the automakers to go all-electric.

It's no secret that electric cars are not really ready for prime time, as much as the morons at Jalopnik like to pretend they are. At that link, some person hooked a "2,000 lb trailer" to his Tesla, and ran out of juice somewhere in New Mexico, and needed a tow to a charger, because the trailer reduced the car's range from 384 miles to 120.

The trailer probably wasn't even loaded to 2,000 lbs. 2,000 lbs is the gross weight of the thing, how much it can carry, safely. But the added drag and wind resistance is more than enough to cut the car's range by sixty-seven percent. And you'll notice that his car was picked up by a diesel flatbed.

...yet all the manufacturers are saying they're going to be all-electric by 2030 or 2040 or 2050.

Don't expect the prices to drop, either. They'll go up. Electric cars are mechanically simpler than gasoline or diesel cars. A typical four-cylinder engine has at least a hundred moving parts in it (probably more) but an electric car's motor will have two bearings, one on each side of the armature, and not much else besides. A transmission, maybe, though a lot simpler than the 6-8-10-gear monstrosities currently being bolted to gasoline engines. A vast reduction in moving parts means a vast reduction in the number of people required to assemble transaxles, which in turn means lower production costs. But the car companies will not lower prices to compensate.

Example: list price on a Chevrolet Bolt--which is an econobox!--is close to $38,000. The Camaro, with a V8, starts at $35,000.

Do not try to tell me that the technology that goes into an electric car is the cause of the premium price. That is bullshit. It costs less to build an electric motor and a control system for it than it does to build a V8 gasoline engine and all the nonsense that accompanies it. And it costs less even if you include the damned batteries.

The price of cars has become far uncoupled from their production costs, anyway, but because electric cars are seen as "cool" the automakers are pricing them as premium merchandise. And the list price of cars has never, never, ever gone down.

And for your trouble, what do you get when you buy an electric? Well, for one thing, you get unpredictability. The gauge in your dashboard says you've got 200 miles of charge in your batteries, but that assumes that you toodle along at some reasonable speed. Get stuck in traffic in 15 degree weather, and your car will use power just keeping you and the batteries from freezing. When the charge runs out, your car's a paperweight until it can be hauled to a charger. And where is that charger? And how long do you have to wait while it pushes electrons back into your battery?

Ditto for a 95 degree day. You get stuck in traffic, are you going to roll down your windows and turn off the AC--and broil!--so you have the ghost of a chance of getting home on what's in the batteries?

...and the guy next to you, in the beat-up Jeep Cherokee, is laughing his ass off at you because you bought into the hype, and oh boy are you paying for it now.

"Oh, but they'll solve those problems!" Sure they will. When? Don't bother--we both know you haven't the foggiest idea how long it will take for the eggheads to come up with a way to charge a 500 kilowatt-hour battery in five minutes, or to build a battery which doesn't have to keep itself above a certain critical temperature in order not to explode the next time it's charged, or-or-or. And who's going to pay for all the charging stations?

And all of that is not taking into account the fact that the electrical grid cannot handle replacing even a third of the cars on the road right now with electric ones. Where does the electricity come from? How does it get there? Places like California already cannot supply enough electricity to meet the existing demands; how much worse will it be when no one can buy anything other than an electric car? When everyone goes home at night and plugs in his car to charge, thus extending "peak use hours" from early afternoon through 4 AM? What solar panel will charge electric cars at night? How many windmills will it take to meet that level of demand?

It's nothing but pure insanity pushed by a bunch of economic illiterates.
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