Why Carmakers Really, REALLY Dislike EVs
By Earl Cox
For years advocates of electric cars have argued over why auto makers have been less than enthusiastic, to put it mildly, about battery electric cars. It's a debate Californian Earl Cox simply couldn't resist adding his two cents worth. While EV World doesn't necessarily endorse every point of his perspective, it does make for stimulating reading.
After watching the EV1 debacle over the past 14 years from both inside and outside the industry, a simple fact has become very clear to me.
Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle manufacturers REALLY BADLY don't want electric cars.
Once this assumption is made, everything falls into place:
Why don't they want electric cars?
Look at history:
- The telephone was not pushed by Western Union (former telegraph mega-company)
- The digital camera revolution was not lead by Kodak or Fuji
- The move from sail to steam ships was not driven by the sailing masters of the sea.
- An ICE-based car company is made up of many divisions: Body, Chassis, power-trains (transmissions), power-plants (ICE), Service, Sales, electronics, etc. The most powerful ones are power-trains and power-plants.
I dare you to walk into the board room and suggest a car that has no use for power-trains or power-plants and significantly reduces the need for service. Now try to find a friend in the room
Once you realize that the BEV must be stopped, you must figure out how. If you are a major multi-billion dollar company, you'll spare little expense.
- You'll hire a bunch of lawyers to fight any legislation
- You'll hire PR companies to spin anything your way
- You'll hire a small R&D company to make the best EV possible just to show the world that it is a very bad idea.
- You'll try to place shills in all influential organizations
- You'll delay as long as possible by promising and actually conducting research into alternatives (and coerce the federal government to foot a lot of the bill)
Suppose your R&D company screws up and makes an EV that really looks great?
You tell the State of California you'd be happy to sell these cars except that due to your high costs, you have to have a guaranteed market - and that Republican SOB in Sacramento actually calls your bluff!
Now you have a real problem on your hands:
You then have to show that while a prototype may work, it really isn't economical (battery capacity, charging times, battery costs, battery lifetimes, battery hazmat, battery heating, yada yada yada).
Therefore, you put the car into pilot production and get the government to subsidize research into proving that these efforts won't (er) will work.
Then, throughout 10 years of subsidized R&D, battery capacity doublesin the first 3 years with an impressive improvement trend clearly showing, charging times drop to sub 20 minutes, battery costs appear to be on a run-away decline due to mass production potential, battery lifetimes start to look great, new 'green' battery technologies emerge, semiconductor technology improves battery safety, and one by one, all the real barriers fall at an alarming rate.
Now, you only have one option: Kill the cars at any cost.
You then have to:
- Smear the truth
- Get as many golf carts onto the road to block traffic as possible in order to convince the general public that EV's are ugly, weak, short range vehicles that no one would really want.
- Pay up any bad news such as some car that caught fire
- Hde all the evidence of technology breakthroughs and continue to publicize 1970's technological barriers.
- Fnd a new 'promising' technology to look into to solve the problems of the old technology
- Have your shills take the gloves off
- Abuse and ridicule the few people who have managed to get the vehicles
- Destroy or threaten the careers of all within your companies who supported or were even involved with EV's so as to ensure that no one would even think about such a thing again.
- Destroy all existing high performance EV's in order to remove any evidence of what a high powered EV can really do. This will simplify the PR task of labeling EV supporters as people on the fringe.
- Make up a bunch of liability and marketing stories to rationalize your actions.
- You will provide a BEV conversion to a normal vehicle but still restrict its distribution (partly because your government isn't funding much of the effort)
- You will make sure your BEV conversion is functional but not particularly exciting or eye catching so as not to raise the average person's interest or attract regulatory action against you
- You will launch a hybrid that still contains components from all your corporate divisions
Oh yes, as others are likely to point out, golfing buddies from the oil companies probably won't discourage your campaign against EVs either.
For what it's worth, these are my observations.
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