LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — Coda Holdings, the U.S. assembler of Chinese-made electric vehicles, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today after selling just 100 of its all-electric sedans, another example of battery-powered vehicles’ failure to break into the mass market.
Of course, “battery-powered” means coal, nukes, and natural gas.
The desperation of the overclass to preserve cars-first transportation, the lifeblood of corporate capitalism, is suggested by the story of Fisker, the recently imploded attempt to produce viable “electric” (meaning coal, nuclear, and natural gas) cars.
According to Automotive News, not only was Fisker “allowed to keep using money from a U.S. Energy Department loan after violating its terms multiple times,” but the Fisker corporation spent $660,000 for each car it managed to produce.
Roughly 68 percent of the taxpayers surveyed have either received a tax refund check or expect to receive one this year, according to eBay. The average overall refund amount is $2,900. The average refund amount going to auto related purchases is more than $1,000.
Cars: The ultimate wallet drainer.
Stick a fork in the Fisker boondoggle, despite its quarter-billion-dollars in public gift-money. Per Automotive News, here’s what underlies today’s termination of the entire productive labor force at Fisker:
The embattled automaker has retained crisis communications firm Sitrick and Co., based in Los Angeles. Sitrick issued today’s statement on behalf of Fisker.
Reuters reported last week that Fisker also had retained the law firm Kirkland and Ellis to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing. Earlier in March, company founder Henrik Fisker resigned citing “several major disagreements with management” over the company’s business strategy.
Fisker has built about 1,800 units of its $100,000 Karma plug-in hybrid, but none since battery maker A123 Systems declared bankruptcy last summer, leaving Fisker without a battery supplier.
Meanwhile, the nation’s (pathetic) public transit systems continue shrinking while in budget-crisis mode, as TPTB push for still more public “research” into this stillborn century-old “EV” pipedream.
What a huge cancel-fuck: Just as physics won’t permit a car that isn’t wildly unsustainable, so corporate capitalism won’t permit anything but more efforts to cancel that uncancelable reality.
Dig the front cover to the new study on Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels, by an elite panel at the National Academy of Science:
Charged by the powers that be with studying not the possibilities for building a sustainable transportation infrastructure but merely the prospects for making the U.S. auto fleet somewhat less wasteful, the cover’s admission that efficient cars are vaporware is a classic Freudian slip.
Meanwhile, here’s a sample of the level of thinking involved in this dutiful little scam. Why are automobiles so unusually important in the USA? The panel’s explanation:
With the automobile being by far the dominant mode of transportation for most Americans, facilitating auto travel has been a major part of DOT’s mission.
See? The auto is dominant because it is dominant! Science lives!
In an unintentionally hilarious piece today, The Washington Post scolds Hugo Chavez for having used “oil as a political tool.” Could there be a bigger possible ROFL? This, from the second newspaper of record in the United States, where cars-first transportation has always been the keystone in the reign of history’s richest and most powerful overclass?
In its report, the WP quotes an anonymous “industry executive” as follows:
“He’s done a lot to improve the lot of his people. He ruined the oil industry.”
That’s about the size of the task for all of us, isn’t it? Now, where is our Hugo Chavez?
DbC hereby proposes a new National Museum of Late-Capitalist Insanities. The NMLCI will be dedicated to the collection, preservation, and display of items and ideas characteristic of our epoch, with an eye to allowing a) the presently sane, b) future generations, and/or c) future extraterrestrial archaeologists to contemplate just how far out of touch our overclass and our culture have become.
Given the massive irrationality yet absolute political-economic centrality of the effort to perpetuate cars-first transportation in the face of obvious, directly associated impending disasters, there could be no better first NMLCI exhibit than the object at right, the 1,200-pound, “safe as possible,” 3-d “printed” Urbee car.
The rank pipedreams preserved in this pet project of Canadian engineer-capitalist Jim Kor are truly NMCLI-worthy:
For starters, the sales slogan is “Urbee: The Natural Way to Drive.” What could possibly be more un-natural than using immensely intricate and wasteful, 95% idle machines to accomplish mundane intra-village locomotion?
The rest of the proposal is about ecological conservation. Once again, what could possibly be more ecologically idiotic than using immensely intricate and wasteful, 95% idle machines to accomplish mundane intra-village locomotion? Without even mentioning fuel and manufacturing issues, you can get 40 bicycles for 1,200 pounds of final mass, and bicycles are orders of magnitude simpler and easier to repair and preserve.
As for “safe as possible,” who wants to ride in this glorified golf cart with moped wheels on American roads, around all these SUVs and delivery trucks? Hands?
The fact that such elementary realities are missed by an engineer speaks tomes about the prevalence of magical thinking in our doddering profit-driven social order.
As any experience with the MSM confirms in spades, automobiles, despite the times, remain the #1 source of advertising revenue. They are also the keystone commodity in the overall operation of corporate capitalism. Hence, is it any surprise the The New York Times has publicly scolded John M. Broder for daring to do an actual report, rather than a standard MSM
advertorial “car review” — on the experience of using a $74,200 “electric” car?
As DbC noted in our last post, Broder took delivery of his Tesla S and used it to see if Tesla had indeed fulfilled its promise of creating an infrastructure that would facilitate “a speedy electric-car road trip between here [Washington D.C.] and Boston.” As Broder reported, this promise remains a huge lie. The actual trip required long waits for charges and repeatedly refraining from normal use of the car.
Readers can read the charges and answers for themselves. The main digs against Broder are 1) that he failed to leave his test car plugged in overnight, and 2) that he didn’t stay around for a full charge (which would have taken several hours) on an emergency charging stop imposed by the lack of charge after a cold, unplugged overnight stay in Groton, Connecticut.
Of course, Broder’s mission was to test the Tesla promise of easy travel based on its East Coast “Supercharger” stations, not to see if his trip was possible by any means whatsoever, or with a dozen footnotes.
After getting flak from Tesla “Chairman, Product Architect & CEO” Elon Musk, in the form of special pleading and attempts to change Broder’s question, here is the final verdict of The Times‘
Flak Catcher Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan:
Did he [Broder] use good judgment along the way? Not especially.
Wow! That is not a small rebuke in such a form from such a boss in such a trade. One hopes Mr. Broder knows some good employment lawyers…
Meanwhile, Sullivan’s weighing of this issue confirms, once again, the importance of the filters that operate in MSM journalism. In explaining her attack on Broder, Sullivan admits the special lengths to which she felt compelled to go on on one particular side of this question:
I’ve also had a number of talks with my brother, a physician, car aficionado and Tesla fan, who has helped me balance what might have been a tendency to unconsciously side with a seasoned and respected journalist – my own “confirmation bias.”
Funny, that: Her self-described “bias” is to trust a seasoned and respected journalist. Her professional, deeeply considered “corrective” is to give great weight to an over-privileged pro-car, pro-Tesla ideologue!
One might wonder how many anti-car activists Ms. Sullivan drew into her consideration here…
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