The Haloware Hypothesis: Latest Evidence

DbC has long argued that “electric vehicles” are haloware – a product that exists to distract attention from continuing SUV and pickup sales.

If this thesis is correct, then it is a huge mistake for progressive forces to express enthusiasm for it.

So, what is the evidence at this point?

In 2018, about 86 million new passenger and light commercial automobiles were sold on planet Earth.

In 2018, about 1.2 million — about 1.4% — of those new vehicles were powered by battery-only electric engines.

In 2018, about 37 million new pickups and SUVs were sold on planet Earth. This was roughly 43% of total worldwide new-car sales.

A decade ago, global SUV sales were far lower than they now are.

As Automotive Age reports:

There are now more than 200 million SUVs around the world, up from about 35 million in 2010, accounting for 60 percent of the increase in the global car fleet since 2010, IEA data shows.

As a result, SUVs were the second-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2010 after the power sector — ahead of heavy industry including iron and steel, cement, aluminum, as well as trucks and aviation, it said.

The standard EV apology is the claim that battery-powered vehicles are merely in their early days, and are about to explode into conquering the roads.

Leaving aside the question of whether this eventuality would be a good thing, this claim is starting to get a bit stale, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, the facts are there:

In the year 2018, for every one new battery-electric vehicle on the world’s roads, there were 30 new SUVs/pickups.

Gaps, Indeed

The United Nations today issued a report on “the emissions gap,” meaning the difference between “where we are likely to be and where we need to be” to meet the probably too-weak 2015 Paris Agreement goals on world greenhouse gas emissions. The gap is big, says the U.N., and the situation “bleak.”

There is, however, a rather glaring gap within the U.N.’s own analysis and reportage: its remarkable softness-of-head when it comes to the technology that is now the leading source of GHG emissions in the society that remains Earth’s clear per-capita leader in GHG emissions.

U.N. Emissions Gap Report 2019

That technology is, of course, the automobile.

Without counting either a) heavy trucks and buses or b) all the secondary activity and material that exists or is swollen because of the automobile’s importance in the United States and elsewhere, cars, according this report itself, “contributed around 14 per cent or 7.5 GtCO2e to global GHG emissions,” as of 2018.

What is to be done, according to the Gap report’s authors, about this major GHG source?

For the United States, on the topic of transportation, it is just this:

Strengthen vehicle and fuel economy standards to be in line with zero emissions for new cars in 2030

Zero-emission automobiles, of course, do not and cannot ever exist.

All automobiles require fuel, and even solar panels, wind turbines, hydro-electric dams, and nuclear power plants produce GHG emissions in their construction and maintenance. The emissions, in these minor examples as well as in the coal and natural gas plants that are the major sources of “EV” power, merely occur at locations other than a tailpipe. But occur they most certainly still do, despite automakers’ labels suggesting otherwise. Shame on the United Nations for missing and obscuring this crucial fact.

Meanwhile, there’s also not a single word in this report about reversing cars’ centrality in transportation and urban design. Nor is there a word about the foolhardiness of relying on automobiles as a primary way of accomplishing everyday locomotion.

There is some major juju behind the continuing taboo against straight talk about cars. If we survive to tell the tale, this sponsored unknowing will likely be judged as one of human history’s greatest ideological blindnesses. First, though, it may be the death of us.

Our Chucky Moment

Chucky face on car hood

It figures that the inevitable catastrophic idea has arrived under the fetid banner of the dishonorable Senator Charles E. Schumer. Here it is, as just announced in The New York Times:

I am announcing a new proposal designed to rapidly phase out gas-powered vehicles and replace them with zero-emission, or “clean,” vehicles like electric cars. The goal of the plan, which also aims to spur a transformation in American manufacturing, is that by 2040 all vehicles on the road should be clean.

Given that the United States is the flagship and proving ground of corporate capitalism — the veritable paradise for aspiring rentiers — cars-first transportation has always been imposed by fiat here. That has always been because nothing else can or could have sustained the Big Business system, which is institutionally addicted to massive and unending socio-economic waste.

More importantly for us now, nothing other than cars-first transportation can be discussed here in this money-makers’ Nirvana, because the waste must go on, come Hell or high water, if the cash is to continue to flow uphill.

Schumer explains, backhandedly, the continuity he and his sponsors seek, despite the times:

Critics have long said that bold action on climate change would cost America money and jobs. This is not true. My plan is estimated to create tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs in this country and should re-establish the United States as the world leader in auto manufacturing. Much as America experienced a revolution in auto manufacturing at the outset of the 20th century, America under this plan should experience a revolution in clean auto manufacturing at the beginning of this century.

See? The 21st century will be just like the 20th! Only it will be “electric.”

The unmentionable problem, of course, is that relying on a quarter-billion personally-owned, independently steered 3,000-pound machines as the main way of accomplishing everyday intra- and inter-urban locomotion is, whatever the fuel source, a patently suicidal idea.

Oh, and by the way, Schumer is proposing to spend $45 billion a year to subsidize the sale of new EVs, in order to get something like 1/4 of the total US vehicle fleet (“63 million fewer gas-powered cars on the road by 2030”) to be “electric.” Total US spending on all public transportation everywhere is now barely more that this sum.

Such is the way Carmageddon arrives…

More on Killing for Money

Cigarette filters were invented in the 1920s. When the public began to contemplate the true nature of cigarettes, filters went, in corporate endeavors, from experimental oddity to mandatory product part.

Wikipedia explains:

[Filters were] considered a specialty item until 1954, when manufacturers introduced the machine more broadly, following a spate of speculative announcements from doctors and researchers concerning a possible link between lung diseases and smoking. Since filtered cigarettes were considered “safer”, by the 1960s, they dominated the market. Production of filter cigarettes rose from 0.5 percent in 1950 to 87.7 percent by 1975

The purpose of the cigarette filter was never, of course, to make cigarettes safe, since such a thing is an oxymoron — as every corporate seller of the things surely knew by 1954. The real purpose was to extend the salability of cigarettes in spite of the undeniable fact that they are deeply defective and dangerous things.

I mention all this because, despite Bill McKibben’s continuing insistence that they are part of the solution to looming ecological disasters, electric automobiles are cigarette filters writ large. They are a technology that our mass murdering corporate overlords are foisting upon us in order to keep selling automobiles, which, like cigarettes, are an inherently defective way of accomplishing everyday intra-urban locomotion.

If you want evidence of this, consider what Automotive Age reports about EVs:

[A]utomakers…invest hundreds of millions of dollars in new technologies that don’t yet pay for themselves — “profit deserts” is what Mark Wakefield, co-leader of the global automotive and industrial practice at AlixPartners, called them.

Electrification isn’t the only major r&d initiative. Investments in automated-driving technology are on pace to reach $85 billion through 2025. Combined, those investments won’t do anything to boost bottom lines in the near term, Wakefield said.

Electric vehicle sales volume, Wakefield says, will remain low, averaging just 14,000 units sold per EV model through 2022. That’s a far cry from what automakers expect from traditional vehicles.

Automotive Age, July 1, 2019

The only logical explanation for this “profit desert” phenomenon is the same one that explained the corporate move to filter cigarettes back in the 1950s.

The Mary Barras of the world certainly know they are selling a product that is ruining the planet’s living conditions. But these executives need a way to make their efforts look innocent, so they can keep doing what they do for the big money. Inside the industry, EVs are made and sold at a loss so that cars in general can continue to be sold.

Meanwhile, as Mary Barra also certainly knows, in the United States, automobiles are now the nation’s single largest source of GHG emissions — bigger now even than electricity generation.

Should we say it? Death by Car…

Electric Pickups

Hey, “electric” car fans! Guess what’s coming next in your supposedly serious product line?

Yep: Pickup trucks with electric motors!

EV Pickup image

The manifolding of the pertinent delusions is getting really juicy. Soon, white American men will be able to fantasize that they are “doing their part” for the Earth while driving around in massively overwrought versions of an ecocidal profit-machine that sells because it exploits modern suburbanites’ older notions of what cowboys did on the frontier.

All, of course, by very carefully managed elite design.

EVs Doing Their Real Work

evil angel image “Electric” automobiles will go down as one of the greatest hoaxes in human history.

In the early 21st century, as the reality of greenhouse gas pollution became less and less deniable, the corporate capitalist overclass continued to sell its core product, automobiles, on the same premise as always — bigger vehicles for bigger profits.

The auto-making corporations simultaneous sold a few loss-leading “electric” vehicles, partly as a way of researching possible future adaptations but mostly to put a halo around the insane idea of continuing to rely on automobiles for everyday transportation.

The would-be critics generally ate it right up.

By now, it’s clear that this trick produces spectacular results.

According to Cox Automotive research, light trucks now account for a record 69 percent of new automobile sales in the United States. In other words, of the 17.3 million new vehicles sold here last year, 12 million of them were pickups, SUVs, and “crossovers.”

“Electric” cars sold here in 2018? 361,307 — reported with an celebratory exclamation mark!

So, for every new “electric” car sold, there are 33 new light trucks entering the ever-expanding U.S. automotive fleet. Quite a feat!

By the way: At the average late-2018 new-automobile selling price of $37,000, new vehicle sales accounted for $640 billion in effective economic demand in 2018 in the USA. That is roughly the same as the Pentagon’s annual budget.

The Haloware Thesis

Long-time readers will know that DbC contends that so-called “electric vehicles” are, in both design and effect, haloware — loss-leader products promulgated by the sellers of pickups and SUVs as a way of staving off democratic contemplation of the suicidal idiocy of using automobiles for everyday locomotion.

The proof is in the pudding here. As Zeke Hausfather reports:

Despite record sales of electric vehicle in the US – the total number just hit the 1m mark – there are nearly 12m more cars with internal combustion engines in the country than there were in 2008.

This, of course, is exactly the intended pattern. A tenth of the population drives around flattering itself for its Tesla or Leaf, while the rest keep buying trucks.

And this is just the half of it, since “EVs” are actually 80% natural gas, coal, and nuclear cars.

Sing it UB40

Trojan Horse News

cartoon of trojan horse DbC argues that so-called electric vehicles, which in fact are 83% methane/coal/nuclear cars, are loss-leading haloware, rather than a serious response to anthropogenic ecocide.

Here is some evidence pertinent to assessing this thesis, from today’s edition of Automotive News:

Ford said [via a report by its CEO] it’s reallocating $7 billion of capital from cars to light trucks.

Meanwhile, “electric” vehicles now constitute a whopping 0.9% of total U.S. sales of new automobiles.

Such are the wages of BAU and McKibbenite green naivete/denial about capitalism.

Meanwhile, for a laugh, note the title of Ford’s CEO’s talk: Topic: “Technology and Human Promise”

The Age of the EV

Our grandchildren, should they somehow retain print literacy, will undoubtedly be disgusted with our stupidity in the face of the preposterous wishful thinking about “electric” automobiles that was used as such obvious haloware in our time.

Meanwhile, per Automotive News, there’s this, the real driving plan behind the “electric” trickery:

In the first half of 2017, light trucks accounted for 63.1 percent of U.S. [auto] sales.

The “Electric Vehicle” Ruse

burning-earth More evidence that so-called “EVs” are, in fact, haloware: The car corporations have thrown a successful tizzy-fit against an actual sales mandate in China. Per Reuters:

China agreed to delay an 8 percent quota for electric and hybrid vehicles by a year until 2019, an auto industry source said on Friday, in a major concession for German carmakers seeking to expand in the world’s largest auto market.

In a draft in September, Chinese policymakers proposed that 8 percent of automakers’ sales be battery-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2018, sparking protests from domestic and international carmakers.

After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said a “solution” for implementing the quotas had been found, though he gave no details.

As part of a compromise deal, German carmakers who fail to fulfill the quota in the near term will be able to offset penalties by ramping up electric vehicle deliveries at a later date, the industry source said.

Gosh, I thought these folks were just dying to bring us all the very best in transportation technology…

Meanwhile, the report does contain one piece of stone-cold fact:

Maintaining and extending its current strong position in China is crucial for Germany’s auto industry, led by Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW, and its broader economy.