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…

Musk Rat

ev-lemon The recent New York Times report on the profound defectiveness of Tesla’s $72,400 lemon has provoked Tesla’s “Chairman, Product Architect & CEO” Elon Musk to try to defend his rolling turd.  Among the pathetic excuses is this one:

For his first recharge, he [the NYT reporter] charged the car to 90%. During the second Supercharge, despite almost running out of energy on the prior leg, he deliberately stopped charging at 72%. On the third leg, where he claimed the car ran out of energy, he stopped charging at 28%. Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?

Musk, of course, knows the answer full well: People would do that because, even using his “Supercharger,” he’s talking about spending an hour-and-a-half each time waiting for his lemon to draw its coal-derived fuel. People would stop waiting because they have lives, and means of transportation are supposed to exist in order to facilitate, not devour, those lives.

Musk has the chutzpah to conclude with this line: “[W}hat is at stake for sustainable transport is simply too important to the world to ignore.”

Of course, the electric car is to sustainable transport what the potato peeler is to ditch digging.

Fisker Goes Volt

Remember when the Chevy Volt was going to be an “electric” car, meaning one powered (confining one’s attention to the car itself) only by a battery? Remember how that worked out? Yep, a crappy, overpriced hybrid car with a gasoline-burning engine.

Remember, too, when Fisker Automotive was the cutting-edge “electric car” manufacturer that was going to put GM to shame with its sleek, truly high-tech products? Guess what’s happened to that publicly-subsidized promise? Yep, it, too, is vaporware. The next wave of Fisker products is going to have gasoline-burning engines.

Neither that fact, nor the laughable business performance of Fisker stops it from blowing massive smoke up the public’s backside. The model name for its (supposedly) forthcoming over-priced, gas-burning hybrid? The Fisker Nina. That’s right, Nina — as in the ship from the mini-armada that launched the Columbian Conquest/Columbian Exchange, a transition rightly described as the most significant event in human history since the rise of agriculture.

That’s about as subtle as a rock, and 100 percent pure baloney to boot.

Update: Coal/Nuke Cars

leaf_chassis In the first six months of 2011, in the United States, “Nissan sold 3,875 Leafs while GM sold 2,745 Volts.” Hence, if we suspend logic and accept that these figures are not exaggerations like virtually everything else claimed about these machines, there are now 6,620 Leafs and Volts among the 246,000,000 cars and trucks currently operating on U.S. roads.

So, to do the math: At this rate, it would take 186 years for so-called “electric” cars to reach the status of being one percent of the present U.S. automotive fleet.

Meanwhile, Nissan has just announced — wait for it — a $2,420 price increase on the cheapest version of next year’s Leaf.

Finally, this is not exactly the newest news, but check out this prediction of dangerous (and presumably catastrophically expensive) collision-induced intrusions into “EV” battery packs.

All this supports DbC’s thesis that the “electric car” is a mere placeholder promulgated to trick people, not excluding the hordes of phony greens who continue to swallow the bait, into giving corporate capitalists another decade or two to finish sucking all the wealth they can out of human history’s greatest infrastructural boondoggle, the cars-first transportation system of the United States.

Making Coal Car Batteries: The CO2 Impact

ev_co2 A London group with the comically oxymoronic name of Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership has been busy disproving its own sponsored premise. Turns out that manufacturing a battery for a typical “electric” car puts 3.8 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s two-thirds of the carbon emitted in the manufacturing of a complete medium-sized gasoline car.

What additional carbon dioxide would be emitted in the process of scrapping or recycling millions of “electric” car batteries every year? As the LCVP admits, that remains one of our “gaps in understanding.”

The inescapable fact is that no automobile will ever be “low carbon.” Merely making these rolling piles of metal and plastic and lithium is inherently energy- and carbon-intensive.

DbC will say it again: Cars-first transportation was and is a capitalist pipe-dream.

Old Wine, New Bottle

electric fire So, the diversionary pipedream of the electric car continues to roll out, as the tyranny of capitalist decision-making prevents all admission of its inherent idiocy.

Meanwhile, dig this new wrinkle:

The Chicago Tribune…reported that by the time Chicago’s 73 direct-current fast-charging stations are installed next January, they could be mostly obsolete. That’s because the Chicago system is using a Japanese-developed charging protocol and there’s a big effort in the U.S. to adopt a difference standard for rapid charging.

The charging stations are priced at $65,000 each, and the cost of a retrofit on top of that is unclear.

SAE is considering the Japanese protocol, but the group is under pressure from General Motors and other automakers to not use the outlet that is compatible with the Leaf and the i-MiEV in part to create a problem for their makers.

Ah, false difference and phony obsolescence. Same as it ever was.