Four Questions for Volt-Heirs

General Motors now offers to sell you a partially electric-motored car for $41,000. Nissan will sell you an all-electric one for $32,780.

If you are among the few who could even think about forking over that much money for an automobile, here are four questions about what you’re buying:

my part car 1) Isn’t it ostrichware? As the smug owner of the Prius pictured at left shouts through his/her vanity plate, isn’t your main motivation for buying a Volt or a Leaf (and Big Brother must be laughing his ass off at that name for an automobile!) to make yourself feel that you’ve thereby done your part to help confront and reform the institutions that are imperiling humanity’s energy and ecological future? And isn’t that a rather pathetic conclusion to draw? Buying a 3,500-pound box of steel, plastic, and lithium is somehow a serious contribution to making a sustainable world? Really?

2) Are you sure it’s not vaporware? The outgoing CEO of GM once said he knew GM “had to have an electric car,” and, by that, he meant he knew it was an important gesture to show that General Motors is changing. No serious analyst of electric cars thinks they will comprise more than ten percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet in the foreseeable future. In fact, it isn’t at all proven that they even could, given their radical demands on our decrepit electricity-transmission infrastructure. So, have you asked yourself whether, by buying an electric car, you might actually be volunteering to serve as a useful rolling distraction on behalf of our corporate overlords, whose intent is to ride cars-first transportation for as long as they possibly can?

3) Where’s your theory of transition? It is inherently un-serious to presume that an individual purchase of any product — not to say a two-ton grocery-fetcher — equals a real contribution to getting humanity decently and humanely across the coming energy transition. No proponent of the electric car ever talks about this, for the excellent reason that cars-first transportation is simply not even imaginably sane, given what we’re up against.

4) Who will fix your crashed Volt or Leaf? What will happen when your battery pack sheers off your frame in a rear-ender? How much will you have to pay to insure against that event and others like it?

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  Dictated Freedom - Death by CarDavid ParsonsadminMarkD Recent comment authors

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David Parsons

1. Nope. I wanted an 100% EV, but my sweetie didn’t want a handmade car, and the 2001 Prius was the only game in town. 2. My sweetie has been driving it for a decade, so it’s not vaporware. 3. The transition is going to be the USA running out of oil and crashing, of course. One little gas-electric car isn’t going to make any difference there. And the traditional model of recharging an EV is to do overnight trickle-charging, not a multi-megawatt fast charge (and at $40k for the GM gas-electric or $250k for that made in california electric… Read more »


…and quiet vehicles weighing 1000kg and moving at 50kph benefit who? not the poor bastards getting cleaned up by them crossing our roads.

…and who gets to drive these super duper cars? everyone on the planet (egalitare, libertare) or just good folks like you and your sweetie?

just give up your addiction (to the car) – or at least try to cut down.

David Parsons

1. If someone in an EV splats a pedestrian or bicyclist that didn’t hear them coming, it’s the fault of the driver of the EV, *not* the pedestrian or the bicyclist. If you’re saying that cars need to be equipped with additional mechanical noisemakers to make them “safe”, you’re missing the point by quite a long way. 2. If you’re willing to use some elbow grease, you can get an used EV for under $10,000. The batteries are often the stumbling point (cost+weight) but there are plenty of EV fanatics who have gotten around that problem. And if you’re cash-constrained… Read more »

David Parsons

What, you don’t agree that automobiles are a “screamingly expensive & inefficient use of space and time”, just that they’re expensive to make? Okay. I’m not sure exactly what the difference is here, but I’ll let you have the point. Traditionally, EVs haven’t been any more expensive to insure and repair (we are forced to pay for insurance on our filled-with-batteries Prius, and don’t pay additional for that. It’s possible that Farmer’s Insurance is giving us a special low rate because they think we’re all wonderful human beings, but I doubt it.) I’m afraid you’re just engaged in wishful thinking… Read more »

  Dictated Freedom - Death by Car

[…] Allen Dick (stage name “Tim Allen”)  on Chevrolet’s television ad for its vaporware/haloware/gas-electric hybrid model, the Chevy Volt, reads as […]