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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | Happy New Year!
January 01, 2024

THE MORNING RANT: New Year’s Update on Electric Vehicles, the Blood Diamonds of the Climate Cult

Tesla Fire - Alabama.JPG

Welcome to 2024! Since New Year’s Day one year ago, the “electric vehicle transition” has gone from being a foregone conclusion to being a rolling failure. Auto manufacturers who bought into the hype are looking at a catastrophic financial miscalculation, and typical car drivers have gone from being curious (at best) to being generally negative about purchasing EVs. I believe that the conservative media’s pushback against EVs has had a considerable impact.

In other words, 2023 was a very good year – a year in which we turned opinion against electric vehicles. The people who want a boutique, status-symbol EV can continue to buy Teslas. (But can we please kill off the taxpayer subsidies for Tesla?) For all the rest, let 2024 be the year when legacy automakers throw in the towel on the eco-communist EV experiment.

For today, let’s do our periodic update on the EV Follies…

“Ford cutting 2024 F-150 Lightning production plans by half, suppliers told; The news comes amid an industrywide pullback in EV investment due to slower-than-expected sales growth.” [Automotive News – 12/11/2023]

Ford Motor Co. is dialing back planned output of the electric F-150 Lightning pickup by half next year because of "changing market demand," a steep pullback of a high-profile nameplate the automaker spent most of this year working to build in larger numbers.

Although I’ve enjoyed writing about how emphatically consumers have rejected Ford’s flagship EV, in fairness I should point out that the Ford F150 Conflagration Lightning is a spectacularly awful vehicle. Aside from its tendency to burst into flames, it performs poorly at towing, hauling for distance, and operating in the cold – the basic functionalities that are expected of a pickup truck.

The buried lede in this story isn’t that Ford is cutting weekly production of its electric pickup from 3,200 units per week to 1,600 units per week, rather it’s that Ford’s executives still think there is a market that will absorb 1,600 of these abominations per week.

*****

An electric vehicle enthusiast at Motor Trend magazine learned just how awful the EV experience can be when he and his wife had to jump in their Ford F150 Lightning and race 600 miles for a family emergency. 600 miles is at best a 10-hour drive for me in my gasoline-powered car, including gas and restroom stops. This unfortunate couple could not reach their destination in one day.

“Our Last Ford F-150 Lightning EV Pickup Road Trip Was a Nightmare” [Motor Trend – 12/22/2023]

The author of this piece points out that although Ford touts a range of 320 miles for the Lightning, it had only twice exceeded 200 miles on a charge.

We were tired and angry. Angry at the situation. Angry at Electrify America for being so historically and uniquely awful at its one job. Angry at the Ford Nav system for sending us to a charging station that, given available data, it could have known was, at best, a huge gamble on a holiday weekend.

We spent 25 minutes charging back up to 64 percent and weighing our options. We could keep pushing at this glacial pace, arriving just before dawn. Or we could find a hotel along the route with a charger, grab a couple hours of sleep, and plan on arriving at sun-up.

*****

It’s not just Ford that can’t sell its EVs. Half of Buick dealers would rather surrender their franchises than have to sell General Motors’ atrocious EV offerings.

“GM buys out nearly half of its Buick dealers across the country, who opt to not sell EVs” [Detroit Free Press – 12/20/2023]

GM’s awful executives, with little understanding of automobiles or their customers’ preferences, think they can simply dictate what consumers should buy. GM dealers, who actually understand automobiles and what their customers want, know better.

General Motors said nearly half its Buick dealers took buyouts this year rather than invest in selling and servicing electric vehicles as the automaker's brands transition to all electric by 2030.

That means GM will end 2023 with about 1,000 Buick stores nationwide, down 47% from where it started the year.

*****

General Motors is rolling out an electric version of its popular Chevrolet Blazer sport utility. Well, it’s trying to, but not very successfully.


“2024 Chevy Blazer EV sales are already halted over software issues” [Elektrek – 12/26/2023]

Dozens of potential customers will have to keep waiting.

After opening order requests for the 2024 Blazer EV in early September, Chevy is halting sales less than four months later. Chevy confirmed it was temporarily pausing sales to fix the software quality.

*****

In England, where the government is trying to mandate that consumers buy EVs, the consumers are refusing to play along, so auto manufacturers are having to adjust.

“Audi hits brakes on EV rollout as enthusiasm wanes” [The Telegraph – 12/18/2023]

Audi will hit the brakes on its rollout of electric car models as consumer enthusiasm wanes in the face of high prices compared to petrol models.

Sales of EVs plummeted by 17% from November last year, according to the statistics published by industry group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

*****

Consumers are a lot smarter than the maleducated elites who are trying to micromanage our lives and mandate that we buy EVs. Unlike internal combustion (ICE) vehicles, battery powered cars have a short, finite lifespan. This is because of the 5-figure cost to replace its battery in a decade or less. With a value that rapidly approaches $0, EVs depreciate much faster than ICE vehicles, which makes the ownership experience of an EV much higher than that of an ICE car.

Consumers understand that they don’t want to find themselves in the position of trying to sell a 6 or 7-year old EV that is close to worthless, thus they don’t want to put themselves in the position of ever owning a 6 or 7 year old EV, which creates a real problem for those trying to unload 3-year old EVs.

“No one wants to buy used EVs and they’re piling up in weed-infested graveyards” [Fortune – 12/22/2023]

Consumers buying new EVs tend to lease them, leaving the problem of unloading the unwanted off-lease EVs to the manufacturer. Perhaps I’ll take a look someday at how auto manufacturers are reserving for the huge hit they’re going to take on their off-lease EVs, if they’re reserving at all.

Or maybe they’ll just ask for another government bailout in the name of “free enterprise.”

Drivers don’t want to buy used electric vehicles, and that’s undermining the market for new ones, too. In the $1.2 trillion secondhand market, prices for battery-powered cars are falling faster than for their combustion-engine cousins.

“There isn’t used-car demand for EVs,” said Matt Harrison, Toyota Motor Corp.’s chief operating officer in Europe. “That’s really hurting the cost-of-ownership story.”

*****

Range anxiety is a way of life for those who find themselves behind the wheel of an EV for anything more than just a short daily commute with a charger waiting at home. Cold weather makes the range situation even worse.

How much worse? How about 30% worse.

“Winter & Cold Weather EV Range” [Recurrent Auto – 11/15/2023]

Do electric cars have less range cold temperatures? Yes, the 18 popular EV models that we analyzed had an average of 70.3% of their range in freezing conditions, but each model performs differently as our chart illustrates.

EV Winter Range.JPG


*****

Something I’ve considered writing about is how the hassle of certain luxury products serves as a barrier that preserves exclusivity and keeps “lower status” people away, and specifically how that relates to the hassle of the EV experience.

The high-end lifestyle full of servants, attendants, lack of self-parking, etc. has been pure torture to me in my limited exposure to it. When traveling, I don’t want to valet my car or have to call room service for a cup of coffee. I just want to park right outside and be able to get a cup of coffee from an urn in the lobby.

David Blackmon captured exactly that issue in this Substack column of his, explaining why the “luxury” hassle of EVs is such a powerful deterrent for the masses. He specifically focuses on how Tesla will send out a consultant to teach you how to charge your car, whereas most of us don’t want to need training to learn how to fuel up our car.

“So Hard to Understand Why People Won't Buy These EVs - Or is it, Really?” [Energy Transition Absurdities - David Blackmon - 12/19/2023]

When an American goes out to buy a gas-powered car, one thing he or she is not thinking about is ‘how can I know where to get gasoline, and how do I put it into my car so it will run?” Pretty much everyone, especially in America, knows where the gasoline is, how to buy it at the pump or inside the convenience store at the counter, and how to turn on the pump and pump the gas into the tank.

Charging Consultation.JPG

That’s right: Knowing how, when, where and why to charge your Tesla’s battery is such a complicated topic that the carmaker employs actual charging consultants with whom you can schedule appointments to figure it all out.

Consumers in America crave simplicity in their lives.

Anything that makes their lives more complicated than they already are automatically has a strike against their buying it, especially when it’s a luxury item like an EV. The simple fact is that, for the vast majority of consumers, owning an EV makes their lives much more complicated than they already are, and who needs that?

As Mr. Blackmon concludes, “Trust me: No one really wants to have a Tesla charging consultant anywhere in their lives.”

Correct, an EV charging consultant is a prestigious inconvenience for those who seek the exclusivity of the luxury lifestyle. It’s simply a hassle that the rest of us can avoid by not driving an EV.

*****

Leftist elites have a peculiar tolerance for strip mining and child labor, so long as it’s blessed by the high priests of The Sustainable Organic Church of the Carbon Apocalypse, and so long as it occurs in third world countries where the child laborers are not white.

The Heartland Institute continues to do its excellent work exposing this human rights nightmare.

“EV Industry Built on Child Labor-Fueled Mines” [Heartland Daily News – 12/12/2023]

Child Labor Cobalt EV.JPG

The invaluable Steve Milloy of Junk Science has a great analogy. ”EVs are like ‘blood diamonds.’”

Steve Milloy - Blood Diamonds.JPG

*****

Let’s finish up by with a reminder that part of the exclusive, luxury lifestyle as it relates to EVs, is that even the car fires are extra special, requiring much more manpower, danger, and water.

“Alabama firefighters use 36,000 gallons of water to put out 1 Tesla on Christmas” [CBS 42 – Birmingham – 12/26/2023]

Thousands of gallons of water and over 10 rescue organizations were used to put out a single fire from a Tesla vehicle in Alabama on Christmas.

In the Pine Level community, located an hour south of Birmingham, firefighters were called to a traffic accident at 11:14 p.m. Monday night, where a Tesla Model Y was found fully on fire. According to the Pine Level Fire Department, the fire required that the interstate be closed.

The header picture at the top of this post is the subject Tesla.

The department stated that two fire hoses were used, putting out 36,000 gallons of water before the fire had been fully extinguished. According to The Independent, a typical fire from a non-electric vehicle can be put out with less than 500 gallons of water.

I have heard from several firefighters (who I have previously quoted at Ace of Spades) discussing how much they detest electric cars, and how extraordinarily difficult and dangerous they are to extinguish when they catch fire.

“This was a first for Autauga County,” the department stated. “Electric vehicle fires are unusual and present unique challenges and dangers to firefighters.”

If you crave the exclusivity and boutique luxury of an EV, does it bother you that if you’re involved in a wreck, your product choice will compromise the safety of firefighters in a way that gas-powered cars don’t?

Related – this story is just now breaking and unfolding…

“Cargo ship carrying burning lithium-ion batteries reaches Alaska, but kept offshore for safety” [AP – 12/30/2023]

A large cargo ship with a fire in its hold is being kept 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) offshore of an Alaska port as a precaution while efforts are undertaken to extinguish the flames, the U.S. Coast Guard said Saturday.

The ship arrived Friday, but an order preventing the Genius Star XI from going close to shore was issued to “mitigate risks associated with burning lithium-ion batteries or toxic gasses produced by the fire,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Mike Salerno said in an email to The Associated Press.

*****

He Left Me Electric Cars.JPG

(h/t David Blackmon – https://blackmon.substack.com)

*****

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday that is free of hangovers and lithium fires. If black-eyed peas are going to be served at your house or football-watching parties, please feel free to share how they’ll be served. My go-to is simply canned black-eyed peas with pork and jalapenos, but if served straight, I’ll add some Louisiana hot sauce.

Black eyed peas.JPG

Happy New Year!

[buck.throckmorton at protonmail dot com]

digg this
posted by Buck Throckmorton at 11:00 AM

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