Friday, July 7, 2017

I Hate Your Electric Car

A new electric car is coming out today. Apparently it costs $35,000 - which is considered to be priced "for the masses."

I am not one of those masses. I remember when I bought my SUV in 2006 for about $21,000 I hoped technology would move forward to the point where it would be the last gas-powered car I'd own. But I've spent too many subsequent years sitting in traffic watching the light go from red to green and back again before I have a chance to move through. In that span I also began biking a lot more for day-to-day reasons. I also watched ride sharing apps like Lyft and the one by the sexual harassment guy take off. So I'm hoping this now eleven year old SUV is the last car I own, period. 

Yet California is shoving rebates (also known as tax dollars that would be better spent making streets safer for bikers and walkers) my way to convince me that I should have an electric car that I'd feel good about driving. There is even talk about the incentives getting even bigger because, well, they're not working fast enough.

I've said it so many times it doesn't even sound like words anymore: the goal isn't to get people to convert from gas to electric, but from car to not car

The rebates have only done two things: they give California an alibi for environmental protection when it really just encourages the state to stick with an unsustainable model of sprawl and spread-out living. Millennials, as I've written about before, aren't keen on this model and are one three-hour drive to work before packing it in and leaving the Bay Area. 

That doesn't help Silicon Valley. 

The other thing the rebates have done is simply subsidize cars mostly bought by people who don't need the subsidy. A study from UC Berkeley last year looked at over 98,000 rebate checks and found that 83% of the rebate checks were going to households that had $100,000 in income or more - and mostly to white households. 

A quick shout out to Democrats: Two years from now several of you are going to run for president. At least one of you will be from California* but all of you will talk about how it is bad when tax cut benefits mostly go to the rich. 

When you do that you might want to make sure you have a leg to stand on. 

Before some plug-in e-car fanchild reminds me that the new electric car out today costs ONLY $35,000 (before rebates) I need to add that the program looked at hybrids too, and the sticker prices of those start in the $20,000 range - which is still a lot of money for a lot of families. 

But today is still a big day for high-income households wanting to feel good about the "environmental footprint" - but talk of an environmental footprint must go further than the part of the car the exhaust pipe is normally found. 

A Tesla Model 3 takes up just as much space in a parking spot in Palo Alto as any other car. It can block the box at a Redwood City intersection just like a gas powered car. It can circle a parking lot for ten minutes looking for a space just like a gas powered car. The presence of one and tens of thousands of other electric cars (almost always with one passenger) slows down everyone, which makes commutes take longer - if not additionally making the 'better for the environment' argument a wash.

Now that electric car drivers have gotten used to life alone in the HOV lane, they will be reluctant to give that up. Too bad. They have to. It'll happen sooner or later and I'm hoping a California legislator reading this understands that - or at least takes a look at what happened in Jakarta. When they dumped their HOV lanes average speeds for the entire city dropped big time. 

The lesson from this study is that using HOV lanes as a "Good Dog!" biscuit for wealthy Californians who drive alone is a bad idea that needs to end. 24 hour carpool lanes need to begin. 

Now I'm sure if and when the HOV lane sticker nonsense does end, electric cars will still sell. They'll have to, because for now we're stuck in an environment that forces people to live in one place, have a job in another, and offer little other than using a car to get around. And this coercion is having some pretty terrible consequences since more Americans than ever are going into debt to buy cars. According to a recent study by, the average length of a loan is 69.3 months. But guess what! The average size of a loan, as of last month, is $31,000 which means that the swell new electric car is finally in reach.

The person buying this car may end up in debt to get it, trapped by the payments and stuck in a system that is unsustainable and contributing to a poorer quality of life for everyone. But at least they can still feel good about buying that new electric car.

Thanks for reading and thanks for saying no to Car Culture 2.0

* Don't ask me who.


  1. You realize you're in the minority opinion here in the People's State of California. Most of the wealthier folks just want the appearance of giving a crap about the environment and broadcasting how "green" they are by driving an electric car. (Unless they've got massive solar panels charging that puppy, they're just outsourcing their emissions to PG&E.) And, as you've noted, the problem isn't only air pollution, it's car overcrowding.

    If someone wants to own an electric vehicle that's fine, I mean...heck a friend of mine has a car that runs on propane. Whatever floats your boat or turns your tires. But an electric car or propane, CNG, or that new contraption that runs on Hydrogen is still a CAR (truck, whatever).

    We have a Prius, we bought it because it gets incredible gas mileage, not because we wanted to broadcast some sort of moral superiority. We paid for it in full, no financing. If we'd not had enough to purchase it outright, we'd have bought a less expensive car, or held off buying it until we saved enough. We did look at getting an all-electric vehicle (or the electric/gas dual fuel Prius) but ultimately we decided that an electric vehicle just wasn't going to work for us.

    I'm not anti-car....I'm just pro-other forms of transportation.
    I'd prefer my electric vehicle to be an electric bike. (If we had an easy way to charge it, I'd probably have one.)

  2. You will agree with me that women are generally synonymous to fashion. And one of the fashion Coach Handbags Clearance that women adore so much when they want to look fashionable and thus look beautiful, is fine looking attractive and quality New Air Jordan Shoes. Thus, in as much as women love putting on quality fine looking Cheap Air Force Ones, research has confirmed that women just don't throw money around like their opposite counterpart, so quality fine looking MK Outlet they prefer, but they also prefer buying them cheap. An increasing number of people these days are finicky about the kind of Air Jordan Sale they wear. While almost everyone wants to wear the latest Michael Kors Factory Outlet and trendiest Ray Ban Outletnot many are prepared to shell out exorbitant amounts of money for these. Therefore, if you want to know insider secrets to buy cheap Coach Factory Outlet Online read on to know more. (Article Source From Coach Outlet Clearance Sale)

  3. Running a normal of 100 mile, at a 80km/h speed, the presentation of the electric car is of multiple times more compelling than that of the gas controlled car. EICR Certificate

  4. Peek under the car to check for leaks, rust, and damage.
    During the Test Drive
    gas mileage estimator

  5. Grow Light Only
    Why grow light Only?
    Can't see the forest for the trees anymore? LED has grown enormously in recent years and it is currently no longer a question of whether it is better than HPS, but it is extremely difficult to choose the right lamps.

    Growlight only solves this problem for you. Due to the enormous knowledge gained in professional horticulture, we know exactly what is important for an LED lamp to achieve the top results. We have made a selection in every price range so that there is a perfect lamp for everyone. In each segment we have selected the best lamp for you in terms of price and performance.
    In the meantime, we continue to select the best lamps available in the world so that you are always aware of the latest techniques.

    In addition to selecting the best lamps, we also find it very important that our customers are always satisfied. App, call, email us if you have any questions and we will give you personal advice in the field of light within a short time.
    Visit Grow Light Only