The Washington Post, which uses vast amounts of fossil fuels to distribute their dead tree edition of their newspaper, is giddy at the prospect, and makes a prognostication (using “explanatory journalism”) that will surely look humorous 50 years from now when fossil fueled vehicles are still around
Why 2017 will go down as the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine
Electric vehicles no longer seem like a futuristic fever dream, but they remain a rarity on most American city streets, accounting for less than 1 percent of the nation’s auto sales, according to the automotive website Edmunds.com.
Yet, when future auto historians look back, they may pinpoint 2017 as the year electric vehicles went from a promising progressive fad to an industry-wide inevitability.
Hey, everyone wants a vehicle that is able to go 35 to 75 miles per charge, right? And have to be careful using things like heat, A/C, the radio, headlights, etc, to make sure they aren’t stuck on the side of the road.
The tipping point, experts say, follows three developments, each rippling outward with economic and cultural consequences.
China’s flexing: In addition to setting aggressive production quotas for EVs, China plans to scrap internal combustion engines entirely as soon as 2030. By taking a lead role in the shift to plug-ins, the world’s largest auto market is forcing the rest of the international community to follow in its footsteps.
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The debut of Tesla’s Model 3: The company’s first mass-market vehicle has ushered in an era of excitement about EVs because of the car’s slick design and starting price of around $35,000.
Major automakers announce plans for an “all-electric future.” General Motors finished 2016 as the world’s third-largest automaker, meaning its decision to create 20 new electric vehicles by 2023 is bound to have an impact on the global marketplace. Volvo, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Ford have also announced EV plans in recent months.
And we all believe China, right? Because they never lie, right?
It’s great that Tesla has these plans, but, starting at $35,000 isn’t something that is readily available for the average middle or lower class citizen. Adding in sales tax for NC, which is rather low at 3%, plus the typical doc fee and tags/registration, with an average APR for good credit, that gets you to around $668 a month on a 60 month loan. Super affordable, eh? Remember, the Chevy Volt wasn’t really able to survive without government and big business purchases. Single consumer purchases were low. They started at over $40,000. You can buy a fully loaded Civic Touring for $27,000, which gets 41MPG highway, and over 300 miles per fillup.
The automakers forget that it is the consumer which drives chance. How well did the Nissan Leaf do? And other all electrics? There will certainly be some sales. Some people will want these vehicles. Great. Most don’t. And they will refuse to pay the price, both for the purchase and the ownership portion, and go buy something elsewhere.
The article goes on and on about things like the future of big oil, gas stations changing or disappearing, what will mechanics do since oil changes won’t be necessary, and “carbon pollution.” It’s a nice little fantasy that is not even close to coming to fruition, and, realistically, won’t until the battery packs stop taking up so much space and are able to get people several hundred miles per charge, along with a price drop to compete.
It’s nice that the News has become science fiction writers.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.