You can Lead a horse to water but…

The EV crumbling has begun. General Motors and Honda have pulled back their EV programs and cut drastically the number of such vehicles they are projecting to sell in the next few years. Toyota, which has been vocal since the beginning about the efficacy of EVs vs hybrids are putting their force behind the Prius and hybrids.

It seems the initial group of EV enthusiasts, those who bought EVs for personal reasons (technology, save the planet, simply to show their neighbors that they are “with it”) have bought their cars. The rest of us are simply going along doing our thing and buying what we want, not what we are told to want.

Back in the day of the introduction of HCs (horseless carriages), no one had to pass laws telling us not to sell or buy horses. We put a horse next to a Ford Model T and the Model T took the day. The marketplace filled with gasoline stations, stables became garages, and the paradigm shift took place. In less than two decades, cars flooded the streets and horses were retired to live out their lives in suburbia. No one forced anyone, no one had to have huge influx of government dollars to be sure there were enough pumps to fill the car’s tanks. It just happened. The marketplace did its job.

Corporations like GM, Ford, Honda and Toyota simply aren’t prepared to lose billions of dollars a year because the government tells them to do so. Their stockholders won’t stand for it. Because it doesn’t make sense.

The common man (or woman) is not an idiot. He (or she) knows that the EV is not the end all to reducing greenhouse gases. It simply moves the place where the electricity is created. Wind farms and solar panels don’t create enough energy to replace power stations. The making of an EV is a very messy business, and the environmental mess simply cannot be ignored. The purchasing public knows this.

Why buy a car that requires at best 30 minutes to fill its fuel tank 80% full when you can zip in and out of a gas station in less than 10 minutes and get a full tank? And remember, that’s with a lever 3 charger, one that runs on the highest voltage and one that can cost between $50K and yes, a $Million (look it up) to install. Most of the chargers being installed are Level 2 and drive that charging time well into hours, rather than minutes.

When your industry is dependent on an unlimited amount of government money, competition goes away. No one is motivated to provide a better mousetrap, simply get those chargers in the ground and move on. Oil companies were required to provide an infrastructure that ran from the well head to the gas pump. And they did.

Pumps work. If they break, they are fixed instantly. Fuel is delivered to the pumps as required. If the government stays out of the way, there is no problem. However what is the motivation of the charger companies to be sure there is an infrastructure to keep the chargers working, or to be sure that there is enough electricity to fuel the chargers. As long as there is an infinite amount of government money and no real competition, there is none.

The latest survey shows that upwards of 25% of the public chargers are off line at any one time. The EV driver’s frustration level is growing exponentially. That’s not good.

If there was no government money involved, the EV fuel suppliers would have to charge the true cost of supplying the electricity, the true cost of the installing and maintaining the chargers, the true cost of the electricity. Folks would find that charging their EV cost about the same as filling up their ICE vehicle, and frankly, was more inconvenient. Whoops.

What do ‘our betters’ think. Do they think that if there is a charger on every street corner that we will all rush out and buy EV’s. They seem to, but I doubt it.  It looks like the market for EVs is cooling and I can’t help but wonder just how it is going to heat up again. An ICE vehicle isn’t a horse. Placing it beside an EV isn’t the same as putting a Ford next to a four legged critter in 1900. The benefits of one over the other just aren’t there. Or at least they aren’t obvious.


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3 Responses to You can Lead a horse to water but…

  1. Clyde Wilson says:

    Great Article John: I live about 3 miles from a closed big box store with about a 250 space surface lot. About 3 years ago Tesla leased the lot and building to use as a new car prep station. For the last two years the lot has been nearly full of new Tesla vehicles every time I drive by the lot which is about 3 days a week. Starting about 6 months ago I noticed the lot was no longer running over 90% and was easily at 70% or below. In the last few months, it dropped below 70%. A few days ago, Karen and I drove by the lot, and she said “look, the lot now has a lot of ICE cars instead of all Tesla’s”. Realistically achievable goals have and will continue to drive change and improvement to higher levels of efficiency and environmental protection. Existential threats just mean some politicians have a financial interest in a topic. Just as you pointed out, the horse to the car was a decision made by the masses, it was just a better decision and it worked. We are all capable of making those decisions, even the environmental protection ones.

  2. Joe Sciulli says:

    Nothing says “freedom” like fueling up and seeing the Range on your instrument panel read “455 miles.”

    Conserving our resources is critical. But killing oil is only about control.

  3. CHRISTOPHER says:

    A good read on the transition from horses to cars can be found here. No transition is clean, or easy, but it still might be worth doing.


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