Labor-Sucking Devices

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4 Responses to Labor-Sucking Devices

  1. John Pryce February 16, 2013 at 4:11 AM #

    This story is very strange, because I was under the impression that Elon Musk was a rational person.

  2. Katarina February 16, 2013 at 10:45 PM #

    Very good article.

    I like elon Musk. The man advanced internet commerce with PayPal and is doing great work with his other company, SpaceX, launching cargo into orbit dependably and cheaply. But I was uneasy about his involvement with electric cars.

    Not to tie this with the article series on the Bible, but driving an electric car strikes me, a bit, as the equivalent of the Christian notion of penance. Hopefully it’s just a coincidence.

  3. Leaf Driver February 22, 2013 at 2:24 PM #

    The article is at times funny, but generally wrongheaded.

    Mr. Broders drive which ran out of juice, according to the NYT Public Editor, was sloppily documented and included poor judgement calls.

    Any vehicle requires proper fuel management, no matter how it’s fueled.

    As RT points out, it is early in the mass-market EV life cycle. Imagine how difficult it was to take long road journeys in the early 1900′s. You don’t have to imagine because those are documented.

    Also gasoline isn’t cheap. It’s just massively subsidized by the government. You don’t pay for the costs of oil wars when you fill the tank. If you did, gas would not be cheap.

    Where does RS get the idea that Tesla is supposed to be a car *without tradeoffs*? There are tradeoffs with every car ever made.

    Truth be told, with current battery ranges EVs are better suited as commuter cars, and it’s better to retain an oil car for long trips. This is how I do it. My oil car doesn’t suck my wallet dry driving back and forth to work 5 days a week. The EV does that and costs just $25 a month to fuel.

    Of course, there have always been luddites and reactionaries and those who criticize any attempt to improve anything. Had RT been around in 1898, he’d have harried Henry Ford, saying his funny looking bicycle-wheeled contraption requires far more work than a horse, requires exotic and difficult to obtain fuels, unlike readily available horse-chow.

    But this isn’t really about cars. It’s about politics. Oil funds Republicans, cars that don’t need oil represent a symbolic threat to the power and control of the oil barons. Therefore they must be bad, so lets brainstorm up as many arguments as we can think of to say why they’re bad. Every improvement in EVs occasions new and different criticisms.

    Progress is when we make things better in spite of such people.

  4. Kevin February 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM #

    Sanity. Except no sane environmentalist should be promoting electric cars unless and until the electric supply is transformed to mostly renewable sources. Otherwise, as you state at the onset, one only has purchased a very long (and very inefficient) tailpipe.

    I once had the dubious privilege of test driving a Tesla — one of their 1st generation Lotus copies. It impressed me as a really cool golf cart but nothing more. During the test drive, I asked lots of questions about range, electric charge demand, etc. I then computed the equivalent fossil fuel consumption (using rather favorable assumptions). Mileage was the equivalent of 50 mpg gasoline after correcting for generation and transmission losses, except the fossil fuel generating the electricity was not oil but a mixture of 70% coal and 25% natural gas. This is a tiny car, lighter than a Prius, which gets about 50 mpg in the city, or a Civic Hybrid, which gets about 45-50 highway (in my personal experience).

    I consider myself an environmentalist, and I’ve done lots of research and work on energy policy and utility economics. But any environmentalist who promotes this technology ought to have his or her head examined.

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