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Avoidable Contact #93: What if you held a mandatory EV party and nobody came? | Hagerty Media

Start with this: Moore's Law was never a law. It wasn't even a theory. Didn't even make it to hypothesis grade. This is what it was: bunk. If you've never heard of Moore's Law, no worries. We'll get back to it in a moment.
179 REPLIES 179

Political pendulum swings are over, I think: we live in the post-F-shaped-vote-count-curve world now. I can't see any elections going red in this country in the future.

You are probably correct, however there is always the chance of a knee-jerk correction when the eggs of the current mindset start hatching more quickly. With a progression of Clinton Obama Trump and Biden we've gone from b***jobs, to no jobs, to more jobs to Nut Job.

New Driver

Wow! Jack B really takes the straw man to a spectacular new place here. Are "they" really coming for our gas powered cars? Uh, in a word, no. Until there are ZEV vehicles that do what needs to be done good old gas will be there and manufacturers will make what's needed to fill the need just the way capitalism does. In the mean time let's remember that previous regulation on cars was fought using the same arguments the whole way. If not for CAFE standards cars would be much worse than they are now. All the amazing advances in gas cars were spurred by the need to make them use less fuel and make less smog. Today's Hellcat owes a lot to the technology that makes a Civic good too.
Anyhow, let's be real for a sec. shall we? Most people would be totally well served by an EV because most people very rarely drive more than 50 miles a day. Yes, some people drive a lot more so they'll use gas cars until there needs can be met with a ZEV. This isn't that hard really.

The fallacy of all central planning is a few people thinking that they know what most people need.

New Driver

So what's your idea?

Let people buy whatever vehicle they want to.

New Driver

Um, that's what we are doing and always will do. All our regulations are trying to do is push the large trends towards overall better results. People mostly buy Camrys because they are fine and for what they are doing a ZEV would work just as well. Again, this isn't that hard.

In all regulation there is the seen and the unseen.

Regulators with their limited knowledge chose to see the  mpg projections from CAFE, but not the body count from accidents in small CAFE cars.

Today people see sleek shiny Teslas driving down the road, but not the kid in the 3rd World lithium mine, or the future Superfund site a junked ZEV will end up in.


No such animal as a ZEV! Emissions are just not in my back yard!

The left isn't going to take away our gas powered cars, they're fine with us keeping them at home or wherever they ran out of gas.


Well thought out.
Intermediate Driver

Jack, please commit to re-publishing this flat-earth article in 10 years. Then we can all appreciate your Nostradamus-like ability to view of the future.
BTW, there is this thing called "global climate change" which threatens to make the planet uninhabitable for our grandchildren. Do you have a solution for that which allows for endless burning of fossil fuels in the transportation sector?
And a quick note - few coal-burning power plants remain, and their days are numbered. Economics killed them, as much as environmental regulation.

If I still have a job in ten years, as opposed to being part of a roving group of bandits in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, than sure!

I think you might want to read this roundup of current coal-plant production. China alone has over a thousand new coal plants in the planning stages. Over 160 were completed last year.

And please save your comment for 10 years, to be re-published in Mad Magazine, or The Daily Show with Tucker Carlson😁😄😃😀

Advanced Driver

This signing in is getting confusing. Maybe it has something to do with my lack of human contact. What actually brought me to this story was the photo of the rear end of a Model T. You can tell I'm old. Seeing the rear of a cute young lady used to have the same affect! Also the part of my being old is why I continue driving my ICE vehicles .......... when there is no ice on the roads!
The electric car was on Americas highways way before Henry and his crew began dumping Model T's into the hands of humans to venture farther and farther from their farms and city dwellings. As before, humans have tried to keep up with Fig Newton's laws of relatives living far away and we gotta go visit, so we attempted to keep up with the Jones' by getting larger and fancier automobiles. Other laws, both real and in our heads added to the confusion.
Those who think they know everything about everything tell us who know little about nothing are forcing us to believe and buy things to make our lives better when, in fact, most times it just screws life up even more. Those same people idling down the runway in their fancy jets use more fuel just getting started than I've burned in all of my 65+ years driving gasoline powered vehicles. Yet they tel me to stop being wasteful!
Skipping most of what I read, I am in a position where I don't have to worry about life after 2030, 2035, or later in 2021, possibly. My real concern is when I wander through a nearby junk yard, how can I tell a Honda Civic from a Cadillac, and are all of those EV batteries safe to walk around?
Recently I bought an old Model A Ford with a slightly bigger 260 V-8 gasoline engine and a racing 5-speed connected to a Model A rear end. Confusing huh? I'm certain that 5-speed can handle all of the torque that gasoline engine puts out. Well, up to roughly 600+ HP. Even that doesn't worry me. What worries me is will I still be able to buy gasoline next year for that Ford as I cruise up and down America's highways along side those 'lectric generic Sheepmobiles!
Pit Crew

Something that never seems to get discussed, but should be a huge consideration is the environmental impact of disposing of millions of used up EV batteries. They are probably toxic and physically large.(Oh, and if you crush them, they probably burst into flames.)

The other issue is the impossibility of urban dwellers being able to charge their cars when they do not have their own parking space where they can mount their own charger. There seems to be a pipe dream about curbside chargers. If they tried that, they would soon find that most are out of order and / or vandalized by copper thieves, with no one in charge of maintaining them. I happen to own an EV and a plug-in hybrid, but I have no illusion that this could work for everybody.
Intermediate Driver

Needless to say I realize all this is strictly the goal of one world government to gain more control. There is no such thing as Global warming, I mean Climate Change, I mean what is it today? I will say, your timing of this write is ironic, I had a joyous experience on the way home Friday. I popped over the top of a small hill, and here is a car on fire on the far opposite side of the road. And what was it? A Prius! God I laughed all the way to the gas station. "Lions led by donkeys".
Intermediate Driver

There's the answer; the government mandated pod, because you people are just doing too much driving around! When GM's Mary Barra announced the EV's were coming, all the mfg.'s ran to line up, as Jack pointed out, so we could achieve 50 mpg CAFE. I can barely even afford a 25 thousand dollar ICE Honda, never mind a 50 grand Tesla. Now that we're approaching third world status, I'm glad I'll be getting off this planet soon...beam me up, Scotty, before I become non-compliant!
New Driver

As an ex environmental professional I truly enjoy reading these comments. I only have two comments:
1. As the old Chevy commercial said "It's not just your car, it's your freedom."
2. Google " George Carlin Environment" to get a good read on the issue.

New Driver

Jack, you had me until the very end and then you swerved into the tire wall of ridiculousness. I don't think anyone in any power gives a damn about curtailing anyone else's freedom unless there is profit or power in it. They only care about themselves just like the rest of us.

Which is kind of why all of this is ridiculous. OF COURSE politicians are going to score political points with constituents with genuine concern over the quality of the air they breath and the effects of global warming. OF COURSE car corporations are going to score branding points with the largest consumer base in history--about to inherit the largest transfer of wealth in history--with those same genuine concerns and who are all about the story they are told. So you bet they are gonna roll out them EVs like mad and market the hell out of what great corporate citizens they are while still shipping gas guzzling SUVs and CUVs and V8 supercars by the mega-ship load out the back door. The marketing story alone is worth more than the car sales.

And OF COURSE switching every car on Earth to EV won't solve global warming. But it's an easy straw to grasp and that's what politicians do. The first thing that always happens is blaming the individual for the problem and then making it their solution to bear (as you note). Takes the heat off the systematic changes that really need to happen so the cashing in can go on uninhibited (see paragraph one). At least until it can't.

And OF COURSE internal combustion cars aren't going away until there is a real alternative. Imagine the riots, the likes of which have never been seen. Yet EVs make perfect sense in cities where most everybody lives today and where 90% of trips are short and range never matters. So all the worry about them coming to pry our cold, dead hands off our V8s is just a lazy way to score cheap points. The small percentage of us who want or need cars with gas will still have them or a reasonable substitute. And yes, EVs are only for the wealthier, but cars aren't going to solve inequality. The prices will come down eventually, and really they are mostly status symbols anyway. And other factors yet unforeseen will change the game and life will go on like it always has. Winners, losers, and we all get where we need to go.

So why are we taking all this what might happen in 15 years fear seriously?

More to the point, why so often lately have you been painting such dismal views of the future in your column? You OK man?

Look, I thought and hoped that was a community of car enthusiasts. I was and am real excited about it and love what's being built. You are among my favorite authors and I'm always on the lookout for your words. You tell great stories about the cars themselves, the people who love them, the places they drive, and the companies who build them, and bring great insights along the way.

But your writing has gotten kind of dark and negative lately. I'm really hoping that isn't the new direction for you or the site. I'm loving what Sam Smith has been writing, and I want to hear more from that guy at the dealership who worked with the drug dealers. And about the next generation of enthusiasts and what they're into, not just all the old white guys who can afford Hagerty Insurance. I want to hear about the women enthusiasts. And more about what it's like to race. And things I don't even know I want to hear about.

You recently wrote about pulling up ladders for the next generation. The biggest ladder is not being enthusiastic and celebrating this hobby in all its forms, but falling into the anger and disappointment and fear that surrounds each and every one of us all the damn time. Don't we all come here to escape that? Isn't that what the freedom of our cars means?

The second is clapping our hands over our ears and screaming that you'll never take my internal combustion cars away from me. That will take all those potential enthusiasts and turn them instead into what you most fear.

After all, things will work out. Remember all the doom and gloom bull**bleep** when they took the lead out of gas? Oh God, my old car will have to be scrapped!!! Every change brings anxiety. But we can do the opposite. Let's celebrate and look for the fun and the good in change and new technology and ideas, because it's there. How the hell else did we get what we value about yesterday and today?

Except there IS profit in most new groundbreaking Global change laws. It's the profit the people writing them made by first investing in those who will carry out the new plan.

New Driver

Well explained info on the battery range. If EV is meant to be it should be able to do it without the incentives.

That said I really love the look of the Cyber Truck. I know that if I get one it will be a toy since I wouldn’t be able to easily make the 700+ mile trip to see family without bringing my generator in the back. Ideally if it were available with an older model diesel that lacks electronics I’d be sold LOL.

Goddamn electric cars just won't go away .

I'm old so I remember in the early 1960's a few neighbors still had early electrics to run errands to the store in, to me that's all any electric car is good for, I hope to never own nor be forced to drive one .

I'm well aware they're going to be continually forced upon us and I fear the day when they finally crack that battery / power cell nut because they'll be coming after the rest of us who prefer ICE's, with pitchforks, have no doubt .


This whole thing seems a perversion of "If you build it, they will come". If we outlaw ICEs, a new solution will magically appear.
Intermediate Driver

The thought of my car suddenly becoming paperweight is what keeps me away from hybrids and EVs. Hybrid is good for a race car that gets rebuilt every year and needs the extra torque (and sometimes don't even use batteries, but a simpler and more expensive ultra capacitor)

BTW, I've been looking for God-Emperor of Dune quotes and have found some that relate to the contents of this article:

“Most believe that a satisfactory future requires a return to an idealized past, a past which never in fact existed.”

“Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat.”

“In the wrong hands,” Leto said, “monolithic centralized power is a dangerous and volatile instrument.” - “And your hands are the right ones?”

“Power bases are very dangerous because they attract people who are truly insane, people who seek power only for the sake of power.”

“It is another kind of marriage—the marriage of privilege and duty. It is the aristocrat’s explanation and his excuse.”

“Governments can be useful to the governed only so long as inherent tendencies toward tyranny are restrained.”

“It leads to self-fulfilling prophecy and justifications for all manner of obscenities,” Leto said. “This … rhetorical despotism, Lord?” “Yes! It shields evil behind walls of self-righteousness which are proof against all arguments against the evil.”

“History is a constant race between invention and catastrophe.”

“When you rule, you gain knowledge of power. This can lead into impetuous irresponsibility, into painful excesses and that can lead to the terrible destroyer-wild hedonism.”

“Membership in a conspiracy, as in an army, frees people from the sense of personal responsibility.”

“Radicals always see matters in terms which are too simple—black and white, good and evil, them and us. By addressing complex matters in that way, they rip open a passage for chaos. The art of government as you call it, is the mastery of chaos.”

“Privilege becomes arrogance. Arrogance promotes injustice. The seeds of ruin blossom.”

“Why is it that foolishness repeats itself with such monotonous precision?”

Getting back to the people telling us how wonderful the windmills are, how ironic that this weekend brought us a touch of actual reality:

Pit Crew

We keep hearing about the imminent demise of the ICE, and about how we're all going to be riding in electric pods before the decade is over, etc. It's hogwash-- because when the day of reckoning comes, people will be faced with the economic fantasy of a half-baked and unusable technology being foisted upon them by people accustomed to living in a world constrained by reality.

We're experiencing the firstfruits of the "green energy revolution" right now in the upper midwest.

The United States sits on an ocean of natural gas (NG). Fracking (love or or not) has opened reserves that were unimaginable to our fathers. Gas is used to heat the vast majority of homes and businesses above the Mason/Dixon line. It is the very lifeblood of our ability to live here. Fortunately, we have more than we know what to do with.

Our electrical grid becomes increasingly dependent on NG, even as we move to "renewables". With every wind and solar farm that comes on line, direct fired NG generators are also required-- precisely because wind and solar are variable, and the electric grid requires a constant and steady supply of power. Traditional turbines (be they turned by NG, coal, or nuclear) have a long "ramp up" time to build steam pressure to turn the turbines that generate electricity. With more and more variable wind and solar, the grid requires that utilities have the ability to instantly fill in the low spots that occur when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. That means direct-fired NG turbines, and a lot of them.

Indeed, Germany (who went whole-hog after "renewables") actually increased their carbon footprint going from mostly nuclear to "green energy". It is a matter of physics, and it's an inconvenient truth.

... but back to NG and this country: most of the country just underwent a deep cold-snap. Blame it on climate change (I don't) or not-- it happened. During it, we burned a lot of NG. The vast bulk of the NG we need to live (and generate power) comes from Texas and Oklahoma-- states that were particularly hard hit by cold weather. Wind turbines froze in Texas, which experienced rolling blackouts. The problem is that NG distribution systems also had no power, so NG prices on the spot markets went up an order of magnitude. It's temporary, but that makes it no less real.

As an aside-- the recent cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline will only exacerbate the situation because it takes away another entry point for NG into the spot-market. "Green energy" proponents had no concerns regarding the safety of it, the opposition was to the very idea of bringing more gas to more people from an alternate source. Artificially drying up supply does nothing to alleviate the need of NG, any more than denying a man food takes away his need of it. Eventually it will be built, because we have no alternative other than to build it.

Back to Texas and the cold snap-- utilities in my part of the country lock in prices for the NG they think they'll need for a given month by buying futures to lock in the price. In the case of my utility, the February allocation of locked in NG was exhausted by the middle of the month, due to the cold weather. This meant that we needed to buy on the spot market, which means our NG utility is telling us to expect February bills to be 10x the normal. In other words, if last month's bill was $200, we are to expect $2000 (for the month). That's unsustainable.

This situation is entirely man-made, and is stupidity of the highest order. NG in a modern burner yields greater than 90% efficiency. This is far, far better than the efficiency of the electrical grid (which is less than 10% renewable at present, and cannot possibly ever be more than 50%). In a matter of fact (as opposed to the approved fiction) we must burn NG, as it is by far the best and most "green" option realistically available to us. Ultimately, economic and physical realities must trump childish idealism. People will not stand for $2000/mo. bills.

I think the same situation will play out regarding ICEs. It's a pleasant fiction to live in an imaginary world where personal transportation is readily handled with electric cars running on unicorn farts and daisies. Realistically, we have an electrical grid that is already stressed to the breaking point, increasingly reliant on highly variable wind and solar (with NG generation filling in the low spots). Switching 50%+ of the population to electric heat and 100% to electric transportation without building out 1000 new nuclear power plants is living in a world we "Imagine" (thank you John Lennon for being an idiot, and inviting us to be idiots as well) rather than in the one we actually inhabit.

ICE cars get better and better. Plug-in hybrids actually have some chance of becoming universal. Pure EV is vaporware, and isn't going to get better.

My great grandchildren will be buying gasoline.
Pit Crew

Last sentence in the first paragraph should have read, "foisted upon them by people unaccustomed to living in a world constrained by reality." I'm unaccustomed to being unable to edit after posting. Sorry for the error.

I feel like the cart is before the horse on this one. I'm not opposed to electric cars but batteries are an issue. My '97 Supra holds approximately 18 gallons of gas, same as when it was brand new. Same for any of my other gas powered cars the tank doesn't shrink. Being my least fuel-efficient car I can still beat a Tesla to Chicago by about 7 hours because fuel-up is quicker than charging. I can take a 6 hour nap and still beat the Tesla. But electric car batteries are not like my gas tank, they lose capacity over time and even the best charging is still much slower than refueling a gas powered car. Also can our electrical grid handle millions of cars charging? The evidence is that no it cannot. Fuel-cell is probably the only way at the moment to get past the battery and charging issue. Ultimately this is politics getting into your life and wallet for the purpose of control.

A bit over emotional here.

Let cut through to the basics of what is going on and why the automakers are now moving quickly to EV plans.

#1 the ICE engine is not going to vanish overnight. In some limited applications it will remain.

#2 the transition is going to take place in 20-40 years and can vary with development.

#3 the true reason the automakers are making the move is these vehicles will prove to be cheaper and more profitable in the future as ICE will get only more expensive. This is about profits not saving trees.

#4 many EV models coming will work well with many buyers now and with the advances over the next 30 years most others with needs will be met.

#5 This transition will be much like the horse to model T. It took a while but in time and with investment ICE finally met the needs of most in cost, range, reliability and infrastructure.

There is so much miss information out there getting passed around and flat lies. Add that to the amount of info and development not introduced yet that the automakers are still working on there will be much to come yet.

Add in the battery work being done not just for cars. There are a number of needs from space flight to your cell phone and Mac. The amount of investment has grown fast but will grow faster with the continued investment.

To clarify I have gas flowing in my veins. I probably will be one of the last hold outs from EV. I make my living in the racing industry. But I can see now with my mfgs and raving series that this is coming and it is way beyond politics now. No matter who you vote for these changes are coming. But again it will be a generation before a full change comes. Look back 30 years and see how far we have come in many tech items.

Look I am at least grateful that EV will keep me from being forced to a bicycle or a horse.