Monday, March 7, 2011

No One Wants An Electric Car

Even though yesterday I said that this subject made my ass tired, I think that I'm going to have to talk about it now because I just paid $3.85 a gallon for gasoline and I'm not happy about it. Maybe, if I thought that prices would go down anytime soon, I wouldn't be so concerned about it. Maybe, if I thought that there was a reason for it (gasoline goes up all the time for no reason at all, so I'm not so sure that unrest in Libya is not so much of a reason as much as it is a semi-reasonable sounding explanation), I wouldn't be so annoyed by it. Or maybe, even if I thought that there were people working on a solution that wouldn't involve such a dependence on oil, it wouldn't cause me great despondence. But none of that is happening. The price isn't going to go anywhere but up. I have no idea if the craziness in Libya has anything at all to do with it. And the people who are "working" on getting us all something besides a gasoline powered automobile have their heads so far up their collective asses, I don't know how they'd come to be able to drive the thing in the first place if they ever did manage to create a viable alternative method of individual transportation.

See, I've been hearing about the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf for at least three or four years now. Both are supposed to be wonderful electric cars that will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship with things that don't run on gasoline. And believe me, I would take great pleasure in being able to flip both barrels at every single gas station that I drove by, were I given the opportunity or the alternative to drive something that doesn't require gas. And before you start harping about public transportation to me, just stop it. I'm not about the environment. I mean, I am. But I'm not so much about it that I'm going to be inconvenienced by the bus. Good Lord, no. I'm about not having to feign any sort of a relationship with abhorrent dictatorships in the Middle East simply because they're sitting on top of a bunch of oil that we want. That's what I want. I want to not give a flying crap what happens over there in the sand lands. Give me an alternative to gasoline and I'll be able to not give that flying crap.

And briefly, before I move onto ranting about the Volt and the Leaf, I need to mention that while I don't want to have to worry about what happens in the sand lands, there is an alternative at our fingertips that doesn't require any innovation what so ever. If people would stop being so damned concerned about whether or not a pigeon gets a drop of oil on its wing and let people start drilling out the 100 to 200 year supply of oil that is underground in the United States, we would have a great deal less to concern ourselves with. Y'all in Afghanistan want to blow the crap out of each other because you're fighting over a group of rocks? Have at it! Think I give a crap? I don't! You know why? Because we have oil, you backwards living weird beards! Fight amongst yourselves. I'm outta here!

Whew! That felt good. Now, on to the electric cars. I'd like to start with the name of the Nissan Leaf. Um, that's not exactly the coolest name that you ever could have come up with. It's a little sissy-like. The Leaf. Does it run on leaves? No? Does it have anything to do with leaves? No? OK, then. So how about naming it something that doesn't make you feel like a freaking pansy when you mention it? "I drive a Leaf." Yeah, I'd never tell anyone that. At least the Volt sounds kind of cool. Unfortunately, that's about all that they got right.

A car that runs entirely on electricity must get that electricity from somewhere. The Leaf and the Volt are able to be plugged in directly to an outlet in your home (provided you buy some sort of an adapter that runs, from what I can figure out, somewhere between one and two thousand bucks). Thus, they're using the energy that is generated to electrify your house. Where does that energy come from? Why, it comes from coal! Wait. I thought that the idea of the electric car was to get away from coal usage so that it would be 'green' and good for the environment? It was! But is it really doing any good for the environment when the electricity that it uses is produced by coal? Hard to say, but my guess is no. My guess is that it makes it so that you don't pump all of the harmful emissions into the air. So that's good. But is it really a 'green' product? I take umbrage with that statement (mainly because it's extremely rare that I can take umbrage with anything).

With both the Volt and the pansy-ish Leaf in production, let's take a look at how sales have gone so far. We'll even do a little comparing to other vehicle models that are not electric. First the Volt. According to their monthly sales report, there were 281 Chevy Volts sold in February. 281. That's it. What was GM's best selling vehicle? Why, that would be the behemoth Chevy Silverado C/K Pickup. They sold 31,728 of those bad boys in February. That's almost 113 times as many Volts as they sold. Oh, and their mileage? Right around 15-17 mpg in the city. Yeah, if that doesn't tell you that people don't care about electric cars, I don't know what does.

But maybe the Leafs numbers will tell you that very same thing in a different way. According to Autobloggreen, while Chevy was only able to unload a mere 281 Volts, Nissan could only get rid of a paltry 67 Leafs in February. 67. And it's ten thousand dollars cheaper than the Volt! 67! Why do I have the feeling that they could give these things away and people still wouldn't want them?
And that brings me to my final point. The price of these things. The base price of a Chevy Volt is $40,280. Yes, you can qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 and that will take it down to $32,780, but that is still a lot. (Personally, I don't see why my tax dollars should help someone else buy a car that may or may not do any good to the environment. Then again, I don't see a lot of the need for a bunch of crap that my tax dollars are spent on, so maybe that's my problem.) In comparison, the Leaf starts at $32,780 and with the maximum tax credit, that could go as low as $25,280. Then again, without the maximum tax credits, you're looking at two very small cars that are over $30 thousand and $40 thousand dollars. There aren't a lot of people who are going to pay that for a car. Wait. I take that back. The Chevy Silverado is more than the Volt and people seem to have no problem paying for that.

What have we learned here? Plenty. But the main point is that people don't want electric cars. People want big, big cars. And they want to drive them fast and they want to pull a boat behind them all the time and without using a trailer! That's what we want! Drill on US soil or in US waters for our own damn oil! Make big-ass cars and stop trying to make us drive shoe boxes with solar panels! This is a failed experiment! Please stop! Please! I can't take any more inane-ness in this department! No one wants an electric car! Got it?! Good!

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