$2 Billion Volkswagen Electric Car Investment Squabble

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Guest essay by Eric Worrall

As part of a legal settlement for last year’s Volkswagen emission test scandal, Volkswagen agreed to invest two billion dollars in US electric car infrastructure. The only problem is, nobody told Volkswagen exactly how to spend the money.

Electric car charging station companies issue warning over VW settlement

Electric vehicle charging companies are calling for independent oversight of the $2 billion Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) is required to invest in clean car infrastructure, saying VW should not have the power to shape the nascent electric car charging space.

The German automaker agreed to invest the money, which includes $1.2 billion nationally and $800 million in California, as part of its penalties for equipping hundreds of thousands of its diesel vehicles sold in the United States with software designed to cheat tailpipe emissions tests.

While charging station companies called the money a potential “game changer,” they worry that if it is misspent, it could hurt competition.

“The agreement shouldn’t pick winners and losers, especially given that this emerging market transition will in no small part define 21st century transportation,” twenty eight companies, including ChargePoint, EV Connect and Electric Vehicle Charging Association, said in a letter to the U.S. Justice Department on Friday.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-volkswagen-emissions-settlement-idUSKCN10L038

This kind of hilarity is a situation which can only arise in artificial politician driven markets. Volkswagen has essentially been roped in to help subsidise a market which shouldn’t exist. But nobody told them who they were supposed to subsidise, and how.

I doubt anybody in Volkswagen expects to make a profit, but there is no rule which says they can’t try to rig outcomes, as long as they stay within the law, to attempt to recover as much of their money as possible from this mess – even if their “investment” ends up totally trashing the electric car infrastructure industry.

195 thoughts on “$2 Billion Volkswagen Electric Car Investment Squabble

  1. How much does a new nuclear power plant cost? Can’t run those stupid (okay, okay, Anthony, not “stupid,” lol, and your little car is very cute, just not practical on the scale proposed by the Enviroprofiteers) electric cars without power. I’m pretty sure that the lawyers involved are capable of successfully arguing that power is “infrastructure.”
    Aaaaand, when the electric car fantasy market *poof* disappears (in about 5 years — at the scale being pushed at this time) as tax and power rate surcharge payers come to their senses…… we’ve got a nifty high EROEI (and plain ol’ ROI) power plant!
    So. That’s where the German money should go.

    • I read an article just yesterday detailing how various federal and state entities are using the test scandal to literally loot VW Corp. If my poor memory serves, the running total is now 47 Billion and climbing. And State AGs are just now jumping in for a cut. The New York AG (where have we seen him before) just sent out a press release announcing a 100+ Million suit against VW, for instance.
      {I would post a link if I could find it again, sigh}
      There is proper fines, and there is looting, plain and simple.
      It would be great if VW were to retaliate by proposing to build a nuke. They would be sued left and right to stop the project, of course. Think of the legal arguments they could make:
      We *have* to.
      It is a Justice Dept. Consent Decree.
      We are under a court order.
      We *have* to.
      They are making us do this.
      We have no choice.
      The end result is that the Justice Dept. in conjunction with the EPA is forcing the construction of a Nuke!
      It would cause glorious chaos on the left and in the environmental movement.
      It would be worth doing just for the propaganda fallout.

      • And when the UK exits Europe, it can jump on the bandwagon and threaten to fine VW similar sums as imposed by the US (on a pro rate basis, I think that many more diesels were sold into the UK). Presently, Europe has been unable to take any action against VW because it is protected by Germany, and Germany pulls all the strings in the EU.
        I am not saying that the UK should plunder VW in the same way as has the US, but rather it should be used as part of the negotiating tools. Similar actions would lie against BMW and Mercedes etc who have also sold diesel cars that do not comply with exhaust standards.
        The emission scandal is a problem for the German government, and the VW group could fail if the gloves were to come off. Perhaps Greece will start considering what claims it could pursue against German companies; this may be a better tactic for it.
        As Huhne notes, many companies have been (unfairly) plundered on the back of (exaggerated) environmental claims.

      • I think we should plunder VW. There is a difference between the behaviour of VW and BP.
        BP was at worst negligent in controlling their suppliers. Affecting their profits just removes resources that could be spent on vigilance and prevention.
        BP was in no way trying to pollute in order to boost profits. And they were in no way trying to deceive in order to boost profits.
        But VW did both.
        They need to be shown that such behaviour does not boost profits. Because they aren’t using their profits responsibly.

      • “I think we should plunder VW. There is a difference between the behaviour of VW and BP.”
        I am an ex-PE who did lots of work for oil companies so I am no basher of the industry.
        BP knowingly placed a defective blowout preventer on the well that oddly enough blew out. In my humble opinion, BP corp. should have been given the death penalty with the assets distributed as equitably as possible among the external stake holders.
        Accidents happen. On the other hand the blowout, with directly resulting deaths and destruction, was a very predictable outcome of an intentional act by BP.

      • “Looting”? VW brought this upon itself. The VW people who perpetrated this scheme ought to go to jail.
        And I’m not just picking on VW. I have heard that other car manufacturers may have been doing the same thing. If so, they should go to jail, too.

      • >Was that BP or the supplier (Halliburton)?
        BP did not own or operate the Deepwater Horizon. It was owned by Transocean, an American subsidiary, which was charged and fined. Transocean is owned by Transocean Ltd of Switzerland.
        BP owned (and still owns) the hole they were drilling. The blaming of BP came as a result of the chain of command/management in which BP was a key link. The Transocean captain was ultimately responsible for actions taken regarding safety and compliance (obviously). As part of a criminal settlement Transocean paid (and continues to pay) fines.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/business/energy-environment/transocean-settles-with-us-over-oil-spill-in-gulf-of-mexico.html?_r=0
        If you ask why everyone is going after BP, the usual answer applies: “Because that’s where the money is.”
        Who was on deck?
        “British Petroleum (BP) held the rights to explore the well and had leased the rig, along with its crew, from Transocean. Of the 126 people aboard the Deepwater Horizon, 79 were from Transocean, seven were from BP, and the rest were from other firms including Anadarko, Halliburton, and M-1 Swaco, a subsidiary of Schlumberger.”
        https://mitsloan.mit.edu/LearningEdge/operations-management/BP-Deepwater-Horizon-Disaster/Pages/BP-and-the-Deepwater-Horizon-Disaster-of-2010.aspx
        It incorrectly states in this article that it was the largest oil spill in US history, something the NYT corrected in 2013 on their article (see the note appended on the bottom).

      • “BP knowingly placed a defective blowout preventer on the well that oddly enough blew out.”
        Why would BP do that?

      • “Was that BP or the supplier (Halliburton)?”
        This was a BP project.
        If Plant Voglte failed catastrophically should Georgia Power be held responsible for the quality of every weld on every critical pipe? Should Boeing be responsible for every rivet in a 787? Of course they should be.
        BP cannot claim to be too lazy/dumb/indifferent to devise proper controls over its agents. I am all for nuclear power and drilling/fracking, but if you will not take responsibility for your agents and act accordingly, then you should not be allowed to play in those sandboxes. To accept anything else simply plays right into the hands of obstructionists who will roadblock any practical energy source and then offer flying windmills and sewage-pipe hydro-electric as alternatives.

      • “Why would BP do that?”
        It seems it was done to stay on schedule and on budget.
        Very bad decisions are usually made by decent folks who are under pressure from a defective management process.

      • I agree with you, TonyL. Furthermore, there is really no underlying rational justification for suing VW other than keeping the marketplace fair. They l1ed, so they are guilty of cheating at the game. The rule they lied about, nevertheless, is BOGUS. CO2 emission control is nonsense.

      • Create enough laws and everybody is guilty of something. That is how socialism controls the population. Everybody fears the knock on the door or losing their government handout that is keeping them alive. Carrot and stick — with the stick much much bigger than the carrot. Socialism. Got to love Venezuela for being such a plain example.
        Socialism creates, at best, a “limited economy” — and what is more limited than an electric car?
        Eugene WR Gallun

      • by the same logic, they could go with and gas or coal fired plant. The energy is for clean power cars, nothing says the electric power has to be clean. Or they could purchase a horse for each electric car.
        michael

      • I have sat rigs as an engineer and as the company supervisor and I have worked for BP. In the GOM BP screwed up, negligently as a company (a rig should be shut down if the BOPs are known to be defective), but not deliberately so comparing BP with VW is not comparing apples with apples. Each in their own way deserve really big punishment. You can never claim a win in an argument by analogy.

      • sciguy54, “Very bad decisions are usually made by decent folks who are under pressure from a defective management process”. Change your thinking buddy, fearlessly! I have shut rigs down much to the frustration of all at the morning meeting. The company man always has the safety of the people on the wellsite front and foremost in his thinking. And BP, at the locations I worked, fully trusted the decisions we made on site, even if they were frustrating decisions, because we had all the facts staring us in the face and that was the entire reason that we were there. And at Amoco in the old days I saw the same thing happening – patience..

      • 4 Eyes, you wrote “I have shut rigs down much to the frustration of all at the morning meeting”
        And that is how it should be, and I applaud your decision if there is a real safety issue. But there are two ways that things can get difficult for the “decider”.
        First, does the decision maker have all the info? In the Sloan Management Review case, below, there was much insight into decisions made as to casings and cementing, but no mention of the blowout preventer. Would any of those decisions have been different if the decision makers had any concerns about this key safety device?
        Second, is the decision maker free from the pressures of cost and schedule? Its a lot easier to stop work if the job is currently under budget and ahead of schedule. But if the job is way behind and well over budget it becomes increasingly stressful to add to those woes. The longer that everyone works on a project together, the more they tend to bond and try to protect each other, but in the long run someone in the chain of command (like 4Eyes) should be paid a salary to make tough safety decisions, not to meet a budget or schedule, and his/her word should be final.
        https://mitsloan.mit.edu/LearningEdge/operations-management/BP-Deepwater-Horizon-Disaster/Pages/BP-and-the-Deepwater-Horizon-Disaster-of-2010.aspx

    • A 1GW AP1000 nuclear plant in the US costs about $8B.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogtle_Electric_Generating_Plant
      The same AP1000 plant in China costs about $3B.
      http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/china-nuclear-power.aspx
      If you’re interested in really cheap nuclear, though, you have to look at molten salt reactors. Terrestrial Energy and Thorcon are developing technologies that could be a step change in lower cost. If successful, we’ll decarbonize the power system because it is more cost effective to do so, rather than because we’re forced to do so.

    • I can see the means for a VW profit from this. Create their own line of electric vehicle and install a slightly different style of plug in their cars. Then use this mandated infrastructure spending to install Charging Stations that will only be compatible with Their cars.
      VW follows the mandate by installing the Billion$ in Electric Car infrastructure and then sells the ONLY vehicles that are manufactured to utilize them

    • Janice: A 1000 MW nuke power plant per the Westinghouse AP-1000 latest design is about $7 billion in the US and about half that in China, where 20 are under construction (not all to that design) and 42 more planned or on order. Gross income after startup is about $400 million per year, assuming power is sold at $.05 per KWh.

  2. Something I don’t know. I know that you can drive somewhere and “recharge” your gasoline powered car in about ten minutes. If i were to drive somewhere and needed to recharge an electric car (assuming such stations were available) how long would it take before I could get back out on the road?
    Eugene WR Gallun

      • P.S. You’ll notice also, in that WSJ article, that waiting in line for a “pump” is likely to add significant time to your “re-fuel” time. Go, internal combustion engine!!!
        #(:))

      • Janice Moore — Thank you.
        Thirty minutes? Via Supercharger? That right there is the last nail in the coffin of the electric car. What American consumer is going to hang out at a recharge station for thirty minutes?
        And at a busy station lines will form with electric cars piling up waiting for their chance at a recharge. Screaming kids. Yikes! Can you imagine! Motor rage at new heights! Shots fired! Call 911.
        Human nature being what it is — electric cars are not viable.
        Eugene WR Gallun

        • With the air conditioner (or heater) running of course in the cars while they wait 90 minutes for the 30 minutes charge …
          Ooopsie. No A/C for the kids screaming in the back when they are waiting if they reallly need the charge. No heater. no lights. No fan. No window wipers.
          A hybrid? Sure, it can be useful for some people. Pure electrics? Only for bureaucrats who can convince the government to pay for their daily charger down at the county courthouse for “free” electricity.

      • You’re welcome, Mr. Gallun. And I agree. And with the current (get it, get it, lolololol) technology: never.

      • I have observed much longer times to refuel a gasoline car at our local Costcos – the lines are 8 -10 cars long for each pump. Needless to say, I don’t fil up there.

      • A little off topic but as i remember it — years ago not only were we promised “flying cars” but also “nuclear powered cars”. No need for infrastructure with those “nuclear powered cars”. I guess “BIG OIL” bought up all the patients so we will never see them on the road.
        I understand they made one experimental model (dubbed “The A-Bomb” by a designer with a sense of humor). Traveled east to west coast and back again non-stop. Then it disappeared. Rumor has it that BIG OIL is hiding it in plain sight. Its on the roads, still crisscrossing America — never stopping except to exchange drivers.
        It’s true, I do drink and some may think this a “bourbon legend” but aren’t electric cars crazier than this?
        Eugene WR Gallun

      • I’ve got a Tesla and practically speaking it’s usually less than 30 minutes – more like 15-20 depending on how far you need to go to the next Supercharger. The trick is to run the battery low since the charge rate is faster the emptier the battery is. You stop charging when you’ve got enough miles to get to the next charger, and get there with less than 20-30 miles left, etc. Since this puts you on the road for 2-3 hours at a time, the 15-20 minute breaks aren’t much longer than bathroom breaks and buying something to drink. If you need the full charge, though, to get to the next charger then it takes about 75 minutes. Then you stop for a long meal.
        Charging does noticeably add to the time taken for road trips, but over the course of a year its more than made up for by never having to stop at a gas station for the daily commute to and from work or around town. I’m also getting the equivalent of 111mpg at $2.35/gallon gas prices, which is nice. When you drive 80-100 miles a day that savings adds up.

      • Retired_Engineer_Jim I too have occasionally seen long lines at gas pumps. But it is the exception and not the rule. Also there are usually many other nearby locations where those people could go instead of Costco to get their gasoline while that is rarely the case with electric recharging.

      • A possible but still rather expensive solution is in-road re-charging by induction. Zero waiting time.

      • A possible but still rather expensive solution is in-road re-charging by induction. Zero waiting time.
        Yes – if there were induction coils in the roads there would be almost no need for batteries. But there would be a big opportunity cost associated with spending vast sums on solving a problem which doesn’t need solving.

      • Kurt would you have a Tesla if having to pay the full price? How about getting passing the no return range and then having to turn around because the road is blocked? A IC car can siphon gas, can your Tesla siphon electrons?
        What about road tax, when are you going to pay road tax?

      • Now go tell that to the electricity suppliers who are already suffering with the massive intermittent electric supply from wind. Then tell them that you are creating an army of devices that of 150kw each (i.e. a small windmill) that will be plugged in and out of the grid at random and no doubt they’ll all be plugged in just before or during the rush hour.
        In order to cope with this rush hour demands (if ever people are mad enough to buy a pointless technology) the power corps will have to pay huge amounts to fossil fuel powered electric stations to sit idly running for the few minutes when the “green” idiots plug in their cars for charging before they drive to work.
        (There’s nowt so stupid as a “green”)

      • Eugene,
        What American consumer is going to hang out at a recharge station for thirty minutes?
        I guess someone convinced that there is a rare Pokemon in the surroundings may not mind 😀

      • NC – I did pay full price. In ordinary driving I am nowhere near depleting my battery, and on the freeways the car notifies me of any roadblocks or construction ahead, along with detours. The car can charge out of a regular outlet (albeit slowly) and from what i understand, though I’ve never had to use it, there are emergency assistance services that do pull up a huge battery to “siphon electrons.” It’s far less of a problem than the threat of a flat tire, or a busted radiator, or any of the other myriad problems that happen with gasoline engines. I’ve never had an issue worrying about a place to charge.
        I’ll pay the road tax when approximately half the households in the U.S. start paying income taxes.

      • HA, I was just thinking that ……. waiting in line for an electric “pumper” at a New York Thruway Service Area (I-90) on a busy summer travel day is likely to add several hours to your “re-fuel” time.

      • “A hybrid? Sure, it can be useful for some people.”
        I guess one could use a hybrid to power ones home during a power outage. That would be a good reason to get a hybrid.
        I’m not familiar enough with the various hybrids to know if they can be plugged into a house from the factory, but you could modify one, if not. Seems like that would be better than a very noisy generator.

      • You cannot charge a car with induction coils mounted in the road. The problem is that the induction coil in the car will experience a ‘counter electro-motive force’ that is, of course, in opposition to the movement of the car through the electromagnetic field created by the road mounted coils.
        The CEMF will be equal to the electric power generated by the coil such that in a perfect, loss free world you could generate exactly as much power as is consumed in the process.
        Unfortunately, ours is not a perfect, loss free world. Otherwise I would be rich due to the invention of the low cost alternative to the road mounted induction coils…fender mounted wind turbines. Haha

      • So a Tesla can recharge overnight while parked in your garage and take you 230 miles (10 trips to the store and back) while the Leaf can recharge enough while you are grocery shopping and take you back home or 75 miles (3 trips to the store and back) before you need to recharge. Or, if you live in Geyserville (town A) and Work in Santa Rosa (town B) 33 miles away, you can just get to work and back home on a charge. If you make a side trip to the store on the way home, they had better have a charging station available or you might not make it back home.

      • Janice,
        Interesting WSJ Tesla article. It would seem to me that their solution would be to install Super Charging stations at every owners house as part of the vehicle purchase. This would eliminate the need for mass charging stations and long wait lines to Charge up. Simply have all the customer stations GEO Located and use a GPS system do a quick locate for another TESLA owner in the area and use their station. So you’re already spending $90,000+ on the car what’s another couple $ thou base price increase for the charging station installation.

      • Kurt,
        Did you take the tax credit when buying your tesla? Bet you did, so you didn’t pay full price. Half the country doesn’t pay income tax now, why do I have to pay gas tax for your roads? When are you going to pay for what you consume?

      • I ran this calculation a while ago for diesel (because that is what I drive) but it illustrates the electrical engineering difficulty in providing truly fast charging:
        diesel fuel contains 139000 but/gal [engineering toolbox.com]
        one fillup = 25 gal [I drive big SUVs]
        thus 25×139000=3475000 btu which is the total chemical energy from one fillup
        3,475,000 btu equals = 1,018,422.0146 watthour [Online energy conversion.com]
        = 1,018,422.0146 watthour = 1,018 kwh (1 kw = 1000watts)
        to ‘fill’ a battery set with the same energy capacity as 25 gal of diesel fuel, in an hour, with the equivalent amount of energy as diesel, would require the transfer of more than 1018 kw.
        Ohms law: power(w) = voltage(v) x current(i)
        therefore — current = watts divided by voltage
        @240 V, 4243.425 A results in 1,018,422.0146 watts
        If you wish to fill this amount of energy in 1/2 hour, the amps double to 8,486 A!
        Since a diesel engine is less than 40% efficient (assume 30%) and an electric motor is nearly 100% (assume 90% due to battery losses and necessary car interior hearing):
        8486 A x .3 /.9=2829A [for 1/2 hr] to go the equivalent distance
        Thus, during a half hour fuel stop almost 2900 amps (@240V) must be transferred
        If you want the fuel stop to be quicker – say 15 min – the amps go up to 5800! It takes MASSIVE wires to handle that much current. And a charging station designed to handle many cars and trucks at the same time would have to have its own substation!

      • NW Sage
        You may need to factor in regenerative braking to your calculations. I don’t know how much it contributes to range but it may be significant.

      • A supercharger operated for 30 minutes adding 80% of capacity (at 100% efficiency) would be a 136 kW device. Add 15% inefficiency for heating and it is 156 kW. That is a helluva a charger. 240 VDC and 650 amps! Dang! Three welding cables at 220 amps each in and another three out.
        At 1/10th of the power, a Tesla home charger would be running at 240 v 65 Amps, yes? I have that in my garage so it is manageable, but it would be interesting to see the connector on a 650 amp car charger.

    • A couple of years ago a visitor brought his hybrid to my island without its extension cord and in the cold of winter. The ICE would not start and the battery was depleted.
      Our 2.5 MWe power comes almost ten miles under water on cables at EoL. Quick recovery electric water heaters are discouraged.
      The greenie retirees cobbled together a cord, and the visitor’s departure was significantly delayed.

    • This – recharging – is a huge limitation on electric vehicles, especially in urban areas where they seem to have the most benefits…because it requires infrastructure changes of vast magnitude that few, if any, environmental advocates have studied. (I have been working on vehicle production and use worldwide for decades….and energy infrastructures.)
      The average car takes up about 130 to 150 square feet of space.
      It takes about 3-5 minutes for the average gasoline fill up.
      It takes more than 45 minutes for an EV to charge, sometimes 90 minutes. (The times Tesla asserts are not proven, and there are many instances where it takes longer than they say.).
      So, with even simple calculations, the LAND USE required for charging significant volumes of EV’s is about 15% to 30% of the total land area in high density urban areas like NY, London, etc.
      This is a gross calculation. It is possible for EV’s to charge in distributed bits of land – back lots etc – BUT then this will require a completely new electricity infrastructure to distribute power in the controlled way batteries require..
      The number of people in urban areas with garages or parking spaces is small, and declining. So charging at home is not a magic fix.
      Further, the elephant in the room is that most electricity use in modern societies peaks during the day and sometimes in the evening. This is when “peaking” power plants like natural gas are used.
      If large amounts of people start charging cars at night, then the world will require an entirely new form of baseload generation, which will eat up more land for traditional power generation……and much more land for expanded solar and wind…which are notoriously wasteful in terms of energy output per land area…..and a huge new “battery” industry whose mining, supply chains, production, deployment, and hazardous waste disposal will create a whole new global infrastructure of pollution and waste.
      It is much simpler and cheaper…in infrastructure terms…to shift the petrol fueled vehicle mix to 1.2 liter high powered engines, with existing catalytic controls,.
      The traditional gasoline vehicle is one of the most highly recycled products on Earth, so its ecosystem is already significant’y more environmentally sound than any of the infrastructure modifications required for EV penetration of the 1 billion-plus global vehicle fleet.
      No free lunch.

    • This – recharging – is a huge limitation on electric vehicles, especially in urban areas where they seem to have the most local driving benefits…because it requires infrastructure changes of vast magnitude that few, if any, environmental advocates have studied. (I have been working on vehicle production and use worldwide for decades….and energy infrastructures.)
      The average car takes up about 130 to 150 square feet of space.
      It takes about 3-5 minutes for the average gasoline fill up.
      It takes more than 45 minutes for an EV to charge, sometimes 90 minutes. (The times Tesla asserts are not proven, and there are many instances where it takes longer than they say.).
      If you break up your re-charge cycles into small chunks, driving only in short bits, so your recharge times are only 20 minutes per charge (as one Tesla commenter here says they do)….then you are still taking up more land than a gasoline fired car, per mile of driving. You are just using the land in more places.
      So, with even simple calculations, the LAND USE required for charging significant volumes of EV’s is about 15% to 30% of the total land area in high density urban areas like NY, London, etc.
      This is a gross calculation. It is possible for EV’s to charge in distributed bits of land – back lots etc – BUT then this will require a completely new electricity infrastructure to distribute power in the controlled way batteries require..
      The number of people in urban areas with garages or parking spaces is small, and declining. So charging at home is not a magic fix.
      Further, the elephant in the room is that most electricity use in modern societies peaks during the day and sometimes in the evening. This is when “peaking” power plants like natural gas are used.
      If large amounts of people start charging cars at night, then the world will require an entirely new form of baseload generation, which will eat up more land for traditional power generation……and much more land for expanded solar and wind…which are notoriously wasteful in terms of energy output per land area…..and a huge new “battery” industry whose mining, supply chains, production, deployment, and hazardous waste disposal will create a whole new global infrastructure of pollution and waste.
      It is much simpler and cheaper…in infrastructure terms…to shift the petrol fueled vehicle mix to 1.2 liter high powered engines, with existing catalytic controls,.
      The traditional gasoline vehicle is one of the most highly recycled products on Earth, so its ecosystem is already significant’y more environmentally sound than any of the infrastructure modifications required for EV penetration of the 1 billion-plus global vehicle fleet.
      No free lunch.

      • I’m no fan of electric cars but if they become common we can envision a time when millions of electric vehicles sit on chargers all night and perhaps half as many during the day. Smart interaction with the grid would make these vehicles the effective storage that renewables appear to need to be more practical. Personally, I like the idea of using renewables or nuclear to convert co2 and hydrogen to liquid fuel once that is competitive with fossil fuels. This conversion technology is well under way. We’ll have all the benefits of internal combustion with balanced atmospheric co2. There’s no need to panic or rush. The only thing that can wreck the future is stupid politicians trying to plan it!

    • An English TV program did a test on the Electric car, after many hours they re designed the basic model to take care of its defects.
      The result, in place of the spare wheel/tire, was one mile of electric cable so as to be able to recharge the battery when lost power leaves you away from a power source.

  3. Fast charge stations are located all along the major east west highways in Western Canada. Often near a motel. That should give some indication of charge time. Powered from transmission lines run many miles from Hydro, wind Natural Gas and coal. (losses are minor, right?) So, is there a net plus for the environment? A wash at best till you go to dispose of the batteries. But maybe they can be reprocessed someday. Ship them down to the Arizona desert to sit beside all those stored aircraft. That should work.

      • Where I live ther are only a handful of electric cars within a 500 mile radius, but our local government saw fit to install 3 charging stations to save the planet, paid by the taxpayer of course.
        Within a month they were stolen, and I would assume dismantled and sold for their copper content. Nice.
        I wonder how often this happens?

      • I would guess they were stolen by taxpayers eager to get their money back and eliminate the ongoing subsidies!

    • The infrastructure system limitation on electric vehicles is all about “energy density”.
      How much power can you collect, transmit, store, use in the infrastructure, per mile/km of driving? Per cubic meter of material in the infrastructure? Per square unit of land area? Per unit of waste treatment required?
      Even on its best days, a Tesla is carries only 1/7 (14%) of the energy of a small gasoline powered car.
      Plus the physical waste (some hazardous) of the electronics and battery components in a Tesla is significantly more than in a typical gasoline fired car.
      The fuel tank in a gasoline car is easy to recycle,
      The very complex battery in a Tesla, is much harder to recycle, and takes much more energy to recycle than the fuel system in a gasoline car.
      Solar panels to charge electric vehicles use far more land than small refineries, and the ingredients in solar panels are also hard to recycle, and require more power, and chemicals, to recycle, compared to the fuel systems in gasoline cars.
      New genetically modified organisms that create gasoline-like fuel from waste can dramatically reduce the infrastructure footprint of liquid fuels, while retaining nearly the same energy density of fuel in a vehicle.
      And, if solar and wind are to be used to power many EV’s then the massive “battery farms” required to store the energy will be as large, or larger than the pipes/trucks used to carry traditional fuels. And as these massive battery farms need to be recycled, the waste stream will be more complex and hazard-waste-laden than recycling pipe, tanks, etc, of traditional fuels.
      Ever successful large scale innovation on Earth has succeeded or failed based on how complex and wasteful its larger ecosystem is.
      The Tesla is almost irrelevant.
      The infrastructure changes required to replace 1.2 billion vehicles worldwide with electric vehicles is far, far from an environmental success story.
      No free lunch.

      • Butanol is a direct substitute for gasoline. No conversions necessary. The goal is an organism that cranks out butanol instead of ethanol. I suggest GM bacteria.

  4. The prejudice and lack of understanding in some of the comments above are just as bad as the bigotrry displayed by alarmists. Fast charge is an edge case for long distance driving. Most charging is done at home overnight like your mobile. The 30 minutes quoted above is for a car with a 200 plus mile range. UK average mileage is 21 a day.
    My main concern is that VW will install tbe obsolete-on-introduction SAE combo standard which is entjrely inadequate and will in the process discourage better standards like enhanced Chademo

    • You do realize that the US and California, where VW is obligated to spend the $2 billion, are NOT in the UK, right? And that the average in the US is much more than 21 a day, right?

    • I have lived in both the UK and Australia.
      Electric cars are increasingly popular in the UK, though I suspect a substantial reason for that popularity is electric cars get to avoid all the congestion charges which seem to be popping up in UK cities.
      But I still think driving an electric car in the UK is a risk.
      The 200 mile range drops dramatically in cold weather, when the batteries start dropping below operating temperature, and loads of power has to be diverted to keeping the car warm.
      Imagine getting stuck in a multi-hour motorway traffic jam, in snow, in an electric car. If your batteries are a few years old, past their prime, and you are on a long journey, IMO there is a serious risk you could die.
      A petrol or diesel car (also popular in the UK) has far greater ability to keep the occupants of a car trapped in snow safe and warm.

      • You’re right that range drops quite a bit in cold weather, and range also slowly goes down after about 6-7 years, which is why I never saw much use in electric cars with only 70-90 miles range. I think death is a little bit of an exaggeration, though. If you’re in the habit of taking long road trips in the winter on lonely stretches of road without a restaurant or other place in sight, or over mountain passes etc. then maybe, but I’d be more worried about just driving in those conditions regardless of the car you’re in.
        The bigger issue is the network of chargers. At least for the moment, most of the charging options are on major freeways or in metropolitan areas and I don’t see that changing since it’s going to be hard for businesses in rural areas to recover the costs of putting a charger out there (too few people will be using them). Moreover, the more electric cars that are out there, the more that you will see lines waiting to charge, and the more drain you’ll see on the electric grid. It’s not a problem now, but in the future it could be.

      • My dad had an electric car in the 1990s. He always liked novel things and new technology although he always said that the electric car was much the same as the electric milk floats of the 1920s.
        The car was meant to have a speed of about 60mph (maybe a little more) and a range of about 120 miles. My dad lived in Wales which is particularly hilly and there was a noticeable drop off in performance after 40 miles. In winter with heater on, windscreen wipers, lights the drop off was noticeable after 30 miles. What is often overlooked is that if you have an electric car that struggles to go up a hill at 40 mph whereas a petrol car will go up the same hill at more than 50 mph so that a queue develops, how much extra pollution is created by the fact that the electric car does not keep place with normal traffic?
        His car was such a novelty that when he drove into town, he parked in the High Street and the nearest shop would run out an extension cable so he could charge the car whilst he was shopping (not necessarily in that shop!). This could not be done these days with health and safety, having an unprotected/unmarked cable running over the footpath for pedestrians to trip up on. Whenever he went to a restaurant or to the pub, the restaurant or pub would run out an extension cable to the car park so that he could charge the car. This was really essential since even small round trips took their toll on performance.
        And of course, the batteries only lasted about 4 years before they needed replacing. Which was veru expensive.
        Electric cars are not only impractical they are not environmentally friendly (because of the batteries and aluminium body). The one advantage is that they do not produce their pollution out of the end of an exhaust pipe, ie., in the city but rather it is produced at the power station, where the aluminium is smelted and where the batteries created/disposed off. this is an advantage to the city environment.
        Once again, electric cars are another example of disingenuous misinformation peddled by environmentalists who do not tell the whole story. The wool is being pulled over the public who are being led to believe that electric cars are environmentally friendly when they are not.

    • John Hardy
      I live in the UK, in an outer London borough and we do less than 6,000 miles per year. An all-electric car would be utterly useless for us.
      Our average journey is probably well under 21 miles (2-3 miles each way to the supermarket must reduce the average a lot) but maybe a third of our miles are longer journeys. For example, my in-laws have two properties, one is c. 90 miles away and the other is c. 115 miles away.
      So an 180 mile round trip might be possible with a 200 mile range (providing we don’t use the heater, wipers, etc too much) but a 230 mile round trip would not be at all possible with a 200 mile range.
      The place 90 miles away is in a market town. There will not be a fast charge point in the housing development where their house is, there might be one in the town centre 20 minutes walk away. The place 115 miles away is in a village where there are no facilities, no shop, no pub, no bus service, just houses and a church.
      So how is “Fast charge …an edge case for long distance driving” in my case?
      And this does not just apply to me. I know plenty of people who make occasional medium distance journeys to visit relatives or friends for whom a 200 mile range would not suffice.
      The all-electric car is a niche product that suits some people mostly, I expect, as a second car that they can use around town or when commuting. I doubt very much that there are many couples / families that have just one car which is all-electric.

      • The chargers are along the way, not at the destination. With enough infrastructure, you can get wherever you need to go. All you would need is one fast charger along your route and 200 miles would be good enough range for you.
        There’s no doubt that electric cars might not make sense for everyone, just like an SUV wouldn’t. But most of the issues you have here are merely about range. The Tesla 85kW battery can get about 300 miles range. 200 miles seems really low to me. Maybe in the dead of winter you might get down to about 225-235. Wait a few years and there’ will probably be a battery pack that can get 400 miles range.
        I drove 1600 miles using supercharges on the highways, to a town with no superchargers, and stayed about 10 days. Once there, my daily driving needs were taken care of by a regular 120V wall outlet that put on about 40-60 miles overnight depending on how long I left it plugged in (say 3-4 miles an hour). Using a 240V dryer outlet would have tripled that rate to about 17 miles recharge an hour.

      • Kurt,
        “The chargers are along the way, not at the destination”
        Firstly, most of the journey is on trunk roads where there won’t be charging points.
        Secondly, so rather than driving from home to the in-laws and back again on a single tank, or less, of petrol I have to exit the trunk road somewhere on the way back and stop for 30 (or minutes) to recharge. Exactly how is that a benefit?
        “There’s no doubt that electric cars might not make sense for everyone”
        That is the whole point that electric car enthusiasts don’t get. Petrol (or diesel) powered cars of various types do work for everyone but electric car will only work for a particular set of people.
        “just like an SUV wouldn’t [make sense for everyone]”
        But an SUV would be possible, even if not ideal or preferred, for most people. If they were given a free SUV they could use that as their only car. Most people could not use a electric car as their only vehicle.
        “200 miles seems really low to me”
        That was the figure in the post I was responding to.
        “Wait a few years and there’ will probably be a battery pack that can get 400 miles range”
        If and when that happens it will solve one of the main obstacles that electric cars face, i.e. range and range anxiety. Also if a range close to 400 miles can be maintained for a reasonable length of time then the recharging issue largely disappears as people will be able to recharge overnight.
        The other main obstacles are cost and the source of the electricity.
        Teslas look like reasonable cars but they are £30-40,000 ones being sold for £60-70,000. The batteries that they use and putting them in add a huge amount to the cost of the vehicle.
        I can buy a brand new mid-sized car that is quite well spec’d for £15,000 and that car will do over 300 miles on a full tank and can be refuelled in 5 minutes. How much will a 300 mile range electric car cost now, or a 400 mile range one in a few years time?
        “I drove 1600 miles using supercharges on the highways, to a town with no superchargers, and stayed about 10 days …”
        No-one is saying, at least to my knowledge, that all electric cars are of no use at all. But they are a very niche product. The number of superchargers is limited and I am sure that a small deviation (compared to 1,600 miles) on your route would have taken you away from the supercharger network.
        Fossil fuels are energy dense and easy to transport, batteries are not energy dense and electricity is not easy to transport. When petrol driven cars were very new getting a fuel supply could be a problem but once they became a bit more common then some shops (often blacksmiths IIRC) started having a supply.
        It was easy for any shop to store some cans of petrol, without any special infrastructure. So that side of the industry could grow gradually as car ownership also grew. A shop could have 10 gallons of petrol delivered every week and then increase that to 15 after a while, and subsequently to 20, and so on.
        That is not a model that supercharger stations can follow. They have to go from nothing to a reasonable size (with all of the infrastructure that needs) in a single step.

      • One other thing Kurt. You are obviously well off to afford a Tesla. I am too. My family has two cars. You or I can afford to have an electric. However, please think of that little group called “the rest of humanity”. A car that cannot get me to Dallas (the next city to the North, 250 miles) without filling up is a car that is not effective.
        So long as electrics have limited range, they are limited to the family with at least two cars, even if they can afford it. This pushes them into a category I call “toys for the rich”. Given their current prices, they will remain this way for the foreseeable future. If you want to buy yourself cool toys, go ahead. If I had quite a bit more disposable income, I might buy one myself.
        The issue that I have is with people subsidizing charging stations and electric car production. The rich don’t need and should not getting these massive subsidies for their toys. Even if we did accomplish this, the benefits to the environment are negligible to negative. Therefore it’s a fraudulent argument and false tactic as well.
        Therefore, I oppose government support of electric cars on principle

      • Ben of Houston:
        I don’t disagree with much of anything you say. But you seem to be misunderstanding the point of all my posts. I dislike all subsidies on principle – not just ones for electric cars. I’m not an environmentalist. I think that to a large degree environmentalism is a movement that lets the impoverished in other countries suffer and die to satisfy an irrational urge to “save the planet.” I agree that electric cars aren’t the ecological panacea some think they are, though they clearly do have some environmental benefits (as well as drawbacks).
        In none of my posts did I ever say anything that might be construed as disregarding “the rest of humanity.” If you don’t believe me, go back and check. I never criticized anybody who didn’t think that electric cars didn’t fit their own needs or finances, nor did I criticize anybody who objected to the subsidies given to electric car manufacturers – in fact I agree with that point of view when factually accurate (Superchargers are not subsidized). Nor did I disagree with the assessment that electric cars would never take off with the general public, though I did express uncertainty on that point. At most, I indicated that I liked the car and that many of the perceived downsides (range anxiety) weren’t so bad or might well go away in the future. These opinions were based on my personal experience.
        I started off by simply correcting some factual inaccuracies about electric cars , i.e. recharging times, energy efficiency etc. In response to these simple, factual posts several others questioned my honesty (e.g. Grey Lensman) or attacked me personally merely for buying and driving an electric car (e.g. Tsk Tsk) because Tesla receives subsidies, because there is a tax credit for buying electric cars, and because highway maintenance is funded partially using gasoline taxes.
        I responded by pointing out the hypocrisy and irrationality of those arguments. These people weren’t upset because I bought a price-subsidized product per se, or took a lawful tax deduction per se, or that I wasn’t buying a taxed product per se. They were upset only because the product involved was an electric car, which they personally opposed – like you do – on principle. Real estate taxes fund a substantial portion of public education expenses across the country. Does anybody rail against those who don’t own a home, but send their kids to public schools? They aren’t paying their fair share of educational expenses. Who in this country would pass up taking the child tax credit if they were eligible for it, even though they effectively shift the tax burden to those who aren’t eligible for the credit (like me).
        I pay taxes. A lot of taxes. So in a very real sense, I’ve contributed to the subsidies we all complain about. I don’t appreciate being faulted for buying a product that my tax dollars have already gone to subsidize, and I don’t need to apologize for taking any tax credit or deduction I’m eligible for,
        The only other thing object to is the notion that subsidies for items some people think are luxury goods are somehow more pernicious than any other subsidy. They aren’t.You say that the “rich don’t need and should not [be] getting these massive subsidies for their toys.” The purpose of a subsidy is never income redistribution. It’s to encourage behavior the government likes, and that behavior doesn’t depend on income. (Why should a poor person be encouraged to buy subsidized sugar but a rich person not?) To the extent that you believe that this is not a function of government, that it is often wrong, and that it distorts and harms the economy by insulating industries from the consequences of their failures, I agree with you, but that means get rid of them all on an equal basis, and if you want to help those below a certain level of income, do that with the welfare code. At least that’s not only more economically sound but also more honest than somehow distinguishing between subsidies for those who you think “need” them and those who don’t.

    • The energy requirement of an Tesla battery is 15,000 – 25,000 times larger than the energy requirement of a mobile phone battery.
      That’s roughly how much more electricity it would require to fully charge each night at home.
      The US has more than 200 million vehicles on the road. Europe has a bit more.
      If either US Europe tried to charge 50 million Teslas at night, it would require massive changes in infrastructure, focused mainly on adding new base load generation that could supply at least a 20% increase in nighttime electricity use at home.
      This would be one of the largest infrastructure shifts in history, and would require completely new forms of electricity storage and distribute.
      Charging an EV at night is nothing like charging a mobile device at night.

      • “The energy requirement of an Tesla battery is 15,000 – 25,000 times larger than the energy requirement of a mobile phone battery. That’s roughly how much more electricity it would require to fully charge each night at home.”
        Incorrect. You’re presuming the battery is depleted each night. You only recharge whatever capacity you used that day. I’m not disputing that there would have to be some infrastructure changes with widespread electric car use, but it’s not nearly as dire as you’re suggesting. By you logic, we need the infrastructure to pump enough gasoline to fill the the entire capacity of the tank of every car in existence in this country, each night. Of course we don’t. We only fill a fraction of that volume every day.

      • US retailers sell about 25 million gallons of gasoline per day. That’s about 1% of tank capacity assuming 10gal tanks and 200 million vehicles. Drop two orders of magnitude off his numbers and you still get 150-250 phones worth every night.

    • John Hardy
      August 9, 2016 at 10:34 pm
      UK average mileage is 21 a day.
      In the United States the internal combustion engine is a very significant contribution to an Individual or Family’s Freedom. Going where you want or need to when you want on need to also contributes to the workings of a Free Market Economy. In addition, where I live it is Fun to drive. And 200 mile drives for Fun or Necessity are absolutely no problem.
      Averaging 21 miles/day sounds almost impossible, unless there’s a Pub on every corner and some Lorries 🙂

  5. I might also say that the original cheating was a new low in corporate malfeasance and a few top execs should have served time to “encourage the others”

    • You might want to check what the “cheating” was all about before you start advocating for jail time of any execs.

    • I disagree. I say that VW was ensuring their customers pass those wasteful and useless emissions tests. In my books thats called excellent customer care.
      Any company that will do that for me deserves my attention, my next car will likely be a VW diesel.
      It’s too bad more car makers haven’t followed VWs lead.

      • From the link I provided, this paragraph made me smile:

        The new findings also have implications for regional air quality models. Scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, are already plugging the new numbers into a widely-used air quality model called the Community Multi-scale Air Quality Model. “Lightning is one of the smaller factors for surface ozone levels, but in some cases a surge of ozone formed from lightning NOx could be enough to put a community out of compliance with EPA air quality standards during certain times of the year,” said Pickering.

        Funny that EPA air quality standards could be breached by natural lightning. But you cannot sue nature, so lets sue VW.

  6. Let’s see if I’ve got this right.
    Volkswagen coded their vehicle software to outwit and fool emission control testing software.
    As their punishment, Volkswagen is to use their $2B penalty to develop and install vehicle charging infrastructure”
    Is the agreement written that way? Volkswagen gets to write the charging infrastructure software too?
    #Click#
    Enter ID and slide credit card.
    #Click#
    Welcome Mr. Musk
    Please be aware that California surcharges are in effect; 1000%
    Your Tesla will be charged in six hours, maybe…

    #Click#
    Thank you for allowing us to serve you…
    Well, no need to worry about Volkswagen going out of business.

    • Superchargers are free. Charging at home is .09/kWh. it’s a lot cheaper than gas. Tesla’s aren’t much different than home solar installations – if you can afford the capital costs to wait out the 8-10 year repayment, then they’re great. Of course, Tesla claims to be able to cut the cost in half by 2018 but they’re always late by a couple years.

      • Superchargers are not free. They are/will-be paid for through higher rates spread over the utilities customers or through tax subsidies, “collected” from taxpayers who likely have no desire to finance yet another green boondoggle. Anyone who believes superchargers are free (and uses them) is either ignorant of the fact that they are party to forcing their fellow man to pay for them, or doesn’t care, and is likely disappointed that they won’t be getting all that other “free” stuff from Bernie Sanders.
        Don’t forget to add in the cost of at least two battery-pack replacements over 10 years, unless you live somewhere very warm. High temps are likely to reduce battery life considerably- to one to two years by some reports. Current battery technology also supports a limited number of charge/discharge cycles. More frequent cycles will also reduce battery life.

      • Let me be more specific. Technically, no they’re not free since Tesla pays the capital costs of the installation plus the cost for the electricity. Presumably, since they are a business, they work the cost of those outlays into the price of the car. When I said “free” I meant that the cost of the electricity to use them was part of the capital cost of buying the car, so the variable or “use” cost to me is nothing. In any event, the taxpayers don’t subsidize the cost of the electricity, per se.
        Though Tesla certainly got subsidies from the feds, and I presume California, so do many other industries in the country (ethanol, sugar, etc.)

      • And Jeff – the battery pack is warrantied for 8 years unlimited miles (don’t know where you got that 2-replacements in 10 years). When you fill up with gasoline, do you consider yourself “ignorant of the fact that [you] are party to forcing [your] fellow man to pay” part of that cost? Oil and gas exploration are subsidized heavily in the tax code, as is ethanol. What about when you buy sugar?
        Don’t mistake me – I hate subsidies as much as anyone else in this country. But I don’t blame consumers for buying subsidized products, particularly when everyone else has no problems doing so. If I pay taxes – and believe me, I do – I’m not going to be stupid and self-select myself out of the pool of people getting the benefit of my tax dollars.
        And I despise Bernie Sanders. He’s a demagogue.

      • Why? My local shell does not give free petrol and a full tesla charge costs the same. Thus you mpg claims are false, somebody is paying for your free.

      • Oil and gas exploration are subsidized heavily in the tax code, as is ethanol.

        No, no, no.
        All companies are allowed capital allowances, but capital allowances is not a tax free ride; it merely spreads the payment of tax over a reasonable period. It smooths matters.
        If a petrochemical company was not permitted capital allowances, it may be that for a period of 10 years or more whilst carrying out new exploration and getting a well up and running on stream, it would pay no tax whatsoever because it is not making any profit whilst spending huge sums on exploration.
        The ability to write down capital allowances over a defined period enables the company to pay tax every year on a more even basis rather than in some years high amounts of tax, and in other years no tax whatsoever. this benefits not only the company but also the Government since the Government can more easily predict its source of revenue and the income that it will receive.
        But the important point is that unlike many other industries the petrochemical companies pay huge sums in tax to the exchequer. the developed world as we know it has been built on the back of fossil fuels in ore ways than one.

      • Kurt, you said
        Quote
        Since this puts you on the road for 2-3 hours at a time,
        Unquote
        Seems that you are as accurate as a so called Climate Scientist” as well as like them, nose deep in a free lunch as you skim from free charger to free charger.
        Note petrol is not subsidised, it is very very heavily taxed. yet despite that its cheaper than the full price electricity you use in a lot of places.

      • So sayith: Kurt – August 10, 2016 at 1:50 am

        Oil and gas exploration are subsidized heavily in the tax code,

        Just about everyone likes to mimic that silly arsed claim even though it is totally false.
        The government does not “subsidize” oil and NG (CH4) exploration.

        subsidize – to pay part of the cost of something:

        “DUH”, the “tax code” specifies the amount of money that individuals and businesses are obligated to pay the government(s).
        No where in the “tax code” does it mention, let alone stipulate, how much money the government will pay to individuals or companies if they decide to go exploring for crude oil or gas (CH4

      • Since others have adequately dealt with the ridiculous statement about subsidies to the oil and gas industries, I’ll comment on the batteries and the “warranty”. Anyone who guarantees to replace an item no matter what you do to it (unlimited mileage) will only do so because that cost was included in the original purchase price- at least this is what I strongly suspect. Further, you may want to look into the average length of time a new vehicle is owned before it is replaced- do you plan on keeping your Tesla for eight years, or anywhere near that long? I doubt that warranty is transferable. Congratulations on proving the old adage that , indeed, there is another one born every minute.
        I fly electric RC aircraft and have real-world hands-on experience with lithium-based and other types of rechargeable batteries in high drain applications. Anyone who does this will tell you that the faster you charge or discharge a battery the shorter it’s operational life will be. Conversely the lower the rate of charge or discharge the longer the battery life. With an electric vehicle the best you can do is to compromise by charging slowly overnight since the batteries will be discharged (relatively) quickly in traffic. For anyone who has not already paid for a replacement battery- ie; drives a Tesla- this is the best way to extend your battery life. This is also why use of a supercharger to make longer trips possible is a bad idea- it will shorten your battery life. This of course is in addition to the moral and ethical issues.
        Kudos however, on the assessment of Mr Sanders. I would extend that to anyone he would endorse.

      • Sheesh, you guys:
        Jeff – you suggested I was going to have to look forward to paying for two battery replacements in the next ten years. Clearly I am not going to have to do that. Even if you were correct that the expected cost of replacement is built into the cost of the car, I’ve already paid that. As far as the expected life of the battery, where precisely did I say that I charged only at superchargers or recommended doing so? I do what every other person does and charge every night in my garage. I also bought a Tesla after owning a hybrid for 12 years. The battery in the hybrid lasted 10 years in circumstances where it only recharged off the gasoline engine after being about 70-80% discharged, i.e. very deep cycling. Actual experience with Tesla batteries gets you nowhere near two replacements in ten years. Maybe after eight you might start seeing a drop to 70-75% of original capacity, but even that would be plenty to get me to work. I’m hoping by that time the cost comes down enough that I can get a replacement and drive the car for another decade.
        As for the “free” supercharging, there is no public subsidy. Tesla pays the cost, and as I said, I’m presuming that’s built into the cost of the car. It’s a sunk cost, and the use of it has no incremental expense so that I recover whatever extra cost I paid for the car in proportion to how much I use superchargers. The whole issue arose when I simply corrected a slightly inaccurate estimate of the time it takes to recharge to the next destination. You’d think the people on this forum would appreciate more accurate information instead of attacking someone solely based on the car they drive.
        As for Gary Lensman’s snark about the accuracy of my assertion of being able to drive 2-3 hours between charging, what am I going to believe – my own experiences on a 4000 mile road trip, or you?
        We can quibble about whether the tax treatment of oil and gas exploration amounts to a “subsidy.” That misses the point. In what other context have any of you ever criticized someone else for buying a product subsidized by the government? No one disputes that ethanol is subsidized, or sugar. Do you yell at people in the grocery aisle when they put some sugar in their cart? I paid the taxes to contribute to whatever subsidies went to Tesla from the feds – anyone care to explain why it’s so wrong for me to take advantage of them to buy a car I like to drive?
        I don’t know whether electric cars will ever eventually be economical for the masses but I don’t think anyone else does either. The environmental impact is also up in the air. As someone else noted, you’re just shifting the fuel from the engine to the source of the electricity (I’m hydroelectric) but at least the point sources have better control of pollutants than cars do and widespread use of electric cars would certainly reduce urban smog and particulates which is really our only remaining air pollution issues.
        I bought the car because I like it, not because I’m an environmentalist (I’m certainly not). You guys just seemed to presume I must have been one because of the car I drive and decided to snark at me.

      • No we can’t “quibble” over whether the depletion allowance is a subsidy because it isn’t. Your $7500 tax credit for buying a TSLA is the very definition of a subsidy. And the problem with you taking advantage of it (after you paid your slight share of it) is that you have shifted $7500 of the cost of the car onto other taxpayers. It really is that simple.
        And, again, you don’t even pay for maintaining the roads you use because you don’t pay a gas tax. Comparing the situation to solar is perfect because that too shifts its costs onto others both through federal and state tax breaks and through net metering which is basically free use of the grid tie.
        So spare us the “gosh shucks I’m just a guy trying to make it in the world” nonsense and own up to the fact that you’re fine with shifting your costs onto others.

      • “We can quibble about whether the tax treatment of oil and gas exploration amounts to a “subsidy.”'” Kurt, it is not a quibble – it is an outright deception, a mistruth, it is lefty greenie propaganda. Your discredit your whole story but trying to dismiss it as a “quibble”.

      • You guys are missing the point. Whether oil and gas in particular receives a subsidy had no relevance at all to what I was saying. Go back and read the rest of the paragraphs surrounding my comments about oil and gas subsidies and ask yourself whether the substance of what I was arguing differs based on whether calling the tax deductions for certain oil and gas expenditures qualifies as subsidies or not.

      • Tsk Tsk:
        “So spare us the “gosh shucks I’m just a guy trying to make it in the world” nonsense and own up to the fact that you’re fine with shifting your costs onto others.”
        That wasn’t remotely my argument, so stop addressing a straw man. And have you ever taken a child tax credit? What about a home mortgage deduction? If so, are you fine with shifting your costs on to others who can’t afford a house or those who don’t have children? Do you criticize friends who have children and take the child tax credit? Come down off that moral high horse of yours.

      • “Grey Lensman
        August 10, 2016 at 2:41 am
        Why? My local shell does not give free petrol and a full tesla charge costs the same. Thus you mpg claims are false, somebody is paying for your free.”
        You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. For the last year, the only charging I’ve done is at home where I pay $0.09 per kWh for electricity. No one subsidizes the electricity I pay out of my own meter. I’m averaging 238 W-h/mile, which is a little over 4 miles for every 9 cents I have to pay, or a little over 40 miles for every 90 cents. At $2.35/gallon gasoline, which is the current local price, the actual math come out to 111 miles in my car for the same price as a gallon of gasoline.
        So pray tell me, how precisely are my mpg claims false?

      • So sayith: Kurt

        You guys are missing the point. Whether oil and gas in particular receives a subsidy had no relevance at all to what I was saying.

        Then why in ell did you even make mention of a gas/oil subsidy? …….. DUH?????

      • “Then why in ell did you even make mention of a gas/oil subsidy? …….. DUH?????”
        Let me spell this out. Oil and gas exploration is widely reported to receive federal subsidies through the tax code. There are in fact specific provisions in the tax code allowing oil and gas companies to write off specified expenditures, unique to them, as offsets against their income. It seems many here are of the opinion that these are not subsidies but are merely analogous to the types of write offs allowed for any other business. I don’t know the truth of this one way or another. I don’t care, since the point I was making is still true even if you take the “oil and gas” subsidies out of the list of other subsidies I mentioned, which everyone agrees do exist (ethanol, child tax credit, home mortgage interest deduction, etc.)
        That point was to address the silly self-righteousness I was getting from people who seem to think it appropriate to blame a person individually just for buying a product subsidized by the government (sugar, ethanol), or taking a tax break not all people are eligible for (child tax credit, home mortgage interest deduction), or of all things NOT buying a taxed product (property) for which taxes are used to fund a public service (public schools) even though the person takes advantage of the service. Of course, as I thought I had already made clear, but apparently not, I doubt any of those people would have the nerve to dress down a stranger in a grocery store for buying sugar, or go home and flagellate themselves whenever they filled up with ethanol. I doubt they’d criticize friends who owed no net federal income taxes even though those taxes are used to grant states funds to repair highways and bridges while their friends nonetheless drove on those roads and bridges.
        But they do have the nerve to do that to someone who buys an electric car, just because they object to electric cars for whatever reason. And when being called on it, they seized upon a meaningless issue to dispute, i.e. whether oil and gas subsidies really exist, to double down on their moral self-righteousness without ever addressing the point I was making.

      • Kurt:
        “As for the “free” supercharging, there is no public subsidy. Tesla pays the cost,”
        Tesla is subsidised, so are the cars (meaning, so are the purchases of their cars). Absent the subsidies, Tesla would already have folded and the stock would have tanked. Absent the subsidies few people would have bought the car.
        In Ontario gasoline is heavily taxed – almost 2/3 of the selling price. Oil companies are not subsidised. If they were, it would be worth it because their products work, but there is no need for it and never was.

      • But all those are sunk expenditures. The only question is who pays for the costs of the electricity when a Tesla owner pulls up to a Supercharger and charges the battery. The answer is that Tesla pays. They get no reimbursement from anybody for that. They paid the utility companies and the construction crews to build them and they pay the utility companies for the electricity. I think they work a deal with the owners of the parking lots for the space, who often are happy to have the charger there since the Tesla drivers are usually going to go get some food while their car charges.
        While Tesla does get subsidies to make the cars, the amount of the subsidies don’t change based on how many superchargers they build (again as far as I know, but I’ve never heard of a charging subsidy for Tesla). So assuming Tesla is smart, they’re just going to do an analysis of how much each Tesla owner will use superchargers over the lifetime of the car, and add that amount to the price of each car. If Tesla is right in the aggregate, any subsidies are going to be between Tesla owners – some using the superchargers less than average to subsidize those who use it more than the average. If Tesla underestimated total supercharger use, they take the hit. If they overestimated it, they get a windfall. I’m not seeing any cost-shifting to the public based on the Superchargers.

      • So sayith: Kurt

        Let me spell this out. Oil and gas exploration is widely reported to receive federal subsidies through the tax code. There are in fact specific provisions in the tax code allowing oil and gas companies to write off specified expenditures, unique to them, as offsets against their income.

        Kurt, that was an oxymoronic statement. Your pretended “ignorance” of the definition of what a subsidy is …… is no excuse for you touting such stupidity as a means to CYA for voicing your liberal religious beliefs.
        Some people would rather drink poison than admit they are wrong.

      • Let me spell this out. Oil and gas exploration is widely reported to receive federal subsidies through the tax code.

        Still trying to CYA, …… HUH, …….. because the above is NOT what you originally stated.

      • Kurt
        Thanks for the replies.
        Tesla is itself a subsidised manufacturer – directly because of where they located and the ‘deal’ they got from the State. Everything they do and make is subsidised by the public purse. Exxon they are not.
        Any battery-related expense has to be covered by someone. If all the subsidies were removed from Tesla’s income they were immediately close and the stock would be driven to zero value because without the subsidies, it is bankrupt.
        The argument they make is that the losses on each item will be made up in volume when the subsidies are built into the economy in a way that makes it looks as if they are not being subsidised. Clever, within the ‘rules’ (if Tesla gets to write them) but nonetheless, a subsidy is a subsidy, however titled.
        When Tesla offered cars without a subsidy they still sold them because they are cool and fast. Good for them.
        Nothing in the form of a known battery is viable as a bulk storage system. Dressing it up and spreading it around won’t change that fundamental. Until there is a viable system, the government intends to subsidise Tesla hoping that advances in technology will one day catch up to the inherent economic weakness of the case. This is a policy decision, not a wrong decision per se. Government could invest in molten salt Thorium reactors instead. Probably that would be a better idea because it has a long term payback with an energy density that is attractive, whereas nothing is attractive about tossing money at Tesla.
        It boils down to Tesla and the government promising a ‘green economy’ will emerge and that it will be viable, even if they have to force that viability by command – as if economics worked like that. For a long time the Soviet Union worked on that assumption: that a command can be turned into economic sustainability.
        It is a shame, really. ‘Zero-emission’ electric cars displace emissions geographically – mostly to China which makes so many of the components. It is a BS concept as every engineer knows. Electric cars are a coming reality but the power sources have to be viable, not ‘demonstrative’. Power Walls would be far better made from lead-acid at the present time. Tesla is simply diverting battery production into Power Walls because they can’t use them where they were intended: mobile storage. No fixed storage needs that sort of cost or compositional sophistication. In short it is a excuse with lipstick pasted on production mis-timing. It is manageable, I think, but I won’t invest is something so essentially reliant on public subsidies. In an economic crunch the subsidies will evaporate in seconds.

      • Crispin in Waterloo –
        I think we agree. There may be a rational basis for subsidies that temporarily finance certain industries that have some promised public benefit in the future, to make sure that these industries don’t fold immediately, but this future benefit is always theoretical. Tesla is gambling that they can get battery technology improved to the point where it is cost-competitive to manufacture electric cars, and that infrastructure changes can be made to keep a sizable number of electric cars on the road. I am somewhat skeptical that this will occur, but that skepticism is moderated by the fact that I used to think that it would never be feasible to charge a car quickly enough to make driving long distances feasible. Then Tesla proved me wrong. Maybe they will prove me wrong again.
        My economic objection to this is that Tesla gets the benefit of the subsidies, and then will get the downstream benefit of the profits from sales of cars if their risk pans out. When businesses or investors are sheltered from some of the risks of their enterprise, but get the full benefits when those risks pan out, poor economic decisions are made.
        I will say that, strictly speaking of air pollution, transferring the energy generation from cars to the coal, natural gas, hydroelectric power plants, etc. would clean the air in our cities tremendously since it’s easier to control the pollution from power plants than tail pipes. So unlike many on this forum, I’m hoping that electric cars become economically competitive (without the need for subsidies). But I certainly don’t want electric cars forced on the populace when they aren’t. Unfortunately, I think it may be a moot point since I can’t imagine the regulatory bureaucracy we’ve got relaxing the death-grip they have on internal combustion engines, which will drive them out of existence for individual passenger cars. The only caveat is that when the inevitable blackouts and brownouts start occurring as a result of the regulation on fossil fuel power plants and green energy subsidies, maybe enough people will wake up to the absurd fuel economy standards that are being forced on the public.

    • “Some people would rather drink poison than admit they are wrong.”
      Look up the psychological term “projection.” You seem to know an awful lot about this phenomenon.
      I apparently know better than you do what a subsidy is, given your seeming ignorance that most subsidies by the federal government are administered through the tax code. When the government writes special provisions for particular businesses letting them deduct expenditures (or worse still give them a tax credit) that other businesses can’t deduct or claim a credit for, that’s a subsidy. It’s no different than just cutting them a check for the amount that the deduction or credit would have netted them off their taxes. If, for example, the federal government writes a special provision for solar power generators letting them expense the cost of solar production facilities, instead of depreciating the cost over 50 years, that qualifies as a subsidy. if you don’t believe me, read the content at the following link – you might learn something: http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/policy-basics-federal-tax-expenditures. These kind of subsidies infest the tax code.
      Apparently, not only do I have to spell this out for you, I have to do it…really…really …..slowly. When I first brought up subsidies for oil and gas companies, I did so because I thought there were such subsidies, and though many here contest that assertion, quite possibly correctly, I don’t myself know who is right and who is wrong. Again, since I have to repeat myself so you can understand, I DON”T CARE. Whether it’s true or not does not affect the point I was making, which you seem to be still trying desperately to avoid by focusing so myopically on this irrelevant issue. I guess in your own words, “some people would rather drink poison than admit they are wrong.”
      And if you think I’m a liberal, you really are dense. Go back and read my posts again on what I have to say about the wisdom about subsidies.

      • sub·si·dy /ˈsəbsədē/
        noun: subsidy; plural noun: subsidies
        1. a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive.
        •a sum of money granted to support an arts organization or other undertaking held to be in the public interest.
        •a grant or contribution of money.
        synonyms: grant, allowance, endowment, contribution, donation, bursary, handout; More: backing, support, sponsorship, finance, funding;
        2. historical – a parliamentary grant to the sovereign for state needs.

        DUH, getta clue, ….. “tax or taxes” are not listed, included nor mentioned in the above noted synonyms.
        You have a “right” to your own opinion ……. but you do not have a “right” to your own or personal “thunked-up” definitions of common usage English verbiage.
        End of discussion.

      • Read carefully your first definition:
        1. a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive.
        The government can give people or businesses money through the tax code, For example, I got a $7,500 TAX CREDIT after buying my electric car. I know perfectly well that’s a subsidy. Everyone else commenting on this issue seems to agree that this is a subsidy. Except, oddly, for you. Why do you suppose that is? Might it be that, in your words, “some people would rather drink poison than admit they are wrong?” I guess to ask that question is to answer it.

      • So sayith: Kurt – August 13, 2016 at 9:28 pm

        I got a $7,500 TAX CREDIT after buying my electric car.

        “DUH”, …… after buying my electric car, …… after buying my electric car, …… after buying my electric car, …… after buying my electric car, …… after buying my electric car.
        Shur nuff, …… and iffen you file a personal State and/or Federal Income Tax document here in the US you can also claim a TAX CREDIT for each “dependent” listed thereon.
        BUT, …………
        No dependents claimed, …. no TAX CREDIT(s) gotten.
        No electric car purchased, …. no TAX CREDIT(s) gotten.
        No solar panels installed, …. no TAX CREDIT(s) gotten.
        A TAX CREDIT simply means that you get to keep a percentage of your money that you would normally have had to pay as “tax monies” to the federal and/or state Tax Department(s).
        Oil and NG producers are also permitted specific TAX CREDIT(s) if they qualify for said ……. but they are not paid “cash money” subsidies by the government.
        And “DUH”, the ONLY per se “tax credit” being offered by the Internal Revenue Service that is, in actuality a subsidy and NOT a “tax credit”, ….. whereby the claimants/recipient(s) of said are paid “cash money” by the IRS, ….. is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
        The lazy, the doless, the shiftless, the ne’er-do-wells, the illegal immigrants, etc. are all great fans of the EITC. Work whenever for a few dollars ….. just to get a BIG cash “bonus” at income tax time.
        Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earned_income_tax_credit

      • Thanks for confirming that your prejudice against electric cars is interfering with your cognitive abilities.
        It also is a little hard to miss the fact that you seem unable to explain why subsidies by the government can only be delivered by cash payments from the government to an individual, you just assert that this is true because your ego needs it to be true. The definitions you provided don’t require this phantom requirement, and I’ve already given you a reference contradicting your ignorant belief. Naturally, you ignored it, since it demonstrated you to be wrong, and in your own immortal words, “some people would rather drink poison than admit they are wrong.”
        If you’re of the mind to studiously ignore more information of the type that reasoned individuals usually consider before making brash and unfounded factual assumptions, consider the definition of “tax expenditures” – “subsidies delivered through the tax code as deductions, exclusions, and other tax preferences. Tax expenditures reduce the amount of tax that households or corporations owe. To benefit from a tax expenditure, a taxpayer must undertake certain actions or meet certain criteria. For example, some households that have a mortgage can reduce their taxes by claiming a tax deduction for their spending on mortgage interest, and corporations can receive a tax subsidy for investing in machinery.”
        The Kaiser Foundation calls the deduction for employer sponsored health care the “largest tax subsidy for private health insurance.” But, of course, they must be wrong because as you seem to know in your very being, nothing aside from the act of a cash payment drawn on the Treasury could possibly be considered a subsidy.

      • “DUH”, me prejudice against electric cars?
        You are like most all the other miseducated (misnurtured) lefty liberal socialists that are forced to launch a personal attack against the “messenger” simply because you are incapable of attacking the presented “message”.
        Kurt, my common sense reasoning ability precludes me from ever needing any actual experience(s) of owning or driving an electric car simply because of the fact that I live in a mountainous/hilly section of WV and I know damn well that those car batteries do not hold enough “charge” to get that car up-and-over some of the hills around here. But you “flat-landers” can buy all those electric cars that tickles your fancy.
        Kurt, you and the other liberal wackos can argue your “case” with these people:
        Economics Online – subsidies
        A subsidy is an amount of money given directly to firms by the government to encourage production and consumption. A unit subsidy is a specific sum per unit produced which is given to the producer.
        http://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Competitive_markets/Subsidies.html
        Simple Definition of subsidy
        1: money that is paid usually by a government to keep the price of a product or service low or to help a business or organization to continue to function
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subsidy
        The Cambridge Dictionary
        subsidy – http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/subsidy
        subsidize – http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/subsidize
        subsidized price– http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/subsidized-price
        Wikii – Tax subsidy
        Government can create the same outcome through selective tax breaks as through cash payment.
        Tax breaks are often considered to be a subsidy. This requires the assumption that a person’s or an entity’s money belongs to the government.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsidy
        Kurt, have you always assumed that your money actually belongs to the government?

      • Samuel – you ARE still there. When you didn’t respond first thing in the morning I was starting to worry that you had taken some poison, but I guess your survival instincts are still overpowering your ego.
        You mentioned your common sense reasoning ability. Is this the same reasoning ability that makes you think that if a person considers tax favors for preferred businesses to be subsidies (and which should be eliminated in favor of a free market), that person must be – what was it you called it – a “lefty liberal socialist?” Or the same reasoning ability that leads you to tell a person who lives in Oregon and who has driven his electric car over mountainous terrain through the various states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming that electric cars couldn’t handle “some of the hills” of West Virginia?
        Based on our back and forth here, I’m not seeing any reasoning from you, common sense or otherwise. After all, you’re just cherry-picking a very cramped definition of the term “subsidy” and sticking to it no matter what. You’re given a reasoned explanation of why subsidies through favorable tax treatment are no different than cash payments by the government because they shift costs to others in the same manner, you are pointed to websites explaining why deductions and credits against taxes owed are subsidies, but still you persist in doing nothing more than grasping at an arbitrary limitation that government subsidies have to involve direct payments out of treasury.
        Let’s test this reasoning ability of yours. Assume the government of New York slaps a luxury tax on the sale of yachts. Which of the following involves a subsidy? (1) The luxury tax is 15% and New York sends a check to any New York individual who purchased a yacht, in the amount of 5% of the purchase price; (2) The luxury tax is 10% for yachts sold to New York residents and 15% for yachts sold to anyone else; (3) New York offers a non-refundable income tax credit in the amount of 5% of the purchase price of a yacht against the state income taxes owed by New York residents; (4) New York reimburses sellers of yachts up to 5% of the list price of yachts for discounts they gave to New York residents off the list price; and (5) the luxury tax is 1%, the ordinary state sales tax is waived, and New York offers a 10% non-refundable tax credit on the purchase price of yachts against income taxes owed by New York residents. If your answer differs among any of these, explain how the outcomes are different such that some involve subsidies and some do not.
        Now, about these definitions you offer. The Economics Online page you referenced was simply a tutorial explaining the effects of a subsidy, and the use of the phrase “given directly” was not intended to limit the definition of a subsidy, since it didn’t matter for the tutorial. How do I know this? It turns out that Economics Online offers formal definitions of terms on a separate page, and had you bothered to look you would have seen that their formal definition of a subsidy has no such limitation. http://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Definitions/Subsidy.html.
        As I’m sure you noticed, the Miriam Webster page you linked to not only has a “simple” definition of a subsidy, but also has a “full definition” that, curiously, you chose not to quote. Might it have been because the full definition of “subsidy” includes “a grant by a government to a private person or company to assist an enterprise deemed advantageous to the public?” There’s no reason the grant can’t be made through the tax code.
        Why don’t you go back to the Cambridge site you relied on for their definition of “subsidy.” On the right margin, down a ways – in a box marked “more meanings of ‘subsidy'” – is a link labeled “tax subsidy.” Click it and wait for the new page to load. Tell me what you see.
        As you seem to acknowledge, the Wikipedia definition of “subsidy” indicates that special tax breaks are subsidies, which contradicts the stubborn position you’re so desperately clinging to. As for the comment about the interpretation of tax breaks as “subsidies” assumes that your money belongs to the government, that’s wrong. You only have to assume that you are obligated to pay the taxes to the government, against which the credit or deduction is applied. You also have to assume that the benefit you receive is special, i.e, not shared by everyone in a similar situation. That’s why, of all the people who objected to my calling tax deductions for oil companies subsidies, you were the only one relying on silly reasoning that no reduction in what was owed as taxes could be a subsidy. Everyone else was arguing that the deductions for oil and gas companies were of the same type offered to all other businesses. In any event, I’d avoid relying heavily on Wikipedia. Since it’s edited by the public, many of the editors don’t know what they are talking about. Or do you trust everything Wikipedia has to say about man-made climate change?
        Finally, try not to forget who started the personal attacks here. Or are the phrases “DUH?????” and “you [are] touting such stupidity as a means to CYA for voicing your liberal religious beliefs.” just a part of your ordinary civil discourse? I also would advise that the next time you get into an argument with somebody, you should do a little bit of research to make absolutely sure you’re on the right side of the argument before you start suggesting that the person on the other side is the one that is stubbornly not admitting they are wrong.

      • So sayith: Kurt

        Finally, try not to forget who started the personal attacks here. Or are the phrases “DUH?????” and “you [are] touting such stupidity as a means to CYA for voicing your liberal religious beliefs.” just a part of your ordinary civil discourse? I also would advise that the next time you get into an argument with somebody, you should do a little bit of research to make …… yada, yada, yada ….

        Don’t worry, Kurt, cause I don’t have a “short term” memory problem but I’m sure that you do, be it biological, intentional or just PP nurturing.
        My 1st response to Kurt’s posting – a statement of fact and a question, NO personal attack
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/09/2-billion-volkswagen-electric-car-investment-squabble/comment-page-1/#comment-2274900
        Kurt ignored my above post.
        My 2nd response to Kurt’s posting – asking a personal question, NOT a personal attack
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/09/2-billion-volkswagen-electric-car-investment-squabble/comment-page-1/#comment-2275428
        Kurt originally claimed this, to wit:
        “Oil and gas exploration are subsidized heavily in the tax code,”
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/09/2-billion-volkswagen-electric-car-investment-squabble/comment-page-1/#comment-2274769
        Then Kurt CYA’ed it by claiming this, to wit:
        “Oil and gas exploration is widely reported to receive federal subsidies through the tax code.”
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/09/2-billion-volkswagen-electric-car-investment-squabble/comment-page-1/#comment-2275760
        And because of his deviously stated CYA attempt to “change the subject” from what was originally stated, Sam C jumped his arse with a personal reprimand for his dastardly dishonest and un-professional actions, to wit:
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/09/2-billion-volkswagen-electric-car-investment-squabble/comment-page-1/#comment-2276129
        And Kurt, your “weasel-worded” rhetoric and “smoke-screen” commentary doesn’t impress me in the least. But now iffen I t’was 50 years younger I would probably be bedazzled with your BS.

      • Samuel C Cogar:
        I don’t see that you have any reason to question my memory. The accounting you just gave confirmed what I had said – you were the one that turned a previously calm discussion personal. As you stated, I was ignoring you until you directly asked me a question. When I answered, you seized upon something you bizarrely thought contradicted an earlier statement of mine (it didn’t), and then you (Sam C) “jumped his arse with a personal reprimand for his dastardly dishonest and un-professional actions.” Thanks for so colorfully proving my point.
        And as for this supposed “deviously stated CYA attempt to ‘change the subject’ from what was originally” claimed, the quotes of mine you used were stripped of context to fit your distorted narrative. That’s probably why you didn’t quote the full passages from which these sentences were taken, because if you had, the reader would have clearly seen that there was nothing deceptive or untoward in my replies.
        I meant what I said earlier about you projecting your own flaws and motivations onto me. All the nasty things in this dialogue you accuse me of (smoke screens, CYA’s to change the subject, the stubborn refusal to admit you were wrong, launching “a personal attack against the ‘messenger’ simply because you are incapable of attacking the presented ‘message’) describe your own behavior – not mine.

  7. If only VW would invest all that £1.2 billion only in states with the lowest population density and the least population.

  8. And it I want to recharge my Dodge Dart witch I drove from Fargo, ND to Philly in 24 hours, overnight, where do I “fill up”… I drove from Fargo ND to Philly in less than 24 hours.
    Can you do that now??? That was before many Interstate highways.
    I don’t think so unless you have gas and an extra driver…

      • According to google the distance from frgo ND to philly is 1,400 miles all on freeway. The Tesla gets 200 miles per charge. So that trip would require 7 stops to recharge. This map shows the location of all of the supper chargers in the US , https://www.tesla.com/supercharger. there are a lot of Tesla supper chargers to choose from.
        The trip would require 21 hours of driving at the legal speed limit. The 7 recharges would take about 4 and a half hours. That is about a 27 hour day. most people don’t driver 21 hours in a day, you need to eat, rest , and take bathroom breaks. Most people would not be able to do the drive in one day. most people would spend about 8 hours sleeping and eating.
        most people would do this in 2 days and sleep somewhere along the way. A Tesla would easily do this trip in the typical 2 days most people need in gas powered cars.. And if you stay at a hotel that has a charging station your car will be mostly charged in the morning of the second day.
        Can a Tesla owner do this drive in two days, Yes. many Tesla owners have done drives this long or longer.

      • Steven F
        J. Philip Peterson does say “Can you [drive from Fargo, ND to Philly in 24 hours] ? …I don’t think so unless you have gas and an extra driver” (emphasis added) so I think it is clear that ” I drove from … in less than 24 hours” actually means “I travelled from … and I did some of the driving”.
        I’m in the UK but I believe it is not uncommon in the US for two, or more, people to drive from lon distances non-stop with the person who is not driving sleeping in the car.

  9. It may be in VeeDub’s interest to ‘totally trash the electric car market’! Accidentally, of course.

  10. What is Volkswagen to do?
    Building charging station in urban areas is no a big deal, electricity supply lines are all over the place. Drive up the Sierra mountains or along Death Valley, no charging stations over there.
    Volkswagen can use some of their ‘condemned diesel engines’ inserted between a large fuel tank (fuel in the USA is so cheep anyway) and a portable electricity generator, with an automatic start up/shut down system, in order to make charging stations available on the more remote highways.
    While your electric car is being charged, if in the high Sierras you can admire view and bread some of that fresh mountain air, if in the Death Valley use the time to acclimatise yourself to the imminent ‘catastrophic warming’ climate change. Everyone is a winner.

  11. I’d like to see normal petrol-powered cars fitted with generators large enough to power a house to use during the ‘renewables’ caused blackouts.

    • +1 I’ve been looking into doing just that, though for other reasons. I’ll add yours to my list.

    • Chris Hanley August 10, 2016 at 1:05 am

      I’d like to see normal petrol-powered cars fitted with generators large enough to power a house to use during the ‘renewables’ caused blackouts.

      Chris,
      You just gave away the farm. Shoulda’ kept that one to yourself ;o)

  12. Fundamentally the efficiency of a vehicle is determined by the weight of the engine and the fuel pack – whether that fuel is energy dense petroleum, contained in a lightweight container, energy dense “gas” in a heavyweight compression cylinder or idiotically heavy batteries.
    And one of the simplest reasons a battery will always be heavier – is because to release energy one needs two chemicals. For petroleum that is fuel + Oxygen (which is not carried), whereas in a battery that second half of the equation has to be carried around everywhere.
    Then in addition, the battery requires a hugely complex system of “pipes” to bring the energy from the place where the chemical reaction occurs in the depth of the battery to where it can be used.
    In contrast, a petrol engine just has a simple piston that pushes it out the backside.
    So, fundamentally, electric vehicles are nuts. They never will be as light for the same travelling distance as a petroleum vehicle and because (for the same size engine) weight is the biggest factor affecting economy – electric vehicles are at a disadvantage.
    The only solutions the pushers of electric have is to create more energy dense batteries. Which is a bit like building a small nuclear bomb in your car and driving around with it. We are already very familiar with the danger of petroleum in a vehicle crash, but what I believe we are about to discover as a society (if we are mad enough to continue this insane route) is just how dangerous a car full of batteries can be.
    But what I ask is the point of it all? If you want to use electricity to power vehicles – then just use the electric to create hydrocarbons and use them! That’s the energy sensible approach! We take coal and water and convert it to hydrocarbon in places where carbon and electricity is low cost and then ship it in the energy dense form of “petrol” to where it can be used.
    but of course – it’s cheaper just to frack petroleum – which isn’t what the “green=gullibles” want to hear.

    • Just in case it isn’t obvious – the reason petrol vehicle crashes are so dangerous is because of the tank of petrol which can quickly create a mass fireball. This is because the petrol is a dense store of energy that if released creates a massive amount of heat.
      But likewise, a battery is also a huge store of energy. And likewise the heat generating capability of a battery is the similar if not greater than a petrol store. And, whilst we are all used to low energy batteries in flashlights which may get “hot” never appear to be a risk, when you try to massively increase the density and then pack huge numbers of these devices together in a confined space, you are getting closer and closer to something that we would otherwise call “a bomb”. A space which is very densely packed with energy.

      • How often does a crash result in a car catching fire? Very rare for petrol and diesel cars. A short circuit of a battery in a car with an aluminium body may be a different matter. Not enough crashes to presently know what real risk this poses.
        But your point made in your first post is valid, namely weight is the key factor.
        Because electric cars are heavy, they wear tyres, brake discs and brake pads far faster than does a small petrol car. In fact the additional pollution caused by brake pad wear and tyre wear is a problem in the city environment. These are large particulates and cause respiratory problems. See:
        https://www.batteriesontheweb.co.uk/2016/05/tyre-brakes-pollution-problem/

        Tyre-brakes pollution Problem;The greener alternative produce more tiny toxic particles from the tyre and brake wear because batteries and other parts make them heavier, according to University of Edinburgh scientists.

        Another issue that environmentalists are concealing.

      • Richard Verney:
        “But your point made in your first post is valid, namely weight is the key factor. Because electric cars are heavy, they wear tyres, brake discs and brake pads far faster than does a small petrol car.”
        That’s partially accurate. When accelerating in stop and go traffic, weight is the biggest factor in efficiency, but at constant highway speeds it’s wind resistance, and weight doesn’t matter so much. Vehicle weight is awful on tires, but with electric cars, at least mine, almost all the braking is done by the electric motor run in reverse so that you can recharge the battery. I don’t expect to replace my brakes for many years since the only time I typically use them is to tap them when I need to come to a complete stop. In fact, in the rain that’s something of a problem since the brake discs don’t heat up enough to evaporate the water on them, and the pads will sometimes rust to the discs overnight when parked. It makes a little jerk when backing up in the morning.
        Nor are electric cars the only heavy vehicles around. I don’t know, on balance, whether replacing a gasoline engine car with an electric one would produce more particulates from the tires and brakes. It depends on the particular vehicles involved.

    • Occasionally I enjoy doing the math to figure out just how much coal will have to be burned to charge the latest offering in the electric vehicle market, and then converting that weight to it’s equivalent in gasoline, just to post the figures in the forums where the tree-huggers are drooling over said vehicle. They are always shocked to discover how much more “pollution” is created just to operate an electric vehicle vs a gasoline driven one, let alone what it will cost to make the thing.

  13. Can VW find a way to make money from its investment?
    The supercharger at our local mall sits unused most of the time. It cost a bundle to install it. Rip up a couple of hundred feet of pavement and run 480 volt three phase all the way back to the building’s main transformer. Suppose that they put a battery in the supercharger. They could then get their power from the existing lighting circuits. They could charge the battery at night when the power is cheaper. They could even use it for peaking and sell power back to the grid. At remote locations they could combine it with solar to get a supercharger where it would otherwise be uneconomical because of the cost of running the necessary wiring.
    The above idea would work only where a supercharger was unused most of the time, but such situations exist. It wouldn’t work at the local airport where the supercharger seems to have customers at all hours of the day and night. On the other hand, the grid operator might find the idea of peaking from a lot of superchargers attractive. On the other other hand Tesla has fallen out of love with the powerwall. …

    • Tesla superchargers are not available for cars other than Tesla. You can bet that VW will not be installing chargers compatible with only Teslas.

    • commiebob
      I think people will start to go for wireless charging and there will be no connectors/plugs.
      Another possibility is the use of a tank of ‘gunk’ that holds the charge, and is removed by drain as new gunk is loaded into the fuel tank. Still electric, but not a battery per se, just a fuel cell. The energy density issue can be addressed and the refueling time can be as quick as a fill-up is now. The gunk will also be a heck of a lot safer in an accident because it can’t do much without the right conditions that will only exist inside the reactor.

  14. Or they could put a lot ofthe money into landscaping around a small number of stations. A couple billion could get eaten up quickly by extras.

  15. Back in November when the ‘scandal’ broke my friend Harvey H. Homitz penned the following to the local Newspaper…. it was returned with a jar of Holy Water and a garlic necklace..
    From the desk of Harvey H. Homitz.
    Sanibel, FL. 33957.
    To the Editor,
    Island Sun,
    Lime tree Center, 1640 Periwinkle Way
    Sanibel FL. 33957. November 3rd. 2015
    Re: VW emission cheating.
    So it’s Oxides of Nitrogen, NOx to the cognoscenti, that they were cheating on!
    Well! Pretty nasty stuff. Makes you sneeze or worse depending on which one you sniff. But not all of ’em are nasty. There’s N2O, Nitrous Oxide that the venerable Sir Humphrey Davy discovered, in seventeen-sumpty-or-other, took a whiff of, and appalled his laboratory staff by dancing around the lab giggling like a common idiot. Nowadays it’s called laughing gas, a favorite of your dentist, and outside the dentist’s chair, if you can get a hold of some, it’s a great party icebreaker, if you’re looking for giggling idiots. Not so the other NOxes, NO, NO2 and N2O4.
    Nitric Oxide, (NO) doesn’t hang around for long in the presence of free Oxygen (like in air) before turning into NO2, Nitrogen dioxide, or N2O4, di-nitrogen tetroxide, (never could tell the difference). But both are extremely nasty brown gasses that at concentrations of a couple of parts per million (ppm to the Rubes), a whiff will start you sneezing like a hound in a pepper mill and anything more will have you coughing, gagging and weeping like a penitent at the feast of Ashura.. Oops! I take that back, don’t mean to offend any devout flagellants! Can’t be too careful these days, the way they dish out those Fatwas.
    But I digress. It’s no laughing matter, there’s a lot of NOxes out there and it’s not all cheating two-timing VW diesels, Beamers, Audis, Fords and Chryslers. No! It’s not even the French outfit that makes most of the diesels for the aforementioned and more than their combined output. No! It’s Mother Nature, Gaia, God, or Zeus with his thunderbolts, depending on your religious preference.
    Yep! You got it! Lightning!
    If one can believe the raw (that is.. ‘uncorrected’) satellite data, there are an average of 45 discharges per second worldwide… Yes forty-five a second!! And if you’ve ever been close enough to a lightning strike to make you jump out of your seat, you may have noticed a brown cloud surrounding the strike zone. That’s NO2. Being highly soluble it dissolves quickly in water, which tends to be plentiful during thunderstorms, and bingo! We have nitric acid rain (typically ph 5+/-) even without a nearby sulfur dioxide spewing power station chimney to blame!
    Now it’s hard to know what to believe anymore, even if it’s on GoogleWicki, but they say there’s as much as 7,000 tons a day of Nitrates raining down on us, more or less than all the Ammonium Nitrate produced to fertilize farmer’s fields, when it’s not in trucks blowing up buildings in Oklahoma or in French ships flattening towns like Halifax, Nova Scotia (1917), and Texas City (1947). Honest! I kid you not, both cities were leveled by French ships loaded with Ammonium Nitrate made in USA and destined for munitions in Europe! The Halifax explosion at 2.9 kilotons was the biggest bang before the atomic bomb.
    Now none of this has much to do with members of the Volkswagen tribe: Beetles, Passats, Siroccos and such, except perhaps to throw a little perspective on the severity of their sin. There is little doubt that like BP, they will pay their Pound of fle$h, or more likely Kilogram$, being of the metric persuasion.
    It’s hard to quantify the gravity of their transgression since no data is offered in the media so one must make do with the howls of outrage from high places, tinged, I suspect, with the scent of money, much money, in the form of fines and punitive damages.
    Now killing two birds with one stone is the ambition of all hunters, especially those who are a bit light in the stones, and VW managed to do it, meeting EPA emission requirements AND their CAFE mpg mandates with a single computer program.
    Never mind the wickedness of cheating, there’s innovation at work here and innovation is the catalyst of evolution and progress.
    There are some who advocate redemption; after, of course, confession, contrition and penance, which likely will run into Billion$. And then there are those who suffer from guilt by association, and it is to those that I would like to offer absolution. If you are the victim of ownership of a nice late model Diesel VW take heart, I will relieve you of your guilt along with your nice late model diesel VW….
    Now driving a VW Variant fully loaded with canoes, bicycles and paddle-boards through the eye of the EPA’s needle, is a lot easier said than done. So tradition has it that the purchase of an ‘Indulgence’ will bypass the eye of the needle and get your fully loaded VW through the main gate into Heaven. Never mind the fact that the last Pope who got too cozy with politicians, lost half his flock to Martin Luther… who took them to Minnesota via Sweden. Help me out here, was it Innocuous the 7th or Incestuous the 12th that made the Rev. Luther post his 95 grievances on the Brandenburg gate?
    But I digress; with nothing better to do I am resurrecting the Indulgence business.
    Believe me I feel your guilt. If you own a late model VW diesel and are burdened with guilt, I will relieve you of your VW and your guilt at absolutely no charge to you. Your Indulgence certificate will be valid at the Pearly Gates and is guaranteed for eternity.
    Call me at 1-NDU-LGE-NCES.
    Harvey H. Homitz
    Pardoner of the Sins of Emission.
    P.S. According to today’s NY Times, Porsche and Audi have been caught in the sinner’s round up so I will include them too and expect many more in the coming days.
    Sin, it seems, even if not Original, is still very popular!
    HHH.

  16. Let’s see now: Energy Density: Lithium Ion battery- 0.8 MJ/Kg
    Diesel/ Gasoline – 46 MJ/kg
    Plutonium – 2,200,000 MJ/Kg
    and the winner is???

  17. I did a rough calculation using a Nissan Leaf as an example, Running it in the UK (taking into account the UK power generation mix), the Leaf produces the equivalent of between 125 and 150g/km of CO2. It is just emitted at the power stations, not the exhaust pipe. And this assumes that Biomass is a ‘green’ energy source, which of course it isn’t

  18. Hilarity? The government not just taking your money, but making you spend it against self-interest should make a thief blush. Your destructive competitors complain that they aren’t allowed to spend your money.
    This isn’t limited to government intrusion into energy use, either. How do you think we got the housing bubble?

  19. Naah–VW should just finance a bunch of altars to Gaia. It would be as effective as charging stations for electric cars as far as trasportation goes, and give a bunch of unemployed fine arts graduates work designing the altars. Now just what should the altars look like? 🙂

  20. Along more rural highways in my neck of the woods, many restaurants are now within the same structure as a gas station. I would likewise think that highway eating places will consider an investment in charging stations as a draw for customers.
    Come vacation time, and every long weekend, it is a running joke that most of the residents of my metro area may be found along a certain stretch of Florida panhandle about 360 miles away. The midpoint of this drive is in the “middle of nowhere” and at present a Tesla would have little utility for those sun seekers. Perhaps some entrepreneurs could fill the need for mid-drive recharge stations. But the last time I went down I was stopped for 45 minutes in 95 degree F heat 10 miles from the nearest exit and, as a result, any plans for such a mid-trip recharge would have been rendered useless.
    The most important safety feature of any car is its ability to reliably reach its destination and the flexibility to do so in the face of unexpected circumstances. For now and the near future the electric car and its support system fails this criteria in too many cases for too many people to be practical. According to this article, about 40% of the VW investment will be in California, with 60% scattered over the other 49 states. It does not seem that there is much interest in building infrastructure where it might make electric cars useful to a whole new group of car owners.

  21. The most important thing our clueless Fed govt could do would be to oversee and make sure that there arise noproprietary charging systems, as is the case with Tesla, although I believe that Tesla has offered gratis the patent rights to anyone who wants to build a charging station, in the obvioua hope that their own super stations are not consigned to an obsolete charging interface. Several automakers, including GM, etc, have agreed on a different interface. Goody, goody. It is amazing how little involvement there has been by our Feds in this most critical aspect of electric car recharging. Right now I believe that most Tesla cars usually have two (and more) charging cords, depending. If our braindead Feds want infrastructure, they had better help detemine exactly WHAT that infrastructure should look like, with a view that future batteries will allow for faster recharging. Right now it is a holy mess. Amazing how a Fed govt that interferes with everything and everybody, has taken a hands off approach in this instance. Govts rightful duties include
    making sure that there are standards for such obvious universal necessities such as electrical outlet plugs, etc. Imagine a country in which each house had to have three (or more) different electrical outlets and appliances were sold with three (or more) different types of power cords, all with different voltages..

  22. Excuse me for asking. What will supply the electricity to provide all the power for the millions of batteries to be charged?

    • Solar panels, which are only available during the day. So, how do they charge your car at night?

    • Why nonexistent nuclear capacity of course…..
      Electricity customers pay $1.7B for reactors that don’t exist
      By Mark Chediak Bloomberg News
      Some U.S. electricity consumers face paying a fortune for nuclear plants that aren’t being built.
      Utilities — including Duke Energy Corp., Dominion Resources Inc. and NextEra Energy Inc. — are being allowed by regulators to charge $1.7 billion for reactors that exist only on paper, according to company disclosures and regulatory filings. Duke, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and Dominion, headquartered in Richmond, Va., could seek approval to have ratepayers pay at least another $839 million, the filings show.

      • I have not read the specifics, but Bloomberg news is hardly a reliable source for information.
        In the business world, companies spend money on various projects some just in the planning stage. Nuclear Projects are especially difficult due to government regulations and “green” influence. Anyone who has worked in the real world knows that management constantly reviews expansion plans, and R&D projects to determine if they should be cancelled or continued. A “living” company will spend money on projects many of which get cancelled with the hope that they will have a few winners.
        Failures are the cost of doing business as we well know in the government world at a very high rate.
        The cost of dropped projects are either paid for by consumers or the stock holders, that is fundamental economics except where the government subsidizes failed projects in which case we taxpayers cover the loss.
        Does anyone need a list of failed energy projects subsidized by tax dollars such as Solyndra, many duplicate ventures.

  23. On the VW scandal…
    Early in my career I helped create the mobile source (auto) emissions regulations system. I know how the sausage is really made behind the scenes.
    There is one glaring fact in the VW fiasco that stands out at me.
    IF the government’s own data are correct….then a number of US states tested millions of these “offending” VW vehicles for emissions…WITHOUT using a dynamometer ..
    ….notice I said IF the government own data are correct.
    The Feds assert the software in the VW ECU was designed to change mode when it detected the VW was on a dynamometer.
    The procedures for the States that DON’T use a dyno require the testing facility to plug into the OBD (on board computer) of the vehicle, without testing actual emissions at the tailpipe.
    And, if the VW went into “cheat” state every time it was plugged into an OBD reader, this would affect every single car being serviced in a VW dealer, or other shop.
    That would seem to work against VW, because it could result in dealers not getting correct diagnoses, for many more variables than NOx….which could mean poorly maintained cars.
    It is extremely unlikely that VW would mess up its own crucial service networks by rigging OBD diagnostics
    So….
    …I keep coming back to this…
    How did the US governments miss such an “obvious” violation while testing literally 10s of millions of cars over a number of years?
    We paid hundreds of billions of dollars for the government detection system.
    Why isn’t the EPA also liable in all this?

  24. On the VW scandal…
    Early in my career I helped create the mobile source (auto) emissions regulations system. I know how the sausage is really made behind the scenes.
    There is one glaring fact in the VW fiasco that stands out at me.
    IF the government’s own data are correct….then a number of US states tested millions of these “offending” VW vehicles for emissions…WITHOUT using a dynamometer.
    The Feds assert the software in the VW ECU was designed to change mode when it detected the VW was on a dynamometer.
    The procedures for the States that don’t use a dyno require the testing facility to plug into the OBD (on board computer) of the vehicle…without testing actual emissions at the tailpipe.
    If the VW went into “cheat” state every time it was plugged into any OBD reader, this would affect every single car being serviced in a VW dealer, or other shop.
    That would seem to work against VW, because it could result in dealers not getting correct diagnoses, for many more variables than NOx….which could mean poorly maintained cars.
    It is extremely unlikely that VW would mess up its own crucial service networks by rigging OBD diagnostics
    So….
    …I keep coming back to this…
    How did the US governments miss such an “obvious” violation while testing literally 10s of millions of cars over a number of years?
    We paid hundreds of billions of dollars for the government detection system.
    Why isn’t the EPA also liable in all this?

  25. The major problem I have is that the main reason for owning a car is to drive to work. The majority of people work during the day. With renewables, the peak power will be during the day, thus, to take advantage of that peak solar power the auto batteries will need to be charged during the day. The only way that can happen is if every employer installs charging facilities. Charging at night means charging during the low period of renewable power and could even be during the period of time that power storage systems are being used to provide power to run HVAC, cook food, and other essential activities, thus requiring larger power storage facilities.
    In other words, electric cars are a dumb ide for anything other than an occasional use vehicle, like a gulf cart.

  26. When the EPA was tasked to find safety levels for diesel exhaust, it turned out not be possible, precisely. How would you do this? Typically vehicles that give off a lot of the various compounds (like trucks, firetrucks) end up in proximity, whereas passenger cars are all over the place.
    The EPA ended up finding ‘safe’ levels at just below the point passenger diesel would be viable in the market. It is hard to believe this was coincidence.
    Not a conspiracy though. I bet it was half dumb do-goodism. half mob boss type behavior, helping a buddy’s outfit (Telsa) by hassling a competitor by making a special law that makes their business not viable

  27. I have nothing against an electric car, they used to exist a 100 years ago.
    That being said I enjoy my 700 mile range and “recharge” in 90 seconds. It’s a luxury to use gasoline. Very liberating.

  28. Dean,
    The town adjacent to ours, Seneca SC, has an all electric bus fleet (6 full size, not mini buses). To top it off, Clemson Area Transit – CAT – is “free” for the passengers. (US college football fans would “get” the CAT acronym.)
    The world’s largest electric bus manufacturer (Proterra) is in nearby Greenville. The bus company has built automated charging stations at several destinations including Clemson University and a large hospital complex and has operated for more than 2 years with no major problems. Ridership is high.
    As you might expect, they were the beneficiary of a $ 6 million federal grant and the expense for the “free” rides are borne by the local area governments (city and county).
    I’m normally against government subsidies (like paying for charging stations for the wealthy’s Teslas) but this is benefiting the income levels that need help (college students and the working poor.) An all around success in my book!
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/02/27/seneca-electric-bus-fleet/24153817/

    • I’m not aware of any subsidies for Tesla’s charging stations. The bulk of the subsidies to Tesla for their car sales come from the zero-emissions trading scheme in California that lets Tesla sell credits to other automakers, and the $7,500 tax credit that’s open to any purchaser of any electric vehicle (electric car manufacturers benefit by being able to charge a higher price and sell more cars.) They also got a huge tax break from Nevada to build its Gigafactory to make batteries for many different types of applications,
      The purpose (and problem) with subsidies isn’t income redistribution. It’s the distortion on the market that’s both the purpose and the flaw with them. I’m all in favor of getting rid of the subsidy for electric cars, but we should get rid of all other subsidies as well. The government may well be right that electric cars are the future (I’m ambivalent on whether that’s going to be the case) but it should be the businesses and the investors that bear the risk and reward of the investment. They shouldn’t be sheltered from the consequences of failure but reap all the rewards of success. But the same is true for every other subsidy. If electric buses made economic sense, then the cities and the bus manufacturers should bear the risk of it, charge fares and prices to recover the full costs, and see whether enough people are willing to pay the price.

      • Our county applied for and received $25,000.00 government grants to buy (from the Obola administration) TWO electric car charging stations – in the used-to-be handicapped parking spaces at the first entrance of the parking garage closest to the county courthouse. Prime parking spots! Now (rich) electric car subsidies. With “free” electricity the rest of us are paying for.

    • Those are likely J1772 chargers that any electric car (Ford focus, Nissan leaf,) can plug into – maybe even the plug-in hybrids like the Prius. Tesla has an adapter for those, but I suspect that the chargers will mainly be used by other much cheaper electric cars since the Tesla has the range such that a J1772 charger wouldn’t usually be needed.

  29. Remember when federal fines went to the treasury to pay the bills?
    Under progressive rule, fines go to progressive causes without having to go through that pesky Congress as required by the Constitution.

  30. Come to think of it — electric cars with their vary small range are a step backward to medieval times when people, incapable of travel, lived, married and died almost within sight of their place of birth.
    This is “limiting technology”. Instead of expanding the vistas of humanity it reels them back in. The great mobility that the gas powered engine has given to the common person will cease to exist. For all practical purposes electric cars create a “cattle pen” in which the common person with have to live.
    No wonder socialists love green technology.
    Eugene WR Gallun

  31. ” this emerging market transition will in no small part define 21st century transportation,”
    Pollyanna is alive and well and living in a world of delusion with only electric cars.

  32. I would have settled with VW in the case with the offering of free drivers ed for all VW owners. They need it.

  33. Processing…… Processing……. Processing…….
    Ding!!!!!!
    The rent-seekers are mad because a settlement occurred which forced more competition. Got it.

  34. I have a couple general comments to add to this discussion.
    Several people have argued the internal combustion engine has multiple technical advantages that, taken together mean internal combustion powered automobiles will remain competitive if not superior with electric vehicles for a long time. They might well be right in their assertion but being right in this argument means very little.
    The political decision to largely replace internal combustion engines with electric vehicles was made decades ago. Automakers world wide are in the situation that a significant and continually increasing portion of the vehicles they sell must be electric in order to meet national environmental regulations. They will develop ev’s that the public will buy or they will go out of business. It is that simple. It matters less what the public wants, than what national governments demand.
    The Volkswagen scandal is a reflection of this fact. Vehicle Diesel engines have improved about as much as is economically possible yet emission requirements continue to tighten on a schedule set by decades old environmental regulation. Gasoline engines will run into their intrinsic limits in the not too distant future as well. Expensive high tech, internal combustion engine design paradigm change that might possibly yield a compliance production ready internal combustion engine will not be pursued by automakers because of the very high technical risk but also because the regulators have indicated with a wink and a nod that ultimately only pure electric vehicles will meet regulatory requirements. And keep in mind emission standards currently in place can be even further tightened by a stroke of a pen. In the United States and elsewhere it appears such further tightening can be made at the whim of the regulatory apparatus, a Congressional ( or other) government legislative decisions may well not be required.
    Already in the united states it is nearly impossible for municipal bus authorities to buy new gasoline or Diesel buses. Even natural gas or propane fueled vehicles are increasingly difficult to purchase. It turns out municipality bus authorities buy buses almost entirely with government grants. Increasingly the terms of such grants prohibit internal combustion engines. The large scale conversion of municipal buses to electric vehicles has just kicked off in a serious way in the last 6 months.
    Wireless charging is an important enabling technology in the transition to electric vehicles.
    With respect to battery charging in general any battery chemistry can be aggressively fast charged within the 20-80% state of charge region. The battery can be very aggressively fast charged if internally cooled at the cell level. The most important limitation to vehicle fast charging is the need to have a high power, essentially industrial 3-phase connection to the grid, something that will be difficult or impossible at most homes, hence the need to develop charging infrastructure at places of work which do for the most part have industrial connections to the grid even if only for a small office building. Wireless charging has a roll to play here.
    Dynamic ( in motion) charging is technically possible and has been demonstrated at the laboratory level at Oak Ridge National Laboratory several years ago. Recently a major international automaker has established a research facility at a large and prominent southern university to develop dynamic charging and associated technology. There is a 300 million dollar test track under design for dynamic charging development in the EU. There is further development of dynamic charging in place in Asia. Internationally dynamic charging is taken very very seriously. The USA is by no means at the leading edge of this work.
    Full disclosure. I am an electronics design engineer working on the development of wireless charging and also dynamic charging.
    The take home point is it is a major mistake to analyze the trends in electric vehicles from a merely technical or customer preference basis. The motivating force for this transition is driven instead by the current and expected future regulatory environment.

    • Why would one need a high power charger at home when they have all night to charge it. Most people in the US drive less than 30 miles a day A 120VAC outlet can recharge a car overnight that is typically driven 30 miles a day. If you drive twice that distance per day a 120VAC outlet can still do the job or you can use a faster 220VAC outlet. Most people will simply not have a need for high speed chargers at home.

    • “The take home point is it is a major mistake to analyze the trends in electric vehicles from a merely technical or customer preference basis. The motivating force for this transition is driven instead by the current and expected future regulatory environment.”
      Interesting comment.
      My concerns are that regulatory requirements absent considerations of technical and practical issues will have dire consequences on our lifestyle, especially where the agenda is based on the flawed “belief” that CO 2 will destroy the planet. We already see economies throughout the world being strained based on this “theory”.
      Engineers and scientists have the duty to point out the consequences of unrealistic regulatory requirements especially for a flawed concept mandating electric powered cars before there is even a viable battery that does not require all the additional expensive claptrap such as tax payer funded charging stations. We already have a concern regarding the reliability of the electricity supply given all the mandates for renewable energy sources, does not make sense to further burden the system with too many electric cars.
      Diverting VW fines to this objective is offensive rather than putting them to good use.
      I resent wasting taxpayers hard earned dollars going toward charging schemes that have a low probability of success, along the lines of Solyndra and all the other failed government funded schemes. The DOE apparently lacks the technical skills to screen out funding for such nonsense. Their track record of funding failures is disappointing at best, what are the accomplishments in increasing US energy supply for the last 30 years? Meanwhile the fossil fuel providers are showing a path the energy independence.

  35. “Never Let a crisis go to waste”
    Again the Administration is using this tool, diverting penalties to an objective that has nothing to do with the original “wrong” by VW. Why aren’t the purchasers rewarded with the fines instead since when their cars are modified the mpg will go down?
    The administration will do anything to prop up a failed concept such as electric cars that are either overly expensive, loaded to bear with expensive subsidized batteries, or have a very limited range especially in environments where the headlights are burning, the wipers are chewing up electricity, and it’s cold as hell outside. IN earlier days I can remember spending 4 hours to get home in a driving snow storm where the normal drive was 30 minutes in traffic.
    Why should the taxpayer subsidize purchases of $100,000 cars and then require us to pay for the electric distribution system to allow electric cars to go more than a few miles from home. Do they realize the vast extent of the gasoline and diesel stations across the USA even in remote areas and the cost to replace it. That was not subsidized , but built by common folks with their local gas stations as well as Oil companies.
    The other back door is to require cars to get circa 54 mpg in the future without any consideration for the feasibility of achieving that objective, except with expensive electric cars still lacking a suitable battery.
    And after the government puts the fossil fuel industry out of business, who is going to make up all those lost tax dollars they contribute to the Treasury in addition to all the road tax collected in most states. After personal income tax, the fossil fuel companies are the largest contributor to the US Treasury.

  36. Initially a gas powered car will be needed to back up your electric car. But with the war on carbon gas powered cars will be phased out — and how will the electric car be backed up? Everyone will have to purchase a horse and buggy to back up their electric car.
    Eugene WR Gallun

  37. Concerning earlier posts about the BP platform and oil spill. If you are interested, you should review the final report of the Chemical Safety Board at https://csb.gov . The finds are different from some of the statements made.

    • Re: Chemical Safety Board final report
      All accidents result from a train of factors and decisions which lead to the final result. The fact remains that the blowout protecter (BOP) was not suitable for this job, was not properly wired, and was not properly tested so that the improper wiring could be detected. All other decisions made which led to the blowout might have been affected if the decision makers had known of these defects.
      Reading from the executive summary I immediately see (my summary of each item):
      Item #2 – The automatic function of the BOP emergency disconnect system used two redundant modules. Incorrect wiring would have totally disabled the yellow module, but it was so badly done that one section of this module would have failed before the incident due to a run-down battery, allowing the second section to activate by dumb luck. The second module of the BOP emergency disconnect system, the blue module, was miswired and could not operate at all.
      Item #14 – The miswired solenoid valve in the yellow pod and the deficient wiring in the blue pod of the
      emergency AMF/deadman system could not have passed the manufacturer’s factory acceptance
      testing procedures.
      Item #3 – The safety-critical systems responsible for shearing drillpipe in emergencies had performance
      deficiencies even before the BOP was deployed to the Macondo wellhead.
      Item #12 – The main function of the BOP is to shear the drill pipe and close a valve across the resulting gap. The shear device in the BOP did not meet the specs required (was not powerful enough ) for the kind of drillpipe used for this job except for one day of activity. (On all other days the drillpipe was so strong that it could not be known if the shearing function would work.)

  38. Here’s the issue I have with the push to replace all cars with EVs: in ten years, or so, you will be replacing the battery. At what cost? Will the car be worth putting that much money into it? What will the resale value of it be? The average price for a ten year old Honda Accord is $8500. Isn’t that close to what replacing the battery in an all electric vehicle wiould be? So wouldn’t it have to command a much higher price (yeah, but look at the future savings, would be the “correct” response)? Unfortunately, who is the market for 10+ year old car? The same people who can’t afford to invest up front for future savings.
    The guy making minimum wage, just needing a $5k beater car to get back and forth to work will be faced with either quiting his job or buying a car guaranteed to need an expensive battery very soon (or else it would cost far more than $5k!). Unfortunately, that is a h u g e market, and it’s worldwide. Many, many people cannot afford to pay more now, even if it means saving much more money in the future.

    • Jtom, its more than the guy/gal making minimum wage.
      The typical life-cycle of a car in the upper-middle-class area where I live looks like this. For 5 years and maybe 75-100k miles the “new” car is used by mom to tote kids to all activities, to take make the long annual vacation drives (for which an electric is unsuited), and for “date night” and other social events. This car must be large enough to carry the entire family + luggage. For the next 5 years and maybe 40-50k miles, this auto is demoted to “second car” status and the commuting adult (historically Dad) drives it to work in rush hour traffic 5 days a week and on the weekends it does dirty work like carting pine straw. Finally, if there are high-school or college age kids driving to school each day, the car lives out its remaining years on short trips maybe 5 thousand miles per year until it dies due to natural causes. If there is no third driver in the family, it might be donated to an extended family member or traded in on the the latest new car, and will likely be purchased by that minimum wage driver who needs transportation to work, or a craftsperson who needs to carry tools to a job site.
      In the real world, the auto is almost always recycled from one use to another before it is scrapped. Any car which does not have the flexibility to handle a variety of uses and the longevity to endure 10-15 years on the road will have a much higher life-cycle capital cost to its owners.

  39. I am surprised the author doesn’t not consider this Totalitarianism.
    Democracy is being turned into a monster.

  40. Kurt is claiming that he gets 357 mile range 85kw/238w)from his Tesla? He also claims he gets no free fuel but spends a lot of time telling us he uses the free fast chargers. He hand waves my accuracy query re his drive for two or three hours, that 120 or 180 miles not 357 and a huge 50% variance in distance. How does he get 3 days average total house consumption into his car? He is lucky he is only paying 9 cents. Most places no charge much more and increase it as you consume more. How about the fixed monthly charges as well? He claims all the kickbacks then says he against such things.
    No wonder my senses give me alerts.

    • You still have no idea what you are talking about.
      1. The full amount of the 85kW battery is not available for ordinary driving. One portion is reserved to prevent the battery from becoming “bricked” when it’s completely discharged, so you can never drive using it – the car won’t let you to make sure the battery isn’t damaged. On top of that. another part of the battery capacity is analogous to a “reserve” in a gasoline engine. You can drive on it, but the car will tell you that you’ve got no charge left while you do it to make sure you get to somewhere you can charge, which could be just a regular 120V outlet at a gas station.
      So, for example, when Tesla claims 265 miles of range on an 85kWh battery, they assume people are driving 70mph on a freeway, a certain amount of city traffic, etc. using only the non-reserved part of the 85kWh battery. My meter on my car is telling me I’m getting to and from work on anywhere between 231 Wh/m to 240 Wh/m on a daily basis. If I were to drive continuously on a freeway with that mileage, I’d probably net about 315-320 without using the reserve. Using the reserve I might get to 325. That’s theoretical, but Tesla fully advertises that such efficiency is possible in the right conditions with conservative driving. On a road trip I might want to go ahead and drive 70mph, which is going to cut down on efficiency, or I might have to go over mountains that I don’t have to worry about getting to the office.
      That’s not the point. For my daily driving needs, which is 90% if my driving, I am getting well over 100mpg equivalent.
      2. My initial post regarding the “free” use of superchargers referred to Tesla’s policy of not charging for the use of superchargers to anyone who bought the 85kWh battery. People who bought the 60kWh version could pay a flat fee for lifetime use. You asked me how much I paid per kWh. I indicated that I paid nothing for superchargers and that I paid $0.09 per kWh at home. These numbers are accurate. My monthly meter fee is a sunk cost that I already have to incur, and has no bearing on the variable cost of the power I use.
      As I later made clear, I presume that the costs for using the superchargers is priced into the cost of buying the car, so from my perspective it’s a sunk cost, to be recovered by later using the superchargers. Thus, were I to use superchargers extensively, the costs would be fully born by Tesla – not the public since again, to my knowledge, Tesla gets no subsidies for building their superchargers.
      3. My post about driving for 2-3 hours between chargers was based on the strategy of only using enough of a charge to get you to the next supercharger so that you pull up to it close to empty. The car gives you the distance to the next supercharger so you can plan it out. Superchargers are spaced at about 150-200 miles apart on average – closer in some parts of the country. That means you drive for 2-3 hours, get to the next charger, spend 15-20 minutes putting another 150-200 miles into the battery, go to the next stop, etc. Again, I did this, so I know what I’m talking about. Exactly what is it in your psychological makeup that causes you to question the veracity of someone with personal experience in driving a car about how it performs?
      4. I have no idea what you mean when asking how i get “3 days average total house consumption” into my car. I have a 50 amp outlet in my garage that puts out current at 240V. It charges at a rate of about 25 miles each hour. If I needed to (I rarely do) I could fully charge the car overnight, but I usually only have to put on about 100 miles each day, which only requires the car to be plugged in for about four hours to recover what I drove that day. Is that clear enough as to how I put the energy I need into my car?
      5. I may well be lucky to be paying only 9 cents per kwh, as I don’t know what the rates are elsewhere. My equivalent fuel economy also “benefits” from the fact that gasoline prices are higher here than in, say Wyoming or Texas. But no matter where you live, or what the electricity prices are around the country, fuel costs for electricity are still a lot lower than fuel costs for gasoline, and you certainly had no informed basis to write that my “mpg claims are false, somebody is paying for your free” (sic).
      6. As I’ve made perfectly clear in my previous posts, any hypocrisy as to using available tax credits and buying subsidized products is yours. You know what – I think the home mortgage interest deduction and the employer-sponsored health care deduction are wrong too. They not only shift costs but they drive up the price of the products they subsidize, which is a huge problem in heath care. That doesn’t mean that I’m dumb enough not to claim my mortgage interest as a deduction or to take advantage of the tax free health insurance I can get from work.
      Now unless you’re telling me that you are so pristine that you do own a home with a mortgage but nonetheless pass up claiming the interest deduction, or that you have kids but voluntarily elect not to take the $1,000 child tax credit so as to make sure you don’t pass any of your costs onto others, and that you studiously avoid buying any product that the government subsidizes, you have no business sanctimoniously criticizing me for minimizing my taxes or simply purchasing whatever products I like.

      • Thank you for your clarification Kurt, I am not talking about anything other than to question and ask questions. Seems you drive in 150 mile hops, hang around and then drive some more. Do you use heaters, lights, ICE or aircon? The average house uses 24 Kw/Hr per day, you know that. So you trickle charge and motor in small hops.
        In looking at this, you are the first that gets more than Tesla claims in mileage, that i have heard about. re the subsidy, its only available to those who can afford Teslas, thats the poor subsidising the rich that leaves a bad taste.
        Me., I get 100 Km for USD 2.2 and 800 KM range with no worries, planning,and pay all taxes, aircon full blast and 120 kph

      • I live in Oregon so the weather (which is not climate) is usually such that I can avoid AC or heat except in the dead of winter or maybe about 10 days out of the summer. The biggest explanation of my fuel economy is that I rarely drive over 60 and I’m almost always on the highway. Most Tesla owners like it for the performance and acceleration so only a few drive it to get the best economy. I drive the same way I did when I had the original Honda Insight where I was getting about 80mpg on the highway using only the gasoline engine. When that died on me, I would have just bought another one, but Honda doesn’t make that model anymore, instead changing the Insight to be more like a Prius and get only about 40 on the highway. The Tesla was the only car that could match or beat the original Insight’s fuel economy while still letting me drive my 90 mile a day commute.
        The biggest subsidy associated with the Tesla is the $7,500 tax credit, but you get that for buying any purely electric vehicle, some of which seem to start at around 30K, like the Leaf and Focus (which both get better mileage than the Tesla but not nearly the range). And most other car companies that make electric vehicles get the same sweet loans from the feds that Tesla did, so I wouldn’t say at all that these subsidies are only available to those that can afford a Tesla – you just have to be able to afford any electric car. Granted, for most people they still aren’t practical, but there are affordable electrics out there.
        And as I mentioned to someone else above, subsidies aren’t about wealth distribution, they are about changing people’s behavior to get you to do something the government wants you to do. That’s why I object to subsidies on principle – I don’t think government is competent to decide what is or is not best for everyone. But assuming the legitimacy of the reason for any particular subsidy, if the government wants to encourage behavior (buying a house, buying an electric car), there is no reason why that behavior should be encouraged for some people but not for others. In this case, the Tesla fit my needs so I bought it.

  41. 2 billion might just be an unimaginable number to most people.
    To the politicians/regulators it is like a piñata, they’re all gonna take a swing at it.

  42. “Under progressive rule, fines go to progressive causes without having to go through that pesky Congress as required by the Constitution.”…..
    like Iran Contra..or The Clinton foundation??

    • I wouldn’t mind someone trying to prosecute those who negotiate these deals under public corruption statutes. If a fire marshal accepts, as a bribe for ignoring a fire hazard, a donation to his favorite charity, that’s still bribery. There is no excuse for “noble corruption.” When Congress passes a law subjecting some wrongful action to fines or penalties, any receipts are public money. When a government official accuses a company with a criminal or civil offense, then negotiates a “pre-charge” settlement that involves donating part of the fines that should have gone to the public coffers to some pet cause, instead, I think that’s illegal.

  43. “Needless to say, I don’t fil up there.”
    I just to call a retired engineer an idiot. When I roll into COSTO or sams club with the motor home with an 80 gallon tank, I am not in a hurry.
    Why? I am retired I am not in a hurry. $1.50 for polish dog and a soda. Life is too good to be an hurry.

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