Funny indeed. Despite more or less constant rumors of the demise of Tesla, the electric car company seems to continue, if continuation consists of designing the occasional new vehicle and selling it via pre-orders, even if the new electric wonder car doesn’t actually exist. The Telegraph reports:
As Elon Musk presented the new Tesla 3, a fawning press announced that the ‘world-changing car’ could ‘dominate’ the market. Within days, 276,000 people had put down $1,000 to pre-order the car.
Wow! “World-changing!” It’s going to “dominate the market.” This I have to see, but oops, I can’t:
But the Model 3 doesn’t exist yet. There is no final production version, much less any production. Musk is ‘fairly confident’ that deliveries could start by the end of 2017. But running on schedule isn’t Tesla’s strong suit. Meanwhile, Tesla’s current best-seller has been plagued by quality problems
In November of 2015, in Tesla In The Tank, I wrote:
The general conclusion: Teslas are very well made cars that are comfortable, handle well, and while having greater range than a Chevy Volt, are still not competitive with conventionally powered vehicles, many examples of which one can obtain, very well equipped, for more than $100,000 dollars less than a Model S.
Now comes Popular Mechanics, pouring on the bad news:
Tesla’s showing all the signs of a company in trouble: bleeding cash, securitized assets, and mounting inventory. It’s the trifecta of doom for any automaker, and anyone paying attention probably saw this coming a mile away. Like most big puzzles, the company’s woes don’t have just one source.
It’s true that the world may be running light on buyers who will spring for a big-dollar electric vehicle that can’t make the hike from Detroit to Chicago without stopping for a long charge. And cheap gasoline isn’t helping Tesla’s case. Right now, prices around the country are hovering close to $2 a gallon. If that’s bad news for the Prius and the Volt, it’s worse for the Model S.
Tesla continues to be subsidized by taxpayer dollars, which seems to feed Elon Musk’s megalomania as much as his pocketbook as he “unveils” a car that doesn’t actually exist:
Before unveiling the car, Musk sanctimoniously declared that Tesla exists to give the planet a sustainable future. He pointed to rising CO₂ levels. He lamented that 53,000 people die from air pollution from transportation. Tesla, the story goes, is a lifesaver. Like other electric cars, it has ‘zero emissions’ of air pollution and CO₂.
But this is only true of the car itself; the electricity powering it is often produced with coal, which means that the clean car is responsible for heavy air pollution. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, ‘electric cars are coal-powered cars’.
If the USA had 10 per cent more petrol cars by 2020, air pollution would claim 870 more lives. A similar increase in electric ones would cause 1,617 more deaths a year, mostly because of the coal burned.
President Obama, of course, is doing his best to destroy the coal industry, yet another significant portion of the American economy. Hillary Clinton has promised to continue his work, but also promises to really care about the people working in the coal industry and their families she plans to impoverish. Of course, she also claimed no Americans were killed in Benghazi, and she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary too, so…
If we were to scale this to the UK, electric cars would cause the same or more air pollution-related deaths than petrol-powered cars. In China, because their coal power plants are so dirty, electric cars make local air much worse: in Shanghai, pollution from more electric-powered cars would be nearly three-times as deadly as more petrol-powered ones.
Moreover, while electric cars typically emit less CO₂, the savings are smaller than most imagine. Over a 150,000 km lifetime, the top-line Tesla S will emit about 13 tonnes of CO₂. But the production of its batteries alone will emit 14 tonnes, along with seven more from the rest of its production and eventual decommissioning.
Compare this with the diesel-powered, but similarly performing, Audi A7 Sportback, which uses about seven litres per 100km, so about 10,500 litres over its lifetime. This makes 26 tonnes of CO₂. The Audi will also emit slightly more than 7 tons in production and end-of-life. In total, the Tesla will emit 34 tonnes and the Audi 35. So over a decade, the Tesla will save the world 1.2 tonnes of CO₂.
That doesn’t sound very much like the Tesla 3—or any other electric vehicle—is actually reducing emissions. As far as saving the world goes:
All of the world’s electric cars sold so far have soaked up £9 billion in subsidies, yet will only save 3.3 million tonnes of CO₂. This will reduce world temperatures by 0.00001°C in 2100 – the equivalent of postponing global warming by about 30 minutes at the end of the century. Electric cars will be a good idea, once they can compete – which will probably be by 2032. But it is daft to waste billions of pounds of public money on rich people’s playthings that kill more people through air pollution while barely affecting carbon emissions. The Tesla 3 is indeed a ‘zero emissions’ marvel – but that is only because it does not yet exist.
It might also be worthwhile to remember that there has been no actual global warming since 1998. This is in direct defiance of the computer models the warming mafia constructed that predicted continual warming that would destroy the planet by a date certain. True, those date certains keep being pushed back, and global warming has transmogrified into “climate change,” because the global isn’t, you know, actually warming, and among the interesting e-mails exposed by Climategate was one lamenting the inability of the climate mafia to explain why their so-called “science” could not explain the utter lack of warming, but such niggling, climate denier details don’t for a moment mean the climate change isn’t real and the world doesn’t have to bankrupt every developed nation–particularly America–to fight it.
Perhaps the fact that the Tesla 3, which won’t contribute to saving the planet, doesn’t actually exist, and very well may never exist—kind of like global warming—should serve as a reminder about the integrity and scientific accuracy of the entire climate mafia, whose predictions turn out to be particularly non-predictive.
As I’ve been alleging for years, electric vehicles cost far too much, offer too little day to day flexibility, cost far too much to repair, require infrastructure that does not, for the overwhelming majority of the American public, exist, and now, clearly, do not improve environmental quality, even if one is a global warming/climate change true believer. That will certainly not stop such people from believing in EV unicorns and fairy dust, but for the rational, facts and truth matter.