External change or internal change?

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reikiman
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External change or internal change?

There's a bit in this discussion I want to make a separate thread: http://visforvoltage.org/forum/8071-copenhagen-wont-be-enough-only-human-movement-can-save-civilization-climate-crisis

Somewhere on my laptop I've got a paper from Transport & Environment, a European policy research company (?think tank?) that specializes in green transportation. The paper is about electric vehicles and they make a point that every time electric vehicles were popular it was due to some external influence causing people to turn to EV's.

For example times of high oil prices such as the fake oil crises in the 1970's .. (I call them fake because they were due to market manipulation by OPEC) .. or times of government regulations such as the CARB rules in California.

What strikes me is this isn't about people choosing of their own volition to adopt EV's. It's a form of force applied on the choices of individuals. This isn't the only way governments act to influence their populations. There's all sorts of tools governments deploy to influence populations into desired behavior.

Now, it seems that some people think this is (or can be) heavy handed dictatorialness. Am I understanding that right?

I suppose theoretically it can be but the CARB mandate even if it had been implemented as written was hardly dictatorial in the ways other governments implement the edicts of real dictators. Calling the typical incentive by american governments dictatorial is as much overblown hypery as the people accusing Obama of being a fascist.

On the other hand it does leave me wishing the population would choose EV's of their own volition ... if they were to choose them on their own, this whole situation would be a lot simpler. Government regulations wouldn't have to be used, instead the cars would be bought because they would be what people want. One can dream, eh?

On another hand there are other organizations manipulating the situation, and it's not the governments. I'm talking about the existing businesses that would be harmed if EV's were to be adopted. I really don't care if some companies die along the path to getting EV's adopted. But of course those companies do care if they die in the process. The companies foisting internal combustion and fossil fuels upon us are causing us huge damage in the form of increasingly worse environmental conditions not to mention the risk our civilization faces due to being dependent on fossil fuels which are at their peak of production and are very likely to meet future increases in demand.

The point I want to get at however is about making the adoption of EV's a choice people make on their own rather than it being externally imposed.

Don't really have an answer for that and am curious what everybody thinks.

Mik
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Re: External change or internal change?

Many people will choose to buy EV's when they are better than the existing technology.

They simply need to be more powerful, faster, cheaper, more reliable and have a better range than ICE vehicles!

Then, it will be very easy to sell them!

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There is always a way if there is no other way!

marcopolo
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Re: External change or internal change?

Many people will choose to buy EV's when they are better than the existing technology.

They simply need to be more powerful, faster, cheaper, more reliable and have a better range than ICE vehicles!

Then, it will be very easy to sell them!

Very well said Mik !

It is never ideology that drives change, but a better quality product! Nevertheless, there are some things governments can do to assist the change over to EV's.

In order to compete with ICE's, the consumer must be convinced of a number of issues:

1.)The purchase price must be within a similar bracket. Not cheaper, but similar.
2.)Reliability. EV's must be as reliable, if not more, than the equivalent ICE.
3.)Ease of operation. EV's must deliver the same,if not better, driving attributes as the equivalent ICE.
4.)Economical. Commercial EV's especially must deliver economy of operation.

The greatest weakness of the EV is speed! ICE's enjoy a huge advantage at providing sustained speed. For 100 years, ICE's have been sold on the glamour, power, emotional appeal, of speed. Self-righteous, sanctimonious, finger wagging, will not change this most primeval of marketing concepts. Ask any self respecting school child what they love best in a car, and it won't be how it saves the environment! Cars, even trucks must be sexy, or luxurious,or both! Yes, I know that there are those who regard a VW micro-bus, sexy and cool, but it's been a long time since Woodstock! Today ' Top Gear' rules, not Crosby, Stills and Nash (with or without Young)!

Ok, so how can governments assist without adding to the unpleasantness of an increasingly encroaching Nanny state?

The biggest problem for EV's is speed. Well, that's one regulation already accepted as a righteous law. No sane citizen still argues that it's a civil liberty to break the road safety laws. Since the introduction of automotive computers, the speed of automobiles can be safely and cheaply governed. Why not simply enforce the existing law? I would advocate a Maximum 130 kph. (We can leave classic cars alone, there are to few to worry about, and we should be about changing buying trends, not Puritanism.) This would be a major step to assist EV marketing.

The impact on buying concepts would be dramatic! Can someone explain why any nation, needs 30 tonne Juggernauts travelling at 220 kph on the public highways? Yeah, I would feel sad that my children can no longer feel the thrill of travelling at high speed in a roaring V8 on the endless highways. But times change, and no doubt they will discover just as dangerous and idiotic ways to risk their lives.

Suddenly, at a single stroke, the EV is competitive! However, EV's must satisfy all the other desirable features of the ICE must be offered if the EV's are to succeed. .

Hopelessly, complicated scenario's, such as promoted by 'Better Place', harm EV acceptance. Likewise, idiotic, ideologically driven, green minded, impractical (and undesirable) Crap-mobiles, will always be rejected by the vast majority of consumers!

Fortunately, battery, ultra-capacitor technology, etc.., is advancing rapidly. More government resources, incentives and red tape clearance would greatly assist energy storage R&D investment. Currently, the largest R&D budget in the world for battery-type alternatives, is by an oil company, BP! (Although Ford is also investing heavily in EV technology). Electric utilities should also be encouraged to participate in EV investment.

EV's, have a history of market failure, not because of 'conspiracies', but because even the best only appeal to a tiny enthusiast market segment. The fact that no EV could, until recently even approach the comfort, performance, reliability and convenience of an ICE, illustrates that EV's have never been economically feasible. EV development has always been held back, not just because of its under-performing technology, but also by the ludicrously unrealistic claims of EV supporters. The failure and impracticality of most EV projects, frightens investors. Badly managed failures such as Vectrix, make securing investment more difficult. Vehicle manufacturers are able to satisfy energy targets with less risk and more profit by simply improving the ICE.

The movie 'who killed the electric car' did great harm to EV development! The films ludicrous analysis of the problems that beset GM's product, along with the wildly inaccurate depiction of its qualities, was really unhelpful.

The marketing role model is TOYOTA. The hero of EV revival and public acceptance is not Tesla, or any other exotic failures, but the Prius, and Lexus, hybrids. This is real EV technology at work, in respected brand names. Likewise the Smith/Ford EV Commercial range is quietly establishing a market for EV practicality. These are the products that will achieve EV acceptance, with or without government subsidies. All over the world companies are developing markets for niche EV products. Perhaps hybrids are not purist EV's, but they prepare market acceptance.

The point I want to get at however is about making the adoption of EV's a choice people make on their own rather than it being externally imposed

Even the most ardent laize-faire capitalist, would agree that Governments do have a role in assisting major industries to survive massive upheavals and huge technological change. Socialist-style Direct investment is not essential, or desirable! Favourable tax-breaks, investment allowances and the cutting of regulatory red tape work much better, and retain the benefit of free enterprise efficiency.

National governments are quite entitled to use massive purchasing power to buy EV products for their own use. National governments also have power to influence smaller governments (State, Municipalities etc)as well as encouraging industries that need to be government compatible, to purchase EV products.Thereby creating a volume market.

Not even the most capitalist, 'small government', advocate could argue that any of the above is an improper use of government responsibility.

marcopolo

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Re: External change or internal change?

The movie 'who killed the electric car' did great harm to EV development! The films ludicrous analysis of the problems that beset GM's product, along with the wildly inaccurate depiction of its qualities, was really unhelpful.

depends how true the claims were.
if GM were making getting leases difficult, and did just crush the EV1s, my boot is still in their side.

The marketing role model is TOYOTA. The hero of EV revival and public acceptance is not Tesla, or any other exotic failures

depends on your definition of failure, Tesla are supposedly operating in the black now.

Matt

Daily Ride:
2007 Vectrix, modified with 42 x Thundersky 60Ah
Vectrix 60Ah Lithium Tyres Fuel Registration Insurance cycle analyst 2 x TC Charger & MC
conversion

marcopolo
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Re: External change or internal change?

depends how true the claims were. If GM were making getting leases difficult, and did just crush the EV1s, my boot is still in their side.

Exactly why would GM do that? Why write off a billion dollar investment and a profitable line of manufacture? ' Conspiracy?' Not really, the answer is that the EV1 was a hopelessly impractical vehicle that could not find a mass market. (no air conditioning in Southern California?!) GM is obliged for insurance, warranty and tax purposes to crush unsuccessful limited run experimental vehicles. The EV1 was an experimental vehicle, with very poor technology, produced solely to meet a need promoted by a California law, later abandoned, that could not find a market that made economic sense.

The marketing role model is TOYOTA. The hero of EV revival and public acceptance is not Tesla, or any other exotic failures

depends on your definition of failure, Tesla are supposedly operating in the black now. Matt[/quote]

Yes, Matt, I agree, the sentence reads badly. I didn't mean to imply Tesla is a failure, but that it is an exotic, expensive vehicle that not many people would be able to afford or experience. It is also a sports car, with a very limited production run. My reply to the thread was really about mass market, volume transport EV acceptance.

marcopolo

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