Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Thursday, August 12, 2010

President Dipstick

A mechanic friend was talking about a recent rerun of NCIS. One of the characters was on the phone with a garage. According to the television conversation, the character’s crankshaft was shot and would have to be replaced.

He denounced the character or rather the writers as idiots. “His crank was shafted all right,” said the friend. “The crankshafts on newer cars don’t wear out easily. You have to do something pretty serious to them, like never changing your oil, to destroy them.”

The Hollywood writers must be the same dipsticks who have been advising Obama on electric vehicles. I’m not a mechanic, so I had to wait for National Review’s article to learn all the things that are wrong about EVs, as they call them.

“You read it in a magazine?” Mr. Mechanic said. “You could’ve just asked me; I would’ve told you months ago.”

Just to give you some of the highlights, in order of logic (EVs for Dummies):

• The United States is an enormous country with very large cities spaced across large expanses (except in N.J.)

• American drivers drive 50 percent more miles per capita annually than their European counterparts

• There are over 160,000 gas stations in the United States.

• The lithium-ion battery has a limited range, typically less than 100 miles between recharging.

• The recharging process takes anywhere from 8 to 20 hours.

• Americans are used to spending five minutes at the gas pump.

• In order to meet that kind of time frame, the charging station would require an 840-kilwatt connection, which (according to NR) “would drain as much power from the grid as a 100-unit apartment building.”

• The cheapest way to fuel the connection is not with wind or solar power, but coal, which would only shift emissions from one place to another. Powering the cars with wind or solar power would require government subsidies.

• An EV powertrain is fives times as expensive as that of a conventional gasoline vehicle.

• The only available, full-electric car costs $110,000

• The makers of these EVs are given subsidies, and the wealthy buyers are given a $7,500 per vehicle tax credit.

• LG Chem is Korea’s largest chemical firm, a country where recharging is more convenient. The U.S. government will have to subsidize LG Chem to the tune of $150 million (to an $11 billion foreign firm) because they know there’s no willing market here for their product.

• Sales of hybrid vehicles in the U.S. have fallen below 2 percent of the market. Even in Korea, hybrid sales are weak (0.5 percent).

• Electric cars were popular at the beginning of the 20th century because the gas powered cars had to be started manually with a crank. But with Henry Ford’s mass production of the easier-to-refuel gasoline car, the bottom fell out of the EV market.

My mechanic friend has been listening to the struggling sounds of the U.S. economic engine for some time. In the matter of actual cars, he knows a crankshaft from a dipstick. Electrical cars are a waste of money and resources.

But he says what can you expect from this president? He’s a natural born used car salesman. We elected a lemon of a president and we’re going to get lemonade cars.

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