Electric cars never really made any sense. They are cloaked in the sanctimony of the green movement, because they don’t use nasty fossil fuels like gasoline. Instead, they use electricity, which is sent out through power lines from big power plants, which generate this electricity—how? Oh yes, by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. This is known as the “long tailpipe,” which goes from the car charging up in your garage all the way back to the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant. And don’t forget, electric cars also have giant batteries made from nasty toxic metals like lithium and cobalt, the manufacture of which frontloads carbon dioxide emissions.
So the electric car was always more an exercise in green paternalism—it is the future, as selected for us by our betters—than a serious attempt to solve any real or imagined problem.
A new controversy over the Tesla electric luxury sedan reveals that the electric car fails an even more basic technological standard.
The New York Times started the controversy when its reviewer, John Broder, set off to test the Tesla S by driving it from Washington, DC, to Boston, only to encounter persistent problems with the range of the car and its ability to make it from one Tesla charging station to another without running out of juice. He ends us having to drive with the heat off on a cold day to conserve power—some luxury car!—until his battery conks out and the Tesla has to be towed. In short, the review was a PR disaster for Tesla.
But that’s not the end of the story. The folks at Tesla, flunking Public Relations 101, decided that they would respond to this bad review by drawing a lot of attention to it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed the review was a fraud based on data taken from the car’s internal logs. Tesla had an unhappy experience with a segment on the British automobile program “Top Gear” that they claimed was misleading. (I am shocked, shocked to discover that Jeremy Clarkson could play fast and loose with the facts.) Ever since, Tesla switches on a monitor whenever they loan one of their cars out to the press. So they claim theTimes reviewer purposely drove the car in a way that ran down the battery and then deliberately lied about the results.
Read more at Real Clear Politics. By Robert Tracinski.
Photo credit: shannonkringen (Creative Commons)