There’s a lot of hype around electric cars these days, especially the Tesla, with new models coming out that might even be affordable for ordinary people. But you won’t see me rushing out to buy one because I see a pretty fair chance of it becoming an orphan. Every effort so far to break the hold of the noisy, stinking, polluting internal combustion car has met with failure, or even disaster.
Start with the Thomas Edison nickel-iron battery electric car, invented over a hundred years ago. Edison’s factory for making these superior, last-forever batteries was bought by the conventional battery industry and permanently shut down. Then there was the Lear car (same guy as invented the Lear jet). A high tech, external combustion engine which could run on any fuel, even yesterday’s newspaper, and would far outperform and out-last conventional cars. Before it hit the market Mr. Lear met a conveniently untimely death.
After the iron curtain fell, Skoda from Czechoslovakia introduced to North America a simple economical electric car using conventional batteries, similar to the Marathon, a Canadian car already in business. Minimal range and maximum ridicule from the establishment kept sales of both near zero. Then there was Alvin Snaper’s souped up lead-acid batteries, could have made electric cars practical, tied up for the past thirty years in patent disputes.
Who can forget the Chev EV1 fiasco – an electric car so successful they recalled and destroyed every single one. And now the Tata car, running on air compressed by electricity in your garage, is tied up in endless red tape.
The conventional car, with its short-lived engine, easily taxed fuel, and built-in obsolescence has been the most effective device so far for transferring wealth from the country to the city, and from the little guy to the big guys. It is the biggest single driver of the world economy. A truly practical electric car would be a disaster for our wealthy elite.
With the bewildering events happening all over the world stage this past few years, I have become so cynical that the only way I can make sense of things is to say “Follow the Money”. So I think there will be lots of opportunity for the powers that be to derail even the mighty Elon Musk and his Tesla before it becomes a threat.
With this kind of negative attitude, it is no wonder folks walk across the street to avoid me these days.