The Tesla Roadster, the world’s first highway-capable all-electric car available in the United States, is displayed on its production debut in the Tesla Flagship Store on May 1, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Do you subscribe to the notion that the internal combustion engine/fossil fuel will soon be replaced as the prevailing means of ground transportation? If you do, we are already in agreement. Electrons are the new hydrocarbons. Electricity is the new program to get with, one that, if your country doesn’t get with it soon, will relegate you and your countrymen to technological obscurity.
Tesla is the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles (EV) in the U.S. today by leaps and bounds, having produced some 361,000 units in 2018 alone. (Don’t worry: This is not a techno-economic paper, and I’m not about to start slinging market percentages and other soporific statistics.) Tesla is the EV market leader in America: American cars, built in America, by Americans, for America. Before you start pulling out your flags and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, though, the second biggest market for Tesla is none other than our political and economic rival, China! Learning that probably stung a little, but business is business and Tesla is no more concerned about the American people’s well-being than China is about preserving the environment.
China has never been a team player on a global scale. Concern for the environment is a global, collective issue, therefore not at all a thing China has felt the need to worry about. China is concerned about China, what China wants, and what is out there to make China both feel good and look good. Heck, China puts itself at the center of all things in the universe. It did, after all, name itself the “Middle Kingdom” (中國 Zhōng Gúo). How positively ethnocentric of them.
Tesla has already initiated a groundbreaking on their first Gigafactory in Shanghai. China has the goal of producing 500,000 EVs per year there for the Chinese market. China already boasts production numbers of nearly 1.26 million of their own EVs built for the Chinese market, to include the world’s most extensive fleet of electric buses on the planet.
Oh sure, that displaces a massive amount of fossil fuel requirement for China, and a massive amount of hydrocarbon pollution to the environment, but not because China bleeds for the health of the Big Blue Marble. Rather, the growing global EV market appeals to the Chinese, who view it as an opportunity to pursue a potentially valuable economic boon while feigning the nobility of intent to protect Mother Nature.
China is the leading global producer of EVs in the world today, but like Tesla, they want more. China wants in on America’s market for EVs as well as their own, and they intend to compete in the American EV market by way of the Qián Tú (前途 “Future”) K50 luxury sports car, the first of which is projected to sell in the year 2020.
I would feel like a despicable human being if I did not include this fun fact about China’s EV production: Manufacturers program all of their EVs to automatically transmit “performance” data back the manufacturer. The manufacturer, in turn, transmits that same data to—you guessed it—the one-party Chinese government.
I’m not suggesting that Qián Tú’s K50 is designed to be technologically invasive, but I ask you, would you feel at ease driving to your crack dealer in a Chinese car that informs “The Man” back in the motherland that your ass temperature in your sporty bucket seat is a tenth of a degree higher than normal, setting off alarms at FBI headquarters?
I, for one, welcome our new Chinese EV overlords. Go to the Oprah show and maybe you can win a free K50; everyone else there will. Enjoy your ride home while serenaded by the down-home country voice of Roger Miller as he croons “King of the Road,” but for the love of Odin and all things you hold dear do not deviate one-tenth of a millimeter from your intended route! Don’t look left or right, just go straight home and double lock your door!
Tesla is no slouch in the realm of EV technology in the world today, least of all in the eyes of the Chinese. The affluent Chinese business class admires the quality and creativity of Tesla products, as well as the sharp business acumen of CEO Elon Musk. They especially admire his penchant for timely business decisions and bold risk assumption.
I’m a patriotic man—that I fancy true. I would like little else than to own a quality American EV. I like to keep my money in America, and with Tesla, that is a hood that is very likely (a likelihood, get it?). Recall, if you will, the glut of Toyotas in America in the 1970s, and then the Hyundai hoards of the ’80s. Things sure got tough when inexpensive quality cars started showing up in the U.S. during those two decades.
I will tell you that I once owned a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. My God, it was absolutely stunning in every way. I just loved it to pieces…up until I tried to jump it over a light pole but never even got it off the ground. Woe was me. The next vehicle I got was a new Ford truck. The engine blew after only 68,000 miles. I’m sorry, for a second there I thought I said 68,000. Surely I must be mistaken.
Ford didn’t care at all and really did not appreciate me telling them about my silly-assed problem. There is such a thing in the world today as being too big to care. Ford is too big to care about me; China is too big to care about, well, the world.
The prospect of owning an EV utterly fascinates me. Can you imagine how much quieter Times Square would be with only EVs swishing by? Well, it truly is just a matter of what a person is accustomed to as a baseline, after all. There will always still be that one hind orifice who whines, “I just can’t concentrate with all that EV whooshing sound going on behind me!”
Well that, mes amis, is just one snot bubble that is going to have to be promptly popped as we move on with our lives in our new EV-powered economy. I do lament a couple of things bound to accompany this transition. For example: How many more animals are going to get run over because they don’t hear the cars coming?
To advance that worry up a notch, what about people getting hit who do not hear the vehicle approaching? Ah, you see, Tesla’s smart EVs of the future are autonomous to the point of being just shy of being legally hands-off in operation. That is, they can drive themselves quite efficiently, though it is not legal to allow them to operate in such fashion. Have a look at this video of a Tesla driving itself through a city and then even parking itself in a parallel parking situation:
I’m sold. I’m down to adopt the Tesla smart EV. I’m on board with my car dropping me off at, say, the opera, then coming to pick me up at the opera when I send for it using my smartphone. THAT. WOULD. BE. SOOO. COOL. (Other than the opera part!)
Inspecting the specifications of both the Chinese and the Tesla EVs, I’m seeing that the features as they would concern me are impressive: Both appear to have decent rates of acceleration, power, and range. Regarding EV range, a typical EV may have a range of between 300-400 miles per charge, with a recharging time of about 75 minutes at a public charging station. Tesla proprietary charging stations offer a station time that is 16 times faster than public charging stations—good and gooder.
Finally, what is on all of our minds: How much does it cost to recharge your EV at a public charging station? It costs just as much at a public station as it would at your home. Typically, electricity from the grid costs about 13 cents per kWh. A typical battery configuration for an EV is approximately 100kWh, so a full “tank” will cost you about $13.00. Oh, the humanity!
Electrons are the plan to get with. Embrace the technology. The greedy we shall always have with us, the Teslas and the Chinas of the world tapping into each other’s markets because billions simply won’t do when there are trillions out there to be had. We regular Joe Schmos, we just plod along, rolling with punches, feinting and throwing our own when we can. I only hope that when “Pop Goes the Weasel” stops playing we are all sitting in an EV. Above all, buy American!
By almighty God and with honor,