You'd Think He'd Croaked

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Eric Peters of The American Spectator asks, "Where's Ralph?"

For those of you too young to remember, Peters helpfully notes that Ralph Nader, a self-appointed "consumer advocate" made his name as an automotive gadfly.

A Nissan LEAF, parked in an area that may have power and someone friendly enough to lend an outlet and extension cord for a spell. (Image courtesy of Pixabay)
For those of us who do remember him, it may come as a surprise, considering his silence regarding electric cars, that he is alive at all. In any event, Peters ticks off the numerous deficiencies of the cars, which energy advocate Alex Epstein more memorably and accurately describes as "coal cars."

Many items on the list aren't really news. For example, things like "range anxiety" do pop up in the media from time to time. And the taxes that Peters notes come up even among proponents of electric cars, although they seem to regard taxes as a natural phenomenon of the same order of the weather: Not worth making a fuss over. Other things take more thought than many who skim through the news might give it, like the following:
[T]he Electric Car Chorus leaves people with the impression that electric car batteries are immortal. Which is like leaving people with the impression that they will never have to replace the 12-volt starter battery in a conventional car -- or change tires or brake pads. But unlike tires or brakes -- or the 12V starter battery that IC-engined cars have -- an electric car's battery pack costs thousands to replace when the time comes.

And the time will come.

So people will buy a very expensive electric car -- thinking that at least they'll save some money on maintenance -- and then find out they'll be spending several thousand dollars to "maintain" (that is, to replace) the battery -- long before the car itself has worn out.

Why no mention of this? [bold added]
But the fact that these things aren't really news is not really the important point. Peters's point is that such things as the power having to come from somewhere or the eventuality of having to dump thousands on an old car shouldn't be news, and wouldn't be, if the likes of Ralph Nader really did have our interests at heart.

On that score, I'd have to agree.

-- CAV

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