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DAVID BLACKMON: The EV Industry Had A No Good, Terrible, Very Bad Week

Photo by Ralph Hutter / Unsplash

By David Blackmon, The Daily Caller News Foundation | January 14, 2024

This has been quite a week for absurd news emanating from the world of electric vehicles.

First, there was the story by the BBC about activists deflating the tires on a Tesla and leaving a flyer under the car’s windshield wiper scolding the owner for harming Mother Gaia by driving his “gas-guzzling SUV.” When an enterprising reporter found the group – which calls itself the Tyre Extinguishers – and questioned why it would accuse a Tesla of guzzling gas, the group’s spokesperson denied its activists had made an error, and notified all Tesla owners that they, too are guilty of killing the planet.

“Hybrids and electric cars are fair game,” the spokesperson said. “We cannot electrify our way out of the climate crisis – there are not enough rare earth metals to replace everyone’s car and the mining of these metals causes suffering.” That’s actually a valid point – I have written at great length about the lack of adequate rare earth and critical mineral supplies to power this nutty transition. That said, referring to a Tesla as a “gas-guzzling SUV” is simply idiotic, and displays a complete lack of intellectual honesty and self-awareness on the part of this fringe protest group.

Next up, also from the UK, comes the story of the exploding EV bus, courtesy of the Daily Mail. “Officials today launched an investigation after one of Sadiq Khan‘s electric buses exploded during today’s rush hour,” the story begins, adding, “Terrified residents in Wimbledon described a massive ‘bang’ after a double decker burst into flames during this morning’s commute, sparking chaos on the roads as black smoke filled the streets.”

One can almost hear the reaction from the Mayor’s office: ‘Nothing to see here, folks, just another EV battery randomly exploding on London’s streets. Pip pip. Carry on.’

Speaking of EV batteries, a story out of Scotland details a very inconvenient tale for that country’s woke former First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in which her government’s investment of hundreds of millions in a fleet of hybrid ferries is not going exactly to plan.

It turns out that the battery on the first £10 million ferry – the MV Hallaig, which came online a full six years later than the original contractual commitment – failed last September and still has not been fixed. This means that this “hybrid” ferry has been running on 100% reliable and affordable diesel for the past 5 months. Even better, Scottish officials now estimate that the thing is unlikely to be repaired until at least April of 2025 due to the unavailability of the needed parts. The Daily Record quotes one expert who was consulted on the project and recommended against it as estimating that the cost of these “hybrid” ferries is 259% more than the pure diesel equivalent, which appears to be what the government is getting for Sturgeon’s profligate waste of taxpayer funds in any event.

Here in the US, we have the story of big rental car company Hertz dramatically scaling back on its fleet of electric vehicles. The company said Thursday it will eliminate fully 20,000 EVs – a third of its EV fleet – and replace them with more of the gas-powered cars on which it has always based its business.

Why? Well, it turns out that – stop me if you’ve heard this before – the EVs are far more costly to maintain than anticpated and customers have shown low demand for them. Go figure.

Speaking of lower-than-expected customer demand for EVs, Ford admitted recently that fully half of its dealers are now rejecting participation in its dealer certification plan – which can cost individual dealers over $1 million – that qualifies them to sell the company’s F-150 Lightning and other EV models. Business Insider reports that non-participating deals will instead focus on moving the company’s far more profitable internal combustion and hybrid cars, which remain in high demand with the public despite the massive pro-EV propaganda campaign mounted in recent years by the legacy media.

It was a no good, terrible, very bad week in the EV world. There seems little reason to expect the weeks to come to get noticeably better.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

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