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Samizdata quote of the day – if heat pumps and EVs were better they’d sell themselves

Thanks to the cult ideology of Net Zero some governments, including our own, have started trying to destroy the entire basis of human brilliance and ingenuity in a way that has no parallel other than in totalitarian states.

If electric cars represented an overall improvement on internal combustion engine (ICE) cars by being collectively better to drive, cheaper to buy and run, at least as easy to ‘refuel’, had longer (or even equivalent) ranges, used less energy, lasted longer, had better resale value, were less environmentally damaging through being easier to make, using less metals and were easier to recycle, they’d sell themselves. Those are all minimum standards the Government could have set, but hasn’t.

Guy de la Bédoyère

32 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – if heat pumps and EVs were better they’d sell themselves

  • Deep Lurker

    The usual counter-argument is to chant “market failure.” The Wise and Benevolent Experts have decided that EVs and heat pumps are superior, and it is “INCONCEIVABLE!” to our wannabe overlords and masters that (with their obviously superior brilliance and education) they can’t easily out-perform the results produced by stupid deplorables and selfish kulaks making chaotic and conflicting decisions in a “free market.”

    Now this assumes good faith on the part of the ‘elites.’ An alternative view is that EVs and heat pumps are Potemkin Technology, intended to distract the rubes while a 21st century Morganthau Plan is imposed on those deplorables and kulaks, who are seen as not only stupid and selfish, but also right-wing and therefore sinful and evil.

  • jgh

    If HS2 was undeniably better, it would sell itself and not need the Government to spunk our money on building it.

  • bobby b

    Isn’t de la Bédoyère’s thesis easily dealt with by pointing out that the claimed externalities costs of ICE autos, were they actually charged in the price of those autos, would remove them as cheap competition for EV’s, and thus EV’s WOULD sell themselves?

    (Yes, it’s BS, as those claimed externalities only exist in a fantasy world threatened by CAGW, but this is what makes this argument useless when discussing this with a progressive who DOES believe in CAGW.)

  • John

    I like my electric car and am gambling on it with my own money to the extent possible. (No known subsidies, but who knows what is buried in the supply side.) But I find two things very concerning just from a personal point of view:
    1. If they keep pushing this on people and trying to mandate it they are likely to push the tech before it is ready and also create a backlash which might mean I won’t be able to buy another one in the future.
    2. I also like my V8 pickup and my Mustang and would like to keep operating them, all this nonsense appears to threaten that.

    … and then there’s the second order effect of causing some people to believe that because I drive one I’m onboard with forcing them on others… I do wish they’d quit this nonsense. (I’m in the states where it is bad enough, it sounds like it might be worse in the UK?)

  • llamas

    @ bobby b. – Sure. Now do the externalities of EV’s, specifically BEV’s.

    Not you personally, you understand, just that you raised the point.

    In addition to the core belief among EV enthusiasts that electricity simply flows from the socket by a magical, free process, I’m now convinced that they believe that cobalt mines itself and copper springs from the ground and forms itself into wires by the power of positive thinking. They should take a day trip to the Bingham Mine, as I have, and try and wrap their minds around even a tiny part of the amazing efforts required to wrest these materials from the earth.

    Incidentally – is this the Roman historian? How many Guy de la Bedoyere’s can there be? What’s he doing writing about EV’s?

    llater,

    llamas

  • JJM

    EVs seem to have become the prestige cars of the 21st Century.

    It’s a slightly different kind of prestige of course. Where a big Range Rover* or Jag or Merc or BMW signalled “me upper middle class, professional and cosmopolitan” (or even “me rich and sexy”), an EV signals “me upper middle class, professional and more concerned for the planet than you oiks in the lumpenproletariat”.

    What’s particularly egregious is that even the pokiest little EV is still so expensive that it retains a certain snobby cachet. I mean, a Vauxhall Mokka EV at £41,000? Really? Give me a break!

    * I’m always amused by shiny clean Knightsbridge Range Rovers. These are people who don’t quite realize that the prestige comes from having a mud-spattered Range Rover that tells everyone: “I have a big place out in the Home Counties that’s so remote you plebians couldn’t get near it”.

  • bobby b

    llamas
    October 3, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    “@ bobby b. – Sure. Now do the externalities of EV’s, specifically BEV’s.”

    Well, sure. That’s why I said it was BS. 😉 It’s just not a good argument to throw at someone who is married to the CAGW concept. They are pre-programmed to dismiss it for the reason I stated.

    (I like EV’s specifically because I do not believe that CAGW is a thing. If I thought global warming was something to worry about and to impoverish the world for, I would HATE EV’s. They will only raise carbon dioxide release. But, damn, the quarter-mile is awful fun in them . . .)

  • MC

    I’m always amused by shiny clean Knightsbridge Range Rovers

    Maintaining a clean Range Rover means you are going for drug dealer chic, rather than landed gentry chic.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    In terms of ability to do my regular journeys I could easily use an EV. But that would mean selling or scrapping my old (relatively environmental) E6 diesel earlier than I wished and buying a whole new car with the up front environmental costs of manufacture. I would then not reap any environmental benefit from EV use as I am a low annual mileage driver and would never ‘break even’.

    Is my use case that unusual? I suspect there are many older drivers, enough to make compulsion to change downright totalitarian. EVs will sell themselves on their merits but where those merits do not apply people should not be forced to incur unnecessary environmental costs, let alone unnecessary expenditure.

  • Paul Marks

    The same national and international bodies, government and Corporate, who are telling us, us NOT China (which produces vastly more C02) that “Net Zero” (or Year Zero) is necessary, also told us various things about Covid.

    They told us that Covid was not from the Chinese lab – it was from the Chinese lab.

    They told us that Early Treatments were not effective – they were generally effective.

    They told us that Lockdowns were the correct policy – they have been an utter disaster.

    And they told us that the injections were “safe and effective” – and they were not very effective and were certainly NOT “safe”.

    This is not a matter of ignorance – they know that the injections have injured and killed many people, and they have just given the Nobel Prize for Medicine to two people for helping create the injections that have injured and killed many people. Pfizer (the paymasters of Kevin McCarthy and others) have got what they wanted – the Nobel Prize for enablers of their product.

    Given this record of deception and malevolence it would be unwise to trust these national and international bodies, government and Corporate, on other matters – such as historic world temperature records.

    The “Hockey Stick” temperature record is a lie – it is not a mistake, it is a deliberate deception. And when the deception is exposed – the international media, government and Corporate, respond by attacking the whistle blowers – not the fraudster academics and fraudster officials. That should tell anyone all they need to know about the international media – and makes the media cover up of such things as election fraud in several American States in 2020 and 2022 easy to understand. The media are not fearless seekers of truth – they are servants of the emerging international Corporate State, and the media savagely smear and attack anyone who tries to get the truth to the public.

    This is the case for many other matters – for example, if C02 is evil why do Western countries import goods from China – the leading producer of C02. Why is sending manufacturing, and the production of “rare earths”, to China “good for the planet”? Why is C02 produced in the United Kingdom or the United States evil – but C02 (much more C02) produced in China (or India or…..) NOT evil?

    Is this really a scientific theory at all?

    And why, if C02 is evil, are nuclear power stations (nuclear power, not wind turbines and solar cells, is the practical alternative to hydrocarbons) being CLOSED DOWN in Germany and other Western nations.

    This all seems far more like “DEATH TO THE WEST!” than a apolitical scientific theory.

  • Paul Marks

    Way back in 1992, and before, the people (government and Corporate – of course the “usual suspects” such as David Rockefeller were active – but it was not just them) behind the infamous Rio Conference (the 1992 conference of Agenda 21 and so on), such as the then Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harland Brundtland, made it clear that the international movement had two main objectives.

    World governance – on the “functionalist” rather than “federalist” model. In theory independent self governing nations would still exist – but, in practice, policy (on migration, health, and eventually even tax rates and firearms – and land) would be controlled by international agreements and bodies.

    And a “rebalancing” of the world – so that the “unfair” or “inequitable” superiority of Western countries would be destroyed, in favour of other countries – such as China.

    Notice something?

    That C02 is evil was NOT one of the primary motivations of the international elite.

    They could just as easily have used global cooling (rather than warming) or a new deadly virus – to justify the agenda of world governance, an agenda they have wanted since at least the 1960s if not all the way back to Woodrow Wilson and co.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Bear in mind that ICEs do not cause carbon emissions, it is the fuel being used.

    So why not change the fuel, oh …
    https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/20/porsche-starts-production-of-e-fuel-that-could-provide-gas-alternative.html

    Wasn’t it Hayek that said governments should not make decision because they are not informed enough.

    Of course the real reason is not to replace ICEs with BEVs, it’s to replace personal transport with nothing at all, and coop you in your little 15 minute zone.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Regarding battery technology, since the development of the lithium-ion cell many years ago, design has reached an apex, further development is for cheaper manufacturing rather than battery efficiency, it is safe to say we’ve reach a pinnacle in chemical battery technology limited by basic physics.

    Research has been ongoing into solid-state batteries, but these suffer severe degredation limiting their lifetime use, it’s probably we are further down the line in fusion energy than solid-state batteries, they won’t provide a solution just yet.

    What we are seeing is government intervention to promote yet another redundant technology, as they always do, and just like before (with CFLs) it will mean an increase in emissions overall.

  • llamas

    I only ever knew two members of the ‘landed gentry’ at what you might call more than a passing acquaintance.

    One drove a 10-year-old Austin Maxi (see, that’s how long ago it was 😁) that looked like it had been used for target practice between bouts of hauling potatoes to market.

    The other drove a battered Ford Capri as her daily driver, but had an original AC Cobra in the garage for “best”.

    Both would have recoiled from a shiny Range Rover as from a serpent, although a dented Series II with one broken headlight and no reverse would have been just fine.

    I still recall the enthusiasm for Subarus among this demographic – go anywhere, they looked cheap and nondescript, and you could buy them at the tractor dealer.

    As to BEVs – around here, they are typically either second or third cars, typically for commuting, since that’s about all they’re really good for. My buddy in the car new-car business predicts a pretty hard landing in 5-7 years when they all learn the hard way that these vehicles have zero trade-in value and most dealers will simply decline them. Too bad.

    llater,

    llamas

  • jgh

    My brother used to run a gree’n’g’roce’rs and his vehicle of choice was a Sub. Perfect for driving to the farms and loading up with potatoes, and dropping off deliveries to customers.

  • I drive a Lexus, which gets 20 mpg. Horrible, eh? But it is a 1992 Lexus, well-maintained and good to last years beyond the thirty-some years it’s lasted. It only has 120-some thousand miles on it. In all that time, nobody has had to build another for me. Nobody has had to smelt iron, mine lithium, create copper wiring, or hundreds of other things. My ecological sins have been minimal.

    But that’s thinking like an engineer. Try telling that to a Green.

  • Sigivald

    If electric cars represented an overall improvement on internal combustion engine (ICE) cars by being collectively better to drive, cheaper to buy and run, at least as easy to ‘refuel’, had longer (or even equivalent) ranges, used less energy, lasted longer, had better resale value, were less environmentally damaging through being easier to make, using less metals and were easier to recycle, they’d sell themselves. Those are all minimum standards the Government could have set, but hasn’t.

    I mean, a government can “set a standard” demanding that EVs be all of those things, but it won’t make it happen.

    The overall point of “they should sell themselves on their merits, or not exist” stands, of course.

  • Wiltshire country gentry have battered Land Rovers, not Range Rovers.

  • JJM

    “Wiltshire country gentry have battered Land Rovers, not Range Rovers.”

    Quite right. However, we’re not actually talking about authentic country gentry, but rather the wannabe kind.

  • george m weinberg

    While we’re on the subject, we wouldn’t “need” to ban incandescent bulbs, we wouldn’t “need” to mandate low-flow showers or toilets that don’t flush properly, we wouldn’t “need” to mandate fuel efficiency for ICEs, and so on.

    But darn it, people keep having preferences of their own which are not always in accord wit the preferences the government thinks they should have.

  • llamas

    PdH wrote:

    “Wiltshire country gentry have battered Land Rovers, not Range Rovers.”

    Like I said:

    ” . . .a dented Series II with one broken headlight and no reverse would have been just fine.”

    llater,

    llamas

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Deep Lurker writes: The usual counter-argument is to chant “market failure.” The Wise and Benevolent Experts have decided that EVs and heat pumps are superior, and it is “INCONCEIVABLE!” to our wannabe overlords and masters that (with their obviously superior brilliance and education) they can’t easily out-perform the results produced by stupid deplorables and selfish kulaks making chaotic and conflicting decisions in a “free market.” Now this assumes good faith on the part of the ‘elites.’ An alternative view is that EVs and heat pumps are Potemkin Technology, intended to distract the rubes while a 21st century Morganthau Plan is imposed on those deplorables and kulaks, who are seen as not only stupid and selfish, but also right-wing and therefore sinful and evil.

    I think it is worthwhile to argue that yes, there are negative externalities to internal combustion engine cars and other vehicles. But there are negatives to EVs, too: it costs a lot of resources to extract lithium and other rare earths, and those open-cast mines are eyesores, the lithium and other substances get into the groundwater (cobalt is particularly nasty, so I see); EVs are typically heavier than their fossil fuel-powered peers, which means more has to be spent on maintaining roads, repairing bridges, overpasses, multi-storey car parks; batteries are a challenge to recycle, and so on. The negatives to EVs seem quite large, and are going to get larger.

    Beyond that, there are positive externalities from cheap, reliable, and flexible transport that the greens rarely ever concede. Cars have enabled those wonderful things: suburbs. A family can live relatively close to a city, but in a greener, spacious community and get amenities close by and raise a family. If suburbs were such awful, empty places that certain urbanists claim, they’d be empty. But they aren’t. Also, the freedom of the open road, while the reality may be a bit more, er, crowded, is still a thing. The freedom to drive where you want, when you want, is not just a benefit to oneself. I find that a world where most adults have this freedom tends to mean that most of my fellows are happier and more content with life. A world where the only option is a train or bus must, I suspect, lead to a lot of depressed, regimented people. That’s a negative externality, and no less significant for being intangible.

    People – mostly we men – also like cars as objects in their own right. We like to yak away about brands, engines, performance, etc. The chattering classes may affect to sneer at this, and laugh at it (unless their own hobbies and interests are mocked, in which case it is different). But there is a thing called car culture, with its own bits of history, style and mythology. It’s all part of the tapestry of modern life that Man has built, and in my book, it counts for something.
    And to be honest, in my view most EVs are about as exciting as a speech by Sir Keir Starmer.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Johnathan Pearce
    And to be honest, in my view most EVs are about as exciting as a speech by Sir Keir Starmer.

    I agree with a lot of what you said, but I’m not sure I agree with that. The world’s most common EV is the Tesla Model Y, which has a 0-60 time of about 3.6 seconds. They have their faults, but their power curves are dramatically different and better (by the numbers anyway) than ICEs. Of course if you are the type of person who thinks driving an ICE car with an automatic transmission is as exciting as driving a milk float you might be right. I have lived in the US for decades where manual transmissions are rare, and all this time later I still miss the joy of changing gear. Ithink even these flipper things kind of suck. I used to have a gf who had a cool little mini cooper with manual transmission. I liked the car more than the girl. 😀

    There is a thriving community of Tesla owners. It is different from your traditional petrol head, but it has its own validity.

    I’m not as opposed to EVs as some around here are. I think many of the concerns you all express are definitely valid, but there are a number of very positive aspects to EVs, and I do think that irrespective of government interference, they would be the future of automobiles anyway (probably over a longer period of time though.)

  • bobby b

    “The world’s most common EV is the Tesla Model Y, which has a 0-60 time of about 3.6 seconds.”

    My current fun car is a manual, 380 hp. Wicked. But the Tesla guys just wave to me through their rear windows. I want one, maybe just for that.

  • llamas

    @ Fraser Orr – I don’t think anyone here is ‘opposed’ to EV’s, as you suggest. What most are opposed to is having them imposed exclusively on everyone, by government fiat, and to the lies, deceptions and half-truths being used to ‘persuade’ the populace that this is all 100%-wonderful with zero downside.

    llater,

    llamas

  • JJM

    “The world’s most common EV is the Tesla Model Y, which has a 0-60 time of about 3.6 seconds.”

    Definitely one advantage of EVs if speed is your thing.

    A bit like those old Scalextric miniature racing cars that shot off the slotted track and into the wall of the living room if you were a tad too enthusiastic on the trigger.

  • JJM

    “What most are opposed to is having them imposed exclusively on everyone, by government fiat, and to the lies, deceptions and half-truths being used to ‘persuade’ the populace that this is all 100%-wonderful with zero downside.”

    That, and knowing that the well-heeled doctor driving that Tesla had his vehicle purchase subsidized by my tax dollars.

  • Jacob

    “and I do think that irrespective of government interference, they would be the future of automobiles anyway”
    That is what I hate about EV owners – that they know the future. At the expense of other people who are forced to subsidize them.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes the weight of these electric cars damages roads, bridges and multi story car parks.

    And they are mostly powered by coal – “Green” California imports electricity from other States, hundreds of miles away (much of the electrical power is lost on the way along the cables), and the electricity is generated by coal and other “fossil fuel” hydrocarbons (which is good as it returns C02 to the atmosphere – C02 were getting dangerously LOW which was a threat to plant life and, therefore, to animal life – including human beings).

    It is not possible for the electrical grid to support anything like the[present number of motor cars – not in California and not in the United Kingdom.

    But this is not a problem for the international establishment – in the future they plan most people (who are still alive) will be serfs in cities, they will not be able to travel far.

  • Jacob

    All the hype about EVs is more of a movement toward the ban of cars. It’s a scheme to ban affordable cars, and thereby force people into expensive cars, which will result in drastically reduced car ownership. Cars only for the rich. Many fewer cars overall. That is the idea.

  • All the hype about EVs is more of a movement toward the ban of cars.

    Exactly correct. They’re not even hiding it.

  • Paul Marks

    Jacob and Perry – correct.

    As I have already said – the electrical grid in such places as California and the United Kingdom, indeed almost all the Western world, could not power vast numbers of electric cars anyway.

    The idea is for most people to live in “smart cities” and to not be able to travel far.

    Serfs do not need to travel far.