Twigs and branches

by John Quiggin on February 10, 2021

Another open thread, where you can comment on any topic. Moderation and standard rules still apply. Lengthy side discussions on other posts will be diverted here. Enjoy!

{ 40 comments }

1

nastywoman 02.10.21 at 7:23 am

and isn’t time to talk about… about –
uuuuhh:

TEH INTERNET?
(If even the NYT writes – that it’s ALL the cyberspace’s fault – and a dead Greek Dude called ”Socrates” writes in comments:
”Facebook, Google, Amazon and other trillionaire corporations know best and need to organ harvest Americans’ privacy, personal data and every waking second of their lives in order to privatize the profits and socialize the losses as the US government remains in a 0.1% donation coma.
Of course we need to copy Europe with internet regulation and many other areas of common good.
330 million Americans have been flushed down a 0.1% corporate drain.
Time to regulate our way back to a decent civilization”.

2

bad Jim 02.10.21 at 9:08 am

Vandals in the Capitol
defying democratic norms.
Now senators, to cap it all —
vandals in the Capitol —
glibly overlook the toll
of the ugly rabble swarms,
vandals in the Capitol,
defying democratic norms.

3

Mike 02.10.21 at 2:51 pm

Both neoliberalism and libertarianism overlap very heavily in a lot of economics (not Austrianism). And they both have had enormous amounts of money invested in their propaganda, literally billions of dollars. Kochs have led the way for libertarianism, but who has financed neoliberalism? Is it a different group? Do you have any suggested starting points for researching this?

4

Brett 02.10.21 at 4:51 pm

I was thinking about “range anxiety” with electric cars. I wonder if, in addition to making better batteries and maybe subsidizing the roll-out of charging stations, we could subsidize something like AAA to offer “charge-up” service if your car runs out of power somewhere away from a charging station. Most people wouldn’t need it, but it would at least offer some relief to anyone thinking about buying an EV and being anxious about it.

I used to think we’d lean on dumping aerosols for geo-engineering if we got desperate enough to restrain climate change. Now I think we’ll probably do a mass build-out of air capture CO2 plants.

5

Brett 02.10.21 at 5:35 pm

I wonder if having something like AAA in the US for Electric Vehicles would help alleviate range anxiety.

6

MPAVictoria 02.10.21 at 9:40 pm

Why am I watching the impeachment proceedings when I know what the outcome will be? It doesn’t make much sense….

/I hope everyone is well and safe.

7

Orange Watch 02.10.21 at 11:32 pm

stj posted late in the last twigs thread a comment that boiled down to “only Communists are leftists”, which I’d like to interrogate briefly despite the fact that anything but the most charitable reading reduced it to a No True Scotsman fallacy.

Anarchism is to revolution as libertarianism is to freedom. […] [Socialism] stands for the rule of the minority over the majority. This is not left.

Those two claims together are a rather tall order. Communism, being a strictly hierarchical ideology, is necessarily the rule of the minority (the Party leadership) over the majority (everyone they can put under their heel). Even if it stays true to principles and doesn’t degenerate into imperialist state capitalism (which historically it has tended to, and which stj handwaved with NTSm reasoning), it is fundamentally a hierarchical project that requires an authoritarian minority to rule over the majority. This is not left – and hence, one can quite fairly argue Communism is not left.

The fundamental problem, as stj admitted, is equivocation over what “is left” – and that is where the reduction of all true leftism to Communism begins to resemble the liberal rhetorical cudgel that is Horseshoe Theory. Politics are not one-dimensional, so reducing the possible space of politics to a simple 1D line is misleading even before one starts invoking multiple dimensions to place ideologies on that spectrum. Communism can be called leftist because it is anti-capitalist (in theory), but it should be denounced as not leftist because it is authoritarian. Liberalism can be called leftist for its (theoretical) anti-authoritarianism, but it should be denounced for its strong capitalist sympathies. Social democracy splits the difference with its forthright compatiblist approach – which I’d add is more honest than the unacknowledged compatiblism that Communism seems to inevitably devolve into once it goes from theory to practice. Anarchism (which was hilariously dismissed out-of-hand) of course strongly rejects both capitalism and authoritarianism, and is left according to either of these measures.

It’s rather bizarre to see anarchism be described as antithetical to revolution – and moreso to see it done with a comparison to propertarians’ co-opting of the anarchist label “libertarian”. Anarchism is fundamentally revolutionary, and always has been, to the point that I don’t even know where to begin to address the mind-bogglingly ahistorical claim that this is “preposterous”. The only way I can hope to parse that sentence coherently is to assume that stj is so mired in idiosyncratically American political discourse and so poorly educated in leftist history that they have mistaken anarcho-capitalism for almost all other anarchism. The historical record includes numerous examples of anarchist revolts – including those lovingly put down by Communists – but we can indulge in stj’s presentism and just look to current events in Syria. On one hand, we have the incomprehensible Communist darling, nationalistic sectarian neoliberal oligarchical monarchy-in-all-but-name Assad regime – and on one of the other hands, we have the Kurdish libertarian socialists who established the autonomous confederation of Rojava. Which of those groups is reactionary, and which is revolutionary? And no, the answer to that is not so simple as “which side does the US support”, especially when we have the Russian Federation playing at imperialism on the opposite side…

8

Gregory J McKenzie 02.11.21 at 12:57 am

Bargaining power in the labor market depends either, on job security, or, the perceived job security of long term employment. As has been shown, the absence of job security in the Gig economy undermines the bargaining power of the suppliers of labor. Yet in 2021 this applies to many “microeconomies” in Australia. That means that occupational mobility for labor units in the Gig economy is at an all time low point. Often unskilled labor units find it almost impossible to exit their casual employment due too the absence of workable alternatives. Any debate on the empowering of labor units in the Gig economy must address the issues of both geographic mobility and occupational mobility.
As was shown in 2020, it is not enough to point to the job vacancies as an indicator of national labor market cycles. For example, there were plenty of agricultural jobs offered in 2020, albeit only in a casual capacity, but not enough acceptors. Even when faced with long periods of unemployment, city casual labor units can not easily access available regional employment opportunities. Occupational mobility is made worse when there is less funding for retraining schemes that actually address labor units needs. So when politicians talk of making industrial laws to “free up job opportunities” they often do not realize how complex that simple claim can become over time.
I have no easy solution. The only way forward is to listen to the demands of labor units who are either, underemployed, or, unemployed. It is all well and good to talk about scaring as if it is an inevitable consequence of unemployment. But if there were useful retraining schemes available and adequate funding to relocate retrained labor units to regional areas with unfilled job vacancies, then periods of unemployment may be seen as opportunities to exit poor work environments.
Talking to people I know who have lost their job due to the pandemic, some becoming unemployed for the first time, I realize that this is not just an economic issue. Emotional damage is being done t0 many labor units who were once highly productive workers. Some of these people tell me that it is the constant rejection that saps their ability to continue to look for jobs that match their skill level. Some politicians say that it is just about : “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!” without understanding that available jobs must match available talent in the labor market. One job vacancy created is not necessarily one job filled. the social costs of long term unemployment can include family breakdowns, labor units permanently exiting the national labour market and even suicide.
Politicians must try not to oversimplify the unemployment issues and not turn the returns to labor issue into a simplistic verbal battle over ideology.

9

bad Jim 02.11.21 at 6:10 am

Brett, the mobile provision of a quick charge to an electrical vehicle is not a trivial problem. The responder would have to be another electrical vehicle with roughly comparable range, transporting batteries with comparable charge, and the electronics needed to deliver that charge rapidly. A towing service would be more practicable, assuming that a quick charging station is somewhere in the vicinity.

Teslas, I think, have software that can guide them to the nearest Supercharger, and the Plugshare app is available to the rest of us. I think even Google maps has the feature somewhere. It’s not that big a problem for the typical EV. A long trip requires a little planning and some flexibility.

10

nastywoman 02.11.21 at 6:12 am

on the other hand the only… thing which completely rules my – our lives – is the pandemic –
and as it looks like –
it will be so in the coming years…
so why do we write or think about anything… else?

11

J-D 02.11.21 at 8:26 am

Talking to people I know who have lost their job due to the pandemic, some becoming unemployed for the first time, I realize that this is not just an economic issue. Emotional damage is being done t0 many labor units who were once highly productive workers. Some of these people tell me that it is the constant rejection that saps their ability to continue to look for jobs that match their skill level.

Did you mean ‘Talking to labour units I know … Some of these labour units tell me …’?

12

Cranky Observer 02.11.21 at 12:27 pm

= = = I was thinking about “range anxiety” with electric cars. = = =

I’m curious as to why drivers of electric vehicles are said to be prone to “range anxiety” while drivers of liquid fueled vehicles are not. After driving an EV for 2-1/2 years I can report my lifetime score for running out of fuel is Gasoline Cars 3 – EVs 0. Admittedly I don’t take my EV when I drive to Denver via US 24 to get the backroads experience, but I can also report there are a lot of anxiety-inducing stretches in northern Kansas and eastern Colorado where the friendly town gas stations are abandoned ghosts and it would be lot easier to find an electric outlet to borrow for a few hours.

13

J-D 02.11.21 at 10:14 pm

stj posted late in the last twigs thread a comment that boiled down to “only Communists are leftists”, which I’d like to interrogate briefly despite the fact that anything but the most charitable reading reduced it to a No True Scotsman fallacy.

Which historical figures count as Communists? Which historical figures count as leftists?

Jean-Paul Marat? Anacharsis Cloots? Tom Paine? Mikhail Bakunin? Kurt Eisner? Eugene Debs? Thomas Rainsborough? John Ball? The Gracchi?

14

Cola 02.12.21 at 2:17 am

Have a look at this video. The organization seems very credible. An angle on the events of January 6th not covered by the MSM. https://www.justsecurity.org/74504/movie-at-the-ellipse-a-study-in-fascist-propaganda/

15

bad Jim 02.12.21 at 6:32 am

I’ve been driving a Chevy Bolt for nearly 4 years, and I’ve only taken one long trip, from the coast to Palm Springs and back, which was nearly within the vehicle’s range, but not at realistic freeway speeds and dealing with wind, rain and night. On the return I tried driving at a moderate speed for a while, but it was maddening, even dangerous. I wound up charging in Corona (nursing a terrible cup of McDonald’s coffee) and cruised happily home at 80.

Visiting my sister in the San Francisco Bay area would be problematic. Interstate 5 is the direct route, but last I checked there was a worrisome lack of plebeian (non-Tesla) chargers; however, US 101 and Route 99 looked plausible. Things may have improved since then.

16

Hidari 02.12.21 at 9:07 am

@14

‘Have a look at this video’.

No.

17

SamChevre 02.12.21 at 4:10 pm

A request, rather than a discussion topic: would it be possible to update the blogroll so that 11D and Kevin Drum point to the current locations?

18

Omega Centauri 02.12.21 at 4:56 pm

Cranky, Finding a spare electrical socket isn’t going to help much. 120Volt EVSE is typically about 5 miles of range per hour. Many campgrounds have 14-50 (240volt outlets), and you can charge several times faster. Either way you have a significant wait.

IIRC last I looked with plugshare I-5 is finally installing non-Tesla level three charging.

I’m still waiting for I-80 from Salt Lake to Cheyenne to get level three chargers. Otherwise it looks like the only way from Bay Area to Northern Colorado is to take 50 which crosses the Sierra south of Lake Tahoe then eventually joining I-70.

19

KT2 02.13.21 at 1:42 am

Range & charging. In the ??? future.

“Super solution in hybrid capacitor development
“In a step towards a new type of energy storage, QUT researchers have developed a hybrid supercapacitor that offers the best of both worlds in energy storage.

“However, our device, after being cycled at a high current rate for 10,000 charge/discharges, retained around 90 per cent of its initial storage capacity.”
https://www.qut.edu.au/research/article?id=173028

Article:
“Hybrid supercapacitor offers NiMH energy density, charges much faster

“energy density (Wh/kg), referring to the total amount of energy a device can store per weight, and power density (W/kg), referring to how quickly the device can move power in and out while charging and discharging.” [5x power feed in than current Tesla – e-drag cars coming soon?]

…”Your car or phone battery won’t last as long with one of these on board, but it’ll charge so fast that range might cease to be an issue.”…

“But as Skeleton points out, there are plenty of other applications where these in-between solutions will find their place. They may replace the lead-acid board net batteries that are still required in today’s lithium-powered EVs. They will be excellent for quick-response power-smoothing and peak load management in industrial settings.”
https://newatlas.com/energy/qut-hybrid-supercapacitor/

Study:
“Covalent Graphene‐MOF Hybrids for High‐Performance Asymmetric Supercapacitors

…” The cell is able to deliver a power density of up to 16 kW kg−1 and an energy density of up to 73 Wh kg−1, which are comparable to several commercial devices such as Pb‐acid and Ni/MH batteries. Under an intermediate level of loading, the device retained 88% of its initial capacitance after 10 000 cycles.”

…”the pairing of these two materials could generate a novel kind of high voltage aqueous asymmetric supercapacitor (ASC). The asymmetric combination of electrode materials working in different potential windows is an emerging architecture for continuing the improvement of the energy density of supercapacitors. The subsequent energy density of a device is proportional to the square of its operational voltage. The constructed device in this work is operated at up to 1.7 V and demonstrates a strong performance and stable cyclability of over 10 000 cycles.”
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.202004560

20

nastywoman 02.13.21 at 9:00 am

so in other words it’s:
Talking about ”electric cars” against ”Vandals in the Capitol”?

Okay – I go with ”Vandals in the Capitol” and as just yesterday I (still) received one of these mails from somebody who wrote:

”Did you ever wonder if your news is being censored? Well, it is. How do I know? The reason is the main media (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, etc.) has been censoring what ‘News’ they want you to hear and believe. I do not know what you are hearing as ‘news’ in Germany, but in the US, the main media has been censoring their news for years now. I only discovered this recently as I watch NEWSMAX & FOX NEWS, and these 2 channels, although conservative, present both sides to a news story. The main media not only does not give both sides to all news. They do not even report many news stories at all. 6 corporations own all of the main media, and these corporations decide what the US citizen ‘needs’ to know. On You Tube Tucker Carlson discusses ‘Why the Left wants to shut down Fox News?’ Hmmmm! I wonder”.

Could anybody tell me what to write back – as I can’t just write back:

”No”?
(copyright Hidari)

21

William S. Berry 02.13.21 at 10:20 pm

If there were some kind of wet cell battery technology that worked as well as Lithium batteries, et al, the solution would be simple. You could pull up to the electrolyte fill station, your old fluid would be drained (to be regenerated and used again), and your battery pack filled up with fresh electrolyte. Unfortunately, wet cell batteries have much lower storage densities, greater weight, and some other (mostly environmental) problems.

I am curious, however, as to what happened to the battery pack swap idea? Battery packs and assorted equipment could be standardized to a single design for all EVs. Drivers wouldn’t own theirs; they are rented and exchanged It would be relatively easy to design an auto-loader device that you could operate with a credit card.

Obviously, I’m no expert on EVs, but in the early days of the latest EV push, this idea seemed to be taken almost as a given as to how the charging process would develop as you reached a certain level of EV saturation.

The road-side charging method, with its delays (under even the best of conditions), seems clunky in comparison.

22

LFC 02.14.21 at 3:36 am

Mike @3 asks “who has financed neoliberalism”?

At the risk of being seen as slightly pedantic or picky, I don’t think the question is all that well posed, since neoliberalism is an ideology/worldview, rather than a particular organization. However, assuming the question means “who has funded think tanks, lobbying outfits, and other organizational instantiations of neoliberalism?,” I wd think the answer for the U.S. is: certain large corporations and wealthy individuals. American Enterprise Institute, for ex., probably gets money from a range of different sources. I tend to doubt that there’s one name as heavily associated with “neoliberalism” in terms of donations as the Kochs apparently (?) are w rightist libertarianism.

But in terms of researching this one might start w a list of organizations pushing what Mike or anyone else wd consider a neoliberal agenda, e.g., American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, various “free market” advocacy groups, maybe George Mason Mercatus Center or whatever it’s called, and then look at their lists of donors to the extent they are available, or at least at the major corporate donors (which are prob listed somewhere on the websites — or perhaps not).

And perhaps look at some intellectual histories of neoliberalism (e.g. those by Angus Bergin or Quinn Slobodian) that may discuss some early sources of financial support (though I’ve read some of Slobodian’s Globalists, albeit a while ago, and as I recall that’s not a major focus of the book).

23

bad Jim 02.14.21 at 6:17 am

nastywoman, it appears that three of us drive EV’s, which means it’s a topic on which we can discourse with not only enthusiasm but expertise. Not coincidentally, my family’s text channel is contending the question. My sister has a new Mercedes and her husband has a Porsche, both of which they love, so they are disinclined to think that my brother and I made a better choice in buying electrics.

I live on a busy street, next to the intersection at the top of a hill, so cars and trucks and buses are constantly grinding to a halt and then accelerating away. The dust from brake linings and tires coats every surface in my yard. I take immense satisfaction from the thought that when I slow my descent or come to a stop I’m charging my battery instead of spewing particulate pollution.

24

bad Jim 02.14.21 at 6:34 am

and thank you for mentioning my triolet, a poor, ill-favored thing, but mine own. Which is to say that it was purely contrived, uninspired. Sometimes things pop into my mind fully formed, but this wasn’t one of them.

With a muse
I am used
to being amused.

Violet violins
violate violence.

25

notGoodenough 02.14.21 at 8:30 am

William S Berry @ 21

“I am curious, however, as to what happened to the battery pack swap idea? Battery packs and assorted equipment could be standardized to a single design for all EVs.”

If I recall correctly, it floundered because car companies objected – each wanted to maintain their own specific designs which would be incompatible with that of other manufacturers.

”The road-side charging method, with its delays (under even the best of conditions), seems clunky in comparison.”

But surely that depends a lot on the journey? My understanding is that studies suggest the vast majority of trips are within the range of EVs, so a 1 hr charge time would be perfectly acceptable as it could be done at the destination (frequently home or work). For the less common longer trips, this is less than ideal, but I don’t know how much of an issue it really makes.

OTOH, even assuming that there were a universal design (and that there were no issues with swapping – you’d probably need to figure out some scheme integrated with the BMS to have a predicted understanding of the system), I think it would also depend on how easily one could swap the battery? My understanding of modern vehicles is pretty limited, so take this as a thought from someone with little knowledge, but I believe the general design principles tend to make actually accessing the workings somewhat of an issue. It may all be designable, but then the question would be how much time, effort, and additional costs would that cause, and how much of a difference would it make?

I don’t know (EV design and usage is a bit tangential to me), but it might be interesting to hear from EV owners as to how often they worry about the range/charge issue or how often it causes issues (particularly from region to region).

26

Matt 02.14.21 at 11:07 am

If I were to have two cars, I’d very much want one to be an electric car that I’d use for the large majority of my small trips around town – to work when I don’t take the tram, to the grocery store, etc. But…

But surely that depends a lot on the journey? My understanding is that studies suggest the vast majority of trips are within the range of EVs, so a 1 hr charge time would be perfectly acceptable as it could be done at the destination (frequently home or work).

As it turns out while the numerical majority of my driving is short trips, the majority of miles I travel, by far, are beyond the range of current EVs, and having to stop for even half hour to recharge, once each way, let alone an hour or more, would be a big problem, given the nature of the trips (usually trips to the mountains or rural areas to do whitewater kayaking. There would be zero chance of recharging at these places.) Now, my situation is somewhat unusual, but not super unusual. Unless something can be done to make this sort of thing much easier to deal with, there will be a non-trivial number of people who will at least heavily resist – with good reason – switching completely to electric cars.

27

Tm 02.14.21 at 1:17 pm

nastywoman 20: „Could anybody tell me what to write back“

How about F#ck off Nazis?

28

Cranky Observer 02.14.21 at 5:37 pm

OT,
The difference between owning an EV in theory and in practice is that in the theory espoused in the general news/comment media [1] there are many problems, barriers, and “anxieties” involved in operating an EV; in practice these things don’t trouble EV owners any more than the equivalent problems with liquid fueled vehicles do their respective owners.

[1] particularly the right side of the the general news media, but not exclusively

29

Tm 02.14.21 at 6:33 pm

„If I were to have two cars, I’d very much want one to be an electric car that I’d use for the large majority of my small trips around town – to work when I don’t take the tram, to the grocery store, etc.“

There’s a much better solution for that. It’s called e-bike.

30

hix 02.14.21 at 7:09 pm

My preferred electric car would have a shorter range and would be smaller than anything sold here. I’d still like to have some comfort like air conditioning , so the Citroen AMI would be no good option either. Electric cars are unnecessary upmarket at the moment. Even the cheapest ones have huge batteries. The small smarts and ups are also no real electric designs to begin with, as well as up market brands. Which leaves buying a Dacia SUV as the cheapest option and the zoe/leaf sice the smallest design types of a serious electric attempt. Too bad, with a sufficiently small battery, electric cars should already be cheaper to build than conventional ones. Also electricity is arround30cent/kwh in Germany at home. The incentives of that high taxes to finance the old heritage feed in tariffs distort things quite a bit. Anyway, i drive so little that keeping the old car is probably even the best environmental option. The electric cars are only sort of interesting now due to the 6000 Euro subsidy.

31

notGoodenough 02.14.21 at 8:57 pm

Matt @ 26

Apologies, but I found this a little odd (probably I’ve missed the obvious a bit). If I recall correctly, the Tesla Model S is quoted as having EPA estimated 402 miles range – I am, I will admit, a little surprised you would view an additional hour charging time on top of that level of journey as such a great additional burden.

I would agree that it is tricky if you don’t have chargers located in sufficient numbers to enable a such large journeys (assuming you must make it there and back on one charge). On the other hand, I suspect it depends a lot on location though – I think it would be more feasible in Europe, as it is difficult to imagine many places where you would regularly drive more than 400 miles from any electrical outlet.

I would respectfully disagree a little, and say I am unconvinced that the sort of situation you envisage would preclude EVs for the majority of people – but I certainly wouldn’t say that with high confidence, as it is more of a general impression.

32

Matt 02.14.21 at 9:04 pm

There’s a much better solution for that. It’s called e-bike.

e-bikes are nice, and becoming more popular around where I live (Melbourne), perhaps especially with the Uber Eats delivery people. But, they don’t work so well when you’re getting a huge down-pour of rain, as is pretty common in Melbourne (often randomly placed and unexpected), or for places where it’s really cold, or for carrying home a case of wine, or 20kg bag of cat litter, or for going on the major roads w/ little to now shoulder and drivers who don’t care at all about people not in cars, as I’d face on my commute here (and worse if I lived where I want to live.) If I had lots of options, I’d love to include that as one of them, but the insistence I sometimes see that it’s something that would work for everyone or close to it strikes me as ideological.

33

notGoodenough 02.14.21 at 9:05 pm

hix @ 30

Thanks for the comment – it is interesting to me to see the general thoughts people have on EVs.

I guess, if you were looking, you’d be more interested in something sort of in between a Twizy and a Zoe? Smaller and cheaper than most EVs, but bigger than an e-bike or a microcar?

34

nastywoman 02.14.21 at 10:18 pm

@23
Well –
if I wouldn’t just ride my bicycle I ONLY would use EV too –
even – or especially in California –
but as I haven’t been in ”Orange County” for over a year –
I just can’t write to a old friend of my mom:

”How about F#ck off Nazis”?

So I wrote to her:

”You have to be an ”Orange”
to like ”Orange County”.

35

bad Jim 02.15.21 at 4:27 am

There are any number of reasons why battery swapping is impractical. In the case of my Chevy Bolt, it entails lifting the passenger compartment off the frame. The batteries run the length of the car in what is described as a skateboard configuration. Moreover, the batteries represent a substantial fraction of the car’s value, on the order of $10k, not something to be casually exchanged. To top it off, some manufacturers are planning to integrate the batteries into the car’s body in order to reduce weight.

36

Matt 02.15.21 at 6:27 am

Notgoodenough –
A Tesla model S is a bit out of my price range! (I have never spent more than $8000 for a car, and have not been especially eager to.) But, if you do the sorts of out-door sports that I do, in Australia, it would in fact be a pretty big hardship, making many of the times when we do them impossible. That’s because these things are done in remote areas. Even for buying fuel, there is often a significant issue with supply in Australia. (There are reasons why people doing things in remote areas here very often carry extra fuel cans with them.) It’s true that most people are in this situation fairly rarely. But, for me, and for a number of people, it comes up often enough that I wouldn’t buy a car as my only car where it was a worry. For lots of people it will come up hardly at all. For them, that’s great. But, I am constantly surprised when electric car advocates act like these cases are not plausible. It’s a real failure of imagination. I hope this will change. I’d be glad if such situations didn’t come up much for people like me. But it’s just false that these are real options for people like me now. (I also suspect that, even if I could afford a Tesla – which I can’t! Not a small thing – it would get a lot less range than that if it had 2-4 whitewater kayaks on the roof and a bunch of gear in it. In those cases, adding an extra hour (at least) in the middle of a trip for re-charging would often mean not going.)

37

bad Jim 02.15.21 at 7:15 am

I may bore ingenues
with science or engineering
or tales of foreign journeys.
More enjoyable pastimes I disdain.
I was not born generous
nor engendered offspring
or run joggers down.
I’ve mostly worn jeans.

I love my beach town hill top home
and the greenbelt that surrounds it.
The extravagance of agaves amazes me.
My trees yield guavas,
pomegranates, macadamia nuts,
and, yes, oranges.

38

notGoodenough 02.15.21 at 7:54 am

Matt @ 36

Thanks for the reply, and the clarification. I completely understand the cost is an issue! I was just a bit confused about the range comment (it seemed to me that the difference between a 6.5 h trip and a 7.5 hr trip was not so much it would make it logistically unfeasible – but as I said, it is from the perspective of someone not making the journey!).

I guess it is a mixture of things – such as cost, lack of infrastructure in the areas you typically visit for long range journeys, and the additional inconvenience of the extra charging time, by the sounds of it (I hope I’ve understood you properly).

Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to explain – I am, as I said, not really working with EVs, but it is always interesting to me to hear the issues people have. I’m much obliged.

39

Tm 02.15.21 at 8:22 am

Matt 32: Most trips are work commutes (unless you are in home office, as I have been for almost a year now). If your work commute is within reach of a bike ride (and the e-bike has greatly extended that reach), then the bike/e-bike is most certainly the best (most efficient, fastest, most sustainable) transportation option, occasionally combined with other modes for situations when the bike is not ideal: mass transit, taxi, car sharing.

Regarding freight transport: the e-bike can transport a lot. Cat litter or a case of wine should really not be a problem. Plenty of people transport their children in bike trailers and those can also be used for freight. Occasionally you may need to rent a vehicle for larger freights. But these kind of problems have been solved. Plenty of people are fine with the e-bike for most of their transportation needs.

I can’t speak to the weather conditions in Melbourne but I’m sure there are plenty of people in your city that have found ways of dealing with those. Bike-friendly infrastructure is a political issue.

I’m aware that not everybody is in the situation of the e-bike being a good option for them. But if those who have that option use it, that will do far more to make the transportation system sustainable than promoting EV-cars. And most certainly the option of buying an EV-car as a second car will do nothing for sustainability whatseoever.

40

hix 02.15.21 at 11:16 pm

Guess my ideal car design, electric or not would be like the original l1 design:
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/VW_XL1
I rarely take anyone with me, almost never more than one person. So that works. The marketing people at VW and Audi were rather convinced that design would just not work from a commercial point of view. They tinkered around a bit and came up with a more conventional version – 2 seats next to each with one seat slightly shifted behind which they also gave up on. Basically a micro car would be ok. Just don’t think there is much on the market in that regard in Germany, maybe some very small series. There is a very real possibility many designs are excluded from the current subsidy scheme or even from driving on the Autobahn. Going for the very exotic like small series or small scale China imports (not happening at the moment in that category as far as a I know either) -maintenance, unattractive prices (regarding small series) and questions about quality, including crash security.

In general the trend goes to ever bigger cars, including suvs. The best margins are had for SUVs or other very upmarket cars like Mercedes S, Porsche 911 or any Ferrari. The Tesla range is only slightly better than that group. Price sensitive customers are just not a profitable enough niche and tend to buy used cars anyway. They also usually don’t drive that much, so the mileage is not that big an issue. The EU carbon goals allow worse mileage for bigger cars up to a point which also helps to kill anything left below the Golf class. Think the California/US electric car subsidy schemes and mileage standards are not particular helpful in that regard either, favouring bigger cars.

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