Elon Musk sold a dream. It made him the richest man in the world. But the dream has become a nightmare, and the dreamer a monster.
In response to this failure, many in the media are selling a big lie.
Hertz is the latest to sound the alarm about Tesla. The rental car company committed to buying 100,000 Teslas a year ago but has only bought 35,000 and is cutting back because repair costs were twice what they expected.
An electric car should be a simple machine, a battery on wheels. The motor is a generator running backwards, with just one moving part. There’s no need for a transmission. But lithium ion batteries aren’t yet powerful enough to sustain the size and range of the oversized American car. New solid-state batteries will be, but Tesla is committed to a technology that could soon be obsolete.
Tesla’s problems, and the decisions by Ford and GM to follow in his path, have some calling the Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution dead, just another example of oppressive government forcing people to buy what they don’t want. This is a lie, sold by the big oil companies that are destroying the planet.
There’s still a disconnect on remote charging, as I’ve been writing for years. Drivers must sit around idle for a half-hour, even at a Tesla charger, while gas fill-ups are quick and convenient. It’s not just that we need more charging stations. We need to re-engineer the remote charging experience, as truck stop operator Pilot Flying J is trying to do.
I’ve been covering this all year, writing about Chinese hybrid maker Li Auto. I’ve pushed the idea that hybrids are the right choice for mid-market buyers right now, as a Toyota Corolla hybrid was for me last year. Toyota has the right idea in waiting for better batteries.
But it’s just not true that people don’t want EVs. BYD Motors of China now sells more of them than Tesla , because it offers affordable EVs costing about $30,000. Europe’s car makers are now scared, not of Tesla but of BYD, which is now entering the European market. Naturally the right-wing press uses this to attack the whole EV business, and America’s place in it.
The investment genius of the electric car isn’t Elon Musk at all. It’s Warren Buffett’s number two, Charlie Munger. Munger bought into BYD back in 2008, investing through Berkshire Hathaway when it was just a battery maker. Berkshire also owns 80% of Pilot Flying J.
The EV revolution is still coming. We’re just following the wrong leader, listening to the wrong analysts, and consequently losing ground to China. Give me a simple EV, a battery-powered car like my old Scion, and I’ll be happy. So will millions of others.