EVs will Crush Jobs in Auto Manufacturing, VW Warns

A global shift.

Volkswagen’s big kahuna of HR, Karlheinz Blessing – Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Human Resources and Organization – dropped another brake shoe on global employment in auto manufacturing, which has been under pressure for decades from automation. This time, it’s electric vehicles.

Every global manufacturer is working on a lineup of passenger and commercial EVs. Numerous EV brands are already on the road, from tiny cars to delivery vehicles. UPS, FedEx, USPS, and other delivery services are already looking at EVs or are testing them.

The German postal service has formed its own startup to build EVs in Deutsche-Post-yellow for its delivery runs. These “Streetscooters” have been in production for a while. By the end of this year, 2,000 are expected to deliver mail in Germany. By the end of next year, 10,000. They’re so ugly they’re practically cute:


EVs are much easier and cheaper to build than vehicles with internal combustion engines. Instead of engines, engine control systems, emission control systems, cooling systems, air-intake systems, starters, transmissions with clutches or torque-converters, or transaxles, fuel systems, exhaust systems with catalytic converters, the computers, sensors, and regulators to tie it all together, and the like, EVs have electric motors, a battery, and some wiring and controllers to make it all work.

EVs been around since the 1800s and predate the invention of the internal combustion engine. The only roadblock to mass adoption has been the battery: too expensive, too heavy, and takes too long to charge. But enormous amounts of money are being poured into battery technology and manufacturing processes, leading to rapid improvements from year to year. It won’t be long before the lower costs of building an EV and the “fuel” savings can overcome the additional costs of a battery to produce a economically compelling vehicle.

Every automaker knows this – and they’re getting ready for that moment. But the relative simplicity of building EVs has a big drawback, in human terms.

And Blessing spelled it out to the German daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview to be published in Saturday’s edition, cited by Automobil Produktion: In the coming years, as VW is shifting to EV production, it will slash its global employment.

“It is not a question of cutting a few hundred jobs,” he told the paper. “Over the years, globally, it will be a five-digit number.”

So that would be between 10,000 and 99,999 jobs at Volkswagen’s plants.

He pointed out that electric motors and drive trains consist of fewer components and that their production requires fewer workers than the production of vehicles with combustion engines.

“So in the long term, we need fewer workers for production,” he said, as cited by Bild. These reductions would have come even without the emissions cheating scandal, he said. “But now the pressure to act is greater.”

That would be on top of the 25,000 jobs that Volkswagen is already trying to shed mostly through attrition over the next decade as part of its turnaround plan for its core VW brand. Management is currently in discussions with VW’s works council to get this turnaround plan agreed on by the time the supervisory board meets on November 18 to approve future spending plans.

And this is just the beginning. The shift from producing vehicles with internal combustion engines to EVs will take place over the years. So it won’t be sudden. But it’s going to happen faster than the shift to automation, which began in the early 1900s and happened in small increments, starting at some plants, followed by others. As the decades passed, automation became ever more sophisticated and replaced more and more jobs – a process that continues to this day.

All automakers will make this shift to EVs over time and offer more and more EV models. As demand shifts, they’ll start cutting back production of vehicles with internal combustion engines and increase production of EVs. This will happen on a global scale. And it will happen in conjunction with advancements in automation that will continue to weigh on employment. Blessing just spelled it out in advance.

And battery production won’t make up for it: it’s already highly automated everywhere!

Improvement in battery technology, and the mass production of EVs, will shake up other industries too, as demand for oil, the primary transportation fuel, will get hit, according to Fitch Ratings. Read… EVs May Send Big Oil into “Investor Death Spiral”: Fitch

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  133 comments for “EVs will Crush Jobs in Auto Manufacturing, VW Warns

  1. anthony hall says:

    if EV`s slow down Oil production, that means less Plastic rubbish in the Ocean and down the Sanitation pipes.

    • Jack says:

      In addition, no motor oil and filter to change and dispose of; no radiators, water pumps, thermostats, antifreeze to maintain and/or replace; no exhaust system pipes to rust out and replace; no gasoline tanks; no spark plugs, fuel injectors, air filters, throttle bodies and other emission control devices. Those component manufacturers have employed thousands of people over the years, so yes, jobs will disappear for sure. Batteries will need replacement but the motor should be much more durable.

      On the good side, there won’t be any more tailpipe emissions so Californians should live a little longer (maybe).

    • Spongy Bob says:

      I don’t see how less oil being produced because of EVs has any effects on plastics production. Oil will still be extracted for making plastics irregardless. It might make plastics cheaper as the price of oil drops due to reduced demand. That might actually cause more plastic to end up in the ocean.

      • Mark out West says:

        The real issues are;

        The decline in profits will make the middle east even more unstable and the House of Saud will be come even more hostile or would mean that these extreme times would see the Arabs unite against a common foe the Jews.

        The Ponzi shale scheme will fall over & could this be the Black Swan event that brings the house of cards down. At the very least all those high paying fracking jobs disappear putting further pressure on the US economy.

        All those rigs parked in the Gulf will be left to rot and all those supertankers full of oil sitting of the coast of Asia will be called in as the price plummets (will this be the Black Swan event).

        We live in interesting times and thank goodness for blogs like this.

        • Spongy Bob says:

          Collapse of of the rich Arab states would not necessarily harm the Jews as the Arabs would have so many internal issues, fighting Israel would probably be the last thing they’d want to do, or be able to afford to do. Israel itself has a robust economy which is not dependent on oil exports and as such is not expected to reduce its investment in defense.

          As for the US, we are already seeing a significant reduction in employment in the shale oil industry since its extraction costs are significantly higher than from conventional oil sources.

      • earl gardner says:

        Nice issue you brought up, Spongy Bob. If we eliminate the federal income tax on wages, salaries, and tips, and then put the tax on plastic, we will have more jobs and less plastic.

    • Chicken says:

      Seems if demand for burning oil as a point of use falls, there will be more raw material available for manufacturing the plastic soup?

      • Coaster Noster says:

        I forget the exact number, but the petrochemical industry can use $1.00-worth of oil, and turn it into $8.00 worth of refined alternate products….I forget the real number, but it is enough of a multiple that both the Saudis and Kuwaitis said years ago…”Hey, what about refineries inside OUR borders…why are we shipping oil abroad?” But they have barely geared up.
        Big current push to produce biodegradable plastics sourced from biomass. Expensive now, but don’t lose sight of the possible “it seemed to come outta nowhere”-stuff.

  2. Retiring boomers might shift their automobile preference to simpler cheaper and relatively high-mileage EVs as they drive less in retirement. I am getting there myself, rapidly.

    Simpler to build obviously means fewer and incredibly less-expensive repairs.

    I have a forty year old Craftsman electric drill, which is used frequently and still gives excellent service. Seems like a useful analogy here. It has an electric motor, a geared transmission, and some bearings, all housed in an excellent plastic case.


    • CrazyCooter says:

      Yeah, but if you go get a new Craftsman electric drill, it will weight a fraction, be made much more cheaply, and will break under regular normal use.

      I am not a tool guy, but I know plenty and the old stuff was made from cast aluminum parts (as an example) – today the same stuff is made from cheap plastic. The tools don’t last – the break the guy complains about having to buy a new one. My dad told me one time a tree removal guy haggled him the entire time he was on his property removing trees to sell his chainsaw – a Husqvarna – because it was the old school kind built like a tank and the new ones give out after a couple of years of professional use. My old man wouldn’t sell it!

      Jobs will be lost – and if they do figure out the scale problem with batteries (that is making them by the millions), the MBAs will just design everything cheap enough so big, expensive parts “break” after five years.

      That aspect of the “car” game won’t change!



  3. HB Guy says:

    I’ve owned a Ford Focus EV for 3.5 years and absolutely love it. It’s quiet, fast and I produce my own electricity from California’s abundant sunshine.

    I didn’t buy it because I’m an ardent environmentalist, or need to save the planet, but I was attracted to the simplicity of its architecture, perceived lack of maintenance and ease of use. I haven’t been disappointed: since buying it, I’ve spent less than $100 on maintenance, haven’t had to worry about smog checks, oil changes, etc. In short, no aggravations because of maintenance issues, no wasted time on vehicle maintenance and peace of mind.

    I realize EVs aren’t for everyone, but given coastal Orange County’s near perfect climate, I couldn’t be happier with my experience.

    • Captain KurtZ says:

      Good to hear from the mushy middle.

      The ICE addicts who dominate most of these discussions with their old timey, pseudo-engineering pooh-poohing have chased all rational discussion away.

      Its simple. EV’s are really simple. Efficient, fast, simple.

      An ICE is really sophisticated, over-engineered and will never be more than 35% efficient.

      The ICE addicts have pledged their allegiance to the flag of the cornucopian dream of driving anywhere, at anytime, at 75mph in utter silence. (See all those stupid ads with no traffic, winding beautiful roads, shot in my Washington State, for all the boomer car porn addicts)


      MOST traffic is now stop-and-go, 23mph grinds where EVs are at their best,

      And ICE’s are at their worst. Idling, gearing up to quickly stop again.

      Infrastructure, electrified refueling stations, is the only thing holding this EV revolution back.

      Through their bilateral trade deals, Chinese control most of the lithium deposits.

      Our bad, for following the Texans into their oil br’ar patch.

      • CrazyCooter says:

        Correct me if I am wrong – but I am pretty sure ICEs (and cars/trucks by extension) are grossly over-complicated largely due to government regulation.

        I am not against EVs – I just perceive them as having scalability issues – particularly the raw mass of lithium required to make a single battery for a car times tens of millions of new units hitting the road every year.



        • Coaster Noster says:

          Necessarily they have become over-complicated. I started driving in 1965, and I recall the horrific smog of Los Angeles, and the feeble first pollution-control devices. I left Southern California in the late 1970s because the smog was absolutely appalling and mileage was an afterthought for any American car.
          The incredible improvement in emissions would have never never ever ever happened without a government mandate. Anyone recall the car nuts howling when lead was removed as an anti-knock compound??

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Thank you for the dose of flashback reality.

        • CrazyCooter says:

          Yup, and the US had rivers that were so polluted they caught on fire – but your point is one book end of a spectrum of changes foisted on the industry and there are many points on the other end where rules are forced on industry that don’t improve anything.

          Anyone here a fan of the PowerStroke Fords from the late 90s/early 00s? They discontinued a line of incredible vehicles due to ever more crazy regulation changes. They had an amazing design – which had to be scrapped, due to ever tightening regulations – and consumers had less choice at a higher price as a result.

          I also looked into converting my 300c to CNG when I lived in Texas – but eventually I discovered that each configuration has to be EPA tested/approved (think 100k to get design sign off) – so even if I was willing to eat the costs, it would be “illegal” with out the EPA approval. When a model rolls off an assembly line – this process has been completed and the costs passed to consumers – but it also prevented a secondary market where consumers chose to modify their vehicles, even in an environmentally friendly way.

          My observation is a broad one – and I believe accurate.



  4. Paulo says:

    Good news article.

    I would buy an EV in a minute, but I live 75 km from town and the range is questionable until there is a battery revolution. Meanwhile, we use a 2009 Yaris which gets excellent mileage, and a mint 1986 Toyota 4X4 for local work and hauling requirements.

    We drive less than we used to when we lived in town a decade ago. The reason is that we no longer ‘chase’, or drive on a whim. Town runs are now organized and if we run out of something it tends to wait until the next trip. When we lived in town and I needed something from the hardware store I would simply pop down and get it. Now, I think to myself a town run is $20.00, (cdn gas is much higher than US), and put it off.

    If the battery improvements don’t happen we might get a used mini-truck from Japan for our next vehicle. They are either diesel, or 660 cc gas.

  5. kevin smith says:

    I have a 2012 Volvo C60 now which great.
    Considering the progress on EVs and self-driving cars, my wife and I have decided to hold off until around 2020 before we replace our cars.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      We’re looking at a similar scenario.

      Here’s a scary thought: what if MILLIONS of people start holding off replacing their aging cars until EVs get cheaper and more plentiful in choice?

      If this happens over the next year or two on a massive scale, we might have another depression in auto manufacturing, that won’t go away until they’re producing EVs cheaply enough to make this work on a large scale.

      • Lee says:

        And that shift is going to hit Japan really hard unless they can shift production to the EV faster than other countries/companies.

        I wonder what the sales figures are for EV/hybrids in Japan?

        If any country would be the leader in this area of adoption it would/should be Japan Inc…………….

      • d says:


        Some people who come here, actually read the articles

        “f money are being poured into batter ( Y ??) technology and manufacturing processes”

      • d says:


        The house designs are totally unsuitable for our environment but the tiles/shingles are not that ugly or noticeably solar.

        I have been waiting for this as a regular product, but did not expect something so mundane as a regular construction product, from Tesla.

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        Sorry (in a manner of speaking) Wolf – we’re already driving old vehicles, but not merely to await electrics . We just value long-lived, economical “work horse” transportation.

        Our 4WD Dodge Cummins diesel pickup and our 4WD GMC Suburban are 21 and 18 years old, respectively.

        They run just fine and are easily maintained at the local independently-owned service garage.

      • Matt says:

        I’m already all-in on that wait. 2011 CR-Z with a book dropping like Wile E. Coyote’s anvil because cheap gas & cancelled production. The wheels are nowhere near falling off.

        By 2020, automakers will have figured out how to properly lease EVs. Warranty costs in 1st 3 years should be minimal, so it’s mostly depreciation + cost of money. With 10-year battery life spans, the residual on a 3-year-old EV should be high.

  6. Vern says:

    My hope is to never own another ICE vehicle. I currently have a small late 90s, very well maintained truck with 205k miles on it. It’s a daily driver, still going strong.

    BUT, I’m not interested in any of the current EVs because they’re basically rolling smart phones (as are most new cars today) with way too many electronic frills and nonsense.

    I want a SIMPLE EV with a little cargo capacity that has ~100 mile range.

    Otherwise when my current ICE fails, I can convert my truck to an EV with 100 mile range for about $10k — including the labor. So there’s some already grim economics for Ford, GM, et al. to chew on.

    One of those Deutsche-Post vans in your post looks really good to me right now.

    • Coaster Noster says:

      I’m with you on the “feature fight” among manufacturers. Except for the backup camera (that is nice, used it on a rental car two weeks ago) I could care less about the sound system, even the radio. I just want a very very simple vehicle and not all the nonsense. In 2011, in a hasty purchase, I bought a Ford Ranger with no A/C!! It was a vehicle from Eureka CA. I sweated a few trips, but really, I didn’t suffer much in spite of no A/C.

      All that gadgetry and frills and “Wow!” stuff is strictly one carmaker trying to outdo the other, for no real effect but to charge more in the final price…. all IMHO.

  7. EVENT HORIZON says:

    The batter/charging issue would not be a problem if they sold you TWO batteries when you bought the EV.

    One is installed in your car while the other one is being charged back home. Have a simple way to remove the “dead” one, install the “live” one, and there is no down time. Release a few latches, slip one out, slip in the charged one, lock a few latches, voila.

    Now, another topic. What about those who LIKE internal combustion cars. Will they be denied opportunity, diversity and choice? Will there be an HilaryCar program to “force” you to buy into the EV and then tax you if you keep your car, like your doctor?

    Oh, hard to tow a U-Haul, boat or trailer with an EV.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Good questions. I’ll try to answer:

      1. Commercial urban delivery fleets are planning on just this sort of arrangement if they want to run their vehicles 16 hours a day. If they just run them 8 hours a day in urban stop-and-go traffic, with frequent curbside stops, just one battery may be enough.

      2. I think combustion engines will always (in our life times) be around for lovers of that mean growl in certain cars, sort of like vinyl albums are still being made today, for dedicated music lovers.

      3. Electric vehicles have much better towing capabilities because they have an essentially flat torque curve. So whether en electric motor turns at 100 rpm or at 6000 rpm, it produces nearly the same maximum torque, and torque is what you need to tow. So it’s ideal.

      Gasoline engines have to rev up to produce maximum torque, and diesels too have to rev up, but a lot less than gasoline engines. This revving to get the load going requires good clutches/torque converters, which you could burn through in the old days. Having a low first gear also helps.

      • TJ Martin says:

        Ahh good sir . You are missing out on EV’s main faults which have been inherit in the breed since their inception in the early 1900’s and still exists to this day . Those being ;

        1) Battery storage capacity
        2) The inherit instability of batteries – especially Li’s above 3000 ft … at 45f or below .. as well as 82f and above
        3) Complexity – You claim EV’s are simpler .. yet have you looked under the body work of todays EV’s ? Fans to cool the batteries [ at 82f and above ] Battery operated heaters to heat them [ at 45f and below ] A phalanx of ‘ battery ‘ operated computers . systems etc necessary to keep the batteries stable as well as equalize the output etc et el . Suffice it to say todays EV’s are the polar opposite of simple .
        4) The whole issue of EV’s displacing pollution .. not eliminating or curbing it [ cradle to grave a TESLA S creates more pollution than a full sized V8 powered SUV especially in light of the TESLA’s limited lifespan ]
        5) The inherit instability of Li’s when subjected to vibration , humidity , dryness etc
        6) The inherit safety hazards of EV’s including self immolation and the near impossibility of extinguishing an Li fire
        7) Range .. or the lack thereof
        8) Charging .. understanding that ‘ Quick Charges ‘ diminish an Li’s storage capacity by some 1.5% or more each time done
        9) The fact that ICE’s are still more efficient in their ability to put the power to the ground than EV’s
        10) The fact that every hard acceleration in an EV reduces ones range by some 25%
        11) The above stated limited lifespan of all EV’s . The average life expectancy being ten years or less at best … but more like five

        And then … there is the ongoing call from the engineers from VW – Audi / BMW / Nissan – Renault / Toyota – Lexus / Daimler Mercedes / Honda-Acura etc et al all to a number screaming at the top of their lungs that EV’s have no viable future .. and that the current wave of EV’s has more to do with government mandates [ EU ] and pacifiers for the masses . All to a number saying Hydrogen … not EV’s are the future of automotive transportation

        And finally .. here’s a factor no one seems to be taking into account . Should EV’s become the dominant force in transportation .. causing jobs to be lost .. along with Autonomous cars and trucks creating an even larger jobs vacuum … just who in the ( censored ) do the manufactures and proponents of EV’s and Autonomous think will be buying those vehicles ?

        ( Full discloser ; We seriously considered buying my wife a BMW i3 because her commute is so short and we have my Mercedes for long distance and winter drives until a neighbor who is a top flight aerospace engineer at Lockheed Martin showed us the facts and talked us out of it )

        • marty says:

          TJ, I’m with you. This is a govt psyop. It will make transportation for the middle class much more expensive and limited. The goal is to herd the population into small quarters in dense population centers.

          The people who live in the sunny southwest probably can charge their batteries with solar panels, but then you need to add the cost of the solar panels, cables and charge controller to the cost of the car. Anywhere else in the US, forgetaboutit.

          I have a friend who is very enthusiastic about the coming battery tech. Maybe he’s right, I don’t know. But it will take a mega Nobel prize kind of innovation to get past the problems with the current (!) battery technology, and throwing money at scientific/engineering problems doesn’t always work.

          In the meantime, for the past, what? 20 years, there have been diesel cars available that get 70+ miles per gallon and are banned in the US. One of you enterprising mathematical types should calculate how much oil and pollution would have been saved if those cars were widely available in the US. If that isn’t evidence of rigging the system, I don’t know what is.

          And please, no psychoanalysis and ad hominems. I had a pv panels set up at my house long before there were off the shelf systems and probably years before some of you were born. What was the weak link? The batteries, of course. And for the past 35 years I’ve been reading about how a revolution in battery tech was right around the corner. You’ll excuse my skepticism. ;-)

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Many of your claims have already been obviated by events :-)

          But it’s OK for you to continue to believe in them. No one forces you to buy an EV in a few years when they’re cheaper to buy, own, and use than an equivalent ICE vehicle. This is the beauty of the auto industry: you get to choose.

        • wkevinw says:

          For people in urban areas, an EV would seem to make a lot of sense. For those of us who do not want to live like a rat (apologies to urban dwellers- one of which I was for some time), it’s generally not a good fit.

          A good, simple ICE sedan is a gem of engineering nowadays. Good MPG, safe, etc. The best engines are quite well engineered now too- reduced maintenance, mechanical simplicity. Trannies can be more complicated these days, however.

          I wonder how many people would really be happy if they had a real choice, to live in condo in a congested city- e.g. when retired. My guess, not many.

          The American dream of wide open spaces and freedom, part of which is freedom to travel, is a real thing.

          Living like a Japanese or European in a city center has zero appeal to me and I suspect, most Americans.

        • Marty says:

          “This is the beauty of the auto industry: you get to choose.”

          Not really. Have you noticed that most cars look the same now? The feds have handed down so many mandates that there is less and less choice every year.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I agree that they sort of look the same. But it’s not the Feds that make them look the same, it’s the designers. And they all copy each other to follow the latest hot trend.

        • Stavros H says:


          I have been making the same points (and more general ones) for some time now. EVs are a marketing ploy, a beautiful opportunity at milking the government’s tit as well as a distraction as to the true nature of global energy policy and accompanying geopolitics.

        • Marty says:

          “it’s not the Feds that make them look the same, it’s the designers.”

          I don’t think so. Eric Peters says it’s govt regulation making the designers work with within narrow and narrow parameters. I’m not the expert. We can go to his webpage and research it.


      • Dan Romig says:

        Wolf, I am a poster child for 2, but don’t forget the fast sport bike and SACD to go along with the RWD V8 sports car and high-end turntable.

        There are quite a few hybrid super cars out there that would be a blast to drive, but the don’t come cheap. BMW (speaking of German autos, eh?) makes a kick-a$$ hybrid, the i8, but it costs $140k plus and has a whopping 15 mile battery only range. Still, it does look cool and drive well, I would bet.

        EVs definitely have their place on all of our streets – especially in cities.

      • Chicken says:

        That mean growl can be easily reproduced using electromechanical transducers. Probably this will be required in the case of dense urban areas for safety reasons until self-driving AI 2.0 mandate is released.

    • Spongy Bob says:

      “Better Place” tried a similar concept in Israel and and Denmark and failed (though I think mostly due to mismanagement). They had battery swap stations instead of gas stations.

  8. Winston says:

    “EVs will Crush Jobs in Auto Manufacturing” “EVs have electric motors, a battery, and some wiring and controllers to make it all work.”

    AND in auto maintenance.

    • RepubAnon says:

      Exactly right – I knew a guy who had a job keeping electric forklifts going. Every few years they had to re-pack the wheel bearings and change the tires. If the batteries wouldn’t hold a charge, new batteries. No other maintenance needed.

      • d says:

        “If the batteries wouldn’t hold a charge, new batteries. No other maintenance needed.”

        Most of those lifts had these


        in them.

        With those, you don’t replace the entire battery, you simply replace the faulty cell.

        Those battery’s are designed, and built, to allow that.

        Unlike other battery banks, they do not have issues, with having a single element in the bank, replaced.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        We had electric forklifts in our warehouse decades ago. Worked perfectly, and just about maintenance-free. Just plug them in at night before you leave. They’d have power all day and didn’t pollute the air inside the warehouse with carbon monoxide.

        • night-train says:

          Wolf: I drove one of those forklifts in one of my pre-college jobs. We also had electric units to pull dollies when pulling orders. They worked very well and that was 1968. I am sure the tech moved on from there.

    • MC says:

      Don’t worry, we are having the electrics designed and manufactured in France.
      2016 and they still haven’t learned a thing about designing automotive electrics… plenty of job for maintenance people.

  9. Winston says:



    I currently have 41k miles on the car. Here are the maintenance items that I have paid for on the car:

    Windshield washer fluid.
    Tires (at 40k miles). “Launches” in a P85 can be demanding on tires.
    Wheel alignment.

    Fun fact: because of regenerative braking, even the brake pads will likely last the life of the car.

    The drive train of a Model S is just slightly more complicated than a blender. Just about all of the cost premium is in the batteries and the lightweight aluminum body.

    My point is that EVs have very different drive trains than ICEVs, and sometimes how they are repaired is very different. This may come to the dismay of “gearheads”, but electric drive trains spell the end of tinkering in the garage the same way that transistors mostly did away with the TV repairman.


    There are hundreds of moving parts in an Internal Combustion Engine driveline that aren’t in the S, however there are still quite a few moving parts in the S. Suspension, gearbox (although simplified), driveshafts, assorted fans, pumps, window motors etc.

    The S is still a very complex machine.

    More appropriate is to think of the moving parts and consumables that are eliminated. No belts, air filters (other than AC), spark plugs, coils, balance shafts, harmonic balancers, pistons, rings, camshafts, valves, lifters, valve springs, fuel pumps, injectors, pressure regulators, idle mixture regulators, throttle bodies, catalytic converters, mufflers, gudgeon pins, conrods, big & little end bearings, timing belts or chains, distributors, rotors, ignition leads, fuel filters, alternator, tensioners, clutch or torque converter, multi-speed transmissions – which contain hundreds more moving/wearing components, the list goes on.

    To put this in perspective a typical four cylinder engine has two camshafts, a crank, 16 valves, 16 lifters – or buckets/shims, 16 valve springs, 16 valve guides, 12 or more piston rings, 8 main bearings, 8 big end bearings, 8 gudgeon pins, 4 pistons, 4 spark plugs, either 4 coils or a distributor which contains regular service parts (cap, rotor) and it’s drive unit from the camshaft, sprockets or belt wheels, camchain or belt plus tensioner(s), 8 or more camshaft bearings, 4 injectors, 2 fuel pumps, 2 pressure regulators, plus more that I haven’t thought of.

    The S still has the cooling system & pumps etc, albeit simplified as there isn’t so much waste heat. This does make the heating system in the S a bit *more* complex as you can’t simply scavenge waste heat from the cooling system as in an ICE.

    • TJ Martin says:

      Why do I get the feeling you’re acting on behalf of TESLA ? Because .. Thats some interesting claims you’re making about your TESLA S experiences especially in light of the fact that the average TESLA owner keeps his or her car on average less than 18 months .. trading them in on ICE’s … and everyone from AW to CR and all places in between have been reporting that the overwhelming majority of TESLA S’s sold wind up in repair on average of once a month or more . A statistic I can verify first having watched my two early adapter neighbors S’s being dragged off on a trailer every other week or so . And then there is everyone from AW to CR and again all places in between reporting the abysmal and pathetic customer service coming from TESLA especially when it comes to warranty repairs . Suffice it to say as Bob Lutz stated this week ” TESLA owners are like members of a religious cult ” e.g . True Believers to the core despite the realities and facts … as well as suffering from a severe case of PDVD [ post decision validation disorder ]

  10. Saylor says:

    What I also hope to have come out of the EV evolution is….a new ‘species’ of batteries.
    Energy is abundant. It is the storage of energy that is the ‘fly in the ointment’.
    Can you imagine when a form of battery comes along that can store very significant amounts of energy. Be it from sunlight, wind, geothermal or your home system.
    It will [profoundly] change our cultures and societies.
    In the meantime, I am currently stuck with an ICE. But my next boat may start out with an ICE but is going to end up with an electric motor rather than an ICE.

    • Paulo says:

      My next boat is going to have a small 4 stroke (Honda 5hp) running a hydraulic pump to drive a hydraulic motor coupled to a straight shaft. Transmission not needed. I will build the boat.

      • Chicken says:

        Sounds like a technological breakthrough. Is converting mechanical energy to hydraulic then back to mechanical the finally back to hydraulic a simple task?

      • d says:

        Its been done many times before.

        It is not an efficient way to power a boat.

        The new generation Attack submarines are JET/Electric.

        Connect you Honda, to a jet tube, works good.

        You can set it up so that there are no holes in the hull. T

        The Jet tube goes over the transom similar to other shallow water long shaft drives common in Asia.

        Use a cable operated reverse horn.

    • Chicken says:

      I’m trying to work the math out in my head…. Boats burn more fuel than pickup trucks or motorhomes do. How about using wind power?

      • roddy6667 says:

        “Boats burn more fuel than pickup trucks or motorhomes do. How about using wind power?”
        If only somebody could invent a boat that used wind power. That would be disruptive. :)

      • d says:

        On a Cat/Trimaran. very efficient.

        I frequently pass launches crawling about the place trying to conserve fuel on mine. Which has everything in it including a washing machine and still does over 35 Knots single handed.

        I dont push it to hard as over 25 it gets bumpy. If you forget to secure glasses they can get broken

        Guy I got it from said he had seen more than 39 but had been to busy to pay serious attention to max speed that day..

        Leaves the average keel boat in its wake as well.

        It only draws 400 MM.

    • walter map says:

      “It is the storage of energy that is the ‘fly in the ointment’.”

      Electrical energy can be stored as hydrogen through electrolysis and reverted with fuel cells. Unfortunately hydrogen is even less space-efficient than batteries but does enable large-scale stationary storage. The physical chemistry of electrical storage may not allow energy density limitations to be overcome, and alternative approaches have not presented themselves.

      ICEs have dominated all these years for very specific reasons: fossil fuels have a much higher energy density, are much more easily handled, and are much more convenient than the alternatives. These factors make them highly practical, despite the low energy conversion efficiency.

      The externalities of a fossil fuel economy, conversely, are unacceptable, particularly for large-scale use, and are inevitably catastrophic to the planetary ecosystem. But such an economy has been preserved and promoted for a reason essential to TPTB: military imperialism runs on oil.

      • Saylor says:

        It is not so much that hydrogen is less ‘space efficient’. Hydrogen’s problem is hydrogen embrittlement. It robs metals of electrons and causes the metal to degrade. The goal has been a 10,000 p.s.i. storage tank for hydrogen. But the delivery lines from the tank to the point of explosion are also a bit of a challenge.

      • David says:

        The thing most people miss about oil powered engines is the fact that a massive amount of the energy they use is not carried in the vehicle, ie: the oxygen that is mixed with the fuel. This is one of the problems batteries have and despite improvements there have been no break throughs nor are any on the horizon. I used to work on GE Electrc tractors in the 1970s, they were home owner garden tractors, all electric power. They worked, owners liked them but no one bought a second one and used ones were worth zero.

  11. Ptb says:

    EVs are simple! But, my civic gets 40 mpg and is cheap and easy to keep running. I also have a 4×4 truck for most of what I do and that may be a ways off for the EV makers. I’m also off grid a lot. So, I guess me and my old ICEs will be getting cheaper gas as the shift takes effect. Used market for ICEs could get pretty cheap , too.

  12. mvojy says:

    If the government pushes auto makers to produce only EV’s and/or taxes gas so heavily to push us away from ICE’s where does that leave the poor? These are the people driving around cars that are 10-20 years old because they can’t afford new cars. I doubt the government and auto makers can come up with a subsidy large enough to aid all of the working poor that have to drive to work daily.

  13. humpty Dumpty says:

    I think Herr Blessing has it right for Europe, but the USA, not so much. I think the ICE is here to stay but the fuel will switch to hydrogen. The driving range is the issue for EV’s and there are pertinent comments here regarding the full limitations inherent for quite awhile. Hydrogen production is simple and efficient and with the recent developments in fuel storage and safety the vehicle does not require a heavy propane like tank. Hydrogen provides range and when put in tandem with an electric power train, optimizes the output. Look for that on pickup trucks and those who want their personal vehicles to go far. Larger fuel tank capacity is the number one option in pickup trucks so range is a big issue in the USA.

  14. walter map says:

    “EVs will Crush Jobs in Auto Manufacturing”

    It’s the same problem as you have already – too few jobs for too many people. It just makes the problem that much worse. But it is a very old problem.

    When an inventor showed him plans for a hoisting machine that would greatly reduce the need for human labor in these enterprises of removal and construction, he [Vespasian] refused to use it, saying, “I must feed my poor.” In this moratorium on invention Vespasian recognized the problem of technological unemployment…

    Will Durant, Caesar and Christ

    The solution, of course, is to transistion from an economy which is structured to enrich the wealthy to one that is structured to support the general population, and structured sustainably. Presently both requirements are utterly impossible.

    TPTB are committed to preserving their wealth and power and are obviously in a position to prevent such a transistion. But it should also be obvious that the planetary ecosystem must be restored so it too can be managed sustainably. Unfortunately the activities of human civilization are accelerating in precisely the wrong direction, and since an about-face course reversal is impossible, ecological collapse must be inevitable.

    TPTB will be compelled to conserve planetary resources by reducing the subject general population by any and all means. Both conditions make the collapse of civil society inevitable as well, in turn leading to the destruction of the remaining resources on which human survival depends. Horrific wars can be expected to be fought over the scraps, and conditions of social and ecological collapse must make those impossible to replace.

    There are few fringe scenarios in which any humans survive at all, and those scenarios have a vanishingly small probability of even minimal success. I very seriously doubt you can do it.

    • Ptb says:

      I think this is why Charles Murray and other socialigists are starting to get traction with their concepts of garaunteed income. Both the right and left are starting to talk about this.

  15. Chicken says:

    I guess we worked out the answer to mining the metals we need for the electric motors and batteries? Can we park these in the garage or will they catch fire and burn the house down?

    The very best part is, the US can finally forget about the dirty manufacturing and exporting struggle and move on to more spiritual utopian type of society.

    And finally, what will our close Saudi ally do for employment?

    Yee-ha! :)

    • Graham says:

      Yes, they still have a risk of burning your house down, I think that’s going to put a few people off TBH.

      Building codes may change however to make your garage fireproof.

      • EVENT HORIZON says:

        See, we can create MIddle CLass jobs with more FIremen dealing with you house burning down from your EV car. Just raise your property taxes (think of all you are saving with the EVE car) and pay your saving to the city for more fire protection.

    • Frederick says:

      Employment is that what you call what our Saudi “allies”do?

  16. Jim says:

    In 30 years when today’s youngsters are middle aged they will be trying to “make America great again” and glorifying the turn of the 21st century when America had two car companies who, together with the banks, pharma companies and big oil ran the government.

  17. Ptb says:

    Without gas to tax, how’s the gov going to fund roads, etc? Perhaps a big tax on tires? Or registration tax for EVs?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Agree. The gas tax is already an issue with vehicles that get 50 mpg. And they’re fretting about EVs already. But don’t worry, they will find a way to get just enough money to keep the road system from collapsing entirely, but not nearly enough to build it out and fix it up and bring it to modern standards.

      • Dan Romig says:

        Very interesting question. Will ‘Big Brother’ at some point, if EVs take away from gas & diesel tax revenues, implement a GPS monitored milage (kilometer for the rest of planet earth) tax?

      • d says:

        “they will find a way”


        Says the man who lives in the nation, that produces the majority of Hub-odometers on the planet.

        You know, those additional, sealed, oil filled mileage counters, they fit to truck’s, to measure how much road mileage tax.


      • fozzy says:

        States could implement a system to charge you based on your odometer reading when you go get your car smogged. Thought EVs don’t require smog certification, so perhaps a dedicated check to get your registration sticker. Although the gas tax did have more fairness worked into it; heavier vehicles tend to use more fuel and caused more road damage. A mileage system might treat all vehicles the same.

    • Saylor says:

      Look for annual odometer readings.

      Toyota had a N.G. car and an ‘at home’ charging station so that you could use the natural gas from your house. But it had to be stepped up in pressure to fill the tank. The charging station cost about $3K. But it was not allowed in the U.S. although one could build their own ‘at home’ system.

      • Marty says:

        Nope, look for a chip that wirelessly sends your odometer reading to big brother.

    • EVENT HORIZON says:

      Tax the Voltage of your house.

    • polecat says:

      It’s called … GRAVEL !

  18. Graham says:

    While probably true, VW’s statement reminds me of the War Lobby, who desire (and lobby for) chronic world wide war to ensure a good customer base.

    What they both miss is the simple yet essential point that in the world today there are LOTS of things to make, and if one industry changes there are 10 or so others to diversify into.

    It’s like the old GEC, it had many fields and would always survive and make money because some of it’s groups were invariably in something that was doing well.

    The need to constantly be a wage slave for someone else’s dumb corporation is a modern one that we have been forced into, and one we need to evolve back out of.

    A world of content people pursuing their hobbies and passions would make a nice change from the ritual worship of money and ego that infects most facets of modern life, driven into us relentlessly by the soulless corporate media drivel.

  19. JIM says:

    Somebody has to improve the electrical generation infrastructure; EV’s don’t run on air. Natural gas and coal (yay Koch brothers) will need to increase production for extra electricity. Batteries don’t grow on trees either. Charging stations will need to be added in abundance in urban cores. Tow truck drivers to rescue stranded EV’s. New pharmaceuticals to handle “low charge” anxiety. The US government will need to start a whole new department, Homeland EV Security, as will every state and local government so that’s a few hundred thousand employees. Wait, I thought no one was going to drive anymore ornown any cars except for Uber drivers.

  20. Bookdoc says:

    My daughter works in battery tech for design andtesting batteries to give backup to computers needing 100% power for credit cards and the like. She laughs about electric cars as she has mentioned they violate the basic rules of battery life-particularly as they are regularly recharged. The temperatures they are kept at are constant as cold or heat can also shorten battery lives. My concern-check into where lithium and cobalt come from. Great stable areas (sarcasm).

    • Coaster Noster says:

      A potential lithium mine was announced to be under development not far from Tesla’s battery factory in Nevada (200 miles? 75 miles?). Another possible source may turn out to be from the Salton Sea area, from geothermal water carrying minerals up to the surface.

    • night-train says:

      Geologists will figure out where to acquire the lithium and cobalt and any other mineral sourced substances required. We have never let you down with oil supplies. It is what we do. Well, one of the many things we do.

  21. HB Guy says:

    Several persons have commented about the instability of auto batteries, short life, need for greater density and improved technology.

    MIT has developed a lithium metal battery, initial production of which is expected in 2017. See: https://electrek.co/2016/08/19/mit-startup-breakthrough-holy-grail-batteries-doubles-energy-density/

    Its advantage is that the anode will not be a lithium liquid, as is the case with lithium ion batteries, but will instead be metal. The result of this chemistry change is a battery that is much safer (according to MIT) because it is far less volatile and not prone to explosion or fires.

    The other advantage is that the anodes because the anodes are solid, they take up much less space and allow for greater density in the battery. The result is a combination of increased capacity, lower cost and/or weight reduction while retaining comparable range.

    MIT estimated these could be in mobile products in late 2017 or 2018, with adoption by auto makers soon thereafter. And for everyone who has commented on the need for safer, denser batteries, they’re on the way.


    • Lee says:

      Here in Melbourne one university is researching new types of capacitors for storage………..and yes, TESLA is funding part of the cost.

    • polecat says:

      What kind of ‘metal’ are we talking about here ?? …and is it cheap to refine and process …is it abundant ???

      …. inquiring minds … and all that !

      • HB Huy says:

        I don’t know the specific material used in the MIT-spinoff’s battery, but do know that aluminum, nickel and other metals can be used. The lithium anode is replaced with a lithium-metal foil that is much thinner and hence, the battery itself is either much thinner, or, the same form factor can be used and the density is approximately doubled.

        I’m not a chemistry or electrical engineering major but understand that the MIT battery is supposedly much safer at a wide range of temperatures, and has a greater number of deep-discharge cycles. Since the product hasn’t been formally launched, price isn’t known but is expected to be competitive with current batteries.

        Its initial application is for drones, to be followed in 2017 by small electronics – phones, etc. – and in 2018 by automobile batteries.

  22. d says:

    All this talk about Battery’s.

    As Ev’s become more powerful.

    Iron Edison, returns, from the murdered by Exide file.


    Some of them have been in industrial service in America for nearly 100 Years.

    Guess what 100% recyclable with no pollutants when recycled.

    And off course now they are being made in china. Who is cuddling up to the largest Nickel supply in the world, after they just brought its president office, in Manila.

  23. EVENT HORIZON says:

    GOOD NEWS, there are a few garage inventors who have come up with a vehicle that has NO POLUTION.

    It needs NO gasoline or battery power. IT is COMPLETELY Green and gets an “infinite” miles to the gallon. Problem is, the government will not give any tax credits for it and the EV and ICE manufacturers are fighting this technology. What is this miracle vehicle: the bicycle.

    But, snotty people don’t want them. They want air-conditioning. Leather seats. Beats or Bose sound systems, cup holders, etc. The very people who “say” they want low pollution, want their Suburbans or Tahoes so they can impress their neighbors in their gated (white only) communties. (Am I too honest?)

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Yes. Great mode of transportation. Bicycles are pretty popular around here – bike lanes, bike racks on buses (above the front bumper), bike cars on trains (Caltrain), and a place to put your bike on the subway (BART). It works. Do the last mile by bike. Lots of commuters do it here.

      • Marty says:

        “Bicycles are pretty popular around here”

        They are popular because you live in CALIFORNIA. Try that in Buffalo NY.

        This is really crazy.

    • Uncle Charley says:

      Just wait until you are an old guy. Bikes work as long as your health is good. But those organic engines wear out too.

      • Coaster Noster says:

        Tricycles are great for old guys. And, for the physically challenged, the new hybrid, pedals+electric motor+batteries are quite intriguing, and the manufacturing competition out there for market share is staggering (if you read up, watch YouTube videos on the many tinkerers out there).
        I think the HPV record for average speed, riding for one hour, is close to sixty miles per hour, for one hour. Considering a human can only produce about 100 watts of power, for long periods of time, a very modest, 300-watt motor and commensurate battery setup, is very viable for a sweat-less commute vehicle.

    • Ptb says:

      Love my bikes. Imagine, you get to travel at a speed that lets you see more of the world while getting a great workout. Quiet, fun, inexpensive and highly efficient. No tax or gov intervention. It’s so good, I’m surprised it’s still legal.

  24. roddy6667 says:

    The electrical grid in America is old, creaky and close to capacity most of the time. Before I retired I lived in an upper middle class town in CT. We lost electrical power for EIGHT DAYS once, and we lived on the main cross town road, a state road. It was like living in some Third World banana republic. Whenever there is a heat wave or somebody hits a pole with a transformer on it, there are huge problems and brownouts.
    A huge increase in EV’s will bring down this house of cards. With wars in 7 countries and military bases in over 130 countries, there is no money to fix the infrastructure. Before you mention solar, calculate how many acres of solar panels it would take to power a charging station.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      People generally charge up their EVs at night, like at 2 AM, when there is practically no load on the grid. Utilities love this because they can sell electricity when otherwise there would be no demand.

      • roddy6667 says:

        In hot weather the grid is on the edge of collapse because of A/C.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          You didn’t read my comment. People don’t charge up their EV during the hottest time of the day (they’re driving or parking their cars at work). They do it at night at home, at 2 AM (timer), when there is enormous amount of excess capacity, and they do it with cheaper night rates for electricity. Utilities love it.

        • roddy6667 says:

          In New England, there is not much “excess capacity” during heat waves, not even at night. In the Northeast, the grid is the oldest. Some of the wires look like Edison put them there, with peeling insulation and the poles are old and fragile. Because of the denser population there is no option for hydro plants. Nuclear plants are struggling to avoid shutdown. A lot of the power comes from outside the area.
          The first area to get electrified is the last to upgrade the grid.

  25. Stavros H says:

    Here are my doubts over EVs:

    1) The rate of adoption for EVs in the global automobile market is much slower than genuinely revolutionary technologies in other industries.

    2) Additionally, this rate of adoption requires colossal subsidies per unit sold and can only be afforded by rich governments on a small scale.

    3) Every single year we are bombarded with headlines declaring massive gains in the efficiency and range of batteries but with zero scaling down of subsidies.

    4) Don’t batteries always lose capacity over time? A mobile phone’s battery goes to sh*t within two years or so. What will happen with car batteries?

    5) Can an EV make full use of its air-conditioning or heating systems like an IEC can? NO! With most of the planet’s population residing in areas that are either too cold or too hot, this presents a massive problem.

    6) The range as advertised by EV manufacturers is always under the most perfect conditions. Someone will point out that this applies for IECs as well, but unlike the case of IECs, withdrawal of “optimal conditions” affects range infinitely more in the case of EVs.

    7) What kind of infrastructure outlays will be required to provide recharging stations for a world reliant on EVs? What would that mean for electrical grid systems? Can a world drowning in debt and decelerating growth afford these?

    8) If EVs are indeed the inevitable way to go, why is every single major power in the world involved in geopolitical intrigue and wars over oil-rich regions?

    • Coaster Noster says:

      Remember, most automobiles spend 97% of their lives sitting still, not moving. Unless you can add numbers to your claims, some sort of statistical justification, who cares how much worldwide automotive A/C is available?

    • VK says:

      Excellent points Stavros. The theoretical maximal storage capacity for battery EV’s is 0.5MJ/kg while for gasoline it is actually 35MJ/kg. Plus the price of lithium has tripled in the last few years as supply is quite constrained.

      Ultimately automated EV’s are the direction that we will be pushed into by oil shortages, conflict and legislation. Last year 29 Billion barrels of oil were consumed and only 2.9 Bn were added to the reserve pot as discoveries. We roughly have a trillion barrels or less left to burn through and we use 29-30 Billion a year. The US is back to importing 10.5 Million barrels of oil as US oil output has crashed from it’s highs, while OPEC production has risen. So much for the US energy independence myth.

      The price of oil has become unworkable, there was an excellent interview with Gail Tverberg on Peak Prosperity recently, whereby she explained that high oil prices are crimping any possible economic growth in OECD nations while low oil prices are bankrupting oil companies and oil extracting nations. So both ways lead to some very serious problems.

      I believe that automation and uberization of EV’s allows the US to maintain the façade of prosperity for slightly longer as within a generation we could well be facing serious oil shortages and the potential for devastating conflict as a result.

      Basically people have to be told doublespeak: that life is getting better with all this wonderful tech-innovation while it is actually getting worse, kind of like having a public position and a private position. Replacing 2 billion ICE vehicles with 200-400 Million EV’s that are automated and shared amongst the population might be the only peaceful and viable strategy going forward. We live on a highly overpopulated planet with a finite amount of resources and an economic system based on the fantasy of growth forever.

    • Gerald Stehura says:

      What if we used the tens of billions of dollars to subsidize the oil industry to subsidize charging stations and roads that charge cars while you drive? Maybe stop our trillion dollar wars and deal with Climate Change that is here now! Maybe act as if we are a sane human species.

  26. EVENT HORIZON says:

    Rather than have each EV carry it’s own battery, just electrify the road-network. Just like the trams from the past, or like the ones running on major streets in Germany.

    The EVs won’t need a batter: just some method of getting the electricity off/out of the road bed.

    This would also be helpful in “self-driving” cars and a means of information/data exchange.

  27. Edward E says:

    How is NASCAR going to do a Daytona 500 with EV’s? It’ll take eight hours to complete a pit stop and five days to get to the checkered flag.

    • night-train says:

      NASCAR fans would love it. More beer drinking time. They will get thirsty in the stands or infield going “Zoom-Zoom” for hours on end.

  28. Jack says:

    Edward E,

    You’re right! I need my NASCAR fix–keep the ICEs.

    Seriously, we were supposed to be driving around in Fuel Cell-powered cars by now. I remember the hype about this from the early `90s in the Vancouver, BC area where I lived back then. Ballard Power Systems (PEM fuel cell technology) was the end-all-and-be-all, their stock price soared, then sank, and we hear no more about them.

    There’s an awful lot of BTUs packed into a gallon of gasoline, and it’s readily available. EVs will make good second cars for short trips in the foreseeable future but for long hauls in the winters up north, forget it.

    • Edward E says:

      You’re spot on, Jack, good point about the fuel cell power. You know, NASCAR racing is in really big trouble, and we don’t hear much about them either. That is a sure sign of recession, the track owners were bailed out in 2008. Bet they’re needing one now. Many of the tracks have painted the empty seats in the stands multiple colors to give the appearance of people in the seats.

      NASCAR used to sell a lot of cars for the dealers in the days right after a big race. I used to go to a couple races a year, not anymore, when they threw the seasoned veterans out for Richard’s Children Racing that did it.

  29. RD Blakeslee says:

    The essential capability for my life-long strategy is the ability to stand one’s own company, but with the ability to interact with individuals of one’s own choosing, without being subject to “groupthink” regulations.

    Cities, of course, are worst of all – get out of town!

    Regarding the use of energy: We store 400 gallons of diesel fuel for use in a diesel generator and in a diesel pickup truck, which would tide us over for some time in an emergency.

    We built our house 39 years ago looking forward to solar power, with an unencumbered South sloping roof set at an angle equal to the latitude, for maximum average solar exposure when solar’s time arrives. Its close – not quite here yet – presently handicapped by relatively low power generation rates, battery expense and durability.

    So, we will employ electric vehicles (and all else electric, for that matter) in our own time and with minimal interference out here “under the radar”.

  30. Ishkabibble says:

    Most EV issues have already been covered in these great comments, except those specific to operating an EV in very cold, snowy weather. An ICE, 4wd SUV with a full tank of gasoline engergy is going to be tough for any EV to replace under those conditions.

    For just one practical example, in a short-distance, but painfully stop-and-go commute in say -30C, how is the interior of an EV going to be kept warm, the windows defrosted and battery kept relatively warm? How is very cold weather going to affect the operating range of an EV and the lifespan of its battery?

    How is an electric grid that is already under strain during very cold (or, for that matter, very hot) weather going to supply electricity to an increasing number of EVs in a mega-city? The power production and distribution infrastructure will have to be wildly expanded. What is going to be the source of electrical energy for millions of EVs — fossil, solar, nuclear, wind, what? WHO is going to decide what that source should be?

    The nice thing about EVs is that they can be produced and must be “fuelled” locally. No more need for middle east oil, oil terminals, supertankers, pipelines, trainloads of oil, etc. and, therefore, no more need for perpetual wars to keep the whole system up and running. “Somebody” is going to take a big loss on all their investments in that astronomically expensive system. Is that “somebody” TBTF?

    Unfortunately, everything about an economy relates to everything else. George Kennan said something very interesting just a few short years before the end of the Soviet Union.

    “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

    And because the US economy is now even MORE addicted to perpetual war than it was in Kennan’s day, a peaceful EV world is going to be a very tough sell to the 50 Warfare States of America and its vitally-important, ubiquitous military security industrial complex.

    For example, how many Virginians want to live in a peaceful rather than war-filled world? To make an educated guess, first go to
    and select on the right of the page “Contractors by State”. Select “Virginia” in the drop-down list. Then behold how much future taxpayer money Virginian “private” businesses and their spin-offs are being handed annually by the DoD. (Then check out California, etc.)

    Now, again, how many Virginians (Americans) are going to vote for peaceniks who will attempt to have the US form a more peaceful, perhaps EV union with the rest of the nations of the world?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      >>> “How is an electric grid that is already under strain during very cold (or, for that matter, very hot) weather going to supply electricity to an increasing number of EVs in a mega-city? The power production and distribution infrastructure will have to be wildly expanded.”

      No. Most EVs are charged when parked at home, with cheap night electricity (at 2 AM, with timer), when there is practically no demand on the grid. Utilities love it because they can sell more electricity without adding infrastructure. And they can balance their loads a lot better.

      EVs are doing just fine in hot and cold climates. Sure it shortens the range. AC in ICE vehicles shortens the range too. EVs are MUCH MORE efficient in stop-and-go urban traffic than ICE vehicles. So on your 50-mile stop-and-go commute, running a heater or AC poses no challenges for most EVs.

    • Chicken says:

      I live in a rather affluent are and I can tell you without a doubt, it’s a great majority of military contractor money.

  31. When Volkswagen goes out of business it will fire all of its workers.

    Because nobody will want VW’s ‘assets’ the workers will be out of the auto industry altogether. Maybe they can become farmers (most will likely become beggars or thieves).

    It is far more likely that VW employment will drop because the company is liquidated than on account of battery car production. The economics of car ownership work against the entire industry: driving a car (electric or otherwise) does not pay for the car … or the fuel or the roads or the other support infrastructure including gigantic militaries. What pays is debt. The burden of that debt, compounded on the industrial scale since the middle of the 19th century has now become unsupportable.

    That is, the world’s end users cannot hope to retire the debt, soon enough the world’s total borrowing capacity will be inadequate to service the debt.

    That’s when it gets interesting; we may be at that moment already.

    • Chicken says:

      Sadly, what you just pointed out has validity and seriously deserves in-depth discussion that it’s not receiving.

  32. night-train says:

    Wolf: Old people have difficulty with change. They grew up in a time when your car defined you. Suggesting that EVs are the future rains on their sense of self. Even though many won’t be here to witness the change. I used to be a car guy. Owned many including a couple of 60s muscle cars.

    Now, I want comfort, convenience and dependability. What is next will be what is next. There may be more than one technology competing for the prize. Possibly more than one choice for consumers. We will work out the kinks and solve the problems. That is who we are and what we do.

    • d says:

      Ever thought that the Ev for seniors in their greater neighborhood in warmer climates might be a golf cart.

      It retains their mobility and fulfills their needs, not unusual to see a dozen of them in the parking lot at our local mall.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Agree. We, the consumers, will decide, each in our own way. And if there’s demand, there will be supply, whatever the technology.

      • micromacroman says:

        Wolf, I am pulling my hair out. I have a small shop in a small town. I can’t afford to specialize in european, or asian, or diesel, or domestic. I have to be ready to work on what ever brakes down in the middle of no-where america. They change these cars every 2-3 yrs. You got to stay up with all changes from every manufacturer. It is getting harder & harder every year. Got to keep buying new tools, new software, new equipment to be able to handle all the changes. The consumers just dont understand why it cost so much for a small operation with seemingly low overhead (old building & facilities) to work on their car for what they think is a “simple” thing. The choice for consumers is always–take it to a dealer or independant shop and take your chances. The fact of the matter is-geographically speaking-their are large swathes of America that their is no dealer withing 200 miles for your Tesla, VW, Mercedes, BMW, Isuzu, Subaru, Mitsubishi…etc, etc. Then you throw in EV, and other platforms ??? I can tell you now, with most vehicles made since 2013 they are damn near undiagnosible and unfixable withing a 2-week time frame–getting parts is really tough & expensive, and requires sophisticated software & programming equipment that is still not widely available to the aftermarket. Hope everyone can afford to drive a new vehicle always & trade it in before 36K…… But even then on basic vehicles like dodge-still under warranty, It will sit on the dealer lot for 2-3-4 months waiting on parts for your warranty…..I’m not making this up. It is well known throughout the aftermarket industry at the current time.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I see your point.

          It sounds like you’re in a very tough spot, so you need to make sure you’re getting paid adequately for it! Make sure your customers know that they’re paying for all the complications you described. If the service is great, and the next options is 200 miles away, they’ll appreciate it.

          We ran the second largest Ford service shop in the Southwest region. We had 24-hour service, were open Saturdays, had free loaner cars, etc. But our labor rate was a lot higher than anyone else’s in our city. And we blew our competition away. If you offer the right combination of things, people will pay for it.

          And don’t worry about EVs. There will be plenty of ICE vehicles around for you to work on for decades. And besides, EVs still have windshield wipers, A/Cs, power steering components, shocks, tires, brakes….

        • d says:

          Electronics are being abused by the major manufacturers.

          To wipe out the independent service sector, and a large part of the parts salvage industry.

          As you will know, unless you have all the codes, you can not salvage electronic components, from late model salvage BMW’S.

          Unless you have a laptop with the proprietary SW and codes you can not make the service light go out. After completing the service. On the majority of late model vehicles. local stores than have the equipment charge a large fee for this basic.

          Soon cars will not start when over due for a service, just as widows used to and does, if not activated or updated.

          Competition watch dogs don’t jump into this soon, your operation is over, unless you join a franchise, and pay the daily franchise tax.

          One thing we are seeing is multiple franchise under 1 service center umbrella.

          The US being the land of the Corporate rent seeker probably will not permit this.

  33. Paul says:

    This is all a dream until battery technology improves enough to double current results.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      It’s not a dream for folks and delivery companies that already own and operate EVs.

      • d says:

        Tell you what is happening in educated places, people are using solar/wind to charge spare battery packs, then swapping them out.

        Particularly on Golf Carts/Trundlers in many agricultural operations, they are replacing gasoline’s atv’s with them.

  34. Chicken says:

    Well perhaps, it’s no longer possible to buy an electric car from Henrik Fisker.

  35. ambrose bierce says:

    EVs are a complete fraud. Where does the electricity you need to charge the battery come from? Unicorn dust? The electric grid can lose 1/2 of what you put into it burning stuff like COAL. The battery requires exotic metals and is a biohazard of the nth factor. We already have combustion engine technology, with NG you don’t need refineries or CAFE standards.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Look at the chart to get a sense where the electricity is coming from (click to enlarge). Note the plunge in coal, the surge of natural gas and renewables:


      But I agree on NG powered vehicles. CNG and LPG (or LNG for trucks and ships) work great. CNG and LPG powered vehicles have been in production for decades. There’s just not a lot of demand for them.

      • d says:

        “CNG and LPG powered vehicles have been in production for decades. There’s just not a lot of demand for them.”


        How about they are deliberately made to be expensive and much less user friendly than they could be. Which suppresses demand

        Pollution has forced gas into use in mainstream urban light delivery vehicles in Japan. Just as efficiently as in their Taxis.

        Yet all over the world these vehicles get (alleged) safety regulation’s placed in their way, to prevent their easy importation and use.

  36. DrTravel says:

    While the concept is lovely and it will be wonderful to have all these unemployed people running around, NO ONE had addressed who the heck is going to produce all of this electricity to meet demand. We don’t have enough power plants now – so where on earth is the electricity going to come from to power all of these electric vehicles? Who will build the power plants? And what will fuel them to create electricity. Great batter technology is wonderful, but they still have to be charged with ELECTRICITY, which has to be produced by burning SOMETHING by SOMEONE.

    • d says:

      “We don’t have enough power plants now”

      Off course you dont. Power generation in America, is controlled by people who use it as a private revenue stream.

      Not as a necessary element of a modern society, it is their duty to produce, as, efficiently, cleanly, and safely, as possible.

      Musk has just released solar roof tiles, so now the house roof becomes a generator from day 1.

      This was possible, and talked about, over 60 years ago.

      The Monopoly suppression, of advances in the energy, and automotive technology field’s, has been going on for a long time.

      Most wont believe.

      Perhaps Musk is the fraudster, many say he is .

      He is however helping to kick open a few doors, than have deliberately been kept closed. By BIG rent seeker’s.

      Tucker, happened.


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