COVID-19 vs Electric Cars

The current flash trend to love electric cars is very close to the unfortunate trend of catching COVID-19. Will they both fizz out soon? If so, I’d rather the virus lose the race. Electric cars will eat themselves with time. Although they make a lot of sense they are still a bit too far ahead of their time. The ability to generate power is far behind the world’s capacity to make electric cars. Most likely we will see millions of EV’s sitting in garages waiting for the grid to catch up.

We have actually seen electric cars in the US since 1954. They cruise the golf courses and senior communities daily. They began life as electric and now most are gas powered. These handy little autos are populous as all hell in places like Arizona and some cities in California. By now the boom has extended to Nevada and Utah as well.

Last week I saw a story from California that electric car owners should charge their cars at specified times of the day to keep from over loading the grid during the peak load times of day. There is no doubt in my mind that the capitalist system will address the need for more power as it occurs. The cost of expanding power plants to get the energy cars will need to run them will most likely be hydro-carbon in nature. The bottom line is that the carbon load we save by going to electric vehicles will be exchanged with coal or natural gas. Both of these sources are readily available in abundance whereas the green alternative of solar and wind are only figments of the imagination. By law California must provide ten percent of its power from wind and solar. During my last trip to the sunny state I saw way too many wind mills blocking my view of the natural landscape. To get from ten to twenty percent they will have to double the number of windmills and that will ruin the scenery every where. Most likely they will legislate that all home owners will have to use solar and windmills to power their homes. A later Tesla model will feature a solar arrayed body with a huge fan atop the roof.

The automotive world is rushing toward electric car production once again, this time by converting their entire line of vehicles to electric within five years. The only gas cars available will be used. It seems they didn’t learn from their escapades in 2008 when Obama talked them into having electric cars. They all had at least one electric model available. By 2019 all of the companies who had offered the electrics quit making them, the demand was not there, how many Chevy Volts have you seen on the road?

Then comes Elon Musk with the Tesla car. Since he introduced his car he has become a billionaire. I see more and more Tesla’s on the interstate roads everyday doing sixty and higher. Each time I wonder if I will pass them alongside the road with their batteries smoking and out of energy. No such luck, I have not seen one broken down yet. That doesn’t mean they don’t break down, it just means I haven’t seen any. Last week I read an article about a Finnish Tesla owner who was told his car needed a new battery. The replacement cost was $22,000. He chose to blow the car up rather buy a new battery. He obviously was not a satisfied owner.

One of my posts was written about electric cars of old. It dealt with battery problems of the early nineteen hundreds. At the time, I was not aware of the battery developments that have allowed Tesla to succeed. I concede that I was wrong about batteries not being capable, but I am still right that they will never be able to replace the convenience of adding gas to a car. Eventually, batteries will succeed and we need this current experiment with electrics to take us another baby step closer to a complete turnover. When I begin to see electric ports at gasoline stations ready to recharge electrics I will begin to believe the era of electrics is here. Right now all I see is the under used electric power charging station in the parking lot near the restaurant district of Frankfort. This power station is six feet away from another station used for airing up bicycle tires. The airing station is used 100 times more than the electric power charger.

Never Before Now

This morning after taking my wife to her doctor appointment I stopped to fill up the Death Star with fuel. I remember when gas was 18 cents per gallon, and I could drive, and drive, and drive on a buck’s worth of gas. That won’t happen again, my bill for a fill-up came to $51.64. Even when I drove a motorhome across country I never spent fifty dollars for a tank of gas not even in California where they are noted for high gasoline prices. Match that to my current grocery bills and the old pocket book is getting pretty thin. I don’t spend much money on anything except food and gas. Fuel for the car and fuel for the body. All of this is because the government wants to dictate what we do and how we do it. Instead of allowing natural capitalistic market forces drive prices according to supply and demand they insist we need electric cars and we need to become vegetarians like in Neanderthal days.

I almost see the electric car thing becoming a reality, but I don’t believe it would get very far if it weren’t for Uncle pressing his Green New Deal on us. I watched a lecture by Jeff Brown, a financial guru, who is predicting that two very significant technologies are about to explode in what he termed TechShock. His claim is that artificial intelligence by itself is a very strong tech sector, and the electric car is the second. Putting the two together will produce a synergetic new technology of the self driving car. This concept will make so many new things happen it will make our heads spin. So, his advice was to invest in companies that will produce things for the self driving cars. Lithium batteries will be key in this new industry, and all things lithium will become hot.

I have written about the electric car before citing that history repeats itself. In the very early days of automobiles electrics were being made to compete with Henry Ford’s Model T. It failed because of the problems with batteries. At the time I wrote it was my opinion that battery technology was not advanced enough to provide reliable power for cars. Granted it is getting better, but the infrastructure needed to support a world of electric cars will be the stopping block. Jeff Brown cited that Volkswagen is broadcasting that their electric car will have a range of 310 miles and promises to have ten minute recharge. It sounds great until one realizes that these super charging stations will have to replace gas pumps or at least work along side of them. Three hundred and ten miles is a decent range on a fill up, but finding a charge may be near impossible, and will be for many years to come. Remember when cell phones first came out and all was well as long as one stood within the range of the local cell tower? It has taken over twenty years for the phone services to provide the towers needed to cover the population and then only if you stay along interstate highways and cities. Try finding a signal in the boonies away from the highways.

Let’s say that the fuel companies overcome the charging station shortage, will we have enough power coming through the lines to give us what we need when we need it? My prediction is that the need for power will reveal the Herbie that dictates the progress of electric vehicles. Finally when all of these impediments have been addressed and overcome, then I believe we can safely junk our gas hogs for an electric.

In the mean time, I am driving my sixteen year old Death Star with 172,000 miles until I can order up a self driver to take me where I want to go.


In nineteen-eighty-two I read a book titled Megatends by John Naisbitt. It fascinated me. It read like a list of Nostradamus prophesies, but none of the predictions were created by a seer getting messages from God they were documented trends. I can truthfully report that all of the trends predicted in that book have become mainstream. A friend recently sent me a new list of trends that read like prophecies, except we already see some of these things happening.


1- The basic auto repair shops will disappear. Read on to know why.

2- A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts. An electrical motor has 20. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are repaired only by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric motor.

3- Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots

4- Your electric motor malfunction light goes on, so you drive up to what looks like a car wash, and your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new electric motor!

5- Gas pumps will go away.

6- Street corners will have meters that dispense electricity. Companies will install electrical recharging stations; in fact, they’ve already started in the developed world.

7- Smart major auto manufacturers have already designated money to start building new plants that build only electric cars.

8-Coal industries will go away. Gasoline/oil companies will go away. Drilling for oil will stop. So say goodbye to OPEC! The middle-east is in trouble

9- Homes will produce and store more electrical energy during the day and then what they don’t use, they will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it and dispenses it to industries that are high electricity users. Has anybody seen the Tesla roof?

10- A baby of today will see personal cars only in museums. The FUTURE is approaching faster than most of us can handle.

11- In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. Who would have thought of that ever happening?

12- What happened to Kodak and Polaroid will happen in a lot of industries in the next 5-10 years … and most people don’t see it coming.

13- Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later, you would never take pictures on film again? With today’s smart phones, who even has a camera these days?

14- Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years.

15- It will now happen again (but much faster) with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

16- Forget the book, “Future Shock”, welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

17- Software has disrupted and will continue to disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

18- UBER is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world! Ask any taxi driver if they saw that coming.

19- Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties. Ask Hilton Hotels if they saw that coming.

20- Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.

21- In the USA, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM’s, you can get legal advice (so far for right now, the basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So, if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future , (what a thought!) only omniscient specialists will remain.

22- Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, it’s 4 times more accurate than human nurses.

23- Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

24- Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars are already here. In the next 2 years, the entire industry will start to be disrupted. You won’t want to own a car any ’more as you will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination.

25- You will not need to park it, you will pay only for the driven distance and you can be productive while driving. The very young children of today will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

26- This will change our cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars. We can transform former parking spaces into green parks.

27- About 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide including distracted or drunk driving. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles; with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million miles That will save a million lives plus worldwide each year.

28- Most traditional car companies will doubtless become bankrupt. They will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

29- Look at what Volvo is doing right now; no more internal combustion engines in their vehicles starting this year with the 2019 models, using all electric or hybrid only, with the intent of phasing out hybrid models.

30- Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi are completely terrified of Tesla and they should be. Look at all the companies offering all electric vehicles. That was unheard of, only a few years ago.

31- Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the costs will become cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

32- Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will abandon their towers to move far away to more beautiful affordable locations.

33- Electric cars will become mainstream about 2030. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.

34- Cities will have much cleaner air as well.

35- Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean.

36- Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact. And it’s just getting ramped up.

37- Fossil energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that simply cannot continue – technology will take care of that strategy.

38- Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it. It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any Disease. There are dozens of phone apps out there right now for health

WELCOME TO TOMORROW – some of it actually arrived a few years ago.

What I have not seen in this article is a plausible explanation of where the electricity to run all these inventions will come from. The closest is that solar cells are getting better. They will have to be ten-thousand times more efficient to generate the amount of electricity used by electric vehicles in the amount of fossil fuel generated power today.

COVID-19 has caused many of these innovations to become reality in the time we are hiding from the virus. Many of the computer devices doing diagnosis and doctor-patient face to face video conferences are becoming more realistic because we are actually using these systems. I personally witnessed a video conference between a doctor and patient in a hospital that took place via face to face video. I went to pick up a lady in the emergency room at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. She was being discharged but she needed instructions for how to take care of herself once she got home. She does not speak English very well. Not a problem, she spoke Polish, Russian, and Lithuanian fluently. A nurse wheels up a portable video screen and types in her needs, doctor, discharge instructions, Russian. A young man appears on the screen live, and begins asking questions in Russian; the patient returns answers. She understands everything he tells her. The whole conference takes less than fifteen minutes to arrange and complete. If this lady had to rely on the old system she would have spent at least another four hours in the emergency room taking up space as she waited for an interpreter to come .

We may see the list of predictions above come true within ten years or it may take another hundred to happen, but these things will happen because they are not just dreams they are trends based on actual science that is happening today.

Trust Me!

The latest news from GM has given me an outstanding business idea. This is so good that I can’t keep it to myself and will let you get in on the action too. General Motors announced their plan to close a number of plants in Michigan and Ohio with a minimal layoff of fifteen thousand workers.  It seems they can’t sell cars anymore like the Japanese, and Koreans so they want to concentrate on designing and building electric cars in China. The sales on the Chevy Volt were so spectacular they couldn’t satisfy demand. Rather than disappoint buyers by not selling them a car, they shut down Volt operations.

A few short years ago Obama deemed General Motors too big to fail. Actually, Obama didn’t give a hoot about the company, what he meant was the United Auto Workers union was too big to fail.  He generously donated fifty billion of our tax dollars to the company in a bailout to save all those voters, er . . . I mean UAW workers. You and I paid five hundred dollars each to that cause through our taxes. Smart asses protecting the great one will argue that GM paid forty billion back. Okay, so GM only owes us $100 each. Had the government kept out of the deal in 2008 GM would have filed for bankruptcy and reorganized. The problem is that the reorganization would have eliminated the UAW.

My experience with GM runs hot and cold. I worked for GM in the nineteen sixties when they were the largest car maker in the world. Their profits were around four billion dollars. They could do no wrong, except to bow to the demands of the UAW. The union had some valid requests like “we want some of that profit because you made it with the sweat of the UAW brow.” If GM didn’t respond the UAW went on strike. The strike wouldn’t last very long because GM didn’t want to upset their shareholders with higher operating costs and lower dividends.  Eventually, the UAW added a huge burden to the cost of an automobile, they still do. Rumor has it that the unions drove up the cost of a car by $1500. what that means is that if you were to put a Toyota Camry next to a Chevy Malibu and the price tags were equal, GM was making $1500 less on the Malibu than Toyota did on the Camry. The GM answer to this dilemma was to cost-reduce their cars. What that did was reduce the reliability and quality of their cars. Add that to the stigma of buying an Obam-mobile and GM loses. Ford and Chrysler have their own stories which I won’t get into right now.

Instead of reviewing the sad history of the former largest car maker in the world let’s look forward. They really believe that electric cars are the wave of the future. Since they are too big to fail I want to take advantage of GM’s plan to make electric cars and trucks. I am starting up a franchise operation to provide energy for millions of electric cars. Right now a Tesla electric gets as much as 280 miles on a charge. I want those people to be able to drive into one of my stations. Think about the possibilities this business has. Even if we shift the paradigm and change from using a gas station to a charging station in our garage we will still need to recharge on the road. A trip across country from Chicago to Flagstaff will require a full-charge five times. Full charges using a super charger take ninety minutes. Using a lower grade charger like the one in your home can take up to ten hours. My stations will be equipped with 10 to 50 superchargers to take advantage of volume. Adjacent to my stations and connected will be a fabulous restaurant, casino, motel for your convenience. After all, a ninety minute charge will only be possible if I am charging ten cars as opposed to fifty. At fifty car capacity it may take three to five hours to charge. During those trapped minutes my casino will be raking in tons of nickels and dimes in the slots. 

The cost of a charge will be about five times the cost of a tank of gas at 2018 prices. Why so high? The demand for electricity will be so great that the electric power plants will be operating at max capacity. It’s that old supply-demand thing again.

Now comes the real lucrative aspect of this business. Behind all the charging stations we will build a high speed electric train using the center median on the interstate system. All those car owners sitting around waiting to get charged will look sadly at the hundreds of people flying past on the high speed rail. Imagine all those dollars pouring into the coffers from all those car owners switching to trains while the cars are at home charging.

The next phase after the high speed rail is a network of power plants. The world doesn’t have enough power generating stations to fuel all the electric vehicles GM is making therefore we’ll need super output generators. They will need energy as well so we’ll tap into wind, sun, and fossil fuels. Right now, coal mines are cheap because everyone is so down on coal. Buying coal is our secret weapon. While we continue to use coal we will also spend billions on harnessing the energy from the sun. All these puny solar collectors cluttering up the landscape are an eyesore and can’t produce spit, but the roof of every house will collect enough solar power to give individual households enough energy to be independent of the grid. Our research will concentrate on collecting sun in large spherical mirrors which transfer solar into heat to run the turbines in the super generators. Since the sun doesn’t shine on some days we will need to tap into the core of the earth to get heat.

Now that we have come full circle on energy, let’s talk about how much you want to invest in my company.  


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