The Madness of GM

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The economy must be doing a lot better than all the wretched indexes (number of people no longer even trying to find work, number of people on the dole, etc.) indicate. Otherwise, GM would not have announced it is committed to developing a new electric car battery capable of moving a car 200 miles down the road  . . . at a cost of only $30,000 per battery. (News story here.)

No word about the cost of the car it will go in.

The good news is, this prospective wunderwagen will be cheaper than a Tesla, which has starting price of about $70,000  – about $100,000 for the version that can go 200 or so miles on a charge . . . if you don’t drive it very fast.

What I want to know is who the heck is buying these things? And how many of them can there possibly be?

$30,000 is a lot to pay for a battery pack. And $70,000 is a lot to pay for a car – any car.

So, I dug up some numbers.

Turns out the Tesla is the third best-selling high-end car in California (where it doesn’t get too cold, an important consideration for an electric car) just behind the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5.

Sounds good – and is touted that way by the moo-cows of the media. But how many cars did Tesla actually sell?

So far, about 4,714. Out of about 1.6 million cars sold in California annually.

And with regard to those 4,714 Teslas, “sold” is probably not quite the right word to describe a transaction that involves a $7,500 kickback from Uncle (who steals it from you and me first) plus another $5,000 kickback from the state of California, which of course has stolen it first from the poor fools out there who continue to buy Corollas and Camrys and so on at full-fare on their own nickle. California also throws in – courtesy of more of other people’s money – a “credit” for installing the high-voltage charging station the Tesla needs in order to take less than several hours to re-juice itself. The charging station costs a another couple thousand for the electrician and the necessary parts. As per Chevy Chase in Fletch, send the bill to the Underhills.

So, each Tesla “sale” costs taxpayers at least$12,500 (not counting the recharge station) in direct wealth transfer to each Tesla owner. It might be more efficient to cut Tesla the company out of the equation entirely and simply give 4,714 people “free” Fiat 500s. There could be a lottery. A new Fiat 500 only costs about $16,000 – and though it only gets 40 MPG on the highway, it can travel an almost infinite distance on the highway – and be refueled in minutes rather than hours – which the electric-impaired Tesla cannot.

So, GM wants to get in on this action.

I am hitting myself on the forehead with my shoe, Muslim-style, as I ponder the madness of it all. A madness made possible only via the insanity of government. Absent government – and its Soviet (or NS Germany, take your pick) industrial policy of funneling other-people’s-money into “investments” it deems worthy but which the market has shown no interest in… well, there would be no Tesla. No Chevy Volt, either.

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