Auto Focus

If I were a Marxist, I might be tempted to say that the obligatory switch to electric cars is a conspiracy of the rich against the poor to enslave them yet further. (By the poor, I mean of course the relatively poor, not the absolutely destitute.)

Many of the relatively poor have old, cheap, and no doubt polluting vehicles. Many of these poor need such vehicles to go wherever they need to go. Tradesmen and craftsmen in a small way of business often have old diesel vans that will soon be prohibited; they will have to replace them with far more expensive electric types. This will have the great advantage of forcing them either to indebt themselves in order to buy them, or to go out of business altogether, thus leaving the field to larger businesses. This would be but a small step in the march to monopoly that the Marxists predict.

Of course, the justification for the transition to electric cars is that they are more environmentally “friendly,” as if the environment were a lonely person in need of being befriended (there is a lot of paganism in the environmentalist movement). And no one can deny that electric vehicles have certain advantages: In their individual capacity, they spew out less noxious gas and make less noise, so much so in fact that unfortunate pedestrians sometimes cannot hear them coming.

But the polluting effects of these vehicles are exported or transferred elsewhere, to such places as the mines to obtain the necessary metals for the batteries, the dumps for defunct batteries (surely to be located sooner or later somewhere in Africa), and the electricity-generating plants necessary to supply electricity for tens of millions of vehicles, the least polluting of all electricity generation—nuclear power—having been largely abandoned on the precautionary principle.

This is all happening at a time when new vehicles of the traditional type have never been less polluting; and the older, more polluting models were destined to disappear in any case by natural attrition. Moreover, the construction of the infrastructure necessary to ensure a sufficient electricity supply will necessitate untold billions in subsidies, with all the corruption that such subsidies usually bring in their wake. I hope I shall not be considered unduly cynical when I say that I suspect that money, or at least promises of money, may have changed hands when the headlong rush to promote or even mandate electric cars started. I have no proof of this in the forensic sense; I could not stand in a court and say I know for a fact that there has been corruption involved. But the whole thing smells to me worse than the exhaust of any ancient diesel vehicle.

Read the Whole Article