Let’s say that, for some reason, you really don’t want humans to drive in cleaner, more enjoyable, more exciting, safer, better electric cars. How do you go about slowing down the transition? Below are prescriptions for three different groups (automakers, the media, and investors) that could pitch in and do their part to delay the transition.
- Whatever you do, don’t admit that electric cars are ready to crush gasoline cars in performance. Certainly, do not produce a fully electric car that puts your gasoline cars to shame.
- When the media asks you about electric cars, say that you support their development and are working on them, but also claim that they are too expensive, don’t have enough range, and customers don’t want them. (Ignore the fact that this is all basically because of how you’ve approached electric cars and the products you’ve created.)
- When advertising, target a tiny niche group of hippies and don’t focus on the better drive quality, acceleration, smooth ride, or greater convenience (home charging) of your electric cars.
- Very critically, do not work hard to scale up battery production, and only make token baby steps (as a sign of “effort”) to roll out or help roll out fast charging.
- For that matter, act like 50 kW DC charging is fast charging and don’t touch anything over 100 kW for as long as possible.
- If forced to produce more electric cars in certain markets, make most of them plug-in hybrids with small batteries that take away from key benefits of EVs (like smooth acceleration, not having to go to a gas station, etc.), or even tell customers not to buy them. (But try not to admit that electric cars would destroy the competitive advantages and finances of your business.)
- If a fully electric car producer comes along with a competitive product, act like the company is a niche player that you don’t pay any attention to, and criticize any downside (no matter how small) of its cars.
- When writing generic stories about electric cars, ignore their instant torque (which you’ve probably not experienced anyway, so is easy to ignore), the convenience of home charging, and the smooth and quiet ride they offer. Focus on any limitations you can think up, and frame the cars as being for people who hug trees on a regular basis and don’t care about much else.
- Highlight any dangers or downsides of batteries and make them sound worse than the dangers and downsides of extracting and burning fossil fuels. (Also ignore that we don’t seem to have any problem using batteries for our computers, tablets, phones, etc., and would much rather do so than run polluting engines on these devices in order to do use them. And ignore that we will be able to reuse batteries for stationary storage and/or recycle the vast majority of what’s inside of them.)
- If an electric car company pops onto the scene, cover the ways in which it could go bankrupt. (Cherry pick if you must.)
- If anything ever goes wrong with one of this company’s electric cars, blow the problem completely out of proportion. (For example, if a single car catches fire, write a series of articles about this without mentioning that it is 5x more common for a gasoline car to catch on fire … and that the fire in a gasoline car is harder to contain, is less likely to let the driver out unharmed, and is thus more dangerous. Ignore that the driver whose car caught fire immediately says he wants another one of the same model and is thankful for the industry-leading safety measures of this electric car.)
- If the electric carmaker decides to lead in other areas as well, portray the leadership as risky, reckless, and irresponsible. (For example, if it has the most advanced autonomous driving system on the planet, which has multiple times been shown to prevent an accident, go absolutely ballistic if 1 person is killed while this autonomous driving system is on. Ignore statistics showing that the rate of death among drivers not using, let’s say, “Autopilot” is higher than the rate of death among drivers using it.)
- When writing about an electric carmaker’s financials and stock, obsess over losses while ignoring the money being put into growth and ludicrously fast development of core competitive advantages.
- All of a sudden, become concerned about subsidies — write long, out-of-context, misleading articles about a small portion of subsidies that go toward electric cars or electric carmakers, while ignoring the trillions of dollars in subsidies that go toward fossil fuels every year. (Make sure it looks like you’ve objectively and carefully crunched the numbers — especially if you haven’t.)
- Ignore the financial, health, and livability threat of global warming at all costs.
- If you are going to skip that suggestion and write about the climate, make it seem like electric cars (despite having no direct, tailpipe emissions) are actually dirtier than gasoline cars because there are coal power plants on the grid. Ignore that renewable energy dominates new power capacity (99% in Q1 2016 in USA), that electric cars are already greener than Toyota Prii almost everywhere anyway, and that electrification of transport is a critical element of any plan to keep warming below 2° Celsius (not that your readers/viewers know why that’s important).
- Assuming an electric carmaker tries to enter the scene, mock it for only producing a small number of handmade, expensive sports cars. Short the stock.
- If this carmaker grows up a bit, focus on any growing pains and predict its pending doom — maybe even throw in a countdown clock to bankruptcy/death. Short the stock.
- If the carmaker is persistent and produces a class-leading — even industry-leading … in all of history — product, according to both reviewers and customers, don’t mind the hype and start calling everyone who writes positive things about the company a fanboy or fangirl. Short the stock.
- If the carmaker won’t stop growing, and pumps a great deal of cash into faster growth, act like it will run out of money tomorrow, collapse, and leave a crater the size of Texas as a nearly eternal scar on the planet. Short the stock.
- If the company decides to expand into complementary industries, portray that as reckless, a recipe for bankruptcy, pointless, and idiotic. Short the stock.
- If the company has to implement a resale value guarantee in order to obtain competitive financing options for its customers, and GAAP accounting has a warped way of recording that which makes essentially no sense to the finances or viability of the business, argue that using non-GAAP financing to fix the problem is a slick way of tricking, robbing, and pillaging investors before an inevitable bankruptcy. Short the stock.
If all of the above fails, maybe it’s time to find a new job….
Image Credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0)
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