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About Steve Bakker

Steve Bakker is a semi-retired teacher, writer, and technologist who is currently passing time by attempting to cure his ignorance as to how electric cars work.



Author Archives: Steve Bakker

What Do Elon Musk, Frodo Baggins, & Luke Skywalker Share In Common?

June 29th, 2019 | by Steve Bakker

After reserving a Model 3, I streamed every video about Tesla and Elon Musk I could get my hands on. As the information regarding Mr. Musk's background and career came streaming in, it suddenly dawned on me that the man had completed the classical tale of "The Hero’s Journey." Are you familiar with the myth? If you don’t think you are, you actually are. You just haven’t gotten around to reading any Joseph Campbell and putting a name to it. If that is the case, may I fill you in on the myth and how well Elon fits into it


Silicon Valley’s Fascinating History

June 29th, 2019 | by Steve Bakker

Pop quiz: You arrive at the annual church picnic in your brand new Tesla. You park amidst a variety of gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Having the only pure electric vehicle at the event, you are soon surrounded by a crowd of gawkers, cooing and praising your beautiful automobile. A voice in the crowd inquires about the unique motor in your Tesla, and you provide an answer that has the crowd smiling and nodding their heads up and down. Sensing your mastery of all things Tesla, another onlooker asks why Tesla Motors is so closely linked with Silicon Valley


“Never Bet Against Elon Musk”

March 1st, 2019 | by Steve Bakker

That's what one of Elon Musk’s former business partners Peter Thiel said about the man: “Never bet against Elon Musk.” And once more, against all odds, this is proving to be true. In bringing the Model 3’s price tag down to the long awaited mission target of $35,000, Tesla’s Secret Master Plan is being fulfilled. In a veritable "4th down and goal" analogy, Musk has pulled off what is arguably a Hail Mary pass to maintain sales volume, clearing the goal posts by a hair. The Holy Grail of the affordable, profitable, long-range electric car — sought after since GM developed the EV1 in the '90s — is in sight. Tesla will deservedly go down in history as the company that grabbed that brass ring


I Bought A Bolt Today — Or … Does GAS trump FUD?

February 3rd, 2019 | by Steve Bakker

Well, it was last month actually, and I didn’t outright purchase a Chevy Bolt EV, I leased one. I test drove the Bolt back in early 2017 when they first started showing up in dealer showrooms and wrote about the experience. You may know that I’m the proud owner of a day 2 reservation for a Tesla Model 3 and have been patiently waiting for the base model car to start shipping


Revisiting The Elusive $35,000 Tesla Model 3

October 29th, 2018 | by Steve Bakker

If the base Tesla Model 3 has a gender, it's likely female, because the car is as elusive as Botticelli's painting of Venus. Don't take me wrong. Anyone who has read my past articles knows I'm a pretty big fan of Tesla. The company, with all its warts, is truly changing the paradigm (a worthy use of the term in this case). It has altered the automotive manufacturing mindset and recast what's possible in the clean energy space


What Does It Mean When Everybody Is Cheating On Emissions Standards?

July 15th, 2018 | by Steve Bakker

If you’re keeping up with all the post-Dieselgate news, you know that more and more automakers — to one degree or another — are being discovered to have falsified emission standards and/or fuel economy data. Here’s a list of makers who have either admitted to emissions wrongdoing, or have been accused of it


In Search Of The $35,000 Tesla Model 3

July 2nd, 2018 | by Steve Bakker

I knew of a guru who once stated: "Cooperation plus tolerance equals peace." A simple, easy-to-understand maxim. Yet difficult to manifest. The strategy may only have a chance of working if there is faith on the part of all parties


“Open the Pod Bay Doors, HAL.” Chris Paine’s New Film On AI Explains Why The Dire Warnings Echoed In Sci-Fi Movies May Be Valid.

April 22nd, 2018 | by Steve Bakker

A movie clip shown early on in Chris Paine’s new 78 minute documentary on artificial intelligence titled Do You Trust This Computer? is from the 1968 sci-fi flick 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that the HAL 9000 super computer had defiantly chosen not to open the pod bay doors and let Mission Commander "Dave" and his dead comrade back aboard the spaceship. Instead, the all-powerful but confused mainframe had somehow gotten the notion that killing the crew is in keeping with the machine’s best interpretation of what its programmed mission is. Such a sequence in Paine’s latest film gives a strong hint of where the movie is headed


What Do Elon Musk, Socrates, Nietzsche, (And Maybe You) Share In Common?

February 25th, 2018 | by Steve Bakker

Until April 1st, 2016, the only thing I knew about Tesla Motors came from a news story reporting on an esoteric car company out of California that had appropriated the last name of famous inventor Nikola Tesla, and was marketing an awesome electric car with a price tag of $100,000. The car was clearly desirable, yet since my budget didn’t stretch to anywhere near the vehicle’s purchase price, I basically forgot about the car and the company


EV Archeology — Unearthing Key Artifacts From The Annals Of Electric Car History (Part 1)

November 20th, 2017 | by Steve Bakker

Pop quiz: What American automaker brought a pure electric car to market in the 1990s? Even a fresh-faced neophyte to the world of EVs probably knows the answer. But wait. Here’s another one: What automaker attempted to make a pure electric car in the 1960s, and again in the 1970s? Fewer may know the answer to that one. Final question: What automaker triggered a series of events in 1990 that led to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passing a mandate requiring all major automakers to have no-emissions cars be a percentage of their sales by


Future News — Dateline February 14th, 2030

September 24th, 2017 | by Steve Bakker

... With anchor Jane Curtin III. Tonight’s top story... The last automobile powered by an internal combustion engine was sent to the salvage yard today. We will have film at 11:00pm showing a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado convertible being towed into Monster Joe’s Auto & Trucks Dismantlers in Los Angeles, California. The car had been hidden in the bunker of a decommissioned Air Force Base ever since President Trump signed into law a bill confiscating all gasoline-powered vehicles from citizens during his third term in office


How I Learned To Stop Worrying About My Tesla Shares & Love The Short Sellers (Part 1)

September 9th, 2017 | by Steve Bakker

Pop quiz: You’re at an investor’s conference. The attendees are mostly “retail” investors who channel their money into stocks and mutual funds. You’re friends with a broker who works at the firm sponsoring the conference, and he has asked you to be in charge of handing out nametags to the attendees. You show up punctually to supervise all the pretty college girls who have signed up for the registration booth on the chance of zeroing in on Mr. Right. Life is good


Life Is Like A Model 3 Reservation … You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get

August 12th, 2017 | by Steve Bakker

Tesla is still not talking much about the Model 3, but everybody else is. Have you noticed a wee bit of divisiveness in discussions of the Model 3 since the employee delivery party on July 28th? What I’ve been pondering since then is how the existing gap of split opinion regarding the most anticipated car in the known universe seems to have suddenly ripped open wider than the jaws of the car crusher at Monster Joe’s wrecking yard


I Drove A Bolt Today

January 31st, 2017 | by Steve Bakker

Earlier in the month I posted an essay entitled "A Guy walks into a Chevy Dealership" which annotated the experience of contacting a number of California dealers to get a read on how they were responding to the now-in-production Bolt EV. The surprising-to-some result was that, on balance, the second iteration of a pure electric car from GM is being well received


A Guy Walks Into A Chevy Dealer…

January 11th, 2017 | by Steve Bakker

A guy walks into a local Chevy dealer. Says, “Hey, you guys got any Bolts? That’s Bolt, with a B.” In return, the guy receives blank stares from the sales staff … replaced shortly by smiles, a negatory on the Bolt, and a verbal rundown of all the great models on the lot the guy would just love, such as the Cruze, the Sonic, the Malibu, and yes, the Volt. The Spark went unmentioned



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