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I am well on record here (and elsewhere) as saying that the electric car is dead — or at least, certain to die. And I am (and was) right, on the merits as an engineer sees things: electric cars cannot compete with normal cars using normal metrics relating to price, performance, etc.
But, as anyone who sees how people actually spend their money can tell you, people often do not make purchase decisions based on value for money. When I predicted the death of electric cars, I had not yet fully understood how incredibly wealthy we are as a society, that millions of people will happily and knowingly buy a car like a woman might buy a purse or a pair of shoes: because it tells the new owner (and their friends) something about that person. The utility value is not what drives the purchase. Instead, the car is a symbol first and foremost: the utility of the vehicle is much less important.
For me, this has been an epiphany, albeit a long time coming. And it means that Europe’s incredibly stupid regulations to ban all gasoline cars (hybrid and pure-gasoline alike) might actually come to pass. Not because such a ban is necessary, or good (for people or for the planet). No, the ban might actually come into force because we are rich enough to not need value for money. We can, as a society cripple ourselves to maximize our non-economic goods – virtue signaling, eco-worship, or whatever we want to call it.Published in