SolarCity

The crony capitalism of electric cars

Eric Peters discusses the crony capitalism of Elon Musk:

If Elon Musk?s various projects are so fabulous, why do they all need government ?help??

Musk will tell you all about the virtues of his Tesla cars. They are sleek and speedy. This is true. But they are also very expensive (the least expensive model, the pending Model X, will reportedly start around $35K, about the same price as a luxury sedan like the Lexus ES350).

The real problem with Tesla cars is that no one actually buys them. Well, not directly.

Their manufacture is heavily subsidized ? and their sale is heavily subsidized. Either way, the taxpayer is the one who gets the bill.

On the manufacturing end, Tesla got $1.3 billion in special ?incentives? from the state of Nevada to build its battery factory there. This includes an exemption from having to pay any property taxes for the next 20 years. Another inducement was $195 million in transferable tax credits, which Tesla could sell for cash. California provides similar incentives, including $15 million to ?create jobs? in the state.

Tesla does not make money by selling cars, either. It makes money by selling ?carbon credits? to real car companies that make functionally and economically viable vehicles that can and do sell on the merits ? but which are not ?zero emissions? vehicles, as the electric Tesla is claimed to be.

Laws in nine states require each car company selling cars in the state to sell a certain number of ?zero emissions? vehicles, else be fined. Since only electric cars qualify under the law as ?zero emissions? vehicles ? and the majority of cars made by the real car companies are not electric cars ? they end up having to ?purchase? these ?carbon credits? from Tesla, subsidizing Tesla?s operations.

The amount Tesla has ?earned? this way is in the neighborhood of $517 million.

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Has Radio NZ misled listeners through failure to disclose conflicts of interest

Yesterday Radio NZ ran a piece about electricity prices.

 

It was promoted likes this:

The former head of the country’s biggest power company says electricity prices will fall to a third of their current level in a little over a decade because of the spread of solar power.

Keith Turner claimed in that interview that very soon a combination of solar power and batteries would be cheaper than grid power.

That may well be, but I am reliably informed that solar power currently costs about 20 cents/kWh and, further according to recent NZ research, it costs more than 50c to store surplus energy in batteries.

There is currently no technology on the horizon that can reduce the cost of solar power by a factor of 4 and battery storage by a factor of more than 10. ? Read more »

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