Money makes the world go around - and why electric cars will just be a fringe industry

Money makes the world go around - and why electric cars will just be a fringe industry

So here is my basic premise

Exxon mobil, chevron, bp, etc etc collectively 'big oil' makes billions a year. They are huge contributors to the politicians and therefore it's in everyone best interest to maintain the status quo with ice.

But the bigger issue here is the military. If we didn't send billions a day to places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, venezuala and other countries where most of the people (or at least the leaders) hate westerners and at least a small, but lethal, minority actually want to see us killed, there would be no reason to have nearly as big an army as we do.

So in other words big oil isn't an end to itself, it also is a necessity to support the large military machine weve created.

If the tea party was serious about shrinking deficits, they would advocate 100% electric car usage and then we could shrink the army in half.

And for those of you with family in the military or relatives from new York, this isn't some fantasy. This is real life.

What a sick society we live in. We send countries with a stated interest in killing up billions a day and then spend billions a day defending ourselves against them and sending our children to die.

I can't understand why someone (certainly more eloquent than me) can't put together a cogent discussion on this topic and get the country talking. This isn't that complicated.

Look - a new topic with no reference to center consoles.....

Timo | March 22, 2012

You have your headline a bit wrong: "will just be" -> "have just been".

Technology has reached a point now where ICE age is going to end. It's new era where technology companies rule, instead of old big ones. Oil is still big and stays big, but it doesn't have much future in fuels, oil is much better used in other products (oil is major ingredient in far more products than just fuels).

This technology can't be ruled by governments, because its already out there and market forces drive it forward. If government steps in front of technology it gets crushed. In US case that crushing might take few years, but eventually it will happen when other world goes ahead in technology.

Note that this has nothing to do with environment or "green values", electric cars are just plain better. Efficiency saves resources and resources cost money. Wasted energy is wasted money. In the end it is money that will be in favor of new technology and that makes electric cars a winner.

harryjsommer | March 22, 2012

When I'm up late at night, I sometimes muse about what would have happened if al gore was allowed to serve the presidential term he won. what would his response have been to 9/11. Instead of spending a trillion dollars on two unwinable wars, maybe half that on ev technology and infrastructure

Governments can help solve problems. But only if focused correctly.

I'm not a left wing nut, I promise. But im passionate about this one item.


andrewmfallon | March 22, 2012

Harry - I'm from Florida and voted for Gore so you can imagine how I feel! Still haven't gotten over it.

stephen.pace | March 22, 2012

Actually, SNL gave us a glimpse into this parallel universe where Al Gore won:

"The glaciers are on the attack!" :-)

TikiMan | March 22, 2012

Here is the way I see it...

First off, oil has had HUGE negative impacts on our society over the last few decades, and as time goes on, it will further put our nation is greater peril. Some might disagree with me on this, however, the 9/11 attacks on America, and the wars that have proceeded, including the threat of Iran building a nuke WMD, is ALL in direct relation to our addiction to oil.

Our nation is broke, our credit downgraded, and our dollar is nearly on the verge of losing its place as the main global trade currency. Our addiction to oil might soon cost us the END of our way of life here in the USA as we know it! Soon we 'might' wake up and find that all the money, stocks, bonds, IRA’s, 401k’s, et al we have been working so hard to save, become nearly worthless! If you think the housing bubble and recession over the last few years was bad, this will be catastrophic on a level no one will be able to comprehend, and we will see our once great nation turned into 1930’s America overnight!!!!

However, if our nation can start pulling out of these wars and excessive spending, and stay out of any future wars, we could very well save our dollar, reduce our debt, and save our nation! However, we CAN NOT do it without reducing our addiction to foreign oil! That is where alternative energy is KEY to saving our nation!

Sure ICE vehicles will be around for a few more decades, however, the pure ICE vehicle will soon see the way of the dinosaur over the next ten years, as more and more auto-makers add hybrid technology to increase fuel efficiency, and stricter and stricter emission laws are passed to decrease greenhouse gasses.
I see pure EV autos more like the way hybrid autos were introduced to us (via Toyota and Honda) just over ten years ago. Not everyone owns one; however, they are a dominant alternative that has spawned almost all auto-makers to add one (or more) model to their innovatory.

Soon ALL auto-makers will have an pure EV vehicle available (let’s just hope and pray sooner than later, for the sake of our nation)

olanmills | March 22, 2012

It's not up to us or even companies like Tesla to change these things overnight. And I don't think you can or should worry about it. Tesla could be the start of something, true, but it's not going to single-handedly chagne the world.

Electric cars are/were a fringe industry because there was always some kind of compromise. And even with the Model S, there still is some, but overall, electric cars will attract all consumers when they are seen as just plain better cars. Price and/or gas savings is just one factor. Look at all of the technology the Model S has. Some of it could work in ICE cars, but a lot of the technology in the Model S only works because it is electric and it was built from the ground up as an electric.

We don't need to get the country talking. Even with the fear of $5 gas coming, that's not going to crush the economy. Electric cars will eventually become a more viable competitor to ICE cars and then eventually take them over as the car of choice, but that change takes times. Whole industries have died before as new technology has disrupted it. This is not the first tiem and it won't be the last.

You should just worry about buying what you like, what fits you, what you can afford.

phb | March 22, 2012

Great thread. My two primary reasons for buying a Model S? J.P., age 4 and Ben, age 2. In far fewer years than I like to think about they'll sign up for the Selective Service and I'll hold my breath for a decade or so. My fear is that some country will decide to cut us off from oil and we'll have no choice but to go take it from them by force. If we're proactive now we can avoid all that.

Am I worrying about an extremely remote possibility? Maybe, but it's happened before that nations have gone to war over natural resources and it'll probably happen again. High gas prices are scary but not nearly as scary the high price of having to fight a war (or another one depending on your POV) over it.

prash.saka | March 24, 2012

@phb: we'll have no choice but to go take it from them by force. I think I saw this movie before :)

For me, it is not about oil or politics or wars or national security or whatever. My most important criteria is decreasing pollution.

I want to have a cleaner future. I am thinking of getting a few solar panels installed and changing the Model S with that. Of course, I will have to store the solar energy somewhere first as my Model S will be charged overnight.

~ Prash.

BYT | March 24, 2012

@prash, I put panels on my roof in anticipation for my Model S, with the little cost in charging it overnight, it actually works out better or at least the same to charge it overnight at the much lower electricity rates (supply and demand) then during the day when the panels are churning electricity and hopefully selling some back to the power company at the higher rate.

prash.saka | March 24, 2012

@BYT, thanks for the information.

I completely forgot that the unconsumed electricity generated from the solar panels can be added to the grid. And when I charge the Model S at night, I can (for the sake of simplicity) take back that electricity, which was earlier added to the grid.

Good good good!

~ Prash.

Liz G | March 24, 2012


We are also installing solar panels on our roof in anticipation of getting the S. Thanks to the current gov regs our electric company is required to produce so much electicity via renewable resources. So instead of building their own wind or solar, they are paying homeowners to install solar panels. We are looking at getting a 9kwh system for a final cost of around $2000. Charging my S will be almost free.

Lovin' it!

Klaus | March 24, 2012

Wow Liz. Unlike Florida which promised to pay half of my 5kw system and reneged. It took nearly 3 years to pry at least $10000 out of them. Fortunately the Federal government covered a third of the cost. I'm still out a bunch. Initial cost was $42800. With a deal like yours, I could add to my system to cover all my needs and still charge my S for free. :(

ddruz | March 24, 2012

I can attest to the fact that installing PV to power your electric car gives you a spectacular feeling. I am driving a Leaf in the interim till my Model S arrives. I power it and my house entirely with PV. It is a JOY to drive my car now knowing that it is powered completely by the sun. I encourage anyone thinking about PV to very seriously consider it not just for the fabulous environmental benefits but also for how it makes you feel behind the wheel.

Sudre_ | March 24, 2012

Hey Liz I thought the deal was for materials and the owner still covered the entire cost of labor in MO?

BYT | March 24, 2012

Material costs are the bulk of any solar installation. Those panels are pricey and labor in retrospect isn't so bad.

Brian H | March 24, 2012

"My fear is that some country will decide to cut us off from oil and we'll have no choice but to go take it from them by force." Relax. The world oil market is so "fungible" that such gestures are meaningless. If Country A is cut off, the oil will go to B & C -- freeing up the oil they would have bought elsewhere. So A buys that instead.

Further, the resources of US and Canada are seriously underdeveloped so far, and are expanding very fast -- especially once the O-witz is gone, and the bans on every major producing region he can block are eased or lifted. Plus, NG is going to displace many oil (and coal and even nuclear) applications because the price is set to stay so low (~$2.50) for many decades.

IMO, the "oil" motivation for war is not national supply, but denying the financial leverage it affords to unsavory regimes.

Liz G | March 24, 2012

What we've been told is that once the system goes on line and Ameren certifies it then we will receive from Ameren a check for $2.00 per watt or roughly $18,000. Then there is an addition SREC credit that we will recieve for roughly $5000. Plus we get the federal tax credit which will be around $12,000. So that will leave us roughly $2000 that we actually pay, though will have to come up with most of the money up front. My husband's been working with the rep on this and according to the rep everything is covered.Also, I read all of the documents on the Ameren site and nothing indicated that labor was excluded.

We are waiting for the final numbers to come thru and the approval from Ameren. Once we have that we will know exactly what the cost will be. I'll let you know if we turn up any catches.

prash.saka | March 25, 2012

That is great that you will be able to get your expenses reimbursed. You surely did quite a bit of research on this topic. Thanks for sharing; it will be helpful when we try to finalize on installing solar panels.

Up until now, I was thinking of leasing the solar panels (from SolarCity, which is run by Elon's cousins) instead of purchasing and installing them. This way, there is no upfront cost associated. All that changes is the company to which I write the check. Now, with all the federal and state energy credits that you mentioned, I have to re-think my strategy.

I agree with you. I can't wait for solar power. It was literally in front of our eyes, and sad that it took us so long to start harvesting the power of sun.

~ Prash.

xhawk1011 | March 25, 2012

Notable absence of lunatic tea party retort on this thread....

Sudre_ | March 25, 2012

Good luck Liz. If your plans work out I will look at getting solar. I guess the difference now is all the experienced contractors now know how to make the money system work. I remember one system that my company installed (but not designed) had to keep getting redesigned at the end of the project to meet certain requirements to get the credits that were out at the time. That was several years ago so everything has probably changed now.

ddruz | March 25, 2012

prash.saka, While the fed tax credit is the same for all in the US each state is different. It really does pay to check out the cost to buy now vs leasing given the current government incentives. There is no guarantee the incentives will be around for any length of time. But you won't regret PV no matter how you do it. Good luck.

Liz G | March 25, 2012

Prash, ddruz is right. You should really take a look. I knowsome of the incentives I'm gettiing are coming from a limited fund, so if we don't act fast we will miss it if it runs out of money.

jackhub | March 25, 2012

Interesting little side light here. All of the major oil companies with the exception of Exxon have made multi-billion dollar investments in alternative energy. the largest investor in alternative energy aside from the big oil companies is DARPA. There is a strategic advantage to not hauling gasoline around a battlefield. That suggests a tipping point.

EdG | March 25, 2012

I've heard one of the biggest researchers into global warming - and how to stop it - is the US Navy. Their bases just happen to all be at sea level and would all be hit hard by a sea level rise. Perhaps they're behind DARPA using the assumption that burning fossil fuels doesn't help the situation.

Brian H | March 26, 2012

Sea level rise rate for last 8 yrs: 1.3"/century. A devastating impact on the USN is anticipated.

EdG | March 26, 2012

Global warming may or may not be a problem. The Navy is doing research for "defensive" reasons.

David M. | March 26, 2012

I love to discuss politics. But not on the Tesla Forums. OK?
How about finding another place to do that.

EdG | March 26, 2012

Sorry. Tesla and reasons for research into alternative fuels have nothing to do with each other. My bad.