Plans To Phase Out Internal Combustion Engines Are Starting To Look Awfully Shaky

Morning Dump Global Ev Future

The future of combustion engine phase-out starts to look shakier, Ford goes retro with a new trim of F-150, India is set to launch new car safety ratings. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

More Countries Get Cold Feet On Combustion Engine Phase-Out

Ev Charging Stations Sign
Photo credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

As proposals for phasing out combustion engines draw near, countries around the world are feeling reluctant. Let’s start with the situation in the European Union. Germany has disagreed with the proposed ban, and if Germany’s defiant, then there’s a good chance more countries will start to get bold. Unsurprisingly, Reuters reports that five more European nations have banded together to delay the proposed 2035 combustion engine phase-out for both light and heavy vehicles. Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania are all pushing for a 90 percent reduction in CO2 from cars by 2035, with full reduction kicking in come 2040. For light commercial vehicles, an 80 percent cut in CO2 emissions is proposed for 2035.

According to Reuters, an unnamed Bulgarian official cited social and economic factors like “the significant differences” in purchasing power between European countries as key rationale for this pushback. Final legislation for a ban on new combustion engines is expected this month, although even that goal isn’t looking so firm right now.

On the G7 side of things, Reuters reports that Japan is pushing to remove an interim EV target from the upcoming G7 agenda. Instead of a firm target of a “collective goal of at least 50% zero-emissions vehicles by 2030,” Japan’s going a touch vague by proposing “significantly increasing the share, sale and uptake of zero-emission light duty vehicles recognizing the range of pathways that members are adopting to approach these goals.”

While a hard reduction in CO2 emissions is a noble goal, it’s going to require a lot of work to cut out fossil fuels. Honestly, I’m not even sure if that’s possible in our society. Generations have grown up enthralled with the joy of internal combustion, and while EVs make phenomenal dailies, it’s hard to replace the theater of dinosaur-powered explosions in weekend toys. While it would be nice to leave consumers to vote with their wallets, we’ll really have to see where the chips fall.

Ford Goes Two-Tone To Celebrate An Anniversary

2023 Ford F 150 Heritage Xlt 01
Photo credit: Ford

The 2023 model year is a big one for Ford as its F-Series line of pickup trucks celebrates 75 years on the market. Honestly, it’s hard to think of a nameplate that’s been cranking along continuously for that long, so it feels like something special is in order to celebrate such a milestone. Ford thinks it has just the ticket by taking the mainline F-150 XLT and throwing things back to the ‘70s and ‘80s.

2023 Ford F 150 Heritage Xlt 02
Photo credit: Ford

No, the 351 Windsor V8 isn’t back, but a set of old-school two-tone paint schemes are, as are some seriously retro seat inserts. Let’s start with paint. Race Red and Antimatter Blue get Carbonized Gray as a contrast color, while Atlas Blue, Avalance, and Area 51 get set against Agate Black. Those dark accent colors make an appearance on the roof, pillars, bumpers, and lower bodysides. Moving to the interior, Heritage Edition trucks get special striped-and-pleated seat inserts, unique embossing on the console lid, a ‘75 Years’ logo in the windshield, and a unique infotainment screen startup animation. Pricing for the 2023 F-150 Heritage Edition won’t be announced until July, but I’d be surprised if it cost an arm, leg, and firstborn. Kudos to Ford for jazzing up the mainstream XLT trim level rather than going for a higher-margin trim.

India Introduces Crash Test Rating Program

India Highway
Photo credit: “The Road Ahead!!!” by Ashok666 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

I don’t think it’s controversial to say that some sort of new car safety standards are a good idea. After all, we’re now far less likely to get thrown through windshields, crushed under flimsy roofs, and squashed in side impacts than our grandparents were. India’s road transport ministry has been watching safety programs in other countries, and it seems to have been taking notes.

Starting in April 2023, India will be rolling out Bharat NCAP, a star-based safety rating system for new cars with a capacity of eight or fewer passengers and a weight of under 3.5 tonnes (7,716 pounds). Honestly, it seems like a wise move for consumer safety. According to Reuters, the new tests will assess adult and child occupant protection, along with various active safety features. Autocar India reports that adult and child safety ratings will likely be amalgamated, a bit of a departure from most other crash testing protocols around the world. In addition, Reuters reports than India’s thinking of mandating six airbags, up from the current standard of two. Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good idea. According to The Times of India, there were 130,000 fatalities on Indian roads in 2020, so a little more consumer safety could go a long way towards saving lives. While it will take ages for all the Maruti Suzuki 800s to return to the earth, implementing new crash test ratings prevents the can from being kicked further down the road.

Genesis Pushes Back Electric G80 Launch

Genesis Electrified G80
Photo credit: Genesis

Truth be told, the Genesis Electrified G80 looks just about perfect for anyone who likes the concept of the Mercedes-Benz EQE but finds it absolutely hideous. What can I say? The electric G80 is seriously handsome, packs an estimate 282-mile range, and runs on an 800-volt architecture for properly fast 350 kW DC fast charging. There’s just one problem – it’s been hit with industry delays.

Yes, as much as we’d like to see consumers get their hands on the Electrified G80, it looks like they’re going to have to wait. Automotive News reports that this handsome sedan won’t launch until late summer or early fall. While that isn’t a massive delay by any means, it’s still a bit annoying for anyone who’s been waiting on an Electrified G80. For those who are just now aware of this lovely luxury sedan and want to get their order in, don’t worry as there’s still time. Honestly, I really want to get my hands on one of these for a week of testing. It seems to be pushing new levels of normalcy in the EV sector, which seems genuinely fascinating. Of course, 365 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque certainly don’t hurt either.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Monday, everyone. It’s the start of a brand new week. There’s been some discussion in our corporate AIM private chat room this morning about Canada’s 15-year import rule, which begs a good question. What car made between 1997 and 2007 and never sold in America would you bring in if it were legal? I won’t lie, I still want a bright orange Mk2 Ford Focus ST, although a Citroën C6 sounds equally fabulous. What’s your hypothetical pick?

Lead photo credit: Stellantis

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit

89 Responses

    1. Had one as city driver, a red metallic 1.4 from 1998 I believe and a great soundsystem CD player for 10 CD’s. Lowered with 1.5 cm and some wider tyres/tires. Sold it after 2 years for the same as I bought it. Yep, beautiful red ain’t ugly.

    2. I had a 1997 Arosa. It was good.
      I bought it for £400, used it for £4000 of expensed business mileage and sold it twice (the first guy paid for it and never collected it).
      I even dug out photos of it but we can’t upload them yet. Bah.

      1. Negative. Manufacturing did not start until late 1997. Import is by date of manufacture, not model year, and is inspected at POE. If the car does not have a permanently affixed DOM label (a la VIN tag,) then it is last day of the model year (so 12/31/1997.)

        1. Well, waiting a few months shouldn’t be a problem, but Wikipedia says Arosa production started in February 1997.
          I bought a car with a November 1996 build date last August. We skipped one ship so that it wouldn’t get here to soon and it arrived in mid-December. It doesn’t have a DOM label, but build month data is available for most Japanese cars – not sure how the broker went about proving it, though.

  1. I’d probably go for something practical-ish like a Ford Puma coupe. It looks a lot like our Escort ZX2 did, and probably drives like one too, but that’s not a bad thing, and I’d know the difference.

  2. Count me in Thomas’s corner: I want a Fiesta ST as well, and never will buy, as a used ST, based on examples I’ve seen, is about as chancy as buying a used Kleenex. Alternately, wouldn’t mind dipping deeper into the past and scoring either an Autozam AZ-1 or a Mitsubishi Dangan ZZ4.

    Interestingly, I note others ‘fessing up to their faves are all opting for ICE cars. Does no one want, say, a Lectric Leopard?

    1. I want a Lectric Leopard but it meets neither the “made between 1997 and 2007” and “never sold in America” parts of the question. In fact, I’m not aware of them having been sold anywhere except in the US.

        1. I’m looking for one that’s in reasonably good condition and, importantly, is unmodified. I’ve seen a few for sale that are described as having received an “updated” motor/controller/charger/battery system, typically followed by the assertion that “it won’t take much to get it working right.” No, thank you. Not only do I consider the original system to be of greater inherent interest but I really don’t want to be saddled with the results of someone’s speculative efforts at identifying and installing “improvements.”

    2. Maybe we should be friends then. I have a Fiesta ST I’ve been thinking of selling (though with gas now it would be hard to go back to driving the truck). Mine actually is clean and untouched. I knew if I kept my boy-racermobile clean it would be a lot easier to sell later on. You’d think others would have done the same…

    1. I like small and weird (I drive a kei car) but the Nano is a bridge too far for me. When even Indian buyers reject a car as being primitive and too small, count me out. Example: In India, the Geo Metro, in its Maruti 1000 incarnation, was considered a luxury car and manufacturing it was lambasted as a project “by the elite for the elite.”

      1. I’m approaching this from the opposite direction, as my view is that even voitures sans permis have gotten too large and too fancy over the course of the last thirty years or so. By that metric the Nano itself is admittedly too big and too luxurious but I’m prepared to overlook those flaws for the sake of its historic significance and the undeniable charm of its utter failure in the marketplace.

  3. Re: cars sold between 1997 and 2007, has a lovely Renault Avantime for sale in Quebec. A two-tone hardtop two door luxury minivan with a six speed manual and a panoramic roof? Mais oui!

  4. In fifteen years time you’ll only be able to buy a car that’s twice as expensive and half as convenient to operate. It’s the Soylent Green option. What’s the problem, you big babies? I know that death, taxes, and electric cars are a certainty. Don’t ask me to die soon. Don’t tax me to oblivion. Don’t make me buy an electric car until it’s affordable and convenient.

    1. At the current rate, that’s pretty unlikely to be an issue. Electrics are already approaching parity in some cases (Ioniq 5, Bolt). Compare that to the options 13 years ago (basically just one overpriced toy). I suspect by 2030 ICE cars won’t be competitive in a lot of segments.

  5. According to The Times of India, there were 130,000 fatalities on Indian roads in 2020, so a little more consumer safety could go a long way towards saving lives.

    Will it though? India has a population of 1.38B crammed into 3.29 square km.

    The U.S. has only 331M people spread out over 7.66 million square km yet our road fatalities were 38,824 which puts us higher per capita to India despite a far lower population density and (presumably) much better safety standards.

  6. Good points, but I don’t think your parallels are quite right.

    There’s a long history of banning things because they’re unsafe (either to other people or the environment) and because, critically, there is no robust way to put a price on that potential for harm. That’s why modern AC systems use R134a instead of R12 and all your gas is unleaded. If you think of an electrified drivetrain as the endgame of emissions control equipment, the list of precedents obviously explodes, but I’m not quite ready to go down that slippery slope.

    I live in the American southwest, which has spent the last decade providing a nice case study for the consequences of not just global warming but air pollution in general. I can’t see the Rockies on summer weekdays because of smog. There are routine stretches of summer where the outdoors are literally unlivable due to wildfire smoke.

    I don’t quite know how to price all that into the cost of a Chevy Tahoe. Neither do legislators. But we know that if the emissions status quo doesn’t drastically change, it’ll be livelihoods that drastically change (for the worse) instead.

  7. EV technology isn’t quite mature yet, the reason for the delays.

    I like the smart forfour more than I should. The first-gen A-class is cool too.
    For a fun cute lil sporty kei car, Daihatsu Copen or the Suzuki Cappuccino.
    I also like the BMW Compact E46. We got the E36 but not the E46 version.

  8. Turns out generating electricity without Russian gas is not as budget friendly as hoped.

    Japan can barely make enough power now, much less when you start plugging cars into the grid.

    Start with the infrastructure and the cars will follow. Nuclear, anyone?

    1. Japan’s attitude toward nuclear soured a bit about a decade back after a certain incident, trouble was, they closed almost every plant in the country immediately and simultaneously without any plan to replace the capacity. You can’t conserve your way out of suddenly losing ca 1/3 of your generating capacity

      They’ve brought a few back online, but kind of a drop in the bucket

  9. I would love to see Autopian do an overview of the key hurdles with EVs. What I see are:

    Charging Infrastructure
    EV Lease traps
    “Cars as a software service”
    Overall power grid capability.

    1. And battery tech with raw material supply, long term viability, fire risk, and new horizon storage that could make these cheaper.

      Although I am asking for maybe a whole different website worth of information

  10. “India Introduces Crash Test Rating Program”
    That’s great! And how will that NOT negatively impact the poor castes? Banning them from access to transportation is not going to help them.

    Ford’s announcement that they won’t allow people to renew or buy back electric vehicles from lease is just one indication that cars are going to have mandatory obsolescence just like computers and phones unless the government tells companies they need to support their products longer. At what point will we be ‘sold’ cars on the subscription model?

    I’m not paranoid, just reading the room.

  11. “Generations have grown up enthralled with the joy of internal combustion, and while EVs make phenomenal dailies, it’s hard to replace the theater of dinosaur-powered explosions in weekend toys.”

    This is an absolute BULLSHIT argument, always has been, always will be. And it perfectly encapsulates exactly why climate collapse is guaranteed at this point.
    If you took every single gasoline car in Bulgaria and threw them in the crusher tomorrow, you know how much impact you’d actually have? Fucking none.
    That shitstain politician jetting off to the G7 along with their entourage so they can whine about how it’s just too hard to do anything real so instead let’s make a bunch of empty promises we have absolutely no intention of even pretending to keep? Every one of those flights and all of those filet mignon meals generates more climate changing emissions than Joe Bulgarian’s car does in five years.
    If it’s his nice weather only toy Miata, even with an idiotic cat delete, it’s physically impossible to drive it enough to match the CO2 generated by a single politician’s trip to the G7. It literally cannot be done.
    Nevermind the actual fact that BEVs generate equivalent or greater emissions over their lifespan, which is only getting worse since they’re bringing insufficiently regulated coal-fired power plants back online to meet EV demand.
    No, it’s the consumers who are wrong.

    Definitely not the marine shipping companies (highest CO2 emissions, period,) aircraft manufacturers (over 97kg/passenger per 250 miles, and that’s based on a government study that tried to minimize the numbers,) auto manufacturers fighting tooth and nail against any sort of regulation or requirement that they reduce emissions, and 50+ person entourages jetting around the world so politicians actively campaigning to ban or cripple clean energy can show off for the cameras. Nope. It’s all the fault of Joe Bulgarian and Bob American not being able to drop six digits on a car with build quality worse than a 1980’s Ford.

    That’s literally where we’re at. And where we’ve been at for the past three goddamn decades. It’s the excuse Germany’s using to not do shit about the real problems. Like the German government forcing every nuclear plant to shut down, and responding to their over-reliance on natural gas fired power plants by restarting the non-retrofitted coal-fired power plants. Oh, and demanding consumers put on sweaters in the winter and try to stave off heatstroke without A/C in the summer even as we can see year over year extreme increases and statistically significant data saying we’re fucked everywhere in the world. (Oh and pay no attention to the $45B they paid to ‘affected companies’ in 2020 alone.)
    Are they out of touch with reality? No, no, it’s the consumers who are wrong.

    Add to this that a completely illegitimate ‘court’ is about to rule on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday. We already know where that one is going to fall; there will no longer be an EPA at all. Which was all set in motion by actions performed by the EPA to try and undo any sort of emissions controls or reductions while under Nazi control.

    If you aren’t expecting to see the worst-case nightmare scenarios in your lifetime, I hope you’re either 70 or have been told you have less than 10 years to live. Because otherwise, you’re just deluding yourself. And it’s not because some of us drive sportscars on the weekends.

    “What car made between 1997 and 2007 and never sold in America would you bring in if it were legal?”

    Ford Racing Puma. 2200lbs, Tickford/Yamaha 1.7L VCT, Alcon brakes, suspension by Stig Blomqvist, beefed up IB5 with LSD.

    1. Very well said, thanks for taking the time to write it up.

      This is where, if I knew how in this comment system, I would post the GHG emissions pie chart from Our World in Data and provide everyone’s daily reminder that all personal transportation on the planet put together accounts for less than half of the “Road Transport” category that makes up less than half of the ~30% of GHGs produced by the transportation sector. Roughly 6% total. Making all the cars magically electric tomorrow without any of the associated up-front carbon costs would save maybe half of that 6%, based on the current makeup of the electrical grid. Things that need to move are literally the LAST thing we should be expending our resources on decarbonizing, but we’re going to drive our BEVs directly to our appointment with hell.

      1. Actually, it would save far less than half of that 6% because remember, road transport also includes heavy trucks. Diesel prime movers.

        A brand new Porsche 911 GT3 emits 294g/km CO2 combined on WLTP. The least fuel efficient, most powerful model.
        Obviously we’ll give many city buses a free pass here, because even at 1000g/km CO2, if they’re carrying 50 people, that’s 20g/km/person versus maybe 147g/km/person on the GT3. School buses are a whole debate no matter what (inefficient, insufficient safety, etc.,) but they also don’t run 24x7x365 or even close to it.
        But a brand new Phase 2 or Tier IV+ prime mover? Allowed to emit over 6000g/km CO2 at 80,000lbs GCW. Or more than 20 times a Porsche 911 GT3 being driven flat out. And the majority of trucks on the road are older (pre-MY2020) and emit 7-25% more.
        And that’s not even counting the literal tens of thousands of trucks which have had all emissions equipment illegally removed to save on operating costs and repairs, or the ‘glider’ industry that exists solely to install the worst polluting engines into brand new chassis.

        Which is also why bullshit vaporware like the “Tesla Semi” and the Nikola and the like are so incredibly fucking damaging, and will never exist. You can mark my words there. A battery truck will NEVER be useful outside of a switchyard. It is physically impossible. Batteries are extremely heavy, which immediately cuts into cargo capacity, which means special handling and less cargo, which means the truck doesn’t make money. End of debate.
        “Oh but what if they fix that?” A long haul truck getting a typical 6mpg with dual 100gal tanks can travel 1,200 miles between refueling stops, or operate for nearly 20 hours non-stop. Drivers must (not may, presuming they want to keep their job) drive 11 hours at a stretch, then hand off or shut down for 10 hours. If we assume an average speed of 62.5MPH, that’s 687.5 miles per stint.

        The absolute longest range battery truck in China (see the article on excellent website The Autopian) is 200km or 125 miles. Or less than 20% of the distance before they must stop and charge or swap batteries – regardless of hours. That’s with 483HP (which is acceptable for NA long haul) and 282kWh, but a top speed of 89km/h (completely unacceptable,) and a nominal GCW of just 38,747lbs – only barely makes it Class 8. A Freightliner Cascadia with the 40K Extra Duty has a GCW of 150,000lbs, and with dual 80 gallon tanks and the Cummins X15, an operating range of 1,120 miles or 1,803 kilometers while hauling over 80,000lbs of cargo.
        Which is how much it will be driven, as often and quickly as it possibly can be legally and often illegally. Emitting more than 25 times the GHG of a typical passenger car. And to be clear: this has NOTHING to do with the fueling type. It’s about the type of vehicle and the usage.

        1. Volvo today announced they started delivery of their new electric VNR truck built just up the road from me. Press releases claim 275 mile range. With that range, my question is, when do they charge it? Loading bays at distribution centers are, understandably, built to get as many trucks backed in as possible: the 2 I’ve done work at do NOT have the room to put chargers in between the rigs (and I’ve seen a couple minor incidents in the last year in existing space due to numbers of new drivers!). So, make delivery, then pull elsewhere & charge? Time is money-and these already cost twice an ICE according to article I heard this morning.

          I am personally a bit invested: we do work at their plant, and my new sil did some design work on these before he left them, but I, like you, don’t see 1000 mile range anytime soon

    2. I like this response…I think the same way, yet unable to put it down so eloquently…I say alot of bad words in place of scientific shit. Anyways….I hear all about this phasing out ice engines….what about 3rd world countries? They don’t have the infastructor or the money to have maybe a handful in the whole country. I mean absolutely WTF?!… Is there an EV that can drive into the interior of Siberia or The Australian outback? What then? And you hit it on the head…what about these fancy cunts flying in planes all alone and shit? Or floating in their orgy boats? But my ass has to deal with a fucking battery gocart? Naw son, that isn’t happening.

      1. The exceedingly small part of me that hasn’t been poisoned by cynicism hopes these ban reconsiderations are going to build in some much-needed nuance. I’m super gung-ho on phasing out any and all fossil fuels, but to rootwyrm’s point above, Joe Bulgarian and weekend sport car drivers aren’t really the main issue here.

        Would the world be better off if families weren’t flying to Disney twice a year or driving sedans instead of equivalent crossovers? Yeah probably, but it’s hard to begrudge normal people what little escapes the modern world affords when you’ve got Bill Gates and friends flying around the world to tell each other that brown people having kids is actually our problem.

    3. This rant is so spot on. Here is a thought: let’s all put on our big boy/girl pants and figure out what to do with spent fuel rods. For chysakes, France gets 70% of its’ electricity from nuclear, and of that 10% is from recycled fuel rods. France! But NIMBY. Well dork brains pretty soon your backyard is going to be a dust bowl from lack of water and climate change. Also Finland just figured out how to store them. So besides Chernobyl, (cue appropriate music for shit Russian engineering and shoddy materials) and of course Fujiyama, (Hey let’s build an NPP in an area of likely earthquakes and tsunamis) we know they work pretty damn well. Especially when stacked against coal, natural gas, and oil.
      Currently the only folks able to be electric car ‘green’ are Tesla bots, (OMG is there an uglier car than the 3, well maybe an old Pontiac Aztec) and folks with more money than most of us. I mean really: over $100K for some of this shit? And then we can discuss our infrastructure and how we generate the power to charge all these and of course the: where will we find a place to charge all these. Australian outback LOL, middle of BF Montana? Not bloody likely.
      OK I’m all over the place here, but to sum up: We have technologies available, but no will to produce it to scale, the new shiny object is electric cars, but the cost to get one is crazy, the charging infrastructure doesn’t exist and if you live in the cold the ‘mileage’ is shit. Hybrids are genius, and with some serious engineering effort (like the space program), I’m confident we humans could figure out how to make ICE even cleaner. Conclusion: my crystal ball says we haven’t explored all possible solutions.

      1. Let’s clarify something: Fukushima Taiichi absolutely could have been built in a perfectly safe manner. Even with the earthquake and tsunami risks. It was deliberately chosen to not build it in a safe manner with adequate redundancies, and operated throughout it’s life in an unsafe and compromised manner. Specifically because TEPCO forged many, many, many documents and audits, and the Japanese regulators simply looked the other way. Which was true of every single NPP in Japan and still is.
        Nuclear absolutely requires strict, enforced, real regulation. Especially in late-stage capitalism. See also: Fukushima Daiichi.
        Meanwhile, Canada has the CANDU design which has proven over the course of decades to be among the safest – if not the safest – reactor design both from a operating, failure, and non-proliferation standpoint. And can burn many more kinds of fuel than traditional BWR/PWR, such as spent fuel.

        We’ve had hybridization for… let me check here… carry the 20… OVER A HUNDRED AND EIGHT YEARS. Diesel locomotives aren’t diesel driven – they’re diesel generators with electric trucks. And they entered mainline service 98 years ago. Hydrogen has drawbacks – lots of them – but the fact is that it works. It’s proven technology. Emissions are just about as good as you can possibly get. Hybrid drivetrains are the only solution that ever made sense, and we’ve known that for a century.

    4. While I do agree with the fact that efforts NEED to me made in sectors such as air travel (of which we should cut back significantly), and on the hipocrisy of politics, I still believe effort should be made by everyone to cut back on CO2 emissions, including buying EVs.

      I took a small survey to analyze my way of life’s carbon foot print, and it came out at about 8 tonnes of CO2 a year. Of these, 2.5 were due to my driving, which is the most significant contributor to my emissions. Keep in mind that that I have made significant changes to my life style in the last years (no more flying for the holidays, all organic food, 2nd hand electronics, waste free groceries, going 70% vegetarian…) and I still fall short of my “carbon budget” by 4.5 tonnes ( ).

      So while I do agree that everyone needs to start pulling their weight on that issue (the rich, the transport industry, the industry overall), the fact that some actors are not is no reason not to try to pull ours as consumers. Basically we have to reach a situation where everyone is super frugal, and saying X accounts only for Y% of emissions to justify inaction is not a valid argument in my eye.

      Now that’s something I can pursue thanks to my income, which is not the case for everyone, and that’s why fighting climate change also means fighting social injustice. But if I can, I should, and driving an EV for my commute (maybe a clapped out Renault Zoé) isn’t a big sacrifice as I’ll still cruise in my Datsun on weekends (once it’s restored!) and track my bimmer a few times a year.

  12. The contradiction I’ve never understood is:

    If EVs are superior to combustion engined vehicles, why is a mandate necessary? Horses were never banned; consumers decided for themselves that cars were better and horses went away. The same goes for computers taking over for typewriters, email replacing faxes, cell phones replacing land lines, etc.

    If EVs are not superior, then why do democratically elected governments think they will get away with forcing everyone into an inferior alternative? Cigarettes, alcohol, junk food, assault rifles, etc all have negative externalities associated with their purchase, but they are all legal, albeit regulated to some degree. What makes a combustion engine so uniquely bad that justifies a ban?

    1. >>What makes a combustion engine so uniquely bad that justifies a ban?

      They’re noisy and they pollute the immediate surroundings, even ignoring CO2 and its climate implications.

      Ever notice how buildings in cities are blackened from soot? It’s not from burger joints.

      All that said, I do agree that a mandate is heavy-handed and will likely not be necessary by the time they go into effect.

      EV/Battery tech is progressing at a pace similar (though not as fast, I’ll admit) to PCs in the late 90s. Soon it’ll be like comparing a 486 to an iPhone, it won’t even be a contest as to which is better. IMO it already isn’t.

      1. I’ve never heard anyone accuse the horse and buggy lobby of benefitting from billions of subsidy dollars that artificially inflated the relative cost of gasoline vehicles a century ago. That’s a big difference. Maybe eliminating oil and gas subsidies would be better than adding EV subsidies to be able to compete, but we’ve seen how viable that seems to be so far

      2. The soot on buildings is mostly from the burning of coal and pulverized coal town gas decades ago, it’s why there’s been an ongoing trend over the past 40-50 years to gradually clean the facades of old masonry buildings, and why, once clean, they tend to stay that way. An example is Philadelphia City Hall, by the time it was finished in 1901, the lower floors were already stained black from soot, the first time anybody ever saw the whole building in it’s actual white color was when it was cleaned in the early 2000s, but that was 20 years ago now, and it’s still white. You still get some soot staining from diesel trucks along heavy trucking routes, but the visible impact from car exhaust is negligible these days. Wouldn’t be any economic justification for facade cleaning otherwise, buildings never got cleaned 100 years ago, because everyone realizes they’d just stain again almost immediately, but it’s practical to do now, since you know the results will last a good long time

        1. Keep in mind that that I have made significant changes to my life style in the last years (no more flying for the holidays, all organic food, 2nd hand electronics, waste free groceries, going 70% vegetarian…) and I still fall short of my “carbon budget” by 4.5 tonnes

          I think the only folks who have any hope of meeting such goals are the permanently homeless.

    2. Societies ban many things and give tax breaks to try to encourage behaviors all the time. Mortgage interest deduction – a huge tax break for people wealthy enough to buy a house. Thank you renters for subsidizing us home buyers. There is a ban on many ozone destroying chemicals because we found out that if we kept using R-12 and the like we could make a big enough hole in the ozone layer to damage all life on the planet. I’d be happy if we taxed fossil fuel use to fund the cost of the externalities created by dumping CO2 into the atmosphere but we don’t have the political will to do that because the effects happen so slowly. Why don’t we have lead in gasoline and paint anymore? It was slowly poisoning all of us. Did I see the ozone hole impacts where I lived – no. Did I loose a few IQ points due to lead in paint and gasoline – probably but it is hard to tell. We can’t continue to use the atmosphere as a dump for pollutants. EVs are not perfect (mining and generating electricity are not perfectly clean and never will be) but they are much better for the planet than fossil fuel powered vehicles and getting cleaner each time another coal plant is replaced by solar or wind turbines.

      1. “Mortgage interest deduction – a huge tax break for people wealthy enough to buy a house. Thank you renters for subsidizing us home buyers.”

        That’s not really how that works at all. The people who aren’t “wealthy enough to buy a house” aren’t paying taxes either. The mortgage interest deduction is new homebuyers being subsidized by older homeowners.

        1. The mortgage interest deduction is more accurately a tax break for those wealthy enough to pay for a home that costs them more in interest per year than the $25K standard deduction. Plenty of homeowners haven’t benefitted from it since 2017.

          1. Agreed. According to the Tax Foundation the mortgage interest tax deduction is really for folks making a lot of money: “In 2018, less than 4 percent of taxpayers earning less than $50,000 will claim the deduction, and these taxpayers will receive less than 1 percent of the tax expenditure’s overall benefits. Taxpayers making over $200,000 will make up 34 percent of claims and take 60 percent of the benefits.”

    3. @v10omous Not saying there isn’t merit to what you laid out, but climate change impacts everyone yet is hard to pinpoint how any one individual’s actions contribute. Using policies to switch to zero-emission vehicles is the only way to speed the technology change faster than the “free market” approach you laid out for horses. Is it perfect? Hell no. Our grid is too dirty in the US currently, but at least we can update that in parallel to switching to EVs. Is it right to put all our eggs in the EV basket instead of looking at hydrogen fuel cells or other tech? Probably not. But we’re out of time for no intervention. Our kids and grandkids are already hosed, the climate is changing, and it’s all about reducing the damage at this point, not preventing it at all.

      Is targeting ICE vehicles going to solve it? Definitely not. It’s one piece of the puzzle and one of the most easy to put back on consumers instead of large companies. There are many larger single-point contributors like cruise ships that we should also be going after. So is it fair? Not really. Is it the right thing to do? I guess that’s up to you, but I think it is.

    4. It’s not that the internal combustion engine is uniquely bad, it’s that its incredibly good and hydrocarbons are so damn energy dense and easy to deal with. Even with only a 30%ish efficiency of the ICE a tank of gas takes us for hundreds of miles, weighs very little and can be refilled in just a few minutes for relative cheap.

      Ev’s on the other hand ARE incredible, I own one and it’s the best driving experience day to day I have ever experienced. The downside is energy storage is very difficult and although the car is very efficient, it is so limited in the amount of energy it can hold at the moment. Charging and other things also are difficult in some ways, although so much better in some ways. At home charging is game changing!

      This is incredibly difficult to overcome, when the ICE technology is just so damn good. I think at some point EV will be the preferred drivetrain just because it is soo good and getting better, but it’s just not quite there yet and therefore governments seem to think mandates are the only way to move forward.

      1. This is pretty much my point.

        I can’t think of a significant example of a superior technology being banned in favor of an inferior alternative because of political or environmental reasons. Maybe Freon?

        Maybe by 2035 or 2040 EVs and batteries will be superior to ICEs in all use cases, but that seems speculative at best, wishful at worst, and again, if it does come to pass then a ban won’t be needed.

        1. The problem is that the ICE engine’s negatives are all externalized, unlike smoking or Big Macs. The market only works when the buyer pays the price; when it comes to cars the bill is paid by future generations and the disappearance of the animal world. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my cars, but I don’t love having to use them to get to work. I also sincerely doubt that EVs will be able to fully replace ICE engines or if that’s even desirable.

        2. The issue is that unlike the typewriter, ICE vehicles have unpaid negative externalities related to emissions, climate change, air quality, health, etc. I’d rather see these societal costs accurately charged for all vehicles, including road damage, carnage, and true infrastructure costs, for both ICE and EVs and let that drive the market (and car ownership in general) than some arbitrary restriction. Hmm, free markets and “pay your own way”…that sounds almost libertarian.

          1. The problem with this argument is that for every “unpaid negative externality” there are probably 5x as many external benefits.

            If you monetize the external effects, be prepared to see the costs reflected in all the things about your daily life that are indirectly made possible by the use of combustion around you.

            “Hmm, free markets and “pay your own way”…that sounds almost libertarian.”

            Yeah, yeah. Make something sound libertarian so you can sell a concept to somebody by catching them in a perceived fallacy or hypocracy. Classic. Free markets don’t exist. Even if they’re a good theory, your fake market for the costs you decided to monetize wouldn’t be one of them. Driving your desired social change by making the implementation look like a market isn’t a strategy that has ever been successful at winning hearts and minds. The people you think are dumb aren’t as dumb as you think they are.

          2. Don’t disagree with this, but the simple truth is that many things with negative externalities (cigarettes, alcohol, semiauto rifles, opioids) are legal. That even goes for other things that cause CO2 pollution (plane tickets, cruise ships, diesel generators, large houses with large HVAC needs). So why is it only my car they are coming for?

            1. For sure – which is why the market would work when energy costs increase. Went shopping yesterday and three empty cars were in the parking lot with their engines running and air conditioners on. I didn’t even care to count the number of running cars with a person inside, not to mention that the supermarket is kept at 62F: Clearly energy is too cheap, even with $5 gas…

              1. Some anecdotes:
                from October until April, kids near me are being driven a couple of blocks to their bus stop so they can sit in the idling car instead of standing outside for a short while.

                Recently I took the cape may- Lewes ferry. The SUV next to us on the ferry idled for the entire ~90 minute journey on a day in the mid 70s despite plentiful climate controlled passenger space.

                This sort of wastage makes my blood boil, but still, individual usage can’t compare to industrial/commercial energy usage

              2. “Clearly energy is too cheap, even with $5 gas…”

                Depends on the person. I severely curtailed my driving when the pandemic hit and haven’t returned since. I estimate I drive maybe 4k miles/year now, maybe less. I do as many local trips as possible by bike which I guesstimate as a bit under 2k/year but climbing. This includes Home Depot runs. No need to drive there just for a box of decking screws and a gallon of paint. As a bonus I’ve lost quite a bit of weight. I also feel much younger on the bike and have gained a lot of leg power.

                When I do drive my fuel efficient 4 cylinder microvan I plan out my trip to group as many cargo heavy errands together as possible. I rigorously follow the posted speed limit and I keep my MPG oriented tires inflated slightly over doorjam psi. I even shut off my engine at lights. Whereas pre pandemic I used to fill up every 7-10 days now it’s 4-6 weeks, maybe 7 if the weather is good. My ultimate goal is to empty my tank just before the gas goes stale. I sure as Hell don’t idle my empty car in parking lots.

                (I may be an outlier though.)

            2. I agree with others that greenwashing the political posturing play a role. Tobacco and alcohol are somewhat close as they often have taxes that go to treatment and harm mitigation. Something like rifle insurance against illegal use would be interesting. But you are right that nearly nothing in the US and in much of world is accurately priced/tax to account for the full impact to society. It is the rich offloading costs on the poor/underrepresented. I think I lost my libertarian badge…

    5. Infrastructure. Infrastructure. Infrastructure.

      The weakest point in EV mandates is infrastructure. Until we have EVs that charge as fast as a trip to the gas station, and/or a charging hookup in every home parking stall, mandates just don’t make sense. Yes, it’s a good goal to look towards, but the reality is we don’t have the infrastructure to support it.

      Also the power grid. Especially in the desert southwest, where hydro power is drying up, where is all the extra juice going to come from?

      1. “Especially in the desert southwest, where hydro power is drying up, where is all the extra juice going to come from?”

        I can’t think of a better place for solar panels than the desert southwest, yet their elected rulers are actively trying to prevent them from happening. I guess when they all go back to lamp oil they can truly live like the good book says.

    6. My optimistic side says it’s a way to encourage EV development.

      My cynical side just thinks it’s a low effort way to appear green without actually doing anything, much like a carbon tax.

      Honestly, it’s probably the latter, I think EVs would start to get increasingly dominant anyway as companies try to get a piece of Tesla’s “EVs are cool” cachet, and a lot of the mandates showed up after many of the high-profile EVs started to be announced.

      1. Not cynical – accurate. Our lazy politicians attempt satisfy their base by shouting about new laws, only to quietly roll them back a few years later. EV’s are great. (I own a PHEV.) But, we aren’t nearly far enough along to mandate them, both from a manufacturing POV and an infrastructure POV.

        Any politician that was 100% behind this, and other impossible to achieve mandates should be voted out. Maybe then we can start having honest conversations.

Leave a Reply