But don’t fret because… because…. well, because the tools at Jalopnix love it [and China] like good little drones. Sandy Munro Attempts To Demystify The Absurdly Low Cost Of The Changli
Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky ordered what has to be the world’s cheapest new, fully functional electric vehicle, from a Chinese manufacturer called Changli for just $930 ($1,200 with the battery pack included). Sure, with shipping, the price for it delivered to his house in the U.S. soared to nearly $3,000, but even at that price it doesn’t seem like the worst deal in the world. But overall it could become the worst car in the world.
Remember “Cash for Clunkers?” Here’s a trip down my own memory lane written in 2010:
Once again my vision for a new green America takes a giant step thanks to the current government of “really smart people:” Cash for Clunkers May Cost Up to $45,354 Per Vehicle. Sooner or later, the Obama Administration is going to have to implement my fiendish plan from 2005:
When we wake up on that shining morning, we will discover that all our internal combustion vehicles have been replaced with exact hybrid replicas that run on a combination of electrical power, sunshine, moonshine, and the flatulence of politicians, ecologists, and other bovines.
The Didik: Rejoice! Your Government’s Car is Here to Help You Kill Global Warming. Varoooonk!
I know saturation pollution first hand. I was born in Los Angeles in the smog of the late 40s. Electric cars were either long forgotten or not yet envisioned.LA was Smogville for Angeleans at that time. I can remember walking to school in smog so thick it seemed that my father would march in front of us with a machete. Black flakes of soot settled on the white enamel of my mother’s stove as she cursed the black streaks in the collars of my father’s starched white Hathaway shirts. The air, on the clear days, was best described as “ocher.”
Now a haze still lingers over Los Angeles, but you need distance and elevation to make it out. There are days when the wind and weather collaborate that shine crisp and clear. Even though the automobile population of Los Angeles has quintupled since my childhood, a great deal of progress has been made in smog control and reduction. Compared to my childhood, the air of Los Angeles is now pure and pristine.
Alas, to Progressives, this progress is no progress; any improvement shy of perfection is no improvement at all. Automobiles remain. Pollution remains. Los Angeles remains. Curses, foiled again!
Worse still, the middle class remains. It grows larger, more affluent, and greedy for the good life than ever. None of this is “A Good Thing.” To Progressives, seeing Utopia forever just out of reach, and locked in the immortal dystopia of the now, only perfection persuades. Anything less is just not good enough. Ever.
They are driving Hummers.”
A savior is at hand, however, in the new hybrid vehicles popping up like dubious mushrooms in cities or in suburbs or wherever guilt and large clots of disposable income combine. According to our Prophets of Green, these marvels of the age burn mere teaspoons of gasoline before the sweet humm of their batteries kicks in. The hybrid, preferably a Toyota Prius, is the new hot sled to have when it would be just too embarrassing to take the SUV, the black Lincoln, or the Hummer to the Gulfstream. Having a hybrid hoovers out the guilt of going anywhere.
With only a nudge and a wink from the price of oil, these trumped-up group wheelchairs are beginning to blot the landscape. As indeed they must, since our largest item of social semaphore is that all real and caring Americans must shell out twenty-five thousand dollars to prove their patriotism to the Planet. The message is that if only all Americans would “Tune in, turn on, and unplug,” all would be bliss in our Peaceable Kingdom. We would enter, through gates of pearl, Hybrid America.
is a nation of almost infinite disposable income…”
The only problem with such savings is that they are slow to accrue. If you shell out $25,000 for a hybrid, you need to save that much in gasoline to break even — assuming you don’t finance it. Some wag calculated that, at most, you’d save $742 in gas per year. Hardly the interest on the car loan, what?
Even with gasoline at $5 a gallon, you have to run through 5,000 gallons to buy gas equal to the purchase price. Since your hybrid will easily get you 50 miles to the gallon, plan on driving a quarter of a million miles. But wait, it’s further than that. You have to calculate the gas you would have used on that same journey in your old car, the Hummer 2. At that rate, you’re driving several round trips to the moon to save a buck. This would give even the most committed commuter pause. Pack a lunch.
All other vehicles must go.”
You see, it is not enough that the hybrids come. All other vehicles must go.
But go where and at what cost? That is, finally, the nub of the hybrid hub. You can’t ever get really clean, squeaky clean if you are not prepared to loofa between the grotty toes of your society. You can’t get clean if you simply move the dirt around. No, you have to suds, rinse, and repeat if you are ever to get to that perfect state of constant blue — where all the dogs wear diapers, and the flocks of the passenger pigeon once again blot out the sun.
We can no longer wait to “evolve” out of our present addiction to petrochemical byproducts. If we do we are in for decades of continuing carping and complaint from the likes of Mrs. Larry David preaching conservation from her private Gulfstream Jet. Sustained exposure to this sort of insidious insanity will not make for a relaxing decade. No, we must either shoot Mrs. Larry David out of the sky with a surface-to-air missile or find a kinder and gentler way — even if it is to the immense disappointment of Mr. Larry David.
by ‘The Even-Greater Tax Hike’ “
The Great Switcheroo is a big solution. So big that it can only be accomplished by big government. But now that both parties have become dedicated to monstrous government, we won’t have to wait for an election to get started. It will also take a government dedicated to butting into the private lives of its citizens in an unprecedented manner. This too will prove to be no speed bump at all.
Those that currently hold positions of power at the local, state, or federal level are exactly those citizens who take a great, almost sexual, pleasure in butting into their neighbors’ lives at every opportunity. (Indeed, it is a source of continuing disappointment in every American’s life that whenever one feels a strange hand groping around one’s buttocks, it is never an attractive stranger, but merely some large or small politician searching for one’s wallet.) No, no new hires will be needed for “The Great Switcheroo.” Having evolved a society that is incapable of letting individuals decide anything of importance for themselves, all the pieces are in place for the ultimate government meddle and muddle.
Like all brilliant and sweeping government programs, “The Great Switcheroo” will be preceded by “The Even-Greater Tax Hike” in which the incomes of all Americans from the age of six months and up will be taxed at a flat rate not to exceed 87% of gross income — no exceptions — for a period of five years. This will be made politically acceptable through a brilliant stroke of marketing in which it will be termed not a “tax-hike” or even a “revenue enhancement,” but an “investment in tomorrow’s children.” Under this rubric, the extent to which IRS agents will have to be provided with tanks, automatic weapons, and body armor is expected to be minimal.
Once the concept of the “investment in tomorrow’s children” is in place and revenues begin to roll into the ever-swelling coffers, stage two of “The Great Switcheroo” can go forward. Advance orders will be placed by the Pentagon’s OBC (Office of Blank Checks) with all the great automotive factories of the world. (Yes, even that one in the GUlag that nobody talks about.)
have been replaced with exact hybrid replicas.”
Instead of ordering American, all orders will go to countries such as Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Mexico; countries whose dedication to making things far exceeds their respect for the Holy Planet, and inhabited by people we care little about if they cannot whip up a good Moo-Shu pork, lay some sashimi on us, and weed our gardens. Once concentrated in these nations, our order will take five years’ worth of their entire industrial capacity to fulfill even if they work down to the wire on “Switcheroo Day.”
Like the 24/7 Santa Claus that it has become, the Federal Government will accomplish the actual switcheroo during the cover of darkness while all our citizens sleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in their dreams. Accomplishing this will entail a passing state of martial law and the drafting of every repo man in history, but since it is, after all, an “investment in our children” who can complain over this temporary suspension of civil liberties?
When we wake up on that shining morning, we will discover that all our internal combustion vehicles have been replaced with exact hybrid replicas that run on a combination of electrical power, sunshine, moonshine, and the flatulence of politicians, ecologists, and other bovines. In one swell foop, America will drive only electrosolarlunarmethane-powered vehicles. To simultaneously expand our parking options, all these vehicles will have been made to one-quarter the scale of the vehicles they replaced. “The Great Switcheroo” will also prove to be, at one and the same time, “The Great Downsizing” of all American vehicles. Paradise personified, but wait… there’s more.
a quarter of their previous size,
all Americans will be forced onto crash diets
if they wish to ride.”
Social comity will increase — especially in the summers and in our southern states. The impact of several hundred million electric vehicles on our national power grid will be such that air-conditioning your home will become the quaint memory of a faded past. Workers in the sealed corporate monads of this blighted era will make their buildings breathe again by throwing large items of furniture through the windows. They will have gained the strength to do this by climbing the 50 flights of stairs to their offices once the power for elevators has been shifted over to government plug-in stations. These will sprout on every street corner as privately owned two-hundred-mile extensions cords are shown to be impractical when passing through intersections in large numbers.
we’ll all discover the hidden pleasures of body-surfing
a frog pond in Iowa.”
The only lingering problem left for big government will be what to do with the nine hundred million or so gas-guzzling behemoths leftover from “The Great Switcheroo.” Clearly, we cannot have these mountains of steel and plastic monsters cluttering up our fine new landscape. At that level of permanent parking, we will have no room to ride our scooters. Faced with this dilemma, our ever-sharp and always efficient government will have to step in and appoint a Car Czar.
His job will be simple and to the point. He will arrange things so that we can immediately ship all our gas-burning antiques to the greatest used car lot in the world — China. Using the immense fleet of supertankers which will at that stage be meaningless to our fuel needs, we shall move our many millions of pre-owned petroleum pollution pits to the fabled ports of far Cathay along with several battle-hardened armies of redundant American used car salesmen. Once landed we shall sell off our oppressive inventories to the one nation where everyone — man, woman, and child — needs to drive a car. This gambit will not only balance our trade with China, but leave us with a large surplus which we can use for bicycles, walking shoes, and electric blankets for the new, freezing northeast winters.
In addition, the rapid build-up of American automobiles and other vehicles on the Chinese mainland, in conjunction with that nation’s casual attitude towards pollution control, should quickly create such a toxic soup over all of China’s industrial areas that a vast die-off of its population is virtually assured. Once China is convinced by our irresistible armies of used-car salesmen, to buy our entire inventory of gasoline vehicles, the ultimate bankruptcy of our one global competitor is assured. Once again, buying American will become the Earth’s only option.
When that era dawns, all hybridized Americans can wake up confident that the coming century will be as it should be — the pollution-free American century. It is a future into which we all can proudly pedal.
[Note: First published in October, 2005. The future’s getting closer day-by-day.]