All those ghost towns in China now have ghost EVs for residents to drive around in. As the Hindustan Times Auto section explained: “Chinese carmakers have surprised the world with their bulging sales numbers, especially in the electric car segment. Over the last few years, Chinese automakers have posted crazy sales numbers and have started dominating the global electric car market. However, a video has surfaced, possibly revealing a secret behind the Chinese car manufacturers bulging sales numbers.” That video shows endless rows of new Chinese EVs registered by their makers and then dumped in fields and left to rot. Which isn’t exactly good for the environment, now is it, given the resource-heavy nature of EV production and what leaks out when they rot.
Anyone familiar with Soviet central planning could have anticipated that the numbers were being juiced to please the Politburo. But even hardened economists might have been surprised at the scale and brazenness of it. According to NBC, “Chinese electric vehicle makers lead the world, rivaling U.S. pioneers”. And a recent email from Statista explained that “Tesla’s new strategy prioritizes market share over short-term profit” then invited us to: “Dive deeper into the e-mobility topic with our second chart, which shows the countries where the most fully-electric cars were sold between 2012 and 2022, with China leading the charge in terms of new battery-electric vehicle registrations per year.” Sure. Registrations.
Meanwhile Bloomberg recently cautioned that “China’s Electric-Car Giant Hasn’t Sold a Vehicle Yet (Repeat)”. Not one? Nope:
“China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group Ltd.’s expansive pop-up showroom sits at the heart of Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center. With nine models on display, it’s hard to miss. The electric car upstart has one of the biggest booths at China’s 2021 Auto Show, which starts Monday, opposite storied German automaker BMW AG. Yet its bold presence belies an uncomfortable truth -- Evergrande hasn’t sold a single car under its own brand.”
Weird? It gets weirder:
“China’s largest property developer has an array of investments outside of real estate, from soccer clubs to retirement villages. But it’s the recent entry into electric cars that’s captured investors’ imaginations. Shareholders have pushed Evergrande NEV’s Hong Kong-listed stock up more than 1,000% over the past 12 months, allowing it to raise billions of dollars in fresh capital. It now has a market value of $87 billion, greater than Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.”
Just no customers. Unless we show up. So shall our governments tax us half to death to subsidize our purchases from this colossus?
Joel Kotkin also warned in that National Post piece that:
“We may soon regret the radical and absolutist embrace of electric vehicles (EVs). Governments across the world are planning to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars, and to take older, gas-guzzling vehicles off the road. The Biden administration is proposing strict new pollution limits, as well as vast state subsidies, to accelerate the United States’ transition to EVs. Replacing the massive $3-trillion global car industry is an extremely high-risk economic gamble, particularly for the West. It could also threaten the mobility of all but the richest among us. And all this is being risked for environmental benefits that may prove far less robust than is often claimed.”
A massive gamble doesn’t begin to describe it. What government anywhere, ever, just decided to forbid people to get around the way they had found to be most effective? Ours do it as though it were as easy as issuing a parking ticket for, say, having your EV within 40 feet of another one. And it’s also a bit of a political gamble since, Kotkin observes:
“In simple terms, the push for EVs represents an assault on the working class. Two-thirds of all EV owners have incomes in excess of $100,000…. Ultimately, as even the Washington Post recently admitted, electric vehicles are hastening a return to conditions not seen since the early 20th century, when the automobile was a luxury item.”
High-income, progressive educated people are the kind most politicians actually hang out with, listen to, and think worthy, even as they claim to support the working person.
As Bloomberg warns:
“Such exuberance over an automaker that has repeatedly pushed back forecasts for when it will mass produce a car is emblematic of the froth that has been building in EVs over the past year, with investors plowing money into a rally that briefly made Elon Musk the world’s richest person and has some concerned about a bubble.”
Some. Yeah. Like anyone who knows anything about communism… or economics.