I note that Governor Jerry Brown of California has some big plans for electric vehicles.
Mary Nichols, head of California's Air Resources Board, told Bloomberg News this week that Brown has been pestering her about getting a gas-car ban on the books.
. . .
The United Kingdom and France have both said they will ban the sale of gas and diesel by 2040. Norway's transportation plan calls for all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2025. India wants to make the switch to electric by 2030.
But it's the People's Republic of China, currently drafting its own ill-defined ban on the production and sale of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, that is giving Brown the most grief.
Says Nichols, "The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California."
Apart from envying the autocratic powers of a communist dictatorship, Brown has not said what a ban on gas and diesel vehicles might look like. Nichols herself offers scant detail, other than saying that a complete ban on the sale of new combustion-powered vehicles could arrive as early as 2030 and that all combustion would have to be phased out by as early as 2040.
There's more at the link. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
The article doesn't address the very real problem of an electric grid that won't be able to cope with the load of recharging all those electric vehicles, as Old NFO pointed out yesterday. I've no idea what it will cost to upgrade our national power grid for that purpose, but it's got to run into the billions, if not the trillions of dollars.
The main point, though, is that this puts every citizen more at the mercy and under the control of Big Brother. Think about it. What if the state wants to stop citizens running around willy-nilly? Why, they can simply restrict power supply to homes and businesses, so that you have a hard daily or weekly or monthly limit on consumption. Exceed that limit, and your power is cut off. That means you face a hard choice. Do you run your air conditioner, or furnace, or washing machine, or refrigerator, or freezer, or lights . . . or do you charge your vehicle more often? Tough choice, isn't it?
There's also an aspect of social control. If the government wants to prevent people going to a particular gathering (say, a political meeting), or wants to force people to stay put rather than evacuate an area threatened with natural disaster (say, a hurricane), it can simply restrict, or even cut off, the power supplies in, and for a given radius around, that area. If you can't recharge your car, you can't get very far, can you?
There's also the aspect of integrating recharging facilities with "smart car" features. We've already heard rumblings from European law enforcement that they want a "kill switch" incorporated into every new vehicle, so they can automatically disable them in order to investigate the occupants. Some US law enforcement agencies have made similar noises, and General Motors has already incorporated it into its OnStar service. What if that "kill switch" includes an option to disable recharging? What if it shuts down the battery when it reaches a given level of charge, so that the vehicle's range is automatically restricted - i.e. if your battery charge falls below (say) 50%, your car automatically parks itself and switches off? Welcome to an even Bigger Brother!
Finally, there's the aspect of how to afford this new technology. If California truly wants to phase out all combustion engines by 2040, that will mean taking off the road something like 99% of all vehicles currently being driven. If you want to keep yours, you can . . . but where are you going to buy fuel for it, when gas stations are forbidden to sell it to you? Who's going to pay for replacement vehicles? Most of us certainly won't be able to afford the new technology vehicles . . . and that may be the point of the exercise. If we can't afford our own vehicles, we'll automatically be forced to rely on public transport. That can be provided selectively, to areas "approved" by the government for mass housing - say, tightly-packed high-rise inner-city neighborhoods. Don't like small "efficiency" apartments? Want to live outside those areas, in a bigger house? Too bad, comrade. You're on your own to get there and back. Kiss suburbia goodbye! What's more, the immense cost of building and expanding mass transport systems and services will require increased taxes, and will offer unparalleled opportunities for graft, corruption and favoritism. Are you excited yet? The politicians certainly are!
Depriving people of the ability to fuel/charge and refuel/recharge their own vehicles, at their convenience, is merely another form of government control. It turns citizens into subjects. No, thank you!