Thursday, November 28, 2013

Eggs, Chicken, and Uncle Sam

Since it is Thanksgiving 2013 which is all about food (not really) I thought I would put food in the title of my daily rambling which implies I blog every day which I dont. I wish I had the time to do so but I usually write when I have the time like today. It will be at least 2-3 hours before anyone here is up to do anything and since I put up with traffic and crowds last night in order to fulfill my role (buy supplies to make the various dishes "we" are to make) and got it out of the way. Now the only thing left is entertain the kid (to keep him out of the way) and build up an appetite!

But really its a day of thanks so who to give thanks to is my current dilemma today.  The EV movement is still weak (still no viable choices out there for me...its essentially LEAF or nothing ) but gaining momentum and as another year approaches we again have the litany of promises pouring in from many more directions than before and that will cover many more niches but how well remains to be seen (what happened to Ford's EV niche?) . But the ball is rolling so who do I thank for that?

Since Tesla announced the Roadster years before anyone even knew Nissan was in the EV game so would it be Tesla?

Actually I believe its Nissan mostly because they marketed a car that was aimed at the mainstream. The Roadster was a very limited production run (as all $100,000+ plus vehicles are!) with no real threat of taking over any significant part of the market but the LEAF was not and that got other car manufacturers nervous which also got them moving (albeit slowly) towards an EV solution of their own and now, even Volkswagen, the once "EV antichrist" (ooh i will get some hate mail over that one...) has seen the light and crossed over from the dark side!

So Tesla may have started the idea but without Nissan and its affordable EV which mainstream America could afford for the first time ever (lets face it, the EV1 and RAV 4 EV back in the 90's were pretty spendy vehicles to "buy" which means that I do realize the retail price of the EV1 was subject to interpretation) I dont think the movement would have survived because Nissan's affordable LEAF is the primary reason why Uncle Sam got into the EV game.

I can imagine the outcry that would have happened if the $7500 EV incentive only applied to $100,000 plus vehicles as if the rich did not already have enough tax loopholes. To this day, I find it hard to believe that the tax credit used on Hummers and other very large vehicles did not stir up more controversy than it did.

Now we can get into the "Chicken verses Egg" argument but is Tesla the Chicken or the Egg and besides, does it matter? because without Uncle Sam, Tesla would be no more than the rest of the failed EV automakers who tried and failed. Remember it was Tesla's last minute loan (bailout!!) from DOE that prevented their very existence  from shuttering their doors and from our minds forever.

So, I thank you Nissan for forcing the World to grudgingly accept EVs as a viable (and very cool) personal transportation option. It is now 51 days and counting until my current lease ends and I start haggling over the price of a new lease. Nissan if you are listening; keep in mind Christmas is coming up and if you want to send me a coupon for a discount on a new lease, I am ok with that!

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