China and the Electric Car

Filed in National by on June 27, 2009

A lot of conservatives are pissing their pants because they think the Chinese will go on polluting the world while America and Europe seek to reduce emissions. While China at the moment certainly has smog problems, I’m quite certain that by 2020, they’ll be working as hard as the West is on trying to prevent imminent, obvious catastrophe. Why do I think this, besides the fact that China has plenty of coastline? They’re already ahead of America in one very important area: The Electric Car.

For now, BYD will focus on China’s domestic market. Priced at about $22,000 each, the cars are a bit pricey for average consumers, so BYD will first aim at government and corporate buyers. Jia says it will take time for the new technology to win acceptance.

From an environmental standpoint, electric cars are not yet as green as they could be. That’s because most electricity is generated by burning coal. But BYD is working on that, too. It’s in the early stages of researching electric cars powered by solar energy.

Oh, but surely no American investor would be crazy enough to try to bring that venture to the USA, right?

Wang impressed investor Warren Buffett. In September, one of Buffet’s companies purchased a 10 percent stake in BYD for $230 million.

Independent auto industry analyst Jia Xinguang explains how this might work: “Buffett has a company called MidAmerican Energy. They made the investment in BYD. They also have an electricity grid in the American Midwest. So that’s the cooperation: BYD builds the cars, and MidAmerican Energy builds the charging stations.”

I don’t know about you, but when I hear that Warren Buffet is investing in charging stations for conumer electric cars, I start to think that green investing may be a safer investment than say, gold bars or inaccessible land in Wyoming. But hey, Republicans, go ahead and hide your gold bricks in Wyoming, and don’t fill out the census form while you’re at it.

In the meantime, I figure it will take 5 to 10 years for BYD to design a model that’s snazzy and safe enough for surburbia. That’s a mighty short window for Ford, GM, Chrysler, and Tesla to try to salvage some market share. Remember, if we don’t invest in the technology now, we’ll never own a piece of the market.

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X Stryker is also the proprietor of the currently-dormant poll analysis blog Election Inspection.

Comments (37)

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  1. Did you know that Ford and Chevy will have electric cars this coming model year?

  2. liberalgeek says:

    I know that Chevy has the Volt, which I have been waiting for. Not sure what Ford has coming out… Are they taking the Fusion electric?

  3. xstryker says:

    Yes, David, but they’re going to cost way more than $22,000, last I heard. That’s why I said there’s a 5-10 year window for them to salvage market share and why we (ie the govt) need to invest in the technology (bringing down costs).

  4. Exactly, X.

    I find the whining about China interesting. We don’t get to vote on what the government of China does. We only get a vote on our own government. Since the U.S. is about 20% of the world’s carbon emissions, a reduction by us would have a big impact. How would we expect other countries to reduce their emissions if we won’t reduce our own?

    Yes, I agree, now is the time for the U.S. to invest in new car technology. If we don’t, we’re going to be left behind again. I see the new energy technology as a way to get America into the manufacturing business again.

  5. farsider says:

    It is unbelievable that there is any support for this nonsense. At the same time the gov passes the National raise your electric bill act they try to put everyone in electric cars. Next they will limit your electric use to save the planet as limiting your gas use has never really worked out for them. Now they can just turn it off at the house, and what are you going to do ? Walk down to the courthouse to complain ?

  6. Your post misses the mark by a wide shot.

    China is putting online one coal powered plant every 7-10 days. Each plant is big enough to service a city the size of Dallas, Texas.

    They could have 100% electric cars and it would not matter. Electric cars have to be recharged through electricity which is done by using power from a coal powered plant.

    Republicans are not pissing in their pants but Dems/Liberals are passing Cap and Trade policies which have not worked anywhere.

    You will get a good video on this issue today, stay tuned and learn something.

    Mike Protack

  7. cassandra_m says:

    While the Chinese have been building more coal-fired plants, they are also building low pollution plants — the kind that our short-sighted electric industry is busily brainwashing repubs is just too expensive. And the Chinese are doing this at a low cost. Read the whole article — they are reducing their emissions too. Not enough, but they are. And once again — the folks implementing these technologies get first crack at fine-tuning it. Would love to hear from our resident know-nothings how it could possibly be good for the US to just give up in this arena so that we can buy our technology from the Chinese and the Saudis.

    The Chinese are also taking some dirty plants off-line and replacing them. A thing that Mr. Shallow Bench and the rest of the know nothings think is just beyond the pale here.

    The Chinese are not eliminating their emissions quite yet, but they are taking steps toward it which is good news. Why taking the same steps here should be so controversial I’ll never get.

  8. Have you forgotten about GM’s EV1? It was introduced to the world in 1996.

    Go watch the move ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’

    GM is asking for forgiveness with the Chevy Volt. Applaudable, but who is going to buy a $40K electric car?

    As David Anderson stated private companies, Ford and GM, already have electric cars in the works or near production. We do not a Chinese model.

  9. Electric cars were built way back into the 30s. The technology has been there for a long time. One thing we know about inventions is it’s not only the technology but it has to be at the right time.

    As far as GM killing the electric car. Duh, we think that is a terrible decision. I think most Americans don’t have a good opinion on the judgment of GM executives!

    Will people buy a $40K electric car? I doubt it! Isn’t this what we’re talking about in subsidies? A lot of people may buy a $20K or $25K car, so we want government to step in and encourage the research. I do understand economies of scale – once a lot of people are buying the cars, it will be much cheaper to produce them.

  10. farsider says:

    If they are more expensive then they are worth they should not be built. If they were not too expensive and people wanted them there would be no need for government intervention. Using tax money to subsidize this is just another giant ripoff. Another example of the sick sad world we live in.

  11. Do you get the feeling that today’s conservatives would oppose the Manhattan Project?

    Yes, let’s do nothing and let everyone else in the world who isn’t afraid of spending money pass us by in science and technology. We can sit around and wait for Jesus to come back.

  12. farsider says:

    I dont recall the Manhattan project involving government handouts to support commercial products, but maybe I’m missing something.

  13. cassandra m says:

    They wouldn’t oppose the Manhattan Project because better was to kill people is always worth going into debt for.

    But while they are busily rationalizing why electric cars shouldn’t get research subsidies, I’m waiting for one of them to say that nuclear energy and oil and gas exploration government handouts aren’t necessary, either.

  14. Cass, the Manhattan Project saved one million to five million lives by providing an end to WW2 that did not involve bombing and storming Japan. It has the solution to clean power.

    The bad news is that it put us under a nuclear cloud which put us on the verge of aspeciation. Fortunately, we used rational thinking to avoid that.

  15. I will tell you what I think about energy policy by Monday. Come visit.

  16. cassandra m says:

    I don’t exactly need a history of the bomb — it is, however a nice shorthand for the fact that conservative long-horizon thinking has a pretty short list of topics it is interested in. One of them being better ways to hurt people.

  17. Public-private partnerships are nothing new. Why should we reinvent the wheel when the technology is already there?

    We can’t afford to wait until gas is $4/gallon to address the oil issue. We need to invest in new technologies now, before we need them. I would hope that we invest in multiple technologies instead of putting all of our eggs in one basket.

    You’re right Cassandra. Government spending on war and the military is all right, it’s just spending on anything else that’s objected to.

  18. Cass, the conservatives weren’t running the government then unless Roosevelt, Stimson, and Truman are now conservative by today’s hard left extremist standards.

    I don’t know what choice we had. Germany had a Manhattan style project and if it weren’t for D-Day’s success and their prejudice against Jews, they may have beaten us to it. Imagine if the Nazis would have beat us to the bomb.

    I do agree that we need to encourage change. I support the cash for clunkers program. That is just a start. The way the administration wants to go will hinder us. We need to advance our power transmission, reward the better battery, and incentivize innovation instead of picking winners.

  19. liberalgeek says:

    David, which came first, V-E day or V-J day?

  20. cassandra_m says:

    Cass, the conservatives weren’t running the government then unless Roosevelt, Stimson, and Truman are now conservative by today’s hard left extremist standards.

    Delusional David, please pay attention to the conversation. Unless we can count on you to support massive cuts to the military budget.

  21. Joanne Christian says:

    Speaking from the know nothing bench–invest in our intellectual and technological strength here, then ship to China for production. Why buck the trend?

  22. Unstable Isotope says:

    So true, Joanne. I think we need a serious re-thinking in this country on how we do business.

  23. Unstable Isotope says:

    Speaking from a serious technology prospective, the nice thing about doing the technology in the U.S. is the intellectual property. The U.S. does have laws about what technology can be exported, so new technology invented here may need to be implemented here as well. Although China is rapidly advancing, the U.S. still does have the best production quality in the world. China has much cheaper labor. But U.S. companies will not send their new technology to countries where the intellectual property is not well-protected.

  24. Rebuild the Delaware GOP says:

    Cap and Trade is bad policy.

    Listen and learn:

    Mike Protack

  25. Joanne Christian says:

    Exactly UI, it’s about gearing up the whole other brain. The bad news is, while we may have the best production quality, the world and really the US doesn’t care anymore. They want new, new, new….so planned obsolescence actually becomes part of the technology. So durability, and dependability with a price has been switched out for sleek and shoddy with a limited lifespan–but affordable pricetag. No more solid Maytags like Mom’s!!!

  26. LG, D-day refocused the Germans and pretty much spelled the practical end of their program. As I said the reason we started was because the Germans had a program underway. It actually came reasonably close.

    We had the bomb before V-E day. We just weren’t finished perfecting it. The truth is we would have never used it if we could have found a way which would have brought the war to an end without it that didn’t involve millions of deaths.

    No U. I., we need to increase military spending not decrease it. I agree with John Kerry. We need another division in the army and about 40K more in the Air Force.

  27. cassandra_m says:

    The thing about some of these technologies — especially for reducing plant emissions — is that these are technologies that need to be engineered into buildings or engineered into processes. They aren’t exactly off the shelf — at least not yet. If you own the technology or own the rights to the process, you get to grant the licenses, you get to send your folks off to do the engineering and construction supervision, your folks are doing some of the fabricating. Really, this is about claiming a burgeoning industry for ourselves rather than sending money to others for the technologies or processes. We used to be really good at this. Time to get good at it again.

  28. I think the problem with American jobs going overseas at the rate that exists is an artificially accelerated one. We need a pro-American tax policy.

  29. cassandra_m says:

    You need a pro-American alternative energy industrial policy. The taxes don’t make a damn bit of difference to the fact that your party thinks we’ll be a nation of bankers, lawyers and McDonald’s staff. Business vision is what is needed.

  30. Joanne Christian says:

    BINGO at 27 Cass–we still have a US made pet rock for you to pick up as your prize!

  31. anonone says:

    If you could bottle and sell the Leader of the Delaware Republican Party Mike Protack’s videos, you could put all the sleep aid companies in the world out of business.

  32. xstryker says:

    Rebuttals to the idiots:

    GM is asking for forgiveness with the Chevy Volt. Applaudable, but who is going to buy a $40K electric car?

    As David Anderson stated private companies, Ford and GM, already have electric cars in the works or near production. We do not a Chinese model.

    Hey dumbfuck, the Chinese model is already $22K! A price a lot of Americans would pay to stop importing gas from Iran and Saudi Arabia. It’s just not going to be offered in America until it looks and drives like the kind of car that Americans want – like I said, I give them 5-10 years. As for the American model, it’s about research subsidy to make technological advances that makes production cheaper.

    Using tax money to subsidize this is just another giant ripoff.

    There’s a lot of people in the Tennessee Valley that might disagree with you, imbecile. The TVA brought not just electricity, but jobs, roads, colleges, and culture to one of the poorest areas of America. Then there was another government investment in private technology that went pretty successfully. A little thing called the “internet”. Maybe you’ve heard of it, dumbass?

  33. farsider says:

    The internet only made a difference when it was released to the public. The TVA is an infrastructure investement. Paying people to buy electric cars is a ripoff. I can see the difference, perhaps in time you will too.

  34. callerRick says:

    Now we know why the Chinese are building so many new nuclear power plants….those electric cars don’t run on pumpkin seeds.

  35. jason330 says:


    The stupid is bottomless. Your smackdown is much appreciated and reminds all to not let the idiocy go unanswered.

  36. farsider says:

    jason, as always celebrating profanity and gibberish as intelligent discourse. Y’all are so comfortable bailing out companies now that you intend to start new industries that require immediate government support. Toyota loses 1500 on every hybrid it sells. GM will lose 10 times that it appears, only idiots would consider this a valid solution at this time.

  37. jason330 says:

    Y’all are so comfortable bailing out companies now that you intend to start new industries that require immediate government support.

    1) Ass, read the post.

    2) Fuck off.