Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, seems to have reached cult status with green ideologues, as well as with many in the media. Musk’s name often goes hand in hand with descriptive monikers like “visionary” and “genius.” Of course, what Musk is really a genius at is getting politicians to fund his private businesses ventures with taxpayer money so they don’t have to make a profit.
It might be time to step back and ponder just how genius Musk’s latest idea is; which is for Tesla to compete with Ford’s best selling F-series trucks by offering up an electric pickup truck.
According to Businessinsider.com, Musk claims that Tesla may have an electric pickup truck to compete with Ford’s F150 in five years. Musk’s bold dream comes to light at just around the same time as his even bolder dream of developing an electric, supersonic jet. Neither of Musk’s two latest visions seems to be based on logic.
Pickup truck consumers tend to be a bit more conservative than average car buyers, as recently proven by a survey reported on here at NLPC. The idea of impressing their neighbors by showing off how environmentally conscientious they are because they bought a brand new Tesla pickup truck for tens of thousands of dollars more than they could have spent for a Ford probably will not have great appeal to them.
I actually do believe that many pickup truck owners are concerned with conservation. They are just a little smarter about it than the greenies who think that buying a heavily subsidized Tesla or Chevy Volt at the expense of taxpayers is the way to go. Much of the fees from hunting and fishing licenses (which I’m assuming are purchased more often by pickup truck owners than Tesla owners) go towards conservation efforts. While those buying such licenses that help support conservation pay to help the environment, electric vehicle (EV) buyers get paid with taxpayers’ money in the form of the $7,500 federal tax credit that is offered on each vehicle. Worse yet, it is debatable that cars like Tesla and the Volt are doing anything to help the environment or meaningfully lessen America’s foreign oil dependence.
Perhaps Elon Musk is on to something and those Ford F150 owners have just been chomping on their bits eagerly awaiting the arrival of an expensive, plug-in, electric pickup truck to replace their current models. I doubt it, though. I also do not think that an electric, supersonic jet is feasible. Even those experts in the field have been skeptical on the prospects for electric-powered cars, much less airplanes. Reports have shown that energy delivered by lithium-ion batteries is much less efficient than gasoline powered sources. Consider that it takes all night to charge the 450 pound battery in the Chevy Volt. You can then travel around 35 to 40 miles on the charge, the equivalent of how far a gallon of good old gasoline can get you.
It is not surprising that the same crowd that bought in to the initial lofty (but false) proclamations that the Chevy Volt would be the game-changer for General Motors now believe that plug-in Tesla pickup trucks are going to be a huge hit. Also, based on the continued trumpeting of EV hype by advocates for subsidizing cars like Teslas and Volts, it is not hard to understand the excitement generated by a green cult hero sharing a pipe dream of supersonic, electric jets. Maybe the green dream can include taxpayers paying for floating charging stations where Muskplanes can recharge on the fly. I guess they are going to need some really long extension cords.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.