Electric vehicles as a tool of Big Brother and social control

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!



  1. Not to disparage our European allies but France, Germany, and yes even England Have a long history of shading the truth (OK lying) about their grandiose schemes to "save the planet" and either doing exactly nothing, or even going backwards when reality sets in. Case in point, Angela Merkel piously pushed to shut down all nuclear plants in Germany post Fukushima. With insufficient "Green" power to run the German economy, the government allowed old coal fired plants to restart, using lignite, a form of coal that is the most polluting. Somehow, the media and the European Union gave them virtue signaling credit for shutting down safe, carbon free power plants, but no outrage at replacing those plants with dirt burners.

    China is even worse, they'll tell you what you want to hear, do exactly what they want, and steal your secrets in the bargain.

  2. OK, let's actually think about this for a moment. You need to take into account energy density. If we take electrical cars as a basis, then we can get an idea of the problems.

    At the moment, battery makers are desperately trying to reach a specific energy of 450 Wh/kg (Watt-hours per kilogram), Petrol already offers 12,000 Wh/kg. One horsepower is 750 W, so turning Watt hours to Horsepower hours, batteries give 0.6 HP*h per kg, while petrol give 16 HP*h/kg. Petrol has over 26 times the energy density.

    Now that means that … let me see. An imperial gallon of petrol weighs 7.2 pounds and my car will do about 40MPG and about 450 miles on a tank full for a total weight carried (and diminishing as I drive) of 81 pounds. To do the same range, (40 miles) as a gallon of petrol, I would need to carry a deadweight in batteries of 192 pounds. For a total range of 450 miles, 2160 pounds or nigh on one long ton of batteries.
    OK, people will say that most journeys are less than 50 miles (commuting) but not all. I was a motorway comms engineer and drove about 1200 miles a week so needed a car with more than a 200 mile range on a fill up. Speaking of which, I can fill the car in 5 minutes, tops, including paying for the fuel. For a 450 mile range, then I would need to fill up a battery car twice. What would the charging time be, I wonder? Not five minutes, that’s for sure.

    Add in the problems with overloading the existing electrical distribution system and transmission losses, then unless it is a niche application (such as electrical milk floats used in the UK – does anyone get milk delivered nowadays? I should imagine in most cities, theft of your milk would be extremely likely) it is not viable.

    However, it won’t stop the dreamers, schemers and those greens who know naff all about engineering pushing it through.

    Phil B

  3. Attempting this might spark a revolution, which would consist of attaching politicians to trees and light poles. What's not to like?

  4. Just wait til they add autonomy to the mix. "Sorry Citizen, you are not cleared for your selected destination. We will now deliver you to be re educated…"

  5. Can you imagine the chaos of evacuating a couple of million people from the path of a hurricane if all the cars were electric?

  6. The bad thing about this insanity is that these Leftist idiots in CA WILL attempt to implement this. Reality will have no bearing on their decision making. Unicorn thinking WILL be the order of the day. Leftists don't use facts to base judgments on, just feelings. That's the way their Belief System rolls. Arguing about it will accomplish nothing.

  7. How are they going to supply food and other goods to places without semi trucks? The rail network probably can't handle the necessary load.


  8. First question. Where's all the lithium for the batteries going to come from?
    Rank Country/Region lithium mine production (tonnes)

    World 36,000
    1 Australia Australia 14,300
    2 Chile Chile 12,000
    3 Argentina Argentina 5,700
    4 China China 2,000
    5 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe 900
    6 Portugal Portugal 200
    7 Brazil Brazil 200

  9. Stick little wings on your vehicle, adapt it to using aviation gas, and carry on.

    "Do you know how fast you were going?"

    "The sky's the limit, officer — I believe you'll see in my vehicle records that this here vehicle is registered as an AIRPLANE."


  10. Reverse liberty

    "Similarly the American who has been humbled by poverty, or by his insignificance in the business order, or by his racial status, or by any other circumstance that might demean him in his own eyes, gains a sense of authority when he slides behind the wheel of an automobile and it leaps forward at his bidding, ready to take him wherever he may personally please.

    "In 1950 the civilian labor force of the United States was estimated to number a little less than 59 million men and women; in the same year the number of drivers in the United States was estimated to be a little larger: 59,300,000.

    "Never before in human history, perhaps, had any such proportion of the nationals of any land known the lifting of the spirit that the free exercise of power can bring."

    –'The Big Change: America Transforms Itself 1900-1950' (1952), Frederick Allen Lewis

  11. Fortunately our politicians are firmly in the pocket of the oil companies, so the law will have all the solidity of a fishing net.

  12. Y'all are missing the point. The elimination of internal combustion engines is only part of the plan. Updating the grid to charge cars isn't necessary under the current plan. The ultimate goal is to get people out of cars altogether, forcing them to either walk, bike or use mass transit.

    This requires people to move from their single family dwellings (along with the dirt that they sit on) and into densely packed urban areas, mostly large multi-family housing projects supported by closely located feeding, entertainment and logistical clusters. Rural areas can be then restored to their natural state – some will be used for agriculture.

    Then, we all be living equally, rich and poor, side-by-side.

    I am quite sure that the leaders of the great new order will be exempt from the plan – they are far too valuable to waste their time on bicycles or buses and shouldn't be required to live in the same project as you or I.

    If you think I'm being reactionary, I'm not. This is the current doctrine of S.C.A.G (Southern Calif Area Governments), a planning council comprised of representatives from numerous local governments throughout So. Cal. Hasan Ikhrata, S.C.A.G.s executive director, was educated in the former Soviet Union and was once a planner for the Moscow Transit System.Interesting guy, google him.

  13. And just what are they gonna burn in power plants to supply all that new electricity that will be needed? OH we'll use Photo-Voltaic cells. And what are you gonna do, when China won't sell you any of them?

  14. I live in So Cal. In the last five years, literally thousands of new high density "dwellings" have built within a 2 mile radius of my house. It seems every failed shopping center and vacant lot is being filled with apartments. This is going on all throughout the southland. The surface streets have become parking lots. The freeways are a nightmare. Every new apartment building puts another thousand or so people in competition for the same scarce resources here: Water. (No new water projects here because ENVIRONMENT!) Electricity (no new power plants because ENVIRONMENT!) Traffic. Everywhere. All the time. It seems that water projects and power plants have a negative impact on the environment, but drastic overpopulation does not. Electric cars will surely solve all this.


  15. I have the feeling that before the Good Lord calls be home (hopefully at least 40 or 50 more runs around the sun-His will be done) I'm going to be forced into using horses or other modes of animal based transportation. I like horses and all but I'm ambivalent about them. That said, it takes a lot of discipline to not buy a good team of draft horses when I come across them. They are just such a pain in the backside. The tractor and pickup, the car and ATV don't eat when they're not being used, they do what they're directed to do and don't have a mind of their own. Horses eat a ton, especially draft horses. They get in moods, they get ornery, they don't always do what they're told and being animals they're always unpredictable to a degree.

  16. Typical media sophism. Present the facts, yes—just not all of them. And ignore any potentials or possibilities. Only emphasize those facts which support the intended narrative.

    The term "fake news" is a misnomer. The term should actually be "deceptive news".
    Oh, they tell the truth and give the facts all right—just not comprehensively. They simply exclude the "inconvenient" ones.

  17. There is another possible aspect; since the electric cars do not use gas, the people driving them are not paying any fuel tax(es). As such, sooner or later someone will 'discover' this, and offer a 'solution', which will almost certainly be a tax on the miles driven. Of course, this will be a state tax (at first), and since it is only fair to tax for miles driven on that state's roads. Your new electric car is going to come with a GPS device that will total up your in state mileage. Of course our fearless leaders would never collect data on where, when, and how fast you drive. Or use that data for anything other than collecting your road tax.

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