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The Covid-19 Scam Big Picture

I have had lots of issues with lots of pieces of the covid-19 story but, like most, I have missed the totally amazing big picture of the scam. I have had all the information for ages but, somehow, the whole picture just didn't click.

Remember when Trump was using Hydroxychloroquin and said it works and everyone pounced on him? And all the "medical truth" came out about how it didn't work, it was dangerous, ...? And now, today, HCQ is no longer on the "bad list"?

In order for the new vaccines to get the Emergency Use Authorization (rather than actually complete their approval cycle) there had to be no existing drug that worked. If HCQ "worked" then the new covid-19 vaccines could not be marketed until they were actually completed the approval process.

This has got to have been the biggest scam in the history of the planet.

Top vaccine scientist warns the world: HALT all covid-19 vaccinations immediately, or “uncontrollable monster” will be unleashed
This sounds real and it doesn't sound good. At the very least, we are giving an experimental vaccine to millions of people. That can't be good.

An Objectic Evaluation of Electric Cars

Aside from product reviews, there are two types of articles about electric vehicles:
1. Why they are good
2. Why they are bad
What's missing are the objective articles that actually look at the whole picture and offer a realistic look at the good and the bad.

This problem is not unique to electric vehicles — we seem to have moved into the opinion as opposed to facts and only present one side age. It's not really new. For example, in Gerry Mander's book (as I remember, from the 1970s) "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" he talks about a panel discussion about Vegetarianism with presenters from the meat packing industry to a group for the ethical killing of animals.

What has changed is that everything seems to be like that these days. Today you need to be pro-Trump or anti-Trump, pro-Immigration or anti-Immigration, pro-Vaccines or anti-Vaccines, and so on. Well, there is more to each of these subjects than pro or anti. In this article I want to take a real, objective look at electric vehicles. Then you can decide.

Air Pollution
Both the pro and anti groups weigh in on this one. On both sides, the approach is the same: present the facts that support your side and ignore those that don't.

The following items need to be considered:
* How much is air pollution is produced?
* Where is the air pollution?
* What future steps can be taken to address it?

How much is produced is ignored by the anti-EV crowd but it is an important consideration. Next time you are sitting in a traffic jam in your petroleum-based car, think about pollution. An EV doesn't use energy when it is not moving. And even when you are moving, you are generally getting over 90% of the stored electrical energy converted into motion. With a petroleum-based drivetrain, 20% is more like it.

Another plus for EVs is regenerative braking. When you are slowing down most EVs will use your excess energy to recharge the batteries. You can't do this in a petroleum-based car because you don't have anywhere to store that energy. So, you just use your brakes to convert that energy into heat.

We know that the air pollution created by a petroleum-powered vehicle is where the vehicle is being operated. If that is in the middle of a big city that is not a good thing. It means the people of the city will be exposed to that pollution. If, on the other hand, your are driving an electric vehicle then the pollution will be where the energy was generated. It also means the amount of pollution will be a function of the efficiency of the power generation system and pretty much all systems are more efficient than a car's internal combustion engine.

We also need to consider grid losses — that is, the energy that is wasted by the electric grid mostly because of losses in power lines. Those losses are generally around 5% for locations which are close to generation plants and/or in urban areas and up to 10% for rural locations. These losses amount of less than the efficiency difference between a diesel engine in a car (more efficient than a gas engine) and a large-scale diesel engine power plant.

Finally, we need to look at the possible future. If vehicles don't pollute, are efficient, have a long operational life and run on a self-contained rechargeable power source then we only need to upgrade the recharging source. What that future source is we don't currently know but we won't need to replace the more than one billion vehicles in the world.

Environmental Contamination
This is usually just presented by the anti groups. Their argument is that the mining of cobalt and, to a lesser extent, lithium which are used in current EV batteries is an environmental disaster. Anti-EV articles usually include a picture of underage boys in Africa working in cobalt mines.

That may be a legitimate down-side with the current EVs but it certainly does not present the whole picture. In particular:
* EV batteries get recycled mostly due to the value of the metals in them.
* Tesla's new battery technology gives you batteries with a life of one million miles.
* Unlike something consumed in the operation of a vehicle (petroleum, for example) batteries are a one-time cost — environmentally as well as economically.

That said, as battery technology progresses, the quantities of rare earth metals continue to be lowered — clearly driven by the costs involved. While the best choice for EV batteries today is one of the various types of lithium ion technology, that doesn't mean there is not a better choice on the horizon.

Operating Costs and Reliability
The cost of "fuel" is going to vary all over the map because the cost of electricity varies all over the map. Just as an example, electricity in Seattle is around $.10/kWh which is less than half of what it costs in Boston or New York. Based on where you live you need to do your own homework.

One valid point being made by detractors is that if you are not buying petroleum fuel at the pump you are not paying gas taxes which support roads. Valid but you are probably assuming that fuel taxes are only used to support roads. At least with state fuel taxes, this is not the case. While the amount being diverted to other expenses — from police to education — varies from state to state, generally it is significant.

There are many other operating costs of cars. Here, electric cars are always a win over petroleum-based cars. Always.

First, we have routine maintenance. For petroleum-based cars that includes oil changes, filter changes and general engine adjustments — from spark plugs to timing belts. None of that exists for electric cars. Yes, you still need to replace tires but brakes will last almost forever because of regenerative breaking.

At some point the battery will need to be replaced. 100,000 miles used to be the number but new Teslas come with "million mile batteries".

As for reliability, electrics are a big win. It should be obvious: decrease the number of moving parts from hundreds to maybe 10 at most and there is just a lot less stuff to wear out.

Let me add that you see news articles where a self-driving car gets into an accident and that car is almost always a Tesla. That problem has nothing to do with the car being electric — it is just that Tesla seems to be on the leading edge with lots of technology.

This used to be a serious issue but, these days, ranges of over 200 miles per charge are the norm and some have a significantly longer range. I converted a VW Rabbit to electric about 25 years ago. It had a range of about 70 miles and that was sufficient for almost all my driving.

So, think about your needs. If you are like most people you seldom drive even 50 miles in a day. Seriously, range is really not an issue anymore. For most people, the occasional need for a fast charge on the road is likely going to cost you a lot less time than the time for maintenance on a petroleum car.

Local Grid Capacity
While this has nothing to do with electric cars themselves, it was suggested that I cover this. The problem is that if "too many" people are charging their electric cars at home the local electric grid may not be capable of supplying all the electricity that is needed.

To put this in perspective, the power transformer on the poll that feeds my house is rated at 50kV which is basically 50 thousand watts. The service in my house is 240V at 100A which is 24 thousand watts. This same transformer supplies about half a dozen houses. Assuming the other houses have the same type of service as my house, that means there could be a demand of 144 thousand watts on this single transformer.

This is a typical situation for the electric grid. The assumption is that not everyone will be using the full capability of their electric service at the same time. For example, you might have a 15 kW water heater but it is unlikely it will be running all the time.

With electric car charging most charging would happen after you get home from work. And the charging could continue for many hours. If your neighbors also have electric cars, they will likely plug them in to charge while yours is charging. If we are only talking one car in 10 households then there is not likely to be a problem but as the density of electric vehicles increases, there is a lot of potential for a problem.

Whether there is a real problem will depend on the electric infrastructure in the area you live. In general, the total demand on the electric grid is not an issue as night consumption (after businesses close) is typically much lower than daytime consumption. But, the local infrastructure for a residential neighborhood may not be prepared for this additional demand.

While an electric vehicle is not for everyone it really is for most people. There may be a slightly higher initial investment (for you financially and the impact of materials to make batteries) but that investment quickly gets paid off.

The other big benefit — very low maintenance — is a huge benefit. And, finally, driving something more self-contained means it will be easier for more environmentally sound energy sources to improve the future.

From some email feedback, I guess I missed explaining that this article is about electric vs. petroleum-powered cars. It is not about cars vs. other transportation methods. Having not owned a car for years I am well aware that a car is not the only way to get around. And, maybe, I should write an article about that but this isn't it.

Fighting with the Car God

Some people believe in a single god. Others, such as the Maya, believe in multiple gods. I think the Maya are on the right track.

Some time ago "we" decided we need a car. What I really want is an electric car. We have a VW bug and the pieces for the conversion but it just hasn't been progressing. So, I decided to do some shopping.

My conclusion is that it is a year too early at least here in Guatemala. There will be an electric Volvo available in April or May but it is $55,000. It appears that there will be some decent choices available in the next year with price tags in the $35,000 to $40,000 range. That's a big difference — enough to buy a "temporary car" to use for the next year or two.

One of the first options was a used Mahindra pickup. A company called MiGarage has one. They have lots of cars listed but most are not on their lot. You have to arrange a date. So, I used their inquiry form and told them I was interested in that particular vehicle. No response. I actually ended up at their lot somewhat by mistake (I was looking for the Nicaraguan embassy which is close by) and inquired about the Mahindra. They told me "you have to make a date" ...

I saw a used Mercedes (190, maybe) for sale. As there is a place a block from here that works on Mercedes, BMW and Volvo, I asked them about this particular Mercedes model. The answer made total sense: It depends on how it has been maintained.

I told him I was looking for a relatively inexpensive car that was safe and reliable. He said he knew of a Volvo that was older but in good condition and asked if I was interested. I said I was and he said he would talk to the owner and call me. That call never came. Now, my cellular service in my house sucks but no call.

I saw an old Mitsubishi Montero (the old ones that were a realistic size) in the ads in It was for sale by a dealer just a few blocks away. I walked over there and asked. It took three women and two phone calls (to another woman) to come up with an assortment of lies that eventually said "oh, that one isn't available but we have this other one for 50% more". I left.

I had noticed quite a few almost new VW Saviero pickups for sale at MiGarage. I didn't try to contact them based on my previous encounter with them. Then I saw one from a private party in Zona 1 (nearby). I chatted with him in email and set up a date for Thursday at 1630. He emailed me on Thursday AM to make sure we were still on. I said we were and I could meet him anywhere in Zona 1. He said he would think of a good place and get back to me. Thursday at 1630 has come and went and I have never heard from him.

One problem with the Saviero is that most are single-cab ones. New the single-cab costs Q89,000 but the double-cab (which isn't bigger — the bed is just shorter) is Q139,000. But, a double-cab one appears on the MiGarage web site. I have sent them a "request for a date" twice. No response.

Earlier Thursday there was an ad for a VW Carry. It's basically a VW Golf with a panel truck back. Cheap and makes sense. I set up a date for 0900 this morning. I got there at 0850, rang the bell, knocked on the door and ultimately called the phone number in the ad. Nothing. Around 0910 I left. When I got home there was email from the person I had corresponded with giving me her phone number — different from the one in the ad. She said "they" were there ... .

As I was writing this I just got a message from MiGarage — telling me the car I asked about (the Saviero, not the Mahindra) sold but if I can send them my phone number then "we can talk about options ...".

My conclusion: The car god is telling me not to buy a car. Telling me over and over. I have decided to listen.