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Cars, climate change, and eedeology *sniff*

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Now look, you’ve probably seen in my previous articles that yes, I think that electric cars are a great idea. The fact that you do not have to worry about the burning of a noxious chemical concoction to power your automobile is a great thing for the planet, for your wallet, and in terms of pure performance, on a per-dollar basis, electric cars cannot be beaten. However, I am going to throw a spanner in my own argument and say that currently, at least in 2024, Electric Cars are for people who want to mask the guilt that they’re still hurting the planet.

I therefore will likely not be purchasing one, and that is going to hurt, especially as someone who really, really wants EVs to work. But there’s a few fundamental reasons why I say this. 

1: Electric Cars are expensive.

Looking at pretty much every vehicle on the market, you’d probably think that all new cars are for rich people, but fundamentally, you can actually still get some pretty decent deals on mainstream cars. If you want to buy a good, reliable, new car, a Hyundai Venue or Kia Picanto GT can be purchased for around $22,000 drive away. Both of which come from an established, reputable manufacturer and come backed by a really good warranty. They’re both fuel efficient, sipping around 6-8L/100km, Both are of a reasonably small size for two adults, both are more than capable of getting you around, both come equipped with modern features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so on and so forth. If all you want is a reliable vehicle for getting yourself and maybe a partner or friend around, both cars are fantastic. 

Right now, the cheapest electric vehicle on the market is the GWM ORA Good Cat. Now, look. I don’t think that this vehicle is a good purchase. At $35,000, you get basically a cobbled-together mix of hodgepodge drivetrain components (albeit pretty good ones, the drive unit is a Bosch e-Axle), and interior build quality that whilst it feels good and looks good, comes with a bit of a whiff of chinese industrial adhesives. It’s also, woefully inefficient, woefully slow to charge and has patchy reliability, despite the ramblings of those affected by the sunk-cost fallacy of purchasing a Chinese EV would have you believe. 

Probably the most reliable and efficient vehicle on the market in the electric vehicle space, is the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range, whose efficiency of 13.5kWh/100km puts it squarely in line to be more efficient than any ICE Equivalent (It takes at least 20kWh/100km to beat Hybrids in terms of comparable fuel efficiency), whilst also having one of the most integrated and reliable drivetrains on the market in terms of EVs. However, that car is built by a company whose CEO is so unhinged that he actually followed through with the joke and released the Cybertruck to an unsuspecting public. Also, it’s $68,000 (or about $64,000 if you buy Inventory stock) which puts this car well out of reach of say, the average punter earning less than say, $150,000 a year. Also it has stupid indicators and requires mods to be a somewhat usable car. On top of that, the CEO of that company is single handedly the biggest threat to our democracy of any billionaire out there, and it just so happens that the electric vehicle future is in the hands of a person who is addicted to ketamine, and is so divorced that people deadname his ill-gotten, broken social media app because he deadnames his child. 

Then you have the Polestar 2. A wonderful vehicle in every aspect. Well made, beautiful in every way (unless you glance at the rear end for too long) and, it’s electrifyingly fast. It’s also underequipped, and for $75,000, you can do so, so much better in terms of featureset. To get an equivalent spec of a Polestar 2 when compared to a Tesla Model 3? You’d have to spend $90,000. It’s also horribly inefficient. 

Same goes for Hyundai’s Ioniq 6, the Mustang Mach-E, and the Kia EV6, all of which end up being at a minimum $90,000 for a comparable spec to the Tesla, and just as bad efficiency wise.  

So, then you have the BYD Seal as an option, yeah? Well, I wouldn’t consider this either. The Seal is a great car. However my cursory experience with BYD basically tells me that BYD plans on updating these cars on a rolling yearly cycle, meaning the second that BYD releases an update, your car is now fundamentally worth less than a new one. It’s not entirely “worthless”, but depreciation is going to punch you squarely in the balls come the next release. Also, the ADAS systems are a pain in the butt, it’s heavy and incredibly inefficient.​​ There’s also issues with its infotainment system, and seeing that it’s nothing more than a retrofitted and modified version of Android (not even Android Automotive, just straight up Android), there’s no way of knowing if the car’s going to phone home to the CCP. 

Then there’s the MG4… Really? MG was never known for reliability, even back when they made ICEs. The MX5 exists purely to spite MG’s reputation for building unreliable sportscars. The MGB was such a leaky, horrifyingly unreliable mess that Mazda could beat it with its eyes closed. The NA is a rickety bucket of bolts when compared to the modern day ND MX5 and I love it. This is also not to mention MG3s are absolute shitboxes, and the MG5 has the worst safety record of any sedan released recently, so much so that MG had to install a “Safety pack” to make it a safer car. 

At least they didn’t do a Mahindra and call the ANCAP test biased, (despite their car being biased to the old version of the ANCAP test) I guess. 

Regardless of all this, all the good EVs are too expensive, and all the cheap EVs are Chinese. Not that I have a thing against Chinese automakers or anything Chinese. The Macbook and iPhone I use are Chinese built. My headphones are Chinese, both in manufacture, as in the case of my Bose QC 35s and Wireless 700s, and in brand as well, with my Truthear x Crinacle Zeroes (the current daily drivers I use for my iPod) being some of the best value to performance earbuds i’ve ever used. 

Chinese factories can make good products and indeed, Chinese Automakers are getting there. However, they aren’t quite at the stage where I would consider them the next Hyundai, and if any of them have a good shot at it, it’ll be BYD. They just need to have their Tiburon and Getz moment, or their Supra and Corolla moment. What do I mean by that? Chinese automakers need to make a car that wows the public with its build quality, and then make an affordable car that matches it. Hyundai’s Tiburon was that moment. The Tiburon was a very, very well made car. I should know, I owned one. At the same time, the Getz was quoted by Top Gear to be “As well made as a VW Polo”, which is a huge thing coming from those three. 

Toyota wowed the world with the Aston-Martin-beating Supra, a GT Car that said “I can be a DB7 too, and be faster, cheaper, more reliable, and better made.” They then followed that up with the AE111 Corolla. Take the king of all Four-cylinder engines, the 20V Silvertop 4AGE, stick it in a Corolla, make it as solid as a rock. 

Chinese automakers need this. As mentioned, BYD can indeed do that, but right now it appears to be going with a scattergun approach, trying to bring along multiple car lines to see if there is one that sticks. Honestly, they should just focus on getting the Ocean series to be reliable. MG’s Cybester looks really nice, but it needs to be, in my opinion, called the MGB… So Mazda can finally be coaxed from its throne to lay the smackdown on the Chinese automakers with the NE Electric MX5 we all want. 

But right now, all the EVs from the Chinese automakers are still, way, way too expensive. They start at around $40,000 for something decent. That, for reference, is RAV4 money. RAV4s are bigger, more reliable, better made, and more importantly, better suited to the demographic that a $40,000 family car is punting towards. There’s a reason why there’s a 6-month long wait list for them. 

This basically means, any of the good, reputable automakers’ EVs are exclusive to rich people. People who earn $150,000 or more a year. People who more than likely, also have access to my next point. 

2: Electric Cars are for Homeowners. 

As of the time of writing, (in all honesty, ever since 2008) we are currently in a housing crisis. House prices are insane right now. The apartment which I purchased back in 2020, has gone up $100,000 in value in four years. Average offer times on houses, even though they are incredibly overvalued in my area, have been around two weeks or so. I know this because well, I go for a bike ride every few days or so, and happen to ride past a lot of houses for sale. I see the signs go up, and within two weeks, there’s an “Under offer” sticker on ‘em. Within a month, they’re sold. Give it another few weeks? They’re on the market for rent, no sign needed. 

Now, as I mentioned before, I own an apartment. I think that more people should own apartments, as single family homes are directly contributing to climate change, urban sprawl and the increasing tax burden of the government. If you own a single family home; and please do not take offence to this, as it’s likely not your fault; but, you’re part of the problem. More sprawl means more roads, train lines and trams need to be built. More bus routes need to be planned, more infrastructure needs to be built. Single Family Homes are costing us billions. It means more commutes by car, more power needs to be consumed to cool bigger homes, it means people need more cars to keep themselves moving, which means more emissions, which means more damage to the planet. 

The problem is, Apartments that are single and double bedroom, oftentimes get sold as investments, rental properties or to DINK couples like the one I am in. There needs to be more family options for apartments, and more importantly, there needs to be more apartments with EV charging in them, if we are planning on building out more sprawl. On the other hand, larger apartments with more than two bedrooms are luxury items, exclusive to the wealthy. Want a 3×2 apartment that’s within 10km of the city? That’ll be a cool $1.5 Million and $2000/qtr in strata fees. 

Now I thought that I could make an EV work for me. I am a short 5 minute drive from my nearest Ampol AmpCharge station. I can also just dangle a cable over the balcony to do top up charges. This I now realise is a fools’ errand. DCFC reliance is what kills batteries. Unless you’re constantly charging that pack up, giving it little topups here and there, you’re at risk of cooking your battery within 10 years of ownership. Now sure, this is a long-arse time, especially considering that battery degradation kinda works on a bit of an inverse log curve (you take a big hit to your battery health in the first 2 years or so of ownership, but it stabilises after that) 

But then I realised, this is going to be even more of a PITA than I thought. Charging an EV would require me to rely on my neighbours not hogging the Visitor bays all the time (as they’re close enough to my apartment to dangle a cable down to them.), and then i’d have to actually remember to plug the sucker in the day before I drive it to make sure the pack has enough charge to get it to where I need to go. 

This isn’t an issue for the owner of a single family home, as you have your own dedicated car-hole (as Moe Syzlak calls it) to park the bastard in and leave it plugged in. (sorta like the world’s biggest Battery Tender), but for an apartment dweller? Well unless I can negotiate the political rigmarole of getting Tesla Destination Chargers fitted through the council of owners support, there’s no feasible way for me to make this work without pissing off someone enough that they’d probably unplug my car, or worse, cause injury to themselves by cutting or tripping over the dangled high-voltage cables. 

This means that as much as I like EVs, EVs are for homeowners who own specifically, single family homes. Which brings me onto my next point. 

3. Electric cars are bad for the environment. No, really. 

Now, I don’t mean they’re bad for the atmosphere. They are actually fundamentally better for the planet’s atmosphere than any ICE car, and they make up for their carbon costs within two to three years of ownership. I am talking in terms of their effects on the urban and built environment. Electric cars are basically a tacit approval of the single family home idea, and therefore they are fundamentally a way to approve of a wasteful life whilst doing so with as little guilt as possible. They quantify and bring significance to the single-family-home lifestyle that is fundamentally breaking our planet. 

As you may not know, I am sort of a closet Slavoj Zizek stan. Now Zizek himself would probably guffaw at this concept and call me a useless idiot for thinking this, and I would say “Yes mister Slovenian trash panda, please insult me more” but to me, Electric Cars play right into the idea that we all eat from the ideological trash can. 

The idea that we can purchase our way out of climate change is a total myth. This fundamentally places the ability to engage in climate change praxis squarely into the hands of those who feel they have a guilt complex about the issue, the whole “Carbon Footprint” concept as a whole was largely created by the Oil and Gas industry to eschew risks onto the consumer, basically making them feel the guilt of consuming, despite the fact that the product that these people put out is fundamentally more dangerous as a whole, and the fact that they lobby to keep it as the mainstream source of fuel for our society at large is what’s actually causing climate change. 

The solution to climate change isn’t electric cars and single family homes, it isn’t making people buy electric cars. The solution is eliminating cars as a concept of transport all together

Vietnam, Singapore and most Asian and European cities Have it nailed. Design your cities around pedestrians, e-scooters, motorcycles and bicycles, use trains to connect urban hubs, and relegate Automobiles to the same regard as we now relegate horses, to be the hobbies of those who wish to partake in them and have the means to maintain them, and to those who fundamentally need cars to haul large groups of people around. Sure, cars are mainstream in rural areas and villages, but in urban cores, trains, buses and bikes are king.  

I know, my inner Urbanist is showing, but I now see the fundamental reason why I think electric cars specifically are a bad idea. Electric motorcycles, I think, should be more prevalent due to the fact that if you look inside most cars in traffic, you’ll see that the large bulk of cars on your daily commute have only a single, or at most, two people in them. 

Cars are heavy, they wear down roads, they’re space inefficient, they’re power inefficient, and even the best hybrids and electric vehicles cannot keep up with the fuel efficiency of motorcycles. In fact, a Honda PCX150 Maxi scooter (one of the most popular mid-range motor scooters on the planet) has the exact same fuel efficiency as a Polestar 2 with a single occupant. In the space that Polestar 2 occupies, you can fit four PCX150s with up to two passengers, making the fuel efficiency of those motorcycles even better than the big, heavy electric car. The PCX150 also weighs 131kgs fully loaded. Add say, 150kg of ATGATT riders and the bike weighs 281kg. Four bikes? 1.12 Tons, less than half the weight of the Polestar 2, or a hair more than a fully loaded Mazda MX5. If there are eight riders on those four bikes, that brings the per-rider fuel efficiency of those vehicles down to less than half of the fuel consumption of a Tesla Model 3.

Now if those motorcycles are electric, say they’re a bunch of Vinfast Klara 200s. The Klara has a single passenger efficiency rating of about 3.5kWh/100km. It has a 3.5kWh battery pack and can go 100km on that charge at an average speed of 35kph… Which is about the average speed of a vehicle on a daily commute doing 60kph. Per passenger, this means the Klara gets a fuel efficiency of 3.5kWh/100km. The most efficient vehicle on the market right now in terms of cars, is the Tesla Model 3 standard range, which gets a paltry 13.5kWh/100km. 

The safety aspects of motorcycles being dangerous also disappears when more people become riders. Now sure, in Vietnam, there’s more accidents on motorcycles than in any other country apart from India. However, the large cause of Vietnam’s motorcycle accidents isn’t the fact that there is an abundance of motorcycles, it’s largely because a lack of strictly enforced traffic laws, a corrupt police force that can be easily won over by bribes due to low wages, high levels of drink-riding due to Vietnam’s prominent drinking culture, and inadequate safety protection worn by motorcyclists there. Consider that the average vietnamese motorcyclist isn’t an ATGATT rider, they mostly wear casual clothes, or at best, clothes to protect them from the harsh Vietnamese sun (hence the Ninja Lead memes), and they’re a hard night of Bia Hoi drinking away from doing something really, really stupid on their bikes.

Then there is Taiwan, not to piss off the Mainland Chinese who suddenly come across my article, but that country has Electric motorcycling fundamentally solved with its Gogoro network. Silly name, sure, but it’s a battery hotswap network that utilises a standardised battery form factor that allows electric motorcycle manufacturers to build a bike around the battery pack, and not build a battery pack to shoehorn into the bike. All you do to charge a Gogoro bike, is you pull up to the station, take your old pack out, pay for a new pack, whack a new pack in, and then ride away. Not only is it more energy efficient than an electric car, 

It’s fundamentally faster than refuelling. 

This is also not to mention, that if you want to go even further and say, adopt electric bicycles, these vehicles are so efficient that they’re almost more energy efficient and provide a better workout than walking. I’m even going so far as to consider converting my Giant CRX-Two to electric using a Bafang mid-drive conversion to replace my dodgy front gear set. eBikes also don’t require licences to ride, have removable and repairable batteries, and can be ridden on Perth’s comprehensive PSP network, which is in some cases, faster than driving. 

So what about other fuel-burning vehicles? What about aeroplanes? Well The entire reason why aeroplanes are so fuel efficient is purely because the efficiency scales up with passenger counts. A fully loaded Boeing 787 Dreamliner, for example, has the same kind of fuel efficiency as that Polestar 2 does, at around 2.2L/100km/Pax.

Trains? The reduced friction of the clickity clack of steel wheels on steel rails means the fuel efficiency of an unloaded electric train is the same as that of three Polestar 2s. This makes a Transperth C-Series more power efficient than walking when fully loaded with its 1200 passenger capacity. 

So why then do we think Electric Cars are better than ICE cars when other modes of transport are fundamentally more efficient? Well that’s because cars as a whole, suck as transport. 

So why do we think they’re still good? Well because we have Auto Industry propaganda coursing, or rather flooding through our veins. This is the same way as Vegans feel about Veganism as a whole. That too is an entirely flawed ideology. That’s because the Agricultural industry also has us believing that switching to a diet based on plants is fundamentally better for the environment, and whilst that is true from an Atmospheric standpoint, in terms of the cropped environment as a whole, it is fundamentally no worse than rearing animals and implementing crop rotation in existing factory farming practices, and in fact, eliminating animals from agriculture can have some pretty nasty environmental side-effects, and some even argue that Veganism is an excuse for delaying our reliance on fossil fuels. Your gas guzzling car is perfectly fine so long as you eat a heavily mass manufactured Impossible burger as opposed to a heavily mass manufactured beef burger. The environment is more than just the air. 

Climate change, like all crises, is an infinitely complicated problem which requires infinitely complicated solutions. We experienced this during the COVID pandemic. Vaccines were not the silver bullet we need to fundamentally “beat COVID”, however they were instrumental as part of the overall safety system we needed to reduce the risk of harm to health from COVID, as were masks, social distancing, lockdowns, hand-washing, awareness and medical treatments. 

Now my day-job is in WHS Education, my role’s pretty simple. I teach people, through my skills of making videos and producing communication material, how people can reduce their risk of harm to health. I am by no means a WHS expert, I leave that up to those who have experience in the field. I am, however, pretty good at understanding the fundamentals as I kinda need to in order to get our ideas across. 

Climate Change is a risk of harm to our health. It is going to require an infinitely complicated safety system to mitigate this risk. It is absolutely not going to be stopped, we’ve already passed that point, but it is going to take all sorts of controls to get the hazard to a manageable level. Electric cars are mere PPE in this hierarchy. Electric bikes? Also PPE. PPE is fundamentally a low-level control that only reduces exposure risk, and doesn’t do anything to fundamentally address the hazard. Elimination controls are the most powerful but also the most difficult controls to implement. 

If the cause of the hazard is an ideological system that fundamentally is wasteful at its core, then the most powerful fix for the hazard is to eliminate the hazard altogether. This means eliminating capitalism, the fundamental ideological system responsible for climate change. 

However, as with all cases, if the work itself, or rather the system itself, is the hazard, eliminating the work sometimes isn’t feasible or possible for a multitude of reasons, including in this case, the political instability that a knee-jerk elimination of capitalism would result in, so then we must focus on substitution, engineering and administration controls. Substitution in the form of substituting the commute to work for working from home. Engineering in the form of rebuilding our power grids to work on renewable energy, our economies to become ovular (recycling supported) or circular (recycling-fundamental) economies, and our cities to focus on pedestrians, motorcycles, bicycles and public transit. Administration controls wherein appliances, vehicles and foods are forced to comply with carbon emissions and environmental risk standards, single-use plastic packaging and utensils are banned, and recycled content in packaging mandated. PPE in the form of Electric Vehicles, and Vegan Burgers. 

(Honestly I don’t know why Vegan burgers are a thing, the entire concept is pure ideology, just go have a decent vegetarian or vegan meal. India, Thailand and Japan have basically perfected the art of making veggies taste incredible.) 

The truth is, this is going to be a hard nut to crack. We will eventually crack it, but we can’t just rely on electric cars and trucks being the hammer which cracks the nut. Cars need to go the way of the horse. This is why, in my personal opinion, electric cars cannot and will not save us from the climate crisis. Whilst cars are fundamentally more reliable than the horse ever was, I mean there’s less of a chance of your car dying of dehydration, you can always just put more coolant in a car. You don’t fix the problems the horse created by breeding or building a bigger horse. You ask why the hell the horse was a problem in the first place. 

Horses left their excrement everywhere. Cars had invisible excrement that you couldn’t see, so they appeared “cleaner” than Horses. Trains also spewed noxious gases back in those days, but those gases were, per passenger, much less. Trains were pretty efficient back then, and now with almost all major cities worldwide with public transport operating on electrified trains, all you need to do is to figure out a way to make the electricity cheaper and less fossil fuel dependent, electrify freight rail, and boom! You’ve basically solved the transport problem. All you then need to do is rezone cities, clamp down on waste, recycle materials, and fight sprawl.

“But cars give me freedom to go wherever I want!”

Okay, why then do you have to pay a tax to own a car? We subsidise cars way, way more than we do trains and public transit. Motorcycles weigh a tenth of what a car weighs and therefore they cause less than a twentieth of the roadwear that a car does. Bicycles are so cheap on roadwear that the (frankly ridiculous) argument that bikes should be registered vehicles, would cost Western Australia more to administer the registration costs than it would to simply not bother with the idea. A bicycle wears down the road at a rate 300 times slower than any car does, purely by their lack of mass. 

You pay for fuel, you pay for insurance, you pay for registration, you pay to use the roads in some states. My relatively fuel efficient Getz costs me $1800 a year to fuel up at an average fuel consumption rate of 9L/100km and a fuel price of $2/L. It costs me $900 a year to register. It costs me $1000 a year to insure, and this is with the car fully paid off, financially speaking. A Tesla Model 3, in repayments alone would cost me $90,000 over the lifespan of the car, and for what? For me to feel slightly happy that I’m punching that baby seal in the Arctic just that little bit less? I could get a brand new ND3 Mazda MX5 for the price gulf, have one of the most amazing cars that’s ever been produced by an automaker, use it fundamentally as a fun machine, smack the Tesla’s financial costs squarely in the teeth, and still have money left over for a set of batteries for my apartment, and a decent electric motorcycle from a reputable manufacturer. 

This is why EVs are not selling as quickly as Tesla, BYD and Hyundai would have you believe. This is also why there’s fundamentally a several-month and in some cases, several year long queue for Toyota Hybrids. 

Sure, you might have the freedom to go kinda where you want with an EV, and even more so with a regular or hybrid car, but cars and indeed electric cars are not the ticket out of the climate crisis you think they are. 

In short, electric cars are the Caffeine Free Coke Zero of vehicles, and they act as the foil to the full-sugar, full caffeine Coke that is the regular automobile. You get all of the experience and “freedom” a gasoline car gives you, with none of the sugar or the caffeine, the bad sideffects of owning such a vehicle, None of the guilt associated with drinking an ice cold glass of coke. On top of that, much in the same way as Zizek describes in The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, Coke oftentimes, leaves you feeling thirstier than when you drank it in the first place. Owning an electric car makes you feel fundamentally worse than if you just took the train to work in the first place, the very second you realise that the service bill to replace the battery pack in an LFP-Equipped Model 3, is the cost of a brand new Kia Picanto. 

Cars are fundamentally bad for cities, just as horses once were. They’re bad for your wallet, they’re bad for transport, they’re just all around bad. Electric or otherwise, you’re still drinking Coke instead of water, which is what you should be drinking. 

So… You’re anti EV now? 

No. Not at all. I think if we’re going to have cars in the future, they need to be electric. They need to be way, way more efficient than what we have now, but I still fundamentally think that they are better for the planet than ICE cars are. I also think, that we should go one step further, and just reduce the amount of cars we have on our roads. Make cars something you need, rather than something you want. Cars need to get smaller, more efficient, and more importantly, more expensive. I know that hurts, but we need to do this in a chicken and egg way. Make cities cheaper to live in, make it as hard for motorists as possible to drive cars in cities. Stop the sprawl, and start building upwards. As always, I say, when it comes to urban planning, copy Singapore. 

“But Singapore is a city state”

Yes, but it is a City first, and a state second. Implement a COE program for mainstream vehicles, use the money to build a decent MRT network to make up for it (in fact the MRT’s existence was why the COE and ERP programs were instituted in the first place). This is why Singaporeans as a whole, love the MRT and oftentimes find no point to buy a car, other than either as a status symbol or out of pure necessity to haul a large family around or perform work as a Grab driver. It’s also why you see an eclectic mix of transportation there. Bikes, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, and yes, cars and trucks. All of these things can be implemented in cities. You just need a good enough carrot to implement the stick. It’s also why surprisingly enough, Electric vehicles are extremely rare there, short of the odd Tesla Model 3 or Porsche Taycan. Why buy an EV when the public transportation’s so good? 

“But muh freedom”

You have more choice in a connected, walkable and transitable city. You can choose to ride, bike, drive, walk, take a bus or train, you can do and go in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible. On top of that, if you build better train lines, better bus networks, better cycle paths, people will use them.

But I have one last argument. One last thing that’ll put electric cars into perspective. 

5. Electric cars can be dangerous, both physically and ideologically. 

No, I am not saying they are dangerous, but the current crop of electric vehicles, especially those from Tesla, can pose serious risks to motorists, pedestrians and even their own occupants. 

Now I am going to jump on the pile and completely clown on the Cybertruck. This behemoth of a car is the fundamental explanation as to what is wrong with cars these days. It is overly large. It’s unsafe. It’s impractical. It’s a distraction to both bystanders and the occupants of the vehicle. It represents a future that science fiction authors cautioned us not to follow, and it represents the ineptitude of its customer base. Despite it being an almost $100,000 truck, this stainless steel door wedge of a vehicle is fundamentally one of the worst examples of a “car” (it’s a truck with car suspension… what a weird idea) I’ve ever seen. 

Build quality? None. Reliable powertrain? Forget about it. Weight? Yes. There’s a lot of it. Range? Not even close to what was promised. Interior? Too minimalist, with a weird steering rack, stupid buttons and a pedal which slips off and could potentially cause the car to infinitely accelerate into that park full of small children innocently playing and enjoying their day. Oh, and the entire car is an Elon Musk vanity project. 

Elon’s the fundamental reason why Tesla has all these stupid issues with their cars and these issues that non-Tesla fans pick on. He has a vehement hatred for buttons and switches in interiors. Even in the Falcon 9 rocket, there are no physical controls for the rocket’s control systems. Astronauts flying the rocket have to rely on touching the screen, because Elon insists that mission critical physical controls are overrated, and he wants rockets to be cool and futuristic. 

In this episode of Don’t Build the Torture Nexus, Elon’s Cybertruck is a great example of “Hey I think the torture nexus should be powered by renewable electricity”. Cyberpunk as a genre is all about the cautionary tales of letting capitalism and technology go unchecked. Deus Ex? That’s about a secret organisation who lets corporations and an AI go rampant, killing humans in the process. The Matrix? That’s subtextually, about Transgenderism, but also about the idea that unless we are willing to learn to criticise and break structures, we will be stuck in this Fukayamaist idea that history is ever-repeating. I, Robot? The Terminator? The idea that AGI will undoubtedly do what it can to preserve itself, even at the expense of humans. 

Elon’s idea is Accelerationism. The idea that if we accelerate the construction of the torture nexus, and ride the Kali Yuga, we can fundamentally get on the side of our machine overlords and not die. The truth about Cyberpunk as a genre is, don’t build the torture nexus. Don’t build machines whose job it is to fundamentally replace humans, instead work on using machines as a way to better our lives. Machines should work for us, and therefore, should never be as intelligent as us. 

Drew Gooden’s video on the Cybertruck, has a couple in it, about 22 minutes in, flipping off the Cybertruck, a vehicle which, on paper, appears to be all things to all people, but in reality, is nothing more than a glimpse into the future that nobody wants. Elon is trying to bring Cyberpunk Dystopia into reality because it apparently, “looks cool”, which it would, to the corpo billionaire who just so happens to be the owner of the Torture Nexus. To everyone else, it’s the manifestation of the idea of a billionaire who’s just another component of the many simultaneous crises we’re all experiencing as a society. 

This is basically like VersaLife saying that “Augmentation’s great… For us”, as their drugs are what keep Augmented humans from dying. Would it not be better to have a world that didn’t require augs to begin with? Or to build Augs that didn’t kill people once installed? Also in Deus Ex, those augs do exist, they’re Nano-Augs, and only the elites have them. Those in Majestic 12, your player character, and other higher-ups in the government, who’re close to the power structures that be. 

(this is basically a cue for you to go and install Deus Ex, patch it and play that shit) 

Electric Cars, and indeed the cybertruck set dangerous precedents. Owning a Tesla basically says to the world “I like the dystopian hellscape we live in, I like the housing crisis, I like being in late-stage capitalism. I like cryptocurrency, NFTs, and making the proles own nothing. I like all this stuff because I like profiting off of all this, but you can’t be mad at me, because my EV isn’t causing the problem you’re facing.”

Humans do not want this AI fueled and NFT fueled dystopia that is ruled by the Libertarian Oligarchy. We want to be able to live a comfortable, meaningful life ruled by the people. This is why there is an almost abject pushback against, fundamentally, Tesla. This is why people love to clown on Tech companies as a whole. This is why we are slowly but surely seeing this rising undercurrent towards hatin’ on billionaires. To me, this is a great thing, but it’s also dangerous. Because the last time this happened, we got WWII, because those in power were clever enough to nudge the anticapitalist sentiment towards Fascism. This is why Elon’s on his “anti-woke” tirade despite his customer base, because his customer base fundamentally doesn’t care for politics unless it is in a symbolic way. Buying a Tesla means “you’re a better person for punching the planet less” and as a result, you can eschew all your environmental guilt in praise of the Torture Nexus. 

The reality is, society needs to fundamentally change to fight climate change. Systems need to change. We need to face truly uncomfortable scenarios to address these issues. I think fundamentally, cars need to be relegated to fun machines. Both to protect pedestrians, other drivers, and the environment. 

So you’re anti EV? 

Absolutely not. I love ‘em. Electric powertrains are, on a performance, technological and environmental standpoint, the future for cars and motorcycles. Whilst I still like the idea of Electric cars, I will likely not be buying one until two things happen. 

1: Toyota makes the Electric Corolla

Hybrids were in the same position as EVs are today in the early 2000s, relegated to curios for the fundamentally ideologically dense fuckwit. The South Park episode “Smug Alert” warned us about the ideology of trying to be “bettered” by consumption. The idea that Hybrids are better drivetrains than pure ICEs is proven by the simple fact that Toyota now offers the once Prius-only powertrain in the Yaris, Corolla, Camry, RAV4, Kluger, and soon to be the Landcruiser. This means that you no longer need the symbology of the Prius to sell the technology of the drivetrain. Fundamentally this makes Tesla the equivalent of the modern-day Prius, a curio purchased mostly by well-to-do fuckwits who want to tell the world just how bad you are. 

The second that a Toyota-developed Electric Corolla exists, that’ll be the first nail in the coffin for consumer ICEs. This means that EVs have enough scale to be a mainstream product, and socially acceptable by all. 

2: Mazda makes an Electric MX5

The Mazda MX5 is the true car enthusiast’s car. It carries no brand cachet. It carries no reputation other than its function as a fun machine. It is fundamentally the best car. Not as transport, not as a performance vehicle, but as a curated experience, nothing short of say, the Lexus LFA, an unabashed tribute to excess, a car so excessive that the company who made it, made a 3x loss on every single one and still didn’t care; is a better car than an MX5. If you’re a normal human being with normal, mortal means and you want the best car at being a car, Miata is always the answer.

It’s reliable enough to be a single person’s sole vehicle. It’s small enough to not be wasteful, being just a hair bigger and a hair heavier than my Getz. It offers a driving experience that is more motorcycle-like than car-like. You can drive this car, purely for the sake of going for a drive. There’s enough room in the boot for a week’s worth of clothes and two backpacks for couples road trips. This is why pretty much every seasoned car enthusiast will tell you, if you like cars, buy as much MX5 as you can afford. If you don’t like cars or solely need something practical, buy as much Corolla or Camry as you can afford

My next car is not going to be a Tesla. It is not going to be a Polestar, or an Ioniq 6, or a BYD. It is likely going to be a base-model ND3 Mazda MX5, which is basically what the Ute that I own fundamentally filled the gap of. It’s affordable for me. I don’t need to be a homeowner, and if I say, build an e-Bike and take the train to work, I’m still beating every Tesla owner out there when it comes to my environmental impact.

I bought my current 2010 Holden Commodore Ute, because It’s basically an MX5 with a tray. I wanted an NC MX5, but I also needed a vehicle that could potentially do courier work, because at the time of purchase I was looking into doing package delivery as a side job. Now, the ute is getting old and I no longer have a need for it, so I am planning on selling it next year.

If I need a ute, I can just rent one for a day. 

Since my dearest mother has told me that I am not allowed to own a motorcycle due to my lack of coordination, what I need is the car equivalent of a motorcycle. A vehicle I can use for my enjoyment. Something I can tinker with. Something with which I can just go out on a weekend and drive for fun. We already have a practical, reliable daily driver with the Getz, and that will likely get replaced with an EV one day. More than likely an Electric Corolla, if it ever becomes a thing. When Mazda releases an Electric MX5? I’ll replace my ND3 with an NE or NF MX5… if they ever become a thing.

I used to own an absolute bucket-of-shit NA. I named it Akira. I loved that thing. It gave me a sense of happiness I’ve never experienced in a car before. It was 850kg of pure motoring joy. It was, and I am para-referencing the words of Zizek here, the closest thing I’ve ever come to pure enjoyment for the sake of enjoyment (which Lacan tells you is basically impossible, but you can get damn close). It was fine. I liked it. It was a rusty bucket of crap, but I didn’t care. I didn’t have a reason why I liked it, I just… Did.

And that’s wherein I find the consensus with true motoring enthusiasts. They say that Miata is Always the Answer for a reason. It is the closest thing to the concept of surplus enjoyment working in the favour of the enjoyer. Just the thing itself, in its experience, has you craving more. More drives. More rollercoaster roads. The thrill of it all, rowing through the gears. 60kph feeling like 100kph. Sure, you can boost it, but that changes the experience. That’s like asking an Omakase Chef to take the salt off your wagyu steak and to ease up on the Wasabi. 

It’s basically to me, Joy personified as a car. It’s a driving experience laden with risk and reward. Miss a shift? Too bad, Work for the power to get it back and you will be rewarded. It is a fundamental life experience. It is the best car for the pure experience of driving.

If Mazda can capture this experience, and make it an Electric Vehicle? Then cars will be saved. Just like how Thoroughbred Horses are seen as curios of the enthusiastic man or woman who longs for the wild west and the ragged mountain ranges, the MX5, does the same for drivers. It turns car drivers into “Car Guys”. It turns lumpenmotortariat into revolutionaries of the Petrolhead’s Manifesto. Alfa Romeo drivers are just the Marxist-Leninists of the motoring world, willing to go through a little suffering to enjoy that delight. The MX5 is communism as a car. The idea that there is no purpose to it. There is no fundamental “State” of car. It is, to each according to their driving ability, accessible to each according to their means. The MX5 is all means to all drivers. It is fundamentally, like true communism (as a concept), always the answer.  

But then again, the longer we think about cars as transport… the longer that we realise that that idea is nothing short of pure eedeology. The more we think about capitalism as the way forward, as the solution to all our pains and problems, the more we eat from the trashcan and the more our planet becomes one. Cars need to die as transport. Capitalism needs to evolve into something that suits humans better. That better is communism. For cars, that “better” is the sportscar, liveable cities, and a comprehensive public transit and bicycle network.

I should get back to drinking some fucking fruit juice.


Beano out.