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Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

US Subsidizes Leaf: The Green Dinosaur with Old battery technology

Nissan Leaf

See the picture?  I think this is a nice looking  car,  don't you ? 
Great design, but sadly, the battery technology it uses  is already a dinosaur.  It only goes 100 miles (160km)  between time-consuming battery charges in slow city driving. 
As compensation for new owners with huge expectations,  it does, however, have Satellite radio as standard equipment. 
Wow.  That’s just what every car owner needs,  fluff and techy-toys  on a  fancy vehicle  that lacks  basic  substance and performance ability!
It is nice and shiny, though, it's made by Nissan.  It even  has a “green” name. The Nissan Leaf.  The first one has just been sold in California.  It is inevitable the “Leaf”  will be touted as being  “zero emissions”-- being an “electric car” having a battery and an electric motor instead of a gasoline engine.  It’s green, but make no mistake about it,  it is a pretty green dinosaur.  Why?
In case you were headed out the door to buy one, slam on the brakes for a minute.  At Incoming BYTES not long ago,  ( see  Dec.16/10  North America, rent this idea !)   you will have already discovered there is FAR better electric vehicle  battery technology available.

Since we at Incoming BYTES seem to  be apprised of this new technology,  millions of other people must be similarly aware.  Does  “Corporate-Automotive” North America access the internet?   Of course they do, and they are fully aware of DBM battery technology,  but it looks like they  hope nobody has noticed
 If that is the case,  what are the dinosaurs in the boardrooms really doing?  Does  the North American Automotive power structure believe North American consumers are totally gullible?
It is, once again, time to ask pointed questions.
Is the “existing dinosaur battery  technology” -however inefficient it IS,  to be “used up and paid for” by the unsuspecting public  before any “new and better technology"  is allowed into automotive production?
As an aside, there is precedent for that possibility.  Consider the case of  high-tech “LED” lighting which is available, but has conveniently been outrageously overpriced and put aside for less efficient CFLs,  compact florescent light bulbs-- that contain poisonous  mercury.  Why?   CFLs    replaced “inefficient, wasteful  incandescent lighting.”   Maybe it just was the fact that  CFL’s are made in China, made where environmental controls are lax and labour is cheap.  Profitable.  
Regardless, LED technology uses no polluting mercury as compact florescent bulbs do, do not wear out, and are far more efficient lighting than CFLs.   Sadly, once again, we wait for the “conversion of the industry” to a new high-tech LED  standard, the COST being, that now North America is forced to deal with millions upon millions  of polluting CFL bulbs in landfills, or recycle them. 
Is  the unsuspecting public, actually being forced to “use up” and   pay for the “ dirty technology”  of CFL’s before we shall be “allowed” to buy clean, highly efficient  LED lighting?  
Okay, I digress, but you get the point.  Is a similar scenario taking place with the Leaf and  electric car technology?  Logic suggests it, too, is being manipulated.   Far better battery  technology already exists.   The fact that DBM battery technology in Europe  has already proven an electric vehicle can go 375 miles (600km) at highway speed on a six-minute charge without being tweaked  seems to have been conveniently overlooked  in the auto sector of North America.    What are they smoking in automotive board rooms?   Shall we laugh insanely now, or later?
What are the other possibilities with electric vehicles?
Has the long arm of the petroleum industry decided to make the “Leaf” look as  inefficient as possible to prolong the life of the dirty, gasoline-guzzling internal combustion motor?
  Are  lobbyists involved, and bribery?    Is the  industry  holding out to use fuel cells and  natural gas instead of gasoline, nothing less than a similarly  foolish, interim waste of technology  and  time?   How about hydrogen technology -which has been stifled?
 Going straight to electric vehicles, at what cost to the environment will the automotive  industry manufacture and install  millions of inefficient, old-technology automotive batteries when high-performance, high-efficiency lithium metal polymer batteries can be used, offering an astoundingly huge  clear-cut advantage both to the consumer and the environment?
Is the government really  part of the problem here?  The Leaf  “only” costs $33,000 USD retail,   but the happy “Go Green” US government will reportedly subsidize Leaf  buyers a flashy $7500.00   when they purchase the green dinosaur.  
That $7500.00 is about 21% of the cost of the new car !  Quite an “incentive” isn’t it?
Let us interpret what is really happening .  The net result of this subsidy could be merely  another automotive bailout.
That US subsidy will  translate to an estimated 7 or 8 Billion dollar taxpayer subsidy ,  -- and you, the lucky  taxpayers of the United States of America, will pay for it.
 You are, logically, seemingly,  subsidizing the Auto industry yet again  –to pay for  old technology,  old design and old infrastructure. “Let’s use it up, regardless of cost, shall we?” 
It makes no difference if the government gives YOU the big cheque for $7500.00 or if they hand it directly to the automotive giants.    By direct subsidy to the buyer or not, the money clearly ends up in automotive coffers, and you end up with a dinosaur parked in your driveway.  
With planned obsolescence, when “new technology batteries” become available, you can rest assured they will not “fit” the Leaf....for the same  prescribed reason.  We do not have to guess why.   
Will  the Canadian government  be far behind to give Canadian  taxpayer dollars  away in similar subsidies to bribe consumers into buying equally inefficient, low-tech-battery  electric vehicles ? I hope Canadians are smarter than that.
The fact is, regardless of location or country, electricity costs, whether it be from hydro electric, coal-burning generation, nuclear or solar energy- so let us use it wisely in the most efficient automotive electric vehicles possible.  

 A nice-looking  car with “free” Satellite radio or not, this strategy  is unacceptable use of limited resources in our already-strained world.  North America  needs to get off of petroleum, develop a solar strategy for production of electricity, and use mineral resources with restraint.   
Let us cut to the chase and use the best possible electrical battery technology at the lowest environmental cost possible. We encourage the reader to be informed, decide which path is better, and spend your automotive dollars  accordingly–and wisely.


  1. at the risk of being the lone comment, i agree--i would not have written a technical article--but someone had to, business follows rather than leads, but where this is leading is a bleak scene of destitution, moral and financial. 7 billion people can't be all wrong?

  2. The fact is, through advertising and product 'offerings', corporations influence and determine the direction society takes, while enriching corporate coffers in doing so. North America, in fact the whole world should be using the BEST technology available to preserve the environment.
    There is hope if enough people encourage government and business alike to do the RIGHT thing. The taxpayer subsidizing old technology to allow automotive corporations simply to make more money "using up that old technology" is morally questionable and expensive, defective policy.

  3. i forgot that children and rats will follow the piper in any back alley to their own destruction..and in an immature society, that is exactly the predictable scenario. so we must change the script, one by one.
    first by not purchasing the first new technology without testing it in theory and education. then wait long enough for the proven product to be affordable.
    the consumer trends have been so consistent in past decades--buy the newest--ell the rest--trade and use govt rebates--which creates more resource depletion and waste for the profit of the few.
    keep on searching through the commercial stack and find the best available technology for those who care..

  4. A majority of 'buyers of this new vehicle' will BE mislead and are not aware that it is already old, dated battery technology. I find the masses being lead by devious planning sad ---because the concept of the electric car is clearly the right technology for the future. The world receives more sunlight energy in one hour than the world uses in a whole year. Why not celebrate that fact and learn how to use it wisely?


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