In whom, or what, can you place your automotive trust? God, professionals, or regular human beings?
In a world of citizen ‘journalism’, where the power of multi-media activities is no longer the remit of a monied elite, Iain Robertson is seriously worried about the blend of mixed messages, false hopes and ill-researched conclusions being reached.
While the activity known as ‘Lockdown’ is grossly misunderstood by a population displaying understandable ‘caged animal syndrome’, one of the factors that contributes to the proliferation of this hateful pandemic, it has been a minor boon to the professional writer (that is a person earning an income through educated commentary, so I am told). With a one-day festive period behind us, we have had plenty of time to mess around on the Interwebnet, reading the opinions of ‘others’, viewing their vlogs and blogs and, in many cases, actually believing an unhealthy chunk of what they state.
Yet, the amount of misinformation that is masquerading as experiential factoids, rather than feeding me with encouragement, is actually destroying my faith in my fellow man. When renowned Blackpool-based sportscar manufacturer, TVR, was in business, it was operated by an horribly arrogant millionaire, whose opinion of most of his customer base was low enough that he treated them with total disdain, regardless of the tens of thousands of Pounds they invested in his small firm’s notoriously unreliable products. Toyota, or even VW, would never had gotten away with similarly poor consumer relationships, however hard the latter company has tried.
However, TVR buyers, while harbouring ill-feelings secretly towards the carmaker, tolerated roof panels flying off, brakes disintegrating and engines blowing-up without provocation, containing their emotions within opinions like: “The TVR ownership experience is unique!”, or “My TVR may be painfully unreliable but, when it’s going, I love it!”. In reality, they, as with the rest of us, made a buying decision and tended to stick with it, through climatic, economic and political changes, rather than admit that they had made a major error of judgement. While contributing to a brand’s reputation, it is, in reality, little more than human nature. Why we make major allowances at times is beyond my reasoning powers but we do it so frequently that it is seldom less than discombobulating to me.
In fewer than nine years’ time, our nation is set to cease selling new motor vehicles powered by fossil fuels, i.e. petrol and diesel. Despite being granted the power of attorney, our present government bowed to the reported pressures being levied on it by a heady cocktail of environmental scientists, vehicle manufacturers, mobility exponents and the semi-political brigade that I refer to as ‘EVangelists’, the vast majority of which are as much ‘apologetic’ as members of the BLM, Me2 and The Green Party sets (it is everybody else’s fault, after all!).
Okay. Most of us appreciate that it took millions of years for crushed vegetation and seashells to create subterranean reserves of toxic oleagenin (the base for refined oil). At the world’s present rate of consumption, we shall exhaust that larder in around fifty years from now, without a means of replenishment. Sucking out all the oil and replacing it with seawater is causing untold structural harm uncomfortably out of sight. However, my long-standing and still viable argument about shifting the blame from fuel pump to power station, as EVangelists do, continues to hold water…unless we resort to nuclear, rather than coal/oil-fired solutions.
Yet, EVs are on the politically fuelled cusp of a possible solution. Early adopters of EV technology, over the past decade, are already paying a significantly higher cost for their lightly tarnished halos that they will never recoup, as battery and recharging developments accelerate. While the internal combustion engine (ICE) has also changed markedly since its inception, it still has room to clean up its act and, while exceedingly costly at present, new chemical fuels are being formulated to enable its survival.
However, the EV bandwagon hopping, which has provided potential employment for a sliver of the working population (from journalists to mechanics and marketers to manufacturers) that has been harmed irreparably by the pandemic, continues apace, often quite vocally. Scanning through social media reveals abundant myopia. EV experiential recharging video-blogs talk of near-standard 37-minutes-to-80%-and-around-90-miles-range statuses as being ‘eminently acceptable’, without contemplating the inherent losses of productivity incurred.
‘Have a coffee’ they state cheerfully, without explaining what to do for the remaining 25 minutes, or the fact that a 200 miles business trek will demand another couple of 37-minute stops just to arrive. In addition, many exponents of this new class of correspondence elect to ignore the re-education necessary to effect a smooth plug-in, let alone the issues related to charge-cards being unreadable by the equipment, or that the recharging equipment itself is faulty/inoperable in more than a third of cases.
Even the ‘hardened’ professionals purporting to promote EV technology fail to comprehend the near-50% oncosts related to the technology shift…but, then, they drive company-funded demonstrators and, while welcoming ‘new’ technology (increased ranges, new gizmos, faster recharging times), they ignore the steep residual value losses incurred by users of the ‘older’ versions. As to ‘my’ former colleagues in the automotive reporting scene, they have simply sold out without questioning, for fear of losing both advertising revenue and missing the eco-boat that provides so much faux promise.
‘Citizen mechanics’ already cost those consumers taking their advice many millions of ill-advised Pounds every year, when a visit to a recognised and time-served garage would save them a small fortune. The bottom-line is that truth has been set aside in a rash rush to meet a notional 2030 EV deadline. While accepting that politicians, economists and scientists can be economical at best in their handling and even massaging of the facts, it does seem that true professionals are being corralled into ever darker corners, from where their voices possess only distant echoes.
Conclusion: US currency promises an ‘In God We Trust’ remit but we all know how tarnished it is. Praying to God, or facing Mecca every morning may provide some answers, although only a visit to a professional optician can cure myopia.