'In the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.'
- Abraham Lincoln -

Monday, August 20, 2012

Trying To Defy The Rules Of Marketing

Who was it said "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear"?

Whoever it was had to be referring to the electric car industry.

No matter how hard Obama and his environmentalist buddies try to make it look like a fancy silk purse, it's still an over-priced, under-powered,  woefully inadequate, non-utilitarian hunk of boat anchor.  Massive federal subsidies notwithstanding.

The latest:
Electric car boom in Ind. city goes bust
By Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News

(CBS News) Elkhart, Ind. - Elkhart, Indiana lost jobs faster than any other city in the country in 2009. Both Democrats and Republicans promised to re-energize manufacturing in the city, backing a new electric car plant. But as CBS News investigated, instead of a boom, things went bust.

With unemployment peaking above 20 percent, Elkhart, Indiana was at the white-hot center of the economic meltdown, and a natural launch point for President Obama's electric vehicle initiative.

"So that's why I'm here today," the president said three years ago. "To announce $2.4 billion in highly competitive grants."

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels was also on board in convincing Norwegian company Think Global to open a plant in Elkhart to build Think City electric cars with a sticker price of about $42,000.

As incentive, the federal government offered Think City $17 million in stimulus tax credits.

Dorinda Heiden-Guss heads up the local economic development effort. "We were excited," she said. "We were invigorated at a very devastating time."

But it turns out the company had a checkered track record, including three previous bankruptcies. We recently visited Think City's Indiana plant, and here's what we found: a largely empty warehouse.

Everybody hoped that by this time there would be more than 400 workers inside a bustling plant. Instead, today, there are just two workers at Think City. Rodney and Josh are slowly finishing assembly on a few dozen 2011 models shipped in from Norway.

We were able to drive a Think City car around the empty space where investors once envisioned an assembly line churning out 20,000 vehicles a year.

Now in its fourth bankruptcy, Think Global has been bought by a Russian investor who didn't return our calls.

Think's woes caused one of its investors, Ener1, to file for bankruptcy in January. Ener1 spent a $55 million federal grant to make batteries at this factory in Indianapolis for Think City cars.

So what happened? "The market has not been what everybody anticipated it to be with electric vehicles," said Heiden-Guss. [link]
"The market has not been what everybody anticipated it to be ..." What's this "everybody" nonsense?  Government pays for the facility and the payroll.  It then subsidizes the sale of the end-product.  And the company still can't make a go of it?  What's wrong with that picture?  In fact, there were a whole lot of experts, outside the government and the press, who looked at the business model and thought YOU PEOPLE ARE OUT OF YOUR MINDS.

Yet they spent our money anyway.

They could just as easily have flushed it down the toilet.

A $42,000 metal box with a tiny, short-range engine that will get you all of thirty miles before it requires a six-hour recharge is someone's idea of a sick joke.  Or an Obama campaign promise.  Take your pick.

Anyway, the electric car industry is collapsing.  Again.

Time for another infusion of cash.

Or a bullet in the battery pack.

Question: If our president actually started giving these damn things away for free, would anyone take one?

I think we all know the answer.