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For nearly a decade, utility companies have been targeted by companies and individuals selling a particular kind of snake oil. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a lot of these people are acting maliciously (I’ll get to that in a minute). In fact, I think a lot of these people have the best of intentions at heart — there’s just a problem in the way they look at the world, and that’s this: they’re wrong about what the utility companies’ role in the transition to EVs needs to be, and there is a whole lot of incentive for them to stay wrong.

How We Got Here

Before we talk about how we got here, we need to talk about what “here” is. Basically, we exist in a world that is still very much influenced by pressures that started way back in 2008 and 2009 when the housing market collapsed, fuel prices soared, and carmakers were desperate to sell new cars and trucks to just about anyone who could still buy them. The flex-fuel Dodge Ram pickups (Ram was still part of Dodge back then) had “Runs on Corn!” written in broad strokes across the windshield while they baked in the Napleton Northlake Dodge parking lot.

It was a wild time, for sure, but it was the first real shake to the ever-growing US car market that many of us had lived through, and it was very much the dawn of the EV startup. There was Tesla, there was Fisker, there was Aptera, heck, there was even Paul Elio and his goofy tadpole thing. Everyone was pushing for 40 MPG or 50 MPG cars, hybrids were in the limelight, and nobody back then really knew if it would be biofuels or hydrogen or battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) that would win the day.

Now, as I type this, it’s obvious that BEVs won. It wasn’t so much that BEVs won, though. It was Tesla that won, and every other carmaker has been forced to participate in the electric future that Tesla created. And, to their credit, just about every one of them — with a few notable holdouts, like Toyota and Mazda — have jumped into the BEV race with both feet, committing to a majority electric future by 2030, if not a fully electric one … and the environmentalists are pushing this as a huge win.

The EV Future Is Not An Environmentalist Victory

No to Climate Death! Used under CC License.

Read that heading again, carefully. This isn’t an article that’s claiming EVs are worse for the environment than internal combustion (those articles are complete and utter bullshit, anyway). What this is is an article that hopes to explain that Tesla — and, by extension, all EVs — didn’t win because they are better for the environment. The EVs won because they are better cars.

That’s it. That’s the reason. Electric cars are better cars. Electric cars are succeeding as a product, in other words, not as an ideology.

It’s not the planet. It’s a sad fact, but almost no one cares about the planet. Even in a liberal Utopia like Portland, Oregon, headlines about record heat waves hover over pictures of JetSkis leaping over the waves and scantily-clad women on motor yachts enjoying mojitos. Hardly the picture of doom and gloom that you’d expect from a burning planet facing record heat waves, record droughts, and a global pandemic that’s still churning out thousands of newly-stuffed body bags every day, you know?

You know.

The Consultants Get Paid

Screencap from Breaking Bad.

The success of Tesla has given the internal-combustion stakeholders a bloody nose, and the environmentalists and activists — even the most well-meaning among them — have done everything they can to draw attention to that fact. As such, the sharkiest sharks have had no choice but to smell the blood in the water, and find a way to cash in. Who are they? Consultants.

While the environmental activists are working hard to change the way that people think about cars with talk about “average commutes” and “savings calculators” and “cradle to grave emissions” and “educating the public about the benefits of EVs” to anyone who will listen, the consultants have found someone who is not just willing to listen, but who is willing to reach into some very, very deep pockets when they’re done listening. That someone is the utility companies.

Utility companies, almost without exception, have millions of captive customers who must pay them every month or risk their health, their jobs, or more. That also means they have millions of dollars to play with. Combine that huge budget with pressure from policy makers and those very same, well-meaning environmentalists, and you end up with a large company that has a large PR incentive to spend large amounts of money on large projects — projects like getting people to buy more EVs! (Maybe even large ones!)

The first problem is that even the most well-meaning and sincere among the policy makers and activists typically have no idea how the car business works. Like, none. Not even a little bit. They don’t know about floorplans or co-ops or CSI scores or allocations — and they certainly, as a group, have no idea how those things can conspire against a dealer or salesperson who might very much want to sell you an electric car, but who literally cannot, through no fault of their own.

The second problem is that very few people at the utility companies understand how the car business works, either, but they at least know enough to know that they don’t know enough, and that’s where the consultants swoop in and convince the utilities that it’s their job — no, their mission — to convince people to buy electric cars.

To aid in that mission, the consultants have created a cottage industry of certificate programs, expensive training seminars, and online buyers’ guides that are terrible at convincing people to choose a perfectly reasonable EV instead of a loud and emotional Hemi-powered monster, terrible at their stated mission of helping dealers to sell cars, and terrible at showing people how an electric car can fit into the lives, today, but that are very good at convincing utility companies to transfer money from their bank accounts to the consultant’s.

They got it wrong, and that was the elephant in the room right now that everyone was afraid to talk about at that “big” EV web conference took part in last month. The environmentalists and activists who wanted the utility companies and policy-makers to engage in conversations with John Q. Public about “wheel to well emissions” and change the way people make decisions about cars got it 100% wrong. EVs aren’t succeeding because people are changing the way they think, they’re succeeding because they’re meeting new car buyers where they’re at today with body styles, performance figures, and capabilities that are more in line with what mainstream Americans are already buying, which also includes easily knowing how and where to fill up. The EV evangelists got it wrong, and the consultants took advantage of their political clout in order to siphon money out of the utilities. Full stop.

TL;DR: environmentalists and activists lobbied utility companies to become more visibly “green,” and the consultants took advantage of that by convincing the utility companies that it’s their job to sell cars, when it’s actually their job to sell electricity.

Selling Electric Fuel

Image courtesy Western Electric Co., circa 1915.

Utility companies sell electricity, plain and simple. But, they’ve had such a captive market and such a strong natural monopoly on their primary product that almost no one involved in a utility company’s day-to-day even thinks about selling electricity.

Want to see someone flounder? Ask someone at a utility company why you should buy electricity from them.

It seems like an asinine question, doesn’t it? A given, even, that you must buy electricity — but that wasn’t always the case. At the turn of the last century, though, it was a legitimate question. My own home outside of Chicago still has gas fixtures in it, for gas lights. There are pictures of lamplighters on the streets right outside, and the reason those gas lamps aren’t lit tonight is that, once upon a time, someone sold electricity to the people of this neighborhood.

Electricity is a superior product, and it succeeded because it was cleaner than gas and oil, sure, but I’d weigh that at about 10% of the reason why. The reasons that weighed heavier were many. The electric lights burned brighter, the smell of burning fuel oil was gone, the hassle of refilling oil lamps was eliminated, there was no smoke to stain the walls or ceilings, either.

That was it. That was the reason: electric fuel was better fuel. It succeeded as a product and not an ideology.

Image courtesy Chicago Edison Co.

Fast forward a hundred-odd years, and electric fuel is still better fuel. The electricity pushes cars to highway speeds faster than gasoline can, that gasoline smell that sticks to your hands is gone, the hassle of pumping gas into the car every few days is eliminated by at-home charging, and there are no harmful tailpipe emissions, either.

What’s more, electricity is cheap, it’s familiar, and it is absolutely everywhere. Sure, there may not be a 20 minutes-to-200 miles fast charger on every street corner (yet), but there very much is a power outlet that will, given time, charge your electric car, and every new electric car sold is a new car that needs electric fuel.

That’s it. That’s the difference. An electric car is just a regular car that you fill up with different stuff, and the utility companies, environmentalists — and every other stakeholder, come to think of it — would be better served by understanding that they’ll never “advance” or “accelerate” EV adoption by getting people to change the way they think about cars, but they may have a chance by getting people to change the way they think about the fuel that they’re putting in their cars.

Not dirty. Clean!
Not hard to find. Everywhere!
Not an expensive luxury. Affordable!
Not for hippies and tree-huggers. For everyone!
Not a sacrifice for a better tomorrow. Better for me, now!

Once the utility companies understand their role, they can start affecting real change, and let the dealers do what they know how to do best: sell cars that people want to buy to the people that want to buy them. And if that means that one or two of these opportunistic “consultants” has to find a different 9-5? So much the better.

Original content from CleanTechnica.


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Tesla Semi Delivery Event news hub: Livestream and updates

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Tesla Semi Delivery Event news hub: Livestream and updates

Tesla is holding its “Tesla Semi Delivery Event” today at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET) to deliver the first electric truck to customers. The company is also expected to have a presentation about the production version of the truck.

Here’s our news hub for the event, where you can watch the livestream and get updates.

Three years late, but it is now here. Tesla is going to deliver the first production version of the Tesla Semi electric truck to customers – to PepsiCo, to be more specific.

The Tesla Semi was first unveiled in 2017, and it was supposed to enter production in 2020, but it was delayed several times.

Now the automaker is finally ready to make the first deliveries after having started low-volume production at a facility outside of Gigafactory Nevada in October.

Today, Tesla is expected to deliver the first few units to Pepsi. After the launch of Tesla Semi in 2017, PepsiCo placed one of the biggest orders for Tesla Semi – 100 electric trucks to add to its fleet. The company planned to use 15 of those trucks for a project to turn its Frito-Lay Modesto, California, site into a zero-emission facility. Last year, PepsiCo said that it expected to take deliveries of those 15 Tesla Semi trucks by the end of the year before it was delayed again.

On top of the first deliveries, Tesla is expected to give an update on the specs and pricing of the electric truck, which are expected to be updated from the original 2017 unveiling.

Those are the base expectations for the event, but there could also be a few surprises since Tesla used the original Tesla Semi unveiling for a surprise unveiling of the Tesla Roaster.

We never know.

Tesla Semi Delivery Event livestream

Here we are going to share posts based on the most important news coming out of the Tesla Semi Delivery Event:

Refresh the page to get the latest information.

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Segway’s 40-mile range Ninebot MAX G30P electric scooter falls $150 to $600 in New Green Deals

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Segway's 40-mile range Ninebot MAX G30P electric scooter falls 0 to 0 in New Green Deals

Are you tired of using gas and oil for your daily commute? Well, Segway’s Ninebot MAX G30P electric scooter is a great way to get back and forth from work to home without using a single drop of fossil fuels. It’s on sale for $600 today, which is down $150 from its normal going rate and also marks a return to its all-time low that we’ve only seen once before. We also have a wide selection of Tesla and e-bike discounts in today’s New Green Deals, so you won’t want to miss that either.

Head below for other New Green Deals that we’ve found today and of course Electrek’s best EV buying and leasing deals. Also, check out the new Electrek Tesla Shop for the best deals on Tesla accessories.

Cruise around on a Segway electric scooter

Through next week, Woot is offering a wide selection of Segway electric scooters and more on sale. Our top pick is the Ninebot MAX G30P Electric Kick Scooter for $599.99 Prime shipped, with non-Prime members being charged a $6 delivery fee. Normally $750 at Amazon or Best Buy, today’s deal matches the all-time low that we’ve tracked at Amazon. This electric scooter packs a 350W motor which allows it to reach speeds of 18.6 MPH. While that might not seem super fast, it’ll feel quick quick once you’re riding. The built-in rechargeable battery features a range of up to 40 miles as well, which should be more than enough to get to and from work or the store on a single charge. Once you arrive at a destination, the G30P has a one-step folding mechanism to make it easy to carry as well. There’s also a LED display, Bluetooth phone pairing, cruise control, and multiple riding modes to choose from. Oh, and the onboard display lets you know how much charge is left and what your current speed is. Of course, not a single drop of gas or oil is required for this to function either, making it a green alternative to your normal commute.

Save $650 on Segway’s Ninebot electric GoKart PRO at its second-best price of $1,650

Amazon is now offering the Segway Ninebot Electric GoKart PRO for $1,650 shipped. Normally fetching $2,300, you’re looking at the second-best price to date following a $650 discount. This is $50 under our previous mention and delivering a notable chance to save for unwrapping some electric kart action come Christmas. Geared for riders weighing up to 220 pounds, the Ninebot GoKart PRO can handle zipping you or the kids around the block at up to 23 MPH top speeds with a 15-mile range. Its durable design can also be folded down for transportation, and pairs with other features like an electric brake, integrated headlights, and taillights. You can also detach the included Ninebot S MAX which powers the experience for a self-balancing scooter ride alongside the go kart fun.

On the more affordable front of putting some gokart action underneath the Christmas tree, Amazon is also marking down the Segway Ninebot S GoKart kit to $1,239.97. This package is down to one of the best prices ever from its usual $1,550 price tag and arrives with $310 in savings attached. It isn’t going to be quite as capable of a cruising machine as the Pro version above, but can handle hitting 10 MPH top speeds with a 13.7-mile range. This Ninebot S model is geared towards riders up to 220 pounds, and can also convert between the four- and two-wheeled configurations.

SWFT VOLT e-bike packs 32 miles of riding for $600

Best Buy is offering the SWFT VOLT E-Bike for $599.99 shipped. Down from a $900 list price, we’ve seen it fall to as low as $500 in the past, but that was way back in January. This is among the best pricing that we’ve seen since. Ready to let you get to and from work without using a single drop of gas or oil. It can travel at up to 19.8 MPH and the built-in battery can last for as long as 32 miles before it’s time to plug back in. The pedal assist mode on SWFT’s VOLT will let you balance between your legs and the built-in motor making the e-bike go forward without having to exert as much effort. This pedal assist function also means that when the terrain gets hilly, the bike can take the hard part out of biking, making it so you don’t have to change how hard you’re pedaling.

new green tesla deals

New Tesla deals

After checking out the Segway electric scooter on sale above, if you keep read, you’ll find a selection of new green deals that will make your Tesla experience better in multiple areas. From storage to keep recordings on to phone mounts, car chargers, and anything else we can find, it’ll be listed below. Each day we’ll do our best to find new and exciting deals and ways for you to save on fun accessories for your Tesla, making each trip unique. For more gift ideas and deals, check out the best Tesla shop. Keep reading on for e-bike, Greenworks, and other great deals.

New e-bike deals + electric scooter discounts

You can use an e-bike or electric scooter for fun, exercise, or even transportation to and from work or the coffee shop. We have several people here that will regularly commute to coffee shops or offices on their e-bike, as it cuts down on fossil fuel usage as well as allows them to enjoy some time outdoors on nice sunny days. Below, you’ll find a wide selection of new e-bike deals and electric scooter deal in all price ranges, so give it a look if that’s something you’d be interested in picking up. As always, the newest e-bike deal and electric scooter discounts and sales will be at the top, so shop quick as the discounts are bound to go away soon.

Additional New Green Deals

After shopping the Segway electric scooter on sale above, be sure to check out the other discounts we found today. These new green deals are wide-ranging from outdoor lawn equipment to anything else we find that could save you money in various ways, be that cutting gas and oil out of your life or just enjoying other amenities that energy-saving gear can bring. As always, the newest deals will be at the top, so shop quick as the discounts are bound to go away soon.

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Tesla (TSLA) gives $3,750 discount for Model 3/Y in the US this month

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Tesla (TSLA) gives ,750 discount for Model 3/Y in the US this month

Tesla (TSLA) is giving a $3,750 discount, which it is calling a “price adjustment”, for every Model 3 and Model Y vehicle delivered in the US in December.

The move appears to be to encourage people to take delivery right now rather than wait for the tax credit to take effect in 2023.

Yesterday, we reported that Tesla is seeing some level of cancellation in the US right now for two main reasons:

  • Long wait times are leading to some customers’ situations changing between the time they place their order and the actual delivery – resulting in cancellation. That’s quite frequent.
  • In a more special situation, Tesla is also dealing with some customers looking to push their deliveries into next year to take advantage of the upcoming new EV tax credit. As we previously reported, Tesla is not as accommodating as other automakers when it comes to the new EV tax credit, and it is holding its customers to their order contracts – again resulting in cancellations.

We also noted that while there are signs of demand issues leading to Tesla not matching vehicles to buyers at the end of the quarter, it shouldn’t be a massive problem unless we see Tesla reduce the price of its vehicles.

Today, Electrek learned from sources familiar with the matter that it is offering “a $3,750 credit” for every customer taking delivery of a Model 3 or Model Y vehicle in the US in December.

Tesla communicated to its sales staff that the offer is temporary only for customers taking delivery this month.

This amount happens to be half of the $7,500 tax credit that is going to go into effect next month. Some automakers anticipate their electric vehicles to only be eligible for half the tax credit due to battery material and assembly origin requirements.

Tesla appears to be encouraging people to take delivery this month rather than wait for the tax credit in order not to be sitting on a lot of unsold inventory at the end of the quarter.

This is an unusual move for Tesla. CEO Elon Musk has often stated that Tesla “doesn’t offer discounts” and that its policy is to have consistent and transparent pricing across all markets.

Electrek’s Take

Well, I said not to worry about demand until Tesla starts to offer discounts. Here it is.

But again, I wouldn’t worry too much about it since it’s clearly due to special circumstances with the tax credit coming into effect.

Everything points to demand coming back in a big way next month when the tax credit comes into effect.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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