Selling Electric Dreams

You can get very rich selling electric dreams but can you get elected?

Selling Electric Dreams

A few weeks ago, the richest man in the world was a chap named Elon Musk.

He’s the genius behind Tesla, whose shares went up tenfold in the past 12 months giving Musk a net worth of AUD $242 billion

He owns about 20% of Tesla which is the definitive brand of the electric vehicle market.

Musk is an interesting individual. I have no doubt he is a genius but there’s a quirkiness to him too. He sees things others don’t and seems to have scant regard for some of the mundanities of corporate life.  

He certainly knows how to make a dollar selling dreams though.

Investors have pumped tens of billions into his projects, most notably Tesla and it still hasn’t made a significant profit. Last year it raised $10 billion in new capital in just three months.

It’s vehicles too have experienced some problems but these problems haven’t dented the hype surrounding them. I’ve been in one. They are quite incredible and contain amazing technology.

They’re a lot of fun to drive but despite that, I still don’t want one.

There’s a couple of reasons for that. I don’t buy the environmental message of electric vehicles. They have shorter lifespans than conventional vehicles and all the batteries, metal and plastics have to go somewhere at end of life….mostly into a third world landfill I suspect.

Then there is the electricity needed to power these cars. Our grid is unreliable and our electricity costs are among the highest in the world. I’d much rather the certainty of a tank of diesel than hoping I can get a charge when I need it.

Then of course there are the real considerations of needing to drive long distances.

It’s likely that all of these things could be resolved in time but that remains to be seen. The dream makers like Musk will keep innovating and the true believers will keep tipping money in to fund his quest.

However, we’ve got a few dreamers in the ranks of our parliament too. At the last election, labor had a national policy of having 50% of new car sales -electric vehicles – by 2030.

That’s now less than nine years away. Given electric vehicles make up around 0.6% of all vehicles sold each year, there’s still a way to go before that commitment is met.

Of course Labor lost the last election, in part because of crazy policies like this. They were left floundering when asked how they would generate the power to actually power this fleet of silent transporters.

Details like that don’t matter though when selling green electric dreams. It’s the vibe that’s all important. After all Elon Musk became the richest man on earth doing exactly that.

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