The Highway to god knows where

The Headlines are being pumped out by the smugly and cooperative media in the USA – GM is going to switch over to all electrical car and truck production by 2035, Ford is going to follow suit.

We are going to see the end of the internal combustion engine and move forward to the bright, renewable, ever clean future. The wind and the sun will pour their energy into our electrical system and we will gratefully take this bounty and go about our lives singing praises to Nature and all her wonders.

But to what end does this tale of idyll lead us to?

Let us advance into the real world.

Electrical vehicles rely, completely on operating systems – complex programs that balance loads and needs, power consumption and so on.

When you decide you wish to upgrade your Tesla for more features – Tesla tells your operating system that you are now allowed to use the enhanced features.

In the idyllic world of the future there is going to be a cost of upgrading the country’s Electrical supply infrastructure to replace the daily 2.65 trillion Kwh of electricity generated by fossil fuels (63 % of the total) and the 168 billion Kwh currently consumed by gasoline and diesel powered cars. Currentl solar and wind supply 363 billion KWhs a day.

I leave you to do the maths on this. It is going to require a 50% increase I solar and wind production to make up the energy load transferred to the generating systems by the demands of electrical vehicles that have replaced the internal combustion engine vehicles in our idyllic future. It is going to take 700% increase in wind and solar generation to replace the fossil fuels that underpin the grid.

That leaves a lot of room for discussion right there. But I want to drill down on another aspect.

Road infrastructure is financed mainly by the federal gasoline tax.

What will finance that infrastructure if there is no gasoline being used?

Well. Hmm. It is somehow going to have to be tied to the electric vehicles themselves.

But, of course! The software! It already contains all the information needed, it knows how far you have traveled and will happily keep that total available for any tax agency who asks for it.

Without a series of governments bound and determined to respect the Bill of Rights and respect the privacy of the citizenry I foresee the following scenario unfolding in front of us.

The first step will be explaining – just as I have done here – that with the gas tax dwindling rapidly there needs to be a new source of funding for roads and surely, the fairest way to do that is to just a fixed mileage rate? Equality all round! The rate will be meticulously worked out the first time around to demonstrate the absolute fairness of it all and all cars will be retrofitted with new software which automatically reports your mileage, once a week, to the tax authorities.

Now to make it easier and to reduce costs, the government will mandate that you must have a certain amount in the account of course so that payment is automatic.

But what about people who don’t pay? Or let the bills build up? No worries the government will come along – and in the name of fairness for all – software will be installed that will shut you off if you cannot pay. But the good news is that as soon as you do cough up they can turn you back on again promptly (for a small fee of course).

But we’ll all be paying the same rate! Fairness all round! Or will that solid statement stand for more than a couple of years while lobbyists for various interests ensure a way for ‘deserving” people to get a discounted rate? Politicians, city councilpersons. The list will grow – because it always does.

And, of course safety! Software will be inserted which will force your vehicle to adhere to speed limits broadcast to it. The next step will be to install a stop switch in the software that can be activated by the police. End of all car chases of course – there will not be many anyway because cars will no longer be able to exceed the speed limit.

Once it starts, it will not stop. Advance will follow advance. If you find this hard to believe consider this most people carry smart phones with them that they never turn off and which records their exact position many times a day. Now there is nothing overtly nefarious about that – your phone needs to know where you are in relation to telephone masts so you can use your phone. But how you use your phone, what you buy with it, what sites you visit on line, who you call who calls you so on and so on. It tracks it all.

Nothing I have said about electric car software is out of range of current software. In fact I am probably selling it short.

What I do know is that once government finds ways to tax, it does not give them up easily. When people find out how simply things can be enforced simply by turning of switches in software they will agitate to start doing it.

After all who would have thought that people would go trawling through a persons posts/tweets/messages/texts to find things to use to get them banned from jobs, forced out of jobs?

Who would have thought that a country where debate and freedom of speech are a cherished foundation of the country itself find itself in a position where people who cannot win arguments by force of logic and persuasion merely get their friends in power to shut of the place to debate?

If it can be done – sooner or later the temptation will be too great,.