A few years ago, I attended a fundraising meeting for Fisker Automotive.
This is the company that’s just delivered the Fisker Karma, the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric luxury car.
Now although I did not partake in the early raise, I have no doubt those who got in first will walk away with a nice little profit.
And quite frankly, it’s an absolutely beautiful car…
In fact, when it comes to luxury cars, I think the Fisker Karma is one of the most impressive pieces of machinery I’ve seen a very long time.
And of course, I wish nothing but success for the company — after all, Fisker is the reason there are 120 less out-of-work Americans today. Those folks will be staffing an old General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware.
All in all, it’s a great company with a great product.
But to be honest, I’ve never been all that interested in high-end luxury electric cars — at least, not from an investment standpoint…
Instead, I’m more interested in the development of electric vehicles for regular middle-class folks.
The fact is, these are tough times. And as we head further into the vortex of Peak Oil, it’s not going to get any easier for struggling middle-class families that rely on their gas-guzzling cars to get them to and from work and school every day.
While the Fisker Karma is beyond impressive, I’m looking forward to seeing the regular guy’s electric car: a vehicle that can boast the same swagger as the original Ford Model T – affordable to the common middle-class American.
A Model T Moment
Thanks to Ford’s innovations (specifically, assembly line production), 15 million Model T’s were produced and sold in less than 20 years.
In less than two decades, the Model T replaced the horse.
Of course, when Henry Ford first started laying the groundwork, he heard time and again that the horse could never be replaced by an automobile. In 1903, the president of the Michigan Savings Bank actually told Ford’s lawyer the automobile was merely a novelty, a fad.
Today, we are at the cusp of a similar transition, moving from outdated internal combustion technology to hybrid and electric propulsion technologies. And there are plenty of folks today who have about as much wisdom as that old bank president in Michigan more than a century ago…
They’re looking for every excuse in the book to criticize the very real disruptive power of electric cars. I suspect folks like these will continue to carry on about it. But that’s of no concern to us. Because the bottom line is that no matter how you slice it, the transition to hybrid and electric propulsion is already underway.
It will be a necessity in a post-Peak world, not a cute little side project for tree huggers and wealthy eccentrics.
And there isn’t a damn thing the detractors can do to stop it.
The Proverbial Middle Finger
While the first Fisker Karmas arrive for those who got in line early — former Secretary of State Colin Powell and insanely wealthy actor Leonardo DiCaprio, just to name two — the major automakers are grinding away to get their “less flashy” electric offerings out the door as well.
The Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF were the first to hit. Both are nearly impossible to get your hands on as there is limited supply to meet demand: Fleet operators got first dibs, and the remaining inventory was delivered to those who put down their deposits nearly two years ago.
Both GM and Nissan are plugging away to get these vehicles into the hands of the innovators and early adopters that will put these vehicles through their paces.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi’s “i” will be available in the U.S. market next year, as will the Ford Focus Electric. Beyond that, there’s essentially a conga line of new electric offerings coming out over the next three to five years from every major automaker on the planet…
And every year, they’ll become less and less costly to produce — getting us to the point where the average middle-class American can afford to buy one, and then happily give the proverbial middle finger to every hostile oil-producing nation that’s got us by the ball bag.