“No One Wants Musk’s Truck”

Jan 5, 2024
“No One Wants Musk’s Truck”

Is Elon Musk's New Tesla Cybertruck Impractical and Inconvenient?

Electric vehicle (EV) technology isn’t always what it seems. 

The industry and the government consistently tell us superficial stories about how great they are.

The truth is quite different.

Many consumers like to virtue signal that they have an EV… even shame those who don’t. And yet they don’t even know where their electricity comes from or how it’s produced…

We rarely hear about the issues regarding EV technology, and how they aren’t very “clean” after all. Most are scared to talk about it for fear of being cancelled or censored. That’s not me. 

We’re going to dig in with facts, not emotion, review electric vehicle technology and its entire lifecycle (from mining to driving), and have enough information to form our own opinions, rather than blindly believing what the media tells us.

I hope you find this information useful and informative. And whether you like EVs or hate them, I strongly encourage that you read along. I guarantee that you’ll find it interesting.

Thanks for all the great questions.


The Harsh Reality of Electric Vehicles

“A friend who lives and breathes all things automotive told me today no one wants Musk’s truck. EVs are impractical in the northern half of the country because the cold weather reduces battery life by more than half, so unless you have a short commute, they’re impractical. When you load a truck, you reduce its driving distance, as well. He cited a recent instance where the Musk truck got stuck and had to get pulled out by a F150. So my question is: Who to believe? You or someone who sees these things in real world situations?

Also, when you wrote for Brownstone, you wrote about a clinic that did a deep dive and caught your medical issue through a series of tests. What’s the name of that medical facility please? Thank you."
— Richard H.
“Hi Jeff, unless someone has a home charger in their garage and only does local driving, the Tesla experience seems shitty. Watching these poor blokes line up at "supercharger" stations waiting 45 minutes to fill up is not exactly a luxury experience. And I have heard that the fast chargers that do it in 5-10 minutes cost $17 per gallon of gas — equivalent with the current inefficient technology. Perhaps these pain points will be resolved in the future, but for now people seem to be waking up to the realities and inconveniences of current EVs. Best… — Gavin

Hi Richard and Gavin, thanks for writing in with your thoughts on real world electric vehicle issues. 

I knew my piece on the Cybertruck would stir up some skepticism. And it should. 

Because almost no one from the industry, government, or environmentally concerned ever have an honest discussion about electric vehicles.

And the truth is far different than what we’re told.

Before we dig in, let’s address the specific questions raised.

Richard, your buddy is both right and wrong on two issues. He is absolutely right that electric vehicle (EV) batteries experience reduced performance in extremely cold environments. This is actually true of all battery technology.

With that said, Tesla actually does some very smart things to help mitigate degradation in battery performance.

One simple way is to always keep your Tesla charged above 20%. And when it is cold, keep the charger plugged in if you have one at your house. The act of charging actually keeps the battery warmer, which helps against the cold.

The really smart thing that Tesla enables is to remotely precondition a battery for driving. This can be controlled entirely from the Tesla smartphone app.

We can even set a schedule so that the car automatically preconditions (warms up) the battery at a specific time every day. That way, when we’re ready to drive, the battery is warmed up and the cold won’t negatively impact the performance compared to a “cold start.”

Where your buddy is wrong is in his statement that “no one wants Musk’s truck.”

Tesla already has 2.3 million pre-orders for the Cybertruck. Tesla has also been taking in around 10,000 new orders a week after the first deliveries started. And at an even higher level, Tesla delivered 1.81 million vehicles in 2023, including 484,000 in the fourth quarter alone.

Clearly there is impressive market demand for the Cybertruck, and for Tesla products in general.

For perspective, Ford sold a bit less than 2 million total cars/trucks in 2023, of which just 72,608 were electric vehicles.

Not everyone with a pickup truck will want to switch to an EV like the Cybertruck. But there will be millions of these on the road over the next 5-8 years.

And just for a fun example, have a quick look at the video below. The full video can be found here.

Source: Jay's Mobile Mechanic Services on YouTube

It’s a Ford F-150 Lightning (Ford’s EV) stuck in an intersection with a gas generator in its pickup bed (yellow color) running loudly to charge the Ford F-150 Lightning because it’s out of electricity. (Note: the audio is available on the link above.)

And Richard, I know you’re familiar with my work, so you know that I don’t base my research on marketing material… or fluffy, substance-free diatribes.

I always hated that about many so-called analysts, and I really dislike that about the media/press. I’m about as real world as one could get.

Before becoming an analyst, I spent more than 20 years as a high-tech executive doing billions of dollars of business around the world for some of the best tech companies on the planet. I traveled more than 5 million miles and conducted business in about 35 countries. I was always customer facing, which gave me an incredible sense for what was actually happening in the field.

That experienced carried through in my approach to technology, biotech, and investment research. I travel when I can and when I know it will make a difference. I speak with executives in the field all the time, and I gain invaluable perspective before I ever publish my research. 

I don’t believe in just telling my subscribers the way things are. I want to show them with data, facts, experiences, sometimes even video. That way, you can see what I’m seeing and form your own opinions.

Part of my research process on EVs was buying an EV. I know that sounds crazy. It’s a very expensive way to research, but one of the most important areas of tech that I am passionate about its energy production and storage, EVs, and clean energy production. 

Renting an EV wasn’t enough. I wanted to use the technology, including the self-driving software, in real world situations every day. That’s how I can generate valuable insights that I can share with my subscribers.

And I’ll note, if we analyze the environmental footprint of an EV compared to an internal combustion engine, the EVs footprint is almost certainly worse. I know that will come as a surprise to many. 

The caveat is that we have to look at the entire lifecycle of an EV, from mining and mineral extraction, to battery production, to use of the car/truck, as well as the sources of electricity. More on that later.

As for your points, Gavin, I completely agree. I refuse to wait in line to plug in for a charge. In fact, I won’t even go to a supercharger if one is open. The truth is: I don’t have 30 minutes or more to wait for a charge.

Yes, it’s possible to spend that time productively to get some work done or make some calls. But most of the time I need to keep to a schedule, and I can’t afford the time to go to a charger.

So, I charge at home. But you’ll probably be surprised to know that all I have right now is a 120V outlet in my garage. And it works great.

I plug it in from the early evening and it charges about 3 miles worth of driving per hour of charging. Almost all my driving in the EV is within 50 miles of my home, so the 120V charger has been more than sufficient for my own needs. I will be installing a 240V line this year, though, for convenience.

But your point on cost, Gavin, is a real good one. This is a blind spot for EV owners. Just because they don’t see their credit card bill every month with charges from Exxon, Shell, or BP, doesn’t mean there isn’t cost to driving the car. 

But oddly enough, I’ve heard some EV owners say that their cars are “free to drive.” This is completely stupid, of course. It just means that they don’t look at their electric bill.

If they did, and understood the costs, they’d be shocked.

But the reality is that there is no line item that says “electricity for charging EV.”

It does depend on which state or country we live in, however. Electricity costs are different everywhere, but here’s the reality…

In the U.S. driving an EV is only cheaper in two states — Nevada and Idaho. In every other state, gas-powered vehicles are cheaper to drive than EVs. This is entirely driven by the cost of electricity versus the cost of gas.

EVs definitely have less maintenance costs, which is an advantage. But when we factor in total cost of ownership, including purchase price, on average, EVs cost $11,746 per year compared to gas vehicles at $8,281 per year.

And from mining to usage, their environmental footprint is worse. How is that possible? 

Consider this:

  • About 500,000 pounds of Earth — called overburden — needs to be stripped away just to access the ore required to make the battery for just a single EV
  • This is necessary because unlike gas powered vehicles, EVs use large amounts of minerals that have very low ore concentrations like:
    • Lithium brines usually have less than 0.1% lithium
    • Cobalt ore has concentrations of cobalt around 0.1%
    • Nickel ore has concentrations of nickel around 1%
    • Graphite ore has concentrations of graphite around 10%
    • Copper ore has concentrations of copper around 0.6%
  • All of the mining is done using massive, gas-fueled mining equipment
  • The processing of the ore to extract the minerals is fueled by coal, natural gas, and massive amounts of toxic chemicals
  • The environmental impact of the production of an EV is so large, it is equivalent to having driven a gas powered car for 80,000 miles — internal combustion engine vehicles are a fraction of that
  • The majority of electricity production in the U.S. is from coal and natural gas. And electricity production from coal has spiked in the last three years, because the current administration has been antagonistic to the natural gas industry, resulting in less natural gas production (the cleanest source of carbon-based electricity)
  • This means that most EV drivers are filling up their EVs with electricity produced from coal and/or natural gas — carbon-based energy
  • And it’s worse, electricity distribution results in a loss of between 7-15% of electricity from the power plant to the point of charging — that means more carbon-based fuel needs to be burned for each mile worth of electricity for an EV

Knowing these realities, do we think EVs are “clean” and good for the environment?

I’ll let everyone decide for themselves, but the above data is from the real world. That’s how it actually happens.

The only scenario where an EV might have a smaller carbon footprint than a gas-powered vehicle is if 100% of the electricity came from a nuclear fission or nuclear fusion power plant, or from solar, and only after the car has been driven at least 80,000 miles or more.

I know that’s a lot of information. It’s such an interesting topic, though. 

And I firmly believe that if we care about clean energy and reducing our environmental footprint — and I do — then we must have these honest conversations so that we can focus on doing the right things to achieve our environmental goals.

But very few will ever understand the environmental realities of electric vehicles. So let’s put that aside. 

The reality that is critically important regarding Tesla is that they are just fantastic cars/trucks.

Anyone that has one will understand, but for those who don’t, I’d like to make a point…

Teslas are advanced computing systems that just happen to be encapsuled in a passenger vehicle.

They are the most sophisticated and well-integrated passenger vehicles available today. No other automotive company comes close. 

The interior and the software control system are so elegantly designed and so simple, I almost feel embarrassed for other companies.

To use an Apple analogy again, it took an outsider to re-design the future of mobile phones.  Motorola or Nokia couldn’t do it. Apple did.

The same is true of Tesla. It’s completely new architecture redefined what was possible, not just in the vehicle itself, but even from buying to accepting delivery.

Teslas are phenomenal consumer products, fantastic to drive, and ridiculously convenient.   Oh... and as a reminder, they can drive themselves...

And Richard, I didn’t forget, the name of the facility that discovered my cancer is called Human Longevity. It used to also be referred to as Health Nucleus. But the name is now Human Longevity, and they have a program called 100+.

The team is wonderful there. Feel free to mention my name — you’ll be treated well. (Note: I have no business relationship with the team and receive no compensation from them… I’m just grateful for their support and care over the years.)

What do you think of this issue of Outer Limits? As always, we welcome your feedback and questions, and look forward to them. We read each and every email and address common questions in the Friday AMA issues. Please write to us by clicking here.

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