A gentleman on LinkedIn posted a question about the “Cool Fun Factors of Converting a Car To EV”. I pondered this question for several minutes. They are cool. They are fun. But the question frankly annoyed me a bit and I couldn’t quite figure out why. Writing is basically a discovery process. You find out what you really think when you try to write it down for others. And so I formulated a response. It was some sort of moderated group and I guess it didn’t match his concept of Cool or Fun because it was never “approved” for public consumption. That happens to me a bit in this new Internet world where everything goes as long as you agree with it. But I thought I would share it. It’s an oddly twisted piece of work, apparently from an oddly twisted old man.
Every time I pumped a gallon of gas, I knew, and they knew, and they knew I knew, and I knew they knew I knew, that I really had no choice. They could charge 26 cents a gallon, which I have paid, or 50 cents per gallon, which I have paid, or $1 a gallon, which I have paid, or $2 a gallon, which I have paid, or $3 a gallon, which I have paid, or $4 a gallon, which I have paid or $5 a gallon, which I have paid, and I was going to pay it, because I have to have a car and it has to take me where I want to go. No choice. No option. They own me. And I don’t really have a goddamned thing to say about it.
And the guy with the gas station gets a little bit, and the state gets a little bit, and the Federal government gets a little bit, and the refinery gets quite a bit, and the country where the oil comes from gets quite a bit, and the guy who boats it over here gets a little bit, and actually the least of these is the guy with the gas station right here in town. He gets 4 cents a gallon.
And I knew, and they knew, and they knew I knew, and I knew they knew I knew, that if gasoline goes to $6 a gallon I’ll pay it, and $7 a gallon I’ll pay it, and $8 a gallon and I’ll pay it and $9 a gallon and I’ll pay it and they will all make just a little bit more when I do, and I’ll have just a little bit less. And I don’t have a goddamned thing to say about that.
And just to remind me that I knew, and they knew I knew, and I knew they knew I knew, in 1978 we had a little “gas shortage” in southern California where we waited in line for hours on end just to get the 10 gallons they would “allow us” at any price they wanted, and we tried to live our lives on that 10 gallons before going back to get at the end of the line one more time for another 10 gallons. It went on for over a year. And I didn’t have a goddamned thing to say about it. Had to have a car. It had to have gas.
And I even knew, and they knew I knew, and I knew they knew I knew, that they could take the money I put in that pump for gasoline and split it up seventeen ways, and there was still enough left over in the end to train fine young men who otherwise lived as I lived, and wanted what I wanted, that the reason they couldn’t have what I have, is that my land was the land of Satan. Bent on their destruction and in defiance of the laws of God and men and that they would indeed be rewarded in paradise if they but gave their lives to destroy our land and kill thousands of innocent people in my land and teach them a lesson by taking away forever their fathers, and their husbands, and their wives, and aunts and uncles and mothers all in the name of Allah. And I would continue to feed that pump. And I would feed it, and I would feed it and I would feed it forever. And I would feed it because I really didn’t have a goddamned thing to say about it. Nothing at all.
But what I also knew, and they knew, and they didn’t know I knew that they knew, because, so few knew and they knew that few knew, is that that gasoline, and my car, was spewing toxic gasses out the ass end that cause autism, Alzheimers disease, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other diseases that were virtually unheard of less than a century ago. And even though I knew, and they knew, they kept right on selling it. And I kept right on buying it. I kept feeding that pump and driving that car and I didn’t have a goddamned thing to say about it.
And then one day, with my American Express card clutched in one hand, and the pump nozzle in the other, watching the poor guy who runs the gas station and makes the least of all out of it, change the sign to raise the price of it all one more time, something snapped inside. Something just broke. I said “screw this” and put the pump nozzle back in the pump and walked off and left my car at the gas station and walked all the way home.
But they knew, and I knew and I knew they knew that I knew, that you just can’t live your life walking. You have to carry stuff. And it gets cold. And it gets hot. And it rains. And people attack you if you’re walking. And they take away the stuff you’re trying to carry. And it takes too much time. And it just doesn’t work. And you really just don’t have a goddamned thing to say about it. You have to have a car. It has to have gas.
And so in tears I went into my garage and got a glass of whiskey, and sat down on an old tire and drank it, and muttered, and drank it and stewed, and drank it and muttered some more. And I still didn’t have a goddamned thing to say about it.
So in anger, and in frustration, I took a car, and I ripped out the engine, and I ripped out the gas tank, and I ripped out the exhaust pipe, and the radiator, and the lead acid battery, and I ripped and I tore until there was nothing but a bare car with no way to move it. A dead car. I had killed it. This car would drink no more.
And I guess I would drive no more. I got on the Internet and started randomly ordering parts, electric motors, and batteries and chargers, and DC-DC converters, and cables and terminals and wires. Wherever I could find them, in whatever condition they were in, at whatever price was asked.
And I pieced them together over days and weeks and months. And I didn’t know, and they didn’t know, so I didn’t know if they didn’t know, that I didn’t know if it would ever work. But I kind of obsessed on it. And I drank my whiskey and I pieced things together that didn’t want to go together, and I fit parts together that didn’t want to fit together, and I made things work together that were not made to work together. I sawed, and I ground, and I filed, and I hammered, and I drilled, and I welded. It was a futile act. A waste of time. The tinkering of a fragile old man with too much whiskey and too much time on his hands. Alone in a garage with a bunch of junk he’d found laying around and cobbled together in one of his erratic eccentric spasms of obstinate rebellious mutterings and maunderings. The laughingstock of his town and the sorrowful and apologetic excuse made by his wife and children for just being that way and you can’t change him and what’s to be done about it anyway. And they all shake their heads and go on about their lives.
And one afternoon, after drinking a good bit of whiskey and playing with some high voltage, it struck me that it was time to go for a drive. So I got in the car and turned the key and pressed on the accelerator. The car shot out of the garage, down the driveway, and crashed through the wrought iron fence and into the street sideways and stopped. I ruefully untangled the car from the pieces of fence it was wearing so proudly, and pushed it by hand back into the garage, turned out the lights and shut the door, and went to bed. Promising. But maybe a few adjustments still in order.
Wife. What happened to the fence?
It got in my goddamned way and started asking a bunch of silly assed questions. What do you want to know about it?
But she knew, and I knew, and she knew I knew, and I knew that she knew that I knew, that it wasn’t going so well in the garage. She sat in embarrassment and shame that her hero was failing and perhaps beginning to lose it. None the younger, never really like the other wives husbands, and now this. Weeks and months and the money and so distant and distracted and he sure looks old. What would her friends say? And the children… But she also knew, and I knew, and she knew that I knew that she knew, that she didn’t have a goddamned thing to say about it.
So more whiskey. More high voltage. A bit of a change to a few variables in a mystical piece of software designed to do very little. And time for another drive. And I turned the key. Nothing. No sound. I very carefully pressed the accelerator, and the car rolled quietly out into the drive way. Stunned, I sat in silence in the sun. And then I drove it away.
And I drove it 90 miles an hour on the first drive. And on the second I drove it 109 miles before recharging it. And I drove it through the town. And I drove it on the Interstate highway. I drove it down Main Street and I drove it down Broadway. And I drove it over and over again. And I stopped it. And I accelerated it. And I drove it again. It was entirely silent. It made no gasses or smells at all. And the gearbox didn’t act like it did before. You could take off in any gear you wanted. And it accelerated smoothly and continously from stopped to about 50 miles an hour, and you shifted into fourth, and it started all over again, accelerating smoothly from 50 to 90 mph. I’d never felt anything like it. And it drove on and on and on – with no gasoline in it at all.
And so the anger should be replaced with joy. But it wasn’t. In fact it rose higher and higher, until the vision narrows to a point and the head pounds in a rythmic beat. Wait a minute. If a 54 year old guy, can build a car in his freaking garage, out of scrap parts and discards, that goes 90 miles an hour and over 100 miles, without gasoline, working half days falling down drunk on homemade moonshine, while 250 million OTHER cars are out there rolling around sucking up gasoline and paying at the pump because they don’t have a goddamned thing to say about it, what’s wrong with this picture??? Suddenly I knew. They HAD to know. And finally, I knew that they knew. They’d known all along.
But I knew that they DIDN’T know that I knew. And more than anything else in the world, knowing this finally gave me something to say about it.
And here is what I have to say about that:
FUCK OFF AND DIE.
Because I’m not JUST not going to pay at the pump anymore. I’m not going to JUST not be a victim. I’m OUTING YOU.
I’m outta the game. And I’m telling anyone that will listen that they can be out of the game too. And then they will know and they will also know that you know, and that you knew all along. And here’s the kicker –
there’s not a GODDAMNED THING YOU CAN SAY ABOUT IT – BITCH.
Electric cars are not about being cool. Electric cars are not about having fun. Electric cars are not about saving the planet. Electric cars are the biggest FUCK OFF AND DIE one man can ever utter or speak and actually MAKE IT STICK. And if anybody anywhere thinks they are about anything else, they just haven’t yet converted an electric car.
You may buy a Prius. You may save the odd snail darter. You might feel good and smarmy about the planet. But you have nothing to do with me. Sucking up “a little less” is not what I’m about. Yes Rodney, we CAN all just get along – right AFTER they FUCK OFF AND DIE.
Enjoy this weeks show. Lots about the HPEVS AC35x2. A beautiful video from Zurich. And Anne Kloopenborg’s Amsterdam Battery Test Lab and Institute for the Investigation of the Paranormal.
It just keeps getting better.