Boy I’m glad lived in the time that I’ve lived in so far: a postwar period when we saw relative peace, prosperity, free markets, spreading democracy and freedom, and immense technical progress. Those days now seem to be going in reverse.
Germany’s vision for the future family car: The new family “pedelec”, big enough for 2 kids,and flowers from the garden center. Source: German Ministry of Environment.
I’m worried about my kids. I fear they will be living in a world that will be less democratic, one where the citizens will be enslaved by technology and live in markets that will be firmly under the control of a faceless, unaccountable technocracy run by so-called self-anointed master central planners. This is what is taking hold in today’s Germany.
Let them ride electric bikes
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment (UBA) has just released a publication on one of the key components it envisions for the country’s future mobility scheme for the masses: electric bicycles, or pedelecs, see above for an example variant.
The reports abstract tells us:
As part of an integrated transport planning scheme, pedelecs are an important component of sustainable mobility in cities, but also, most notably, in rural areas. From an environmental perspective, this type of electric vehicle should be embraced, actively promoted and encouraged in order to make pedelecs appealing to more user groups as an attractive, inexpensive and environmentally sound form of transport that constitutes an alternative to private motorized transport.”
The aim, of course, so they say, is to rescue the climate by reducing the emissions of “pollutant” CO2, especially by cars. And to do this, central planning by masterminds is the only way. The green trend is one that is taking us back to bad old days of notoriously inefficient communist-style central planning. One only needs to look at Germany’s “Energiewende” to realize just how bad the inefficiency is getting.
I don’t have anything against people buying e-bikes, of course, but I do have serious reservations about governments punishing us out of our dependable, safe, and efficient cars and throwing us a dog treat every time we move or behave in a way they feel is best.
I’ve looked at e-bikes, but found them far too expensive for the real benefit they offer.
Will replace few cars
Unfortunately the grand scheme of the e-bike will end up having a similar result as the renewable energies. The German government has so far committed 200 billion euros to expanding green energies by some 80 gigawatts, but they have yet to reduce the consumption of coal and gas fired electricity by any significant amount. More on that tomorrow. The result will be similar with e-bikes…few cars will get replaced.
Weather for e-bikes. Unfortunately such days are rare in Germany and generally confined to tourism pamphlets. Source: German Ministry of Environment.
One problem is the that the e-bike has become a utopian fantasy for the UBA. To illustrate this, just look at the photos it uses in its report. The powerful government agency would like us to think that the weather in Germany is like the weather in Phoenix, Arizona – in November, and year-round – where temperatures and conditions are very agreeable. The truth is that German weather is often very lousy, cold, wet, windy, and so traveling by e-bike is often far from pleasurable or practical.
People will still need to buy and own cars for bad weather and for most trips over 10 kilometers, or trips involving a passenger. E-bikes will replace very few cars – unless it gets forced. Nothing offers flexibility, comfort, speed and convenience like the automobile, and few people will be willing to give it up.
Cargo cycles, pedelecs for business trips
In its recommendation part of the report, the UBA urges political decision makers provide “ample financial and human resources for the development of bike-friendly infrastructure” and that businesses implement pedelecs in commercial traffic and employ “cargo cycles” and for transport tasks. It also recommends pedelecs for business trips and commuter journeys to work premises. “Many car and compact van trips can instead be made using pedelecs or bikes,” the UBA writes.
To me an e-bike sounds like a good way to limit the freedom and mobility of women who stay home to care for the family.