February 20th, 2016

Plug In Car Adoption (expect updates)

I'm going to be taking my daughter to gymnastics in about a half hour, but I want to at least get a stub in -- expect updates.

I ordered my i3 about a year and a half ago, and got it a year and a few months ago. After I bought it, of course, oil plunged to incredibly low levels and the price of gas eventually dropped as well, while Cushing filled up to the point where people started actively worrying about whether that presented some risks or not (seismic, terrorist target, etc.) and we're now apparently at a point where there is more oil stockpiled than any time since 1930 and people are renting tankers and parking them off the coast in various places, waiting for oil prices to rise so they can sell it and make a bunch of money. Of course, this will probably work (eventually, for someone), but that process means that EVEN MORE oil will come onto the market, keeping markets depressed for some time to come.

There are a variety of political factors which have prevented supply capitulation, however, the pain has become great enough that a deal was apparently reached between a couple of the biggest producers: cap production at January levels (I know, right? How does this _help_? Only after demand grows enough to soak up the continuing overproduction), and quota it out in a way that allows Iran to increase sales now that they are finally allowed to sell, or otherwise they won't respect any agreement.

I had a question, tho. We're near the end of the Northern heating season. From now until summer driving season, consumption drops. What happens if summer driving season comes, and people drive ... and consumption still doesn't increase? Factors which could result in this include: better fuel efficiency, hybrids, electric cars. (Factors such as use of public or shared transportation do NOT contribute to net more miles driven and thus aren't contemplated here.) Can that happen? A few years ago, consensus was clear. There was no way that plug ins would be adopted at a rate that was going to influence ... anything, really, if you took the predictors seriously. Here is a sample prediction:

http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/64436/102399.pdf

ON THE OTHER HAND, a quick look at the initial curves (the later curves predict even lower and slower adoption of plug ins and similar) suggests that as of the end of 2015, we've blown out the prediction by between a factor of two and three.

How did that happen (I feel like there's a dirty, dirty Dan Savage joke here, but I will refrain)?

My husband says: Tesla. Tesla basically took over all luxury car sales (an exaggeration -- but less of one that you might think). Nobody saw that coming! (<-- Also not true!) (Digression here about the impact of the Apple Watch on Swiss Watches. Poor Swiss Watch makers!)

I say: the Leaf. Nissan's commitment to moving the Leaf was quite incredible and very effective. In the middle, which we would prefer not to talk about, is the Volt. It is a plug in. You can -- if your trips are short enough -- drive it electric really quite a lot, and its overall gas mileage is very, very respectable. It sold in job lots. Enough said.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to see commentary -- and this is how I started thinking about this -- comparing the total ICE cars sold in the US vs total plug in cars sold. The thinking goes, look how teeny tiny the electric number is! That's so small! It can't influence anything! But when I saw it, it jolted me right out of my complacent yeah, this is gonna take years mentality, because that number was easily twice what I expected it to be.

There are now enough i3s on the road around here that it is still fun, but not unexpected to pass an i3 driver and see her (there's at least one other woman!!!) waving at me as we pass each other. We don't know each other -- we are just doing what everyone does when they drive a somewhat unusual vehicle and are happy to see someone Just Like Them. And i3s are _way_ down the list in terms of sales.

Where are the curves exploring the implications of CAFE regulations and car sharing and ride sharing and living closer to ones destinations and electric cars and wtf, where are the curves exploring the dampening effect on increasing demand for fuel? The increasing demand that is desperately needed right now (to destroy our climate! End life as we know it! Wait, that's sarcasm. Sorry!) to siphon up all that oil parked out in tankers off the coast, and sitting in tanks in Oklahoma, looking like a disaster waiting to happen (my prediction: it won't be seismic and it won't be violent: it'll be a bunch of leaks. Because that's what petrochemicals do. They leak.).

ETA:

An interesting look at how many households could adopt BEVs or PHEVs or wtf; from 2011 or thereabouts.

http://www.caee.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/public_html/TRB12PEVuse.pdf

2015 look at the state of electric vehicles in Hawaii:

http://evtc.fsec.ucf.edu/publications/documents/HNEI-05-15.pdf

Hawaii was expected to adopt electric vehicles at significant rates:

http://www.autoblog.com/2013/09/17/coastal-states-will-lead-plug-in-vehicle-adoption-through-2022/

"Hawaii will have the highest number of plug-ins as a percentage of overall vehicle sales.

I was a little skeptical of this. Sure, the weather is great (cold weather reduces range. A lot.). But Hawaiian electricity is legendarily expensive.

a hundred million dollars by any other name

First: http://gawker.com/the-mysterious-alleged-100-million-poker-pot-1760149480

HamNo over at Gawker objects to the idea of a $100 million dollar pot, in a story about gambling told here:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/david-milch-made-100m-gambled-866184

What?!? People don't _really_ gamble this much money on the turn of a card in Hold'Em?!? Someone should have told the people who had a $115 million pot in the newer Casino Royale (thanx, hubs -- I was skeptical, but yes! The Bond franchise is that silly).

The comments thread at gawker is spectacularly idiotic. I gave up after reading a few dozen so it is _just_ possible that eventually someone pointed out the obvious.

In the original version of the story, it's a Tom Hall/Macau thing, it's in HKD NOT USD, and it's over the course of a session (30-40 hours with meal breaks) NOT a single pot.

Funny how those qualifiers get fucked with!!!

Or not.

I agree with Hamilton Nolan. This story does not pass any kind of sniff test. But then, really, gambling and fish stories rarely do.

ETA: Here's my theory for the likely origin of this particular fish story:

http://www.pokernews.com/news/2014/03/tom-hall-reveals-intimate-details-of-macau-poker-17725.htm

From the Hollywood Reporter article:

"Their bets paled beside those of some really high-stakes gamblers, according to a regular on the gambling circuit. In one game alone, attended by an L.A.-based investor, the pot rose to $100 million. "Everyone was out of the game except the billionaires," says the insider."

Notice that this paragraph -- the one Nolan objected to -- does not specify PLACE, or even which kind of dollar (altho US would be presumed unless specified otherwise). Instead of place, only "gambling circuit", which would include Macau under any plausible understanding of the term. If the game was attended by an "investor" it _really_ sounds like Macau or some place similar.

So I _don't_ agree with this, from the gawker article:

"Let us step back and comprehend what is being alleged here: it is alleged that there was a private (illegal) underground poker game in L.A."

There is no indication in that paragraph that the poker game with the very large pot occurred in LA, just that it was on a "gambling circuit" attended by an "LA investor".

The Milch story as a whole is kind of horrifying, however, with Milch's wife -- despite apparently a lot of contact with the financial managers for the family -- being completely in the dark about the extent of her husband's gambling. I don't know if there is a useful moral here, other than, we really need to define what "fiduciary" means, so that if your advisors/managers don't tell you your spouse has spent all the money because they are afraid you will fire them, well, they go to jail or lose their license or whatever. Because honestly, fiduciary would _seem_ to cover this situation! And yet there they are.

The whole thing really reminds me of why I don't trust anyone, and live in fear of developing dementia.

That said, Milch's wife knew about his drug history when they got together, so on some level, this cannot have been a complete surprise. There are clearly Issues.