Electric Vehicles: Hype Or Hope?

Where do Electric Vehicles make sense, and where are they just a foolish waste of money?

Allan Milne Lees

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Image credit: Popular Mechanics

We humans are herd animals and often rush without thinking to embrace whatever new trend is being hyped around us. If we see other people sporting tattoos in order to be “individual” we naturally get some tattoos in order to be individual just like them. If we hear that investing in crypto-currencies is a sure-fire can’t-lose way to riches and everyone we know is putting money into HypeCoin then of course we likewise stock up on as much HypeCoin as we can manage. Because, hey, if everyone else is doing it then it must be the right and totally safe thing to do!

Regardless of occupation, our hardwired tendency to want to fit in with group norms combined with our equally evolved desire to avoid attempting to think whenever possible, means that we reliably do things that a little contemplation would likely reveal to be sub-optimal or even downright delusional. Fortunately for those who thrive on generating hype, however, the vast majority of people simply embrace whatever they believe to be the Next Big Thing. This is why venture capitalists and investment bankers throw billions of dollars at “hot” startups in one particular sector when that sector is supposedly the Next Big Thing, even though of course if fifty companies are all competing for a few customers the ultimate outcome is not likely to be impressive in terms of return on investment. This is why people jostle the aisles of stores to grab whatever today’s version of a Pet Rock or an Elf on the Shelf or a Cabbage Patch Doll happens to be, all eager to spend their money on something that is in fact utterly worthless. And in the political realm it is why millions of people vote for populists who will inevitably destroy the very things they pretend they want to “save.”

Our tendency to rush toward the Next Big Thing is exacerbated by those whose livelihoods depend on generating a constant stream of context-free sensationalist content: journalists and other commentators in the media realm. The very last people we can expect to provide thoughtful analysis are those who are necessarily fixated on how many views a headline generates and how many clicks the ads served alongside receive. It’s no good providing a thoughtful…

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Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.