Reuters Explains Why The Miles Bankruptcy Is Relevant To Other EV Bankruptcies

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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reuters explains why the miles bankruptcy is relevant to other ev bankruptcies

Yesterday, battery acolytes who hate to see stories of EV makers going bankrupt complained about a TTAC story of another EV maker going bankrupt. They said the story was unfair, because Miles Electric made electric essential services vehicles, used for parking enforcement and the like, whereas bankrupt EV makers such as Coda tried to sell real cars,so where’s the connection?

Our story actually went to great pains trying to explain this promising niche, in an attempt to say “well, if it doesn’t work here, where will it?”

Wire services such as Reuters are less subtle. In its article about Miles going bust, Reuters says that the Miles bankruptcy highlights ”the difficulties faced by battery-powered vehicles in gaining wide market acceptance.” Reuters goes on to say:

“Consumers have been slow to gravitate to electric vehicles due to their high cost and concerns about their driving range.

The U.S. Department of Energy in January backed off on President Barack Obama’s goal of putting 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, and laid out what experts called a more realistic strategy of promoting advanced-drive vehicles and lowering their cost.”

(Expect to read something similar – or identical – in future reports of EV bankruptcies. These paragraphs read like handy boilerplate.)

Today, Reuters comes to the rescue of readers who miss a connection between Miles and makers of real EVs. It turns out that bankrupt Coda and bankrupt Miles are connected, so much that, writes Reuters,

“Lio Energy Systems Holdings, based in Delaware, and Hong Kong-based Miles Electric Vehicles Ltd are seeking to have their cases jointly administered with those of parent Coda Holdings and its affiliates, including Coda Automotive, which filed for bankruptcy on May 1.”

According to Reuters, Coda’s founder Miles Rubin is the same Miles Rubin that founded Miles Electric, a company, Reuters says, “that is separate from, but related to, Coda.”

In its new article about Miles & Co., Reuters again uses a lot of the boilerplate language that soon will become very familiar:

“Consumers have been slow to gravitate to electric vehicles due to their high cost, lack of convenience and concerns about their driving range. Among the prominent “green” car makers that face an uncertain future is southern California-based Fisker Automotive Inc, which is seeking a buyer after hiring bankruptcy advisers.”

The U.S. Department of Energy in January backed away from President Barack Obama’s goal of putting 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, and laid out what experts called a more realistic strategy of promoting advanced-drive vehicles and lowering their cost.

Tesla has put thousands of cars on the road, but Fisker is considering a bankruptcy filing. Fisker’s lithium-ion battery maker, A123 Systems Inc, filed for bankruptcy late last year.”

In my humble opinion, the mere act of starting a new car company in a hope of striking it rich is a symptom of dementia. This industry is very unkind to new entries. Electric propulsion, and producing the cars in China simply add to the already daunting odds. But as long as people invest in these companies, Reuters will be able to re-use its handy boilerplate paragraphs.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Sundowner Sundowner on Jun 12, 2013

    Bertel seems to be on a republican red bent today. someone give him a healing hug. in other news, conspicuously absent is the counterpoint that these service vehicles are (were?) ideally suited for muninciapl duty, which is a loser. They are chinese in part, which is a no-starter for federally funded procurements. State and local governments (for the most part) in this country are dirt poor and can't afford fancy electic cars. If EV's weren't competitive, then Audi wouldn't be publishing hate mail to Tesla for selling as many Model S's in a quarter as Audi does for A7's and A8's combined.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jun 12, 2013

    My view on EVs is to remove any government assistance, subsidies and handouts. If and when the market is ready for these vehicles they will sell. We wonder why the West is going backwards when we are investing in the wrong infrastructure and technology. We then complain when other countries (emerging) are using a tried and proven system of processes to manage their countries. Wind energy and EVs might look nice in a Sci-Fi movies, but in reality who paying for it. Can the average Joe afford to purchase wind power and drive an EV? No. The 'normal' person is lucky to find enough money to make ends meet. This stuff is for art degreed socialists. These are 'feel good' green products so who ever buys it has that warm and fuzzy feeling when they drive to work. EV technology is great for subways, trams, etc or factories and golf course applications. In other words mass transit and mass industry, not individual and personal use. The US would be better using EV money in gas infrastructure (pipelines), to remove heating oil. This would have a bigger impact on removing CO2, NOx, etc than EVs. This kind of infrastructure spending would help the 'average Joe' more than seeing government institutions buy up EVs and have a more significant impact in saving the ecology. EV tech, now way, only in a true free market will it succeed, like EV forklifts etc.

    • See 5 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jun 13, 2013

      @Sundowner It has to be viable and profitable. Government spending on properly considered programs is great. In the past you will see that most government spending was on infrastructure ie dams, highways etc where the general populace benefits. Technology/industrial growth subsidised by a country was generally military or and issue of national significance in the past. Not small programs like EVs. When government spending and regulation is used to support small programs relative to the size of an economy, then programs become inefficient. I think if you look at the way governments have managed subsidies and handouts the countries in most economic strife you will find they are OECD economies. How much was the computer industry subsidised, or Henry Ford? When a product is produced and society wants and requires it, it will be successful. You can't buy and regulate success. It is earnt. Food for thought. No I don't agree with your views as they are utopian.

  • Marty S Corey, thanks for your comment. Mercedes has many different models, and will survive. Jaguar is planning on only offering electric models and will be in trouble. They should continue their ICE models as long as possible, but have discontinued the F-Type already and will probably be discontinuing everything else. We purchased the current XF this year, which is a nice car, but would have been splendid if they had just continued the supercharged V-6 in it.By the way, I have really enjoyed your Continental and Eldorado series. Was just showing it to my barber, who owned several 1954-56 Eldorado convertibles.
  • Marques My father had one of these. A black 1984 Pulsar NX with a 5-speed stick and a grey interior. Dad always kept it in pristine shape-that black paint was shiny even in the middle of the night. I swear I could still smell the Rain Dance carnauba wax! The only issue that car ever had was that it was never driven enough-it would sit for 10 days at a time! The Hitachi carburetor on it(and other Nissans of the time) were known to be troublesome. It went to the boneyard at 72K miles when a hole got punched in the block. By that time the Pulsar had long ceased production.
  • VoGhost This is the only new vehicle I have the slightest interest in.
  • VoGhost I love it. Can't wait to get one. Finally, trucks are becoming actually capable, and it's great for America.
  • Peter Just waiting for Dr. Who to show up with his Tardis, and send these things back to the hellish dark dimension from which they came.