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posted by janrinok on Wednesday April 17, @08:48AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Electric vehicles may become a new front in America's tech war with China after a US senator called for Washington DC to block Chinese-made EVs to protect domestic industries and national security.

Sherrod Brown, senator for Ohio and chair of the Senate Banking Committee, penned a letter to President Biden, claiming "there are currently no Chinese EVs for sale in the United States, and we must keep it that way."

He warned that "Chinese EVs, highly subsidized by the Chinese government, could decimate our domestic automakers, harm American workers, and give China access to sensitive personal data," insisting the US government must ban Chinese-made EVs as soon as possible, calling it "a matter of economic and national security."

The move comes as the dispute between the two economic superpowers over technology rumbles on, with the US last week sanctioning four more Chinese companies, claiming they were involved with providing chips for accelerating AI to China's military and intelligence users.

Among those added to the Entity List maintained by the US Department of Commerce was Sitonholy (Tianjin) Co, understood to be one of the largest distribution channels for Nvidia's datacenter products in China, thus cutting off supplies of Nvidia GPUs to many Chinese companies.

[...] The number of Chinese cars purchased by US customers is understood to be very low as these are subject to an extra 25 percent tariff on top of the regular 2.5 percent import duty that DC applies to imported vehicles.

However, Senator Brown notes in his letter that BYD already sells an electric hatchback named the "Seagull" for the equivalent of less than $10,000. This compares with the $28,140 that has been reported as the starting price of the current cheapest electric car available in the US, the 2024 Nissan LEAF S.

There is also a national security twist as Senator Brown claims that data collected by the sensors and cameras in Chinese EVs could pose a threat. "China does not allow American-made electric vehicles near their official buildings. To allow their vehicles freedom to travel throughout the United States would be foolish and highly dangerous," he stated.

Senator Brown also claims in his letter that nearly 20 percent of all electric vehicles sold in Europe during 2023 were made in China, citing this as a cautionary example.

The European Commission last year announced an investigation into subsidies in the Chinese EV industry, but there are said to be misgivings in Germany and elsewhere that a ban on Chinese EVs could backfire, with Beijing retaliating by locking Western carmakers out of the lucrative China market entirely.


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Thexalon on Wednesday April 17, @10:37AM (18 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday April 17, @10:37AM (#1353294)

    (I was at a small protest, he stopped by to say hello.)

    He's always been fundamentally a "back the blue-collar union factory guy" sort. He's also in a difficult re-election race, and his state has a bunch of auto parts plants that could benefit from making EVs here in the USA. I could totally imagine this sort of thing looking good for him, and it's relatively easy for him to do.

    But I have to admit, I personally like the swing away from wide-open trade. The only people who have really benefited from that are people who are already very rich.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday April 17, @04:02PM (4 children)

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday April 17, @04:02PM (#1353331) Journal

      Trade in itself is very good, and it has benefited us all greatly. For instance, decades ago air tools such as pneumatic wrenches used to cost over $100 each. Now, a new 1/2 pneumatic air wrench is less than $50. In the 1970s, Detroit was giving us crap for cars, and it wasn't until good quality Japanese cars arrived in a big way in the 1980s that that changed. I mean, come on, before this revolution in quality, the expected End Of Life of cars was just 50k miles! Now, it's EV time, and here we are again, tough to get that and rooftop solar at a competitive price.

      What is particularly frustrating is the narrowness of our own thinking. Why, for instance, isn't making the batteries more easily replaced, basically swappable, a top design priority? And aero. The coefficient of drag could easily be less than 0.2, but even under the pressure to squeeze more range out of BEVs, they leave that low hanging fruit unpicked. Then, there's safety regulations some of which add a lot of weight for very little improvement in safety. Strong (and weighty) B-pillars in everything, no matter how low to the ground and therefore rare rollover accidents are. In the US there's no spectrum of safety, there are only the two extremes: the very high risks of motorcycles and the as-low-as-we-can-make-the-risks extremes of cars, with one exception: the classic car. You can't import a modern car for the Mexican market into the US without having all kinds of work done to beef up safety. Chinese BEVs could shift some of those dogmas.

      Today, what would we do for computer chips without Taiwan? Pay 3x as much?

      A core idea of the European Union is having so much trading going on that no member can even think of starting a war with another because cutting off all that trade would be too painful.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday April 17, @07:16PM (3 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday April 17, @07:16PM (#1353352)

        A core idea of the United States is having a common currency with so much trading going on that no state can even think of starting a war with another because cutting off all that trade would be too painful. Except, you know, when two halves of the country with clear geographic boundaries decide they have fundamentally different ideas of "the most profitable way forward" plus a nice human rights issue that falls along similar lines. Even then, my ancestry is Tennessee and around those parts we had families divided with one son going to fight for one side and another side going to fight for the other. As told 100+ years later, our particular ancestors either went to fight for the side that was able to pay a pension or just stayed home and bitched about how "the Yankee oppressors should all burn in hell" but knew better than to go off and fight for the apparent to them at the time losing side.

        90 degree right turn....

        I don't trust Chinese EV manufacturers... I trust US domestic automakers even less. What's the absolute minimum software necessary to make an EV work? We should be challenging our manufacturing sector to make big ticket items, like EVs, HVAC systems, even refrigerators, as simple as possible. Sure, use software, but don't allow obfuscaware. Clearly illustrate system architecture diagrams. The companies with the simplest (and most accurate) architectures win the biggest tax breaks - confuscation systems get tax penalties. Within those architectures, tax break bonuses for use of established standardized widely used highly interoperable interfaces, penalties for proprietary. Example: USB-C = tax break, Apple proprietary plug = tax penalty. In the functional software implementing the interconnected modules, clear statement of all requirements, clear documented testing demonstrating both successful implementation of the requirements and successful handling of failure modes. Tax break bonus for the cleanest, clearest coding, penalties for indecipherable spaghetti.

        All in all: drive simplicity in the products. An EV has a battery, a charging system, a drive system, a regenerative braking system, anti-lock brakes, traction control, battery thermal management, power windows, power door locks, HVAC, lighting, passive passenger restraint (seatbelts), backup camera(s), maybe an entertainment system, airbags... and as little as possible over and above that. A person "reasonably skilled in the art" shouid be able to download .pdf manuals and quickly navigate to the system of interest's documentation, link into the (read-only) git repository and find the code that's controlling whatever system of interest and read through to see whatever detail of implementation is of interest - maybe why the seatbelts go into automatic inertial lock after 30 minutes sitting with the engine off. Rationale for that design decision should be linked and documented - was it regulatory compliance, if so what regulations (with links)?

        Produce products with this level of transparency and I would pay a significant premium over obfuscuware. Make me king and I'll give enough tax advantage that the most transparently implemented and documented products cost 1/2 what the worst proprietary piles of profit protection cost at retail.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @01:18AM (2 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @01:18AM (#1353400)

          Oh, and while we are here, every software module in the system should be OTA updatable, but only when a physical switch is set in the "updates enabled" position and another physical switch, momentary type, enables the update to start.

          Cyber security is good, but why don't we have a layer of physical security to go with it?

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Friday April 19, @02:16AM (1 child)

            by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday April 19, @02:16AM (#1353575) Journal

            I have great-great grandfathers on both sides of the Civil War. I like to think the Confederate one wasn't that committed to upholding slavery. He deserted near the end, and who knows, maybe had little choice about joining in the first place and was merely waiting until the odds of getting away with deserting were good. The retreat towards Appomattox would have provided many excellent opportunities to slip away, while moving him closer and closer to his home in the Piedmont in North Carolina. But yeah, good point that the pain of ripping up trade ties often isn't enough to stop violence loving idiots from starting a war.

            One of the curious things about current computing capability is how much these devices that are so fantastic at automating things are themselves strangely difficult to automate. Suppose you want to send keystrokes or mouse clicks to an app, without having to physically work a keyboard and mouse by hand? Where is the app to deliver keystrokes? Not included in the OS! Or, can't a second computer be plugged into a USB port and simulate a keyboard? Or, why can't all apps have something like the GIMP's batch mode? Sure, these things can be done, but for most users tools to do that are out of sight and out of mind. About the only thing that's fairly common is a macro keyboard. But much online gaming depends on the players not using such things, and the vendors will go so far as to ban players who do. One time I wanted to capture keystrokes to help with debugging a problem, and all I could find was key loggers for recording passwords, as if that's the only use of such a thing. I guess one reason such tools are not readily available and easy to access is that they make a lot of current security practices much less secure.

            But I think a bigger reason for the feeble self automation capabilities of computers is the same as why there aren't more standardized and open products.

            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday April 19, @12:43PM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday April 19, @12:43PM (#1353612)

              >Where is the app to deliver keystrokes?

              Google AI says "AutoKey" - but I have been using xdotool for decades.

              >Or, can't a second computer be plugged into a USB port and simulate a keyboard?

              Ethernet is more conventional, but I think you can make ssh work via USB if you read a few HOWTO guides.

              >why can't all apps have something like the GIMP's batch mode?

              For the past 10 or so years, I have been working "behind the scenes" on a device that presents a .net GUI in Windoze/VirtualBox over Ubuntu. I have been developing a suite of apps that run in Ubuntu (poor man's multi-threading: each app is single threaded, if you've got a process that blocks too much: give it it's own app - yes, it's more resource intensive than threads, but somehow all this wasteful multi-app work still barely touches 10% of any given resource on the system at peak, less than 1% most of the time) - these apps are written in Qt and have their own GUIs that are only used by developers and testers to see what's going on in the individual functions they implement. At their core is the "QProcess::start("xyz")" call, where xyz is what you would normally type into a terminal. Doing things this way, I'm taking complex terminal commands with options and parameters and making them very systematic: click this button and the right form of the xyz command will be executed, with all its complicated options and parameters exactly the same way every time. Batch mode.

              >for most users tools to do that are out of sight and out of mind.

              And that's the point. Users don't want to open the printers dialog and re-select a new default printer after plugging in a new model, before printing their next report, so the "out of sight, out of mind" apps do things like that for them, resuming the print queue when it stalls, etc. Linux desktops (Gnome, KDE, et al) do a lot of this, but our product focuses on a small subset of desktop features and automates them for our users in their limited workflows.

              >the only thing that's fairly common is a macro keyboard.

              Typing on one now, I believe the form factor is called 60% - no dedicated F keys, I reprogrammed home to be end, fn1-esc to be ` and fn2-esc to be ~, and I have a fn1-N macro that does a cd into my normal working folder. Then I forgot how to program macros and haven't tinkered with it for years. I also have a very programmable "gaming mouse" that I got because it's got a nice feel and response - never touched its programmable functions at all. Too many brain cycles for too little return.

              >the feeble self automation capabilities of computers

              The features are actually there, and that's what makes them dangerous. Most people are unaware of the possibility - even those who are aware when you ask them to think about it don't consider it as a normal part of daily operations - out of sight, out of mind. That's why I feel like the "big RED physical switch" would be such an improvement for cybersecurity. All these touch-screen based "Are you sure?" prompts can be bypassed a thousand ways with "living off the land" tools. If you are running secure code, part of that security certification would be a requirement to throw the enable switch to enabled position and then to press the "initiate" button. Physically, those interfaces should be through the simplest possible paths into the microprocessors: debounced with RC circuits, ESD/EMI protected with passives, and otherwise direct wired into the same chip that will be handling the software update. The update code should start with a very clear unambiguous test of those two physical components before proceeding - kind of like the two keys required to launch an ICBM.

              Yes, we should have a "patch Tuesday" that regularly ships updates for everything, and people should be applying them in a timely fashion. However, the updates should not be able to propagate like a worm to all the systems in the world without human intervention. Back in the '80s I came up with a "scheme for world domination" and the whole key to it was an "innocent" feature in network (BBS at the time) connected software: the ability to update the software, loading arbitrary code. There's no way around allowing the loading of arbitrary code if you're going to allow patching any possible vulnerability discovered in the future, but you can at least prevent the arbitrary code from spreading itself without human intervention.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday April 17, @04:06PM (11 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 17, @04:06PM (#1353332) Journal

      But I have to admit, I personally like the swing away from wide-open trade. The only people who have really benefited from that are people who are already very rich.

      Well, as JFK said: ask not what you can do for your country, but what sugar you ought to be getting from your country. And I'm reminded of that Monty Python skit:

      Well apart from greater purchasing power, greatest improvement in the human condition ever, most rapid scientific progress ever, most diverse food supply ever, immigrants doing the shitty work we don't want to do, poor people throughout the world doing the low margin work that it's not worth our while to do, greatest exposure ever to new ideas and cultures, creates billions of jobs, and a bunch of new words, what has global trade done for us?

      World peace.

      Oh shut up!

      Global trade does more than make a few rich people richer. Meanwhile banning foreign competition makes rich people richer too. I think government power has better uses than deciding winners and losers. I will always resist abuses that create a large number of losers for the alleged winners.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday April 17, @07:53PM (7 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday April 17, @07:53PM (#1353357)

        >I think government power has better uses than deciding winners and losers.

        I agree - somewhat. I think government power is best used to provide protection for the citizenry. Protection from foreign invasion. Protection from criminals. Protection from fires raging out of control. Protection from charlatans who would defraud little old ladies out of their life savings. Protection from accident victims being left on the side of the road to die, further protection for those needing healthcare from being pushed outside the hospital doors told to seek care elsewhere (details, details...)

        Anyway, in this post-agrarian society where we're all deeply interdependent on highly complex industrial products, I also believe that the citizens should expect protection from exploitation from the makers of those products which have become considered essential to normal life. No, government should not decide winners and losers, but they should reward those who "play the game" in ways that benefit the consumers of their products, and yes: that's the same as penalizing those who profit at citizens' expense.

        >I will always resist abuses that create a large number of losers for the alleged winners.

        There should never be be small numbers of winners. Competition is a key to a self-managing ecosystem, and we should be as self-managing as possible.

        If we want to continue to enjoy the kind of progress have seen over the last 70 years, we should also ensure that there are as few "losers" as possible. The more people we have with significant means, the more powerful we are overall. A hundred million families with $350K per year income are vastly more powerful than a hundred million families with $35K per year income plus 22,000 men each stashing a billion dollars a year into offshore accounts while commissioning the occasional yacht and mansion.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by crafoo on Wednesday April 17, @10:27PM (6 children)

          by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday April 17, @10:27PM (#1353381)

          Henry Carey called it a "harmony if interests". Hamilton agreed, and even in pre-industrial USA described a system where rural areas and cities worked together to produce a strong, tight-knit nation (Report On Manufacturers that he published in the 1790s).

          They both agreed that we should also be quite careful in the arena of international trade. The purpose of a nation is to execute the will of the citizens and protect them from foreign aggression. this fundamentally includes international trade. Yes trade is good, but international trade is war. The last thing you want to be is a nation reduced to the slave-mining population of a more powerful, more industrialized nation. For instance, England referred to Portugal as "their vineyard", reducing that nation to nothing but a vassal state enslaved to making their wine as England used free-trade and financial tools to crush all of Portugal's other industries.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @12:13AM (5 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @12:13AM (#1353394)

            >international trade is war.

            U.S. business (including domestic trade) is more like the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but with less rules about not killing your opponents.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @06:16PM (4 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @06:16PM (#1353513) Journal

              U.S. business (including domestic trade) is more like the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but with less rules about not killing your opponents.

              I'm sure that sounded awesome in your head, but murder and negligent homicide are illegal in most of the world, and those cases can even be (and have been) tried in the US. In addition, there are four to five orders of magnitude more rules for US businesses than there are for UFC participants, including plenty of laws and regulations about preventing ways to kill "opponents".

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @07:15PM (3 children)

                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @07:15PM (#1353527)

                > murder and negligent homicide are illegal in most of the world, and those cases can even be (and have been) tried in the US.

                And, yet, Corporations are people - and businesses seek and succeed to bankrupt (kill) opponent Corporations every day, all around the world but especially in the US.

                >In addition, there are four to five orders of magnitude more rules for US businesses than there are for UFC participants, including plenty of laws and regulations about preventing ways to kill "opponents".

                And, yet, none of those rules (except some rarely exercised anti-monopoly statutes) say anything about putting your competitors out of business through starvation.

                --
                🌻🌻 [google.com]
                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @09:51PM (2 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @09:51PM (#1353548) Journal

                  And, yet, Corporations are people

                  They can get married and have social security numbers?

                  And, yet, none of those rules (except some rarely exercised anti-monopoly statutes) say anything about putting your competitors out of business through starvation.

                  I forgot that corporations eat food too. How silly of me.

                  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @11:16PM (1 child)

                    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @11:16PM (#1353563)

                    Corporations live on (eat) money.

                    And this all started with: international trade is war.

                    --
                    🌻🌻 [google.com]
                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday April 19, @03:55AM

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 19, @03:55AM (#1353580) Journal

                      Corporations live on (eat) money.

                      I'm not that concerned about feeding corporations then or the wars of international trade. Should I be?

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, @09:41PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, @09:41PM (#1353374)

        And, as Teddy Kennedy once said: "I'll drive off that bridge when I get to it"

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday April 19, @05:56PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday April 19, @05:56PM (#1353642) Homepage Journal

      ...his state has a bunch of auto parts plants that could benefit from making EVs here in the USA.

      I'm not so sure, American automakers want the EV to die. Rather than a drive train with thousands of breakable parts that guarantee a dealer to junkyard gravy train for the manufacturer, dealer, mechanic, auto parts stores, and others, an EV's drive train is an electric motor with one moving part.

      They're pushing hybrids for that same reason, as they still have thousands of breakable parts in the drive train. The buyer gets a huge cut in the cost of fuel, but none of the very many advantages of a pure EV, and the fuel cost isn't even as good.

      The EV is to a piston vehicle what a Model-T was to a horse and buggy. A hybrid is sort of like an automobile that needed to have help from a horse.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, @11:22AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, @11:22AM (#1353298)

    The US already has many car crash and other car regulations in place. From what I know (which may be out of date), they are different enough from the rest of the world that they already form a significant barrier to entry. Of course if Chinese car companies are serious about selling into the US, they could re-design their cars to meet the US crash rules--but this could take a few years.

    The other set of regulations that has kept out many foreign makers are related to evaporative and tailpipe emissions...but of course BEVs bypass these rules. Logically, rules could be added that cover life cycle pollution including battery manufacture & recycle/disposal, but this could be too hard to enforce?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by SomeRandomGeek on Wednesday April 17, @03:18PM (7 children)

    by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Wednesday April 17, @03:18PM (#1353325)

    I've generally been pretty supportive of the shift away from free trade in the last few years. The economy had become too dependent on too many unreliable partners during the last round of globalization. But this just seems like plain old fashioned protectionist BS. The national security justification for this is transparently thin. Sure, China can plant surveillance devices in Chinese made cars while they are in the factory. But just as easily, they could plant those same devices on US made cars while they are parked on the street. It would probably be a lot easier to bug the right car that way.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Username on Wednesday April 17, @05:28PM (3 children)

      by Username (4557) on Wednesday April 17, @05:28PM (#1353340)

      All cars are network connected. Tesla can remotely see the dashcam, cabincam in their cars. Also lock them out, and stop them. Why wouldn't China have the same?

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by DannyB on Wednesday April 17, @06:37PM (2 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 17, @06:37PM (#1353347) Journal

        <no-sarcasm>
        Something you left out: on a massive scale.

        China could disable their vehicles in the US on a massive scale. Maybe not every vehicle. But enough to cause significant disruption. Part of a prelude to an attack.

        Lock people in their disabled cars on roadways.

        What is the potential for China to remotely drive the vehicles turning them into killer robots during an invasion of Taiwan?
        </no-sarcasm>

        What is the potential for Tesla to do this to reduce the number of woke people?

        --
        With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday April 17, @07:25PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday April 17, @07:25PM (#1353354)

          No doubt China or any other hostile state could use significant disruption of their network connected products as a military advantage (example: immediately prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine US advisors were rumored to be actively mitigating anticipated Russian cyber attacks on the Ukrainian train network, preventing mass strandings (and casualties) of civilians cut off from evacuation during the invasion.)

          However, I wouldn't call significant disruption of thousands or millions of citizens' (both civilian and military) vehicles as a prelude to an attack, that step is an attack in and of itself.

          Meanwhile, how many remote interfaces to US (and other) water, power, sewage, transport infrastructure, etc. industrial control systems are "secured" with passwords like "Assword1"?

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, @01:09AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, @01:09AM (#1353398)

          What is the potential for China to remotely drive the vehicles turning them into killer robots during an invasion of Taiwan?

          Low. Because they don't want too many US voters going "Fuck it! Nuke China!". Especially with US presidents who have a significant chance of actually launching nukes.

          Whereas China might do that as revenge if the US launches nukes at China, and they launch their retaliatory nukes.

          China does evil stuff but they tend to be more rational evil.

          The US does evil stuff that often doesn't seem to benefit the US (usually doesn't benefit the US citizens, sometimes doesn't seem to even benefit the US elite much e.g. mainly benefits Israel).

          What China might do is spy to try to gain an advantage. If you destroy/damage/disrupt stuff you often only get to do it once. Whereas if you just spy, you can do the disruption elsewhere (e.g. win deals/contracts that you otherwise won't win).

    • (Score: 2) by epitaxial on Wednesday April 17, @08:47PM (1 child)

      by epitaxial (3165) on Wednesday April 17, @08:47PM (#1353363)

      People voted with their wallets and want the cheapest goods possible. China is the country that delivers on those cheap goods. We're going to see a shift in vehicles soon enough when they start selling cars at half the price of US companies. The cheapest new car you can buy is a Mitsubishi Mirage and it's $17,000. Before all the boomers get riled up, run your figures through the inflation calculator https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl [bls.gov] before replying.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mcgrew on Friday April 19, @06:08PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday April 19, @06:08PM (#1353644) Homepage Journal

        Before all the boomers get riled up, run your figures through the inflation calculator

        I think we boomers are quite a bit more acquainted with inflation than you ignorant children, son. In the 1960s the minimum wage bought ten McDonald's hamburgers. Those ten burgers are now $24.90. The US government has legalized wage theft by refusing to raise the minimum wage when there is inflation.

        When I was a kid, there were no homeless and no working poor. Only single parents needed child care. But wage theft was illegal and employers were forced to pay a living wage.

        In the 1980s, mortgages were up to 20%.

        You kids don't know jack shit about inflation.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday April 19, @06:00PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday April 19, @06:00PM (#1353643) Homepage Journal

      But this just seems like plain old fashioned protectionist BS.

      How can you compete against a company supported financially by a superpower? That's the only justification for a tariff I can see. In this case, it fits.

      The security bullshit is paranoia.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bloodnok on Wednesday April 17, @07:04PM (4 children)

    by bloodnok (2578) on Wednesday April 17, @07:04PM (#1353351)

    I don't know if Chinese manufacturers are subsidised by their government but I suspect they don't need to be. Chinese vehicles are manufactured using Chinese labour in well-designed factories, that are themselves built by well-educated and trained Chinese engineers and labour. Chinese labour is cheap. Chinese education is cheap and good. And Chinese manufacturing is cheap even when building at high quality levels.

    Couple that with innovative vehicle design that largely ignores western legacy vehicle production methods, and there is no reason at all that they shouldn't undercut western car-makers while building a good product. And if the reviews I've seen of recent BYD vehicles are to be believed (along with their incredible success in Australia), they are making good products.

    If the US bans Chinese vehicles it will simply delay the inevitable. It will reduce the pressure on the legacy car makers for a few years, they will step back from difficult and maybe risky innovation, and US car manufacturing will suddenly find itself yet another 5 years behind. Tesla should have been a lesson to the US car-makers, but they still seem to think that business as usual will carry the day.

    If you want to help the domestic market and domestic manufacturing you need to provide incentives for domestic manufacturing to embrace the future and do better, rather than protecting them so that they don't need to. It's not like the skills, talent and initiative are not available, but I see no evidence, outside of Tesla and a few small niche companies, that they are valued. Rather than cutting back on EV development you need to double down. Rather than electrifying Hummers and Mustangs, how about building a new electric Dodge Neon or Dart, and doing it in a brand new chassis without all of the legacy clutter that goes with ICE. For an example, take a look at the new Renault 5, or the MG4.

    I find it incredibly depressing how expensive current EVs are. Given the inherent simplicity of an EV compared with ICE vehicles they should be way cheaper and faster to build. Yes, you need expensive batteries, but everything else is way simpler. BYD and other Chinese manufacturers are showing how it's possible to make good and cheap.

    You may not be able to build cheaper than the Chinese, but you can certainly build cheaper and smarter than Hummers for Deity's sake.

    [Oh, and can we make that "infotainment" crap an optional extra? I'd pay more not to have it.]

    __
    The Major

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday April 17, @08:39PM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday April 17, @08:39PM (#1353362)

      >Chinese manufacturing is cheap even when building at high quality levels.

      Yes, but... the margins are nowhere near as dramatic as when they are allowed to cut corners.

      In the yacht market, you can have a yacht built in the EU for €500K. You can get a similarly spec'ed yacht built in China for €100K, but if you hold the Chinese builders up to EU standards that price climbs to more like €400K.

      The TCO is something else, that EU built yacht might cost €25K / yr to operate and maintain, and the €400K Chinese yacht much the same. The €100K Chinese yacht may start out similarly, but after a short time the average cost of
      operation and maintenance will climb rather dramatically when you need to refinish the decks, replace the rusting fittings, service the more quickly failing engine components - outright replace failed engines, etc. Ten years in, if you're trying to keep the €100K Chinese yacht maintained to anything approaching the standard of the more expensive versions, you'll be better off to pay €600K (over time) for upgrades and improvements to get your annual cost of operation and maintenance back down near that €25K / yr level. Or just off the cheap junk and buy something better when you can afford it.

      On a completely different level, I bought a Harbor Frieght (Chinese made, if you don't already know) trailer kit - self assembly - for something like $150 in 2008, it looked a lot like this: https://www.harborfreight.com/automotive/trailers-towing/trailers/1195-lb-capacity-48-58-in-x-96-14-in-heavy-duty-folding-trailer-62666.html [harborfreight.com] I hope for the more than tripling in price they have improved them a bit. I spent nearly $100 on the wood for decking, but within a year the paint had oxidized and was peeling off the steel - it was a constant grind, spray and pray operation to keep the frame from rusting through. Finally, I sold it off probably 5 years later to someone who just needed a cheap trailer quick - I think I got about $150 for it, but I had put at least that into the decking, spray paint and sandpaper over five years, not to mention the labor... I doubt that trailer lasted another 3 years beyond that. The day I assembled it, it looked just as good as trailers selling from big-box retail stores for $500 and more. I know those "big box" trailers have better paint because if they didn't they'd be oxidizing and peeling where they store them in the parking lot before they ever have a chance to be sold.

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      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @10:11AM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @10:11AM (#1353443) Journal

        Yes, but... the margins are nowhere near as dramatic as when they are allowed to cut corners.

        The grandparent apparently is of the opinion that we don't need the corners that are being cut.

        In the yacht market, you can have a yacht built in the EU for €500K. You can get a similarly spec'ed yacht built in China for €100K, but if you hold the Chinese builders up to EU standards that price climbs to more like €400K.

        Sounds like you would be better served to solve the problem that increases the cost of a good by a factor of 4 rather than complain that someone else doesn't normally have to deal with the problem. After all, all the stuff you would want in a safe, effective yacht is already in those "similar" specs, right?

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @11:21AM (1 child)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @11:21AM (#1353447)

          >Sounds like you would be better served to solve the problem that increases the cost of a good by a factor of 4

          Sure. Let's start with the exhaust - seawater mixing elbows. Thick stainless steel does cost more than cast iron, but if you pay anything for the replacement labor the stainless option is cheaper in the long run.

          So, just make a cheaper mixing elbow that lasts as long as (or, preferably longer than) the stainless steel option.

          Similar problems are waiting for you to fix on the hull structure and finish, port windows and other fittings, etc.

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          • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @02:19PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @02:19PM (#1353460) Journal
            You have yet to mention a problem, much less a relevant problem.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by bussdriver on Wednesday April 17, @07:19PM (11 children)

    by bussdriver (6876) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 17, @07:19PM (#1353353)

    Sanity needs to return to tariffs and this free trade BS needs to stop. Subsidies are not secret, they can easily be undone by tariffs and most importantly human rights standards need to be penalized in the tariffs. The race to the bottom has gone on far too long in the open!

    Allow China to make factories in the USA like the others to avoid the tariffs but their imported parts still need tariffs. It's NOT fair to out right ban them (though it makes for good starting politics for negotiation and campaigning) and will certainly prompt a strong justified response.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, @01:32AM (10 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, @01:32AM (#1353402)

      Where's the evidence of subsidies? Lots of China stuff is cheaper than US stuff. Low/lower quality perhaps. They can't be subsidizing everything.

      Facts are lots of US workers are and have been complaining about cost of living going up while their wages haven't gone up at similar rates.

      Many of those costs are linked to property costs.

      So if property costs in China for factories, apartments, etc aren't as high as the USA then they can undercut the US by that alone. The workers don't need as high wages (for rent/mortgage), the factories don't need to make as much profit (to pay the loans etc). The workers' fake starbuck lattes don't have to be as expensive either if the rent is lower.

      It's all a result of decades of successful rent seeking and corporations trying to turn more and more stuff into "rent"/subscriptions. Do you want to do the noncapitalist thing of confiscating some stuff from the "landlords"? In many cases the "landlords" collecting "rent" are actually "pension/investment funds" for "normal people". Or banks that the normal people have got their money in.

      China might go through a similar thing too (increasing property costs: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1325915/china-average-price-of-residential-housing-sold-in-shanghai/ [statista.com] ). After all lots of people/corporations want to be a landlord and collect rent without working as much. Heck I want to be one too.

      But is it really a good thing in the long run? Stuff becomes more expensive "just because".

      A Government could force certain property categories and locations to be low. Some countries do that for residential stuff.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @02:17PM (9 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @02:17PM (#1353457) Journal

        It's all a result of decades of successful rent seeking and corporations trying to turn more and more stuff into "rent"/subscriptions. Do you want to do the noncapitalist thing of confiscating some stuff from the "landlords"? In many cases the "landlords" collecting "rent" are actually "pension/investment funds" for "normal people". Or banks that the normal people have got their money in.

        And a few generations of "I've got mine" voter-controlling zoning.

        A Government could force certain property categories and locations to be low. Some countries do that for residential stuff.

        There are two ways to do that: 1) rent control which is a universal mess and doesn't incentivize anyone to fix problems, or 2) get out of the way of the people who build more housing and other real estate. Land isn't being created any more, but what you do with the land can create more housing, commerce, offices, etc than at present.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @04:14PM (8 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @04:14PM (#1353479)

          >2) get out of the way of the people who build more housing and other real estate.

          To an extent... Given their 'druthers, developers will target maximum ROI for every project they take on, meaning: the developers focus on projects that sell to people able to pay large premiums for them and neglect "affordable housing" most of the time.

          I'll just flog UBI for another minute here... in today's economy the poor frequently have nothing to give, zero input to the economic system. In a UBI based economy, even the poorest have a guaranteed minimum income, and their housing - while modest - can expect to receive much more reliable income from the housed when they have UBI than in today's "I might have a job next week" system. Business hates risk, reliable income reduces risk - at dramatic marginal rates when you start talking about the poorest segments of society - which, thanks to our pyramid structure, is nearly 40 million citizens.

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          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @04:30PM (7 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @04:30PM (#1353487) Journal

            To an extent... Given their 'druthers, developers will target maximum ROI for every project they take on, meaning: the developers focus on projects that sell to people able to pay large premiums for them and neglect "affordable housing" most of the time.

            "Given their druthers". When they're not given their druthers, then other things happen. Here, the problem is more the people who angst over property value and how living near a preventable affordable housing situation can affect that.

            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @04:41PM (5 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @04:41PM (#1353489)

              >Here, the problem is more the people who angst over property value and how living near a preventable affordable housing situation can affect that.

              Here, the problem is overbuilt unoccupied premium housing standing empty and unsold while affordable housing is full beyond capacity.

              But yes, angsty Karens (of both sexes) will crusade endlessly to "keep undesirables out" of their precious little neighborhoods. The argument is usually "property values" but if you get to know them a little bit, the truth is usually that they're terrified of people with darker skin than theirs.

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              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @04:45PM (4 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @04:45PM (#1353491) Journal

                Here, the problem is overbuilt unoccupied premium housing standing empty and unsold while affordable housing is full beyond capacity.

                It's a market. Knock out some of the stuff that inhibits market corrections. For example, not allowing banks to sit on repossessed housing. You want to put a real estate valuation on your folio? Then rent or sell it.

                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @05:55PM (3 children)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @05:55PM (#1353511)

                  >Knock out some of the stuff that inhibits market corrections. For example, not allowing banks to sit on repossessed housing. You want to put a real estate valuation on your folio? Then rent or sell it.

                  The banks that operate in Florida have pretty rigid guidelines about disposing of repossessed properties, basically a decreasing minimum offer limit over time. We ran into a crooked broker who was "playing the system" with an investor buddy of his, the minute we came in with an offer on a bank-owned property it triggered his investor buddy to make the (known to them) minimum offer required to get the property. I suspect if we hadn't wandered into the deal they would have waited X time and gotten the property for a few dollars less...

                  Banks 'round these parts are not landlords.

                  The unsold premium housing is owned by developers, they'll hang on to it hoping for a market rebound for a long, long time - they can afford to.

                  Another problem in this market is Zillow.com - they bought up a bunch of houses on spec to resell at higher values and basically cornered the market for middle-class real-estate for over a year. Houses were getting five and six offers above asking price on the day they were listed for many months - triggering the overbuild reaction.

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                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @06:20PM (2 children)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @06:20PM (#1353516) Journal

                    The banks that operate in Florida have pretty rigid guidelines about disposing of repossessed properties, basically a decreasing minimum offer limit over time. We ran into a crooked broker who was "playing the system" with an investor buddy of his, the minute we came in with an offer on a bank-owned property it triggered his investor buddy to make the (known to them) minimum offer required to get the property. I suspect if we hadn't wandered into the deal they would have waited X time and gotten the property for a few dollars less...

                    So what? I speak instead of the value of that property on the books not what price the bank will try to sell their property for.

                    Banks 'round these parts are not landlords.

                    They are in your parts huge holders of property.

                    Another problem in this market is Zillow.com - they bought up a bunch of houses on spec to resell at higher values and basically cornered the market for middle-class real-estate for over a year. Houses were getting five and six offers above asking price on the day they were listed for many months - triggering the overbuild reaction.

                    Sounds like the overbuild shouldn't have been consider "over", if it was that easy to corner the market.

                    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 18, @07:17PM (1 child)

                      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 18, @07:17PM (#1353530)

                      >They are in your parts huge holders of property.

                      Not by choice, they tend to lose money on repo operations.

                      >Sounds like the overbuild shouldn't have been consider "over", if it was that easy to corner the market.

                      Read for time sequencing and try again: First Zillow corners the market, then developers overbuild.

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                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @09:52PM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @09:52PM (#1353549) Journal

                        Read for time sequencing and try again: First Zillow corners the market, then developers overbuild.

                        You just confirmed what I wrote. Market corrections are reactive.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday April 18, @04:42PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 18, @04:42PM (#1353490) Journal

              "Given their druthers". When they're not given their druthers, then other things happen.

              Having said that, I have over the years come across tourist trap towns (including some local to where I am now) that utterly fail at providing affordable housing. It's usually a combination of mad demand for the region and extremely restricted supply - often surrounding land can't be developed (say because the town would lose its tourism industry and/or doesn't own that land). Then it becomes a choice between building apartments for tourists at mad money, or for would-be employees at a fraction of the profit.

              But when you're not in a heavily constrained situation like that, it shouldn't be that hard to make affordable housing profitable.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday April 18, @02:23PM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday April 18, @02:23PM (#1353462)

    "Chinese EVs, highly subsidized by the Chinese government, could [...] give China access to sensitive personal data"

    I much prefer it when domestic auto-makers put me under surveillance and share my data with insurance companies, data brokers and state agencies without my consent. I like my dystopia to be 100% American-made!

  • (Score: 1) by lush7 on Thursday April 18, @08:59PM (2 children)

    by lush7 (18543) on Thursday April 18, @08:59PM (#1353539)

    Do we not have the technology to install carbon capture at the tail pipe of internal combustion autos? I don't really know myself; was just wondering today.

    Carbon chained fuels seem to be, something that for some time, we will absolutely have to rely on.

    So,
    1: We could ramp up synthesis of carbon-chain fuels (bio-derived, etc..), so we don't have to rely on drilling and foreign oil deposits.
    2: Mandate carbon capture at the tail-pipe
    3: Fill in some of the gaps with EV (economical low cost EV's: 60-150 mile distance per charge, with light minal frames and design)
    4: Fill in some more gaps with Hydrogen (produce purely from solar power).

    and then 5: hopefully, come up with better batteries that are also more economical (more efficient, cheaper more readily available materials).

    And, more on topic, if China can produce an EV that retails at $10,000; we need to compete with that, and do better (speaking to US interests). I do not think, it would really be that hard to do so. Just don't put so many damn microchips and computerization into the vehicles. Make them absolutely minimal, battery powered, 4 wheeled, A to B vehicles for short distance hopping. There are a lot of people who really don't travel more than 15-30 miles to work every day, and beyond that, are mostly just running errands, for the most part. Not everyone will need to own a vehicle capable of traversing the length of the country. Most folks barely travel at all, except perhaps on weekends, or every few months, etc..

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday April 19, @12:52PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday April 19, @12:52PM (#1353613)

      >Do we not have the technology to install carbon capture at the tail pipe of internal combustion autos?

      Sure, how much are you willing to pay for that? An extra 400kg of equipment on the vehicle costing 10K€ per copy to add, lowering fuel economy by 30%... we could probably implement that and reduce automobile carbon emissions by 95% or more per mile traveled, but then you start facing the reality that automobile carbon emissions are a rather small part of the overall carbon emissions picture.

      They're starting to do something about concrete, that's going to have a significant impact at a much lower differential cost - hopefully there aren't structural strength with age implications we're not fully aware of yet.

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    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday April 19, @12:54PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday April 19, @12:54PM (#1353614)

      >if China can produce an EV that retails at $10,000; we need to compete with that, and do better

      Toyota is producing a new fossil fuel based pickup truck for the world market that also starts around $10K - in order to compete with that we would need to: forget about airbags, reduce the passenger compartment cage strength, and most difficult to implement: reduce profits.

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