Do you subscribe to the notion that the internal combustion engine/fossil fuel will soon be replaced as the prevailing means of ground transportation? If you do, we are already in agreement. Electrons are the new hydrocarbons. Electricity is the new program to get with, one that, if your country doesn’t get with it soon, will relegate you and your countrymen to technological obscurity.

Tesla is the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles (EV) in the U.S. today by leaps and bounds, having produced some 361,000 units in 2018 alone. (Don’t worry: This is not a techno-economic paper, and I’m not about to start slinging market percentages and other soporific statistics.) Tesla is the EV market leader in America: American cars, built in America, by Americans, for America. Before you start pulling out your flags and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, though, the second biggest market for Tesla is none other than our political and economic rival, China! Learning that probably stung a little, but business is business and Tesla is no more concerned about the American people’s well-being than China is about preserving the environment.

China has never been a team player on a global scale. Concern for the environment is a global, collective issue, therefore not at all a thing China has felt the need to worry about. China is concerned about China, what China wants, and what is out there to make China both feel good and look good. Heck, China puts itself at the center of all things in the universe. It did, after all, name itself the “Middle Kingdom” (中國 Zhōng Gúo). How positively ethnocentric of them.

China has feeble emission control standards as is obvious from these scenes of smoggy Beijing. (courtesy Wikipedia Commons)

Tesla has already initiated a groundbreaking on their first Gigafactory in Shanghai. China has the goal of producing 500,000 EVs per year there for the Chinese market. China already boasts production numbers of nearly 1.26 million of their own EVs built for the Chinese market, to include the world’s most extensive fleet of electric buses on the planet.