That's not a car - THIS is a car!
How about we engage in a little round of role-play?To
keep things simple, I’m going to stay in character but you’re going to
be the marketing executive from one of the biggest luxury carmakers,
the one with the three pointed star.. So,
you’re German, just over 40 and wearing a tweed jacket, skinny chinos,
brogues and you’ve marked the season by tying your enormous, chunky
scarf in a complex but nonchalant manner. You start by greeting me with a hearty handshake and show me to a table in your very nice corporate restaurant-meets-café.I ask how things are; you huff and puff a little and trot out a couple of challenges you’re facing as an industry.
You mention the ecopolitical problems confronting much of the world and then fret about all those young people who have no desire to drive,
let alone own, cars.The
coffee arrives and I attempt to stop you but you’ve already moved on and you’re getting into a spin about your industry and
Germany in general.
question why your country hasn’t been able to create a Silicon Valley
of its own. You’re worried about Apple bringing out a car and how to
then there’s Tesla!” you say. “How do we deal with them? Everyone wants
one and they have a business model we’ve never seen before. You know what I’m talking about?”
sort of. I explain that Tesla has certainly got everyone worried but
also admit that I’ve never driven or been shuttled around in one.“You really should,” you say. “They’re on to something quite special.”For
this part of the role-playing we now need to shift gears slightly
because this is where I sample the car for the first time and you need
to swap into a black suit and assume a Latvian accent because you’re going to be the driver.We’ll
also need a big flat screen TV, some exceptionally uncomfortable seats
and a few cardboard boxes to build the Tesla. As before, I’m going to
play me and walk out of the hotel and look for my car.“Good morning,” I say, walking to the nearest Mercedes S-Class that’s tucked between some massive SUVs.“Hello,” you say in your best Latvian accent. “Our car is over here. It’s not the Mercedes; today we drive Tesla.”“Oh?” I say. “And why would that be? Are no BMWs or Mercedes available?”You shrug and smile and run around to open the door. At this point we need to bring in the stunt double because it’s quite difficult to fold myself into the back seat.
a few funky moves I land on the back seat and I look around at all the
angular surfaces and the massive screen dominating the middle of the
car.“Everything OK, sir?” you ask while swiping and poking at the big screen. “Is this your first time in a Tesla?”“Yes,”
I say, wondering where the handle is for entering and exiting the
vehicle and the slab-like surfaces. “It might be my last.”“You don’t like Tesla?’“Let’s just see how we get on.”As we whirr along silently I decide to call my trusty assistant to see if there’s some mistake and if we can change cars. A few minutes later she calls me back and says all is fine and a new set of German wheels will be dispatched. Half an hour later I’m regarding the Tesla from the kerb.Like much of modern design it has all the charm and texture that it had when it was designed on screen, ie absolutely none. It’s a perfect example of its digital self and therein lies the problem — it’s all angles, edges and too much screen. It’s not comfortable to sit in, lacks that reassuring door thud and also deletes many of the elements that might actually make it a proper car.We swap over to the Mercedes and there’s a reassuring sense of “ahhh” for both passenger and driver. You’re much happier behind the wheel and I’m feeling right at home in the back.
therein lies the bigger problem, Germany Inc and too many other
respectable companies get themselves in a muddle over all things tech when they should simply focus on what they do very well and always have. Making comfortable, good looking cars.
Running the A/C system in winter.
The colder days of winter mean many car drivers switch their air conditioning off around this time of year. But is that wise?“Baby,
it’s cold outside.” Well, yes, it is – and these dark winter months
mean that the car’s plenty cold enough for most people
without the use
of the air conditioning.But using air conditioning in the
winter isn’t just about keeping cool.
So what benefits
does it have?
So, should I run my air con in the winter?Yes,
you absolutely should. Even if you don’t want your car to be any cooler
than it is, you should run your air conditioning system at least every
couple of weeks for a short spell on full-cold (5 minutes should be
fine), which will allow the coolant to circulate through the system.This
is because the coolant actually contains a lubricant that helps to keep
all the rubber seals and pipework in good condition.
Failing to use
your air conditioning for a long period means the coolant won’t move
around, and the lubricant won’t act on the rubber parts.That
can lead to leaky seals, which can cause your coolant to ebb away,
resulting in more frequent recharging or, in particularly bad instances,
systems which won’t hold gas at all and need to have their seals
Is that the only reason?No, it isn’t. Without
frequent use, moisture can build up within the air vent ducts that the
system uses to pipe cold air to the air vents.
This moisture can cause
mould and bacteria to form, which are then blown into the car when you
start the system again after weeks
or months of inactivity.Air
conditioning is also an important tool to help you maintain your
visibility through the winter months. It doesn’t just cool the air in
– it dries it out as well.That means using the air
conditioning removes moisture in the air, which is particularly useful
in the winter. It helps to keep your windscreen and
windows clear – so
if you’re steaming up, turning the air conditioning on will help
enormously, and it can help clear mist from the glass sooner,
you to set off with clear screens earlier than you otherwise would. Using your air conditioning can help keep your screen mist-free
But I want to be warm. Won’t air conditioning cool me down?Not
if you leave it on and turn the heater to warm. Doing this means the
air conditioning system still runs, so you can keep it lubricated
benefit from the drying effect it gives, but you get warm air into the
My windows mist up even with my air conditioning turned on. Why is that?If
you’ve had your air conditioning turned off for a while, the moisture
that’s collected in the ducts will be blown out into the car at first,
which is why
you always get a misting effect if you turn on a system
that’s been off for a period of time.
This is why, if you’re running
your air conditioning intermittently, it’s always sensible to do so
while the car is stopped.If the mist persists for longer than a
minute or so, it could be for one of two reasons. If you’re using your
air conditioning in conjunction with the
“recirculate” feature – the
one that closes off the outside air to prevent fumes from entering the
car – your windows will still steam up, because
air moist with your
breath is being recirculated faster than it can be dried by the system.Turning
the “recirculate” function off again will usually solve the problem. If
it doesn’t, you could have a problem with your air conditioning or
system, so you should get your garage checked over at a garage.
What about the extra fuel it’s using?It’s
true that your air conditioning system uses more fuel when it’s turned
on. But then, if you don’t have it turned on, you might need to crack a
window open to help clear the mist from your screen – and the damaging
effect this has on your car’s aerodynamics will cause you to use up
around the same amount of fuel.And if you want to avoid using
your air conditioning altogether for the whole of the winter, remember
that not keeping it good condition by
running it every couple of weeks
could lead to a bigger bill for recharging or repair later on, making it
a false economy.
Can I just leave my air conditioning switched on through the winter?Remember
that that an air conditioning system contains moving parts, so you
might find that those parts wear out sooner with constant use than
you turn the system on and off as and when it’s needed. But if you’re
prepared to live with that, and the extra cost of the fuel, there’s no
can’t simply leave the switch in the “on” position, although, if you
select the demist position on your ventilation controls, the A/C system
will automatically operate, anyway..
We’ve entered the age of the nanny car.
You are inching toward a stoplight in a new Honda Civic, with one car
ahead of you and suddenly a bright red warning flashes on the instrument
panel: BRAKE. If you already have your foot on the brake, but press harder,
as the car instructs you to do, it obviously thinks it knows something you don’t.What
the Civic knows, it turns out, is the exact probability of bumping into
the car ahead of you, based on my speed, the applied brake pressure and
the distance to the other car’s rear bumper. Like most experienced
drivers, Iyou've approached stoplights thousands of times when there’s
least one car ahead of you.|Your brain-foot interface always manages to
prevent a collision. The Civic’s algorithm apparently doesn’t count on
you pressing the brake harder when needed—without even thinking about
autonomous-driving technologies are becoming commonplace on cars, as
the cost of cameras, sensors, software and sophisticated displays
plummets. A fully self-driving car is still years away, but technical
aids are now helping millions of drivers parallel park, stay in their
lane, avoid tailgating, avert collisions and even recover from a
dangerous skid instead of careening off the road.The only catch: Your car will increasingly tell you what to do, and take control of the vehicle if you don’t comply.These
nanny cars will probably improve safety and save lives, despite
the mistaken impression many drivers have that they will always be
better at driving than a computer. Driver error
is a factor in around 90% of the roughly 35,000 traffic deaths per
year. Override technologies won’t make driving perfectly safe, but
they’re likely to prevent some deaths, by saving drivers from their
the meantime, however, we’re going to have to get used to cars that are
a new kind of backseat driver. Like most new car technology, autonomous
systems started out on luxury cars and are now filtering into the
mainstream fleet. Virtually all automakers offer some self-driving
features, usually as an optional package. As costs continue to fall,
some of these features will show up as standard equipment. Honda calls
its autonomous features “driver-assistive technologies” and offers them
as an optional package, costing around $1,000, on some but not all
BRAKE alert on the Civic was a feature known as forward-collision
warning, which tells the driver something bad might be about to happen,
but doesn’t actually intervene. Honda’s system can go a step further
and apply the brakes for you, if a collision seems imminent; that’s
called collision-mitigation braking. Another system tracks the lane
markers on a highway and sounds an alert if you drift outside the
center of the lane without using your turn signal. If you don’t do
anything, the car will recenter itself in the lane. Yet another
nannybot can tell if the car is leaving the road, and steer it back
onto the pavement. And of course many cars already prevent you from
using certain dashboard functions, such as Bluetooth pairing or
entering an address into the navigation system, lest you lose focus,
crash, and sue the automaker.But not when driving, because you’ll probably sue us if something goes wrong.I
encountered lane-change resistance on a car, which was equipped with optional nannytech similar to that on the
Civic. As I glided from one lane to the other (without signaling), the
steering wheel suddenly vibrated and a yellow light flashed on the
heads-up display projected onto the windshield. It definitely got my
attention, while at the same time the car gently tried to recenter
itself in the lane I was departing. It was easy for me to outmuscle the
car and move into the other lane. I suppose the next step in this sort
of oversight might be a Siri-like voice saying, “hey dummy, try using
your blinker for once!”One
of the coolest self-driving features is adaptive cruise control, which
speeds and slows the car based on the traffic around you. The driver
sets a maximum speed, which you’ll cruise at on an open highway. But if
there’s traffic or a car cuts in front of you, sensors detect how close
the car up ahead is, and backs off accordingly. Then the car speeds up
again as the distance increases. It can be uncomfortable trusting the
technology at first, because you’re sure it won’t slow the car quickly
enough and will promptly cause a pileup. iI works though, and instead
of having to interrupt cruise control and activate it again every time
there’s traffic, you set it once and let the car do the rest. I’ve
driven hundreds of miles on adaptive cruise control and learned to love
usually an option to turn some of these systems off, if they turn out
to be annoying. If you’re a lazy jerk who hates using a turn signal
when you change lanes, for instance, you might get fed up with the
beeps or flashes from the lane-departure warning system, and deactivate
it. Other features take some getting used to. Some of Cadillac’s
autonomous sensors, for instance, make the driver’s seat vibrate when
the car wants to get your attention. It’s jarring at first—but it works.The
fatal crash of a Tesla Model S sedan in Florida in May brought some bad
publicity to self-driving technology. The driver had activated the
car’s misnamed “autopilot” feature, which failed to detect a
tractor-trailer crossing the road up ahead, perhaps because glare
interfered with the vehicle’s sensors. The car hit the truck, killing
the Tesla driver. Despite the name of its system, Tesla says autopilot
is only meant to assist the driver, who must remain alert and ready to
take over the wheel. In that unfortunate case, the driver seems to have
overestimated the car’s capability, rather than his own.Autonomous
technology will hit other speed bumps. In the new
Cadillac CT6, while backing down a driveway, which
had a grade of perhaps 15%, the seat began to pulse, something lit up
on the dashboard and the car abruptly stopped. Sensors in the rear of the car had detected
level ground, where the driveway flattened out, and mistook that for an
object darting into its path—then applied automatic braking. The system
screwed up, but if it had detected a
pet or kid suddenly darting into danger, and done the same thing, then that would be a much more desirable outcome.
The idea of car sharing has one huge drawback - slobs.
I retired from the energy conservation and combustion engineering
business, I needed something to occupy my time and through the influence
radio show experience, I ended up owning a garage for 16 years.
objective of that exercise was to provide the average car owner with an
assured quality of service at an honest and reasonable cost.
did I ever get into that game? Because of the horror stories that the
radio show produced from car owners being blatantly ripped off.
the years, fortunately, I identified another group of independently
owned garages that also provided honest and competent repair services.
dealers and Canadian Tire and Sears continued to be questionable
in their practices. Sears went out of the auto repair business,
the others still provide a very spotty track record.
of the things that I insisted upon was that I test drive every car
we repaired, before calling the owner to say it was ready.
A proportion of the cars I drove made we wish I could get a shower right afterward.
Spare change scattered everywhere, which is a temptation we manfully resisted; a quarter inch of dust on the dashboard;
wet newspapers all over the foot wells; a strong smell of tobacco smoke and even, yes, dirty diapers behind the seats.
All this and more spoke to the problem that many drivers have actually no pride in the condition of the cars they drive.
Which brings me to the subject of shared driving.
an engineer, the applied logic that states that a private car spends
nearly 90% of its' life standing still and unused appeals to me,
that surely something could be done to improve this condition and keep
a lot of cars off the road by utilising some of them more efficiently.
car sharing idea, though, will not reduce emissions since running one
car full time produces the same pollutant effect as 10 cars
running only 10% of the time. It would, however, reduce traffic congestion substantially.
the bureaucrats in their ivory towers have failed to realise is that
the slobs that leave used diapers in cars will still be around.
In fact, they are likely to embrace the idea of leaving their mess for someone else to clean up.
If this happens, the car sharing idea will die a sudden death.
If the car has to be returned to base for servicing and cleaning every time it is used, the economics will not work out well.
The only way that car sharing can work is if the car is passed from hand to hand for long periods of time.
And based on my years of experience, my reaction to this idea is "Good luck with that".
Will the car become nothing more than a large microwave oven on wheels?
is the driving force in business, industry and the surveillance-control
spectrum of what’s becoming an apparent totalitarian-type of society
couched in – and implemented – under the guise of ‘smart technology’.Besides
microwave energy tech devices that now are capable of opening or
closing our front doors while we are away at work or, perhaps, some
other apparent ‘fabulous’ feature which can be hacked into by
some two-bit, half-sophisticated hacker, we now have the push for the
cars are the “dream teams’” next consumer commodity that we are
being programmed and acculturated to accept, want and, especially,
purchase. Don’t believe that? Well, please do some research
about it. If
you are concerned about the utility companies’ AMI Smart Meters being
forced upon you, your homes and the EMF (electro motive force) and RF (radio frequency) they produce;
microwave ovens leakages and microwave oven-cooked food deficiencies;
Wi-Fi in schools, your place of employment or elsewhere, especially the
proposed Wi-Fi in the sky—G5, then maybe you ought to contemplate or do
a reality check on what will happen to your physiology that
sitting in a self-driving car with a radar dish directing your life
will do. Its radio frequencies just may not be what you as a
consumer-owner will want to become involved with, even as a passenger
in a rental car. Think about the ramifications of sitting under a
small functioning radar panel, dish or system! Read what the
World Health Organization has to say about radar.. Radar in the
family car?Don’t we have enough potential problems being forced upon us from all
the consumer products that contain radioactive materials?
However, the airlines now are considering placing RFID chips on to
passengers’ luggage bags to track them. Whoopee!!! More and
more EMF contamination—we’re living in a sea of brain-damaging
EMFs/RFs. When will we awaken to that fact?Control of the vehicle is in the
‘hands’ of technology and the computer program designed to
‘drive’. We all know how screwed up computer software is and can
be. Personally, I loathe it! I feel if Henry Ford were to
have invented the first automobile with the same efficiency of many of
the software programs and computer tech stuff, we’d still be shoveling
horse manure out of our garages!Technology
is being forced onto us for the apparent ultimate reason of the total
control they can implement as easily as possible and without our
recognizing it for what it truly is.Furthermore,
technology is the perfect addiction meme that society has bought into
even though it’s making life more problematic on levels we have yet to
realize—loss of jobs and employment potentials; loss of personal
autonomy; loss of unalienable rights—even constitutional
freedoms! That, however, I think is the ultimate goal of the
controllers and the cabal who program us into cooperating willingly –
literally buying into it – and not questioning or challenging their
Hegelian Dialectic principles of manipulation:
I can’t seem to fathom is how humans are so willing to become
addicted—and it’s a verifiable addiction]—to something rather
ephemeral—even holographic in a sense—but very real and controlling as
Only 40% of Obama’s electric cars are on the road. None meet the 150-mile-per gallon standard he promised.Last
year 17.5 million cars, SUVs, and light-weight trucks were sold in
America. A mere 115,000 of those (two-thirds of one percent) were
Let’s press the rewind button back to the 2008 presidential campaign trail, in which Barack Obama declared:
"We will help states like Michigan build the fuel-efficient cars we
need, and we will get one million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids
on our roads within six years.
March 2009, two months after he became President, Obama delivered a
speech at the Southern California Edison Electric Vehicle Technical
Center in which he similarly asserted: "We will put one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on America’s roads by 2015.
"In these closing months of 2016, it’s reasonable to ask how those green promises worked out.
In short: abysmally.Governments
at both the state and national level have tried to persuade consumers
to buy electric vehicles by offering rebates totaling thousands of
dollars a pop.
But only about 400,000 are currently on US roads,
including those purchased by government bodies.
The only way we reach a
million is by counting all the electric vehicles in the entire world.Despite
spending billions, Obama delivered less than half of the electric cars
in the time frame he promised.
And let’s not forget his insistence that
these cars would achieve the equivalent of 150 miles per gallon.
2016 US Department of Energy list of the 11 most efficient electric
vehicles indicates that not a single one meets that criteria.
BMW’s i3 achieves equivalent 124 miles per gallon.
The Chevrolet Spark is in second place at 119, and Vokswagen’s e-Golf is in third at 116.The
11 best-case-scenario electric vehicles on the road eight years later
fall 25% short of what Obama said would be entirely normal.
them, they average only 112 miles per gallon. In other words, Obama and
his speech writers were pulling numbers out of the air in 2008,
confidently promising to meet goals they had no reason to believe were actually feasible.Time and again, we run up against this problem.
can stand at a podium and promise to make all manner of green fantasies
come true. But even US presidents with billions at their
command aren’t magicians.
Barring unexpected developments, changing the way we fuel our cars and heat our homes will be a long term, gradual process.There aren’t any silver bullets. We need to stop imagining that there are.
The ultimate cyclist put down.
Jeremy Clarkson’s doesn’t hesitate to let you know what he thinks.
because of his sharp wit and perhaps quick moving fists that he has
never been short on controversies, and has also been let go by the BBC
back in Spring of 2015.
In his latest column with The Sun, Jeremy
Clarkson rips apart Jeremy Vine’s video, where he captured the road
rage of a female motorist, as he was in front of her riding on a
bicycle, causing a traffic blockage. We know Clarkson is one to praise
all things that create massive POWEEERRRR and belittle those machines
that try to save the earth, so this latest column is right up
Clarkson’s comfort zone as he presents another side of the argument
that’s rarely seen through road rage videos on Youtube.In
case you don’t know Jeremy Vine, he’s a presenter for the BBC Radio 2
program who bikes from his Chiswick home to the Radio 2 Studios in
Oxford Circus. He also happens to be a cycling safety campaigner. Vine
had uploaded a video to his Facebook page, capturing a motorist
unleashing a verbal tirade upon him for slowly traveling down a very
tight and packed road in Kensington, West London.As
a response to this apparent motorist witch hunt, Clarkson wrote up an
awesome response that presents some of the frustrations felt by fellow
motorists that has come across to similar sanctimonious and
self-righteous bicyclists. Reading the column below reminds us why
Jeremy Clarkson is awesome and deserves all of the riches he’s raking
in.LAST weekend, while driving through the Cotswolds, I found myself stuck
behind two cyclists who were riding alongside one another.
Of course they were.
Elevated these days to godlike status by modern environmental thinking,
cyclists are propelled from place to place on a wave of
and a pious belief that they’re the new knights of
Five days later, near the South Coast, the same thing happened again,
only this time it was a lone cyclist, his gnarled and nut-brown thighs
beating out a Victorian rhythm as he crawled slowly up the hill, proud
that behind his wizened, Lycra- clad buttocks there was a queue of cars
stretching half way to Dover.
Then in London, we have hundreds of them, ignoring the new
multi-million pound cycle lane on the Embankment so they can make a
nuisance of themselves on the main carriageway.
There was a time when you could take these morons to task. You could
shake your fist and shout and point out that it’s absurd for a fully
grown adult to be
playing in public on what is a kids’ toy.
But not any more…
Today they all wear helmet cameras to record your rage.
Then, when they get home, they upload it to YouTube and you’re made to look like a short-tempered fool.
Which brings me to the BBC radio presenter, and keen cyclist, Jeremy
Vine, who this week uploaded some footage of a woman who’d become
frustrated with his slow progress through Kensington, West London.
In it, he can be seen cycling down the middle of the road, deliberately
blocking the cars in his wake, and when one gets too close he stops
still in the middle of the road — so he can record the woman driver’s
foul-mouthed tirade.jeremy vine cyclist road rage
The message is clear.
He’s been verbally assaulted while on a noble quest to save the polar bear.
But hang on a minute, Vine. How did you know that the woman in the car
behind wasn’t rushing to see her injured child in hospital?
How did you
know there wasn’t a pregnant girl on the back seat who was about to
Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to be stuck behind a
sanctimonious cyclist when you really are in a genuine, tearing hurry?
says he was cycling in the middle of the road because that way he’s
unlikely to be hit by people opening their car doors without looking.
Really? Because if safety is your number one priority, why are you wearing a helmet festooned with GoPros?
Are you not aware that it was, in all probability, a camera attached to
Michael Schumacher’s helmet that caused his terrible head injuries?
In fact, if safety is your number one priority, why are you on a bicycle in the first place?
Of course, it is not illegal to cycle slowly down the middle of a
narrow street. But it is selfish and annoying for everyone else.
How would he like it, I wonder, if I followed him around for a month, blowing gently on the back of his ears?
That’s not illegal either, but after a few days I’m sure he’d turn round and have a strong word.
I may try it.Clarkson
is right here in that tantamount to safety is the ability for motorists
and cyclists to respect the rules of the road and to respect each
It’s unclear what happened right before, during, and after the
entire video was recorded, but what is clear is that Jeremy Vine’s
sense of cycling
and road entitlement has overtaken his ability to
exercise common sense and the ability to share the road. While we don’t
condone the driver’s
behavior in this case either, this entire
situation could have been prevented had everyone just worked together
instead of acting like entitled jerks.
Prepare to be totally underwhelmed by 2021’s so-called autonomous cars.BMW,
Ford, and Uber have all recently said they plan to have “fully
autonomous” cars ready to drive themselves on the road in 2021.
Ford says its
fleet of vehicles will lack steering wheels and offer a robotic taxi
don’t expect to toss out your driver's license in 2021. Five years
isn’t long enough to create vehicles good enough at driving to roam
extensively without human input, say the researchers working on autonomous
They predict that Ford and others will meet their targets by
creating small fleets of vehicles limited to small, controlled areas.Probably
what Ford would do to meet their 2021 milestone is have something that
provides low-speed taxi service limited to certain roads
expect it to arrive when it's raining.Many media outlets and members of the public are overinterpreting
statements from Ford and other companies that are less specific than
The dream of being able to have a car drive you wherever
you want to go in the city, country, or continent remains distant.
It ain’t going to be five years, the hype has
gotten totally out of sync with reality.One
of the main reasons that 2021’s
robotic fleets will be more limited than some people expect is the
difficulty that software has understanding the world.Computers
can react to things much faster than a human, and self-driving cars’
sensors can look in many directions at once.
But software is at a
significant disadvantage when it comes to interpreting what it “sees”
to identify and understand objects and situations,
such as a traffic
cop gesturing in the road. Nor is software very good at planning how to
deal with out-of-the-ordinary situations.Figuring out how sensors limit the situations a
vehicle can reliably handle on its own is one of the most crucial
challenges for companies working
on autonomous driving.The
crash earlier this year that killed a driver using a Tesla sedan’s
Autopilot feature underlines the problem. Tesla said the
car’s sensors did not detect
the side of the tractor trailer it ran
the real world and its roads are a complicated place, it will take a
lot of testing to be sure that automated driving technology has run up
against all the scenarios it needs to handle to be reliable.Weather
is also a problem for automated cars. Rain, snow, and hail challenge
the laser-based lidar sensors that many prototypes rely on to track
their surroundings in 3-D, for example.
It's all about inexpensive, reliable, convenient mobility.
are nearing the "second great
electric-car extinction." The first extinction happened after the
financial crisis, when numerous electric-vehicle
startups went bankrupt
then, the EV market has been dominated by the single significant
survivor, Tesla, and by the experiments of the major automakers.
best-known example of the latter is probably the Nissan Leaf.But various other all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids dot the automotive landscape. And they aren't long for this world.That's
because the narrative in the future of mobility is shifting. Since the
mid-2000s, it's been all about alternatives to gas-powered propulsion,
The remaining, ambitious players for this story are of
course Tesla, which is hoping to bring out a mass-market vehicle, the Model 3,
and General Motors, which wants to rival the Model 3's
200-miles of range with its own all-electric Bolt, slated to hit the
road in late 2016.Tesla
sales have been growing year after year, but overall EV sales are
It's possible that GM's Bolt will validate the long-range
concept, something that Tesla has kind of already done, albeit at a
much higher price point.A sexier idea
the real issue is that the sexier idea right now in the car-tech realm
Uber is rolling out a small fleet of autonomous Volvo
SUVs in Pittsburgh, Ford has committed to a fully autonomous test fleet
GM is talking about using its $500-million investment in Lyft
and its acquisition of self-driving startup Cruise Automation to set up
a self-driving fleet in big cities,
and Google's work on its driverless
Google Car continues apace.
For its part, Tesla has stressed that the
Model 3 launch and the continued development of its Autopilot
technology are the company's highest priorities.To
get to full autonomy, you don't really need to go electric. Plain old
gas-powered platforms are fine.
They're available in massive numbers,
are large enough in the case of SUVs to lug around all the processing
power, sensors, and radars you need to
advanced autonomy, and can be
refueled in a snap.
No waiting around for an hour or two, which you're
up against even with fast electric recharging.The
self-driving all-electric car is an elegant solution to several
problems, from the theory of global warming to highway fatalities to time lost in
But it's also two new technologies being engineered at the
same time. Focus on one or the other and you probably stand a better
chance of winning.The
pace of driverless advancements also seems to be accelerating faster
than what's happening with battery chemistry, meaning that widespread
electric mobility for the masses might not happen before cars can drive
obviously unclear whether consumers will actually want cars that drive
themselves, outside of ride-hailing fleets and taxi services.
I don't thnk that they will.
is currently expensive, and even if the cost comes down, it will still
be an add-on that has to be absorbed by someone, eventually.
to be seen whether car buyers will want to cough up a few thousand more
on the purchase just to get a hyperactive version of cruise control.But
it is clear that the advanced-mobility storyline has changed, probably
sooner than anyone expected.
And it isn't about what makes the cars go
— it's about who controls them once they get going.
41) In praise of the good old station
44) Future shock,
in you car.
for annual safety
51) The piston
engine is going
to be with us for a very,
very long time.
offs in the car repair
58) Electronic brake force distribution.
- no contest.
Why flushing brake
oil makes sense.
64) When should
I change my oil?
66) W/W antifreeze
68) Recirc A/C
car radiation danger
Fuel saving devices
75) Scheduling appointments.
Modern design of