Best of the Web: Recent Tesla Fatality

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A Tesla driver in Florida died in his burning car after he crashed into a tree. Witnesses said that they couldn’t enter the vehicle to help the driver because the door handles wouldn’t work and the airbags didn’t deflate.

Witnesses said that the vehicle was traveling at over 75 mph at the time of the crash.

Link to Original Story

There’s some video an onlooker tweeted at the original story.

At the Kicker our hearts go out to the friends and family anytime there is a fatal car crash. We do want to put things in perspective though. Tesla is under a lot of scrutiny by virtue of the fact that they are a new company with a very different vehicle. We don’t repost these events to join the eco-chamber that can happen when accidents by one automaker are put in a constant loop while accidents by other automakers isn’t deemed newsworthy. Its probably unfortunate timing for Tesla that this comes days after consumer reports downgraded their safety rating of the Model 3.

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VW Monday: A Jetta or a GTI?

Kicker Temp VW Jetta vs GTI

Whether the traditional Jetta Sedan is more your speed, or you prefer the Jetta Sportswagen, you’re sure to find the right machine to “jet” off into the sunset. The sedan starts with an MSRP of under $16,000 and the Sportswagen at just under $21,000, so either model is a wise move. The popular family car has been on the market since 1979 and was originally intended to fill a “sedan need” that the Golf just wasn’t cutting for certain drivers. In total, there are six generations of Jetta and they keep getting better with each reincarnation. The original move was to simply add a trunk to the Golf’s hatchback, plus some unique styling—particularly with the front bumper. It’s available with two or four doors, and the Sportswagen boasts a five-door approach. Seating up to five people, over 14 million Jettas have been sold around the globe. And millions of drivers can’t be wrong.

Every generation features a bigger and stronger car. The Jetta is VW’s top-selling model and it’s no surprise why. Reviewers have always raved about the incredible handling, roomy interior (which gets bigger with each generation), and the sleek lines of the car. For those who want a dependable car with plenty of luxury to boot, the Jetta is a great choice. It can easily fit a family (even for those longer trips), has exceptional handling that can manage those four distinct Utah seasons, and VW is of course known for staying power. It’ll last thousands of miles as long as you give it the TLC it deserves.

Every new sedan has clearcoat paint, body-color rear bumpers, trunk rear cargo access, and stunning black grills. A six-way driver seat ups the comfort, and a 14.5 gallon fuel tank means you can go for miles without refilling. Select from a Base model, S, SE, or SE with connectivity if you really want to go high tech. For the Sportswagen, choose from S, SE, TDI, or SE with a sunroof. Heatable front comfort seats are standard in every Sportswagen, so drivers are sitting pretty on those winter trips to Alta or Park City.

Your Other Option

Part of the Golf family, the GTI was originally a concept car that was inspired by the Golf Mk5. It features an incredible 6.0 liter W12 engine compliments of Volkswagen Phaeton. It’s basically a “souped up” Golf for those who love their machines but want even better performance. There’s a twin-turbocharged engine under the hood that bolsters an extra 200 bhp, bringing the grand total to 641 bhp. Claims that the GTI could go from 1-62 in just 3.7 seconds, when it first became available in 2007, everyone was clamoring for a GTI—and nothing has changed. Featuring rear wheel drive with a six-speed automatic gearbox to boot, it’s a fantastic driving machine but still has all the interior comforts drivers have come to expect from Volkswagen.

A modified body was in order to make room for that massive engine, so a GTI looks like a wider Golf—but it’s easy to spot with that rear spoiler which optimizes handling. In order to maximize grip, you’ll find that W12 engine nestled right in the middle of the vehicle. You’ll find the MSRP starting at just a smidge over $25,000, making a GTI a cost-effective sports machine. However, with four doors and plenty of interior cabin room, it can also pull double duty as a commuter car, road trip haven or the go-to car to haul the kids around. It’s a multi-tasking machine for your multi-tasking life.

Whether the original Wolfsburg attention catches your eye or you’re after the special Driver’s Edition, a GTI is a great accessory for any driver. Those 18-inch alloy wheels come in both models along with light tinted glass and a black grill. The Driver’s Edition also features a projector beam high intensity low/high beam, express open/close sliding and tilting glass, and an instrument panel-covered bin.

Who said beauty and brawn couldn’t mix? With the GTI, drivers get absolutely everything they want, and power to spare.

 

5 Times You Need a Truck Rental

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A “truck rental” can mean many things from needing an extended cab to pick up a couch you scored on Craigslist to a massive moving truck to get into your dream home across state lines. If you’ve ever been a truck owner yourself, you know to steer clear of calls from friends when you’ve caught wind that they’re moving—when space and power on wheels are necessary, everyone wants access to a truck.

Unfortunately for many, truck ownership just isn’t feasible. They don’t offer the best gas mileage for a daily commuter, they can take up way too much space for an urban dweller, and they’re not going to fit into those compact spots for those who are regulars at the mall.

However, when you need a truck, you need one that’s up for the job.

  1. When You’re Moving

Whether you want to move your entire one-bedroom condo in a big moving truck or simply take the big pieces of furniture in a king cab, a truck is a must when moving. Renting a truck and loading it as well as driving it yourself can save you a lot of money. However, also keep these moving tips in mind:

  • Pack room by room as early as possible
  • Load an emergency bin last complete with favorite tools, checkbooks, and other daily necessities
  • Consider hiring professionals to at least load the truck, then drive it yourself
  • Make sure your property is insured while en route
  1. When You Bought Furniture

Consider this: The delivery fee for a single couch could be up to $100. If you buy more furniture, you might get charged per piece. It can easily cost 25 percent of that to rent a spacious truck for the entire day. The benefits of truck rental over delivery include:

  • No being stuck at home to make the “delivery window”
  • You don’t have to add tipping into the mix
  • You can take care of a number of other tasks that require a truck the same day
  • Your furniture shopping isn’t dictated by delivery fees
  1. When You’re Going on a Weekend Warrior Adventure

You have the jet skis, the inflated tubes or the snowmobiles—but now what? It doesn’t make sense to buy a truck if you only head into the great outdoors with all your gear a few times per year. Renting a truck for the weekend gives you all the space you need for great outdoor activities like:

  • Hunting and fishing
  • ATVing or snowmobiling
  • Skiing and snowboarding
  • Camping and overnight hiking

Plus, trucks can access dirt roads and rough terrain better than any commuter car. You’ll simply be in better hands behind the wheel of a truck.

  1. When You’re Headed to a Roundup

If you’ve never been to a “roundup” before—a rodeo that’s reached festival level—you’re missing out. They happen around the country and feature rodeo finals, BBQ competitions and a raucous good time. Everyone embraces their inner cowboy or cowgirl, and it’s the perfect opportunity to slip into your Wranglers, boots and a ten-gallon hat.

However, everything comes crashing down if you pull up in a Prius. Renting a truck completes the adventure, and you can finally decide which side of the fence you fall on—Ford or Chevy.

  1. When Garage Saleing or Antiquing

These are true treasure hunts and you’re never sure what you might discover—which is exactly why you need a truck. What happens if you stumble across the perfect antique secretary you’ve always wanted, but didn’t know until you saw it?

To make the most of a Saturday hitting the sales, get a truck rental just in case. It frees you up to score the deal of a lifetime.

 

Best of the Web: C. R. no longer recommend Tesla M3

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  • Tesla shares fall nearly 2 percent after a new report, based in part on the reviews of thousands of vehicle owners, raises questions about the reliability of Tesla’s Model 3.
  • Consumer Reports says it will no longer recommend the Model 3 due to the reliability issues.
  • A Tesla spokesperson said, “The vast majority of these issues have already been corrected through design and manufacturing improvements.”

Tesla shares fell after a new report, based in part on the reviews of thousands of vehicle owners, raises questions about the reliability of the electric car maker’s Model 3. Consumer Reports says it will no longer recommend the Model 3 due to the reliability issues.

“When we look at the Model 3 a lot of the issues are the electronics,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports. “There are some issues replacing the (navigation/infotainment) screens, for instance, but we’ve seen other issues in terms of the trim breaking and the glass.”

Tesla shares were down nearly 2 percent after the report was released Thursday.

Best of the Web: Elon says Tesla AV technology will be ready this year.

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His actual quote is, “I think we will be feature complete — full self-driving — this year,” Musk said. “Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year. I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.”

He qualified it though by saying it won’t be on the market until regulators are happy which could take an additional year or more.

For the original story see here.

https://www-cnbc-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/02/19/elon-musk-tesla-will-have-all-its-self-driving-car-features-by-the-end-of-the-year.html?amp_js_v=a2&_gsa=1#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnbc.com%2F2019%2F02%2F19%2Felon-musk-tesla-will-have-all-its-self-driving-car-features-by-the-end-of-the-year.html

Chauffeur Driven Limos

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What could be more stylish than a chauffeur-driven limousine greeting you from the airport? The business is all about creating a positive experience which needs to operate 365 days a year, even Christmas Day. But what is the life of a chauffeur all about?

Becoming a Chauffeur:

I addition to passing a background check many chauffeurs have to take a comprehensive test as well. Then they need to gain the knowledge of the streets they will work on and usually have to know them backward. In fact, training is ongoing as construction and driving patterns change with time, and different customers require different services en route.

Types of Gigs:

In some cities, a Limo is nearly as affordable as a taxi and many Limos serve the airport commuter, but we also think of the party limo which is rented by teens going to prom or bachelors/bachelorettes for their last big bacchanal before they settle down for good (or 7 years whichever comes first).

stretch-limousine-2714963_1920These days Limo companies typically diversify into specialty party limos for these gigs. You might see a stretch hummer with a built-in hot tub on the streets of Los Vegas, but smaller towns will still push their basic black stretch into double duty from Friday nights black tie to Saturday nights stag party.

The key to a party/airport driver might simply be patience. If you can drive and you are longsuffering this could be your calling, and the tips aren’t bad either.

The upscale driver will also do Corporate Services, and some chauffeurs work in the diplomatic services. These Limos are now outfitted with access to TV news and radio while you are driving along – well access to radio isn’t that new, but you get the gist. Onboard wifi for internet access isn’t unheard of.

These drivers still need to know where the best places to relax in the city are, but will also know how to find the opera hall and the bank tower buildings. So again training is vital.

Communications:

In the old days communications were down by CB radio, which we probably think of more with taxis, but no, they were also a mainstay in Limos as the company needed to know the whereabouts of their car at all times and provide updates about traffic and road conditions. If this seems counter-intuitive, just think about how often a business person has a change of schedule or a gang of drunks decides to switch clubs. The company needs to receive updates. Also, they need to give them, because speed bumps and potholes that are an inconvenience in a taxis, present a bad limo ride experience and cause costly damage. Of course, now the mobile phone fills in for the CB radio.

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History of Limos and Chauffeurs:

The limousine has a longer history than you might think of being named after the town of Limousin, found in Central France. The most noticeable feature is the partition between the driver and the chauffeur. In Germany, a limousine is referred to a Sedan, though in other countries, sedans refer to a more generalized type of car.

The stretch limo has surprisingly workaday origins, created as it was by a  coach company in Fort Smith, Arkansas and was used by Big Band Leaders. It seems to show that it always had been about style rather than substance, a fun way to travel rather than something more presidential.

Early types of the limousine were the berline and the brougham. The berline takes its name from a type of horseless carriage and began with the driver in the open air and the passenger in the roofed area.  The Brougham was similar but had the driver in the center of the vehicle using a steering wheel which was on a pivot which seems a hell of a job to maneuver. The evolution was to improve life not only for the passenger but also for the chauffeur.

Personality Types for a Chauffeur:

Unlike taxi drivers, chauffeurs know where they are going before the day and can plan for it. So you don’t require quite as much desire for an unscripted workplace. Limo drivers’ personality tends to be available but not too sociable as they need to know when to keep quiet. The other three primary character needs are knowledgeable, professional and prompt.

prom-264219_1920We have this mental picture of chauffeurs as crisply professionals though that is not always the complete picture. Whole books have been written talking about unreliable drivers who are not given adequate rest breaks, so accidents are waiting to happen, such as a 1908 book called Motor Age. As with anything, you get what you pay for.

Another interesting character trait often found in chauffeurs is natural networkers, One reason is that chauffeurs be the last profession to rely on word of mouth to get new clients? Lately, though, everything seems to need to surrender to social media, and limo drivers remain avid networkers. So it’s likely that the profession draws people who like to be near people of influence.

Wherever you want to go, be it a concert, the airport or just round in a circle it is reassuring to know that there is someone to drive you.

Best of the Web: Can an EV truck challenge the F-150

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It’s no secret that trucks have been propping up the American auto sales. The challenge most green-conscious buyers have is the lower fuel economy.

But Tesla and Rivian are poised to enter the truck market with full electric trucks.

https://www-teslarati-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.teslarati.com/tesla-pickup-truck-rivian-r1t-vs-ford-f-150/amp/?amp_js_v=a2&_gsa=1#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.teslarati.com%2Ftesla-pickup-truck-rivian-r1t-vs-ford-f-150%2F

Best of the Web: Electric Truck Co. Gets investment from Amazon

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  • Amazon led a $700 million round of funding in Rivian, a Michigan-based electric vehicle startup.
  • Rivian plans to launch an electric pickup and electric SUV in the U.S. in 2020.

 

“This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian founder and CEO. “Beyond simply eliminating compromises that exist around performance, capability and efficiency, we are working to drive innovation across the entire customer experience. Delivering on this vision requires the right partners, and we are excited to have Amazon with us on our journey to create products, technology and experiences that reset expectations of what is possible.”

original story

Winter Roads and Ice Roads

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Most of the time when we’re talking about winter weather and roads we’re talking about getting rid of it’s effects on the road to improve safety. However, there is a type of road which is built over snow or a similar substance called a winter road due to their reliance on seasonal climate. A special type of winter road is called ice road and this is what the majority of this article is in reference to.

If you live in a temperate region you may live your whole life without seeing an ice road. It is a road built over a frozen lake or even a bay of the ocean, though the word “road” may be pushing it somewhat.

Ice roads can be permanent or temporary–some only exist between late Fall and early Spring. Even when they are melted the lack of vegetation in a specific part of the water shows where the road used to be.

But why use an ice road when you can wait until the thaw occurs? As with many other things it comes down to expense. It’s cheaper to transport things by truck than by air freight. The other concern is that for some items, carrying by air is impractical. But the basic reason is the old adage, “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” If you can drive straight across a lake instead of taking a twisty road around it and a mountain you save a lot of time and fuel.

Making an Ice Road

In order to keep the road as traversable as it can be this routes are often snow plowed. Most people consider ice to be level, but not all types of water being frozen provide a level surface–snowplowing helps make it level.

To create a road takes more than plowing a couple lanes. Often you need to thicken the ice by drilling holes at intervals. The water from these holes floods out and in turn thickens the ice.

The vehicles on the ice road tend to be big trucks, though smaller pickups are also used. The speed limit for ice road is about 25 mph to help prevent the truck from falling through the ice.

Because you can’t just drive out onto most lakes you need some bizarre engineering. One way is a ramp made of slush. It doesn’t sound like a good solution, but it seems to work.

History of Ice Roads

Perhaps the most famous ice road in history is the 900-day siege of Leningrad. In June of 1941, the German and Finnish Army attacked and ultimately blockaded the city where many munitions were manufactured for the Red Army. The attempt to starve out the army and inhabitants failed in large part to allies driving supplies across Lake Ladoga at night. The Nazi Army simply didn’t think anyone was crazy enough to do it so they didn’t waste bombs breaking up the ice.

The ice roads in Canada have a long history going back to the 1930s. These weren’t used by trucks though but by caterpillar sleds. A number of them can be traced back to Al Hamilton of Grimshaw Transport, which still exists. Their main business is to transport fish from the topmost parts of Canada to the USA and beyond. These roads have since been improved by other trucking companies.

Car Security

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This blog has covered an electronic key fob before and that our assumption as consumers is that it is safer than a simple key. The truth is that automakers were actually trying for convenience, not theft resistance. The fact that you can just point the fob at your car and press the button makes it easier to use, especially since you can also usually “pop” your trunk without even taking your hand out of your pocket.

Unfortunately, as safety precautions go, automatic locks can be at best a chink in your armor and at worst, entirely unsafe. This matters not only to the owners of cars but to their designers. This issue isn’t with key fobs that only put out a signal when you push a button, but with the more sophisticated proxemics style of fob that allows you to unlock and start your car as long as you have the fob on your person or in a purse.

The issue is a piece of equipment called a relay box, which is a signal booster available online. You’re fob is essentially “leaking” a little signal continuously, so that if you’re near your car it will allow you to push a button on your car door to unlock it. It’s usually harmlessly since you aren’t near your car when a thief is trying to break in. However, this signal can escape your home through windows and doors though it’s easily blocked by metal among other things.

All that the relay box does is boost the signal. One thief goes near enough to your home to pick up the signal with a relay booster then another thief stands near your car with another relay box. When the second thief pushes the button on your car door he the car will believe it’s you. He can then start the car before driving out of signal range. Some of these relay boxes can even store you signal allow the thief to turn your car off and back on again.

Here’s a link to a video of thieves using this exact process. (https://youtu.be/8pffcngJJq0)

A test by a German company shows that this relay box is amazingly effective and can open 230 out of the 237 car models tested, that’s a success rate of 97% (or a failure rate, depending on your viewpoint). This is highly disconcerting if you have this type of lock.

This particular breed of miscreant is known as a “relay thief.” What’s truly frightening here isn’t that the thieves will simply start your car and go. It’s that if their real target is inside your home, aka you, then your garage door opener is right there in your car.

There are several versions of this car fob hacking. One is to use the fob keys to jam the signal when the driver attempts to lock the car, in the same way, that you might have heard of radio messages or mobile phone calls getting jammed. It’s also possible to though rare to combine jamming with key programming in order to get the car started.

Slightly more advanced is app hacking if your car should be equipped with a cell phone remote unlock/starter. Essentially it means entering the right password either through stealing the details or guessing. This may well be the latest growth area in car crime, who can say?

car-keys-2653311_1920If you have a proximity key fob it’s a good idea to not store your keys next to the front door in a dish. Keep them further inside your home. It is generally a good idea to keep your car in a garage though keeping it behind a locked gate works relatively well and is a lot cheaper. When leaving your car parked most people know not to leave valuables in plain sight, yet we still do it. In particular, we leave navigation systems and dash cams mounted in plain view. It’s could be worth the effort to store them away each time you exit your car.

It’s advisable to use a steering lock, though it tends to be one of those things that drivers receive as a gift and never take out of its box. Procrastination is never a good idea. It’s not that these locks are impossible to beat it’s that there’s probably a car right next to yours without one and that makes these sorts of physical deterrents nearly 100% effective.

The jury is out whether car alarms actually work or if they just slow the criminals down a bit and annoy the neighbors and passers-by. Still, it’s another security device you can use. And if you’ve got something to lose chances are you’ll spend money to prevent it.