The Dark Side of EVs

Op-Ed by the Editor

Previous we’ve talked about whether or not Tesla vehicles are really maintenance free as they claim. We also covered how Tesla cars sits near the bottom of a list of 300,000 cars evaluated for reliability. And we’ve covered the bright side where Tesla sells one of every 5 EV’s world wide.

We’ve tried in all this to cover both sides of the story, but it may be time to give an honest review of Electric Car ownership in general. Government and the Green Movement seem to have put all their eggs in one basket with Electric Vehicles, citing two basic facts as the justification for what has become a pretty heavy-handed push.

Lithium Mine, Western Australia
Side Note: Joe Biden wants half of all vehicles sold to be EV’s by 2030. Not radical enough for Governor Newsom who has announced that they will no longer allow new cars to be sold in California starting in 2030 unless said car was an EV. Which has caused Jay Insley to follow suit for Washington State.

Fact #1: Electric Cars put out zero emissions so they must be environmentally better than internal combustion engines that emit carbon.

Fact #2: The only way to make EV’s affordable and build infrastructure, the government must mandate that everyone buy them so manufacturers can use economy of scale to make them affordable. Sort chicken-and-egg, if you build it they will come sort of thing.

Of course there is a ton of missing nuance in this topic. For one thing, emission at the place of use is not the only consideration that makes something environmentally sound. A lot of environmental damage occurs when the materials are mined to make batteries. For another thing, a lot of emissions occur when the electricity is generated to power a vehicle. There is potential environmental issues in that the batteries aren’t very recyclable. Then too, EV’s weigh one thousand pounds more than their ICE equivalent which just has to impact fuel economy.

“Line Loss” is the term for Electricity lost to resistance on the way to market.

It’s also possible that industry could have developed affordable cars without half billion dollar grants from the government.

One of the big questions is, if technology has grown to a point to make EV’s practical. To start, recharge stations need put in around the country, which Tesla is doing, but the grids’ ability to service those needs is highly questionable, especially when you factor in at home charging.

Also, and it’s not a small thing, is the tiny range on a battery charge. This is a more complicated issue than we consumers were lead to believe at first. The best way we can address this is the personal testimony/review by a real estate agent and his wife, who leased a Tesla each. We’ll insert a copy of that below.

So the Tesla experiment ��has come to an end.

Heather and I each had one for the past 3 months and here are some things from our experience. When gas prices were $5 per gallon it seemed like a good thing to try.

Here are some Pro’s & Cons’s!

Pro’s:

  • 1. Watching netflix on the huge screen looked and sounded like a movie ��theater!! Amazing actually ! Using the internet to listen to radio stations on line was so cool.
  • 2. These cars are really quick and very fast! Felt almost as fast ��as the Corvette !
  • 3. High end speed was also fast. Easy to go over 100 mph. I always got to places quickly.
  • 4. All kids were in awe of the Tesla!!!!
  • 5. I had some warranty issues. I scheduled through the app and Tesla came to my house. This was cool other than I had to leave it there during that window of time. They fixed my issues at no charge and texted me what they did. Pretty cool!

Con’s

  • 1. My car said it would get 303 miles per charge. It really only get’s 200 miles in my opinion!!! These cars drain so fast! But when it gets to 80 miles left you need to be concerned. So it really only gets 160-170 true miles. This is not good !
  • 2. Range anxiety is a real thing. This past weekend we took the car to New Jersey. Made it there with 60 miles left. Plenty to get us to a charging station. Went to the charging station I found In my phone and it was a mall!!! No charging station. Put the next one in my phone!!! Go to this station and had 6 miles left. I’m glad it was not another mall. So yes this creates unwanted anxiety ��. So I would not want to go below 100 miles ever again. So really this is a 120-140 mile car when its not winter.
  • 3. I heard when winter comes the anxiety is worse. Imagine running electric heat. I heard the numbers go way down from normal usage from other Tesla owners. I can’t imagine what this will do?!?!
  • 4. The tires on this car can easily get damaged. My wife had two flat tires In her 3 months. And flat tires are a pain! She had to schedule through the Tesla app. Only Tesla could fix the tire. She needed a new one the first time $412. The next time it was a hole and it was $150. They will only fix a tire one time so the next time on that tire it needs a new one. Not cool ��These tires cut like butter. Don’t drive off road at all and don’t nick a curb at all!! This tire situation was a deal breaker for Heather for sure because she hits curbs every day!!!
  • 5. The car is too fast ��. I was bound to get a speeding ticket or in an accident. Heather said I drove way too fast everywhere! Driving a 100 mph in this car is not a good thing. 
  • 6. I charged this car on Sunday and it was $43 to charge it at a Tesla super station. This price to drive 170 miles is insane. The charging was free for me because of the rental program I was in. But I would never pay $72k for this car then pay that amount to charge it on trips!
  • 7. My electric bill has gone so sky high at my house these past two months so its hard to actually know how much it is to charge a Tesla at home. My guess is its between $75-$100 for one car for a month. I had thought it would be closer to $50 month. I can only see this cost rising.
  • 8. Running electric to my garage was not cheap. My brother did it for $1,000 in materials but it would have been much more if we hired it out. This prob would have been a $3,500 job.
  • 9. Winter was coming and we show/look at a-lot of houses. We could not risk driving a Tesla based on charge or bad tires in this situation.
  • 10. When going to a Tesla super charging station it will charge the car to 80% in 25 min. But it takes another 25 min to get to 100%. 50-55 min is too long for a full charge. They also dont like you to fully charge the car all the time. What the heck!
Overall I think ��electric cars are not ready for us. They really lack what you need if you really have to drive somewhere. And its risky getting a flat tire on any road.
So we turned in our leases and bought 2 – 2021 Dodge limited trucks with 30k miles on them.

The next new issue to be discovered is the fire risk…

….of Tesla’s bursting into flame after being submerged in salt water. You might be thinking, give pour Tesla a break, how often will a car be completely submerged in salt water. Enter Hurricane Ian, which is causing fire fighters a great deal of issue.

Note the Video of a Tesla Burning after being totaled in a car wreck.

In conclusion

We’d like to humbly suggest that the whole thing wasn’t thought through enough. There are good options that could be part of the solution if you don’t put all the eggs in one basket.

One option is to use all the alternate fuels alongside gasoline as a way to increase competition, lower prices and reduce total carbon emissions. The idea is that some fuel sources would be cheaper in some parts of the country though most of them could be made available anywhere in the country. So by not forcing uniformity the best, most efficient option could be found.

Another aspect of this, besides money, is that fuel could be made and used locally, reducing emissions created by moving fuel to gas stations states away from where it’s made.

Options include, Electricity, Biodiesel, Propane, Liquid Coal and more.

The other cool thing about using multiple alternative fuels is that each kind of fuel has its advantages and disadvantages. What is okay to one person and their lifestyle is intolerable to another. Just like we need to make trucks, commuter cars, and vans, EV’s might work fine for the commuter and sports car markets but not for delivery vehicles, rural dwellers, and the like. These drivers might need a practical option.

Perhaps the problem is not totally with EVs, but with a one-size-fits all, low creativity high government over-reach solution.

Research Link #1

Research Link #2

What’s News: Indy 500, 2022 is almost here

Here’s a quick reminder that one of the biggie races will take place this Sunday, May 29th. We didn’t forget about our race fans. Here’s a link to the schedule.

Six-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon secured the pole position for Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway out of 33 total cars in the field. Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay will complete the front row.

Helio Castroneves won last year’s event.  but will start in Row 9 this year (with Colton Herta and Scott McLaughlin.) Herta is up and coming, one of the youngest drivers currently on the circuit. The last 5 Indy winners were in their 30s or 40s.

Here’s the full grid

  • Row 1: Scott Dixon (pole), Alex Palou, Rinus VeeKay
  • Row 2: Ed Carpenter, Marcus Ericsson, Tony Kanaan
  • Row 3: Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Romain Grosjean
  • Row 4: Takuma Sato, Will Power, Jimmie Johnson
  • Row 5: David Makulas, Josef Newgarden, Santino Ferrucci
  • Row 6: Simon Pagenaud, JR Hildebrand, Conor Daly
  • Row 7: Callum Ilott, Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal
  • Row 8: Sage Karam, Marco Andretti, Devlin DeFrancesco
  • Row 9: Colton Herta, Scott McLaughlin, Helio Castroneves
  • Row 10: Kyle Kirkwood, Dalton Kellett, Juan Pablo Montoya
  • Row 11: Christian Lundgaard, Jack Harvey, Stefan Wilson

The last five Indy Winners started in the first three rows–including Takuma Sato who won from the first two rows twice (2017 & 2020). Historically, American teams have won at the Indianapolis Speedway, but recently foreign drivers have dominated.

Formerly known as the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, takes place the last weekend of May. What sets it apart from other races is the open-cockpit formula style cars, which this year will top 233 MHP.

This is the top level of American Championship Car racing, and the event is often billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. It is also part of the Tripple Crown of Motorsports alongside the Monoco Grand Prix and Le Mans.

The first ever Indy 500 was won by Ray Harroun in 1911. The most successful drivers are A. J. FoytAl Unser Sr.Rick Mears and Hélio Castroneves, each with four wins. Obviously Helio would like to get a fifth win before he retires.

Most unique among the racing traditions here is that the winner is handed a giant bottle of milk in Victory Lane.

Marcus Ericsson

Update:

Congratulations to this years winners:

Winner Marcus Ericsson

Total time: 2:51:00.6432
Chip Ganassi Racing

Runner-up

Pato O’Ward
Total time: 2:51:02.4361
Arrow McLaren SP

Best of the Web: Most Marked Up Vehicles 2022

So a strange thing is happening right now, with many used cars increasing in value. We’re trying to dig into this story and intend to get to the bottom of it. In the mean time, here’s a great post we found about the brands and models most likely to make you pay if you want one.

Things look bleak out there for anyone looking for a deal in today’s red-hot automotive market. Back in January of this year, we saw reports that 82% of American buyers paid over MSRP for a new car, and according to data provided by Edmunds, the highest average markup of $4,048 was found at Cadillac dealers. What we didn’t know at the time was which models were leading the way in dealership markups. Now, thanks to a study just out from iSeeCars, we do. And, well … there isn’t a single Cadillac in the top. 

Original Story Link

When A Car Loses Control

It doesn’t matter whether its loss of life, injury, damage to vehicles or building, or other things like roadways, public lands, or societal infrastructure – out of control vehicles are a major concern to everyone, especially those on the road.

Sometimes drivers lose control because of rain which makes roads slippery or a deluge blinding the driver by overwhelming the wipers’ ability to clear it. When there are curves, bottlenecks, or obstacles, this only gets worse. An older vehicle is even more at risk, susceptible to break failure, suspension problems, or even blow outs. If the driver is under the influence of an intoxicant, anything goes. It doesn’t matter if the weather is perfect, your car is completely tuned up, or you are a seasoned track driver, it is always best to slow down when approaching a corner.

Bad habits like driving too closely behind another vehicle or by wandering in and out of one’s lane are big mistakes too. If you see someone driving erratically, it is best to keep your distance. If it is safe to do so, use your hands-free phone to contact 911 and report the driver, it could save lives.

As mentioned, driving in rainy conditions comes with the risk of hydroplaning. The treads of a good all-weather tire are designed with channels where the water displaced by the tire can be funneled away, allowing for a good connection between the rubber and the road. If the treads are worn down too far, or the tire is not rated for rainy weather driving, the water can separate the road and the rubber, causing it to lose contact and traction. In the Southwest, where it is often hot and dry, a sudden rainstorm can cause one to quickly lose control. If this happens to you, don’t panic, don’t make any sudden moves – of course that’s easier said than done.

For reasons we won’t discuss in this note, water displaced by the tire, which isn’t funneled into the water channels, tends to move along in front of the tire. For these reasons it is important not to drive through large puddles or any water where depth cannot be accurately anticipated. Besides, any pedestrians nearby won’t appreciate taking an impromptu shower as they amble by.

When applying the brakes, it is important not to hit them too hard, apply gentle pressure to the pedal, ease off, and then do it again. Cars with an automatic braking system (ABS) automatically follow this procedure. This process can help ensure that once the tires get traction, they are able to maintain it, rather than going into an uncontrolled skid. Steer the vehicle in the required direction, but don’t make any sudden changes. A quick jerk of the steering wheel will likely cause you to skid in the opposite direction.

If your brakes fail completely there are a couple of things you can do. First, try gearing down, meaning shifting the car into a lower gear. This uses the engine’s gears to control speed. Be mindful of the tachometer which shows how fast the engine is revving, if it goes to high (into the red) it could cause irrevocable engine damage (although a crash won’t do it much good either). Whether or not shifting gears helps, your final option is to use the emergency brake. It is designed for exactly this purpose, for use in an emergency – when all other options have failed.

Just to be sure, before an emergency arises, test your emergency brake by putting your car on a small hill, take your foot off of the brake pedal, and as the car slowly starts to roll, pull up on the emergency brake handle (or push the pedal if that’s the design of your vehicle).

With any luck you won’t lose control when driving, but if you do, hopefully these instructions will help you safely navigate the situation.

What’s the Deal with Food and Cars?

I have a friend who refuses to let anyone eat in his truck, he doesn’t even like people to drink water in his vehicle.  I have another friend who sees the footwell of the passenger side as the waste bin, tossing in fast food wrappers, receipts, cans, cups and straws, and the list goes on.  I’m not a particularly messy person, but if you get into my car these days, there’s a reasonable chance that you’ll be putting your foot on top of an empty bag, cup, or straw sleeve.

When I first brought my new car home, I did everything I could to keep it spotless, inside and out.  Yet somehow, at a point in time I cannot recall, my museum-clean car turned into a back-alley dumpster.  Just how does this change happen?

Do you eat in your car?  Do you allow “clean” foods like carrots or celery, or maybe a well-wrapped burrito, but draw the line at crumbly bits like cookies, crackers, or the worst of all – powdered donuts?  One could say that if you allow any eating in your car, you’re flirting with disaster.  One bad spill of the wrong thing and the resale value goes down the drain.  However, I suspect that the majority of you are willing to take a chance and at least have a cup of coffee once in a while.

Eating in cars has been a thing since families went on cross-country trips, since the invention of drive-in restaurants.  Cars have evolved from mostly metal and basic fabrics, with no accoutrements for handling food stuffs, to highly synthetic materials with heated and cooled seats while brandishing an arsenal of cup holders and mini-table elbow rests to accommodate our ever-expanding waist lines.

It is an oddity that while on one hand it has become easier to manage food in a vehicle, and on the other, nearly impossible to clean them.  Maybe the next iteration of vehicle selections will include options for eaters and non-eaters, who knows.  Until then, I’ll continue to perform my monthly ritual of hosing down the weather mats from the latest spilled milk incident, and my buddy with the truck will continue his regular passenger pat-downs.

Happy driving and … bon appetite?

Hypercars

SSC Tualara

Hypercars are the most superior and high performance, not in one specific country, but also in the world. Very few cars can qualify as hypercars as they only make up 1% of the car market.

Presumably supreme models have always been with us, but the first one modelled as such was the Lamborghini P400.

The factors that make up the hypercar are the level of acceleration, rarity, handling, top speed, appearance and price. But there is always debate on whether a specific supercar is a hypercar.

A super car must be street legal and have a limited production run. To be a hypercar it must also have the ability to reach 300mph. It seems there was a debate on which was the first car to reach 300mph.

It is believed that SSC Tualara reached 331 mph on a highway in Nevada. But did it? Sceptics seemed to cast doubt as other sources said 316 mph. Even this record began to unravel in June 2021 when it was revealed that the car driven by Oliver Webb only reached 282.9 due to mechanical problems.

LaFerrari

A further attempt to beat the record took place in Florida during April 2021 only to end in a crash. The damage was quoted to be “merely cosmetic”, i.e. only affected the outer bodywork. Still, it remains a powerful car thanks to its 1,750 horsepower and V8 engine.

Power

The type of power that the hypercar uses has also changed. They have tended to be full hybrids, or part hybrids. A part hybrid is a vehicle which uses an electric motor to assist, but it doesn’t just rely on the electric motor.

SF90 Stradale

Ferrari

There are three models of Ferrari which can be described as hypercars: the LaFerrari, the LaFerrari Apeta and the SF90 Stradale. They are all iconic models of the Ferrari brand, so let’s take them one by one.

The LaFerrari comes equipped with a 150CV engine with a maximum power of 963CV. It originated from nine different concept designs in 2011 until finally the choices were narrowed down. The finished design was exhibited at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. In the three years of production only 499 cars were produced.

LaFerrari Aperta

The LaFerrari Aperta had a certain carbon hardtop with the radiators having a slightly changed position in order to alter the airflow and as a result the aerodynamics. When the first car was revealed in 2016 such was the demand that all the models had been bought out by private buyers.

The SF90 Stradale has a twin turbocharged engine with a maximum of 986 horsepower, including both the electric and traditional engine. You can unfortunately only drive in electric mode for 15 miles. The online sales pitch makes a big thing of the “forged wheels” (as they call them) with rotor blade hubs.

As well as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti, other hypercar makers include McLaren and Porsche. If you are a member of the elite obtaining a hypercar is surely one way to prove it to people, possibly the most visual way ever.

Three Post Lockdown Bad Driving Habits

Op-ED By A. R. Bunch

Remember those first few weeks of lock down? When you did have to drive somewhere (hoping it was open) the roads were empty. It was eerie. As things open up and people get back to driving, and just about everyone has it seems, we’ve picked up some really bad habits. I want to cover the top three I’ve observed, the one everyone is talking about and two that haven’t had much press. Let’s start with one of the bad habits that isn’t getting much attention.

Bad Habit: Socially Distancing Cars

Notice how you can only fit 3 cars in a turn lane now. It seems people have embraced the six-foot, personal bubble thing a bit too much. Now they won’t pull their car up within six feet of the car in front of them.

The result is that many cars pile up in certain lanes while stopped at a red light and can’t even shift into the lane they’ll eventually need to be in because there isn’t room in that lane. Sometimes cars are so far back at a light in the left lane that you can’t get into the left turn lane because of the barrier.

The Good Habit

Official “stopping distance at a stoplight” guidelines go like this…

Come to a complete stop leaving about half a car length between you and the car in front of you. When the car behind has also come to a complete stop, pull forward until you can just see where the tires of the car in front of you meet the pavement, to make room for cars behind you.

Bad Habit: Not Pulling into the Intersection when Turning Left at a Greenlight

Ideally you have a green arrow indicating you have right of way for your left-hand turn, but oh so many intersections have only a green light for the left turn. This means you must yield to on-coming traffic. The place to wait for your turn is in the intersection.

The Good Habit

I know this can leave some people feeling vulnerable, but the truth is you can legally enter an intersection on a green light. I know that a lot of people whom we won’t name (Southern Californian’s) are running amber and even flat-out red lights, but the official idea is that they would see the amber light and stop, allowing you to exit the intersection left before the cars going perpendicular to you get their green light. There should be a good three second for you to exit the intersection which is a minor inconvenience to any cars that must wait for you.

The result of not having at least one car enter the intersection per green light is that the left turn lane doesn’t move at all. The poor driver who is four cars back and watching his third green light come and go without taking an inch of ground is going out of his/her mind. Which leads us to the bad driving habit that is getting some press coverage.

Bad Habit: Road Rage

Almost everyone has noticed that the other drivers are angry. In fact, some of us have caught ourselves being angry on the road. Let’s face it, we’re grieving. We virtually lost two years of our lives. Some of us got very sick or had loved ones who did. Others lost their businesses, had to let go of all their employees. Some folks are months behind on their mortgage and don’t really know how that’s going to turn out. And while trying to claw our way out of all this some of us are facing job uncertainty due to mandates. Trust in media and government is at an all time low.

It’s enough to deal with all these things sitting on your couch at home, but to focus on getting somewhere, on time, it’s automatic distracted driving. When I interview other drivers, they admit that they don’t “feel” like keeping all the laws. It doesn’t feel like everyone is held to the same standard and it’s pushing buttons for the rugged individualist American.

Then some bonehead won’t pull forward so you can get in the turn lane…well, let’s just say there’s a lot gesturing going on and it’s not okay.

These are tough times for everyone. We have to learn how to give each other a little grace. You are the pilot of your vehicle and if getting to point B is the goal, then an accident will keep you from your goal. It’s not enough to get there—you must get there safely. Being in control of your emotions will help you drive better.

But please, don’t forget to pull up to the car in front of you at a stop light, and to enter the intersection when turning left at the green light.

Car Sale Problems.

Op-Ed by the Editors

2021 isn’t over but many people seem resigned to the fact that it won’t be a good year for car makers, and the way things are going 2020 could only be described as diabolical.

One way it might improve – and possibly the only way it can improve at the moment – is through online sales. At this time of crisis auto dealers can no longer rely on a friendly handshake (this is no time for cynicism so let’s just say it is a friendly handshake) to deliver on a deal. Studying the statistics, this old system will need to change drastically. J D Power’s figures measure the first 19 days of March verses previous years at the same time and demand has dropped 13%. Things are even more drastic in places such as LA and Seattle with a 22% drop in just a 19-day period.

So how do online services compare? Roadster, which serves US and Canadian dealers shows an increase in 6%. Tesla uses a similar system relying on internet deliveries and an app. Unfortunately, Tesla relies on signed paperwork being taken to a drop off point. How this would continue to work during these emergencies isn’t clear.

So, the most innovative way to do sales in the future could be an app but then again people are wary of parting with huge chunks of money online. Even a seller such as EBay recommends seeing the automobile before parting with cash.

It seems counter-intuitive to work this way but even when the covid restrictions lift fully, the recession will likely go into full swing and somehow business enterprises must carry on. Dealers haven’t embraced the online market as a major source of revenue but a recession could change that.

An idea being test marketed is trying the car for a week and seeing if they like it. How exactly this method works isn’t clear. Supposing a person doing the trial refuses to give it back? Surely there is workarounds for such things, but the adverts don’t spell those out.

We can’t just rely on the showroom. It’s an antiquated way of doing things which continued because “it seemed to work” or “it’s what the customers are used to.” Or most likely it’s highly lucrative for dealerships. At the moment however, it fails to work, customers just can’t use these methods in purchasing a car, they can’t get out of their home in many cases.

Some dealers like Chrysler are adapting to new ways of working. Prospective customers can explore the latest models on FaceTime as the sales agent walks around the lot.

It’s one way to keep money in circulation but maybe we can do more. After all, if not now when?