I remember way back when I was in high school and even through college NPR was at least fairly enjoyable listening. Not only were Click and Clack of Car Talk great, there were interesting, lively debates on a variety of topics. I’m not one to only consume media that agrees with my viewpoints, but over time the viewpoints on the taxpayer-funded media platform narrowed considerably, leaving only those of progressive leftists who have an all or nothing attitude. That’s made NPR insufferable, so when I saw on NPR’s website an article about shady financial practices of dealerships, I was naturally skeptical.
Don’t get me wrong, dealerships can be extremely underhanded. Notice I said “can” – there are a few rare gems which deal with people in an overall fair way. Yes, they must make a profit and I always assume, even with a fair dealer, that I need to go in and fight for the best deal possible. Some require more arm twisting than others. But NPR has a completely different take.
If you haven’t seen your energy bill climb by several factors, get ready, because it’s coming. While some of us have tried sounding the alarm of spiking costs for electricity, natural gas, and oil across the West, others have been busy rationalizing this phenomenon away. For example, when a relative of mine shared my post about electricity making recharging EVs in Germany expensive, warning associates the effect is rippling through countries, someone dismissed the information: “That’s Germany.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t voodoo magic where supposedly if you don’t believe in rapidly increasing energy costs they won’t affect you. I’ve pulled an anecdote from Twitter to demonstrate what you might be seeing soon in many other countries, including the US and Canada. One is a café in Leicester, UK where the electric bill has essentially tripled. Think about that: what would you have to do with your budget if what you spend jumped that much overnight? There are more stories like this and soon you could be one of them.
Here are the automotive news stories you might have missed this week.
1. NHTSA boss steps down.
Steven Cliff, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has stepped down to take a job as executive officer at the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Confirmed by the Senate in May, Cliff’s tenure is shockingly short.
You might have heard about the Ford Lightning electric truck utterly failing a tow test a few weeks ago, and it’s happened again. This time Motor Trend found the pickup can’t make it far when pulling a load.
Ralph Teetor was truly a wise man from whom we can still learn much.
If you’ve read through lists of little-known automotive history facts, you likely have come across the tidbit about a blind engineer inventing cruise control. That’s about all most know on the subject, but the life story of Ralph R. Teetor is loaded with timeless value. More than just a gimmick or a footnote in automotive history, the man put into practice several valuable principles he attributed to his career and personal success, and I would have to agree it was adhering to those ideals which helped him to push past barriers many would find impossible obstacles.
Ralph was a deeply religious man.
Raised a Christian Scientist, Ralph was taught from a young age to have faith in God and to apply himself dutifully every day. That tireless work ethic and trust that a higher power was watching out for his wellbeing allowed Ralph to literally step into the darkness every day for the rest of his life, knowing he wasn’t alone in his struggles. He easily could have sunk into nihilistic despair at the challenges of living blind from the time he was a small child. Instead, he accepted his burdens and allowed God to help make his weaknesses his strengths.
Ralph didn’t believe in being a victim.
After Ralph retired, an engineer from the Speedostat (what we know as cruise control) project asked Ralph the question many probably wanted to but were too scared to verbalize. “With all that you have been able to accomplish, what more do you think you would have done if you had been able to see?” The man probably was thinking if Ralph had the use of his eyes throughout his entire lifetime, he would have been even more accomplished and productive.
Ralph, however, didn’t agree with that implication in the least. “I probably couldn’t have done as much, because I can concentrate and you can’t.” Especially in this time of constant media flow, his point is quite salient. What more could we accomplish if we switched off all the devices and distractions, concentrating for even just a short time each day?
The DC establishment’s falling out of love with Elon Musk continues.
As I’ve pointed out before, Washington, D.C. has fallen out of love with Tesla, once its golden child, thanks to behavior it simply cannot tolerate from CEO Elon Musk. Adding to the recent dogpiling on the American automaker is Ralph Nader, a man who rose to prominence by sounding the alarm about the Chevy Corvair.
Some call Nader an opportunist. That’s a cynical take, but it’s understandable why. After all, the man nuked from existence a car he unclaimed was “unsafe at any speed.” That statement was categorically false and the Corvair has since been vindicated. Still, in many people’s minds, the Nader smear job sticks readily.
Is going electric-only the solution to our transportation woes?
By now you might have already seen the news that Ford is opening up the order books for the F-150 Lightning as well as increasing the price significantly. It’s an ironic move considering one of the long-time talking points for EVs is they’re more cost effective than traditional ICE vehicles. Yet this combined with the recent round of price increases for Teslas casts a shadow of doubt on such declarations.
Sure, you can get Ford Lightning Pro model starting at $46,974 – at least in theory. Automakers often use the bottom-tier, stripped-down trim on a premier model line to wow consumers with how affordable the vehicle could be, then reels them in with more features which pump up the price. Many shoppers who have blown way past the budget they set for a new car know firsthand how this works.
Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening in the industry.
I haven’t been able to get a post up for a couple of days and have several interesting items I want everyone to be aware of since they could have a huge impact on the automotive industry in the near future. Click on any of the links to get more info from the source for each story and don’t be scared to leave a comment below – I like discussing topics, even if you don’t entirely agree with my take.
1. Tesla Is On A Roll
Last night was the Tesla annual stockholders meeting and it was a pretty wild time. Yet again, many are comparing Musk to Steve Jobs, especially as he came out on stage almost an hour late and wearing black head to toe. Still, he gave quite the presentation, making the automaker’s challenges seem like mere anthills.
One of the more troubling items presented during the meeting, at least for luxury automakers, is Tesla’s forecast that it will build 1.5 million vehicles in 2022. The company also believes at the end of the year it will be building EVs at an annualized rate of 2 million units. To put that into perspective, last year BMW delivered 2,521,179 vehicles to customers last year. In other words, Tesla is almost on its heels.
The latest example of this is being largely passed over by the media.
During the 2012 presidential debates, Mitt Romney landed some solid punches against Barack Obama, even though he ultimately couldn’t reel in the presidency. While many have focused on how he’s been vindicated on topics like his warning about Russia, he also got it right when it came to the Obama Administration’s picking of winners and losers. For a long time, supporters of the 44th President of the United States tried hard to ignore the abject failure of Fisker and Solyndra, choosing instead to celebrate Tesla’s success. Many enthusiastically purchased a Model S or Model X and revered Elon Musk. In case you haven’t noticed, leaders in Washington, D.C. have done a sudden about-face on Musk and Tesla fairly recently.
The most recent example of this souring attitude comes via the $430 billion drugs and climate change bill Joe Manchin has agreed to after months of wrangling with Chuck Schumer. While spending our way out of inflation is absolute insanity, what really caught my eye was the electric vehicle tax credit.