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11-28-2016


Hi John,

I'm kicking myself for missing yesterday's broadcast of Autoline After Hours; but something Bob Lutz said made me wonder whether his Fisker derived super car was the right one based on his comments on how only autonomous cars will be allowed on the street as it might be easier to update an EV to autonomous than a gas powered car although I think Congress would never pass a law to eliminate non-autonomous cars from the road as I can imagine them saying you couldn't build or sell new non-autonomous cars.

Mike Ma @ San Francisco
11-28-2016


John:
  At a time where the entire country much less the world is unsettled and angry about day to day life I want to take a moment to bring up something that in the big scheme of things is pretty minor…but I must for my own needs to complain. You have recently reported that truck and sport “futility” vehicles (yes my personal problem…moving on) are shown to have poor performing headlights. I’ve wondered for years why here in Colorado a very high number of such vehicles run around with either their high beams on, or turning their high performance auxiliary driving lights on. I’ve quizzed some owners of why and they don’t understand that those lights are not DRLs (day-time running lights-yes I know you know what I mean…just making sure I’m being correct). I’m old enough to have read my R&Ts closely about the engineering of extra lighting systems in whoever’s added lighting systems, (Bosch/Lucas/etc.) fluting, reflector systems and so on. I may not be an engineer but a studied lover of our machines we drive. Ok I’m getting carried away (sorry) but as the daylight part of the day shrinks and I’m spend my day driving into misused lighting system blinding me I felt I had to reach out to someone who has the background to understand the real reason those lighting systems are applied to the automobile. How do we get people to understand they are being rude and at least in Colorado breaking the law.  
 
Thank you for listening…maybe autonomous systems will bring light control back to legal…say like the sensor Cadillac’s Autronic-Eye had in the mid to late 50’s and 60’s to “dip” the head lights…
 
Rick Glesner
People driving with their high beams on, or their fog lights, is an age old problem. Maybe it’s a bigger problem in Colorado, but in most places it’s just an occasional nuisance.
11-28-2016


John,
I think a lot of Bob Lutz.. but he would acknowledge that there is much room for debate.

Autonomous vehicles:  We met at the Darpa Urban Challenge in 2007... I think the burden will be on the hardware and software to come up with AVs that can co-mingle or operate with human driven cars... I just don't think it will be a knife switch with all cars being autonomous.

With the data logging/black boxes on AVs the bugs will be found and fixed... and deducing which vehicle/driver is at fault for an accident will be FAR more clear.

I do not believe that AVs will be similar boxes. Vehicles are fashion, passion, ..and transportation. As long as people can afford their own car they many times will still want to own one.  This doesn't mean that car sharing won't be significant.. it will.. but its base will be in locations that are under-taxi'ed (or with poor taxi quality of service) plus more easy specialty rentals (convertible for the weekend, big SUV for road trip...etc).

I can see BRT (bus rapid transit) using AV or some kind of more customized personalized mass transit with AVs in some cases but that may be as a substitute for building a new subway/rail system in cities like Austin. 

Tesla: I've led engineering teams in Silicon Valley, Austin and elsewhere.. the startup mode is to drive the team for an aggressive schedule goal but expect it to really slip to be later.  The mentality is that if you don't drive the effort hard, it will achieve a slower time to market.  So, given the track record is always a year or so late, why should anyone expect a different behavior for the Model 3?  It's not Tesla that has the problem in this regard.. it's the people who don't understand Silicon Valley or Tesla.

Frank Markus brought up one of the important points on the Model 3 vs Bolt... the Supercharging network.. plus Tesla being a premium brand, and styling.. PLUS Autopilot, no dealers to deal with, Over the air updates..
 
GM deserves a lot of credit with the Bolt but it needs to have a performance AWD Focus-RS equivalent to halo and gotta-have-it factor.

Bob Lutz is also wrong on the Tesla Hardware2 announcement.. Elon said they were shipping all new production with the new hardware with software to come.. and for a while the Hardware1 autopilot cars will have more function until the new hardware2 software is developed and validated and delivers more function.  and dynamic inductive charging (embedded in roadway) isn't likely to get popular for a long time.. Just use a PHEV or BEV wSupercharger network.  I've talked to Texas DOT and they aren't hot on the idea of spending precious infrastructure $ on dynamic inductive charging (what is the billing system? what technology, price, efficiency?)

Also, keep abreast of the coast to coast roadtrip that Elon is planning in a hardware2-autopilot car (perhaps a Model 3 pre-production) combined with their "charging snake"
The idea is that the driver will not take control nor have to touch a charging/fueling hose throughout the trip.


--
Regards,

Dave Tuttle
How do people become involved in the Honda program?

ATW #2033 (Part 1)
ATW #2034 (Part 2)

D
I would contact Erica Miller, Columbus State Community College in Ohio.
11-28-2016


One of your shows reported China is getting serious about the quality and volume of small EVs. Electrification expands the variety of vehicles and their price points. 
 
We will see a huge variety of vehicles from 2 to many wheels for people and freight transport. Many for local travel only. 
 
Electrification allows them to be sold like washing machines. 
 
A house could end up with 6 electric vehicles in various types of storage, and the key occupants get driverless public transport to work and when visiting a large CBD. 
 
A vehicle is generally the second most expensive object we get to own. While various services will develop that do not require ownership, ownership will remain high. 
 
Vehicle costs have been falling in real terms - this will surely continue. 
 
Electrification and automation are the two keys to ongoing profit in the 21st century.
 
Regards
Peter Egan
11-28-2016


Hey love the show, 
 
I'm curious about something. Canada has just signed a free trade agreements with the EU. Does this eliminate the chicken tax for vehicles shipped to Canada? Also does this mean Canada will be able to get access to vehicles sold only in Europe? As a Canadian I look forward to that!
 
Bo
Bo,

The free trade agreement between Canada and the EU will not affect the “chicken tax” because that is a U.S. tax for non-NAFTA countries.

Canada will be able to get vehicles that are only sold in Europe provided: they meet Canadian emissions and safety regulations (which they can easily meet) and as long as European automakers are willing to ship cars to a market that is smaller than California (which they will be reluctant to do).

The big automotive advantage in this trade deal, if there is one, actually goes to Canada because it means any vehicles made in Canada that are shipped to the EU will not get hit with a 10% import tax.

John McElroy
11-28-2016


John and Gary,

I have been scratching my head over GM's China situation for quite some time.  I know each vehicle they sell there is sold through a company where a Chinese partner company is roughly a 50% owner, which means to me that the profits are also split roughly 50/50.  I have noted the strong sales of vehicles there, but also know that a good portion of them are the small Wuling vehicles that likely have very little margin.  Still, they are selling a large number of Buicks, and now increasing their sales of Chevrolet, Cadillac and Baujun vehicles, (again splitting the profits with their partner companies).

However, I have not been able to figure out how much money GM makes in China.  Making this more challenging is that GM lumps their China results in with some other Asian markets. 

But from the copy below from today's Automotive News update on GM quarterly profits, it appears that all of their profit is coming from the North American market.  They must not be making much at all in China if the relatively small losses in Europe and South America canceled it out.  And in the last line, it appears that international operations, including China, only made $271 million for the quarter, despite the fact that GM now sells more vehicles in China than in the U.S. 

So, do you have any idea how much money GM makes in China?

GM Veteran


"GM posted adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of $3.54 billion, a fifth consecutive quarterly record post-bankruptcy. It earned an adjusted $3.5 billion in North America, up 5.9 percent, while modest losses in Europe and South America canceled out income from international operations and GM Financial.

China strong

Strong sales in China -- where deliveries rose 9 percent to a record 2.7 million vehicles -- sent earnings in international operations edging up 0.7 percent to $271 million for the quarter."
Neither GM nor Ford make much profit in China. I wonder if they're using their Chinese operations for design and engineering that would otherwise get charged to North America? Otherwise they sure are putting a lot of effort into a market that delivers extremely thin margins.

John McElroy
11-28-2016


John and Gary,

I think JD Power should change the name of their latest survey so that
it no longer includes the word Reliability.  Its misleading to
consumers.  Having an infotainment system that is challenging to use is
not going to result in your car breaking down and leaving you stranded
on the side of the road.  It also does not mean a trip to the dealership
service department, since it is merely complicated to use and not
actually broken.  When consumers hear the word Reliability, I think
these are the things that come to mind.

Another odd thing about this survey.  According to the press release,
they surveyed approximately 500,000 owners.  The eligible vehicle model
years spanned 2000 through 2017!  This makes very little sense when it
comes to things like infotainment, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity,
ease of smartphone pairing, and similar items that seem to make a big
difference to a vehicle's and brand's ranking in this survey.  With the
pace of innovation over the last 5 years, let alone 15 years, it does
not seem ethical or reasonable to include 10+ year old vehicles a survey
that gives so much weight to infotainment technology.

However, from a reliability standpoint, it does.   So, perhaps they need
to separate "reliability" from "ease-of-use" and have two surveys. 
Can't believe they haven't done it already, since that is how they make
money!

What do you think?

GM Veteran
GM Veteran,

I could not agree more. A frustrating connectivity issue related to design has nothing to do with reliability.

John McElroy
11-28-2016


John,

Enjoyed the Tesla discussion on Autoline After Hours and the parts discussion.  Interesting points about who will really drive automated systems: car manufacturers or parts suppliers.

As for Autopilot 2.0, the newly made vehicles with the new hardware will have Autopilot 1.0 enabled around December after the initial validation.  The big news is that Autopilot 2.0 will be running in the background as an "armchair driver" continuously learning how to drive AND it will provide alternate endings to any crashes.  So at some point in the future, Tesla can say we've shadow driven X million miles and would have avoided these XXX of crashes.  Assuming all that works out, a compelling case could be made to the regulators with real world data comparing Autopilot vs. Actual Pilot.

By running its ‘Tesla Vision’ software on all those cars in ‘shadow mode’, just to test the system and collect data, Tesla’s software will get more driving experience in one day than the average human driver in two lifetimes.  


As for Paint it Black as the demo sound track, Musk's ex-wife has a role in HBO's West World and the first episode's climactic scene featured a symphonic version of Paint it Black.  Perhaps a coincidence but my bet is they are related.

Keep up the great work!!

Alan
11-28-2016


John:
 
Is this continuing proof that Marchionne was right – very few automakers can afford to go it alone?   A few months ago, Ghosn grabs 34% of Mitsubishi; now Toyota snaps up the chance to team with Suzuki.  The two companies said that “spiraling costs to develop next-generation drivetrains, autonomous-driving systems and new information technology are spurring such erstwhile rivals to consolidate, cooperate and share the ever-increasing burden.”   Exactly what Sergio said was happening.
And wait til all the new players come into the market – like Geely, which is proposing a whole different business model. 
 
Ah, the times…they are a changin’
 
Mike
There's no question that we will see a lot more consolidation in the auto industry. And then, wait until we see the impact of the movement to mobility services. We're in for massive disruption.

John McElroy
11-28-2016


Dear Mr. McElroy,

My name is Sofia Prada, I'm 19 years old and graduated from high school in 2015. I have always been attracted to engineering. 

I’m interested in the automotive industry because it offers a wide range of specializations. I am aware that this industry is actively looking for new engineers since there may be a shortage in the near future. 

Since you are a very well informed person, I would like to know if there are companies or universities that are willing to offer scholarships or financial aid for students like me. 

I am very excited to begin studying and enthusiastic about working. 
Thank you for your time.

Best regards, 

Sofia Prada
Sofi,

There are so many universities that offer scholarships for students like you I would not know where to begin. Of course, it all depends on your grades and test scores.

Many professional organizations also offer scholarships, and so do companies.

I would suggest doing a lot of online research as well as contacting your high school counselor. I have no doubt you'll find plenty of opportunities.

John McElroy
11-28-2016


John,

I recall you doing a report on a free piston engine a while back after several reports you did on opposed piston configurations.

Today, I am seeing  all sorts of press coverage for Aquarius Engines. Is this a different company than what you’ve reported on?

Will
Will,

This is not the free piston engine we reported on. We've done shows on Achates and Eco Motors who have developed similar engines. Let's hope they make it into production because they sure look promising.

John McElroy
11-28-2016


John: 
 
My brain is on overload after reading this, especially after the demise of Coskata.

This could be a game changer, with all the talk of of increased compression ratios for higher efficiency, this would be a good thing for E-85 usage. According to an old interview with Gale Banks. a Ethanol engine would get equal if not better mileage than a gas engine with higher compression ratio's 
Decreasing CO2 levels while making a fuel is almost incomprehensible and very exciting!    
 
Thanks,
Bradley G.
Brad,

This is definitely very exciting and hopefully will come to fruition.

Thanks for sending this along, even though we had seen it already. Our viewers are a good source of information, so please feel free to send other info in the future.

Best,
John McElroy
11-2-2016


The UAW show needed you to provide a counterpoint. It sounded like a tribute to Hillary while panning Trump because of the perception she would be better for the unions. The unions need to be taken to task for pushing an agenda that is unsustainable. The cars become too expensive or get made off shore. As long as the Dem party open borders free trade agenda is rolled out wages and benefits will equalize to a world standard. Maybe it will be $20 an hour plus medical, but it won't be this Cadillac plan with $50 an hour and a smorgasbord of benefits with a nice pension. At least be intellectually honest and push back.



Thanks,



Mike
11-2-2016


Hello John,
 
Was watching your show today and your autonomous car topic. The car is the last symbol of American individualism and that is driven by 100 years of marketing those products that express individual identity. This is why we spend $60,000.00 for a vehicle that essentially does the same thing as a $30,000.00 vehicle and has exceptional styling. We understand the risk of getting out on the road and we are willing to take that risk because it fulfills 3 basic objectives. First, a personal carriage setting where you parked it, waiting to take you to your desired destination. And the joy of buying and driving that dream car will be gone. Now, you know that you can get in your car drive anywhere in North America, without notifying anybody. I think that's part of being FREE and living in a FREE society. Other arguments will be: will I have to give up my old manually operated vehicle and or pay for a costly conversion. And what about the period when you will have millions of manually operated vehicles on the road with autonomous vehicles, I will not fill safe in an autonomous vehicle with the way some people drive their cars today. I can assess and evaluate changing conditions around me and decide what to do moment to moment because I have control over my vehicle. Not so in an autonomous vehicle.
 
Also keep in mind, every device is hackable and yes, hackers will be able to target your vehicle and crash it or use it to injure pedestrians walking down the sidewalk. With a little imagination, you can see the flaws in such a system.
 
My other reason for contacting you was because I believe there is a thing called "natural progression" in improving automotive safety that has been overlooked. A device that is simple and can reduce fatalities and injuries but there seems to be no desire to add it to our motor vehicles, especially from our government agencies who's charge it is to improve road safety on our roads. 900 or more are dying on our roads in Illinois. The count is 831 as of today and two months to go.
 
What is it? It's a forward facing brake light or Front Brake Light, mounted in front of the review mirror and connected to the car or truck brakes. It offers several significant advantages that the motorist would appreciate.
Also go to www.frontbraklight.com 
 
Thanking you in advance for your time.
 
Sincerely,
 
Nathan Wright
Nathan,

Who says you’ll have to give up your manually operated car? No one has ever said that, except perhaps in urban legends on the internet.

And who says old cars and autonomous ones can’t co-exist on the roads? Google has racked up 2 million test miles on public roads.

And who says humans, who cause 95% of all traffic accidents, can drive better than autonomous cars? Thanks to lidar, autonomous can see far better than any human being. They can see around blind corners, in darkness and fog, and you can’t do that.

I find that most people who object to autonomous cars have never been in one and really don’t know how far this technology has progressed.

As for the forward facing brake light, it’s been evaluated by automakers, suppliers and safety agencies and rejected. It causes too many “false positives.” Motorists approaching an intersection will tap the brakes, causing an oncoming car to think it’s going to stop, when all it does is continue through the intersection, causing an accident.

Respectfully,
John McElroy
11-2-2016


John,



It's simple, don't take my Tesla autopilot away.  I know it's Beta and not perfect however I still love it.  Don't take my 911 away either for all the dynamic reasons I love my 911.



God Bless you,



James
We get it. As long as you use Autopilot properly, it’s a great feature to have. And we love hearing the combination of owning a Tesla S and a 911!
11-2-2016


JOHN U GOT TO GET HOLD OF THIS GUY THE SPECS ON THIS CAR IS AWESOME....11 HP FUEL CELL 200 MILE RANGE VERY SLIPPERY
DESIGN......CAN U GET HIM ON YOUR SHOW?

YOU LEASE THE CAR AND THE FUEL ETC. 580 KILOGRAMS=1278.68 #LBS 8.5 KW FUEL CELL
Al,

Thanks for sending this link. We never heard of Riversimple before, but the car they’re working on is fascinating. Moreover, it looks well built and designed. If we can get anyone from the company on Autoline, we will.

John McElroy
11-2-2016


We always hear that because American demand for trucks and SUVs is so high, and the profit so large, that American carmakers will continue to produce them in the US. Why then, when I visit my local GMC dealer, do I find that all their Sierras were assembled in Mexico with majority Mexican parts? Why should I even bother trying to "buy American" anymore if not even a truck is made here?

Thanks,

Matt J
Matt,

Shop around. GM makes trucks in Flint, Michigan and Fort Wayne, Indiana. You should be able to find a version of the Sierra you want that was made in Flint.
11-2-2016


John,

This is Don from New Jersey! You know how they say you should never buy a car the first year it comes our right? How about that VW CrossBlue it has been supposed to be coming out for the past 3 or 4 years! I mean this has to be the longest time in history Volkswagen has taken to develop a car!

With the diesel that was a disaster they have to get this right! How is it possible Audi has 2 shiny new SUV's yet the VW made in Tennessee is taking longer than it took to make the great Pyramid at Giza?


Let's all start singing the CrossBlues!!!

My Jetta Lease is up in May 2017! I hope I won't still be singing the CrossBlues and have to go to a boring Japanese or bumbling Merican crossover!
Don,

You make a great point. Audi has two shiny new SUVs, yet VW does not. Thanks for pointing that out!
11-2-2016


John, 
 
I watch Auto Line weekly and now I'm NOT! Having spent time with Dennis Williams the President of UAW showed your left leaning intent! Spending time endorsing Hillary Clinton!? Dennis made it clear that we have a trade deficit with Mexico and then to endorse Hillary! Democrats have controlled the inner cities in this country for years and all of them are dangerous and filled with people who desperately need a way out! The Democrats have limited access to good educational options, they have restricted employment opportunities for high school age students, they have encouraged families to marry the Government! Dennis said he paid attention to the Republican debates; however, his comments about "hands" demonstrated the fact that he didn't listen to our ideas. Reduce taxes, school choice, renegotiate NAFTA, and put America first. What Dennis and all these Labor Boss' don't want is someone who will challenge their meal ticket! The poor! Hillary will tax this country to death! she already said so! Her past proves her distain for this country and the American people. Do your own research! 
I couldn't have been more disappointed by this past interview! 
 
Your former viewer, 
 
Ross Goodwin  
Ross,

We feel it’s important to interview all the major players in the automotive industry, including the president of the UAW. Our job is to keep our viewers informed with what the leaders in the industry are saying, where they agree with them or not.

We never have, and never will, only invite guests on our shows that we agree with. One of the reasons why Autoline viewers are some of the best informed in the industry is because they get first-hand access to competing points of view.

Respectfully,
John McElroy
11-2-2016


John I've heard repeatedly on Autoline that FCA's sales manipulation only involved around 4500 vehicles. To my ears that sounds like you're saying sales of only 4500 vehicles were manipulated, which is patently untrue. The net effect on sales over the entire period may have been that small (the net difference in sales at the end of the scheme will not have been much more or less than the net difference in the very last month, so 4500 is a reasonable figure), but the scheme involved several thousand vehicles every month, and many hundreds of thousands of vehicles over the entire period. For September 2015 alone at least 7,227 vehicles were involved. Not a single nameplate did not have its sales altered every month. In August 2015 just under 5 thousand vehicles were added to Ram pickup sales alone under this scheme, and company wide nearly 15,000 vehicles (14,703 in total) were either reported as sold that month, but not actually delivered till later, or had been reportedly sold earlier, but not actually delivered to a customer until then (and so appear in the most recent sales data, but not when the August 2015 sales were first reported). And that is net across all dealers — reported sales of vehicles not actually delivered, less sales of that model delivered in August but previously reported as sold in an earlier month. There will have been plenty of times dealers were encouraged to fabricate additional sales to make up for vehicles that had already been reported as sold in a previous month, so the number of actual vehicles whose sales were misreported in any given month is probably far higher than the revised figures suggest. We only have three months of revised monthly sales data for each model, but based on those months, I can guess that at least 150,000 individual vehicles every year were reported as sold in a month earlier than they were actually delivered to a customer.
Andrew Charles
Andrew,

Thanks for this information. I was not aware the 4500 figure was a monthly number. That makes a huge difference!

John McElroy
11-2-2016


John,
 
Went to lunch with my dad who retired 21 years ago and has a defined pension retirement plan.  He said his previous employer, Allied Signal, was purchased by Honeywell who spun off his division to Berkshire Hathaway.  Berkshire sold their DPBP to an insurance company to remove the liability from Berkshire's books.  
 
Now for the fun part: if the insurance company goes bankrupt, the former employees are only entitled to a maximum payout based on the retiree's resident state's rules.  In South Carolina, that amount is $300,000.  Most other states are $250,000.  This would be a massive loss for recent retirees.  He mentioned GM sold their retirement liabilities during bankruptcy but I didn't know about the insurance company's bankruptcy impact.  I assumed it would fall to the Federal PBGC.  
 
Have you heard anything about this contingency?  I can send references if you are interested in digging into it more.
 
Have a great weekend,
Alan
Alan,

Thanks for the info. I wasn’t aware of the issue if the insurance company goes bankrupt. But that retirement plan is actually an annuity and my understanding is that it is not backed by the PBGC. Even if it went to the PBGC it would be capped at $56,000/year.

In the GM case, employees were also offered a lump sum payout that they could invest on their own instead of staying in the pension plan. Reportedly 30% of GM employees opted to go this route.

Best,
John McElroy
11-2-2016


While the new NP300 has replaced both the 1 tonne D40 and older D22 models globally, Nissan North America still sells the old D40 generation. So far only Mexico gets the single cab NP300 work truck, dual-cab NP300 Frontier and the old 1/2-tonne Frontier in the V6 Pro4X (4x2 or 4x4) model. Perhaps Nissan North America thinks Americans need a V6, since the NP300 comes only with 2.5 L 4-cyl QR25 or diesel YD25 engines, or that the 1-tonne Frontier sold in Mexico would compete with the Titan XD if they brought it to the US.

Andrew
10-18-2016


John,
 
Heard your report on the Post Office needing new delivery trucks. A couple of comments:
 
The Post Office currently has 1996 Jimmies and 2000/01 Explorer chassis for their delivery vehicles with bodies made by Utilimaster.  They keep them in service for 24 years.  At least that is their plan.
 
I know because I work in Ford Service Engineering and I spend a lot of time at the Post Office garage on Greenfield in Dearborn, trying to help them get parts to keep them in service a little longer.  Tough to do when they are right hand drive and those Explorers were exported to Great Britain, Australia and Japan.  A lot of unique parts to right hand drive vehicles.
 
Not for public knowledge is that the Post Office vehicle purchase contract with Ford required us to supply service parts for 24 years.  We in Parts & Service would never agree to those terms, but the fleet sales guy signed the contract anyway, and now we are stuck until 2024 with keeping parts on hand.  We have a special code in the computer system so any Post Office part has to be manually reviewed before it can be obsoleted.  Normally, the computer system monitors sales, model year, etc. and automatically obsoletes parts when it meets the criteria.
 
So, whoever gets the next contract, I’m sure the Post Office will require a 24 year parts commitment.
 
Gerry
Gary,

Great info, thanks for sending. When the Post Office first contracted Grumman in the mid-1980’s to build its aluminum-body delivery trucks it said they would have to last for over 20 years. I never thought it would happen, but here we are today and they’re still on the road.

I’m sure you’re right, the PO will want whoever makes these things to service them for 24 years. But with automotive technology changing so fast these new trucks will be hopelessly out of date in a decade.

John McElroy
10-18-2016


Excellent show on Health of the Auto Industry (just catching up on it).  While the Fiat rep was not your most dynamic or knowledge, the rest of the show was very interesting.  I do think truck lovers will want a hybrid, but under different vocabulary.  Once they mate an electric motor to add even more torque, the Ford marketers turn it into a "massive rear wheel power drill".  The water cooler conversation will continue to turn from HP to Torque.
 
Also, the auto show discussion was enlightening and I agree with the trend away from most shows and towards a controlled environment.  The Apple/Tesla style fanboy audience is annoying and hopefully has reached it's peak.  Musk is shifting gears a bit and presenting today for Space X at a large industry conference.  But the Tesla reveals will still be slide shows for a while.
 
Anyway, keep up the good work.  Always look forward to a lunch break entertainment about the auto industry.
 
Alan
10-18-2016


John,
Given all the fracas about diesel cheating, do you think MB will bring the new 2017 350 Bluetec to the USA? It seems to been in limbo since May.
Also, I am a happy owner of a 2015 VW Toureg 3.0L TDI. I guess it pollutes more that the regulations call for but between cleaner diesel fuel, the urea system in the car and this generation engine, is it still the cleanest diesel ever? 
The SUV is a pleasure to drive, has great range and gets nice MPGs.
 
Thanks,
Peter
Mercedes seems to be backing away from diesels in the US market, but time will tell if it drops them entirely. Other automakers continue to introduce new diesels to the US.

It is highly unlikely your 3.0 liter diesel is the cleanest ever since it was designed to circumvent emission standards in certain driving conditions. More than likely BMW, Mercedes, and General Motors have cleaner diesels.
10-18-2016


John,
Just saw AAH and enjoyed the video and discussion of the new 4WS system being developed by ZF.  Hopefully they will be able to bring it to market through an OEM at a reasonable price.  If so, I think it would become a pretty popular option.

I worked for a company that used to produce marketing events for GMC and one of those events was to highlight the capabilities of Quadrasteer.  In preparing for the event, we had several discussions with GMC marketing execs and a couple of gentlemen from Delphi.  Now, remember, this is the OLD GM.  The Delphi guys were not pleased with the pricing and knew that it would kill the option because the take rate was destined to be so low at that price.  They told us that the GM finance folks wanted to recoup the up-front engineering charges from Delphi in the first two years on the market and that is why the price was so high.  That was typical of the type of thinking at GM in those days.   

The other interesting thing to me was that it was only available on the pickups and the heavy duty SUV's (3/4 ton Suburbans and Yukon XL).  This is because the Delphi system would only work on vehicles with leaf springs.  The clearance was not appropriate on vehicles with coil springs, which included the light duty Suburbans and Yukon XL, not to mention the Tahoe and regular Yukon. 

One last thing.  You may remember that each truck that had Quadrasteer also had orange lights on the rear fenders and across the top of the truck at the windshield.  Adding Quadrasteer made the trucks a little wider, just wide enough that they were over the maximum width for normal passenger vehicles.  So, they were considered commercial vehicles and federal regulations mandated the orange indicator lights that you usually see on tow trucks, snowplow trucks and other commercial style vehicles.  A lot of people were not pleased that they would have to have those on their truck if they wanted the Quadrasteer option. 

The technology worked great, but was very complex.  I often wondered if there might have been a way to engineer a simpler system, like the totally manual version Honda had on the Prelude about 20 years ago.  It was light, inexpensive and did not require power.
 
Great show as usual!

GM Veteran
GM Veteran,

Really good feedback!

Interestingly, ZF says that its 4WS does not increase the track of the vehicle, so it would not need additional indicator lights. Also, they say they’re sure they can get the cost down.

John McElroy
10-18-2016


Looking into the future when all automobiles on the roads are autonomous; they will recognize each other and avoid all collisions, including collisions with pedestrians. All pedestrians now will feel totally invincible knowing that all automobiles will stop to avoid hitting them. Therefore, they will be able to jaywalk (and text) safely anywhere they want, bringing automobile traffic to a complete stop. Let’s hope the auto makers don’t program the cars to blast their horns every time they are interrupted in traffic.
 
Ralph Norek
10-18-2016


Do you all remember the flat front Jeep pickup from the mid fifties with 4 wheel steering?
 
In any case, this makes the urban tank more practical.
 
r work
Did the Jeep Forward Control have 4-wheel-steering? We can’t find any reference to that. Cool truck, though.
10-18-2016


I’ve been getting over 60 miles per charge on my 2017 Volt. It is quiet, smooth and beautiful inside and out. I would rather have this car than an Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus…..
I also hauled a 6 foot ladder and a bunch of stuff to California from Arizona. A great car. I definitely recommend everyone shopping for a car to give the Volt a good look. I’m Impressed!

Regards,
KRTRW

Kyle
Kyle,

Thanks for the feedback. 60 miles per charge is very impressive.
10-18-2016


Having just watched your Sept 15 show when you mentioned Baojun motors I took a look at their models. I was wondering if they asked Honda if they could rebadge the Honda Pilot as the Baojun 730?




Chuck
10-18-2016


What if they brought back the Cadillac Style ads?  Over 65 age bracket is growing fast.  They are very affluent.  Cadillac sold A LOT more vehicles back when they were proud to BE Cadillac.  Is that what is missing for them?  Your thoughts?



Call me Dynaride thanks!  Will
Anything that creates desire in the heart of the buyer is a good thing. Desire can be created by a lot of things, but not the lowest monthly payment, the lowest interest rate nor the biggest rebate. So Style ads? Yes! But I wouldn’t aim them at the +65 year old set. As they old saying goes, “You can sell an old man a young man’s car, but you can’t sell a young man an old man’s car.”

John McElroy
10-18-2016


Hi John,

Level 3 autonomous vehicles will be a big winner, for the lawyers that is. When a level 3 car gets in an accident culpability will be the issue.  Should the driver have hit the brakes?  Should the computer have steered around the danger?  It will be an endless do loop of litigation. The lawyers will love it. It's a loser for everyone else involved.

Richie B.
10-18-2016


Hi John!

Just read that VW set a new top speed record for the Beetle at the Bonneville Salt Flats of 205.122 mph using a heavily modified Beetle with an engine that is production-based, but also heavily tweaked.

Reading about this makes me wonder about the priorities of VW management.  This in no way will sell more Beetles and has nothing to do with developing production automobiles.  Its hard to believe that they are devoting corporate funds to activities like this while asking their suppliers for significant cost savings to help pay for the cost of recalling (and possibly repurchasing) diesel model Volkswagens.  With the huge expenses ahead of them related to the diesel debacle and the development funds that need to be allocated to stay competitive in new areas like autonomous vehicles and alternative fuel systems, its hard to believe that VW has not instituted severe budget austerity measures.

I wonder if their PR staff even knew about this speed record attempt?

GM Veteran
GM Veteran,

We could not agree more. This is not going to help sales and the company needs to save every penny it can under the current crisis.

Maybe they thought this would divert peoples' attention from Dieselgate, but it sure looks like a superfluous exercise.
10-18-2016


Dear AAH,
Although an outsider to auto industry, I have been a huge fan of AAH for years never missing a show. I have found it entertaining, informative and even relative to my industry. Thankfully my awareness and education, due to AAH, has grown greatly permitting me to observe the following.
Please know that I have been a die-hard Ford devotee buying or specifying dozens of FORD vehicles the past 25 years. Allow me to borrow from the colorful language of Jim Farley—F**K FORD!!!
Ford’s significant support (millions of dollars) of Black Lives Matter (BLM) is reprehensible. After stepping out of historic prejudice by appointing Mark Fields to head Ford, suddenly they have capitulated. BLM is arguably the most racist, disruptive, and contra USA valued group in the country today. They represent significant danger to our law enforcement organizations; and FORD has the unmitigated gall to want to supply police with FORDS?
Help me Mr. McElroy, where does a domestic car fan go? Government Motors still has blood on its hands by not repaying the tax payers millions, Ford has lost its way and FCA is now foreign. ( Looks like KY Toyotas, OH Hondas , TN Nissans and even GA KIAs will be gaining my business henceforth.)
Just had to vent!
‘Love your shows; Daily, weekly and AAH. Clearly, you are a great talent in automotive journalism. Main line media could learn a great deal from you!
Sincerely,
Jim
 
PS What ever happened to the Auto Extremist? I miss Peter’s pithy comments.
 
James (Jim) Anderson
Jim,

Yo dude, chill. You’re making a mistake that many people make. The Ford Motor Company did not announce support of Black Lives Matter. It was the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation has nothing to do with the FoMoCo. It is a wealthy foundation that pursues many philanthropic causes including human rights, but it has zero ties to the automaker.

Though it was the Ford family that created and provided the funding for the Ford Foundation back in the 1930’s, the two severed ties many decades ago.

So…you can go back to being a die-hard Ford fan!

John McElroy
10-3-2016


John :
 
I try to keep up and be knowledgeable with FCA vehicles. I visit my dealership at least once monthly, but they snuck something right by me. I just noticed that all the 2016 and now arriving 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee's with the 3.6 Liter Pentastar engine are No longer Flex Fuel capable. It appears that they still currently are E-85 compatible engines in the RAM trucks for the time being. Has the government phased out the EPA credits for FFV's? Living in Indiana E-85 is $1.49/gallon currently, far more than 20% less than Regular, I would much rather give my money to our farmers for E-85, and get a little less mpg's, than give it to OPEC.


What gives? I can't find any relevant information on this.

I'm Corn-fused (sorry, pun intended)
 
Bradley G.
Brad,

You nailed it. The EPA is phasing out flex-fuel credits for E-85 compatible vehicles. Automakers built E-85 vehicles solely to get those credits to meet the CAFE standards. Now that the credits are going away, they don’t see the value in adding the extra cost needed to make those vehicles capable of running on E-85.
10-3-2016


Dear John,
 
I have notice in your very well presented and interesting automotive news program that underneath of the Tesla logo batch, is a sentence saying: “Where´s Iñaki when you need him?" Could please let me know more details about it?
 
Best Regards,
 
Iñaki Fernández
Dear Iñaki,

The Iñaki who we referred to was Iñaki Lopez, the vp of Purchasing for General Motors in the 1990’s, who was famous for ripping up supplier contracts and bullying them to lower their prices. Hence the reference to Tesla starting to beat up its suppliers for lower prices.

It certainly was not in reference to you!

Sincerely,
John McElroy
10-3-2016


Good morning John et al:
I feel like saying “me again!” Every Monday morning on my commute to Community College of Denver I listen to the previous weeks Autoline After Hours. Always interesting and educational…but…there is always a “but” isn’t there? I can be put off by the panels lack of understanding of the 3D design environment. It really embarrassing to be standing in a light rail car and be so taken back by some ill-informed statement that I accidentally say an expletive out loud. I missed which panel member stated that you “just scan the item and send that to the 3D printer”…wrong, wrong…and oh by the way…WRONG. I’ve written before about this lack of understanding the design sequence, without the underlying 3D solid modeling you have nothing to 3D print. With 3D scanning all you get is a point cloud that at best is scatter shot. That point cloud must be placed into software that will clean up the point cloud and prepare it to be opened in a 3D solid modeler. Then when that is cleaned up it can be saved as a .STL file (stereolithography file). This is nowhere as simple as many make it sound. I and my program are just too far away from your studio, but I’m sure there will be a community college in your area that has the expertise in these areas to clear up your knowledge gaps.

So this afternoon find and thank a 3D CAD Jock for their skill.

Rick Glesner
Chair of Engineering Graphics/Mechanical
Community College of Denver
Rick,

Thanks for your feedback. You certainly know a ton about this technology and it’s good to get reminded of all the steps needed to use it.

But sometimes, and especially when you’re doing a show where you’re keeping the conversation flowing, you don’t want to get bogged down in explaining every step of every process.

It’s the same with video production. You have to plan a show, invite the guests, bring in the studio crew, shoot the show, create all the graphics, do all the rendering of any animations, edit everything, encode it and post it. But when I talk to the crew I’ll say, “Let’s shoot a show and get it posted.”

Now I’m not saying we know every step in 3D scanning and printing. But even if we did, we’d still use the shorthand.

Sincerely,
John McElroy
10-3-2016


Guys, we are missing the greatest benefit of autonomous driving technology...women will finally be able to safely put make-up on while the car drives them to work.
 
Heck, Mabelline/Revlon ought to get into some partnerships with the OEM.
Man, if I told my wife that she’d punch me in the eye!
10-3-2016


Maybe the AC condensation capture that the Ford engineer developed can be used to feed the Bosch Waterboost system.
 
Neil G
10-3-2016


Honda seems to be a slow learner when it comes to airbag and other safety issues.  I called Honda customer service about my 2014 Ridgeline airbag and ask who made the passenger side airbag they refused to tell me.  I will assume it's a Takata airbag and some time in the future it will also be recalled, after several people have been hurt or worse. Can anyone get Honda's attention ?

AL
10-3-2016


In an Daily Report a statement was made about the Chevy Bolt’s battery will last 230 miles.  At what speed does the Bolt last 230 miles?  I’m sure the batteries will last longer if driven 30 MPH than at 65 MPH.
 
Jim
The Bolt will travel 238 miles based on the EPA test cycle, better known as FTP 75, the same Federal Test Procedure used to calculate the fuel economy of cars. Yes, it will go much farther than that if driven at slower speeds.
10-3-2016


What happens to autonomous cars when they break down and they don't have a steering wheel, or any other controls?  How do you push them to the side of road?  How does the tow truck operator align the wheels to put it on the flatbed?
Great questions. And when we get answers from the autonomy experts we’ll let you know!
9-27-2016


John:
 
I have a couple of comments about Christopher Grundler (Director, Office of Transportation & Air Quality, U.S. EPA) discussion.
 
Science doesn't tell us what standards to achieve.  Science may provide the tools to analyze the current situation but the standards are our choice.
 
The "science" is never finished -- it always evolves.  For example, Sir Isaac Newton created several physical laws.  The science was finished until Albert Einstein came along and moved the science along.  Just like the late night TV commercial, science is constantly saying “but wait, there is more.”
 
For the environmentalist, take the example of eliminating Freon from air-conditioning and refrigeration.  The elimination of Freon was supposed to fix the ozone hole.  We spend billions of dollars getting rid of Freon and the hole still exists.  We have not revisited that decision and identified what went wrong with the analysis.
 
In summary, our understanding of the environmental science is limited and we need to understand our limitations.
 
Sincerely,
 
Brian Little
9-27-2016


Brian,
 
Thanks for sharing your comments. We truly like hearing from all our viewers.
 
One thing to consider: the latest evidence shows that banning Freon is healing the ozone hole.
 
John McElroy
9-27-2016


John, i watch your show daily and i catch all the AAH and ATW shows, and when EV's are the topic, there's one point i don't hear much about when it comes to the public's acceptance of EV's.
Charge time.... it's not really the range that's the biggest issue, IMO it's charge time.
if/when EV's can be charged to full in 5 mins or less like filling up your tank at the gas station...then they will be widely accepted.
If you know that you can pull over someplace and charge it up in a few mins, people would be able to use it more like a normally fueled car.
 
Rob
Robert,

Great point. Charging time is very important. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


Do you know when the 2017 Honda Odyssey will be available?

Thanks
The best we can tell you is that the next-gen Honda Odyssey is slated to go into production at Honda’s plant in Alabama in April, 2017. It would probably be on sale a month or so after that.
9-27-2016


John,
 
I'm sure that you are aware that Chevy announced that it is curtailing fleet sales in an effort to keep fleet sales from undermining the resale value of vehicles like the Impala.  This decision is not without consequences.  First, the theory is that they may sell fewer Impalas, but at a higher gross margin.  Kind of like gasoline: It's better for the manufacturer to sell one gallon of gas for five bucks than two and a half gallons at two dollars apiece.  So losing market share is not a sacrifice if it results in a net gain.
However, here's where the marketeers fail to account for losses: Chevy is forcing its present Impala owners to test-drive the competition every time they go travelling and have to rent a car.  Case in point: I had a long weekend in Nashville with friends and when I went to rent a car, I could have my choice of any one of a lot full of Nissans.  (Something to do with a vehicle assembly plant in a small town called Smyrna.)
One of my guests remarked "Wow! This is a really nice car."  It's notable that she is married to a Ford engineer and both drive Ford products.  So in this case, the Nissan test-drive was a success — for Nissan.
Speaking as a finance guy (taught finance for 20 years) I am not aware of how Chevy or anyone else could quantify losses in sales that stem from 'test drives' like these.  But it seems that from the prospective of the Chevy 'marketeers,' there are no losses if losses are not precisely quantifiable.  I disagree.
What do you think?
 
Clinton
Clinton,

Here’s the issue most automakers have with daily rental cars. The rental companies typically try to equip them as sparsely as possible to keep the price of the car low. Unlike your friends reaction to the Nissan, many renters think, “Geez, what a cheap car.” Next, rental companies typically keep cars for only 6 to 8 months. Then they sell them. These are brand new cars with lots of miles on them and they are sold at a significant discount. They can sell many thousands of them every month. That puts downward pressure on the prices of new cars, or forces an automaker to boost incentives to sell those new ones. Everybody in the business agrees that selling to the daily rental companies is best left to automakers with excess manufacturing capacity or who are running into a sales problem and need to dump a bunch of cars.

Even so you have a point. Renting a car can expose someone to a model or brand they had never considered before. A number of automakers will do this, but they are careful to match the cars to specific regions and airports to make sure the “right” people get in them. And even at that they are very judicious and do not put a bunch of cars into rental fleets.

A key reason why Chevy or any of the other GM brands are bringing in much higher transaction prices these days is thanks to GM reducing fleet sales and concentrating on retail sales. Honda taught the entire industry that this is a better way to go.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


Hi John,
 
This articles makes me wonder whether 'Ceramic' composites will make their way in car engines and whether there's sufficient time for a car company to invest the money with the big push towards zero emissions meaning fuel cell and/or electric cars.
 
Mike Ma @ San Francisco
Back in the early 1980s there was tremendous interest in using ceramics in engines. Caterpillar had a big R&D push with the Defense Department to come out with an “adiabatic” diesel that would not need a radiator—all the heat would be absorbed by ceramic coated pistons, valves, cylinder liners and combustion chambers. The DOD loved the idea because there would be no radiator to shoot out in battlefield situations. Isuzu even vowed it was going to build an all-ceramic diesel engine starting in 1986. Obviously, none of this came to happen. But who knows? Maybe it’s time to revive the idea.
9-27-2016


I'm sure someone's already mentioned it by now, but the Opel Karl mentioned in Autoline Daily is a sibling of the Chevrolet Spark, not the much bigger Trax. The crossover-style Rocks trim package was introduced in 2014 for the Opel Adam, a slightly smaller, premium 3-door model. Fiat, VW and Škoda (apparently pronounced Shkoda) have offered this type of package for years, as does the top level New Yaris (longer and wider than the old European Yaris sold in the US and Japan) introduced in Asian markets in 2014.
Andrew,

Thanks for the correction. You're right. Once again the Autoline audience shows how sharp it is!

John McElroy
9-27-2016


Hey guys,
 
How about a short update on alternative motors/energy storage; Ecomotors, Achates, Satki3/Dyson batteries?
 
Tim Beaumont
9-27-2016


Another great show John.  I enjoyed the discussion about Hudson’s and the movie - maybe documentary.

I was wondering about electric cars and battery technology. I haven’t heard or read of anyone in the automotive industry talk about lithium and possibility of not having enough lithium to produce the batteries required. In the stock market industry I have read that in order for Elon to produce all of the Tesla 3’s that Tesla would require all of the Lithium known to exist. And also Warren Buffets getting involved with purchasing Lithium.  If this is true then
 
1. New lithium reserves will have to be found and/or
 
2. New battery technology will have to invented and
 
3. How will that affect electric cars - costs and “pollution” of the planet?



John - have you heard anything about this and what is your take?



George Plante
George,
 
We’ve been reporting on lithium all along in both Autoline Daily and on Autoline This Week. The latest report we ran says prices have gone up 30% in the last year. But there are 19 lithium mines opening up worldwide in the next 5 years and that will keep a cap on prices.

Thanks for your interest!
 
John McElroy
9-27-2016


Hello John,
 
My name is Alexandre Caviquioli, I am from Brazil and work for GMB (General Motors from Brazil) at GPS SA (Global Propulsion Systems - South America).
 
 I discovered your program, Autoline After Hours, at your channel on YouTube a couple month ago and I really like it.
 
It is a High Level show with plenty of information about auto industry.
 
Here in Brazil we are facing a very hard crisis in the auto industry due to sales retraction, but despite of that, Chevrolet become the number one in Brazilian Market.
 
Today is a Holiday here in our country (our Independence day), so I decided to send you this message with some information about Brazil and to congratulates you for your show!
 
Please, feel free to keep in touch.
 
Best Regards!
 
Alex.
Alex,

Thanks for writing to us, we truly like hearing from our viewers from all around the world.

We’re very aware of the crisis in Brazil and hope that the car market is at the bottom and will start to recover from here. No doubt sales will get back to their former level at some point.

Thanks for the news about Chevrolet becoming #1 in the Brazilian market. We were not aware of that.

Enjoy your holiday, and welcome to the Autoline family.

All the best,
John McElroy
9-27-2016


Very good interview with the GM Design leadership. I may work for their rival, but I truly respect the history and grew up a fan of GM products. 
 
I do have one criticism though in that Ed's response to the Fortune cover shows that some of the Old GM philosophy hasn't changed. They haven't completely grown past badge engineering and think its permissible?
 
He's correct you could line up a Fusion, Sonata, 200, etc.. side by side in a similar view and many would have a hard time distinguishing them apart as the greenhouse shapes are all similar, but you'd still see differences. Those cars had the exact same profile and in many cases the exact same components like switches, handles, radios, etc...
 
Keep up the great work team. I rarely miss an episode.
9-27-2016


Dear Autoline Daily,
 
I noticed your guests on today’s episode commenting about the advantages of ethanol. 
Whenever I go to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I tank up with E0 for the return trip.  (We have a son at MTU.)
I get about 8% better fuel economy on E0 than I get with the E10 on the way up there.
Why is E0 only available there?
And why does it perform so much better than E10?
 
Sincerely,
 
Pete
Pete,

Ethanol has less energy density than gasoline. A gallon of gasoline has 114,000 BTUs, a gallon of pure ethanol has 76,100 BTUs. So E10 has less energy and that’s why you lose fuel economy.

E0 is not available in most regions because it burns dirtier than gasoline mixed with ethanol. Ethanol has more oxygen than gasoline which is one reason why it has less energy but also why it burns more cleanly.
9-27-2016


It is amazing to me that with all of the attention fuel mileage is receiving from both the OEs and the feds, we continue to embrace ethanol blended into gasoline even though it negatively affects MPG. On Autoline Daily, even aerodynamic wheels were discussed. It will benefit all parties involved – except, of course, the ethanol producers - if the OEs demand that gasoline contain substantially less ethanol if they are to meet more stringent CAFE regulations.
 
Larry
Larry,

Automakers are actually calling for higher octane. They say they can’t meet the CAFE standards without it. Higher octane allows them to run higher compression ratios and that improves fuel efficiency.

Ethanol has an octane rating of 113. In the U.S. premium gasoline is typically in the RON 91-94 range, and is significantly more expensive than lower grades of gasoline. Adding ethanol is the cheapest way to boost octane. It also burns with fewer particulates.

The problem is that we’re still using corn based ethanol. The U.S. needs to switch to cellulosic ethanol, but that is happening much slower than originally expected.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


John,



Just saw this on much cheaper carbon fiber. Wonder how that will improve EV range?



Regards, Tim Beaumont
Tim,

Thanks much for sending this link. We love it when our viewers help us find good information.

This actually came up as a topic on AAH last night, and we’ll definitely cover it in Autoline Daily.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


When will we see cars such as the Camry, Altima and Honda Accord start to loose weight via Aluminum like the F150? Btw, I work at the Lexus Plant in Georgetown, Ky and we recently tied for a Silver Award from JD Power. It has been a fascinating experience to start as a Team Member from the beginning.
 
Thank You,
Shan
Shan,

Congratulations to you and the team at Georgetown. Keep the kaizen efforts coming!

I don’t think we’re going to see cars like the Camry, Altima and Accord use aluminum as intensively as the F-150. They still have opportunities to cut weight with hot stamped Ultra High Strength Steel and other efforts. Also, these cars will probably be able to meet the 2025 CAFE standard with 48 volt mild hybrid systems.

John McElroy
9-27-2016


Hi John,

Autoline Daily said Bosch was interested in offering their Water Injection system to auto companies; do you know whether Water Injection is worth the financial investment to either licensed the system from Bosch or create
their own.

Mike Ma @ San Francisco
Most automakers are not set up to produce injection components in-house. They'd rather buy from Bosch which makes these systems for most OEMs. That gives it greater economies of scale and lower prices than most OEMs could do in-house.
9-27-2016


John,
 
Autonomous technology will definitely make driving safer.
 
I greatly appreciate the shows. You and the Autoline team do a great job keeping us informed.
 
David Deaton
9-27-2016


For the sake of conversation or something and though you didn't have the chance to answer a third question, I did go and look again at the 2016 Consumer Report 'car issue' again and saw something odd.
 
For the Chrysler 300 and T&C the last two years looked like Toyota, a line of solid RED circles, but, at the bottom, there is a new category that is solid black for 'used car rating'.  I'll have to do more reading about what that is.
They then use that rating for the short blurbs on each model giving the impression of poor quality and no recommendation.  There seems to be a contradiction.
 
So I am glad FCA is doing well.  To bad they (Auburn Hills) have to carry Fiat and support them.  I sure see a lot of their minivans on the road.
 
rWork
9-19-2016


John,



Having never seen a computer, smart phone or GPS that did not crash, freeze up or glitch at some point, I cannot imagine fully autonomous cars without steering wheels and pedals ever catching on with the masses.



Limited applications such as public transit, ride sharing and disabled persons mobility is where full autonomy will most likely shine.



I do appreciate the technology; I just don't think it will be reliable enough to replace the majority of human drivers anytime soon.



(Perhaps a constitutional amendment protecting the right to drive our own car is needed!)



Thanks,

David
Hmm, you don’t think that autonomous cars will be reliable enough even though human error is the cause of 95% of all accidents?

No, autonomous cars will never be perfect. Nothing is. But they can be far better than what we have now, from a safety standpoint.

Even so, it will be a long time, if ever, that humans are banned from driving their own cars.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


Hi John,

The fact that the "electric turbocharger" isn't driven by exhaust gas has nothing to do with the requirement for an aftercooler. The requirement for aftercooling has to do with pressure ratio of the compressor. When you compress the inlet air its temperature increases. The higher the pressure ratio the higher the temperature.  Engineers must determine the cost benefit ratio of adding an aftercooler based on that.

Richie B
9-19-2016


John
 
After watching the Autoline show on ‘Piston Engines’ I was fascinated with the profound effort in conserving the age old piston engine. 

Although there are many uses for the piston engine I feel we are wasting way to much horsepower. Pun intended, on trying to keep that engine alive. 

Yes the electric alternative is costly because of the current battery technology but I think the effort spent on new piston engine technology is justmaking them more complicated resulting in the potential for more varied breakdowns and huge maintenance costs.

Whereas electric powered vehicles would lesson most of those issues for example the new Tesla cars with only 8 moving parts not the thousands in piston engine driven vehicles besides the engine. 

I understand the motive in keeping the piston engine businesses alive besides engine manufactures the transmission, clutch, drive shaft, cooling systems and all the ancillary businesses related to them employ thousands.  But there is need to move those employees and our engineering trusts to work on the electric storage issue for one and then creating new work options for the displaced people.

In closing we need to remember that electric power has been in use for years in the railroads, ocean going vessels and modern urban public transportation to name a few for years.  

There are better uses for petroleum products besides gasoline that would be better for our environment and future generations.

Sincerely
Gerald
9-19-2016


A friend made these point(s) the enthusiastic media never makes:

I really don't get the Uber thing except that it is a millennial thing to get cab transportation without calling to speak with someone.  The Uber "entreprenures" are really jitney drivers without commercial insurance,  a commercial license and a cab license required in many cities.  We have friends whose out of work stock broker son in law signed up with Uber. He was going along fine until the Dallas police stopped him. Got a $4000 fine for operating an unlicensed cab. Uber does not tell you how to set up business just sign up and they will send you customers on line. An on line scam just waiting for its first major suit or government intervention.  So the driverless cars are right up their alley. Some big money people will set up the scam and protect themselves through an LLC or S-Corp. The cars will be leased from another such entity and if you go over Mt. Washington,  you will have no one to sue and no insurance.  Uber do ber.  Fun.
9-19-2016


Hi John,
An excellent show. Lots of technology discussed. Certainly looks to be a number of alternatives still to come for ICEs.

Your guests, and frankly, almost everyone involved with Detroit and current OEMs are deeply committed to a gasoline internal combustion future, at least for 20 years or more. And, given the current state of R&D, the enormous existing infrastructure and the price of gas, it's a reasonable position.

But the conclusion of the show is the kicker. The customer will decide. I think that BEVs will begin playing a more important role and that the movement will be consumer driven, not economics. This ride sharing/car sharing move to BEVs will give a lot of people their first taste of electric cars.

I look for an external news event ( like transportation now being now the largest producer of co2) or general attitude shift, not CAFE standards or the price of gasoline to start this movement. People rarely make big changes for economics, but for other reasons.

It's going to be fun to watch.

Kind regards

Ian Hendrie 
9-19-2016


Greetings,



Thank  you for your informative and interesting show, the production value and content are truly appreciated.  I am concerned, however,  that an issue of substantial importance to me wasn't address directly, but rather hazily implied on your recent broadcast segment in which Marco Palmieri from Novelis was interviewed.  Since carbon emissions and atmospheric carbon dioxide accumulation have driven governments and citizens worldwide to demand auto manufacturers produce vehicles with reduced vehicle emissions, I understand how your show overlooked a portion of the critical broader picture.  However, that doesn't prevent me from pointing out that possibly the foremost authority on mined metals, R. Buckminster Fuller, wrote in his book "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth," our species has already mined all the metals it needs, with efficient recycling we would be able to reuse these metals without their further mining.  In particular, bauxite mining for aluminum is the most carbon intensive and one of the most wasteful to the ecology. I appreciate how much emphasis Novelis is putting on recycling but I shudder to think how much destruction to our planet's climate and life forms it is also reaping by not closing its mines and focusing its efforts on 100% recycling instead.



Sincerely,


Jack Bornoff
Jack,

We haven’t overlooked the emissions story. We’ve devoted numerous shows to this topic. In the show you’re citing, with the chief executive of one of the world’s major aluminum suppliers, we’re naturally going to focus on aluminum. Check out our website and you will find plenty of shows with some of the leading players when it comes to technology and regulations dealing with emissions.

I’m a huge, life-long Buckminster Fuller fan and even got the chance to see him speak at an event in Midland, Michigan back in the mid-1970’s. It was a fantastic 2-hour speech. But as much as I admire him, Bucky didn’t always get it right. For example, his Dymaxion car was unstable at all but very low speeds. I know this from interviewing one of the groups that rebuilt his car.

Also, I’ve never heard of Fuller referred to as the foremost authority on mined metals. He certainly never made that claim. Moreover Bucky didn’t envision a world of 7.5 billion people, or of a China emerging as the second largest economy in the world. The truth of the matter is that there simply isn’t enough material to be recycled to feed today’s economy.

We do a tremendous amount of recycling today. You rarely see the piles of junked cars and mountains of used tires as were so common when I was growing up. That all gets recycled now. In fact, the biggest change in the steel industry in the last 40 years is the emergence of mini-mills whose primary raw material is scrap steel. And it’s not just steel. Well over 90% of all the metals that go into cars gets recycled, at least in the developed world. Yes, we can do a better job, but we’ve made tremendous progress.

And if you’re that worried about all the bauxite getting mined just take a look at all the materials that went into making the laptop you used to send this email. Almost none of them are going to get recycled. They’re headed for the land fill.

John McElroy
9-19-2016


Hi John,
 
Your article on the 120 years of automotive and the new 3D printed car concept from Local Motors made me think of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s creativity in legislation last year that blocked the world’s #1 recognized EV brand, Tesla, from selling cars in the Motor City, and in Michigan.  The customers might be ready for innovative business models, yet clearly the Michigan government will flex it’s muscles to protect the status quo.
 
I thoroughly enjoy your work!
 
Andrew
Andrew,

I could not agree more. Banning Tesla from selling cars in Michigan was a bone headed idea. It’s even more unbelievable coming from a governor who made his name running Gateway, which made its name by selling direct to consumers.

John McElroy

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