Episode 1075 – Volvo’s Road Sign Info, Sales vs. Registrations, Bentley Goes Flying

February 20th, 2013 at 12:32pm

Runtime: 8:35

Volvo is introducing a number of new safety-related technologies. One of those is what they call Road Sign Information. It has been reported lately that BMW passed Mercedes-Benz as the top luxury sales leader in the American market. But, M-B says otherwise, if you look at one important stat. The all-new Flying Spur from Bentley will make its global debut at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. All that and more, plus we get to some of your questions and comments in this week’s edition of You Said It!

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Welcome to Autoline Daily. Later on in the show we’ll get to your questions and comments in the segment we call You Said It!, but now let’s get to the news.

WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?
Volvo is refreshing three of its models for the Geneva show next month. And it’s introducing a number of new safety-related technologies. One of those is what they call Road Sign Information. It uses two video cameras mounted near the top of the windshield, that amongst other things, can read road signs and display them on the instrument panel. So just in case you missed the sign and were wondering what the speed limit is, the car will tell you how fast you should be going.

THE CHALLENGE OF GOING GREEN
You’ve probably heard about this argument between Elon Musk and the New York Times over a review of the Tesla S and how the reviewer said he couldn’t get the driving range that Tesla claims. We’ve avoided covering the story because it seems to be so much ado about nothing. But what it does highlight is that electric cars will lose significant range in cold weather and at highway speeds. In my own experience in test driving the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF, the range can drop by as much as 40 percent when the thermometer reads 25 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 4 Celsius. Range also drops dramatically in the latest generation hybrids if you merely try to keep up with traffic or drive at 70 miles an hour on the highway. I think this helps explain why these so-called green cars only account for a small sliver of the market. If they only work as promised if you drive them slowly in warm weather then they are never going to achieve a significant amount of market share.

THAT JUST DOESN’T ADD UP
It has been reported lately that BMW passed Mercedes-Benz as the top luxury sales leader in the American market. But, as we know, dealers and automakers sometimes play games with their raw sales numbers. According to Mercedes if you look at the actual registrations, where new owners have to register their cars, which one can argue is a more accurate sales number, M-B tops BMW by nearly 5,500 units. Registrations almost never match up with raw sales because some cars may have been stolen, exported or even destroyed. When you compare the discrepancy between the two companies, Mercedes only overstated sales by 11 units whereas BMW is over by 13,000. As Spock would say, “Fascinating, Captain.”

BENTLEY GOES FLYING
The all-new Flying Spur from Bentley is the company’s fastest, most powerful 4-door sedan it has ever made. It is powered by a twin-turbo W12 motor mated to an 8-speed transmission that rockets the Spur to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. The interior and exterior of the Flying Spur has classic Bentley styling cues with a comfort and refinement that we have come to expect from the company. The Spur will make its global debut at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.

BARN FINDS
Every day we peek into our mailbag at Autoline.tv, and without fail it’s filled with all kinds of goodies from you voracious car fans. And, when one of you turns up an obscure vehicle, we feature it in our Barn Finds segment. Since we had ZERO luck stumping you last week, we’re going with a car even WE couldn’t ID. This minivan comes from Bert Burrows who says he spied it while at a rest stop in Holland, Michigan. He tells us that all the badges were covered up, but the logo was not. While he couldn’t get a clear shot of it, Bert describes it as “two arrows pointed up inside a circle.” So, all you smartypants out there: what is it? Let us know your best guesses in the comments section below today’s show, and we’ll report back later.

Coming up right after this, even more gems from the mailbag as we dive into “You Said It!”

Wim van Acker noted that we reported “‘The general rule of thumb is the break even point for the industry is 80 percent capacity utilization. Anything above that is pure profit.’ John, the OEM has to pay its suppliers (roughly 70 percent of revenue per car) and all materials it purchases itself to build the vehicle. So not pure profit.” Wim is right, of course. What I should have added is that once an automaker hits 80 percent capacity utilization it has paid for all the investment in the product, plant and equipment. In other words, it has covered all its fixed costs. The variable costs that Wim refers to varies with how many cars get built.

Speaking of capacity utilization Phoenix Mark asks a great question “What does it mean when a factory runs at over 100 percent capacity? I know what happens when a sewage treatment plant runs at over 100 percent capacity… it is not a pretty picture.” Phoenix, all automakers calculate their manufacturing capacity based on running two shifts a day, five days a week for 8 hours each shift. So if they run any overtime, or run on three shifts they will exceed that 100 percent calculation.

Lex wants to know, “When will we see solar panels integrated into the roof of your average car or truck?” Lex, Mazda actually offered that some years ago. The panel ran a small fan in the car that blew out hot air from the cabin in the summer time. Solar panels are coming down in price but they don’t put out much power. Have you ever seen those solar powered race cars that are covered in solar panels? They generate enough power to run an electric hair dryer on full blast. So for now, solar panels on cars or trucks are not a cost effective way to make vehicles more efficient.

C-Tech says, “That 3-door SEAT Leon SC looks great. I do wish the Big 3 would bring back the hot hatch with 2 doors, not 4.” I agree. They sort of go with compact pickup trucks. Everyone knows there’s demand for them in the US market, but so far no one’s doing anything to meet that demand. Even so, I think we’ll see those hot hatches make a comeback in the next couple of years.

Ivan Sears liked my commentary on the UAW and sounds like he works at one of the transplants. “If you have actually been in, worked in, a transplant, you are aware that the people there work hard, play hard and contribute to product and process enhancement everyday. True, there is little tolerance for slack work efforts and absentee-ism, but they remain great places to work. So, yes, the UAW must sell themselves as more than just organized labor. They must truly answer the question of ‘what’s in it for me?’ to every associate. A daunting task for folks in states that are not supportive of unions in the first place.”

Thanks for all your questions and comments, we really like to get them. And please join us tomorrow night for Autoline After Hours. Our guest will be Charlie Hughes, who used to run Land Rover in North America, amongst other things. He really has a lot to say about branding. So join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information in the business.

And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for turning in, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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83 Comments to “Episode 1075 – Volvo’s Road Sign Info, Sales vs. Registrations, Bentley Goes Flying”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    Johnny Mac ;

    The TESLA and BMW’s ‘ sales ‘ reports today .

    Molto grazie – Many thanks .. and two thumbs up !

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The news about ‘going green’ is hardly news as we have discussed that on here years ago.We KNEW that cold batteries have diminished capacities,same same when they are too hot.We also discussed the problem with fires and such with LI batts……….years ago.Doesn’t anybody listen ;}>

  3. Feldman Says:

    That Bentley Silver Spur 2.0 will cost $300,000, while the 1.0 version barely cost $200,000 when it came out.

    Shows you how worthless the $ has become…

  4. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A.

    No ( as far as the auto industry and automotive print press are concerned ) they do not .

  5. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    G.A. alot of the stuff covered here isnt ‘news’ because its stuff that’s been out for awhile all ready. I think the show is more about commentary alot of times. Like the pollution and trafic in China. I wouldnt call that newsworthy, more common sense. But like they say common sense aint so common any more! I watch for Johns unique perspective’s on certain issues.

  6. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 5: You kind of missed my point,I was being sarcastic.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding “going green,” as i’ve said before, I usually fall short of the EPA ratings with my Prius, but I still get much better mpg than I would with any other car of similar utility. I have averaged about 47 mpg since I’ve had it, and get about 44 mpg for my road trips between FL and IN, going about 75 most of the time on the rural interstate.

    I haven’t driven the Prius much in cold weather, but Prius driving friends say their mileage drops in the winter by about the same amount, percentage-wise, as with conventional cars.

    Of course, pure electrics are a whole ‘nother ball game. Not only do the batteries work less well when it’s cold, but it takes a lot of energy to heat the cabin. A regular hybrid like a Prius, Camry, or Fusion hybrid heats the cabin the same way as a regular car, with the coolant from the ICE.

  8. Feldman Says:

    A colleague of mine bought the previous gen Prius and uses it in the snowbelt and claims he gets 50 MPG. Not sure if he approximates, I doubt if he hypermiles, but in general he is very cost-conscious.

  9. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    @6 Sarcasm always doesnt transfer in words very good! But point taken. I see what you mean.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8, I don’t hypermile. I “just drive it,” keeping up with all normal traffic, but I let off the gas when a light ahead turns red, rather than charging up to the red light, etc.

    I calculate out the mileage at fill ups. My mpg readout is about 5% “optimistic,” as is the one on my MINI.

  11. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 5: Years ago on here,maybe 3,4 or more,it has been a long while,when LI was announced it would replace NMh.We specificly talked about the limitations of certain batteries,also the explosive nature of LI when not balanced charged,and when run down below a certain limit etc.This was a good discussion that went on far longer then the article did.

    Then there was a guest on AL,a woman if memory serves,which espoused the virtues of the LI and has undergone extensive testing etc.That in turn brought up the debate here on how will winter treat these ev’s etc.Did they test it with the defrost on full,electric heated seat,wipers on and so on.WE HERE knew they were in fact full of crapolla (I owe you a buck for using yer word Pedro).And we have since then,on occasion,talked about it when the subject was broached,like today.

    PS: That lady was full of $hit.

  12. HtG Says:

    I want to see if Musk gets some blowback from the press corps now that he’s put everyone on notice that HAL is watching and recording their every move. Tesla really couldn’t let the NYT story go unchallenged, though, especially as they’re coming out with a caravan type thing.

  13. HtG Says:

    My little gray Honda is getting about 33 in my usage this winter. Short trips, some hoonage, some highway, and a rough accounting system, but since I learned that today’s automatics quickly throw a car into 4th gear, I’ve started doing it myself. Sort of like diet coke with my fries.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    Three Cheers to Mercedes Benz for being the ONLY EU auto manufacture wiling to stand up to the might of the European Union in favor of their customers as well as passerby’s safety ;

    ( the refrigerant issue G.A. raised earlier )

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/explosive-refrigerant-threatens-to-blow-up-s-class-launch/#more-478326

  15. Feldman Says:

    #10 you obviously don’t hypermile, I was saying that I doubt that my 50 MPG snowbelt Prior gen prius colleague does!!

  16. ColoradoKid Says:

    Li Batteries ;

    Here’s the facts so’s everyones all caught up ;

    Below 32f … and above 79f Li’s become unstable

    At the point Li’s become unstable one or more of the following will happen ;

    1- Lose their charge quicker
    2- They charge slower
    3- Lose their capacity to completely recharge
    4- Lose their capacity to recharge at all
    5-Lose their charge entirely
    6- Generate excess heat ( which can burn anything near them)
    7- Self ignite
    8- Explode

    Some of the above consequences being temporary and annoying … while others are potentially dangerous and devastating .

  17. Feldman Says:

    #12 Tesla is out with a Minivan? Or is it a more trendy SUV or Crossover?

  18. Feldman Says:

    #13 no fries served with a civic!

    Our 22 year old civic 3-door hatch (white with black rubber or whatever stripes on the sides and black bumpers) gets 35 overall and 44 on Hwy trips but it is happiest around town, the name Civic was very appropriate. 1.35 lts, 75 HP, but much lighter than yours, maybe lighter than your Miata at 1,875 lbs or 875 Kg (not sure which)

  19. Feldman Says:

    #16 a colleague with whom I also was in China directs a lab that does research on batteries and was very pessimistic as to what happens to them if you recharge them fully a number of times etc.

  20. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – Word has it its an SUV Musk(rat ) has in the works .

    That’ll be a real laugh ! ;-)

  21. Feldman Says:

    #11 Do you remember what she looked like? Was she by any chance 30-40ish and Indian (asian Indian) looking? I know of one like that, a publicity (expletive deleted), who did all kinds of shows, grabbed millions of taxpayer $, and covers her tail by claiming what they do in her little company is risky research and has no guarantee of success.

    (Translation: Guaranteed to fail!)

  22. HtG Says:

    2002civic 2460lbs
    96miata ~2200lbs

    16 what’s going to happen when those batteries deteriorate? Will owners have moved on already? I read that Volt has more capacity than it uses, so maybe the slope is gentle, but I don’t know what Tesla has done as far as rating their car.

  23. HtG Says:

    20 It’s the ModelX

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=tesla+suv&src=IE-TopResult&FORM=IE10TR

  24. T. Bejma Says:

    #16

    Catching on fire/exploding is also an occasional characteristic of any ICE powered vehicle. I see “car-b-Q’s” on the side of the road on a very frequent basis (statistics say that over 250,000 car fires occur annually). Not seeing that kind of percentage with the Hybrids/EV’s out on the road today…

  25. Feldman Says:

    “T. Bejma Says:
    February 20th, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    #16

    Catching on fire/exploding is also an occasional characteristic of any ICE powered vehicle.”

    Which can be made much more frequent if the NBC (or was it ABC?) “investigative reporter” show crew helps by adding some explosives near the gas tank

  26. C-Tech Says:

    Will the Volvo road sign info-camera system also read the signs that tell you the distance to the next McDonalds or Cedar Point ?

  27. Feldman Says:

    #26 The Chinese buyers of Volvo took all the technology from it that is useful and are now planning to get rid of the loser brand. Apparently Volvo engineers have lots of free time on their hands to work on such projects instead of fixing the appalling unreliability of their recent offerings.

  28. C-Tech Says:

    Story about car fires: Customer trades in a 1988 Pontiac Sunfire (J2000 ?). The next day it catches fire in the holding lot. The service manager STOPS us from putting out the fire because it cost more to refill the fire extinguishers than the car is worth.

  29. HtG Says:

    26 brain wave

    What about a bar code on signs so localized advertisements could be shown or read out to occupants in the car? I gotta have that

    /sarcasm

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    23

    Yup ! Elon’s version/vision of the MiniBreadSUVan . . But everyone’s calling it an SUV … hee hee !

  31. Tman Says:

    I’m pretty certain that Barn Find is the Weiwang 306 minivan by BAIC. This looks like an extended version.

  32. ColoradoKid Says:

    29

    Even better . Have the barcode trigger the ‘ Miss Uppity ‘ voice on your infotainment system or smart phone so’s you can get the audible ad and information .. along with a bit of subliminal * music ( advertising & propaganda ) …. LoL ( major sarcasm intended )

    ( * yes I did a minor in Industrial Psychology back in the 70′s …. eeeesh …. talk about scary stuff … especially in the digital age )

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    ALD

    So much for ” Stumping the Monkeys ” ( us ) again !

    Tman nailed it !

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #11,
    The best I can tell, the one and only advantage of Lithium batteries compared to NiMH, is that the Li’s have much higher power density. That is why they are used in all mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Also, they may be more easily recycled the NiMH’s.

    Batteries generally see a much easier life in mobile electronic devices than for powering cars, but a lot of people probably leave their electronic gadgets in cars parked in the summer with the windows closed. I doubt the batteries like that.

    I would think that in nearly all applications, the charging systems are designed to use the “middle” portion of the the charge cycle to make the batteries last longer, while reducing run time per charge. I know they do that with the Volt, and Apple does that with all their devices, none of which have easily replaceable batteries.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16,
    Where did that information come from? I’ve had my phone and laptop at well over 79F, and if any of those things happened, it would have been #’s 1, 2, or 3, and to such a small extent that it wasn’t noticeable.

  36. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I disagree with Tman.I think it’s the Korean Wonhunglo SHORT wb.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 continued.

    Also, Lithium batteries self-descharge more slowly than NiMH, but in applications like hybrid cars, the Li advantage is so small that it doesn’t make any difference.

  38. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: The LI’s seem to be very much like our LiPo’s.We talked about this years ago.

  39. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The advantage with LI’s over NMh I think is pretty much weight,as in less.The LI’s are finicky to charge up,are finicky to discharge,they heat up fast and also puff up.Once that happens they,or it,is garbage.dangerous garbage at that.

  40. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit

    The other factor that effects Li’s stability is moisture and vibration ( especially constant and repetitive vibration ) . Both of which an automobile is exposed to in spades despite any and all precautions any manufacture may claim

    And yes you barely notice the effects on a laptop /phone etc because ;

    1 The power demands on those are lower than a car … especially in standby mode

    2- I doubt you left your laptop / cell phone exposed to said temps for extended periods of time while in use

    3- There’s a lot less of them ( Li’s – one only in lp’s and sp’s ) to be affected as well as affect each other ( in multiples Li’s like to ‘ spread the wealth ‘ when instability strikes one down )

    G.A. is spot on btw in # 39 with the additional benefit of smaller size .

    So … in laptops / smartphone’s /Smartpads etc the benefits ( size/weight ) mostly do outweigh the problems and the compromises are reasonable … whereas with an automobile …. definitely not !

  41. ColoradoKid Says:

    24

    The main difference being in order for an ICE to self ignite/explode it needs to either be exposed to significant trauma … or at the very least some kind of mechanical failure ..e.g. a leak etc .

    Whereas a simple rise or fall in the ambient temperature can cause an Li to go off .

    In addition when an ICE …. say goes up in flames … with proper equipment and training the fire can be contained/put out in a relatively short period of time …… Whereas even with the most technologically advanced fire fighting equipment and the best of training a single Li unit can and will burn on at excessively high temperatures for hours before being contained

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    39,
    They store a lot more energy than other battery types, both for their weight, and for their volume.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34,
    Actually, energy density is the correct term, not power density. Also, they LiPo and LiION batteries are cheaper than NiMH for the same watt-hour capacity, according to this site:

    http://www.allaboutbatteries.com/Battery-Energy.html

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42, Correction. According to the site linked in #43, NiMH have higher energy density by volume. I’ve heard otherwise, though.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40-2
    I’ve used my phone for extended periods when it would be substantially above 79 degrees, but the laptop only a little above 79.

    BTW, Apple says that you should USE your batteries at temperatures from 50-95F, and STORE them between -13-113F. They say 22C is the ideal storage temp. See:

    http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

  46. HtG Says:

    45 yup. At the Tesla store they mentioned that their batteries worked ideally when at 70F.
    But in the couple years I’ve had my HP laptop, it’s batteries have degraded a lot. I know better now with the Surface tablet, in that I don’t let the batteries run down. Hopefully Tesla S owners keep their car charging when parked.

  47. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit

    I kind of doubt you’re the sort that obsesses over each and every percentage point your batteries drop in a given day ( I sure don’t ) and like I said … the effects are less with your laptop/phone/pad etc because in part the demands are less

    Here’s some interesting insights just put up by TTAC ;

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/the-truth-about-battery-life/

    Though it doesn’t address all the consequences of Li’s in EV’s it does bring up the most commonly faced issues .

    Notice what he says about how Heat & Cold affect the Li’s in different ways as far as their lifespan and recharge capabilities

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, if you let batteries run down completely, it ruins them. I have a ~6 year old Sony laptop that has worked only with the charger since it was about two years old, because I allowed it to sit, unused and uncharged for a few months.

    If you run laptop or phone batteries down to where the device shuts off, the batteries probably still have 10-20% and should be ok, if you then connect the charger, but if you let the device sit for months, the batteries will self-discharge to oblivion.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47, Great TTAC article.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Since the Li batteries have high internal resistance when cold, they would heat up on their own, due to extra power being dissipated within them, but the separate heater the Tesla has would speed up the process.

    I suspect the cooling is way more important than heating, in that it would help maximize the lifespan of the batteries to avoid the “Phoenix Leaf Syndrome.”

  51. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I read that article bt TTAC and I have to say I disagree with the authors conclusion.I don’t believe it is the owners fault,generally speaking.Look at all the hype both in print and on the air commercials that were on.NO MENTION at all of the batts limitations/liabilities etc.And I’m willing to bet the salesman never once mentioned anything at all about what temp extremes can and will do to the vehicles range etc.Yes that time reporter didn’t take advantage of charging whenever he could,but you have to look at it like he’s a typical customer.

  52. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Also,yes,it’s up to the customer to read the manual and take care of proper business with the new tech ev’s.It’s also up to the customer to do his/hers due diligence when making a purchase,ie: Research.Especially the expected life of those very expensive battery packs,even when taken care of properly.Ev’s kinda suck butt right now with the present battery tech.My advice:stay away from them,buy a Prius.

  53. T. Bejma Says:

    #41

    Haven’t heard of Lithium batteries spontaneously combusting at high temperatures (low pressure – Boeing – sure). We know the range goes down on the air cooled batteries of the Nissan Leaf but that’s about all I have seen.

    Please do expand on this information CK…

  54. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A.

    I disagree whole heartedly as well with the author attempting to place the burden of the blame on the consumer when in fact it should be placed on the manufactures shoulders because ;

    1- EV’s as proven time and time again Are Not Ready for Primetime and are not as advertised a genuine and viable alternative to the ICE as an automobile is used in this day and age for the overwhelming majority of car buyers as well as the overall geography of the US ( and World at large )

    2- The manufactures should make the EV’s limitations as well as the areas of the country where EV’s are not suitable ( Denver being one of many ) very clear in their advertising .. not in the very hidden ‘ Fine Print ‘ ( I’ve got an armload of TESLA propaganda gotten recently from the local ‘ store ‘ and have yet to see even so much as a mention as to the limitations- problems encountered – precautionary steps to take etc in any of it . Just on hyperbole after another with a raft of Platitudes and Attitudes from the company )

    3- EV’s markets should be limited to those areas where in fact the EV stands a reasonable chance of working on a regular basis ( even though honestly there are not very many )

    Simply put …. the EV as it stands is no more an alternative to the ICE than the Stanley Steamer or the early EV’s were in their day . e.g. Brilliant machines – a kick to drive …. but who could wait 30-60 minutes for the boiler to heat up .

    Yes the EV’s problems are very different from the Steamer ….( but the current wave of EV’s are facing the very same problems despite the new technology ) but in overall usage and lack of viability the analogy is a reasonable one

    Suffice it to say IMO the US Government and Obama in particular need to UNPLUG the EV manufactures in general and TESLA in particular from the tax payer funded cash IV they’re all subsisting on

  55. ColoradoKid Says:

    54 paragraph four should of read ;

    ” current EV’s are facing the very same problems the EV’s of the Stanley Steamers era did despite ………. “

  56. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CK: At the very least,they (all involved) should come clean on the whole ev thing…period.I wish for the life of me I could remember that ladies name that John had on his show,and all of her BS in regards to ‘extensive testing’ and so on.Total bull$hit from start to finish.Your analogy to the stanley steamer/ev’s is better then you think,as they both are prone to exploding when not tended to correctly.Caveot Emtor….

  57. ColoradoKid Says:

    53

    In answer to your question . Pay attention ! But I must ask … why do you persist in trying to pick a fight with me TB ? I answered your earlier question in a very civil manner …. have attempted both thru humor and a bit of silliness to quell the tensions between us … yet you persist with the attitude and uninformed challenges

    Methinks TB a bit of reciprocation on your part is well over due … especially in light of my not wanting to add to the confrontations between you and you know who ;-)

  58. HtG Says:

    Reuters has this piece on Boeing finding a fix for its batteries. I read elsewhere that there was a wiring error to blame, but then the internet. Job well done, Elon. High five

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/20/us-boeing-dreamliner-battery-idUSBRE91J10720130220

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #54,
    Yes, I think we all know that a pure EV will not work as an only car for people who take long road trips, unless they want to rent a car for those road trips. But…

    A Tesla S would easily work as a commuter/almost everything car for people whose normal driving would be less than X miles a day. The Tesla with the big battery has a range of 300 miles under ideal conditions, and would easily have 100 mile range in conditions where it is cold or hot, some of the trip is at 80 mph, etc. Yes, all of this should be explained by the seller, and yes, an $80K commuter car will never be cost effective, but there is a place for cars like the S, and battery technology will continue to improve.

  60. XA351GT Says:

    Well for 2 companies that say they aren’t worried about being number 1 in luxury sales,BWM and M-B sure do a lot of hollaring about what each other is doing trying to be number 1.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    60, Meanwhile, Lexus will overtake both of them.

  62. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 58: I read that the Japanese found the wiring to the batteries was wrong.

    All of our batteries in my aircraft days were Nicads.Dependable,heavy,and could be dangerous if one wasn’t careful.No big deal.

  63. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    That Weiwang 306 minivan looks like something made by Peter’s FuKing Motors.

  64. T. Bejma Says:

    #57

    I apologize for the way that you took my earlier post, it was not intended to be confrontational.

    See, that is the problem with writing, the author and the reader can sometimes have very different understanding of the intention.

    And did it really require an insult on your behalf (“attitude and uninformed challenges”)? I had a legitimate question and expected some clarification… Should have added a ;-)

  65. fred k Says:

    is it a citron ?

  66. Don B. Says:

    The spur is as fast 0-60 as my single turbo v6 pickup.
    Oh forgot it does 4.3 seconds 0-60 in the rain.
    Figure it out? 1991 GMC Syclone.
    I love American technology.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I thought the Syclone was pretty cool, except for GM’s sick thing with deliberately misspelling words used as car names. What is wrong with Cyclone, or Prism, or Savannah?

    Anyway, Syclone was about the only 4WD pickup that the SCCA would allow in autocrossing, and it worked pretty well for that. Most 4WD pickups are too easy to roll, so SCCA doesn’t allow them.

    Yeah, the Spur won’t be any quicker 0-60, but will be much faster top speed, like about 200 mph, for whatever that is worth.

  68. W L Simpson Says:

    Including lead, lithium is 4th gen EV power. I think I’ll wait for the 6th, because it won’t resemble anything that has gone before.

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe lead-acid batteries would still be good for EV’s. They are cheap, and recycling the batteries is mature technology.

    They have only about a third the energy density of lithium batteries, but if you want to do a two seater…. The GM EV-1 was actually pretty impressive, and it used lead-acid batteries.

  70. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The new agm’s are a bit lighter,and are sealed..maybe?

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …if they can take deep discharges.

  72. ColoradoKid Says:

    A very strange turn of events at GM ;

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130221/AUTO0103/302210339/1148/auto01/GM-drops-applications-Web-domain-names

    Can’t say I quite comprehend the logic behind this one at all .

    Odd .

    ——-

    T Bejma – Yes lets try and keep things more civil between us and apologies if my last came off insulting as well . Do try to remember that my critiques of GM are NOT aimed at you personally . In my book you’re T Bejma …. the individual first and foremost …. T Bejma the family man second … with the fact that you work for GM being a very distant third .

    As to the answer . With laptops – cell phones etc .. as well as in the airline industry ( several of the private plane manufactures ) spontaneous combustion with Li’s has been very well documented . Scientists have proven it can happen with any Li use . Therefore the intelligent assumption is … it will happen at some point with cars using Li’s …. assuming that is that it hasn’t already … which is a disputable point .

  73. ColoradoKid Says:

    TESLA morning news break ;

    Their sales are up ( while the deposits on the ‘ S ‘ are getting canceled left and right ; NYTimes ) … some 500% according to Musk(rat)

    Which errr …. means ….. they’ve only lost $90 million ( TTAC)

    The funniest part being the photos showing Musk making the announcement with a bottle of champagne in hand and glass raised …. as if losing $90 million was a good thing .

    The man is delusional . Unplug him Mr Obama …. please !!!!!!!

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    71,
    I guess the powers that be at GM think the use of .com domain names for regular commercial businesses is here to stay. I’d be inclined to agree, but the way things change in technology and internet use, who really knows.

  75. Steve Ashley Says:

    John,
    IE the barn find. This is the first Chinese “Turd-Blossom” being exported to the U.S. Piles and piles more can be expected since “barns” are rather scarce in China.
    Regards,
    Steve Ashley

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For those who might be interested, here is country of origin data for 2013 vehicles.

    By percent US/Canada content:
    http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/24025812/1481413826/name/2013_AALA_Percent_2-13-13.pdf

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and alphabetically:
    http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/24025812/602456157/name/2013_AALA_Alpha_2-13-13.pdf

  78. T. Bejma Says:

    #71

    We are all good Mr. Martin. I agree, and will make sure to try and keep things more pleasant between us.

    Just saw this about GM helping out in an area you are interested in – Music. Looks like a way to tap into the Millenials with a vehicle they seem to like…

    http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/1538820/exclusive-mtvu-teams-with-chevy-sonic-for-woodie-award

  79. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit a quick one in relation to # 75-76

    Back when shopping for the new car that wound up being the GLK .. one of the cars we seriously looked at was the Volvo XC60 . Shockingly Volvo had its all content origins by country and % on a sheet on the windshield .

    Why shocking you ask ? Because not one single part was in fact from Sweden . China Belgium UK a couple from the US … but not one solitary % of Swedish parts in it .

    What a world we live in where a ‘ Swedish ‘ car in fact has not one iota of ‘ Swedish ‘ in it .

  80. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma

    re; 78

    Well ….. at least its SXSW .

    But I’d still like to see Cadillac gets its promotional nose into the High Brow side of things . Like I said a few weeks ago …. getting invited to participate in an American Composers Forum ….. sponsored by the likes of Lexus ( or M-B , BMW etc ) kind of gets a bit ….. tiresome

  81. Feldman Says:

    I’d like to see ALL automakers get their promotional noses OUT of Everything. I know they will never do it, I am not sure if they benefit from it, but any person with half a brain would want them to use these tens of millions of $ in improving their PRODUCTS and/or Lowering their Prices.

    A corporation is not a charity. A public corporation is owned by millions of average Joes, widows and orphans in their pension plans, (whether we like to own these losers or not.) Its duty is to its OWNERS, the SHAREHOLDERS.

    Let the Red Cross be the Red Cross and BMW be BMW and make the Ultimate Driving Machines, not play pretend Mother Teresa.

  82. Don B. Says:

    Kit i believe it was misspelled because Ford had a Cyclone already

  83. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, that’s probably right regarding Cyclone, but GM has had a long, and to me, a bit annoying history of using deliberately misspelled word for car names, with Ciera, Savana, PriZm, and most recently, Cruze.

    They have some car name I like, though, like Impala and Malibu.