Autoline Daily

Subscribe - Podcasts Video Podcasts iTunes Zune RSS Audio & Other Options
Autoline Daily

Episode 831 – PSA, GM to Shack Up? Ford Tourneo Concept, New Lexus ES Caught in China

February 22nd, 2012 at 11:50am

Runtime: 8:00

It looks like two European losers could be getting together to keep each other afloat. Ford’s Tourneo Concept gets previewed ahead of its Geneva debut. The new Lexus ES is spied hanging around in China sans camouflage. All that and more, plus John McElroy responds to your comments and questions in You Said It!

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bosch, Bridgestone and Dow Automotive Systems

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | Zune | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher

This is Autoline Daily for February 22, and now, the news.

PSA AND GM TO SHACK UP? (subscription required)
Reports out of Europe today say that PSA and General Motors are in talks about partnering up. PSA, which includes Peugeot and Citroen, is in deep trouble, with rumors floating out of Europe that it could be facing bankruptcy within two years. GM, of course, is looking for ways to turn Opel around. Here’s my Autoline Insight. Putting two losers together could be a disaster, unless the combination allows them to slash platforms, slash investment and reduce overcapacity. Even then, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to pull it off. But unless both companies take drastic action, the future looks pretty bleak for them.

FORD’S TOURNEO CUSTOM CONCEPT
Speaking of what’s going on in Europe, Ford sells two versions of its Transit van there, a front-drive, one-ton version, and a rear-drive, two-ton version. At the Geneva show next month, it’s going to unveil a restyled version of the front-drive one. Called the Tourneo Custom Concept, this 8-passenger van, signals that Ford will push harder into the passenger van segment and not just the commercial carrier segment. It will offer SYNC, Lane Departure Warning, and a stop-start 2.2 turbo diesel mated to a 6-speed manual. The production version of this van will be sold worldwide, except in North America. In 2013 Ford will start building the rear-drive version of the Transit at its Kansas City plant in the US. At that point production of the E-series, or Econoline vans, will begin to phase out. The current body style of the Econoline has been around for about 36 years.

NOT A STELLAR PERFORMANCE
Fiat has big plans to boost sales of Jeeps in Europe, but it’s just hit a big stumbling block. The Jeep Compass received disappointing results in the most recent Euro NCAP crash tests. It only scored two stars because it tested poorly in side pole tests and pedestrian protection. Interestingly, the U.S. Department of Transportation has not conducted those tests on a Jeep Compass and neither has the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

EURO DEBT CRISIS BOOSTS US CAR SALES
You know, just when I think I sort of understand what’s going on in the complex world of economics, something comes along that completely contradicts what I thought I knew. While everyone is worried about the debt crisis in Europe, Ford’s chief economist, Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, explains that it actually has helped boost car sales in the American market. (This content only available in today’s video.) You can listen to that entire interview on our website at Autoline.tv.

CAUGHT! NEW LEXUS ES IN CHINA
The new Lexus ES will debut at the Beijing and New York Auto Show, but one was spotted in China before it makes its premiere. China Car Times has these spy shots of the car and as you can see the front end is similar to the GS with the same hour glass fascia. Powering the car is a 2.5L V6. Not much else is known, but you can be sure we’ll have more info about the car when it makes its official debut.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

A lot of you are wondering about the latest status of the bailout of GM and Chrysler. Ed K says, “What’s the straight scoop on the loans that the USG gave to GM and Chrysler? I’ve read that GM paid some cash and gave the USG the rest in stock, but haven’t heard how Chrysler paid theirs off.” Ed K, Chrysler paid off all its loans to the US and Canadian governments last year, six years ahead of time. GM doesn’t have any loans to pay off. The USG is still sitting on some GM stock, waiting for the price to go higher before it sells.

Buzzerd has something to say on the subject as well. “I continually hear some people complain about the money the Canadian and US governments loaned/gave to GM and Chrysler to which I always ask, ‘Why is it OK to give the imports money to build plants, or Fisker and Tesla? What is the difference?’” I guess the only difference is that Chrysler and GM would have gone out of business without the money to get them through bankruptcy while the loans to Nissan, Fisker or Tesla are for retooling plants to make electric cars. But at the end of the day it’s still taxpayer money going to car companies.

Pedro Fernandez is wondering about the market for electric cars. “When I read the main story about EVs not selling well in Europe, my first thought was: Where are they selling, period?” Good question Pedro. EVs are not selling well anywhere in the world despite very generous incentives to buy them.

Kit Gerhart saw our report that Mazda makes too many models in too many plants and asks, “John, are there 13 Mazda models in the U.S., or world wide? Either way, it’s way to many for a total volume of 1.3 million, for a non-premium brand.” Kit, that’s 13 models worldwide, though some of them are only sold in Japan.

HtG is deeply upset by what’s going on in Formula One this year. “John, paisan, how could you miss the ‘cry on your amici’s shoulder’ news that for the first time since 1970 there will not be an Italian driver on the Formula 1 grid? Jarno Trulli lost his seat at Caterham to Vitaly Petrov of Russia. You wonder how big the check was. Basta, I cannot go on.” Wow, I guess I had missed the fact that there would be no Italian drivers in Formula One this year. It doesn’t seem possible, and I think that Formula One is the poorer for it.

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

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

86 Comments to “Episode 831 – PSA, GM to Shack Up? Ford Tourneo Concept, New Lexus ES Caught in China”

  1. HtG Says:

    Here’s an article on Tesla which begs for some ‘splaining from EV supporters like me. Apparently, if you let the battery drain to zero, you now have “brick art” for your manse’s lawn.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-tesla-roadster-can-become-a-100000-brick-2012-2

    (breath slowly, tj)

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Great, step right up, Ladies and Gentlemen put your hard-earned dollars down on a potential $100,000 brick!! The radio won’t even operate, I’ll bet.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    On the Tesla ‘brick’; could Tesla be the only company that will let their battery be drained to zero? Most, if not all of the electric car producers have the battery set (electronically) to lock out power within certain guidelines. I’ve seen specifications, to the effect that the battery is deemed empty at thirty percent capacity (and only charges to eight-five percent) for full capacity; this to increase battery life (to guaranteed intervals).

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Chuck, but the system could fail and you just keep driving till you run out of juice, I mean, people even do it with ICE where filling up is not even an issue.

  5. LS ford Says:

    Lexus new styling. So I agree with everyone that the new look on lexus is good. Style is getting much better. But full stop…when I see they will apply this salon look to all their cars?? This is what got them bland in the first place. I am concerned that this is a bad move for lexus to copy the same grille on every sedan they make..is it a GS, no it might be an ES, nope it is an IS??? I am lost, and so are most buyers.

  6. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG – thanks fer nuthin pal :( ( stealing my TESLA story )

    Just joshin . But am I the only one after reading the article thats asking the question ;

    ” WTH isn’t the author reading his own words ? ”

    Seriously the guy knows every problem lies and foibles of TESLA/Musk yet he still puts a deposit down on the Non Existent TESLA X(box) ?

    Do I hear $112,000 for this ” Brick ” ?

    FYI the article is wrong . We’ve ( tax payers ) donated more like $1.22 Billion to the FBO Elon Musk Trust Fund

    OT

    For you and @ cwolf and anyone else interested;

    INVESTMENT FACOID

    Did you know that the average share of stock in todays market is held for 24 seconds ( yes … twenty four seconds ) or less before it is again sold ?

    HTH do any of Us keep up with that level of _______ ?

    ——

    @ Johnny Mac / ALD

    OOooops ! Me thinks you’ve been snookered by the Chinese car thats been dressed up to Look like a Lexus in todays web pages .

    Ooooops !

  7. tj Martin Says:

    GM & PSA

    Calling this the meeting of two losers has to be the Automotive Understatement of the Day …. only to be rivaled / exceeded by the Chrysler/FIAT marriage ….. which is destined to end in divorce/bankruptcy court

    ——

    @ Johnny Mac – May of been wrong on the Lexus thing as there’s two Lexus from China bits floating about

  8. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG – re; #1

    Oh heck HtG you’ve only got the condensed version of the TESLA ‘ Brick ‘ routine ;

    Here’s the full monty i was referring to in my # 6

    http://jalopnik.com/5887265/tesla-motors-devastating-design-problem

    Now it’ll all make sense ;-)

  9. tj Martin Says:

    And once again mien freunds

    GM & Chrysler not only HAVE NOT paid off their loans/ bailouts but have in FACT lost the US Tax Payer as of two weeks ago ;

    $23.77 Billion Dollars …. and counting . The GRAND total still rising as we speak .

    All the so called ‘ Pay Backs’ have in fact been a shell game where in fact there is no pea under any of the shells and GM & Chrysler robbed Peter to pay Paul

    e.g. They paid back one tax payer funded loan by taking out three more tax payer funded loans

    ( Bloomberg TV / CNBC / BBCnews America / WSJ / NYTimes )

  10. Thomas A Cerbo Says:

    Hi John, love Autoline Daily and try to catch the show each day during my lunch hour.

    On today’s show, March 22nd, I know what you meant when you spoke about GM partnering and those two European companies and I’m sure you did NOT mean that GM was a “loser” but I wonder how many of your viewers did not take it that way. Regards Tom

  11. HtG Says:

    on Tesla. I thought the Tesla used batteries identical to those in laptop batteries. The last I checked, if I run down my HP Pavilion, all I need to do is charge it up again. Seems like permaybe the Tesla electronic controls are doing a job on those 4500 poor defenseless batterries. (do you think the folks at Mercedes are going to like this? FALSCH!!!)

  12. HtG Says:

    OT F1 BS. Here’s a link to the latest aerodynamic innovation at the Mercedes team. How this improves street cars, I don’t know, but it’s pretty trick. BTW, totalf1.com is way inside baseball.

    http://totalf1.com/full_story/view/407796/Mercedes_wing_innovation_called_8216Wduct8217/

  13. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Whats scary in the full TESLA ‘ Brick ‘ article ( link on # 8 ) is how many ways the batteries can be run down to Zero ! Even when recharging them !!!!!!

    Whats even scarier is that the Nissan Leaf has the exact same warranty ( or lack thereof ) in case of ‘ Brickefying ‘ I’ll bet with a little research every E/V being sold Worldwide has the same wording as well .

    e.g. You run the batteries down to Zero, no matter what the circumstances and the new set is on your dime

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like Tesla needs to check out the technology used in cell phones and laptop computers. You need to automatically shut down the device before you drain lithium batteries completely.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    EV1 is all excited, it’s gonna have plenty of company up in EV heaven very soon!

  16. HtG Says:

    12 I only would have known about the resistance in a long extension cord because of using power tools. Affected owners must be hot; I smell litigation cooking.

  17. tj Martin Says:

    ” BRICK”

    Funny thing with my Mac’s and iPhone . The manual TELLs you to run the batteries down to Zero at least once every 60-90 days

    After which you plug it in – Batteries recharge – and all is good . Hmmn .

    Now is that so hard Mr – Tech Wizard / Virtual Auto Manufacture / Grand Poobah of all things Computer – Elon Musk(rat) ;-)

    Guess Mr Musk should of been paying better attention when his much more successful and smarter neighbor up the road ( Steve Jobs ) tried to lecture the little varmint on the Foibles of using Elon’s intended battery source for an Automobile ( its in the book )

    For the record Mr Jobs was until his dying day completely against E/V’s with the present technology available

  18. W L Simpson Says:

    The young movers & shakers don’t buy EVs because their apts don’t have electric outlets.

  19. MJB Says:

    #5

    Okay, so what’s different about that from the rest of the pack?

    MB: http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/index (look at the 2012 lineup)

    Audi: http://models.audiusa.com/

    VW: http://www.vw.com/en.html

  20. W L Simpson Says:

    We EV non buyers are waiting for 3rd gen cheaper,lighter,w/nano batts & induction chargers.
    My driving impression of the volt—a small, heavy,pinball machine on wheels, & I’m an old wrench who prefers GM products.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    #19 I had a feeling this was the case with most brands, but this puts the nail in the coffin, pick on Lexus for their blandness and boring designs and sloppy handling but similar front ends? They’re all guilty as charged.

  22. MJB Says:

    #5 & #21

    …Thing is, it’s both a blessing and a curse. You need common design language to rally your brand around and make you easily distinguishable on the road. But the moment you employ said language (accross the brand) it becomes difficult to distinguish one from the next.

    In other words, their common identity becomes the cause of their lack of identity.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    to know which model it is, you gotta look at the rear, pathetic if you ask me!

  24. HtG Says:

    Check out Peter D.’s rant on brands this week. The brand is so important for adding value. This is how Disney, the Kardashians, etc. can get you to pay a premium for commodities.

    (you think that Mac is so different inside than a PC?)

    [Duck, HtG!]

  25. tj Martin Says:

    # 21 & 22

    Hey guys …. Porsche’s been running the same design language … for what ….. going on some 48 years now ( even longer if you count the 356 the 901/911 evolved from ) and it hasn’t IMHO hurt them one _____ bit !

    Anymore i’m more concerned with how well the car works vs is it any different from the last model .

    Truth be known if the Mrs & I determine leasing is still the best option when Franz’s lease comes up … I hope to ___ Mercedes Benz DOESN’T change the design hardly at all .

    Boring ( in the case of Lexus ) is a very good thing when the cars continue to WORK as well as they do .

    Better than changing the design every three years while leaving the mechanicals etc second rate

    Spend the development dollars where they count I say

    Damn the aesthetics … make em work right !

    e.g. I’ll take Function over Form any day
    ;-)

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    Saw an Veloster up close today, how in heaven’s name can anyone be able to see rearwards on that thing, besides the F.F. (fugly factor), that would be enough for me to avoid even renting one for a couple of days. This thing should be illegal.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    #24

    #1 No HtG I KNOW Mac’s are that different than PC’s . The Mrs who works on both knows even better . Come away from the Darkside HtG . You’ll never miss the joys of PC ownership . Like viruses , spyware , crashes , etc etc etc

    #2 PDL’s rant is old news and rapidly becoming irrelevant in this current climate .

    If PDL thinks for a minute DESIGN will in any way save what are otherwise crappy cars then he’s becoming more out of touch than I previously might of thought .

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    #25 Most Lexus buyers are not looking for stylish designs, they look for a stress-free, ultra quiet and comfortable driving experience plus the unbeatable reliability it enjoys.

  29. tj Martin Says:

    #26 Seen three so far . Three different colors . Each worse than the previous . The VeloToaster . Or as I’m currently calling it .

    The VeloCopyster . Badly done I might add . What a pathetic pastiche of everyone else’s design all wrapped up in a package you can’t see out of , has lousy performance and rotten MPG for a car its size and performance to boot .

  30. MJB Says:

    #25

    Ahhh: http://www.porsche.com/ I beg to differ.

    Porsche’s got it’s own little case of sameness going on.

    Is it a bland sameness? Not by a long shot. But I stopped trying to keep track of which Porsche was which a little while ago. I’m not an enthusiast, I just like how they look on the road. But Porsche has proven that even they are not immune to this pandemic.

    And again – it’s the nature of the beast, I suppose. To tie all a brands offerings together they must share common features. But to the casual observer each of those Porsches look exactly the same (for the first 1/3).

  31. Dan Clemons Says:

    John, you need to have a talk with your barber. He pulled it in a little to tight on the right side.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    John, you haven’t done any reviews in a long time, I know you have to love doing it, is it a lack of time on your part?

  33. HtG Says:

    29 Veloster. I have to admit, when I saw this thing at the autoshow last year, I thought it was a guaranteed hit.

    Apple+Mr Martin. I do have an ipod shuffle. works great in the car. Can you listen to itunes in the Benz, tj? Deep Blue Project in itunes radio (!!)

  34. T. Bejma Says:

    #9

    “e.g. They paid back one tax payer funded loan by taking out three more tax payer funded loans

    ( Bloomberg TV / CNBC / BBCnews America / WSJ / NYTimes )”

    I call total BS without a single link to a source! You might as well list FauxNews in your list.

  35. T. Bejma Says:

    #27

    I think HtG was referring to the hardware (which is identical on the PC and the Mac) and not the software (which is becoming closer and closer all the time)…

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Funny thing with my Mac’s and iPhone . The manual TELLs you to run the batteries down to Zero at least once every 60-90 days”

    But the batteries are not “down to zero,” or they would be destroyed. They are down to some percentage, well above zero, and electronics in the device shuts off the device to protect the batteries.

    You need to be especially careful to treat batteries well in Apple devices, since they are not easily replaceable. So far, so good with my ~3 year old iPod Touch.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’ve read instructions for phones and other battery powered products and they do tell you to run the battery down for maximum battery life, I guess that depends on the type of battery.

  38. tj Martin Says:

    AFTERNOON VIDEO BREAK

    http://www.gtspirit.com/2012/02/22/video-alex-wurz-drives-lexus-lfa-at-estoril/

    enjoy !

    ( especially you HtG & MJB . Alex Wurz and the LF-A . What could be better ? )

    ———

    @ T.Bejima – Ahem. Yes the processor Core is Similar but not the same to that used in a PC ( just like the PSA engine in the MINI is similar to its DS3 cousin except like Apple with the Intel core BMW does a whole lot of minor mods to the PSA motor in order to get 1) More HP 2) Better reliability ( CAR )

    The rest of the internal hardware is different enough to make a huge difference as well . FYI in comparison the Mrs ‘ Work ‘ computer is a top of the line , Govt issued Cray which she’ll tell you has 50 times the crashes / viruses etc than our lowly Macbook Pro ;-)

    Software getting close though ? In your dreams . Sure Microsoft continues to try and Copy Apples OS , but they’ve failed each and every time and will continue to do so . Proof ? how many viruses / malware / spyware you dealt with on your PC in say the last ten years ? Our Macs ? Zero !

    ———-

    @ Kit Gerhart

    ” You need to be especially careful to treat batteries well in Apple devices, since they are not easily replaceable ”

    Gee . Really ? Hmmn . Take em down to your local Apple Store and they do it in about ten minutes . Just because Apple doesn’t ( wisely IMHO ) go along with the current ‘ Self Instruction/ Destruction ‘craze doesn’t make the process in any way ‘ Difficult ‘

    As far as the battery going down to Zero I’ve got a call into the Mothership on that one … so we’ll see if Zero is absolute Zero or Zero enough to get the job done . My immediate understanding though is on Apples at least its Absolute Zero . But like i said I’ve asked the question and await the absolute answer .

    Sure is nice having that direct line to the Mothership BTW with an English as a First Language speaker on the other end and in ……….. the US of A ……rather than Johnny Patel in New Deli who even I have a difficult time understanding ( my server’s call/customer service is in the Sub Continent )

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ it won’t play it says “this video is private”

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #38,
    I look forward to hearing your favorite contact’s opinion on “zero-ness” of batteries, but I’ve researched, and experience the characteristics of these thing for years, and, in general, of you take a lithium battery to “absolute zero,” it ruins it. That, after all, is the problem that started this discussion if the first place, with the car battery.

    As far as Apple batteries, yes, you can have them changed at an Apple store, but a lot of us have to drive an hour or two to get to the nearest Apple store, and then you have to pay more than to get a battery for other devices, and easily install it yourself.

    I like Apple devices. I have the iPod, and I have an iMac, but there are things I don’t like, such as the difficult to replace batteries, and that silly proprietary connector.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    We’ve been though this before, but the PSA engine used in a MINI, at least in my MINI, was made in France and has the same power ratings as when used in Peugeot and Citroen cars.

  42. cwolf Says:

    The cost of gas on the east end of s.mich. went from $3.39 this am to $3.65 @ 4pm! How’s it elsewhere?
    On the way home,NPR had some petrol watchdog saying oil is not the problem,nor is natural gas,or Iran! He even said we are exporting gas cheeper than,even,Mexico can produce. He said the reason is a result of many refineries shut down all at once. The oil companies are now claiming they are permanently/some temp shutting refineries because they can no longer make a profit! What’s up with this bull pitutie?

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #42,
    It’s been $3.49-$3.55 for a week or two here in Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach, but I haven’t noticed today. I’ll take a look this evening, and report back.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hey maybe now people will run and trade in their dirty ICE vehicles for clean, efficient EV’s so they can avoid getting ripped off at the gas pump. If there were any good EV’s.

  45. HtG Says:

    actually, no viruses for me on W7. Let’s wait and see what happens when Apple gets more computers running at business and govt, where hackers have richer targets to go after. One of them geeeniuses at the Apple store told me that they do expect malware. But I am interested to hear what they tell you, tj. Do you know if the ipod3 will have a clamshell type keyboard? Will MSFT make a version of Office for iOS? Will Apple ask Intel to start making chips for its iOS machines. What are those thousand chip engineers working on in Cupertino? Tell me, man. I have ice cream.

    ps The Wurz vid is coming up private.

  46. HtG Says:

    For LFA lovers, I’ll repeat one thing I saw when I sat in one many months ago. If you looked at the A pillars you’d see that they were only about 1 inch wide, so if you were driving hard enough that you needed to look through the side windows, then your vision would hardly be obscured. Just a thin black strip between the windows and windshield. I think that’s because the A pillar is carbon fiber. Very very cool.

  47. HtG Says:

    crxn, ‘…your vision would hardly be impaired.’

  48. cwolf Says:

    Hey Bejma,where’ve you been? You came back only to have to defend your employer: What a welcome!

    Anyhoot,I read a scoop one one of the standard sights the other day which most of us hit on pertaining to bailouts,who owes what and what is exagerated. Reguardless of the viewpoint,it is what it is. I want to agree with tj’s point about letting Chry go thru the std. bankrupt regs., yet I’m not sure sacrificing them would have been the better option. I doubt we will never know.

    I just want to include a final observance that the tailgail on that new ford van stinks!

  49. T. Bejma Says:

    #46

    HtG – Wonder how that brittle CF A-Pillar does in a rollover. I think, not so good. Challenge has always been to make an A-Pillar that survives a rollover, but doesn’t block your vision…

  50. T. Bejma Says:

    Just been busy. Planning a trip to Korea and India for work next week. Should be quite an adventure. When it is all over, I will have circumnavigated the earth – literally!

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #49,
    The new Camry has a smaller A pillar than the previous one. What I read is that they used high strength steel, and a better structural design than the old one to get good strength.

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    If they didn’t slant the windshields so damn much, this would not be a safety issue!

  53. cwolf Says:

    T. Bejma
    Hope your Korea tour pertains to the new trade agreement which Ford plans to capitalize on. I just can’t understand why Ford or GM would waste their time dealing with Korea for an added,lousy, 8-15 thousand vehicles allowed per year. And I sure hope you are not sharing any technology,either! Hyundai probably already has it anyway and will have it on review before you do. On the brighter side: Try to circumnavigate the globe in the opposite direction of the earths rotation. When you return, you can report if you feel younger!

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, more vertical windshields make it easier to make cars survive rollovers, but the aerodynamics are much better with majorly slanted windshields. For low speed, it doesn’t matter much, but at highway speed, it does.

  55. cwolf Says:

    A-pillars? Forgeddaboutit! Many cars already have 10 air bags,so why not eleven?

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Doesn’t the iQ have 11 air bags? It has one above the rear window, because the rear passengers’ heads are so close.

  57. cwolf Says:

    @ #56
    Now, Kit,why do you have to be difficult? And maybe the eleventh air bag is the drivers wife!

  58. HtG Says:

    TB, I brought up the A pillar on the LFA precisely because it’s so tough to make them thin and strong. I was impressed, and remember this is a high speed car.
    —-
    Gas prices, up 2cents since last week at the same Mobil station; now 3.93’9
    —–
    iQ sit in the back seat and feel your skin crawl when you notice how close the car’s rear is to yours.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Gas is $3.659 at the one station I went by this evening. This station is usually slow to raise prices, and slow to lower them, compared to other stations. I’ll see prices of other stations tomorrow.

  60. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    Thanks for those that posted the Tesla links. It seems to me that there needs to be done to turn off the cars background electricity usage when parked and turned off. It seems crazy that a battery with enough capacity to drive for 200 miles can be all used up by the background electrical draw in 11 weeks.

  61. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    Sorry forgot a word should be

    needs to be “something” done

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #60,
    Yeah, they need to remove all load from the battery below a certain state of charge. Laptops, phones, etc. do that to protect their small, relatively cheap batteries, so you’d think they would do that to protect a $40K battery.

  63. HtG Says:

    Do you think there was a reason they needed to keep current flowing to the electronics, Kit? Like if there’s no power to the computer, it totally loses its place? Aren’t they licensing their electronics prowess to other carcos? This gets interesting.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #38,
    tj, what did you hear about discharging lithium batteries “to zero” from your “Mothership” guy?

  65. Norm Rogers Says:

    The current Ford Econoline body style is not 36 years old. The current body style was first introduced in 1992 making it 20 years old. However, the Dodge Ram van body style before it was discontinued in 2003 was about 32 years old.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #63,
    I would assume the car would have a 12 volt battery to run lights, accessories, etc. In a Prius, the 12v battery is charged from the “big battery” rather than a regular alternator, but only while the car is in operation. If the Tesla does this all the time, even when the car is not in use, it would discharge the “big” battery, in time.

    The bottom line is that any electric car, even a hybrid, is a poor candidate for long term storage. With a Toyota or Ford hybrid, with NiMH batteries, it is not such a big deal, because the battery won’t be destroyed if completely dischsrged, but with lithium batteries, they can be.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #63 continued,
    I would think that there would be no major problem if all of the electronics lost power completely. At least that is the case with most cars. I routinely disconnect the battery in my MINI for two months, and then three months when I am Indiana during the summer. I lose the clock time and trip odometer data, but that’s it. The engine runs fine after re-connecting the battery, and the radio still has the presets.

    My ’89 Caravan and ’86 VW Cabriolet, with older technology, lose the radio presets when I disconnect the batter over the winter.

  68. tj Martin Says:

    Mothership Calling TJ – Mothership Calling TJ

    Got the call …. from an engineer no less ( another advantage of Apple ownership ) on the battery question ;

    Kit in fact is correct , but doesn’t have the complete story ( at least as it pertains to Apple though the engineer was pretty sure every other device/ battery operates in the same way )

    Its in fact a Two Way Story . Yes the device is monitoring the Battery level in order to shut down before Battery hits Absolute Zero – but the battery also has the failsafe that once it hits 3-5% its power output is so low the device is forced to shut down . So if one system fails the other comes into play

    He also confirmed that while more Tolerant than Nicads , Li batteries DO in fact have memory ;

    e.g. If you continually recharge at say 50% after six months or so the Battery assumes its Safe Zero is 50% and you lose half your charge capacity .

    Which is why in his words as well as every other engineer I’ve ever spoken to has stated quite clearly is one more reason that ….

    ” Li’s are unsuitable for Automotive use ”

    He also knew about the TESLA ‘ Brick’ routine and could only postulate that TESLA’s hardware is somehow circumventing the batteries Failsafe or the batteries TESLA is using do not have that feature … or both .

    Either way TESLA ( bleeped ) up ( big surprise ;-) )

    ——-

    @ Kit #66

    So WTH don;t you pony up and buy one of those fantastic little Trickle chargers made just for someone in your position . The cost is low . The power usage is minimal and you come back to a Ready to Drive car .

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve thought about getting a trickle charger for the MINI. I turn the power off over the winter in the garage where I keep the cars up north, so that wouldn’t work there.

    In confirming what I thought about Li batteries, I saw in multiple places that the electronics in devices cut of power when the batteries are down to 2.2-2.9 volts/cell. A nominal full charge is 4.2-4.3 volts. Also, while it happens slowly, Li batteries self-discharge, and can eventually drop down below ~1.5V/cell, which will ruin them. The bottom line, is that any device with a lithium battery should be charged occasionally, even if it is not being used, to prevent this from happening.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The more I know about Li batteries, the more it makes sense that Toyota is continuing to use NiMH batteries in their hybrid cars. They don’t have the high power density of Li’s, but for a regular hybrid, you don’t need it, and the NiMH batteries have proven to be much more reliable, and hard to damage.

    Anyway, it looks like Tesla needs to make it clear to the buyers that they should be plugged in occasionally, if not used. Better yet, they need a “maintenance charger” to keep the battery at about 40% charge, which I’ve read is the best state to keep Li batteries if in “storage.”

  71. HtG Says:

    Surely Tesla will have to explain this to Mercedes. Any word on Apple’s plans vis-a-vis Intel, tj?

  72. HtG Says:

    ;)

  73. tj Martin Says:

    TESLA UPDATE !!!!!

    When in doubt …

    And the whistles been blown ….

    LIE and blame it all on the customer ( who was up and until today one of your strongest supporters/customers )

    http://jalopnik.com/5887499/who-is-trying-to-smear-the-tesla-battery-problem-whistleblower

    Brilliant move there Elon . I can only hope each and every potential TESLA customer READs this and the back story behind it .

    But remember guys . The LEAF has the same exact problem

    —–

    >> @ AUTOLINEDETROIT / PDL / Johnny mac <<<

    Get your arms around this Story guys and spread the word . Before Elon Musk has the opportunity to spread any more of his Fertilizer around ;-)

  74. tj Martin Says:

    #70 – Huh ?

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    With a Prius, if you are going to park it for more than a month or so, you should put a maintenance charger on the 12V battery. The big battery will slowly self-discharge, but the worst case, if it gets so low that it won’t start the ICE, is that you need a dealer to bring the “big booster” to get the car started. The battery can self discharge to where it is very low, but with the NiMH battery, it won’t be ruined. With an Li battery, it would be ruined. From what I’ve seen in Prius Chat, it takes several months of non-use before the battery gets low enough that you need the Toyota guy.

    Still, if you plan to park your car for months at a time, hybrids don’t make sense, even to people such as me, who like hybrids.

  76. HtG Says:

    70. I thought Tesla was licensing its EV tech to MB; zer vill be queschuns.

  77. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    OT – Did you Kindle my book recommend yet ?

    If not ….. you need to ( almost finished …. taking it slow cause its too good to finish )

    Also I’m shocked you or cwolf didn’t inquire as to why I put up the Shares Owned for 24 seconds or Less comment

    This affects the likes of you and I directly .

    To be succinct mien freund . We’re being forced right out of the market ….. by …….. the very device we’re both using to communicate here .

    We’re not even small potatoes anymore . We’re becoming non- existent and irrelevant .

  78. tj Martin Says:

    #75

    I was referring to the Apple/Intel question .

    But yes M-B is supposed to use TESLA’s stuff in its ‘ Keep the Public Happy While We Develop some Real Solutions ‘ plans … but if this Story becomes as viral as it needs to ….

    Who knows !

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    77,
    MB uses Li batteries in their existing hybrids, and will do so in the upcoming E-Class diesel hybrid. Maybe they should use NiMH batteries instead. Maybe they clearly state, though, that you should run the car at least once a month to keep the batteries from getting low enough to cause damage.

    Anyway, I’m sure they attempt to remove all load from the battery when the car is parked. That will maximize the time the car can be parked without battery damage.

  80. HtG Says:

    tj, I didn’t respond to your high speed trading statement because I’m resigned to it. Big brokers have co-located their own computers right inside exchanges server rooms, allowing them to see offers before anyone else. This lets them step in front of trades by offering fractions of a penny prices, then turn around and complete a transaction with another counterparty. There’s so much of this that the average holding period for stocks gets driven down. Make sure you don’t place any market orders.

    As to Apple/Intel, the big question is who will supply the chips for Apples candy in the future. All the Macs are now Intel, but all the mobile stuff is Apple’s ARM based home brew. This is what Tim Cook was talking about when he said Apple tries lots of things. This is a hugeomungous question in the computing world, BTW, and I was only sarcastically asking if you’d heard anything about it.

  81. tj Martin Says:

    #78

    Either that or M-B …. unlike TESLA , was smart enough NOT to circumvent the failsafes

    Being Der Deutsch ….. that’d be my assumption

    Lets face facts . Elon Musk is a Virtual World/ Megalomaniac , who previous to TESLA has had ZERO Real World manufacturing or Business experience ( it was his partners that took PayPal to its heights ) and has NO business what so ever manufacturing Anything … never mind being Funded by We the People .

    To sum it up . Elon Musk is a successful / complicated / very sophisticated …… CON ARTIST ;-)

  82. tj Martin Says:

    #79

    I’d heard about the possibility of ARM supplying Apples future processors , but nothing been confirmed , either in the press or as a substantial ( not huge but substantial) shareholder e.g. Me :o

  83. tj Martin Says:

    To leave the morning on a Positive Note ;

    Something fun to follow as they reach completion ( may pay them a visit as well this Spring )

    Bugatti’s and Airplanes . Does it get much better ?

    http://www.bugatti100p.bigcartel.com

    @ Kit . You should enjoy this story . Its a good’n .

    Toodles

  84. HtG Says:

    Apple was one of the early investors in ARM beginning in the early nineties, I believe. Trust me, the future is quite dependent on the Intel/ARM contest. Take a look at Windows On ARM(WOA). Try typing ‘HP, Calxeda’ into your browser. Even in cars; I think Toyota has some contracts with Intel, while Audi is ARM. (Of course there are other players)

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #83,
    That’s an interesting project. I didn’t see what they plan to use for engines, but it looks like they plan to make the flying repro as authentic as is reasonable to do.

  86. Abram Cortinez Says:

    How act erase wikipedia’s featured piece of writing that contains copyright violation?