AD #2973 – Some Dealers Shun Cadillac’s EV Shift; ICE Bans Better Than EV Incentives?; Mercedes E-Class Impressions

December 7th, 2020 at 11:47am

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Runtime: 9:43

0:38 Some Cadillac Dealers Pull Plug on Shift to EVs
1:20 Volvo CEO Says ICE Bans Better Than EV Incentives
2:08 The Hottest Automotive Stocks
3:12 The Boring Company Teases Underground Vegas Station
4:03 Audi Adds PHEV to A3 Sportback Lineup
4:57 Ford Delivering Food with AVs
5:40 Nissan Drops Support of Trump’s Fight with California
6:36 2021 Mercedes E-450 4-Matic Review

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70 Comments to “AD #2973 – Some Dealers Shun Cadillac’s EV Shift; ICE Bans Better Than EV Incentives?; Mercedes E-Class Impressions”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Interesting review of the new E-Class. It’s pricey, but except for the crappy controls, would be a nice car. Disgustingly, though, the 6 cylinder E-Class is sold in the US only with 4 wheel drive. The only way to get RWD in the E sedan is with a 2 liter turbo four.

  2. Bob Wilson Says:

    The stock discussion would be helped if we knew the interval. Were these changes daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual time periods?

  3. Mac Says:

    I’ve never understood the M-B value proposition. No question they are nice vehicles and quite well built, but their 5-year residuals are eye-wateringly low. As the old saying goes, there are some people with more dollars than sense.

  4. DanaPointJohn Says:

    “If?” Trump lost fair and square. No question, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States!

  5. MJB Says:

    Sean, my only concern with regard to governmental ICE bans would be whether or not the U.S. would follow suit with parts of the E.U. in creating ‘sanctuary cities’ of sorts where only EVs are allowed in – [and good luck policing that too.]

    I’m fine with ICEs being eventually no longer sold (maybe 25 years from now), but I’m not fine being told I can’t drive my ICE within certain parts of town.

    This is all reminding me of that Will Smith movie, I Robot where in order to stay off the grid, he pulls out his ‘old’ manually driven ICE motorcycle. It’ll be that way someday…

  6. Lambo2015 Says:

    Well of course ICE bans would work better than incentives. An incentive is a temporary financial benefit where a ban makes the ICE vehicle inconvenient and almost worthless depending on daily destination.
    Should governments push EVs by banning ICE’s? This is a tough one as I see both sides having legitimate arguments.

    From an environmental standpoint forcing a product onto the public isn’t any different than what the government did with the incandescent lightbulb. For the betterment of all and reduce energy usage we were all pushed toward the florescent which were junk and luckily, replaced quickly with LEDs.

    However without also forcing the electric generation plants to get away from coal it seems silly to ban an ICE to turn around and charge an EV by burning coal. Also like many people, I don’t like the government telling me what I can and cannot buy as free market should drive demand not a false market created by incentives and banning of certain products.

    Sadly I think Banning will have a adverse affect they may not have considered of pushing people and businesses out of these areas where ICEs have been banned and just reducing a cities revenue further toward the red.

  7. MJB Says:

    4 – I’m the last person to start a flame war here on this forum, but what happened to Trump was in no way ‘fair’. The (real) truth will all come out – even for those unwilling to acknowledge it.

  8. cwolf Says:

    I think it’s premature to consider banning the ICE. After all, EV developement and charging structure is not fully understood, especially by the public and the self-driving EV’s are still wishful thinking.
    The demand for fuel burning p/u’s will remain for a very long time. And as long as they remain a big money maker, Ford and the others won’t care what powers them.

  9. Kevin A Says:

    If the government decides to ban coal power generation, maybe they could switch them to a lower carbon alternative that will be cheap by then … diesel and gasoline.

  10. Lambo2015 Says:

    6 To expand on how this would affect businesses. Say your company employs 200 people and the city places this ban on ICE while only 2% of your employees (4) own an EV. So is everyone else (196 employees) just suppose to buy a new car? take the bus. Or start looking for a new job outside the city? If people do leave you don’t think hiring isn’t going to be more difficult? Oh and your business was nice an installed 2 charging stations for the 4 people that had EVs and now you have 200 employees that want a place to charge at work. Some that need it to get home and some that just want a free charge. Is the company suppose to provide a place to charge? How many? Free?
    What you will more likely find is people being more willing to adopt to mass transit and park outside the city and with minimal impact to the EV market. Big impact to the bus service in-town.

  11. Drew Says:

    @1 – I agree with your comment about 4WD/AWD. I am not a fan. It adds weight, noise, fuel consumption, and price/cost. I recognize there are benefits in some performance applications to help with traction and in some truck applications. The added traction assurance also has benefits in slick, hilly regions.

    But for most people’s regular drive, it is an inefficient “security blanket” to drive in the wet or snow. It seems our winter weather driving skills have suffered from atrophy, as very few flatlanders have forgotten that we used to drive RWD cars in the winter… no ABS, no ESC, no traction control. Those cars had light rear ends. We learned to pulse the brakes, to be light on the throttle, to time the traffic lights, to drive a safe speed, and to maintain safe following distances.

  12. George Ricci Says:

    In California the state government does both incentives and bans. They start with incentives to try and get things moving. But when they see that change is not happen fast enough, then they mandate a ban to force the issue. The problem with mandating a ban is they pull at future date or percentage out of their A-hole without having a detail plan on how to get there or knowing if it is even feasible with current technology. The cost and hardship to consumers is not considered because they do not really know what is all involved and the problems the ban will create. They force companies to invest billons of dollars and to solve all the unforeseen problems in the overly optimistic timeframe allowed. In turn the ever increasing cost of living is drive people out of California or into the growing homeless problem we have. California will become place only rich people can afford to live in.

  13. Kevin A Says:

    Sean, I understand that a number of other states also use the California standards. Just out of curiosity, what percent of Americans live in a state that uses the California standard? My green friends claim that it is already over 50%, whereas my anti-green friends claim it is under 10%.

  14. Drew Says:

    Ban ICEs? Hmmm, I can see how a ban may work in some markets where the population is accustomed to government controls. But the government in most free markets have not proven they can ban something as widely known to be a hazarded as cigarettes! In fact, they are going in the opposite direction… legalizing recreational marijuana (a ban they couldn’t preserve).

    I agree with #10. The enablers need to be in place… a more reliable and higher capacity power grid, more charging stations, overnight chargers for the millions of personal transportation conveyances that have now garage, and a security system to prevent others from unplugging pranks.

  15. Mac Says:

    Had a conversation a few weeks ago with one of the erstwhile Cadillac dealers who took the buyout. He indicated the installed cost for all the upgrades that GM demanded was close to $1MM. He accepted a $400K buyout instead. He also owns 4 Ford dealerships — will only bring in a hybrid when he has a specific customer order for one, and has zero Mach-Es on order. No customer demand. That made the decision on the Cadillac dealership pretty easy.

  16. George Ricci Says:

    12. Overnight charging is problematic as very little renewable energy is generated at night.

  17. George Ricci Says:

    Not 12, I meant 14.

  18. Lambo2015 Says:

    Sean; I wonder if GM may be considering going the Tesla route and offer Cadillac by online order in the future and this buyout is the start of a weeding out of dealerships.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I doubt if ICEs will be “banned” any time in the next 25-30 years, except in some cities with smog problems, where exporting pollution would be valuable. Even the current plans to ban sales of new ICEs are subject to change, if the production capacity for EVs, and the charge infrastructure are not ready by the proposed time. Governments planning the sales bans might need to heavily subsidize the charging infrastructure, and in some cases, generating capacity, for the more aggressive timetables like 2030.

    11 My first 15 years or so of driving was in the “snow belt,” and exclusively in rear drive cars. I got by just fine. Since then, I’ve had mostly front drivers while I was still driving in snowy winters, and they are clearly better in slick stuff than rear drive. With regular all season tires, front drive cars will go through snow, until the snow is so deep that the car is “plowing snow” in order to move.

    9 Yeah, gas and diesel will be very cheap, and somewhat lower CO2 emissions than coal. I don’t know how long it will last before it runs out, but a lot of coal plants are currently converting to natural gas, which is currently cheap, and has lower carbon, and other emissions than coal.

  20. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Kevin A – I don’t have time to add up the population of each one, but the states that have adopted California’s emission standards are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

  21. Sean McElroy Says:

    Let’s also remember that many of these bans are on ICE-only vehicles. Hybrids and PHEVs, in most cases, will still be allowed.

  22. Wim van Acker Says:

    @16, untrue: the two main renewable sources are hydro electrical power (available day and night) and wind power (more available at night than during teh day). Solar power is zero at night, but a small contributor to the fuel mix any way (1/10th of wind plus hydro).

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13 “Over 40%” of the car market is in CARB states, according to a CA web site.

    15 Where is this?

  24. Kevin A Says:

    In parts of Europe (France, Italy, Greece) it is considered rude to flaunt your wealth by driving an obviously expensive car; especially a German one. Maybe Mercedes is picking up on that. Or maybe it is the natural German preference for “sombre luxury”. Isn’t that why Mercedes usually come in vibrant shades f light grey, dark grey, black and medium grey?

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Don’t most cars already meet California emission standards? All of mine do, and none were bought in CARB states. Of course, some of the CARB regs are ZEV, efficiency standards, etc.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 I just checked the Mercedes-Benz USA web site, and the new E-Class is available in black, white, red metallic, dark blue metallic, and 6 different shades of grey. I assume the color palette is similar most places in the world.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 Well, it’s more a non-color palette.

  28. Ed Says:

    The countries in Europe are not the same as here in the us. Ie: Germany can fit in Texas almost 4 times. So electric vehicles on their infrastructure is one thing. They are used to these types of bans as they are socialist countries and bureaucrats decide what the people may be allowed to buy. As we transition to this type of government oversight of our personal lives down to what type of transportation we will be allowed to buy runs contrary to Independant businesses who make products that consumers want to buy, this will filter through to all products. See the former Soviet Union. Can’t wait to see a basket ball star be told they are “allowed to buy a hybrid but not an ICE Ferrari! Or maybe like California and the restaurant bans; these bans will only apply to small private citizens, not to government officials or party members, or ultra wealthy pro sports players and entertainment – IT titans.

  29. Ziggy Says:

    “But if Biden is indeed named president”… Sean, who is it that you think still needs to name Biden president? We all know that the Chumpsters will never admit they lost and that their dear leader will never concede, so who are you waiting for to pronounce Biden as the winner and next president? That joke of all jokes the Electoral College? Faux News? Really, what do you mean by your statement?

  30. George Ricci Says:

    22. Lets look at some real data.
    Look at the second and third graphs. Todays data is not complete. So in the upper left corner of each graph you can look at previous days that are complete. Wind and hydro make a small percentage of renewables and most of the time wind decreases at night. By far more renewable energy is generated during the day.

  31. JoeS Says:

    I’ve driven rear wheel drive cars and trucks in snowy northeast Ohio for almost 50 years. My wife has been in front drive for 20 years (till she got the TourX). Till a few years ago we would make at least one ski trip to snowy western New York. The last 20 years We have used winter and summer performance tires on every thing we have. My lowered truck will “plow snow” with the winter tires. The TourX has not really seen any snow so I can’t honestly comment on its winter traction. Winter tires and wheels for it will be $$ – not very many sold and no plain steel wheels ever offered.

  32. WineGeek Says:

    Sean, Biden is President Elect what do you mean if Biden is named next president? Give it up, Biden is the next president of the United States. I can’t believe you said that…

  33. Wim van Acker Says:

    @28: Germany is not a socialist country. It is a capitalist country with certain social policies in place. The most important of which are around healthcare and education *). It is pro business; just in our industry: Daimler/Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, VW Group, ZF, Bosch, Continental. Those are winners, not losers. Our capitalist economy (which is only capitalist on the way up and really socialist on the way down each time, bailing out the banks, insurance companies, oil and gas industry, automotive industry) produced GM, Ford, none of the world’s largest suppliers. TESLA is the only bright spot.

    *) Healthcare: Germany spends 11% of GDP versus our 18%, has 100% of the population covered, and has a higher life expectancy of its population. Education: outstanding education at very low cost to the population. General economy: government debt below 60% of GDP, we 145%. It seems to me that we pretending capitalist can learn a thing or two of countries like Germany. We won’t as long as we declare ourselves the best at everything. The facts are different, though.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 There is more renewable production during the day, but there is far more electricity usage during the day, especially in the summer, with all of the A/C usage.

    Yeah, usage patterns will change, if and when most of the cars are electric.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 Exactly.

    31 The “stuckest” I ever got a car was when I tried to use inertia to go through probably a 12-15 inch drift in my driveway, with a GTi VR6. I didn’t make it, but did a good job of having the car almost resting on top of the drifted snow. About a half hour or so of shoveling snow out from under the car later, I was unstuck.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4,29,32 Exactly

  37. Drew Says:

    Perhaps Sean was simply deferring to the upcoming Electoral College results.

  38. Albemarle Says:

    Didn’t I read that the oil industry is subsidized by billions of dollars annually? Rather than tell people what they can and can’t buy, why not stop subsidizing gasoline and watch the transformation.

  39. Lambo2015 Says:

    38 That would make too much sense.. We’re talking about politicians here. If we learned anything from Covid is that Politicians lack any common sense whatsoever.

  40. Roger Says:

    The remaining Cadillac dealers are praying that GM comes to it’s senses and changes the plan to go all electric. You can’t force people to buy what they don’t want, and the majority of people do not want an all electric vehicle.

    With electrics you can’t venture more than maybe 80-90 miles from home without severe range anxiety. That means no road trips. You can’t be certain there will be any places to recharge; and charging takes HOURS.

    Going all electric will kill Cadillac.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38,39 The easy thing would be to raise gas taxes, which haven’t increased at the federal level since 1993, and are not indexed to inflation. That wouldn’t be a winner politically, though.

    40 All electric works for Tesla, but Tesla doesn’t sell Escalades.

  42. Mark Says:

    On the ICE vs EV incentive, the answer is neither. The whole idea of global warming is a overblown scare tactic. Don’t believe me? Look into the other side of the argument for 10 mins and see all your media-fed propaganda beliefs fall apart. The whole thing is a media induced scam much like the COVID hysteria.

  43. JoeS Says:

    41 Incremental, predictable increases in gas taxes would let consumers count on the price of gas slowly going up and maybe influence their auto buying, looking at smaller more fuel efficient ICE or EVs.
    40 I agree, all EV will kill Cadillac. I assume they are now great road trip cars and that would end. I plan my road trips for a 10 hr drive limit. The overnight stay just needs beer, food, shower, bed and breakfast. Planning a trip that would require having an available charging station when needed would be a killjoy.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43 Yep, gas tax increases would need to be incremental and predictable. That should have started decades ago, but no such luck.

  45. Drew Says:

    A great day in two aspects… no insults and proper use of caps.

  46. Dale Leonard Says:

    I am 70 years old,and completely enjoy my 4 cyl ICE and 5 speed manuals,and do not want the Government ramming electric cars down my throat.

  47. cwolf Says:

    If gas taxes are increased, use tax on EV’s will follow. And because they weigh more, it is said the tire dust polution deserves concideration, so let’s increase the tax on them even more. Seem like there is no cut and dry solution.

  48. JoeS Says:

    46 I wish I could get a manual trans in something more functional than a Camaro. I love the 5.3l in my truck but really miss the 5 speed in my old Xtreme.

  49. cwolf Says:

    Front wheel drive handles better in winter conditions. For countless years I drove the turn pike on front, rear and AW drive vehicles and did one too many 360′s in my time. On ice, front and AW drive wins hands down. AW drive allows you to gain control in a shorter distance and fish tails are not as drastic.

  50. Drew Says:

    @49 – The risk with AWD is a false feeling of greater conterminous. Yes, you gain motive traction, but are still subject to the same braking traction limitations as RWD and FWD vehicles.

  51. cwolf Says:

    How many times do ballots have to be counted before you A…holes accept the fact that Biden won the election, both electorial and an ever growing huge popular vote? Suck it up or move to Russsia!

  52. cwolf Says:

    50) Drew, on ice you refrain on using brakes too much. From my experience, I was able to gain control quicker with AWD. Once with RWD, I did a double 360 and never left my lane. Yes, I had to change my underwear and had white knuckles, but I felt like a real pro!

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47 Higher gas tax would encourage conservation, and encourage people to buy more efficient vehicles. Yeah, when there are a lot of electric vehicles, there will need to be some sort of use tax. It would make sense to base it on miles driven, and the weight of the vehicle. Can there be mileage measuring methods that can’t be easily hacked? There could be “road tax” on electricity from public charging stations, but it be harder to separate home charging from other power use.

    49 An aunt of mine had a Plymouth Arrow, a little rear drive car made by Mitsubishi, which she repeated ran off the road, spinning the wheels on snow and ice, and not knowing what to do. It was replaced with a front drive OmniRizon, and her problems mostly ended.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48 You can get a manual transmission in a Civic or Corolla hatchback, which are utilitarian cars. You could get a manual in a Colorado/Canyon for the first few years, but no more.

  55. Drew Says:

    @52 – I did a 540 with FWD… admittedly 40 years ago in an X-car with notorious rear brake lock-up. It was at about 50mph on the expressway and occurred along side a semi truck. The car came to rest perfectly on the shoulder, just missing road signs and the semi. My passengers praised me for it, but I didn’t deserve it.

    I have professionally evaluated traction systems. FWD with traction control (all vehicle have traction control now, as embedded in ESC) provide very similar performance to AWD on flat/nearly flat surfaces.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24,26 I find that you can get a little more color in the “sportier” E-Class coupe, than the sedan. Four actual colors are available, along with two shades each of black and white, and four shades of grey.

  57. RS Says:

    It is painfully obvious that our planet is suffering. Everyone is aware that we are putting stress on the entire ecosystem.

    It is tempting to jump to a solution and our political leaders are eager to step in and identify the proper approach to saving the world.

    The problem (imho) is that they are too quick to identify the solution before anyone can fully grasp all of the options. The powers-that-be in my jurisdiction (like many others) have jumped to the conclusion that electric vehicles are the future. they have offered subsidies to buyers and huge tax benefits to manufacturers for production and purchase of this technology.

    Now, I am not going to pretend that I know what technology will actually be the best solution for the planet. The story is still unfolding and several technologies are still in contention as possible alternatives to oil. But our political people simply are just not equipped to make that decision yet.

    Batteries have not changed for about 300 years; put some chemicals together and you can store electricity. Certainly the chemicals we now use have given a longer storage life but the basic design is still the same.

    Would it not be wiser to offer rewards and incentives for efficiency instead of distorting the playing field by choosing to support only one technology?

    At the moment, hybrids seem to have the advantage of range and efficiency without anxiety. But some one – a Honda, Magna or an energy-upstart – might suddenly discover “penicillin.” A new twist on production, storage and energy consumption that obsoletes our old ideas overnight. It seems appropriate to me that we reward research into efficiency instead of announcing that the solution MUST be electricity.

    Forgive my skepticism but I have next to zero faith in the technical prowess of our politicians. Their decisions today are being made on the basis of too little knowledge.

    OK, rant over!

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    57 In the US, 28% of greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation. That includes airplanes, but a large majority of it would be road vehicles.

    EVs, themselves are very efficient compared to ICE vehicles, but their actual environmental friendliness depends on where the power comes from. An obvious way for the US to use barely over half as much fuel for private vehicles would be what much of the world is already doing, using smallish cars, rather than huge trucks to move one or two people around town.

    From my experience, hybrids are great, and for my mixed driving, get about 50% better mpg than a similar non-hybrid car.

    The story is somewhat different for global greenhouse emissions, with transportation accounting for 16.2% of emissions.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    57 In the US, 28% of greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation. That includes airplanes, but a large majority of it would be road vehicles.

    EVs, themselves are very efficient compared to ICE vehicles, but their actual environmental friendliness depends on where the power comes from. An obvious way for the US to use barely over half as much fuel for private vehicles would be what much of the world is already doing, using smallish cars, rather than huge trucks to move one or two people around town.

    From my experience, hybrids are great, and for my mixed driving, get about 50% better mpg than a similar non-hybrid car.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The story is somewhat different for global greenhouse emissions, with transportation accounting for 16.2% of emissions.

  61. Bob Wilson Says:

    “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.” Captain Spaulding.

    Jan 2, 2020 – $86.05
    Dec 7, 2020 – $641.76

    There are two ways to calculate the % increase since Jan 2, 2020:
    (641.76 – 86.05) / 86.05 = 636%
    (641.76 – 86.05) / 641.75 = 86%

    Regardless of method, it looks like TSLA is the Godzilla vs Bambi (see web link.)

    Bob Wilson

  62. JoeS Says:

    54 I looked into the Colorado/Canyon 5 years ago and you could only get a manual with the 4 cyl. No fun at all.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    62 Yeah, the manual was 4 cyl. only, even from the start. I had ’95 S10 with the 4.3/manual for a couple years, and won my class in an SCCA autocross with it. Yeah, it was a weak field that day, but the big V6 was easy to drive. Just launch in 1st, put it in 2nd., and it had all the power you could get to the ground at any speed on the course.

  64. veh Says:

    No Larry? Did you finally decide he crossed a line?

  65. JoeS Says:

    62 I had an 03 Xtreme 4.3 w/5 sp. till I replaced it in 15. That truck was a lot of fun with good summer tires.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    65 I replaced the OEM 75 series tires with 60 series “touring” tires on the stock 15″ wheels. It drove much better, but the speedometer/odometer were about 7% high.

  67. Sean Wagner Says:

    33 Wim – Hit the nail on the head.

    Germany has a lot of global champions, and many most will never hear of due to their high specialization. The move to EVs will have a large impact, though – but Tesla went there to tap the production expertise.

  68. vincent joy Says:

    Ev vs ICE should be settled by the Marketplace not the IDIOTS in Albany or Washington. Proposed ICE bans are pure Fascism and won’t do what government planners say they will. ICE’s are incredibly Clean & Efficient and are far less expensive than EVs. Look at how much heavier EVs are than comparable ICE vehicles: Added weight = more resources used! Taken in toto, ICE vehicles are MORE EFFICIENT!
    Governments are populated by the LEAST TALENTED people in any society!!!

  69. Ukendoit Says:

    Several years ago (mid 90s), I test drove a Dakota with a large Hemi V8 and a manual transmission. That was fun, being that light-weight and huge engine, but no sports car. The shifter was a long, large-throw, truck sized stick, enjoyable enough for the short drive, but I did not buy it since I didn’t want to get tennis elbow from repetitive pitching of the shift knob.

  70. Pete L Says:

    The terminology that electric vehicles are “zero emission” is deliberately misleading and conveniently ignores the environmental impact that comes from producing electricity. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2019, 23% of the electricity generated in the US came from coal and 38% came from natural gas. A further 20% was generated from nuclear sources with the remaining 17% from renewable sources, and we must remember that those “renewable” sources also have an impact on the environment.

    In addition, the generation and transmission of electricity falls far short of what will be needed to serve a fully electrified vehicle fleet. On September 20th 2020, the LA Times reported that PG&E was preparing to “nearly 97,000 customers in 15 counties this weekend to reduce the danger of fire from power lines downed by wind”. Adding generation and transmission capacity can be expected to greatly increase that risk in the future.

    So of course the CEO of Volvo loves the idea of banning ICEs. Zhejiang Geely Holding of China owns the Volvo Car Group and banning ICEs fits nicely with the strategy of undermining North American automobile manufacturing in every way possible.