AD #3254 – U.S. Post Office Pressured to Buy EVs; Problems with PHEV Emissions; Tesla to Build Cathode Factory

February 4th, 2022 at 11:45am

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Listen to “AD #3254 – U.S. Post Office Pressured to Buy EVs; Problems with PHEV Emissions; Tesla to Build Cathode Factory” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 9:47

0:07 Ford Posts All-Time Record Profits, Sorta
1:10 Problems with PHEV Emissions
2:01 U.S. Post Office Pressured to Buy EVs
3:53 AEB w/ Pedestrian Detection Fails at Night
5:05 SEMA Helps Parts Makers Meet Emissions Regulations
6:31 Adios to Cheap Wages in Mexico
7:13 Tesla to Build Cathode Factory
7:42 Rivian’s Smorgasboard of Drive Modes
8:31 Kia EV6 Saves Robot Dog in Super Bowl Ad

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43 Comments to “AD #3254 – U.S. Post Office Pressured to Buy EVs; Problems with PHEV Emissions; Tesla to Build Cathode Factory”

  1. Kevin A Says:

    Sean, How well does thermal imaging work in hot weather when there is no temp difference between a person and ambient air? It doesn’t have to be that hot out for the pavement to reach body temperature, obscuring the person in view.

  2. rick Says:

    its high time for the end of the exploitation of mexican workers. are automakers charging less for vehicles made in mexico? not on your life. fat chance of that ever happening. just exploitation on the backs of mexican labor.

  3. Lambo2015 Says:

    So once a postal vehicle is put into service how many years before its replaced?
    That’s what I found interesting about the Oshkosh contract. Its delivering vehicles for the next ten years so 2032. Yet manufacturers are being pushed to phase out ICE by 2035. So basically 3 years prior to forcing the public into EVs the government is going to buy brand new ICE trucks and put into service.
    Maybe lead by example and show us the public how serious you really are about EVs and start buying them before forcing us to.

  4. Kevin A Says:

    Ford has the same problem with its Rivian stock that Elon Musk has with his Tesla stock. It’s worth a fortune, until you try to realize the profit by selling it. Starting to sell it pushes the price down so much you eliminate a lot of the profit. Ford will be stuck holding that stock until they can find someone else that wants to take a stake in Rivian or until Rivian becomes a big enough and successful enough company to attract regular investors.

  5. Lambo2015 Says:

    2 It will just move elsewhere like it already did. As wages went up in Mexico manufacturing jobs went to India and once their wages started to climb then they moved to China and Eastern Europe. Some have even set up shop in Africa now. Not so sure I would call it exploitation as much as an opportunity to bring good paying jobs to under-developed countries. While other jobs in the area pay $10 a day and an auto plant pays $25 a day the people are more than happy to work there.

  6. S65AMG Says:

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day. So I was pleased that the EPA took the incompetent, corrupt USPS, which devours billions of our hard earned tax money every year, to task about the HORRENDOUSLY inefficient (let alone FUGLY) Oskosh mail ‘truck’. Which the USPS chose to be its NEW truck.

    I was disgusted back then when it was announced, but I had no idea how bad it was. 8.6 MPG for a tiny tin can? Are you kidding me??!!

    Next time the incompetent clown from the USPS testifies in Congress and gives their usual lame excuses, remember this ATROCIOUS contract!

  7. Buzzerd Says:

    @1 I’ve found using a TIC – thermal imaging camera, at fire scenes it doesn’t work that well. Like you stated it’s great when there’s a temperature difference but when things are heated to the same temp it’s not so useful.

  8. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Kevin – That’s a question I don’t have an answer to. I’ll have to ask around.

  9. S65AMG Says:

    Yesterday I asked for sales statistics for Jan, I noticed Sean did not give us the rest of the numbers in today’s show, but that’s ok, I was still able to get a fairly good idea for the market shares of the makers in Jan 22.

    Sean did give us sales numbers for some makers, but also, and MORE importantly, he gave us the total Jan sales.

    Then another poster (I think named RS) gave us another site, which, after some digging, gave me the exact sales nos for several major makers, Ford, Toyota (not GM or Stellaaa!), Subaru, etc.

    We can already reach very important conclusions:

    1. based 100% on Sean’s numbers, TESLA’s market share for Jan 22 was well over 3.0%! This is almost double from 2021, where it also had a major increase over 2020, despite COVID, Chips, inventories, and all the rest of it.

    so TESLA ALONE got 3.06% in Jan 22. How much share do you think all the other EVs from all the other makers got? Did all of them together sell as many as Tesla did? (I doubt it, the pathetic Bolt only sold 26 units (!!!!) Yes, 26, not 26,000, In Q4) If they did, it means the share of BEVs in the US is over 6.0%! A huge rise. If all others sold HALF of what Tesla sold, we still have a 4.5%+ BEV share. Last year, Tesla dominated the BEV US market by a huge 75% share. (You can imagine the resident GM propagandist will have a stroke reading this). Even then, if it still has 75%, despite the Mach E and all the lesser EVs by other makers, it means a total BEV share of 4.0%+ In Jan 22. Not bad at all!

    Speaking of the continued and unabated TESLA Dominance, and trying to avoid politics here (I am far more interested in economics, as is obvious from my posts). What can you do, however, when the clueless, senile Chauncy the Gardener (remember “Being There” with the lat great Peter Sellers? He sure looked much wiser than the fake-haired doofus with the ill-fitting dentures and the vain-ness of not wearing glasses, making it necessary for him to have a continuous squinting in his poor eyes).

    What can you do, I repeat, when this clueless clown tweets (and I will find the exact quote and paste it here)

    the senile clown wrote, with a straight face, and I quote: GM and Ford are “building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before.”

    The clown stuck his empty skull DEEP in the sand and did not say word one about the 800 pound gorilla in the living room.

    Anyone that could see vehicle delivery reports of the past quarter would show that Tesla is effectively leading the electric vehicle sector in the United States.

    In the fourth quarter, for example, Tesla delivered over 308,000 EVs. GM, which Biden has called a leader in the electrification of the auto sector, sold 26 EVs in the same period, comprised of 25 Chevy Bolts and one GMC Hummer EV.

    This caused a sarcastic tweet from the Great Elon Musk to the clown (who is deep in the pockets of the UAW, obviously): he wrote it in the form of a HINT so that even the senile clown would be able (would he?) to figure it out:

    ” Starts with a T
    Ends with an A
    ESL in the middle
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2022″

  10. Drew Says:

    I’m OK with the appearance of the new USPS delivery truck, but those wiper blades must be huge. Also, I always thought it was hypocritical that the government was forcing EVs on the rest of the market, but not on the USPS. If it doesn’t make sense for USPS with its short routes and stop/go driving, something is very wrong (yes, I know an investment is needed of charging infrastructure).

  11. Jeff Taylor Says:

    I’m surprised the postal service didn’t pursue a hybrid option. It seems like it would be perfect for the typical use case (e.g. lots of stopping and starting). It would give some of the benefits of an EV without requiring the infrastructure.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s amazing that the Oshkosh things are barely more efficient than the 30-some year old Grumman ones, many of which have the GM “iron duke” engine that dates back to 1962.

    Anyway, the expected life for mail trucks should be ~30 years, so if the USPS needs a few new ones now, why not buy off-the-shelf cheap ones to use until BEV ones from Rivian and others are cheaper. If they need some new right hand drive ones for interim use, before going all in with EVs, Transit Connect, Promaster, and others are available RHD in other markets. There has to a lot of corruption in the Oshkosh deal, along with the current postmaster general’s desire to make his anti-environment stance apparent to everyone.

  13. Drew Says:

    Relative to AEB at night, a drop in performance is expected. But some still perform better (Toyota and Bronco) than others.

    The key point is how this translates to AVs, as ADAs systems like AEB are the foundation of AV? You can take it to the bank that AVs are less reliable at night and in inclement weather.

  14. S65AMG Says:

    Also in yesterday’s comments, the reasident GM propagandist wrote a couple posts addressed to me by name. Have in mind that I do know that GM used (and probably still does) to pay a bunch of poor devils to go to various social media and spread pro-GM and anti-TESLA propaganda. This is a widely known fact. I don’t know if the GM propagandist here is still on that meager ‘payroll’, maybe he or she is retired and does it for free to kill time. But seriously, does he or she believe that I would bother to read the propaganda?

    If I had the time, I’d go back in the archives of this show, and show his repeated praise for the CRIMINAL and BEHIND BARS currently, Trevor Milton of Nikola Motors, which the clueless propagandist exalted repeatedly as the new “great white hope” that would finally contain TESLA. Here you can laugh for a few minutes and get it out of your system).

    Trevor Milton, the 100% crook billionaire who RIGGED a Semi demo by pretending the Semi was being driven on its own power, while in truth the truck had NO engine and was just rolling down a small hill?

    Do you continue visiting Trevor Milton in Jail, GM propagandist? (Don’t bother answering, it’s called a “rhetorical question”)

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 Yeah, hybrids would be great for the type of use mail delivery vehicles get, with the starting and stopping every 50 or 100 feet. They should get at least twice the fuel economy of purely ICE vehicles in that kind of use.

  16. Jim Head Says:

    The idiot dodging traffic at night while on his cell phone? No great loos there.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To be “clean,” plug-in hybrids need to have adequate power for normal driving, using only the electric motor(s). Most do not, so the ICE will start for a few seconds if you push the right pedal very far, resulting in lots of smog causing emissions, with the cold catalyst not working. Also, as the linked article states, there are more CO2 emissions than the certification tests see, because heavy throttle use in real driving runs the ICE more than in the test.

  18. Lambo2015 Says:

    Sean I’m not really concerned with the looks of the next gen mail trucks. In fact looks should be at the bottom of the list when picking a vehicle that’s soul purpose is function.
    Does it do what it needs to do and is it reliable. Its like a hammer. It needs to be comfortable and do its job. Not one good carpenter would buy a hammer cause it looks nice.

    However, if after 30 years of technology and manufacturing improvements we cant gain more than 1/2 mile per gallon improvement then I’d say someone else should have gotten the contract on that merit alone.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 It looks like Ford holds 12% of Rivian stock. If Fords sells the stock gradually, it should affect the stock price too much, should it?

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 The old mail trucks have 40-60 year old GM engine designs, and a 3-speed automatic, maybe without torque converter lockup. Yeah, they sure didn’t make much progress with those Oshkosh things.

  21. MJB Says:

    Sean, I can’t thank you enough for pointing out the obvious about the hideous design of that OshKosh mail truck. Looks like they modelled it after Scooby Dooby Doo! ;)

  22. MJB Says:

    I noticed that OshKosh mail truck has front collision sensors. What for? It’s only got a front windshield the size of a school bus! How could a driver possibly miss anything in front of them in that thing. It looks like a pope-mobile.

  23. Kevin A Says:

    Kit, Like with Elon Musk and Tesla, it isn’t really the amount of stock Ford holds in Rivian. Instead, it’s the idea that ANY sale is taken as a loss in confidence in the future of the stock. Wall Street thinks “Why would Ford sell unless they think the stock is going to go dowm”, so the stock goes down, even if Ford only sells a small amount. Ford is likely to be stuck with the stock for a while unless they can find someone who can take a significant chunk of if off their hands all at once.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23 Yeah, that makes sense. Why would they sell it unless they think it is going down, unless they need the cash, which I don’t think is the case.

  25. Norm T Says:

    GM leads the ICE to EV revolution in North America today!

  26. JR Says:

    I’m ok with the looks of the Oshkosh (function over form), but I sure hope they will have an AWD option for rural routes. Otherwise, I’d prefer my mail carrier just keep her present Jeep. Electric does seem like the way to go of course. Amazon will lead the way on that front.

    @2 I’m not sure the automakers are exploiting Mexican labor. As was said earlier, they do pretty well compared to other employers down there, especially with such a low cost of living. When I last dealt with a plant in Mexico, the wages actually caused an entirely different problem. We had high turnover because some folks would quit after building up a savings so they could return to their home towns. After burning through their savings, they would come back for a job again.

  27. Barry Rector Says:

    Robo Dog is just not the same as a real dog! Sorry KIA.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 A large percentage of any new mail delivery vehicles, probably intended to last 30 years, should be electric. AWD would be useful for a few routes, but for most, not needed. Actually, the few needing AWD might be the same ones that should stay with ICE.

    One advantage of building vehicles in Mexico, along with lower wages than some places, is that they don’t seem to get into trade wars. To my knowledge, they can send cars most places in the world without issues.

  29. WineGeek Says:

    The advantage to BEVs at the post office has one overriding positive. The level of emissions is almost “zero” and while we have so many people here that discuss how much cheaper and better than BEVs the ICEs are. I want my children and grand children to have a habitable world to live in, the sooner we get to low or no emission mobility the better. I am a Hydrogen advocate but let’s do whatever we have to that will get us to a better environment while we wait for Hydrogen to become more readily available. .

  30. Sean Wagner Says:

    Deutsche Post bought a little startup and started building their own electric delivery vehicles some years back when VW refused to make them.

    They presently have a fleet of over 15’000 EVs, and plan on more than doubling that by 2025. Ford also sells them electric vans.

    As AutoLine has often said, the basic constituents of modern battery cells are mostly made in China, so Tesla building out a domestic source is noteworthy and significant.

    Ford and gm might get together and encourage their battery suppliers to follow suit. They manage to share a transmission too.

  31. Doug Says:

    How about the USPS using a delivery truck that uses both battery and flywheel technology that captures stop and go energy? I am not sure that exists yet, but it would be better than a stop/start engine.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Hybrids, and pure EVs recover energy when stopping, but flywheels might be worth pursuing for mail delivery vehicles with very frequent stops, and maybe also for garbage trucks.

  33. S65AMG Says:

    The New USPS Truck is not just Fugly, and with Horrendous MPG, it’s also a very inefficient Design, which makes it even Fuglier to me.

    Fortunately, the design can be easily corrected and will result in a truck with the exact same cargo capacity and volume, but with an overall length several feet less than this Atrocity.

    Quite simply, all they have to do is take the cabin and put it ON TOP, not behind, the engine. Many, many Buses and Transit trucks large and small have this obvious design.

    Among the benefits will be a much smaller vehicle weight and footprint, and the fleet will take much less garage space.

    But the MPG will not be radically increased unless the engine is replaced with a DECENT power plant.

    This is the time for our Worthless COngress to have a Full Hearing about this SORDID business of HOW this Atrocity was selected.

    I am 99.99% sure that criteria OTHER than excellence were used. Otherwise I would have to believe that the other candidates were even WORSE designs, which I cannot possibly even imagine.

    I smell corruption here.

    We want full transparency. the incompetent and corrupt USPS should disclose the specs and costs of ALL the candidates, including the loser that got the award.

    It is really disgusting, the more one thinks of it.

    Now as for Sean Wagner’s info about Germany’s PO making 15,000 vehicles of its own etc etc. You give us absolutely no details in order to applaud the move. I assume they are far more efficient than the above atrocity, but what is their cost, capacity, MPG? You tell us next to nothing in your post. And have in mind that what is good for crowded W Europe with its tiny distances and very high fuel prices is NOT ideal for the US necessarily.

    For many years I was complaining about the ugly, inefficient USPS trucks polluting our neighborhoods because they were not hybrids and were idling on our front doors all the time.

    This does not mean that ALL USPS trucks should be BEVs or even plug-ins.

    A SMART BEV design (which means, small battery and range, BUT switchable batteries) would be ideal for most big densely populated metro areas.

    For the opposite, for the sparcely populated states with huge distances, actually the trucks do not have to be even hybrid. The ideal truck for those regions would be a SIMPLE DIESEL! NOT a gas powered hog!

    The solutions have to be both good for urban pollution but ALSO on the bottom line of the perenially bankrupt USPS which is kept alive by annual injections of billions of our hard earned tax money.

    And one way to improve incompetence is to charge more FAIR user fees. Junk mail should NOT get such a huge discount, and, with smart computers today, they should also be able to charge far more if the letter travels a far longer distance than a letter which goes next door.

  34. S65AMG Says:

    I was just reading the only newspaper worth reading, the Wall Street Journal. (for those of you that want FACTS, not PROPAGANDA)

    Pulitzer winning Auto writer Dan Neil had an article about the Toyota Hybrid Sienna Minivan.

    His main q was, where the hell was this minivan when he nEEDED one, back 15 years ago when they had twin children etc to carry around. There was none then, and I also pointed it out back then that Minivans was a HUGE application for Hybrids, but it took TOyota Decades to transport the Prius tech to its minivan. Too bad for TOyota. If only now they would stop doing drugs that led them to believe that “Fools Cells” have a future, like the GM propagandist believes, and RUN to develop a good BEV!

    The second, and more interesting article in the WSJ, was about the CRAZY high Used Tesla prices not just in the US but ALL over the WORLD, as in Italy etc.

    While the Model Y has not outsold the Model 3, as many expected, it is extremely desirable and popular new or used.

    While the Model 3 stasrts at a PUNY $37k, when the AVERAGE car sold in the US is… $46K+,

    Prices paid for the Moodel Y are not just 10% higher (Musk justified Model Y, being “10% larger” than model 3, would be 10% more expensive), but almost DOUBLE that.

    USED model Ys sell at $65,000 and more.

    It is an INSANE situation that only bodes well for the Model Y’s produced in the future, where any shortage and bottleneck issues, the no. 1 of which is the availability of the damn Batteries, are resolved.

    Once Tesla solves its battery supply problem, hundreds of thousands of Model Ys and 3s and Cybertrucks will be produced AND Sold like Hotcakes. The Facts do not lie.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 FYI, the USPS board of governors, not congress appointed Louis DeJoy, who fast tracked purchase of those mail trucks. The board of governors, with the addition of appointees by a certain DJT made DeJoy Postmaster General.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 According to the Tesla web site, a Model 3 starts at $44,990. I don’t know where you get your misinformation.

    You need to click “Purchase Price” near the top right to get the actual price.

    The time has come for me to retire my 1989 van, except for old car cruise ins, etc. That being the case, I need something with more room than a sports car, or even a Camry for some of my toys, and I’ve been checking out the Sienna. Except for mpg, it’s not as good as a Pacifica, but with the much better short trip mpg, I’d rather have the Sienna. Another vehicle I’m considering to replace the Camry is a front drive Highlander hybrid. It gets essentially the same mpg as the Sienna, and while it doesn’t have as much room as the van, it has enough room for my purposes. The Highlander’s having a somewhat smaller footprint is an advantage at times, but I like the sliding doors of a van. What I’d really like would be a Camry hybrid station wagon, but unfortunately, such a car does not exist. It would get about the same mpg, and would drive the same as the sedan, while the Sienna and Highlander hybrids get only ~2/3 the mpg of the Camry hybrid.

  37. Ukendoit Says:

    I seem to recall Autoline Daily, a while back, having a segment showing the different candidates and possibly the costs. The original Oshkosh design was not as ugly (though I hate to admit it is growing on me). One of the challenges is to keep the driving position low enough to reach the mailboxes, so I don’t think that positioning the diver over the engine will work. Possibly next to the engine, like a full sized van with a engine “doghouse”, but this will make for a cramped working space. I really think the electric version will make the most sense. the batteries in the floor will clear up room inside for all the cargo.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Even those of us not ready to buy an EV at this time realize that the postal service buying horribly inefficient ICE vehicles to be used for the next 30 years is absurd. If they are truly designed to be easily converted to electric in a few years, ok, but I doubt that is the case.


    I suspect it is a game of chicken with the USPS. The cost to upgrade facilities to charge that many EVs is not small. Having been through a bunch of different USPS depots I can concur that it will take billions to upgrade those ancient facilities. The game being played here is for congress to release a few billion for USPS infrastructure or face Oshkosh building vans with terrible MPG. Oshkosh I am sure doesn’t care which van they build and probably prefers the more expensive BEV variant. The USPS probably doesn’t care either way as well. This notoriously unprofitable organization probably just can’t afford the cost to upgrade the infrastructure. Feel free to contact the USPS with your spare 2 billion dollars and I am sure they will install as many charging stations that you desire.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Are the mail trucks FWD?


    40) They are RWD. At one time they had GM G80 locking differentials to help with traction in snow. Not too sure after this many years how many of those locking rears differentials are still functional. Probably not many.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40,41 I meant the new ones.


    42) I would hope RWD. Going up hills loaded with all the weight transfer lifting the front end is not good for traction in the winter. In the dead flat lands of Indiana/Ohio/SE Michigan FWD would be fine. The hills/mountains not so much. I would also assume FWD is pretty foreign to Oshkosh and their truck history.