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6-21-2019


I'd be curious to hear your Autoline insight around this chart and data comparing Tesla Model 3 sales to competitor vehicles in the midsize premium sedan segment, ICE, BEV, or otherwise.
 
To me, this is a more appropriate way to gauge BEV demand rather than the total automotive market, which is still only around 2% as you report.
 
I realize this is just one segment and sedan demand is waning, but I would still be alarmed if I were a leader at Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc.
 
Thanks,
Steven
Steven,

There’s no question that Tesla has achieved spectacular success in the passenger car luxury segment, and has sent a scare through Mercedes, BMW and Audi. But I question whether Tesla’s success is indicative of overall BEV demand.

If we were to compare non-Tesla EVs to their direct ICE competitors, the results would be unfavorable for those BEVs.

The problem is that the entire green car segment (Hybrid, PHEV, BEV) is stuck around 3-4% market share. Most of the growth in BEVs comes from people trading in their hybrids or PHEVs. In other words, it’s the mostly the same customers.

No doubt more consumers will be attracted to BEVs once they reach cost parity with ICEs.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


Hi all,
 
Question for all those EV proponents who expect EVs to ice the ICE.
 
With almost 40% of Americans renting their dwelling (and 1/2 of those being apts), how are these people expected to charge their cars?  This is going to be especially difficult for renters in older cities (N.Y., Boston, etc) as many don't even have parking areas that could (even if the owner is "enlightened") set up chargers for occupants.  Of course these are the places tha EVs make most sense (short trips)
 
I don't really see myself fronting the money to install a charger to someone else's property...
 
rick bradner
Rick,

Great points. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


You mentioned in your Monday episode that the Trump administration "backed down" from their threat of Increasing tariffs against Mexico. You failed to mention that the Mexican government came to the table and gave the U.S. everything they asked for which was the reason for the threat in the first place.
Mexico acting as a trade PARTNER . 
This is not something they were planning on doing as some in the media said. All the previous threats produced very little.
  Thanks for you're informative shows
 
Jerry L.
Jerry,

Thanks for your feedback, we always like hearing from our viewers. You’re right, Mexico did promise to do more about illegal immigration to the US and thanks for pointing that out.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


John, you are usually right on in your reporting. However you sounded like a Democratic today in your report on the Mexico tariffs. Trump did not back down and would not no matter how loud the auto industry whines. The only reason they were suspended was because Mexico agreed to do some very specific things to stem the influx of immigrants thru Mexico. If Mexico does not live up to its agreement then look for the tariffs to go back on. They will hurt Mexico much more then they will hurt the US. That’s why Mexico ran to Washington to negotiate the deal to suspend them, or more accurately agreed to take the actions requested by the Trump administration.



Len
Len,

Thanks for your feedback. I try to stay as neutral as I can in my reporting so sorry if I came off as partisan on this one.

Let’s hope the border immigration situation gets manageable and that the tariffs with Mexico don’t come into play.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


Any chance the FCA bid was intended to convey a message to Japan and Nissan: if you break up the Renault-Nissan alliance, FCA is willing to step in on more favorable terms for Nissan?
 
Will
New Haven, Connecticut
I don’t think FCA is looking for a deal with Nissan. FCA’s and Renault’s problems are in Europe. They need to consolidate platforms and powertrains and manufacturing plants there. That’s the only place this proposed merger makes sense.

FCA is doing great in North America and reasonably well in South America. Nissan can’t help them there. Both FCA and Nissan are weak in China, so no synergies there either.

The only place that Nissan is strong is in Japan and that can’t help FCA.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


John:
 
Regarding your WWJ commentary this morning, you talked about oil producers but did not mention the Ethanol subsidies from the US government that is around $7 to $8 billion a year.
 
I think this is a waste, how many BTU of fertilizer and tractor fuel does it take to produce the corn to make a BTU of ethanol?
 
Not that I am a big fan of how Amtrak is run, but it would make more sense to put money into Amtrak and passenger rail service?  Improve the train track roadbeds...most are not owned by Amtrak I know.
 
how about an AUTO train from the Pontiac then Detroit Central train station all the way south to Orlando.   A lot of snowbirds would like to put their cars on that train than to drive I-75 for 2 days!   And train service (not AUTO train) from Chicago to Detroit to Toronto to Montreal!
 
One other comment on Tesla and GM, I heard one thing keeping Tesla in business is that Tesla is selling green tax credits to other companies including GM.
 
another reason why GM should not have stopped making the Cruze?  Are GM and I figure FCA maybe Ford not meeting CAFE standards?
 
Rob A
6-21-2019


Hello Mr. McElroy, How Are You???    Did you find it as shocking as I did that FCA pulled out of the merger talks after only 10 days???  HELL, it takes the lawyers that long just to get their limos parallel parked, let alone read all the legalese that must be involved!!!  No, I don't think this is the last we'll hear of this merger, I just think it may be a "message" to Renault to "get its house in order" and they will try again.   After all, FCA and Mr.Elkans HAD TO KNOW that with all the disparate parts of Renault, i.e. the French Government, Nissan, Mitsubishi, The Unions, the Nissan/State of Japan vs Carlos Goshns, and now the Italian Government, that this was going to take time. I am looking forward to what you and Gary and your guest panelists have to say on your " D-Day plus 75" addition of After Hours later today!!!  Thank You for reading this, no reply necessary, Chas Orvis.   P.S. : An Auto Philosophy Question : If you asked me what was the best car I ever owned, I would say "My Next One" !!!!!!!
6-21-2019


Just finished watching today's installment of Autoline and wanted to add a few points to the mix. 



In my opinion as a sixty-something driver, while growing up, the German element was far less visible on the road in the fifties, sixties and, to a lesser extent, seventies.  One would even see more Jaguars on the road than MB or BMW (in fact, my introduction to BMW came via my friend's family who owned both a 60s Bavaria AND a 2002!)  And who knew from Audi? In those days, if one wanted to purchase a luxury car, in the majority of cases, Lincoln and Cadillac were the brands of choice when status was desired.  Drivability took a backseat (pun intended) in those days considering the sofa-like comfort for which most people opted.  



Thank you for listening and for an informative show.  Also, please let John know that my brother ended up with a beautiful late-90s Audi TT convertible (sometime ago I asked his opinion on which two-seater he could recommend.)



BRB II



P.S.  Please let the Cadillac spokesperson know the Latin word is pronounced et cetera, not ekcetera.
6-21-2019


Hello:
 
Just saw today's episode and listened to the feedback on the GM request for a no-controls autonomous vehicle.  I hope I am not late to the game to reply.
 
My position is not as much should they or shouldn't they, but why do they want to do this?
 
What is the advantage of a vehicle with zero controls?  Cars still need to me moved minor distances, say around the driveway or parking lot.  Or maybe the driver needs to take over in an area of road construction.  Whatever.  Consider that even with autopilot, airplanes still have a full slate of controls.
 
Why are they trying this?  Seems another case of engineers missing the simple things.
 
Shawn
Shawn you are no doubt a healthy individual who has no problem driving.

But what about the elderly who are in danger of losing their driver’s license but don’t want to give up their personal mobility? What about those too young to get a driver’s license but would like to get around on their own? What about people with disabilities who would love to “go mainstream” and not rely on others to drive them where they need to go? What about the millions of commuters who despise their daily rush-hour, stop-and-go commuting?

There are a lot of great reasons to develop autonomous cars, and Pittsburgh—where you live—is one of the centers of excellence in this development.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


Hi John, I read your concerns about the merger and can’t agree more. I also wonder why Mike Manley thinks he needs this merger. Like you state FCA makes all the profits so what do they have to gain. As history has shown, more models don’t equate to more sales as GM found out. Even Ford recognized this and got rid of Mercury as well as the other foreign brands that did not want to join the One Ford Program. The Focus was at one point based on a Mazda but Mazda was not going to give up their independence and therefore efficiency of scale was never going to be achieved.



When Chrysler merged with AMC they got Jeep and and kept it Jeep. The other cars they blended with their own to enhance their own product line. With the cost of remaining competitive in today’s market, there needs to be fewer companies with fewer models supplying world markets. And I don’t think that is a bad thing. Only the strong will survive and I don’t see how this merger will make FCA stronger.



Len
6-21-2019


John:
 
your recent comments about vehicle affordability and cost of electrics has me worried about GM.
 
GM continues to make mistakes, 1st thinking they can be a larger Tesla with smoke and mirrors Bob Lutz was right about that!...with buying Maven and Cruise Automation dumping so much money into those money losing businesses YES fully autonomous vehicles are years if not decades away.  Maven is especially disturbing, GM would do better buying a rental car company...and make money the old fashioned ride sharing or car sharing way.  Deja Vu?
 
Dumping the Cruze when gas taxes will soon be going up again here in Michigan and around the country and world.  Not to mention GM's zeal to go to lowest cost producing non union countries is biting them big time with all of these Tariffs...
 
And now bread and butter products like Equinox are falling behind with Mary B's mandate not to spend any more money on traditional gas engines....Look at the new Toyota RAV 4..it gets 10% better mileage than Equinox.
 
I keep shaking my head, no wonder GM stock price is just above what it was back in 2010 when the IPO came out.
 
As I said before, giving up chunks of market share is not a good idea, getting out of cars is dumb and SUV truck business is getting saturated.
 
Rob A.
Rob,

Thanks for your letter we truly value your input, insights and opinion.

One thing to consider in comparing the RAV4 to the Equinox is that the Equinox is a bigger, heavier vehicle. Chevrolet is coming out with the new Trailblazer next year which slots in below the Equinox and may be a better comparison, but we’ll have to wait until we get the specs.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


Jeep has been the grim reaper of the automotive industry. 
 
 Jeep was taken over by Kaiser. Kaiser was taken over by AMC who was taken over by Renault. Then Chrysler who was taken over by Daimler, then Cerubus.  Then Fiat. Now back to Renault.  Jeep has been trying to shake off each one of these parasitic manufactures since day one.
 
  I think Karma is saying Jeep should be its own standalone automaker.
 
 
Steve
New City
Steve,

Love it, thanks for sending!

John McElroy
6-21-2019


The Renault/FCA merger won't happen. There no synergies to be had.  The French and Italians don't get along that well culturally and I'm sure Japanese culture will clash as well.  All the possible savings will be eaten up in the reorganization. This is like the 50's in America when companies were trying to survive. Packard lost all it's credibility, Hudson disappeared etc. along with others. All that was left was the perenially profitable Jeep. These mergers are thought up by "pie-in-the sky" guys who think they will survive the merger or get a big payout. FCA is a company that only makes money off Jeeps and Trucks. Renault is delusional if they think they are coming into the ever decreasing North American market on any major level.
 
The industry is changing rapidly and it is my opinion that there will be some major players and a whole bunch of fringe players when the shakeout ends. 
 
Nissan is not going to put up with more European influence and control. I had a friend who worked at Chrysler when Mercedes took over. He spoke German and could hear all the conversations in his area. The Germans finally said goodbye and walked away. They didn't understand how to be a domestic manufacturer either. 
 
These are volatile times and I don't envy anyone in the industry. Fun to watch though.
 
Gavin Smith
6-21-2019


Hello,
 
Related to your EV subsidy coverage on Friday if you're interested in subsidies, I suggest you include coverage for industries that have even bigger and permanent ones.
 
It could have an interesting spin - not only are they much bigger and permanent, but they're also hidden and instead people are distracted by smaller subsidies for new and competing technologies.
 
I would also caution the suggestion that Tesla sales dropped because of the step-down in their tax credit. It may be a factor but correlation is not causation. I would wager that the seasonality of vehicle sales was a bigger contributor.
 
Steven
Steven,

While I agree with you that the oil industry probably doesn’t need all the subsidies it gets from Uncle Sam, those subsidies don’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things.

The article you cite claims the oil industry gets $10.7 billion a year in subsidies, nothing to sneeze at. But the US produces 6.4 billion barrels of petroleum a year. That means the subsidies come to about $1.67 a barrel. One barrel yields 42 gallons of gasoline. So the subsidies come to about four cents per gallon of gasoline. That’s not what’s keeping people in their ICEs.

If seasonality was the cause of Tesla’s drop in sales then you would expect to see the same percentage drop from other automakers. While it is very difficult to get an accurate number for Tesla’s US sales (why do they hide this?) the company’s global sales (the vast majority of which are in the US) fell 31% in the first quarter of the year. The rest of the market was down 2%.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


More Peter D.   !!!!
 
By far your best guest.

Marty
6-21-2019


Gentlemen,
 
It was a great discussion, but I still feel it is begging the question:  What is driving this?
Is it CARB and it's sister secessionist states?  Is it a 23 trillion dollar debt about to hit the fan?
What is this 'turn' the automakers are approaching?
 
Car ownership carries with it:  car responsibility, car care, self interest that encourages order and drives an economy.
 
Mobility implies:  ownership by others, dependency, access qualifications (different than individual ownership requires), and a top down command/control economy.
 
I hope I'm making a point here...
 
r-work
R,

What’s driving the move to mobility is cost and convenience. The average price of a new car today is $36,000 and going up every year. I’d estimate we’ve priced over 4 to 5 million US households out of the new car market since the year 2000. If autonomous ride sharing truly ends up cheaper than owning a car, millions of people will give up car ownership.

It’s also about convenience. Millions of commuters spend their mornings and evenings stuck in stop and go traffic commuting to and from work. They hate it.

I like the point you’re making and agree with it, but if it’s a massive headache to drive a car, or it’s a financial burden, mobility services offer a real alternative.

John McElroy
6-21-2019


Hey John:
 
Why aren't the interior suppliers including seat belt restraint systems in their photographs or renderings of future autonomous vehicle interiors?
 
Is there some new design cue's or is including restraint belts just too ugly?
 
Thanks,
 
Len
Len,

Designers always take liberties when it comes to illustrating the future. So you don’t see seatbelts, or mirrors. And concept cars often have gull-wing doors. It will be deep into this century before we actually see automakers making cars without any seatbelts.

John McElroy
6-6-2019


John, 
 
I was curious to know the brand / model of shoes you were wearing during one of the Autoline programs.  The shoes have stitching down the middle of the toe.  
 
Could not find the precise show, likely one with a test drive.
 
Regards, 
 
Lance
Lance,

My wife bought those shoes a couple of years ago at Costco. The brand is Cole Haan and they’re very comfortable.

John McElroy
6-6-2019


John

Enjoyed your show yesterday especially the segment with Penske President and all things racing.  I’ve always admired Roger and his incredible Company.

Looking forward to Ralph coming on.
Enjoy The Grand Prix will be watching here in the Pacific Northwest.

Regards  
Chuck
6-6-2019


The problem long haul trucking companies have is that most people want to be home more than 4 days a month.
 
There isn't  a shortage of drivers but a shortage of good companies to work for.
Long haul drivers have always been on the road a long time, that’s nothing new.

And the driver shortage is simply one category on a long list of professions that faces a shortage. Every automaker and supplier is complaining about struggling to fill open job slots in various categories.

One of the most critical shortages right now is with skilled trades people. The jobs pay over $30 an hour, not including benefits, and they can’t get people to sign up for apprenticeship programs that pay them to learn a trade.

John McElroy
6-6-2019


I am big fan of Autoline Daily and have been watching it for years. 
 
In Episode #2598 you mention a Merrill Lynch report.  I would be very interested in knowing more about where I can get this report.
 
Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
 
Thanks,
 
David
David,

Merrill Lynch does not make these reports available to the general public. They go to clients, analysts and some media.

Even we have to go through a double layer of verification to get them.

John McElroy
6-6-2019


John,
 
   Here in Illinois the governor is proposing a $41 billion capital bill for the state. It calls for doubling the state gas tax as much of the infrastructure plan is for roads. An interesting revenue source is raising the registration fee on EVs from $34 every 2 years, or $17 per year, to $250 annually. Do you think more states might raise this fee if EVs become popular as there will be less revenue from gas taxes to fund road improvements and could these raised fees hurt sales of EVs.
 
Mike
Mike,

It’s already happening. About 20 states have raised their registration fees on EVs.

John McElroy
6-6-2019


It is interesting to see that it’s tough for any large company (Silicon Valley based, Detroit based, anywhere based) to compete with the compensation upside and freedom from smaller firms for much of the best talent in Silicon Valley.  
 
I observed that even a very high tech firm like Intel would have trouble recruiting the best experienced people in the industry if there are many alternatives that had equity upside and less bureaucracy. Once they mature, their stocks plateau, and give fewer options/restricted stock to a broad set of employees they have a much harder time recruiting the very top experienced tech talent.  Big mature firms then can pivot to trying to hire the best college grads. 
 
So I am sure the OEMs have many fine people at their Silicon Valley outposts but probably not of the same type as what a Tesla can attract (for a while).
 
I had employees both in Silicon Valley and in austin and It seemed like I saw many situations where one spouse might go work for a more big stable company for the stability and medical benefits while the other spouse swung out to try to grab the brass ring and finally get enough equity to buy a house in CA or be financially secure. 
 
PS: the Tesla video is long but interesting.  Elon said that LIDAR is good for some spaceX applications (docking with the space station) but it is a “fools errand” for autonomous cars.
Lidar may be a fool’s errand. But Tesla is the only OEM with AV related fatalities. Cars from companies using lidar like Cruise, Argo and Aurora can see when a semi-trailer is blocking the road.
 
We just had Ryan Eustice form the Toyota Research Institute on Autoline After Hours recently and he hinted that a camera-only system may be reliable in the future, but not now.
 
I had an interesting conversation with the SVP of quality and validation at Velodyne, who pointed out that Lidar puts out such a powerful pulse it can see right through any snow and water on the lens—literally going right through the gaps between the molecules. Cameras can’t do that.
 
John McElroy
6-6-2019


Mr. McElroy,
 
I've been following you for some time and with the advent of electric and autonomous  vehicles I have two questions that concern me. 
 
Electric powered vehicles:
The range of electric vehicles has lengthened to about 225 miles.  That puts a city car on my would buy list.  But, a major problem remaining is the amount of time it takes to charge these vehicles at an electronic fueling station.  (At home - no problem.) 
 
If it takes several hours to recharge the batteries these charging stations would need many plug-in-posts to accommodate the vehicles needing a charge.  The stations would have to expand their real estate significantly to handle these 'parked' vehicles.  Plus the drivers would have to allow hours out of their day - they better pack a lunch too
 
I've read a couple of articles that suggest that new charging technologies in the works that can charge vehicles in almost as fast as gassing up.  That would be a real deal changer and point heavily in the direction of selling electric vehicles.  Until that happens I think that there will be many unsold electric vehicles languishing on dealer lots.
 
Autonomous vehicles:
I see no possible way that an autonomous vehicle could ever navigate an intersection like the Arc de Triomphe  in Paris!  I was there last June and the intersection was completely shut down and the police had to be summoned to clear the traffic jam.  I wonder if the programmers have even thought of such a circumstance?
 
Sincerely,
Larry
Larry,
 
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about electric cars. There is a small but growing number of publicly available Level 3 chargers (440v) that will provide about 80% charge in half an hour. Tesla Super Charger stations offer this too. There are faster chargers coming, but they will be few and far between for the next 5 years.
 
Before you think it would be impossible for an AV to navigate around the Arc, take a look at this video from Cruise Automation driving through San Francisco.
 
AV technology is progressing far faster than most people are aware of.
 
John McElroy
5-30-2019


I enjoyed the show on Tesloop with many important points brought out, by you and your guests.
The long range and low maintenance of the vehicles being of special import. Also extreme cases of continuous charging to full from almost zero charge
indicates the reliability of the product, though recently Tesloop has said that just charging slightly less, say to 90% and not letting the vehicle charged
state fall below 10% achieves much better results, with less battery degradation, it's important to consider what happens when you go against charging
guidelines or best practices. 
Can any ICE car even compete with that remotely? I think not, especially when you consider the cost of the fuel, around 4 times cheaper for electricity.
Anyway, good show, though I must admit that my POV is a bit prejudiced.
Little Bob 
Bob,

Thanks for your comments. And you’re right, it’s hard for ICE’s to compete with what Tesloop is doing, at least from an operating-cost basis.

The national average cost for electricity is 12 cents/kilowatt hour. Most BEVs use about 29 kwh to travel 100 miles, which roughly works out to the equivalent of $1.10/gallon compared to a car that gets 30 mpg using gasoline that costs $2.80/gallon.

John McElroy
5-30-2019


John,
 
Contrary to the Car and Driver headline, the Dyson patent application that published today (attached) is not a design patent application. Instead it’s a utility patent application (in particular an international patent application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)).
 
It is strange. Rather than claim particular technology, they are claiming vehicle proportions. Most broadly, they appear to be claiming dimensions that would be characteristic of a cab-forward crossover. At this stage, the European Patent Office has performed a search and mainly cited an old Toyota concept against all claims.
 
Dyson will have several opportunities to respond.
 
Will
Will,

Thanks again for your insights. They are very helpful.

John McElroy
5-30-2019


John! 
Your video on the Tesla or Tezla pronunciation was AWESOME! Also loved the format. I’ve long said why is everyone saying it wrong it’s an S not a Z!! You’ve changed my mind! Love the show guys. Keep it up. I will now be correcting everyone I hear saying it wrong. Haha
5-30-2019


Hi John,
Your 2 minute reply about how to pronounce
Tesla
was perfect! Really enjoyed your intelligent,
articulate response to people who likely say seen
when they should be saying saw.
 
I was wondering if you know John Davis from
Motor Week. I really like your programs and
his. Do you think he could be your guest someday
on Autoline After Hours?
 
Aloha,
Richard
Richard,

Thanks for your comments on the video about how to pronounce Tesla, it was a lot of fun to do it.

I do know John Davis, and very well. He’s a good friend and colleague. We’d love to have him on Autoline After Hours, but he lives in Maryland and we’re in Michigan, and so far we haven’t been able to make it happen.

John McElroy
5-30-2019


John,
Pete Bannon (now Tesla silicon VP) gives a presentation in this video.  I recall meeting him decades ago at microprocessor conference that we were both presenting at..
I think he was with DEC back then...a pretty well regarded guy

I would caution any automotive analyst that thinks that Tesla doesn’t have a competitive advantage.  
How long lived or sustainable over, say, a decade is debatable  but it is not going to be easy for an incumbent OEM that has non-silicon valley compensation systems (ie no/little stock options or restricted stock grants) and a reputation for bureaucracy to compete for this caliber of talent.   

And Rivian may move to the Detroit area for core automotive expertise but for core computing expertise you have to equivalently go to Silicon Valley or Austin.

Tesla likely has a meaningful core technology value that any serious global OEM would like to have.   If their car business ever dies, it would be worthwhile for another OEM to buy the pieces.

When I had employees in the Silicon Valley and in Austin as a Senior Director at Sun Microsystems it was interesting to observe the labor dynamics.  
Management has to earn the respect of the best technical folks with a compelling business vision, a plan to succeed, and respect for the team.. otherwise they are gone to the next startup or company in fairly short order.   It’s quite democratic. There is a stronger balance of (computer design) labor vs management power.

Ford, GM, or Toyota opening a Silicon Valley office might create a conduit for being better plugged in, but it’s probably going to be tough for them to successfully develop the most leading edge designs.

So when a Bob Lutz or an analyst says that all the OEMs basically have the same technology as Tesla, they really are not accurate.

Dave
Dave,

GM, Ford, Toyota do have Silicon Valley offices and have had them for a number of years. That's true of almost all the automotive OEMs and major Tier 1 suppliers.

The auto industry is very aware of what's going on in Silicon Valley, and vice versa. There is a growing cross-fertilization of talent and ideas as well.

And don't worry about Tesla. If it were ever to go bankrupt there would be a feeding frenzy to snatch up all the assets--people, products and IP. Automakers, tech companies and venture capital companies would go after it like piranhas.

John McElroy
5-30-2019


Hi John,

On today’s show you pointed out how PHEV sales were down. My neighbor has one and has monitored the electric current used to charge the batteries vs. EV miles and figures that the price of gas needs to be above $2.50/gal to make it cheaper to plug in (using 120v). Cost penalty may not be worth the savings plus if you park outside it’s not convenient.



On AHH, Gary talked about the Rivian/Ford deal. I think a BEV pickup makes great sense and here is why. Someone had a pic of what looked like the Rivian skateboard with a F150 body on it. A body on frame is perfect for that. Common mount points and the tooling is the frame to accept the IRS, battery, motors and electronics. Delete the ICE, trans, drive shafts, fuel tank, exhaust and transfer case. I could see this vehicle going down the same line as the ICE truck with minimal tooling and line change. As the engines get more expensive to meet EPA standards and battery cost dropping I could see a BEV costing on par with the ICE and even cheaper then a diesel. Then take into consideration, no more oil changes and a vehicle that looks and drives like your old one accept having to plug in now and then vs. pumping $60 worth of gas into the tank might sound pretty attractive. As a fleet vehicle it might be even more attractive. Higher tow capacity to tow more. I think this could be a very attractive pickup. My prediction is Ford launches this as a 2021 model.



Len
Len,

Ford has now made it clear it will have an F-150 BEV AND a Rivian truck model.

You’re right that an F-150 body could probably be bolted to a Rivian skateboard, but it wouldn’t be optimal. The F-150 was designed for an ICE with a radiator opening, big engine compartment, transmission hump, gas tank real estate, etc. So it has extra weight and aerodynamic drag.

To have the best possible BEV possible, a vehicle has to be designed from the ground up to be electric. With the exception of Tesla, all the BEVs from the traditional OEMs are modifications of existing platforms, because it’s a lot cheaper to do it that way.

John McElroy
5-30-2019


John:
 
GM sales down 7% 1st quarter 2019, my millenial co worker says they should keep the Impala and put the Corvette engine in it to compete with Charger and go more mainstream sporty car (he likes what FCA is doing on sports cars and pickups)...add a scoop spoiler and stripes and can then charge $60K or more for it....I say GM could also make a Caprice luxury version too with leather, moonroof heated everthing etc.
 
I say bring back Cruze, but that aint gonna happen with Mary B. in charge....and that young CFO female bean counter....too bad they could have done some good things with Cruze the next few years while waiting for electrics.
 
GM has to stop giving up market share worrying about margins, or they will continue to lose sales....they could bring production of Regal Tour X to the US or Canada as well and market that nice vehicle.   better pricing would help its sales.
 
DETROIT — General Motors is still looking for its first sales gain of the year as its U.S. light-duty vehicle deliveries fell an estimated 2.6 percent compared to April 2018.
GM, which switched to quarterly reporting last year, sold about 231,700 cars and light trucks in April compared to nearly 238,000 a year ago, according to estimates from the Automotive News Data Center.
The automaker's car sales dropped an estimated 5.1 percent last month, while truck demand, including SUVs and some crossovers, slid 2 percent.
GM's sales have been hampered by planned downtime at its Arlington Assembly plant in Texas, which produces full-size SUVs, and an ongoing transition to its next-generation Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 models.
The automaker this year also ended production of several passenger cars including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Cruze, for the U.S. market.
For the first four months of the year, GM's U.S. sales fell an estimated 5.9 percent, including a 17 percent drop in cars and 3.1 percent decline in trucks.
Brands (all estimates): Buick, up 3.5%; Cadillac, down 6%; Chevrolet, down 4.3%; GMC, up 2.3%.
Notable nameplates (all estimates): Buick Enclave, up 14%; Buick Encore, down 4.1%; Cadillac CT6, down 6.7%; Chevrolet Bolt, up 50%; Chevrolet Corvette, down 13%; Chevrolet Volt, down 16%; Chevrolet Equinox, up 9.9%; Chevrolet Colorado, down 5.6%; Chevrolet Silverado, down 17%; GMC Acadia, up 69%; GMC Sierra, down 6.2%.
Incentives: $4,799 per vehicle, down 8.4% from a year earlier, ALG says.
Average transaction price: $35,911, up 3.3% from a year earlier, according to ALG.
Notable quote: "The pickup truck segment will play an even bigger role in the market this year. Ram sales continue to roll, putting Chevrolet under huge pressure. Ram outsold rival Chevrolet Silverado in the first quarter, and it may have added to the run with nearly 50,000 Ram 1500s sold last month. GM is not sitting still though, as they are currently ramping up production of their new full-size models," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher and analyst at Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader.
Did you know? As sports car enthusiasts await the arrival of the midengine Chevrolet Corvette, the famed sports car has posted only four year-over-year monthly sales gains since 2017.
thanks,
rob A.
5-30-2019


John,
 
The sad fact is that Telsa is not a "going concern" (insolvent) if it has to use the dealer model. EVs (Teslas anyway) to not provide enough maintenance work to sustain dealers. Car repairers are doing well from Teslas. Dealer network requirement would mean no US leaders in EV field as Tesla moves to China. Tesla has lots of great tech of interest particularly to Chinese companies. Tesla going bust would likely see the Chinese get a 10 year jump on Western manufacturers.
 
'Dealers' are part of the great social conflict tearing tear the US apart and turning it into a nuclear armed but small bully in a future world dominated by an authoritarian China and India. The failed coup in Venezuela shows Trump can't organise anything and will embolden China, Russia (Putin), Cuba and piss-off allies.
 
You reported Smart has been sold to China (Geely) for development in the 'local' travel market (1 to 4 wheel EVs that bust congestion in the worlds congested communities). Dealers did not want Smart EVs as they don't fit the dealer profit model. Thus, no other EVs, apart from Teslas sell in normal volume due to dealer model ((and range, design and charging limitations driven by the dealer model impact on opportunity for sales)). 
 
You personally need a social licence from your community to exist as a human and a business (we all do), and controversy sells, so we get the gratuitous (lazy) attacks on Tesla. In attacking Tesla as your SE Michigan community expects (lazily), you are missing key things more obvious from the distance of Sydney (Australia), Beijing and Shanghai who don't care about the terms of your social licence, only the quality of the product. Australian media is dominated by the same Murdoch family that sets the US media agenda in partnership with Trump - we have the same social dysfunction and incapacity to govern/assist rising industries, so I get the impact of social dysfunction. 
 
(((The Murdochs are Australian, and Rupert has been in business here since about 1960 when he inherited a small newspaper from his dad - who learnt the power of the media relationship with political leaders from his dad who was a senior journo reporting WW1 from France and London))). China has major problems, but with 4 times the US population it can afford significant dysfunction and still dominate.
 
While 'Detroit' is a name for the city centre and the US auto industry, it is not a name most people living in the SE Michigan metropolitan area would give to the metropolitan area. This is also part of the US dysfunction problem. You would never say "Blue Sky Productions, Detroit" - you give the suburb name to an international audience!!
 
Looks like Teslas will get an ultra-capacitor as battery cells do not like regen when SOC (state of charge) is high, and the energy loss from short term store in an ultra-capacitor is far less. Energy density of a capacitor is 100 times less than an li-ion cell. But 100 Wh (360 kJ, 45 kg, 2.5% vehicle weight) is probably sufficient for 90% of regen in normal traffic, could add 30%+ to range, and quadruple charge cycles due to easier task for battery.
 
Peter
5-30-2019


Hi John,
 
On Autoline Daily you mentioned that Tesla is missing a large market because they can't do business in a few states.  I completely agree with that statement.  But here is my take on the situation.  It seems to me that a business is being restricted from conducting its business because of an unfair (almost socialist) rule.  You can't do business in my state because ... not enough palms are being greased.  I believe in a free open market, which I thought was a core American value?  If a business us willing to pay taxes for government services like law enforcement or for and rescue; for the salaries of our elected officials, why should a local government restrict a business unless someone is looking for a payday?
 
My older sibling told me when I was very young, no matter what they are talking about, they are talking about money.
Julie,

I agree with you that Tesla should be able to sell cars directly to consumers in all 50 states. But the reality is that it’s been banned or severely limited in 21 states. Auto dealers have one of the most powerful lobbies in the country, at both the local, state and federal level. Like it or not, that’s the reality.

Tesla sued the state of Michigan in federal court to overturn the ban, but that lawsuit has been languishing since 2016. Perhaps Tesla will win that lawsuit and it will be free to do what it wants. But in the meantime, it’s losing customers.

Tesla is largely blocked from reaching 166 million consumers who buy 8 million new cars a year. Based on its current market share, Tesla could have sold an additional 130,000 cars a year in those states, practically doubling its sales, which would have erased most of its financial problems.

John McElroy
5-30-2019


Your ATW interview with Rahul Sonnad of Tesloop and Carmiq got me thinking. 
 
I would not rent out any of my cars to a stranger, but I would to someone I know. We've all borrowed a truck from a friend for the cost of a pizza. There could be an app that manages car rental relationships. Each user populate the app with their vehicles and those we are willing to rent to, such as Facebook "Friends", lives within a mile of me, etc. The renter would post that they are looking to rent, and the particulars. If there is a person & vehicle type match, the app would ask me if I would be willing to rent to this person. If I were not willing, another person would be asked. There could even be "congestion pricing" - costs more over a holiday. The app would be the middle person for the money, taking a commission for every rental. Even auto rental companies could get involved (for a fee).
 
It would be inconsistent income, but might be a way to see old friends.
 
Neil G
Neil,

You should stop everything you are doing and go develop this app. Then retire, and go buy an island.

Fantastic idea!

John McElroy
5-30-2019


John:
 
Your comments on the FCA sports cars taking market share from GM and Ford is spot on.
 
Using big Hemi engines is great marketing and very smart, and Challenger Charger can be driven year round and as a person's primary vehicle.  Red key and black key is a good idea to keep a lid on kids and valets...
 
GM would be smart to keep Impala with SS and other sporty versions and be aggressive on price....they dont want to do it, look at their pickup sales slipping vs. FCA mostly due to fewer incentives.
 
I strongly disagree with the GM CIO, it is not easy to gain back market share once you lose it!  GM sales down 7% in 1st quarter 2019...
 
I still think dumping the Cruze was a big mistake  The Sonic is the car they should have dropped yes I know the Bolt and Driverless vehicle work is based on the Sonic but the Cruze is a superior vehicle.   GM should have kept making Cruze in Mexico or Ohio...and let the other location make the Blazer.....GM should take pages out of FCAs book...make minor changes year to year to save $$ and put some of it on the hood to move iron.  Most bang for the buck, why kill a vehicle that was selling 150 k units a year, when you have already paid for most of the R&D and tooling and training.
 
Gas prices will go up, either by rising oil prices or more so by gas tax increases.
 
Hybrids are probably a bigger growth area as full electrics have their limitations.  Hybrids aint cheap of course.
 
And as the Ford Chairman said that what people are finally realizing is that fully autonomous vehicles are decades away so car makers should offer safety improvements that help us drive better based on autonomous research.  And go for markets that allow for autonomous vehicles.
 
Thanks,
Bob A.
5-30-2019


After watching the latest AAH I was disappointed that with the auto and expert in the room you did not take the opportunity to have him point out and explain the technology on the car and tell us what it contributed to the overall effort. 

Chuck
5-17-2019


John,  Do you think Tesla will ever make a sustained YE profit?

Bill
I do. The company is only getting going in China and Europe. It will
probably continue to struggle a bit, but those markets could help triple its
sales and at that point it could be quite profitable.

John McElroy, President
Blue Sky Productions, Inc.
5-17-2019


John:
 
One more question is that of CAFE and auto makers fleet fuel mileage...with all the gas thirsty big SUVs Trucks and sports cars AND with electrics what will happen in the future?
 
I would think car makers should be concerned as Donald Trump wont be President forever?
 
Will be interesting to see what happens?  You can think of it as the Gorilla not yet in the room.
 
Bob A.
5-17-2019


I liked your review of the Model 3, well mostly because it was positive, but it was also fair. In regards to the predicted coming ev glut,
I think you are predicating that on what the auto industry is saying, such as GM announcing 20 electrified vehicles coming in a few years, that's not happening.
 
You point out the current glut of the Bolt and other evs, like the Nissan Leaf, now already out of fashion and superseded by superior choices, like the Model 3,
as a demonstration of a lack of demand for evs, and perhaps a sign of the coming ev glut, as you call it, even Tesla's earlier vehicles are suffering the S and X, as people
find the Model 3 suits them at a lower cost, and includes superior technology. I think rather this is just the logical progression of the changeover to an ev fleet.
It takes time, and money, and it will be a gradual change, at least in the U.S. where the powers that be are fighting against the transition to evs.
The European ev makers are also announcing new evs coming like crazy, someday, but where and when are they? It will hardly be a glut when they are only producing
these new evs in compliance numbers,  20k a year or so meant for the U.S. market.
 
As far tipping points go, it's not a traditional transition, as something such as this has never happened before. For a comparison I think the transition from
B&W TV to Color is somewhat appropriate, though the expense of buying a car is much greater, the actual change over in TV was dramatic as people came to realize how much
better color was than B&W. That took 10 years, so one should at least double that to 20 years, as the changeover will advance more slowly..
Instead of tipping points it will be more like a gradual erosion in various segments, of the market, as the ice loses market share in each segment, in which evs compete.
 It's rather useless to talk about the entire fleet as not all models of vehicular transportation include an electric alternative, such as pick-up trucks.
 
I liked the NY auto show run through too, as you seemed very happy, in your element.
Thanks.
Little Bob.
5-17-2019


Hi John, 

     

Just got delivery of my Ram Promaster van after waiting 6.5 months. There are basically no large vans [2019] on dealers lots here on Vancouver island. Talked to one fellow who just got his Ford Transit had to wait 11 months. You’re the automotive journalist what’s the story?? The only thing I can find online is that Amazon has ordered 20,000 Sprinter Vans. The dealer had no explanation for the delay except there was some logistic issues.



Yours 

David Thompson
Data from Wards Auto shows that sales of the Promaster are up more than 100% and it had 62 day’s supply in the US at the end of March, the lowest in the FCA lineup except for the Grand Caravan. Ford Transit sales are up 5% and it had a 63 day’s supply, the lowest in Ford’s lineup except the Expedition. Sprinter van sales are down 5% but it only has a 40 day’s supply. All in all, the van market has relatively low supply right now.

John McElroy
5-17-2019


In regard to Tesla and franchised dealerships let's compare to GM, who have dealerships all over the country, and the world. How many bev's Bolts did they sell last year? Hmm.
Also the dropped the Volt, which dealers were adamant to promote. Sort of pokes a hole in your theory, though Tesla would get more exposure if it did have franchised dealerships,
it would give them less control over their vehicles.
Tesla is blazing a new trail and there will be missteps, though I don't think a lack of franchised dealerships is one. Dealerships, who in my view are archaic, and merely add costs to the vehicle.
Tesla does not have the political clout and bought and paid for politicians, which NADA enjoys. Plus people despise car dealerships, who enjoy the lowest ranking in trustworthiness.
A ranking well deserved. Thank you for your consideration.
5-17-2019


John, 
 
Big fan but you did not know what you were doing when using autopilot. You need to learn how to use the AutoPilot system before showing viewers! You need to keep light pressure on the wheel, one hand resting lightly will be enough to keep it from warning you, if it is warning you it will not change lanes, this is why you almost missed the offramp. If you pull too hard on the wheel like you did multiple times it will turn off thinking you want to take over and Autopilot turns off. This is, of course, all a temporary stop-gap until the software is complete. When Autopilot is complete you will not need to keep your hands on the wheel at all. This video is very misleading and makes the system look like it is not working when it is you who did not take the time to learn how to use the system. You are welcome to come out to Palm Springs and I can show you how it works and make a video that accurately represents the Autopilot system.
Mark,

I’ve driven every lane-keeping cruise control system there is, which all require the driver to keep his hands on the wheel. I know how they work.

I also drove that Tesla for a week using Autopilot and knew how to keep my hands on the wheel. In fact, I had driven that exact same route the day before we video-taped that segment.

The problem was not me, it was Autopilot. Sometimes it works OK, other times not, especially in heavy traffic. Other Tesla owners have told me the same.

I have no doubt that Tesla will improve the system. But right now it’s not as good as advertised.

John McElroy
5-17-2019


If one were to ask me what I think the major problem will be for ev adoption to take hold, it would be service, and that includes legacy auto too. Here's why.
Last week I had a complete brake job done on my '89 Toyota Camry, new calipers, brake drums, lines, the whole deal. Total cost $814 at my
friendly, knowledgeable, local, mechanic. Not to the dealer of course where it would cost at least 50%-100% more. Evs, just don't have that. They
will require less service, but it will be more expensive, they just don't have 80+ years of experience fixing these vehicles like the old internal combustion
engine shops do. A major roadblock, imho, for all ev makers.
Little Bob.  
Your local, friendly mechanics could easily do a brake job on any EV. In fact, they can easily work on any part of an electric car except maybe the battery and power electronics.

And perhaps they’ll be able to work on those since all the dealer is going to do is replace those batteries and computers, not take them apart and fix them.

John McElroy
5-17-2019


Hi John,



Thanks for reading my comment on today's show. I'm the person who mentioned that Autopilot gives me time to observe how badly most other people are driving.



I enjoy watching Autoline After Hours, which I discovered about 6 months ago. I grew up in rural Illinois and used to tinker with cars quite a lot as a hobby, but lived in London/SF/and a few other cities where car ownership wasn't really a great prospect. I'm re-interested in cars and it is great to hear the discussions with industry folks on your show. The recent developments in autonomy and the renaissance in horsepower happening among manufacturers make this feel like a particularly golden age.



Last year I bought my first car in 10 years, a Honda Civic. I bought it primarily because the LKAS and Adaptive Cruise can be supplemented by an open source project from comma.ai to make a relatively inexpensive car into a reasonable facsimile of Autopilot 1.0. It worked well, however...



Fast forward to the end of last year when I bought my mom a Tesla, which was a huge mistake. I drove it a few times and hated my relatively new Civic, so I ate depreciation on the Honda (though the $7500 tax credit made the sting minimal), and traded it on a Model 3 Performance.



The car is fantastic. I'm not a blind follower of Tesla, but they make compellingly fun cars and I consider myself pretty objective. There are things that suck, like the loss in range during the polar vortex, but those issues are quickly forgotten when you mash the accelerator and feel like the pilot of your own amusement park ride.



Well, that was quite a wordy intro and bit of background .. but that is all to say: if you have general questions about autopilot and the experience of someone who just recently did a 4000-ish mile round trip from Peoria, IL to San Francisco and back, almost entirely using Navigate on Autopilot, I have plenty of observations to share. The system is definitely not flawless, but it is really damned good. I tested the limits (without compromising safety, of course), and really have a feel for how the latest version of Tesla's software performs.



I also had some fun side (mis)adventures on the drive, including nearly being stuck in Laramie, Wyoming, because the entire town lost power. (spoiler: superchargers are not magic and do require the utility company to supply power).



A few random tweets from my trip: 1, 2, 3 & 4 









And my personal favorite happening during the drive
.





Thank you again for the show, and as I mentioned, if you ever have questions about what it is like to do an extreme amount of Autopilot(ing), I'm happy to chat about it. Apologies for the long out-of-the-blue email, but hopefully you find it at least mildly entertaining..



Cheers,

Ryan
Ryan,

Thanks for your letter and for your comments on Autoline After Hours.

I am jealous of you owning a Model 3 Performance because I just got done driving one for this week and I have to say it is one of the most fun and entertaining cars I’ve ever driven.

I sure wish Tesla would co-operate with the North American Car of the Year (of which I am a juror) because I’m sure it would have been Car Of The Year by a wide margin.

John McElroy
5-17-2019


Hello,
 
Can you have a panel to talk about Sandy Munro’s finding on how OVER done the build process of the Tesla Model 3 in relating to the 1 million miles of life.  I would like to have a healthy discussion about why the welding and components are assembled.
 
Also, with the upcoming Model Y, is there an idea that some of the parts and joining areas was in preperations for the Model 3 and Model Y share even more part.  So effectively. If you were to have the Model Y and Model 3 side by side (dissembled), one now see why the build of the Model 3 was or seemed like a mess.  
 
I would like to believe, they already thought of all the Model 3’s would need to last for 1 million miles for a Tesla Network (RoboTaxi).  Just that people were thinking about a car to last for 200,000-300,000 miles and NOT shared.
 
Lambert
5-17-2019


Hi John, 
 
Don’t know if you seen this presentation
 
It could be a big reason why OEM’s are not working on new engines. Ford sees the handwriting on the wall as demonstrated by their $500M investment in Rivian as well as their deals with VW.
 
I am under the opinion that unless the OEM’s design their EV’s as battery EV’s only they will not compete with Tesla or be cost effective. With their expertise in crash worthiness and light weighting they should be able to complete with Tesla.
 
Back in February I mentioned that Ford was making most of their Fusion cars as Hybrid. Your reply said data showed only 35%. I was wondering if more recent data is much higher. Either that or my dealer is only getting hybrids. I think Ford has ramped up volume and highly discounted the Fusion Hybrid to increase volume for better warranty feedback and increased production data as they prepare to offer more models as hybrid. Plus they are getting more customers into a hybrid so they find out the benefits in performance and efficiency. That incentive program ended April 1st and don’t know what their doing now.
 
Len
Len,

I agree that if traditional OEMs are going to compete with Tesla they need EV-specific platforms.

As for the hybrid Ford Fusion, here are the numbers.

March, 2019 total:
Fusion = 41,683
Hybrid Fusion = 8,457
PHEV Fusion = 611

So, hybrid Fusion = 20% of sales, w/PHEV = 21%.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


Hi John,

I just saw your son present the new Mustang and the performance enhancements…..reminds me, how often does a performance upgrade —the GT, the RT, the ST, the XLT…..include lightweight options? 

Since I have been paying attention, I almost always see a larger engine (heavier), larger brakes (heavier), ground effects (heavier), better seats (heavier), more electronics (heavier).  Is weight a mute point because the HP-to-weight ratio is better than the basic model?

Curious of your thoughts, and if you ever interviewed a “GT” chief engineer who discussed this topic?

Thank you,

Andrew H
The only way to get decent weight reduction is to design a car to be lighter from the outset. Once the design is done, most performance variants rely on lighter components like aluminum calipers, carbon fiber wheels, and carbon fiber trim for further weight reduction. But the reason you don't hear a lot of talk about weight reduction is because it's a lot easier to sell horsepower than to brag that your car shed a few pounds.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


Mr. McElroy,

FYI: While Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is pressing hard to get nearly $7 billion in new diesel buses and additional diesel trains in Southeast Michigan, China is replacing its diesel buses with electric buses at the rate of 9,500 units every five weeks(!) At that rate it won't be long before the air in China's cities is cleaner than ours and we surpass China in diesel emissions and pollution. This should be news beyond Bloomberg.

Clinton
Don't forget that China generates 75% of its electricity from coal.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


Good Afternoon,

I have a comment regarding the Tesla Model 3 tear-down report as it relates to who is buying. Sandy has mentioned in multiple After Hours shows that GM and Ford aren't interested in the Model 3 because they didn't buy his report. I seriously doubt this. Rather, GM and Ford are big enough that they almost certainly bought their own 3s and did the tear-down in house. I think it's worth bringing this up if you have another discussion.

Thanks!

Ben C
5-6-2019


complete and total waste of time mazda 3 in studio only mention of sky active x was with diesel, no info what so ever of sky active x, was like watching 3 people with zero knowledge of mazda or auto industry, auto business for that matter. very disappointing show, waste of time. 
Lymon,

Thanks for your candid feedback. We appreciate when our viewers tells us what they really think.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


Great program John. Don Walker eluded to the fact that Diesel is a great addition to the solution, yet it has and is being underfunded as per R&D.
The usage of diesel in Europe, especially the manufacture of synthetic diesel should be a WOW, yet not used. Diesel synthetic fuel offers a plethora of options for not using electric vehicles.
I offer a suggestion, if everyone had and used an EV vehicle, how would it be powered, when in fact currently there is insufficient renewable energy. Do you consume dirty electricity to power the EV sector?
I truly believe a discussion upon Diesel technology and the use of synthetic diesel is a great solution not taken.
Respectfully, I go against the grain of many, yet the answer stands before you.
Cheers,
David F
Thanks for your letter. We agree that diesels running on synthetic fuel are a good solution. Maybe this could work with heavy trucks since they are still committed to diesels.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


Hello,

I saw the Audi commercial and wondered did Chevrolet give up on the Volt architecture too soon because Audi makes a perfect argument for why people should embrace this technology.

Mike @ San Francisco CA
If more people had bought Volts, GM would have never discontinued it. Sales were mediocre.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


You might want to tell Sandy to brush up on his terminology and understanding of such.
I think he was conflating rare minerals. such as cobalt, used in battery anodes, with rare earths, such as neodymium
used in electric motors for their magnetic properties.
Little Bob  
5-6-2019


Hello Mr. McElroy, how are you sir???  Has spring "sprung" for you folks in DEE-TROIT yet???    I just had to write to say : THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!  for your "After Hours" Show last week with Sandy Munro; and THANK YOU VERY,VERY MUCH for devoting all the time you gave him!!!   It was a joy to watch from start to finish!!!  That's pretty much it for me, and no reply to this email is requested (you've already been kind enough to communicate back to me three times more than I EVER THOUGHT I'D HEAR FROM YOU!!! ).  So thanks, hope you have him back again on future shows!!!  Greatfully Yours,  Chas O  (HI to Sean and Gary!!! )
5-6-2019


Hey Guys,
 
I came across a youtube video I thought would interest you. It's about single piece 3D printed mechanism that are designed to replace multi component devices. I can see applications for this technology throughout the automotive industry.
 
Thanks,

Daniel J
The auto industry has used something like this for years. They call it a living hinge.

But clearly this prof has ideas that would have a lot of automotive applications.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


John,
 
Has anyone made a calculations to determine the amount of additional generating capacity required to accommodate the migration of the US fleet from ICE to electric?
 
There is a long lead time in bringing a new power plant on line.
 
I realize that a portion of the charging will always be done at off-peak hours overnight.
With the fast charging more and more of the charging will occur during peak demand hours.
 
It would be interesting to interesting to what the increase generation requirements would be at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% fleet electrification.
 
Have the electric utilities weighed in on this issue?
 
Jack R
5-6-2019


  Mr. McElroy,

 Watched your interview with Al Whitted, Tim Marasco and Jay Baron and
was disappointed in the responses you received from the panel especially
Tim Marasco when asked how the industry got into this mess. What they
failed to say was it was their fault. They decimated the tool and die
industry years ago by going to China to try to save a buck. They put
almost all of the tool and die shops out of business in the state of
Michigan and they ended the skilled trade apprenticeship programs
through the local community colleges. They need to look no further then
a mirror to find out why.

 I am a skilled trades person at one of the big three who served an
apprenticeship outside in some of those die shops that were decimated
because of the cheap labor in China  and I am seeing the same problem
currently still going on where I work. The problem is not just skilled
trades on the floor but most engineering now is being done in India or
Korea. Executives are still chasing the cheap labor in foreign
countries. Managers have found a way to make their jobs easier.
Outsourcing.  They can send it overseas to be done and it  is only a
phone call away. They do not have to manage anything other then the
phone directory in their phone.

 My plant (Mount Elliott Tool and Die owned by FCA LLC) was closed
because the work was sent overseas. Our plant was a perfect training
center for the new generation of skilled trades diemakers and toolmakers
but the company, (the ones who say they need skilled trades people)
chose to save a couple of bucks and send the work overseas. I understand
that a company needs to make decisions that make the company profitable
but they look at short term gains not taking into account the long term
affects of their decisions after all, they will be gone from the company
when their decisions come back to haunt the company. Tool and die is not
a desirable field anymore and the companies have themselves to blame.

Daniel K
5-6-2019


John:
 
Just heard about your comments that car sales are still dropping, yes people do want trucks and SUVs but there is trouble on the horizon with the push for higher gas taxes starting here in Michigan with 45 cent a gallon proposed increase.
 
Gov. Whitmer is going for a big loaf of bread knowing even if she gets 10 cents or 15 cents per gallon she will have won the battle.
 
45 cents a gallon would be devastating for Michigan for GM/Ford/FCA especially tourism and other businesses.
 
Other states are raising gas taxes as well.
 
Bottom line is GM will regret closing their car plants especially Lordstown, soon it will be too late.  FCA may regret building gas thirsty SUVs at Mack 1/2, they do plan hybrids those wont be cheap.
 
Notice how Honda and Toyota are already taking advantage of The Big 3 getting out of cars.  Am seeing a lot of car ads for those 2 companies.
 
Lower car sales is a chicken/egg thing too as Auto makers are still dropping car models, those that are left will start seeing sales increases.
 
Rob A.
 
PS  How about having Autorama being moved to January MLK weekend,  have it go Friday afternoon through Monday?  
5-6-2019


To Mr. John McElroy
 
Dear Mr. McElroy,
I recently watched your show, the episode with Jessica Robinson and Brad Holden that was shown on March 2 in the Los Angeles area.  Parenthetically, I am a regular watcher but I record all your episodes and watch them when I can. 
There was one point that was missing in your discussion.  Ms. Robinson was correct in that the new automotive recruit needs expertise in several disciplines, such as computer science software development, and electronics.  What was not said is that these disciplines must be integrated in today’s workplace.  In other words, how these disciplines work together is a discipline unto itself, and it takes time to develop this discipline.   In the defense industry, a person with these skills would be at least forty years of age.  My watching your program leads me to conclude that the industry wants people to be integrationists at far earlier years, say maybe around thirty, or even in the mid-twenties.   This puts tremendous pressure on educators and trainers who have to develop expertise at ever younger ages. 
I also have a great deal of experience in universities, and their departments are silos.  The faculties don’t cooperate very well.  Interdisciplinary programs, which I what is needed here, are difficult to establish unless universities establish different faculty promotion and retention procedures.  There needs to be incentives to provide for interdisciplinary programs that may not always be available.
I would have liked to have your guest two questions.  One, how do they see the development of a true integrationist at earlier ages in life than has been known in previous generations? Second, how do they see universities changing their faculty management and development procedures to faculty true integration programs?
Sincerely,
Richard Straton
Richard,

Thanks for such a thought provoking letter. We’ll publish this in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


 Thx again this AM for allowing me to enjoy my coffee with yet another episode of Autoline. On my PBS channel it was with a representative of Bosch.
I also just finished watching your latest episode with Sandy Munro. He is such a free wheeling and intelligent  thinker I'm almost left numb. I'll limit myself to only two issues he discussed. 1) Tesla's technical dominance. There's little doubt in my mind that being a privately held company,  Elon is having his Space X engineers aiding in the the design of Tesla's electronics. Either that or he's been able to corner the market in brilliance. Hell, Lockheed can't even get the guns to shoot straight on the F35!
2) On the issue of rare earth's, it's no secret that the US has the largest deposits of rare earths in the world (I'm a geological engineer). Environmental regulations are the only thing preventing the US from controlling battery,  cellphone and computer manufacturing. Please verify this yourself. Both  parties are run by political neanderthals regardless of their age. To them E=mc2 is a cable channel. So sad. 
  I'm from the "there's no replacement for displacement school". Damn Tesla anyway:)
Mark,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insight!

John McElroy
5-6-2019


If vertical integration in core car technologies is a good thing, why is Tesla still partnering with Panasonic on batteries?
 
Ron Vanden
Automakers can’t do it all. That’s why they don’t own iron ore mines to make steel.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


Please...enough already with having as a guest on your show the blow-hard self-promoter Sandy Munro
Thank you.
5-6-2019


Sean,
 
TTM manufactures the Tesla circuit board. A former engineer, now retired, worked there and spent a lot of time in their China factories.  He happens to live down the street and has plenty of interesting stories. 
 
Keep up the great work,
Alan
Alan,

Thanks for the heads-up on TTM. We weren’t aware of them.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


Was watching and working this afternoon and always enjoy his visits.  Wish he could handle production for Musk's team and help them scale up.
 
Hard to watch Tesla's mis-steps along the way knowing how great their cars are to own and drive.  I'm speaking to a group of university engineers tonight and will end with Tesla's open engineering positions!
 
Keep up the great work.  I enjoy the new theme music, changes to the A, B, C segment of Daily and especially the April Fool's episode.  Maybe I need to get out more, but I laughed out loud several times.
 
Alan
5-6-2019


Gents,
 
Great work as always and as always your latest AD regarding contract manufacturing got me thinking.
 
Two questions: 
1) Do you think Tesla would have been able to avoid some of their notorious fit/finish and  scaling issues if they had someone like Magna Steyr handle it assembly?
 
2) Does this seem plausible? 
 
One these contract manufacturers becomes a comprehensive provider. Imagine they leverage something like VW MEB EV platform and then provide vehicle design services so their customers can co-design exteriors and interiors. Then the contractor is able to bring that to market at some scale.
 
Example - Disney co-designs the Disney of vans on a VW skateboard and then have Magna Steyr build them a few thousand to handle resort duties, shuttle services, etc.
 
Be well, keep up the great work.
 
Regards,
 
Harsha
Tesla would have almost certainly avoided its early fit and finish problems if Magna was hired to assemble the cars.

John McElroy
5-6-2019


Hi John
 
With Apple looking like it is getting into the EV business, it is hard for me to think that they will go to a dealer network for sales. Would like to see this discussed in one of your after dark shows. Internet sales are doing well for Amazon. If Apple does start making Cars, consumer pressure could have impact on states like Michigan. 
 
By the way, Sandy Monroe is beginning to sound like a hardcore Tesla fan boy. As always, enjoy After Dark. 
 
Best Regards,  Frank
4-9-2019


HI Mr McElroy
An idea for your radio show came to me. I have listed a truck online. I have some issues selling it to my surprise. I just think my vehicle type are sold more at the dealers.
 
Anyhow, a thing going on Graigslist, is you get the emails like below. When you send the VIN and history report you never hear back.
I did some basic googling and this type of "scam" is newer. The people use your history report to sell their cars online in other states.
 
have fun with this topic, be a good consumer alert type one!
 
Shawn


Shawn: "Hi I am available today to show truck. Let me know."

Potential Buyer: "Okay, When do you suggest we (my mechanic and I) come for a test drive? Do you have maintenance records for the vehicle that we can look at when we come over?
 
What about a vehicle history report? Do you have one? If you do, Please send it to me as soon as you can.
 
If you don't, be kind enough to pull one so i can see the exact condition of the vehicle. I made payment for a car in the past only to find out it was previously damaged. The seller hid this information. I am just trying to be careful here.
 
I am ready to pay for the vehicle when i come for the test drive, no doubt about that, but i need to be certain of the vehicle's condition first.
 
Just in case, you can get a report online at  www.vincheckpro.info  for less than $7 so my mechanic and i can get a clear picture of the vehicle's history before coming over. I ran a VIN check there before when i wanted to sell my Lexus. 
 
Kind Regards."
4-9-2019


Hi Mr. McElroy, How Are You Sir???  Regarding your "Pie Day" After Hours Show : 1) WHAT???  No Apple or Cherry Pie for your guests???   2) On the subject of no new Ice Engines being developed (that's totally new engines from the block up ) the first thing to come to my mind, and I was surprised you or Gary didn't ask : does that mean the Acateas (sic?) two pistons per cylinder engine is doomed??? From your past shows about it, I had the impression that this engine could be a game changer, revolutionary gas engine for future cars and trucks, and was undergoing full development for large scale manufacturing. Do you think its  just coming on stream a little too late to be adopted???     Thanks for reading this.   Chas
Chas,

What we were talking about on After Hours about no totally new engines being developed applies to traditional manufacturers. Companies like Achates and others will continue to try and get the industry to go with a new design.

John McElroy

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