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Note: Your name and/or email may be read on the air.

4-2-2020


We need to mobilize the country in the areas that are not being severely affected by the coronavirus.  Keep large metropolitan areas on lock down but out here in the Midwest where we have 0 to 5 cases per county, open the factories back up with enhanced protection procedures (wear masks, wear gloves, social distancing, etc).
 
Marvin Joray
Marvin,

The only way to stop this pandemic right now is to quarantine. Many midwestern towns with few cases today could easily see big spikes in the weeks to come.

But in a few months it’s likely that we will see factories start to re-open using the protection measures you mention.

John McElroy
4-2-2020


No matter how they pretend, the ICE industry is over.- they had a good run of over 120 plus years.
All of "the big 3" are getting ready to " go bankrupt" (from an outsider) - maybe they can't see the obvious. ie GM's, Ford's ten year plan is to continue making large SUVs, & trucks - no EVs and FCA want to return their EV, because of poor sales - no promotion.
The only ads on TV is for SUVs/ trucks.
After 2035 all ICEs, - even hybrids - will be banned from public roads, world-wide.
Bob,

Actually GM and Ford are committed to coming out with quite a few EVs. The virus crisis is likely going to delay some of those intros. But you’ll see quite a few models before mid-decade.

John McElroy
4-2-2020


John,
  When I served the US air force in ’66 at TanSonNhut AB, Vietnam we regularly rode on three-wheeled cycles for transportation around Saigon. I believe they were called Cycloes and were inexpensive to ride. The seat was on the front as in the photo you showed on your show.  The seat was built to seat two Vietnamese and was a tight fit for most American riders. The wildest ride I remember on one of these Cycloes was at night right near curfew. We’d promised to pay the Cycloe operator a few extra Piaster’s to make certain we returned to the air base before curfew at 10:00PM. The ride through darkened narrow streets at speed with oncoming car lights and we passengers were the front “bumper” was exhilarating. We never were involved in a crash, and later during my tour the Vietcong began placing claymore mines under the seat of these machines which had us looking for a different means of transport around the city of Saigon.
 
Jim

Yakima, WA
Wow, Jim, what a story!

I could picture these things running around Saigon as I read your letter.

Thanks for sending,

John McElroy
4-2-2020


Hi John, I can relate to your comment about having designs on masks manufactured by auto companies.  When I see a plain white mask I feel like making a design on it, they are so very plain.  Instead of having their logo, as you stated would be inappropriate, maybe a general auto design, like a 32 hot rod, a low rider, model T style, dragster or monster truck!  Maybe just a flame job like those painted on the sides of classic hot rods.  Let's not forget bikes, choppers, classic Triumph style or Honda, also Vespas!
 
Alas, this will never happen as the bottom line always comes into play, costs.  Set up and printing will take time and money.  Oh well, it was a thought.
 
Thanks for keeping the show on the air!
 
Sincerely,
 
Amado
Saginaw, MI
Amado,

You’ve got some great ideas.

I think that people would be more willing to pay more for masks that have cool designs.

And that would cover the cost of setup and printing.

John McElroy
4-2-2020


Hello,
 
I am interested in the pre-chamber unit that increases fuel economy by 20%. I have a 2010 Honda Ridgeline that I feel can benefit from this product. How can I gt this product? how much does it cost? where can I buy one, and is it a diy project.
 
Thanks,
 
Johnson
Mahle’s Jet ignition is not something a DIY-er can do in the back yard. It has to be engineered in and calibrated, and that will be done by factory engineers.
3-27-2020


Hi John and crew,
I’m an avid listener in El Paso, Texas.  I just wanted to congratulate you and your production team on the great service you’ve provided over the years.  I remember listening to you over the past years and always enjoying your perspective and insight into the auto industry.  As a retiree from the auto industry having worked for 45+ years for GM, Delphi and Magneti Marelli, I appreciate the great discussions and observations I receive from your show.  I’ve been through so many changes in my long career and it’s great to have a friendly companion to help me keep up with the latest changing trends and forecasts. Thanks and continued health and success in your efforts.
Now on my morning walks, I can listen to all your shows on Spotify.
In listening to your 500th broadcast, I thoroughly enjoyed Gail and Rob May’s discussion on their balancing act of work and life in general.  The second segment with Paul Eisenstein would have been much better if he would keep his political views to himself.  I really appreciate his experience and knowledge in the auto area, but there was no purpose other than to offend listeners with his introductory criticism of our president.  But that being said, I think you and the other panel members did their best to bring the discussion back on point.  Thanks for managing your guests!
 
Continue the great work and I’ll continue to be one of your priviledged listeners.  I think it’s awesome that you are now providing a merchandise store to publicize the show.  One of these days, I’ll pick up one of your hats!
 
Sincerely,
Bob
Bob,

Many thanks for the kind words.

And yes, we will avoid political polemics in the future. There are plenty of other outlets that specialize in that!

John
3-27-2020


I think I know exactly where that exotic sports car is parked. Very respectable neighborhood in Bradenton, FL.
Remember this is spring training the the boys with the $$ are in town for awhile.

Peter
Life is good where ever we are!
3-27-2020


I am a daily follower of your videos, based in Australia despite the email account being in the UK.
 
It looks as though GM will be sued in Australia by the Holden dealers being given the axe in Australia.  Despite Sean’s comment that the Australian market is smaller than Texas and right hand drive, Ford, Toyota and Mitsubishi have flourished since ceasing local manufacturing in 2016, 2017 and 2005 respectively.  GM made too many bad product choices and the market voted with its feet.
3-27-2020


Henry,
Your raving about how great the CRV hybrid is made me wonder about the mindsets of the OEMs.

20 years ago the first hybrids were focused on the green market segment: they cost more plus required other sacrifices to reduce emissions so they didn’t sell well.

Now you see this example where Honda has made a “compelling vehicle that happens to be a hybrid” with excellent mpg.

Take the analogy forward for EVs some number of years.  Instead of a compliance car, your Tesla is a “better car that happens to be an EV”

I realize that there can be some time needed to improve the technology but I’m not sure how valid that excuse really is.  If the OEMs truly get the mindset to make a compelling EV, PhEV, or hybrid they can... just as Ford had the right mentality with the Mach-e instead of a compliance car.  

Some of the incumbent OEMs seem to still not yet embrace electric drive (eg FCA?) to make better vehicles.  Wouldn’t a fully independent suspension electric drive 4wd Jeep PHEV have better torque vectoring and nvh?   It could be better off road and on road .. and have better emissions/mpg.

So wouldn’t it be fair for the auto journalists to start judging the OEMs on how aggressive  they are in truly creating compelling electrified Powertrains instead of getting drug kicking and screaming?   And if they say they don’t have the money then how about doublechecking that they are not buying back stock instead of investing in key R&D to create compelling electrified Powertrains?

Great story.. keep up the good work

Dave
3-27-2020


Johnny  Mac.History has shown that in America, Great Struggle Can Produce Great Clarity. Let AMERICA do what it does best:Imagine,Improvise and Innovate. We can and will get thru this stronger and more united than ever. That's why this GREAT Land is called the UNITED States Of AMERICA! Stay healthy and may our DIVINE Spiritual Creator bless ALL of us! Danny Youngblood
3-24-2020


Hello Mr. McElroy,

Could you comment further on the 2020 Ford Explorer?  Hearing you say Ford "botched" the release, I searched for articles and found one saying Explorers came off the line missing emblems and having the wrong wheels, and another saying the Chicago Assembly plant had roving groups of employees intimidating other employees.


How much truth is in these reports?  How common would such "gangs" in plants be?  How hard is it to stop and prevent such behavior?  The idea distresses me.  "A house divided…"



And how is the Explorer quality and sales now?  I saw at least three, brand-new looking Explorers in my company's parking lot yesterday morning.
 
Thank you.
Bob
Upper Minnesota
Bob,

Ford’s problems with the Explorer launch must have been far more serious that missing badges or the wrong wheels. That could have been fixed at dealerships. Instead, Ford shipped those vehicles from Chicago to Flat Rock, Michigan to fix the problems.

Gangs in plants is not common, it’s unheard of. Ford and especially the UAW need to fire troublemakers like that, not send them to sensitivity training sessions.

John McElroy
3-24-2020


Hi John,
 
I just wanted you to know that my Mom loves her Cadillac ELR that we got for her.
 
My mom thinks the ELR's design is great; she charges it up overnight and can run errands the next day.
 
Mom admits that she sometimes forgets to plug it in which means needing to go to the gas station for a few gallons of gas.
 
Mom was shocked that the ELR didn't catch on.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
3-24-2020


500th !

PS:
 
I forgot to congratulate you all on that.  Congratulations!
 
It makes me realize how long I've been watching.  Thank you!
 
r-work
Thanks! 500 shows of Autoline After Hours is a milestone we’re truly proud of.
3-24-2020


Electric VS dealerships

The biggest thing I hear from your show and many others. Love the show is we are committed to change to electric that's where the market is heading. But I have heard ome of BMW electric vehicles won't be coming since the dealerships says the US doesn't want them. Will manufacturers force change in dealership models or will they be a hindrance to manufacturers going forward?

Thank you

Cecil
Cecil,

Dealerships will sell whatever customers are buying. If customers start asking for EVs, dealers will happily stock them.

EVs will catch on in a big way when the segment becomes a demand-pull market, instead of the regulation-push situation that we have today.

Right now the demand-pull segment represents a small percentage of car buyers, and most of them are buying Teslas.

We have a great Autoline This Week that will get posted Thursday afternoon about how to crack to the code to selling more EVs.
3-24-2020


Interesting program and a realistic forecast of future propulsion.  Some things to consider:
 
To the average car buyer there’s nothing wrong with the current ICE cars; they’re realizable, feature laden, and gas is cheap and available.  Unless they have an elevated fear of future climate change, buyers have no need for anything else.  EV’s are they answer to the question that the average buyer doesn’t ask.
 
Hybrids are the way to go; they allow time, mainly in the infrastructure, for the transition to EV’s.  But for the people who fear climate change things can’t happen fast enough so they can’t support anything to do with fossil fuels and so they dislike hybrids nearly as much as they dislike ICE vehicles.  These people are vocal in the media so it appears like no one likes hybrids.
 
Tesla is not a car company, it’s a fashion much like Apple products.  People who buy Tesla’s want to make a statement against the existing automotive industry and it’s failures.  They want to make a statement about themselves as much as getting a functional vehicle.  Again they are a vocal few and they don’t represent the typical car buyer.
 
Lastly, there is a resistance to change.  People have to deal with all sorts of change today and they don’t want another thing to worry about.  Cars are just not that important in their lives.
 
My prediction is what they said in the movie Gladiator “some day but not yet”.
 
Tony
Tony,

Thanks for the feedback and insights. We’ll publish this in Viewer Mail so others can read it too.

Best,
John McElroy
3-13-2020


Sean & John,
 
A thought to share with you about the decreasing sales of sedan & coupes and increased sales of CUV’s & SUV’s is at least partially due to easier entry into SUV’s and CUV’s. My aging body was having increasing difficulty getting in and out of our Buick LeSabre (2003). I wanted a car/vehicle that was easier to enter and dismount from. I bought a Hyundai Sante Fe that is much easier to enter and depart from. I’m sure I’m not the only one that doesn’t like the lower stance of newer automobiles for those same reasons.
 
Jim
Yakima, WA
3-13-2020


Hi John,

Do you think the BEV3 modular battery design is to allow General Motors not need to replace entire battery packs like they have needed to do with the Chevrolet Bolt where some cars are on their 3rd battery pack which has to sting; but a battery made up of smaller units which go bad could be less expensive to service for GM; I guess this means that General Motors has shelved the idea of using super-capacitors instead of batteries.

Just picked up a new Dell notebook with a GEN 10 processor, I can watch your entire Autoline Afterhours program without worry that the notebook overheats as the fans don't even kick on.

Cheers,
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
Mike,

You're exactly right. GM is using modules so if any cell goes bad it can be replaced.

John McElroy
3-13-2020


Hi Sean/John:
 
Just saw your coverage of the BMW I4 and HooWee, what a beauty!  At last my prayers for a 2020  Edsel have been answered, I love the way the front looks like a Mercedes sucking on a lemon.
I didn't notice if they have the futuristic push button transmission in the middle of the steering wheel,  (where God intended it to be).  I can only hope!
 
Thanks
Pat
3-13-2020


A very interesting discussion that left me wondering a couple things like:
 
What about repairing rear end collisions from tail gating drivers in cars without these systems?
 
What about repairing for tight city parking where pressing the bumpers is routine?
 
What about insurance costs?
 
I think I'll drive my 200k car another 100k till we both can't go any longer,
 
and, I can hear a candidate soon saying:  Medicale fo all kas!
Don’t forget that a lot of people worried about rear end collisions from non-ABS cars crashing into those equipped with ABS. It never became much of an issue.

Many insurance companies provide discounts to drivers with ADAS tech because they believe it’s going to reduce the number of accidents. But that could get offset if repairs become so much more expensive.
3-12-2020


If more accidents take place when the clock springs ahead then less accidents take place when the clock falls back. So it’s a big nothing burger. I hear this nonsense every year, just go to bed 1 hour early!
3-12-2020


Hi John and Gary



In your most recent show, there was talk of the goings-on in the
 autonomous vehicle business, for example the new billions into Waymo.
 This is a nascent industry that feeds on data - the feed-back to Tesla
 from its 900,000-odd cars must be well over 2 billion miles worth of
 information.  There are, of course, many other autonomous players,
 including Uber, Cruise, Baidu and so on, but, as in so many other
 aspects of 21st century automobiles, Tesla is far ahead of the
 competition.



Now let’s think about this a little.  This immense body of private
 data is invaluable, there is nothing else like it in the world. But it
 describes private activities in a public place – the road network,
 almost entirely created and owned by government agencies of one sort 
or another.



When cars eventually go autonomous – and there seems to be no reason
why they will not, even if it takes many more years than claimed  –
they will be totally dependent on this data.  So, there is the Tesla
 database and there are the itty-bitty databases of all the rest.  It 
will be an unbalanced system, and one in which there is a clear case 
for (and I don’t necessarily like this) a federal or state agency to 
hold all the data generated from all these companies as a public good.
 The electronic equivalent of the road network, held and updated by the
 same agencies who build, repair, change and remove the components of 
that network.  And free to all, like the roads are (well yes, not 
turnpikes…).



This integration of physical and electronic data will make the demise
 of our cars that spend over 90% of their time not in use, much quicker 
and more painless.   Tesla, aiming down the path towards its own 
robotaxis, might seem to be a loser, but maybe not.  It could sell or 
licence its data to this new agency or run the whole thing on behalf
 of the agency.  But my guess is that, sooner or later, private 
transport in the USA on public roads will operate to a greater or
lesser extent autonomously using information provided to its owners by 
a public agency.



Best regards



John
John,

Thanks for your letter we will publish it in Viewer Mail so others can read it too.

I hope you’re wrong about state or federal agencies claiming ownership of data generated on public roads. But it’s unlikely to happen.

Our phones generate an immense amount of data that is transmitted over airwave frequencies owned by the federal government, through the FCC, which licenses them to companies.

The FCC also regulates Wi-Fi frequencies, but it does not hold or disseminate that data.
3-12-2020


AL & Blue Sky,
 
Commendations on an excellent panel, format, content!
 
Panel participants perfectly aligned with the subject.  Split-screen remotes was a superb production tool (Skype?).  Real-time Q&A excellent editing-on-the-run.
 
Home Run!  Do more like it.
 
Thank you.
 
Dave
Dave, thanks for the great feedback!
3-12-2020


John,
This morning I read a report written by Todd Lassa of Automobile magazine about the Subaru Ascent being in the repair shop for three months due to electronic gremlins and other problems. I was surprised to read this about a Subaru product and I’ve held Subaru autos in high regard. I hope Subaru gets these gremlins corrected for an “automotive form of coronavirus” infects the company.
 
Jim
Yakima, WA
Jim,

Do a google search for cylinder head gasket problems with Subaru.

It’s amazing the company has such a strong reputation for quality when so many of its customers faced costly repairs.
3-12-2020


John,
Just a follow up on the EV’s (Viewer Mail from 3/6/20)...Below is from the Census Bureau...
In 2016, 36.6 percent of household heads rented their home, close to the 1965 number of 37 percent, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center based on data from the Census Bureau.Jul 2
 
ran a tabulation on the 2014 ACS (from the US Census Bureau) and found that 77% of people in the US live in houses (detached, attached, or mobile homes), 20% live in apartments, and 3% live in other dwellings, such as group quarters, vans, RVs, and boats.
 
Are any of these people really going to purchase an electric vehicle? The property owners are not going to install charging stations. This is over 50% of the population. What product is produced that will no be sold that % of people? I may be missing something.. So 37% rent, and 20% in apartments. So while the people in the electric vehicle business try to do their promoting they might want to look at who might be their only customers.
 
Tom
Tom,

As you point out 77% of people live in houses. They don’t need a charging station. They can plug in to any 110v outlet. It’s slow, but it works. And they could always pop over to a public Level III charger once a week or so, just like most people go to the gas station. That means 13 million car buyers could potentially buy an EV every year. The others can continue to buy ICE cars.
3-12-2020


Dear Autoline,

Today I saw (in Northern California) two black Polestar 2’s parked under an overpass in Geyserville California. And they where with a Tesla Model S, Model 3 and Audi e-tron. I was unable to get a picture unfortunately. 

There is also what appears to be the new Jeep Grand Cherokee in heavy camouflage driving around here as well. I guess the manufacturers want to test vehicles in the California wine country. 

I love your coverage, thanks for keep us up to date. 



Best regards,



Stephen
Stephen,

Thanks for the report, eagle eye!
3-6-2020


Excellent programme yesterday - John & Gary.
 
Here in UK we have not had a motor show now for 12 years (even then for 2 years it was  a very small affair in London's docklands Excel centre)
 
This year a British Motor Show returns  Aug 21-23  2020 at the Farnborough International Exhibition centre Hampshire (they hold the annual Farnborough air show there largely defence hardware) it is set on a military airfield and there will be outside events and opportunity for guests to drive new models at speed on site - a very different concept.
 
From 1903 to 1977 the London Motor show was held in a vast pillar-less single hall at Earls Court in central London, then moved from there to Birmingham (centre of Britain) National Exhibition centre in 1978 to 2006 a vast 12 hall site $20 to park the car $60 to go in (having spent $60 in petrol to get there) $10 for a hot dog and $10 for a coffee in a paper cup. You had to get a bus from your car you were so far away it was a nightmare and highly disliked.
 
I first went to the Motor show in 1962 as a 12yr old  was able to sit in the then new MK 2 MGA - my hearts desire at the time! and went to every one thereafter.
 
Auto shows still have a following but they need to be on a human scale and value for money 
Kind Regards



Richard
Richard,

It seems the Goodwood Festival of Speed has become Britain’s motor show and it has become an event that other motor shows, Detroit notably, want to model themselves after.

John
3-6-2020


 The three main arguments I hear against EVs are battery range, availability of charging stations, and length of time to recharge the batteries.   What I rarely hear about is the cost of the batteries and that they can never come down lower the very high material costs themselves.  
 
But what I never here about is the cost of the battery replacement after a loss of say 20% or more power capacity and that replacement is a certainty as assuredly as brakes need replacement. .  So, the real question becomes would you be willing to pay $10K to replace the battery pack in a car that is four (or if your lucky five) years old that is only worth maybe 30% to 40% of the original car price.   To put it in perspective, would you currently replace a failing I.C.E. (which would be very rare today) in your five year old car if it cost just $5000.00 to replace.  I expect that most people would just get rid of the vehicle and get a newer one.  Now how about if the engine replacement cost $10K to replace, I think not!
 
Conversely, how much could you get in a trade in on an EV that needs a $10K fix or who would buy a 4 or 5 year old car that needs $10K of "work"?
 
Regards,
Bill
So far the batteries in hybrids and EVs have proved to be very robust. Nissan had some problems with its first gen Leaf, but some Tesla’s have gone +500,000 miles with no problem whatsoever.

Both GM and Tesla say they will be coming out with batteries that last 1 million miles.

Concerns about batteries were reasonable 10 to 20 years ago, but not anymore.
3-6-2020


John/Sean,
 
               I will be watching the show about electronic powered autos latter today.  While I’m not a fan of electronic powered autos I do enjoy watching the advancement of the improving technology.  I believe not only will battery storage technology improve, but the efficiency of electric motors that provide the “drive”.  When I think back forty to fifty years ago how inefficient ICE power plants were and how much improvement has been made I expect electronic power to make major improvements as well.  I remain in belief of hydrogen use to power electronic drivetrains.  I will continue to watch the engineering advancements.
 
Just another gearhead,
 
Jim
Yakima,WA
Jim,

You’re not the only one. A lot of top scientists believe that ultimately hydrogen is the answer.
3-6-2020


Just finished my review of the video (General Motors EV Day Webcast):
 
1) Nickel Cobalt Managenese Aluminum (NCMA) vs Tesla Nickel Cobalt Aluminum (NCA) - we'll need samples for testing. Tesla 2170 cells are readily available
 
2) wide coating of electrodes - they claim economies of scale, once the battery plant comes online. But there are risks that a single roller could spoil the whole batch.
 
3) smallest number of the largest cells - which means one cell failure leads to a bricked car. Those of us with Prius experience know how a single cell failure leads to a cascade of problems and a bricked car in 3-4 months.
 
4) 100 Ah cell - @3.7 V, 3,700 Wh per cell, 'putting all eggs in one basket'
 
5) 20 layers per cell - one failed layer spoils the batch. Not impossible but a challenge.
 
6) flat bottom (long edge) connected to cold-plate - this suggests there will be a significant thermal gradient which means a mechanical strain between the cold plate and far edge. In our Model 3, the cells are warmed to ~50 C for charging but cooled to ~30 C for operation. The thermal gradient is from the rim to the core which significantly reduces the thermal gradient induced, mechanical strain.
 
7) zeolite - an ion holding material, its role is not covered in the video.
 
8) Bolt EV battery comparison - 25% weight reduction, 50% fewer connections, a GOOD THING!
 
9) vertical integration - a GOOD THING, GM is not outsourcing their EV critical technology.
 
What was omitted: Corvette EV - a Tesla roadster competitor and something to shame the Taycan.
 
Bob Wilson
Bob,

This is nothing short of excellent, superb feedback. Much appreciated!

John McElroy
3-6-2020


Gentlemen,
 
I’m guessing the designer(s) of this (The BMW i4 Concept Vehicle) automobile are too young to remember the ’58 Ford Edsel with its “horse collar” styled grill. It was ugly and this BMW concept is just as ugly.
 
Jim
Yakima, WA
Yeah, the garish snout on that BMW i4 gets filed in the “What were they thinking?” folder.
3-6-2020


I watch all your  shows. When the subject is EV'S the electrical grid is never mentioned. Can your neighborhood distribution system handle this extra demand? Especially in the summer when it is already loaded with central air conditioners?
 
Thanks,
 
Tom
Tom,

Excellent suggestion for a show topic. We haven’t done anything on the grid in a while. And great question about whether neighborhoods can bear a bunch of EVs plugging in. We’ll look into that.

John McElroy
3-6-2020


I greatly appreciated your show on autonomous racing. However, I have a few counterpoints:

1. It’s time for something new in racing. All of the examples you gave of racing being an impassioned sport of humanity were from 70 years ago. It seems the regulating bodies have the upper hand in raising these days, so much so it is boring. 

2.  If the rules allow reprogramming during the race, you could could still have a comeback story. Imagine real time data allowing programmers to make changes at every pitstop. You could still have an exciting finish. 

3. Drivers these days seem to be over sponsored to the point where personality is not allowed. It seems you could have just as much fanfare around a team with personality that would show in their aggressive driving software. 

4. You could have a spectacular crashes with our drivers being injured. 



If we all agree this technology is coming, racing seems to be the place to advance it quickly.



Great show. I am a devoted listener.



Sincerely,

Marcus
Marcus,

Superb suggestions, especially #2. The fastest way to get automotive technology developed is to let the racing community have at it.

John McElroy
3-2-2020


I've been wondering if there's more to the sale of GM's multi-million dollar Lordstown plant to penniless startup Lordstown Motors.  There's a clue there is something in the works in the local newspaper, Tribune Chronicle.

 

"YOUNGSTOWN — Lordstown Motors Corp.’s battery-powered Endurance pickup is more akin to the Chevrolet Silverado, but the benchmark the electric vehicle company is trying to achieve for the fleet-style truck is Ford’s F-150.



The F-150 is the leader in the fleet market, said John LaFleur, chief operating officer for Lordstown Motors, which has the objective to “be as good or better in all areas” than its competitor.



“I don’t want to discount the Silverado because our vehicle is more in line with a Silverado than an F-150. We kind of modeled it (the Endurance) around that because, you know, the GM (General Motors) plant, GM’s potential partnership with parts that could be there; that’s not finalized yet, but we want to prepare ourselves … but they (Ford) are the big player and they are the benchmark.”



So, do you think Lordstown will be sharing small components like switches, glass, etc., or could they be jointly developing an electric truck?  If the latter, will the basis be a GM truck or the Endurance truck?



More curious connections.  For months Lordstown Motors has been saying their Endurance pickup will be first to market.  Now GM is hinting that their Hummer might be first.





Do you think it may be possible that the Endurance with its four hub motors will be the underpinning for the Hummer.  That could help explain Hummer's astounding 11,500 lb-ft torque claim.



There's an image appearing on the Workhorse website just before the Workhorse W-15 pickup was discontinued in favor of the Endurance truck to be manufactured by Lordstown Motors.  Note the big shocks and orange three phase high voltage cables going to the wheels implying the presence of in-wheel hub motors.  By the way, it's not well known but Workhorse has some experience with hub motors.  The USPS has been testing mail delivery vans from Workhorse and four other competitors since late 2016, see Image below.  Note the hub motors in the wheels and the dropped solid axle in the rear.  The USPS says they have completed testing in 2019 and have sent out Request for Quote letters to some of the vendors for production of the contract which could be valued as high as $6.3 billion.  Is it possible that one reason GM sold the Lordstown plant was to give Workhorse/Lordstown Motors a state-of-art vehicle production plant where they could manufacturer the USPS vans at high volume and lower costs than their competitors?  Of course, GM would get a cut, and perhaps even use variations of this van to replace the long in the tooth current models of their Express and Savanah vans.



Just a conspiracy theorist,



Larry
Larry,

Thanks for your ideas about Lordstown Motors and the possible connection to GM.

I personally doubt that GM would be providing Lordstown with parts and components, or vise versa. But let’s see what happens.

John McElroy
3-2-2020


Hi Fella’s.
Love your show, I podcast it from Australia.
Have you seen the 1988 movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream”?
I was watching the film (a true story) and thinking that the main character, inventor Preston Tucker, shows similarities with Elon Musk. I got a shock when watching a courtroom scene and the camera shows a close up of a poster of Nikola Tesla.
If you haven’t seen this film, check it out.
 
Matt
Matt,

Thanks for the heads-up on this!

John McElroy
3-2-2020


Just had a thought. In a time when premium crossovers are doing so well. Why haven’t we seen a swoopy, striking, yet premium crossover from Chrysler? Lends more credence to the fears that the Chrysler brand as a whole will be phased out.
We agree with your assessment. FCA would probably make more profits reviving the Chrysler brand than throwing more money down the drain with Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
2-28-2020


Mr. McElroy,
I know one 70-year-old Ford retired exec who still has options with a strike price of $45. Current price $7.57.
Clinton
Well, I’m afraid it’s going to be an awfully long time before he will ever be able to exercise those options.
2-28-2020


Good Day;
 
I watch your show from Calgary every week and want to thank you for the fine work. 
 
I also write www.ElectricCadi.com and am constantly bombarded by Telsa fanboys that claim Tesla has a perpetual 6 year lead on the majors… no startups… no, on everyone.  Today we published a short article titled Passive Aggressive About Tesla: What Might Go Wrong? which is largely a discussion between my scientist / author brother-in-law (who is crazy for Telsa) and me pointing out that there will always be great risks and unforeseen problems which are likely to negatively effect even the mighty “T”.
 
Watching your show this week covering broad automotive electrification made me think you are extremely well positioned to discuss Tesla vs the World.  It would be a very interesting show to discuss just how far ahead is Tesla is reality (or is much of it just the Musk Reality Distortion Hype Machine) and how will the traditional auto makers catch up?
 
I do not have the contacts to make such a discussion anything other than derivative of what others have created, but I really want to know.  Like many, I very much like Tesla, but surely there are other startups (Rivian, Byton…) that are moving at an even faster stride than them or a black swan event that could take them down.
 
If you do this show, I would appreciate it if you would notify me as I do miss about 1 in 10 shows due to travel.
 
Thanks,
Ian
Ian,

Thanks for you letter we appreciate getting it.

We actually have done several shows on Tesla’s technology and how far ahead it is in many areas. And you can find them at any time on our website www.Autoline.tv

I suggest doing a search for: “Autoline After Hours w/Sandy Munro” and you’ll find it.

Best,
John McElroy
2-28-2020


Hey John,
I'm a huge fan of the show & podcast. Great work. Very interesting conversations.
 
I'm writing to let you know about my 2019 VW Jetta S w/ a manual transmission. It is a base model, though it does have alloy wheels & came with Weather Tech-type floor mats. I think the option package is called "convenience package." Anyway I drove it off the lot last June for 18K out the door. I very much enjoy driving this car.
 
The reason I am writing is the gas mileage. I live in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD, and have a highway drive to work (20 miles each way). My mixed suburb-highway driving has resulted in 45 miles per gallon! I never expected to get this type of gas mileage. Admittedly I am a very mellow driver. I'm happy cruising in the right hand lane at 65MPH & I take my foot off the accelerator when I see a red light. (I drive my 2003 911 when I'll looking for some thrills.)
 
With the price, performance & gas mileage, I feel like I'm driving one of the best kept secrets of automotive value.
 
What prompted me to write: I was watching your show a week or two ago and one to the guests mentioned that they had just spent some time in an Accord Hybrid & observed 47MPH. I understand the Accord is a more substantial vehicle, but I bet it was probably twice the price of my Jetta.
 
I only hope I'm not being duped by another VW MPG cheating scandal! (haha).
 
Keep up the great work.
Jim
Jim,

Thanks for sharing your experience with your Jetta. That’s pretty impressive fuel economy even if you’re “babying” it.

We’ll print your letter in Viewer Mail so others can read it too.


Best,

John McElroy
2-28-2020


Dear John,

I’m Kenn who asked you for the article or say the report you have written about the Japanese car production by
Visiting the Japanese car maker’s assembly line and you sent me a copy of that. It was long time ago but I could see such
Simple things are not considered deeply by the big three back then and the others had amazed me.



Okay, after I’ve seen the After Hours #488 about the Rotary Engine (RE) improvements, I called my friend who was in charge of the all the RE related matters. Finally, he came back from his longgypsy like business trip to go around the globe and we met and showed him the #488 and he looked into it seriously.



To make the long story short, after seeing the RE part, what he told me was that he has done everything except making the fuel supply ports to a slit. There is a reason why the plug hole has to be in that size is because the nature of the RE. What he meant was RE has no conrods and it’s efficient for the movement but it is always exposed to the high heat and the porcelain part of the spark plug sometimes get cracked and broken by the heat sink problem. So he said he had the modified hole designs including numerous oval shapes and the same thing was done with the fuel supply ports with the oval shaped and more efficient counting with the complex passage route shapes which made the problems almost solved.



But what he said to me with his very engineering point of view and having the numerous testing with the budge backed up by the Mazda headquarters, that position of the dimple at the rotor surface won’ work well for the high RPM. It sure adds the more torque but as far as considering the all round usage and performing stages, he said as those ideas sounds nice but checking with he compressed air and rotor running with low RPM and running with the gas and on the dyno, they’ve done that and even how hard they tried with more than a dozen RE experts brought their idea and reflected on the factory machines fresh parts, they couldn’t have the expected results.

He said he wishes luck for that gentleman’s attempt but he wasn’t so sure about the results  he could get from his advanced RE with his ideas. The thinner Apex Seal tips were made and they’ve done everything with the well budgeted tests with all the Mazda engineers  went on as long as four years but they couldn’t get the results as what the RE for the 21 ¥st Century should have. But if his engine worked and it had a problem on the dyno for running distance in all rpm range, that will be a big kick on their asses but that will encourage Them to do it again, hopefully there in the States with having that gentleman.



Regards,

Kenn

Chiba, Japan
2-28-2020


ELLO MR. McELROY, HOW ARE YOU???  AND GARY AND SEAN TOO???    I SAW YOUR "AFTER HOURS" SHOW TODAY WITH "THE AUTO EXTREMIST" PETER DeLORENZO, AND THE SEMA AUTONOMOUS RACING SERIES GUY.  IT WAS AN OKAY SHOW, BUT I JUST CAN'T GET MY HEAD WRAPPED AROUND WHY ANYBODY WOULD WANT TO WATCH A BUNCH OF CARS WITH NO DRIVERS IN THEM GO AROUND A SET COURSE BY THEMSELVES; ISN'T THAT JUST A FASTER VERSION OF WHAT WAYMO (BOY, DO I WISH THEY WOULD DROP THE Y  FROM THEIR NAME AND BECOME " WAM- MO"!!! ) IS TRYING TO DO???  MAYBE THEY COULD PUT IN OLD CRASH DUMMIES OR MANNEQUINS THAT LOOK LIKE FANGIO, STIRLING MOSS, PHIL HILL, JIM CLARK, ANDRETTI, ETC. AND PAINT THE CARS IN TEAM LIVERY FOR A RETRO LOOK, BUT I DON'T SEE IT CATCHING ON, SORRY.   BUT WHAT REALLY CAUGHT MY EYE TODAY WAS ON AUTOLINE DAILY, WHEN SEAN WAS TALKING ABOUT THE NEW GOLF MODELS; I KNOW I'M PARANOID,  BUT THE WHEELS ON THE GTI MODEL LOOKED LIKE A 5 SPOKE SWASTIKA TO ME!!!  AND ON A GERMAN CAR TO BOOT!!!  GUESS YOU WON'T BE REPLYING TO ME ANYMORE NOW THAT YOU KNOW I'M A SECTION EIGHT!!!  SORRY!!!  NO REPLY IS NECESSARY ANYWAY, JUST VENTING!!!  THANK YOU MR. MAC, HAVE A GOOD DAY!!!  CHAS, PLAINVILLE,CT.
Chas,

Thanks for the rant.

I don’t see a swastika. Guess I need to squint more..

Love the idea of mannequins of Fangio, Moss, etc!

John McElroy
2-14-2020


Love the show guys, especially After Hours.
 
Have you heard anything on why Karim Habib’s tenure at Infinity was so short?
Thanks
 
Robert
We can only speculate, but Nissan/Infiniti is in deep trouble right now. And Hyundai/Kia is a working designer’s dreamplace. Why stick with a sinking ship when you can leap onto a shooting star?
2-14-2020


Hi Sean:
I just saw Autoline Daily where you say that Hyundai is studying Fuel Cells.  You’ve reported that many companies are looking at Fuel Cells but you never tell us what is cheaper to power a car: Hydrogen or Gasoline.
Thanks
Pat
Right now hydrogen fuel cells are quite expensive. The fuel cell stack is expensive, and there are very few places in the world where you can fuel up.
2-14-2020


John,
I'm  curious, how much longer do you think Ford can hold out on its "death wobble" issue? I am a member of multiple Superduty forums and the noise is getting louder and louder. News stations are picking up on this and the sensationalism is starting to really take off. From what I understand it's really a low percentage that experience this. Ford has tried a couple low budget repairs, never fully resolving the problem. Once this really gets out and the mainstream media gets ahold of it I would think it could do irreparable damage to Ford's image. 
Once Fords armor looks vulnerable.... well lets just say Ford may have a Chevrolet problem... Rammed down their throats.
Larry
Larry,

Thanks for sending, we hadn’t heard of any wobble issue with the Superduty, but we’ll look into it.

John McElroy
2-14-2020


Maybe these are not yet on sale in US  I have not heard you mention them our much loved MG brand  started in 1924 now Chinese owned  value for money is 
 
A mid range fully electric SUV  for £22000  the MG ZS
 
A new Estate (Wagon)  Focus size all electric here in the summer 
 
and a  2 door all electric luxury sports coupe next year for £30,000  the E -Motion 
 
Kind Regards


Richard
Richard,

While we are aware of the new MGs from China, they are not sold in the US.

John McElroy
2-14-2020


John,
You have mentioned the issue with affordability..

an Elon Musk equipped with a simplified electric powertrain/electric
architecture/skateboard,  a common software base, Chinese supply chain for
batteries or assembly, 300 mile range, no dealer markups, few warranty
issues, and a new low-end EV brand could be a potent competitor.

Do you think Tesla should create a low end brand to separate the existing
high end luxury performance competing successfully with the Germans
separated from the entry brand with sub $20k entry level vehicles

Dave
Dave,

I don't see a sub-$20,000 EV unless an OEM wants to lose a bunch of money. I
just went to the Tesla configurator and a Standard M3 is $39,990, and may
require another $2,000 shipping fee. I doubt many people even got one at
that price, used ones are going for over $41,000 on CarMax.

To get under twenty grand, Tesla would have to take more than $20,000 in
cost out of a M3. I figure the 54 kWh battery probably costs around $8,500
and that's not coming down by any big amount in the short term. So that
means the base car would have to cost around $11,000 and I don't see Tesla
interested in trying to do that. It would much rather come out with higher
margin vehicles.
2-10-2020


Hello, I disagree with your guest Laurie Harbour on a few points. The idea that you will hire unskilled labor to build tooling and dies is misguided. I am a Maintenance Mgr. at a Detroit OEM, and have dealt with low cost Chinese tooling. The quality is inferior and I have experienced many issues. This tooling usually has to be reworked or worse rebuilt. That’s why total cost needs to be tracked. We should also bring all of our military related tooling back to the US. If you looked at total cost, I don’t think China wins out. The other problem that occurs is when emergency repairs are needed, US tooling companies don’t want to touch these inferior tools.  I agree with her points on increased efficiencies.  She doesn’t realize there is an art to this craft. Making car parts is a very difficult proposition and in my experience, there is no substitute for practical experience and skills. The problem with Harbour analysis, is if an ORM is using a metric like the old Harbour hours, they do things that can  blur the picture. Like with Harbour hours, when support staff was moved to buildings close to but remote from the plant so these hours did not count in the Harbour report.
Robert,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the tooling topic, we truly appreciate getting them.

We’ll publish your letter in our Viewer Mail so that others can read it too.

Best,
John McElroy
2-10-2020


Dear John,
i am  a career Tool and Die maker up in Canada. I really enjoyed your episode on our industry. I cant help but feel that she has slightly miss-characterized the situation vis a vis efficiencies.
Many companies that were based on standardization of mold and die components have been around for some time and could not survive the 2009 onslaught that rippled through the industry.
Standardization of component drilling in molds has been a streamlined process involving specialty gun  drilling for quite some time so while its true that the OEM based tool and die shops need to specialize more most of North America has been operating that way for quite some time.
The Chinese tooling I see comes in at a cost below what the steel would cost in North America. It's unfair to characterize the cost problem as mostly labour. Clearly they are operating with strong material subsidy in addition to their low cost work force that have no personal rights. 
Is she implying that we can compete with that?
That seems quite short sighted; but I do appreciate the great program
Please keep it up
Thank you,
 
Yours Truly
Christopher
(red seal tool and die maker)
Christopher,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, we truly appreciate getting them.

And we’ll publish your letter in our Viewer Mail so that others can read it too.

Best,
John McElroy
2-10-2020


Good evening,  my name is Corey. I have a 2005 Mazda RX8 shrinks. Automatic. I really would like to get in contact with Ernie. I’m fascinated and so hopeful that these engine will hit the market again. The last 10-11 years I’ve convinced myself someone would be able to figure out the issues and not just porting them is the easiest way to help the systems of the engine failures. Anyway I’m interested in any info or direction on how to pursue something with this. Thank you
Corey,

I forwarded your email on to Ernie.

John McElroy
2-10-2020


I love watching Autoline daily, and I'm most grateful to your team for consistently generating quality content for industry outsiders like me - it's awesome to peek under the covers of the auto industry.
 
I watched this one-hour video just before I watched today's "ICE Age" ATW show. I couldn't have received more opposite visions of the EV future. I'd love for you to have your panel back next week and have them address the assertions in this video.
 
This video is from "Future of Transportation / Keynote: 2020 NC DOT Transportation Summit". The speaker is Tony Seba, and I thought he made some really good points. I thought his talk skimmed over a few obstacles to EV adoption near the end. But he made some compelling points, and I think John would enjoy watching this with a critical eye.
 
An even better show would be an AAH in which Tony Seba joins some of your panelists for an extended point-counterpoint on what the next five years holds. 
 
Sincerely,

Scott
Campobello, SC 
 
PS: Not an EV owner or EV fanatic here. When a truly compelling EV arrives, I'll certainly give it a look. Happily driving my turbocharged Volvo CX-40 T5 until then.
Tony Seba makes really good points, but I would tack on 20 years to all of his predictions. Also, he spends a lot of time talking about how all his critics are wrong and how he is right. Sounds like sour grapes.
2-10-2020


Mr. McElroy,
 
I am a visually impaired individual and would really appreciate your help with a recommendation or two on which mid-size SUV's would have the biggest digital speedometer.  We have looked at the Buick Enclave Avenir, Cadillac XT6, Acura MDX, Lincoln Aviator, Range Rover, and the Lexus RX to name a few.  The speedometer on our two FCA vehicles, a 2018 Grand Cherokee Summit and 2017 Dodge Durango Citadel seem much much larger tha any other manufacturer.  Do you know of any manufacturer who offers a larger digital speedometer similarly sized to FCA's lineup?
 
My wife wants to strangle me as we have spent so much time at so many dealers so far and not found exactly what we want.  Additionally, I wonder if you might suggest something on the larger size of the mid-size class like the enclave for comfort as this is our main car for road trips.
 
I truly appreciate your time and hoe you will respond.  I've struggled with my visual impairment since 1993 and it's nice to finally have technology assisting in this area.  As our population ages I truly believe this area will improve.  I'm now 51 and after fighting this ailment for 27 years now I am beginning to have more hope.
 
Thanks again,
 
Joe
Joe,

We know a lot about cars here, but don’t have a clue who offers the biggest digital speedometer!

Have you checked out cars with Head Up Displays (HUD)? The advantage they offer is that you don’t have to look down to see your speed, and the focal point is farther away which can make it easier to see for people with myopia.

As to other full size CUVs we like besides the Enclave, are the GMC Acadia, Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride.

Best,
John McElroy
2-5-2020


Hi John,
 
I was going through a ton of old magazines to throw out yesterday and noticed, to my surprise, something in a 2009 aftermarket wheel catalog.  It was a write-up on airless tires.  I guess I didn’t realize it had been (at least) that long since their inception.  Time really flies!
 
I would hope the durability of this product has improved since then though - (incurring 10% damage to the honeycomb after only 60 miles at 75mph?).
 
Best regards,
 
michael
Michael,

As you note, tire makers have been working on these airless tires for a long time. The fact that they’re exhibiting them a lot more now suggests they have or are close to solving the durability issues.

John
2-5-2020


Yes, Munro gave us another spell binding episode which I was noting, bookmarking and reading up on all these inventions and manufacturers of materials I've never heard of.  No wonder Elon got a heads up about it.
 
I see you are back to the green background on Daily.  Yes, that solves some issues such as lighting of the speaker without shadows behind and soft focus of background projection with speaker in sharp focus.
Your production company has the tools to make that work.
 
I think I should become a market analyst.
Though, let me say this about that:  When the topic came up on Daily about Jeep sales, I reminisced about the original lifted Rambler American as a trucky wagon back and four wheel drive created by Roy Lunn called the Cherokee that became as iconic as the Wrangler itself. It didn't matter that it had a 20 some year run, it had a following.  The 200/Dart platformed Cherokee is, except for the headlight configuration it started with and dropped, disappears in the crowd, and its not marketed.  Plus all the negatives in CR against that lineup, makes 'a bowl of not good'.
 
Hey, leave it to Clem to bring us back to the real world.  He should get his message to Congress now.
 
r-work
Thanks for the feedback and your observations. Looks like Clem has become something of a fixture for us!
2-5-2020


Hi John,
 
Thanks for the callout of my question in "AAH #493" at 55:55. Rightfully, you' all had expressed some concern about the end-of-lease battery. I wanted to share my experience with my end-of-lease, BMW i3-REx.
 
Bought in May 2016, the 2014 BMW i3-REx had 6,000 miles and was in pristine shape. It also had 3 years remaining on the 5 year warranty which was a good thing. Most EVs have an 8-10 year, 100,000 mile warranty on the battery so I wasn't worried. For good measure, I ran the battery down and drove home on the range extender and measured 98% capacity, 18.2 kWh out of the new 18.6 kWh capacity.
 
Our 2014 was a first model year so 'infantile' problems are expected. There was a weak motor mount bolt that had been subject to an inspection recall. But eight months later, one bolt failed and BMW repaired it under warranty. The replacement parts were substantially stronger with all metal parts on the engine and car and the new bolts went from ~3/8" to 1/2" (metric of course.)
 
The nice thing about an end-of-lease car is the initial depreciation has already been covered. So if a new owner decides 'it is not for me,' they can step away and not take a financial bath.
 
As for long term battery life, we have some Tesla data.
 
Tesla battery degradation at less than 10% after over 160,000 miles, according to latest data"
 
The battery-electric community has found liquid cooled batteries are especially long lived. In contrast, the air-cooled Leaf and Toyota batteries, not so much. Of course there will always be an occasional 'lemon' but the battery warranty pretty well makes that a non-event.
 
Bob Wilson
Bob,

Once again, excellent info. And we’ll publish this in the Viewer Mail section of our website so others can read it too.
1-23-2020


Hi,
 
Perhaps you' all might dive a little deeper into this article about "Unintended Acceleration".
 
I appreciate a desire to avoid becoming a Tesla 'commercial' with free media about my favorite company (and ride.) Figuring out a fair balance between willful silence and 'rabid advocacy' is not trivial. That discussion alone would be a good discussion: 'What is a fair policy between news and pro or anti advocacy?'
 
GOOD LUCK!
Bob Wilson
Bob,

Thanks for sending the link, but it only focuses on Tesla. Here’s additional info it does not cover:

Sudden Unintended Acceleration is an issue that only appeared when automatic transmissions because widely popular. And studies show that SUA mostly occurs with older drivers, and mostly women at that. No one has been able to prove that SUA is the fault of the car, unless they jerry-rigged the vehicle to fail like 60 Minutes did with an Audi back in 1986 and like ABC News did with a Toyota in 2009.

Amazingly SUA has never been reported outside of the United States or with any vehicle equipped with a manual transmission. (Shhh. The plaintiff attorneys don’t want anyone to know this.)

So not only does SUA not happen with Tesla’s, it doesn’t happen with any other vehicle. As NHTSA discovered when it investigated Audi 34 years ago, the problem is what it calls “pedal misapplication.” In other words, drivers are mashing the accelerator pedal, not the brake pedal.

I’m so glad that Tesla has been accused of SUA because it has the data to prove its cars are not at fault. Maybe that will bring these nuisance lawsuits to a close.

John McElroy
1-23-2020


Hi John,
 
This video summarizes the Tesla story quite well.
 
Maybe you could do a piece on Corporate (legacy) automakers and why they may never catch Tesla.
I grew up in Flint in the 50's and 60's and everybody (including my dad) worked for G.M. 
I could see then they were flawed but I didn't know what the answer was. I tried to get in at GMI but was told I was not management material.
 
I realize you are between a rock and a hard place with a story like this and your sponsors. Maybe you can find a way.
 
Alan
Grants Pass, Oregon
Alan,

First off, our sponsors have never complained about any of our coverage, nor have they ever told us what they want us to cover. They like the breadth of coverage that Autoline provides.

Your idea of why traditional corporations have a hard time competing with startups is a good one. We’ll have to find some experts who can talk about that.

Thanks,
John McElroy
1-22-2020


Hi John,

One further question after reading the AG dismissal agreement with Tesla and watching your report is exactly how the title process will be handled. I cc'd Henry to get his experience from a delivery in Cleveland compared to mine in Florida.

In my case I ordered my Model 3, made my deposit and signed initial papers at the Tesla showroom in Sarasota. I signed the final delivery papers and received the vehicle in Tampa. Tesla issued a Florida temporary tag but never titled the car in Florida. I drove back to Michigan and when I went to the Michigan Secretary of State I was told I needed  title or certificate of origin. After some calls and emails to Tesla, I was sent the Certificate of Origin (attached) from Cleveland. So, whether that qualifies as transfer of title outside the state under this agreement is unclear to me.

Henry might relate how his title was handled.

I probably wouldn't walk across the street for any other car, but this shows the lengths buyers like me will go to buy a Tesla. I'm on standby for my Model Y now :)

Dick
Dick,

Great feedback, thanks for sharing.

John McElroy
1-22-2020


Hello autoline crew. Today you reported how Jeep sales are on the decline, despite being the hottest brand in the hottest segment. Do you think this could the companies build quality and reliable issues coming back to haunt it? While we are on the topic, can anybody provide some good reasons why extra steps have not been taken up correct these issues? After all Jeep is FCA’s cash cow!  Eventually word of my mouth my overtake the image of independence the brand works so hard to cultivate.

Matthew
Matthew,

Let's see what Jeep says about the drop in sales.

Thanks for your insights. We'll publish your letter so others can read it too.

John McElroy
1-22-2020


The new grill on the Roxor has a strong resemblance to the Toyota Landcruiser of the late 70’s and the logo reminds me or the logo used on the Oldsmobile autos before the GM brand was cancelled.
 
Jim
Yakima, WA
1-22-2020


Hello Autoline,



Love the show! I never miss a post. 
I was reading the details of Cadillac’s Super Cruse. Did you know a membership to Onstar is required to use Super Curse? From what I can gather Super Cruse does not need Onstar to function.  How is it legal for a car company to require a subscription to use hardware on their car?



Jason

* Originally sent Dec. 28th, 2019 *
Jason,

Just wanted to let you know I haven’t forgotten you.

I sent an email to Cadillac public relations inquiring about Super Cruise and OnStar. They never responded.

I’ll have to try and dig up an answer on my own. If I get one, I’ll let you know.

John McElroy
1-22-2020


Noticed that your latest posting included a review of the 2020 Elantra.  I purchased a 2020 Elantra trim level Value Edition earlier this year.  In comparison to the competition it had a lot of features for the money.  This model has the 2.0 liter engine with a new transmission.  After driving it for only a short time I discovered that the standard cruise control (not the adaptive version) had a major fault.  In the smart and normal driving modes selecting cruise causes the transmission to downshift from the gear selected by the throttle control schedule. For example, at a steady speed of 55mph engine rpm jumps from 1500rpm to 2000rpm when cruise mode is entered.  Rpm remains at this level even though the engine load is not increased by an up grade or other conditions.  By using the gear selection function on the transmission I was able to determine that the cruise control was forcing a gear change from 8th gear to 6th gear for no apparent reason.  I pointed this out to my dealer and they confirmed that all their Elantras of the same trim level operated the same way.  I also contacted Hyundai corporate and they responded that this was normal operation.  They also said that they have had only one other customer that has reported this fault.  At this point they do not plan to correct the problem.  I did some more testing and was able to determine that this results in about a 10% reduction in fuel economy when compared to throttle operation.  I also reported this in a survey to Hyundai engineers and have sent a complaint to the EPA.  I am very disappointed that Hyundai refuses to accept the fact that this is not the way a normal cruise control should function and take some action to correct the situation.
 
Best Regards,
 
Kenneth
Kenneth,

Thanks for your excellent feedback. We really appreciate it when viewers make this kind of detailed observations.

The model we drove had the adaptive cruise control and we never noticed this problem.

We find it strange that Hyundai gave you the run around. Maybe your letter to the EPA will generate more response.

All the best,
John McElroy
1-22-2020


Sandy Munro talking about the advantages of using stainless steel for the Tesla Cybertruck got me thinking. How feasible would it be for Tesla to start making Model S's in unpainted stainless?  There probably would be many current Model S owners who would be willing to spring for a new stainless one, ala DeLorean. That would be a way to get more life out of the S's design and manufacture. And Tesla's paint booth is probably getting towards needing an upgrade.

Neil
Neil,

Switching the Model S to stainless would entail a lot of work. It probably would require new or re-worked stamping dies because stainless has different spring back than aluminum. Since Tesla seems to have no interest in updating the S or X, except for OTA updates, it’s unlikely that it would make that kind of investment.

John McElroy
1-22-2020


Hello John,
 
I assume you are the contact person regarding your very excellent show.
 
Could you please start airing more shows with Sandy Monroe where you let him run with a topic without other members of the round table side tracking and interrupting his stream of thoughts.  
 
I don't know how old Mr. Monroe is, but I would like to think he will live as long as Dr. Deming did.  If he is stumbling from time to time have him assisted by someone from his staff at Monroe and Associates to clarify a point he is making not random thoughts from other member of the round table.
 
I dread the day of hearing about the late Sandy Monroe and all the questions that he never had a chance to answer or opine on.
 
Ross
Ross,

Sandy is a great guest and we’ll have him back on in the future.

But we’re going to stick to our format.

Best,
John McElroy
1-22-2020


Hi John,
 
I most recently saw your after hours show regarding the TESLA 3 loving gear head. I can't see the show in real time so cannot comment quickly, but could you please broach the subject of EV tire wear among your panel of pundits? It seems to be a real problem that owners are finding out about the hard and expensive way. It would also appear that owners are exchanging fuel usage for tire replacement and I dare say that it takes quite a bit of fossil fuel and energy to produce a tire! Then after it's premature useful service life, it must be collected and recycled into something else requiring even more energy! 
 
What I gleaned from that episode of your show is that proponents of EVs have never owned one and endured the many nuisances and pitfalls (especially in but not limited to cold climates):
 
 
- 50% battery degradation below 20F ambient temperature
- 40% driving range degradation driving in the rain
-  $2000 dollars to rewire your house for 240V for the supercharger to plug in and fast charge at home (my home in London had 240V in the garage so nyah!)
- massive range degradation over 70mph to the point the EV will continually be telling you to slow down to make it to the next charger
- long lines of EV drivers waiting for charging stalls on holiday weekends (as witnessed in California over Turkey Day weekend apparently) 
- considerable range degradation in hot weather due to huge power demand load AC climate control presents
- only 80% of battery rating is usable in real world conditions due to charging duration practicality and battery life considerations
 
So, if you look forward to being stranded on the side of the road out of power, "freezing your gonads off" in the winter, "sweating like a pig" in the summer, loitering waiting for a charger and/or while charging, puttin' along on a superhighway to be able to make it to a charger while other vehicles blast by, puttin' along in the rain because the resistance of rain and standing water causes 40% less range - then EV life is for you!!!!
 
So far, it would seem that the perceived reduction in tail pipe emissions is offset by increased pollution elsewhere. The vehicles are insanely heavy and therefore reflects this trait in tire wear. During accelerating, braking, turning, cornering and both the jounce and rebound suspension actions, tire wear exceeds that of a substantially lighter ICE vehicle. It takes quite a bit of (fossil fuel) oil and energy to produce a tire, those that don't have a long service life just add to accelerated pollution. But the EV fan boys only look at gasoline and ignore everything else including the larger carbon footprint an EV starts out with while sitting in the new car showroom:
 
"Electric cars are heavy, typically much heavier for their size than a comparable gas- or diesel-powered car; this can also accelerate wear and hurt handling..."
 
"A standard tire can wear 30 percent quicker on an EV than on an internal-combustion vehicle, so putting more rubber on the road with a tighter tread pattern and using a harder-wearing rubber compound..."
 
(hmm, harder-wearing rubber compound - just what you need in cold weather climates!)

Wayne
Wayne,

Thanks for your feedback. We’ve actually discussed tire wear problems with EVs in other shows. One major tire manufacturer which will go un-named declined to supply tires to Tesla for this very reason, and it only agreed to supply GM for Bolt tires once GM agreed to an algorithm change that would reduce tire wear. The problem is not just the weight of the batteries, it’s also the instant torque from the electric motor.

John McElroy
1-17-2020


John,
 
I started watching autoline years ago on PBS. I wanted to write to tell you thanks for all the great content you've provided over the years. I liked cars but I was even more fascinated with the industry and loved the information you provided.
 
I live in Tampa Florida now but was born and raised in the Detroit area. I worked for a steel supplier to Automotive for many years. Enjoy watching your insights on where you see the industry going in the future.
 
I think the world owes a big thank you to autoline for introducing us to Sandy Munro! I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when he described Dr. Demmings discussing Red Polling while he was standing right there- bahahaha!! 
 
So many great interviews, keep up the great work! If you ever need a remote assistant in the Tampa Florida area,  please please email me! Haha
 
Thank you,
Kreg Durham 
Kreg,

Thanks for the great feedback. The crew here at Autoline puts in a lot of heavy duty work to make our shows as informative and professional as possible, and it’s always good to hear that this effort is paying off.

Also, be sure to tune in to Autoline After Hours this afternoon at 3pm eastern time as Mr. Munro makes another of his spectacular appearances!

Best,
John McElroy
1-17-2020


John,
 
I am the person who had some very strong negative comments in a previous message to you regarding the use of the Mustang name for the Mach-E.  While I still feel strongly that using the Mach1 name would have been a huge mistake, I now feel completely different about the use of the Mustang name for this vehicle. As a long time multiple Mustang owner I initially decided to do some research to justify my anger. In doing so, however, I have been pleasantly surprised. As a Mustang ONLY owner any new vehicle I would consider in the future would have to check some boxes for me to consider it. I discovered that the Mach-E GT will have 459 hp and 610 tq, and with AWD pretty much tear up my 2015 Mustang GT (Box checked). I can drive it in the snow without fear. (Important box checked). Well it will not sound like a Mustang. Then I watched a video Ford produced inside the cabin in ‘unbridled’ mode and there was that sound. (Box checked). Well the interior will not be sporty, then I looked up the seating color samples  and saw the bronze accents on the GT sport seats (Box checked). Grabber Blue (metallic no less) (Box checked).  20 inch forged wheels, red painted brake calipers (Need I go on). Then I watched Autoline After Hours and other videos of the design team carefully considering what ‘I’ would like in a vehicle with the Mustang name. I’d say they nailed it. I also realize that for a business case to keep the Mustang coupe in these changing times the portfolio MUST expand. I now totally embrace the Mustang Mach-E and the hard work that went into developing this vehicle.
 
Joe G
Joe,

Thanks for your letter. I suspect there are a lot of other people who reacted negatively to this car being called a Mustang, but later changed their minds. It was a very controversial decision within Ford, too.
As with any car, the proof of the pudding is in driving it. Though I’ve only had a chance to ride in the car, not drive it, my initial impressions are really positive. But I’ll need some real soak time in the Mach E to form a final opinion.

John McElroy
1-17-2020


Hey John,
Happy New Year...I would just like to know as to why Mayberrian males in the auto industry is giving Marry Barra a pass just because she is a female. Now I have every right to say something about this because we bailed out GM with our tax dollars.But it seems that you and others have the luxury to pay all these taxes for a socialist feminist female running GM to the ground.I hear all types of mechanics sharing their issues with GM vehicles.So I ask again John,would you like to pay more in taxes? If you support socialism then more than likely you will pay more in taxes.I will say that I will hold Mary to her word that she will not use our hard earned tax dollars.I think that there is in need of a change at GM's management.Also U.A.W. needs to be held accountable for assembly because this will further hurt GM's viability.Also John do you think that Mary Barra is a great C.E.O. helping to lose $3 billion dollars in cash flow yet missed out on sales? I think that a kid from elementary school can do better job maintaining the company.I also disagree with John Lutz's position on Mary Barra being a great CEO...A foreign car company PSA does a better job maintaining Opel/Vauxhall than GM? Time for a change.
Justin,

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

Best,
John McElroy
1-15-2020


John,
Sorry I missed this AAH to offer some questions or call in.  I was sitting with my mom in a stroke rehab facility when the show was on live.  I hope your father is doing better.

A couple things:
It’s entirely plausible that the aero CD/wind/tire rolling resistance can be so much worse in hard rain.  It would be interesting to see the degradation in BMW 3 efficiency/mpg under the same conditions.  Tesla has the best efficiency in the industry, Henry didn’t find anything wrong, and if no extra cabin heating was required then it probably isn’t an EV specific problem.
 It would have interesting to see the log for the HVAC.  Maybe the defroster or dehumidifying consumed more power?

There is a CHAdeMo adapter and soon a SAE CCS adapter offered by Tesla.. I think they are about $500 each

EVgo just announced that they will start to have a DCFC with all 3 cords in the future: CHAdeMo, CCS, and Tesla.
.. Just like some gas pumps have 3 pump handles.

I know people who were on the SAE j1772 committee when Tesla went on their own away from SAE j1772.  From what I’ve deduced, tesla created their own Tesla charging coupler (with compatibility w/L2 J1772) because they thought the SAE committee was too conservative forcing the extra CCS DC pins (technically called ”DC Level-2”).  Tesla thought DC Level-1 using the same pin out as the Level1/Level2 was more compelling if the existing pins could handle more amperes. Look at the similarity of a Supercharger Coupler vs Mobile cord.  Same pinout.  And yes Tesla may have also thought about creating a strategy for Tesla-exclusive Superchargers for competitive advantage.  Note that Tesla is consuming large amounts of cash for all these Supercharging stations and integrated nav/status/trip planning.   It is a differentiator.

Note that in the EU Tesla is putting both a Tesla and CCS receptacle on the EU version of the Model 3.. best of both worlds.  A Smart strategy.

I know people who worked for Steve Jobs.. I led the team that designed the first PowerPC processor in the Apple/IBM/Motorola alliance that launched the PowerMac.  From what I have gathered Elon is more talented than Steve Jobs and Elon is far more multidimentionally capable as well.

Yes, when a Cybertruck tows it will get worse efficiency and range.. but when an f150 tows a big trailer it is only going to probably get 8-10mpg.   

I wish I could have been there to help Henry NOT spend $2000 on wiring..  once you say you want an EV charger to an electrician it tends to drive up the price..  just get a simple 50amp breaker, 6 gauge wiring in conduit (instead of through the walls/ceiling), route the wire to a simple NEMA 14-50 outlet.  Then use the free Tesla mobile Level1/Level2 cord that came with the car or buy a spare L1/L2 Tesla cord for only $300.
The mobile cord can charge at 7.5kW.. impressive.

Also, when you go through the effort of installing a 240volt circuit for your garage, it is better to go ahead and get a 240volt circuit for each bay of the garage so your garage is “future proofed”.  The incremental cost of the wiring/breaker is modest compared to the labor. Don’t put extra chargers in.. just stub it out.   And this is a one-time upgrade of your house that makes your home EV charging capable forever more.  It’s better to have the NEMA 14-50 outlet because if you get a non-Tesla EV in the future you can simply unplug the Tesla charger and plug in an SAE j1772 box.  Or if the charger fails you can easily unplug and replace it.

Mach-E has a real chance for reasonable sales given its performance and practically.  There needs to be a performance AWD Corvette BEV SUV next..  just as the Macan is one of Porsche’s main profit engines now GM could create another bold product.  Porsche is also planning on an Macan EV.

Sure, OEMs should focus EVs on the $40k plus market for a while.. but as battery, power electronics, and other costs on the car (electrical architecture, switches) decline in costs then broader markets will be profitable over time.
The OEMs need to truly unleash their teams’ creativity  to innovate and make compelling BEVs and PHEVs... no more bland compliance cars please.  And they need to create teams who truly want to make the best PEV possible so it they are inspired about the project and include cool features that are not reasonable or possible on an ICE Vehicle.

Great show.. keep up the good work.  Happy New Year!

PS: Austin is hosting a “Fully Charged” EV show at the COTA F1 track on Feb1-2.  It might be of interest.

Dave
1-15-2020


Hello John and the Autoline team,
 
A few of the AAH shows have included speculation on the future of FCA brands in the US market after this PSA merger. Usually the questions are: Can Chrysler the brand exist with 2 models? Can Dodge? and will Fiat and Alfa leave the market?
 
I am sure none of these brands will be discontinued for at least a couple more years and one answer not covered is a case study of GM and Oldsmobile when it decided to shut the brand down:
 
 
G.M. actually did eliminate one of its brands, Oldsmobile, it had to shell out around a billion dollars to pay dealers off—and it still ended up defending itself in court against myriad lawsuits. As a result, dropping a brand may very well cost more than it saves, since it’s the dealers who end up with a hefty chunk of the intended savings.
 
If FCA decides to end Chrysler or Fiat brands after the current models end production, then FCA-PSA will have to pay off the dealers to end their franchises. That's alot more franchise agreements than just Oldsmobile had even.
 
FCA-PSA may find it much better to just bring a PSA rebadge in as a Chrysler, even if the sales are not great, just to avoid having to pay to terminate franchises. A bonus is to fill a little bit more plant capacity in Europe  (like how exports to USA got local tax breaks for Holden, and GM's Opel could send us Buicks/Saturns to slightly help euro factories avoid layoffs)
 
Keep up the great work!
 
Tyler from Ohio
 
Watching every Autoline video on YouTube since I learned of the show in 2013! 
Tyler,

I could not agree more. PSA could help FCA re-build the Dodge and Chrysler brands with some of its cars.

John McElroy
Frank,
 
Demand for cobalt is soaring due to EV battery production, yet EV production is still in its infancy. Batteries account for 62% of all cobalt use.
 
In China, batteries account for nearly 79% of cobalt use.
 
Oil refining uses very little cobalt by comparison.
 
John
1-15-2020


Hello. Tesla do have a CHADEMO adapter as well as CCS. It can also charge at any ac outlet that is grounded,
In winter conditions, pre heating the battery greatly helps range.
 
Thanks for excellent show.
 
Regards from Norway
terje
Terje,

Thanks for the info, much appreciated.
1-15-2020


I recently leased a new Volvo S60 T8 Plugin Hybrid.  After I took delivery, I was rather surprised to learn is that I cannot delay the charging time after plugin.  This may not sound like a big deal, but in Southern California, I cannot take advantage of the “Super Off Peak Rates” that start at Midnight (unless I get up at Midnight to plugin my car).   In our area, the rates drop from 24¢ to 9¢ per kWh, which reduces my energy charge by 64%!!
I owned a Chevy Volt, friends and relatives own Pacificas, Leafs, Teslas, and Bolts, all of which have the capability to delay their charge.
All I ask is that the next time you attend a Volvo Event, that you might ask if they plan to offer an upgrade to their current software to address this issue.
By the way, I love every other aspect of the S60.
Thanks so much for listening.
By the way, I am a former Detroiter that has been a faithful listener to all of your programs for many years.
 
Ken
San Diego, CA
Ken,

Thanks for the great feedback, we were not aware of that. And we will definitely ask the Volvo people when they may provide an upgrade.

Best,
John McElroy
1-13-2020


John,
Great show!
Some comments:
It’s the LCA (life cycle analysis .. sometimes called cradle to grave) not just the W2W analysis.
LCA includes mining/Mfg/W2W/disposal
I’d trust the Cradle to grave/LCA from Argonne labs/NREL more than AVL. 
Their analysis does not show 70k miles payback needed from what I recall.

Also, do you think Tesla will sell a boat load of Model Y’s?   As of 1/1/2020 they have zero tax credits.. and they will still sellout.   OEMs need to stop whining for more subsidies and simply focus on making compelling and competitive PEVs that customers want to buy.. as Tesla has.

Layoffs from EVs?  What a convenient excuse since the OEMs know the regulators want EVs so blame EVs to deflect political heat .. a great strategy even if it’s a partial red herring.

I think there is too much bias to pure BEVs and not a customer needs/wants and infrastructure driven analysis that would likely show the PHEV has some strong advantages in meaningful market segments.

The OEMs should be deploying some of their best IC Powertrain engineers on PHEVs instead of laying them off

Dave
Dave,

Thanks for sharing your insights!

John McElroy
1-13-2020


John & Gary,
 
I watched your recent December 20 2019 Review: On The Edge of Carmageddon - Autoline After Hours 490 which I found most interesting.
 
Not sure if you & Gary were in sync with many of the views & assessment of the Motor Vehicle Industry by your two guests - Joe Langley, of IHS Markit & Paul Eichenberg of Strategic Consulting who appear to very knowledgeable & up to speed as to what the current state of play & potentially what the future may have instore for all of us.
 
Since watching your show yesterday I came across another online article with a similar outlook as to the potential disruption being inflicted on various industries by Elon Musk & his operations across a number of fields.
 
It too is very stimulating in its potential IF THE ASSUMPTIONS PROVE TO BE CORRECT in its impact of industry & society.
 
I felt that you may find the article of interest in the manner it supports the views of your two guests - Joe Langley, of IHS Markit & Paul Eichenberg of Strategic Consulting.
 
The online article is titled - From Energy To Transport To Healthcare, Here Are 8 Industries Being Disrupted By Elon Musk And His Companies
 
I trust that you find my input of interest & also of value.
 
Regards, Laurie
Laurie,

Thanks for pointing out this article to us. And will publish your letter in Viewer Mail on our website so others can read it too.

All the best,
John McElroy
1-13-2020


Ha, who would have "thunk" ? On one of your recent AAH episodes a suggestion was made  that GM use the "old" Hummer brand to launch a new line of higher end electric vehicles? And better yet , they will be sold at GMC dealerships ( also suggested). Later Youngblood
Well, we do know that a lot of people at GM watch AAH!
1-13-2020


I would love to see a segment on the Toyota Tundra and future plans. Maybe an interview with chef designers Mike sweers..
 
Thank you
Good suggestion, we’ll see if we can get him back.

John McElroy

Send us your thoughts: viewermail@autoline.tv