Toyota pits all of its engineering prowess against Tesla

One of my enduring theories was that the electric car market would work like most of the markets described in Crossing the Chasm. The pioneering company selling to early adopters gets bypassed when the mainstream companies piled in and sell to mainstream customers who don’t care about the features that the early adopters were passionate about. So Tesla, with its limited engineering capabilities and manufacturing experience, would be leapfrogged by Toyota, Honda, Ford, et al. when it was time for the typical Toyota Camry or Honda Accord owner to buy an electric car.

“Tested: 2023 Toyota bZ4X Gets Toyota into the EV Game” (Car and Driver) proves that I’m wrong yet again. The car is neither significantly cheaper nor significantly better than a Tesla. With all of their marketing experience, Toyota couldn’t even come up with a decent name. Also note that the marketing materials imply that you need a $3 million house before you can think about purchasing (and that bZ4X drivers should adhere to an obsolete cisgender heterosexual nuclear family lifestyle).

Most egregious: no dog mode!

Can we conclude that the only human on Planet Earth capable of doing things in a reasonable way is Elon Musk?

(Like those announcing receiving an award on Facebook, I am humbled and honored that my prediction turned out to be dead wrong. Well, maybe not honored. Just humbled (but not humbled enough to stop making predictions, sadly).)

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Why is the markup on electricity for charging cars higher than the markup for gasoline?

Electrify America charges 43 cents/kWh in Florida:

That’s 4X the average price to a commercial customer in the state (; which shows that Electrify America’s price is 5X the “industrial” rate, which might be more appropriate for a large and busy charging station). (Let’s ignore the membership price of 3X because you can get a fair price at a gas station without joining any clubs.)

Retail gasoline is about 10 percent over cost (source), i.e., 1.1X.

The gas station needs to dig a tank, maintain pumps, insure against environmental calamity, fire, etc. The electric charging station just needs a few parking spots, some wires, and some high-power/high-voltage components.

For people who live in apartments and/or do most of their charging on trips, do these huge charging station markups eliminate the purported fuel cost savings for high-cost electric cars? (we almost never see a Tesla used as an Uber, right?)

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12 Hours of Sebring, a perfect Florida fly-in destination

Since small aircraft are generally inferior to a 2009 Honda Accord as a transportation tool, it is worth celebrating the situations in which it make sense to fly. The Sebring, Florida race track is actually built on part of what was once a vast military airport and is now a medium-sized civilian airport. Therefore, if you are landing on Runway 1 you’ll see the race before even getting out of the plane. You’ll hear the race as soon as you’re on the ramp (remember to pack earplugs, though they also sell them at the race). After walking through the beautiful modern GA terminal you’re a 20-minute walk from the event entrance, but the kind folks at the airport run a shuttle so you’ll be there almost immediately.

The true fans, either of beer or racing, show up on Wednesday and camp:

Imagine Burning Man with no philosophy…

Here are a Corvette and Lamborghini in 1st and 2nd place (within their class) after about 2 hours. They ultimately finished in the same positions. General Motors (Cadillac) also won all three top spots in the fastest “DPi” class.

A Ferrari appears to chase a McLaren (but they’re actually in different classes):

There is a modest midway of manufacturers’ booths and food. You can develop some new respect for your neighbor with the Hyundai Elantra:

Feel better about your job… there is an actual human zipped into this outfit in the 90-degree Florida sunshine:

Although there don’t seem to have been any drivers who identified as “female”, there apparently was a competition that may have featured some who identified as “women”:

(With the kids in tow, I was unable to stay for this important event and therefore cannot supply photos.)

Chevy’s contestants in the mechanical beauty contest… a flat-plane crank engine and a cutaway Z06 Corvette:

If you’re coming down from Maskachusetts or New York and are anxious to fit in, you might want to take the Hillary, Biden/Harris, Black Lives Matter, #StopAsianHate, and “In this plane we believe…” stickers off the Bonanza.

See you there in March 2023! (the kids are already preparing!)

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Medical waiver for tinted windows in Massachusetts

A friend is a tinted window enthusiast and mentioned in a chat group that he was having some trouble getting his doctor in Maskachusetts to sign documents that will satisfy the bureaucracy that runs the tint waiver program:

Apparently this should not be too challenging. The tint enthusiast knows of some people who were approved due to doctors using “dry skin” as a justification.

A response from a Californian in the chat group:

Get medicinal marijuana doc to say u r too stoned to put sunglasses on

Separately, is tinted glass necessary on any modern car? For roughly 20 years, at least mid-trim cars have come from the factory with heat-rejecting (sometimes called “solar absorbing”) glass, right?

(Where is aftermarket tint necessary? Airplane windows! Unfortunately, they are plastic and can be destroyed by standard automotive products. Small planes typically have no air-conditioning (costs $30,000 and reduces payload by 10 percent) and the factory windows are greatly inferior in heat-rejection to what’s in a Toyota Corolla (one of which passed us on Florida’s Turnpike the other day going at least 90 mph!). Plane Tint sells a specially formulated product that we applied to our 2005 SR20 before making the Florida move. It has held up well so far.)

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Waiting 18+ months to get 15 mpg in a Ford Bronco

From what I have observed, there is no better way to tackle the perfectly smooth roads between a suburban Florida house and the perfectly smooth paved parking lot next to the beach than in an off-road vehicle equipped with monster mud-tread tires. The neighborhood elite seem to have been acquiring Ford Broncos for this purpose. I talked to a Ford dealer about what would be entailed in getting an Everglades edition Bronco. No orders can be placed currently. There is no waiting list. When ordering is restarted at some unknown future date, the wait to buy one at MSRP will be approximately 18 months.

Here are the steel tube doors “for off-road use only” that the neighbors are using on the street:

In typical driving, I think this machine would be lucky to get 15 mpg and it is on target for delivery at the same time that gasoline reaches $10 per gallon. How can that be justified? Friends on Facebook who are passionate Democrats have been posting the following meme:

I think that the idea is that nobody should be upset with Presidents Biden and Harris regarding the high price of gasoline ($2.30/gallon in January 2021, at the end of the hated dictator’s rule). But we could also use the above meme to toss aside all concerns regarding climate change. As long as we have the money to buy a pavement-melting Bronco and fill it with dinosaur blood we should be “thankful” and not worry about what is happening to Mother Earth, to those who don’t have the money, etc.

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Example of a standard car manufacturer’s time lag from invention to implementation (Ford Pet Mode)

“Ford Will Have a ‘Pet Mode’ Similar to Tesla’s, Patent Application Shows” (Car and Driver, 2/24/2022):

Perhaps trying to compete with Tesla’s Dog mode, Ford has filed a patent application for something called Pet mode, which would allow drivers to remotely control things including windows and temperature.

Tesla started offering its Dog mode feature around four years ago as a way for drivers to make sure any animals left inside of one of the company’s EVs don’t get too hot or cold, and that passersby would see a notification that lets them know the car is comfortable for the pet.

The patent application was filed in October 2018, which tells us that Ford had the invention in its possession four years ago. The Mustang Mach-E went into production 1.5 years ago yet still has no Pet Mode, thus encouraging anyone who likes to run errands with a dog in the vehicle to purchase a Tesla instead.


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Prius sighting in Florida

Two middle-aged ladies were in front of us at Lion Country Safari:

Biden/Harris, Black Lives Matter, and Eat More Kale plus an Imagine there’s no hunger license plate (proceeds to the Florida Association of Food Banks). The “UU” sticker likely is for “Unitarian Universalism”, a pro-Palestinian church (settler colonialism by Jews in Israel is bad; settler colonialism in North America is not so bad that any Unitarian Universalist church needs to give back its land to the nearest Native Americans).

The next day, we found the “Prius Eater” in the Costco parking lot:

Through the window at Lion Country Safari:

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Subaru Outback review

On a recent trip to Denver, I rented a $550/week “full size” car from Hertz and received a 2021 Subaru Outback station wagon. As part of the Great Falling Apart of the U.S. service industry, the vehicle was delivered only 3/4 full of gasoline. The 4-cylinder engine made alarming strained noises when pushed hard enough to merge onto I-25 (even accelerating from 0 to 35 mph on a local road sounded like it was a dramatic event for the vehicle’s innards). This is not the refined 6-cylinder powerplant of our beloved Honda Odyssey.

There is a huge touch screen in the middle of the car and, as with Tesla, a lot of essential buttons are available only within the touch screen, typically at least one or two menu touches away. Apple CarPlay is slow to establish compared to how it works on the Honda Odyssey and the entire infotainment system seems slow.

The lane departure warning system is much more active than on the Honda and generates a lot of spurious warnings, e.g., when merging onto a highway from a ramp.

Who buys these cars rather than a Honda or a Toyota?

Here’s the vehicle on I-70:

Speaking of vehicles, here’s a Ford in Idaho Springs that probably doesn’t generate any complaints regarding the touch screen or lane departure warning system:

and another Ford truck, from Beaver Liquors (near Beaver Creek), delivering supplies deemed “essential” by Colorado Covidcrats.

Of course, it is also possible to take a bus. Note the four mask-related signs in this photo of a single public transit vehicle (Vail Lionshead village):

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