Daimler recall is a double-shot of “duh”

Diesel Weasel TeslaMondo

The company now looks super-stupid thanks to its massive diesel recall.

  1. It’s basically admitting it tried to defraud regulators, just like fellow diesel weasels VW and FCA. Chalk up a another demerit for “clean” diesel tech, and for ICEs in general.
  2. And, of course, Daimler can’t fix anything with an elegant over-the-air update like you-know-who. It has to drag millions of customers into its service centers for software updates. It’s another free advertisement for Tesla.

So in one recall action, Daimler has doubly dumbed-down itself in the public mind. Then again, the public is so scandal-fatigued that nobody cares anymore. “They’re all scumbags.” A fitting dismissal.

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Chevy Bolt “officially” in trouble

Despite the media narrative of late, the Bolt is stinking up the joint. GM is idling its Bolt plant and has a 111-day supply. So who beat whom? Remember, the Honda Insight beat the Prius to the US market by a few months. And the rest is history.

Officially in trouble TeslaMondo

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Korea tweaks incentives to include Tesla

Tesla debuted in Korea this spring, with some fanfare — but with zero tax incentives because Tesla charging time exceeded the max allowed. Today the local news says the Korean Ministry of Environment will stretch the charging time standard to get Tesla under the umbrella. The changes take effect in September.

You win some, you lose some (Hong Kong).

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Don’t fear the wafer, vol 2

 

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2018 Accord interior

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Tesla Model III interior

We’d better get used to this “afterthought” floating screen thing, for it has found a home in the ubiquitous, bread n’ butter Accord. But holy moly, look at the buttons, switches, dials and vents in the Accord. Compared to the super-sparse III, the Accord smacks of airplane cockpit if you want to be nice, or Rube Goldberg if you don’t.

You must click the images and view them full-size to really appreciate the stark difference.

Now that Tesla is making a mainstream car, it’s awfully unusual to see a mainstream car flatly ignore what everyone else is doing and chart a totally new path. Usually designs tend to exert gravity on other designs until everyone meets near the middle. But right now, Tesla has an orbit all to itself.

So the point of this post is: Look at the new Accord! It has a whiff of Model III. The other point of this post is: Look at the new Accord! It’s nothing like the Model III.

Further reading: Don’t fear the wafer.

Tesla’s Master Plan contains dark matter

In a couple months, while everyone fusses about the Model III ramp, the Tesla Semi will rush from the shadows and shock us. Tesla’s vast commercial applications will suddenly tickle the brain more than the bland ol’ Model III ramp.

It’s tempting to say the Semi kicks off the second part of Tesla’s master plan, but the plan never mentions big rigs at all*. It never mentions the Roadster either. Yet we know both are coming. This means the master plan is like Loch Ness. It’s vast and inky. Big things could lurk within. Things as big as a city bus, or a school bus. BYD currently builds the former, and now Blue Bird has a contract for the latter.

What creatures lurk in Tesla’s Loch Ness Master Plan? Paging Mr. Nimoy . . .

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*Bullshit. Read comments below.

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Faraday Future is Finally Futureless

The Nevada factory isn’t going to happen. The company itself isn’t going to happen either. Why? Because it never had a clear focus. If you have 1:28:47 to kill, go ahead and watch FF’s big ceremonial launch at the would-be Nevada factory site. Better yet, don’t watch. Turn down the brightness on your screen and just listen. Do you hear anything — even one sentence — that actually means anything?

By the way, Faraday Future didn’t bother trimming away the first 33 minutes of the video, which consist of dead air. To boot, the company shut down the comments section so it can’t hear feedback from viewers. Feedback such as, “Ever heard of editing?”

Toyota still snug in its “ICE” castle

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Count Carlos

Last fall, Count Carlos over at Nissan surveyed his moat and laughed at the notion of an invasion. “I know the media love to say we have a new superman coming here, and it’s going to make all of you look like dinosaurs. But frankly, the likelihood that this is going to happen in our industry, in my opinion, is very limited.”

Well, now Toyota’s Jim Lentz is proclaiming much the same thing from the walls of his castle. Here’s what he just told The Street:

“At gas at less than $2 a gallon, no [I’m not worried]. I think [the Model 3] is going to be great but today less than half of one percent of the industry are pure electric vehicles.” Lentz is also fond of Volvo’s move to compete with Tesla and offer an electric version on its portfolio of cars. “I think it’s a good move on their part,” Lentz added. “I think [Volvo] sells about 100,000 [vehicles] here in the U.S, – we sell about 2.5 million here in the U.S. When you have a much smaller portfolio of product, it allows you to concentrate in a much smaller niche of the marketplace.” 

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Jim Lentz

Let’s look more carefully:

Cheap gas, eh Jim? Don’t get TeslaMondo started on this subject. Cheap gas is obviously not a hindrance for Tesla, because it primarily sells excitement. Lentz is grasping.

The “N” word, eh Jim? If Lentz is unaware of the Model III’s niche-busting order bank, he’s aloof. If he’s pretending to be unaware, that’s even worse. And if he’s never heard of the Prius, the biggest automotive niche-buster of all time, then The Street must have interviewed a Jim Lentz clone from another planet.

Let’s contrast Nissan’s and Toyota’s hand-wave with BMW’s recent alarmism. The company showed its employees a horror film of sorts, with Musk as the monster — an attempt to shock them out of complacency.

Musk at window TeslaMondo

The odds are very high that behind their fortified castle doors, Toyota and Nissan are NOT in a state of blissful myopia. They’re every bit as rattled as BMW and hear the same scratching at their windows. Nissan resorted to tapping people on the shoulder — people waiting in line for a Model III — and trying to sell them a Leaf. BMW did the same.

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Toyota should try it too. It’s losing a lot of would-be Prius customers, at least, to the Model III. TeslaMondo talks to car buyers every day, so don’t attempt to argue. The brand new plug-in Prius Prime, billed as the most advanced Prius ever, isn’t moving the needle whatsoever. According to Edmunds.com, it has $3,000 on the hood in some markets, same as the lame duck, soon-to-be-replaced, all-but-forgotten 2017 Camry.

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So, about Los Angeles

While vacationing in LA, TeslaMondo was so unconcerned about the TSLA selloff, and so unintrigued by the anticlimactic* Model III kickoff, that both warrant no more than this single sentence.

So let’s chat about LA. Unfamiliar experiences make life worth living, yes? Here’s what, say, an East Coaster may find unfamiliar in LA:

  1. Sometimes back east, if you want fresh air, you open the windows. Sometimes in LA, you close them.
  2. Back east, when you go to Pizza Hut to pick up your order, you simply walk through the door, state your name, take your food and pay the clerk. At the Pizza Hut on West Temple St. in Silver Lake, it’s a little different. You wait behind a wall of bulletproof glass, yell your name, wait for the guy to slide your food under the bulletproof wall via a bulletproof tray, then you slide your credit card back to him. Sounds like a rough city, right?
  3. Yet a short drive away, on Rodeo Drive, you’ll become so sick of seeing Bentleys, Lambos and Aston Martins that you’ll start taking pics of the interesting fire hydrants instead.IMG_7428
  4. Back to Silver Lake for a second. Can anyone explain why McDonald’s would have daily market pricing for oatmeal? McDonald’s is several steps removed from the oat harvest.IMG_7405
  5. Back to Rodeo Drive. You’ll spend more than a few seconds per day looking directly at women’s** nipples. That’s for two reasons. First, because bras aren’t quite the staple they are back east. And second, because female tallness isn’t awkward like it is back east. In fact, tallish women in LA use strategic footwear to make themselves even taller. So, in fact, you’re staring right at ’em. Sorry, no pics.
  6. Why? How? Here’s some typical Doug fare.IMG_7245
  7. Back east, in Times Square especially, hawkers try to hand out pamphlets about restaurants or comedy clubs. On Hollywood Boulevard, hawkers try to hand out CDs of their own performances. Other examples of self-promotion abound.IMG_7285
  8. In LA you’ll see very old car models that the East Coast has totally forgotten. Some are quaint. Others just ain’t.IMG_7339
  9. But the most unfamiliar experience is seeing this phrase painted on every single exotic car you encounter:

If you ask around, you’ll find it’s a reference to the fact that the quiet new guy in town makes all of ’em seem slightly, but notably, bygone.

 

*We’ve learned much more from man-in-the-street pics than from Tesla’s official images.

**Gender in LA falls on a spectrum, so TeslaMondo is really just referring to unspecified humanoid nipples.

A visit to car cuckooland

TeslaMondo is heading to LA, the very seat of hedonism, for a week of auto-erotic exploration. With minimal soreness, one hopes.

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This retro-tastic pic has nothing to do with LA — or does it?