Category: Roadkill

I, For One, Welcome Our New Self-Driving Overlords

I used to think I paid too much for my 2018 Savana. Now I wonder if I paid too little.

As part of the move toward electric cars, most automakers are copying Silicon Valley’s playbook and making drivers pay monthly or yearly fees to unlock new features. Sometimes those features are fairly basic, like a remote starter; in other cases they’re more advanced, like autonomous parking assistance. Accessing them typically requires just a few taps on a car’s touchscreen or its related smartphone app, the same way you might subscribe to anything else online. It’s part of why the new generation of cars is often described as “smartphones on wheels”: Cars now offer various downloadable apps, automated driver assistance, and even integration with platforms such as Spotify and TikTok. But more digital features that connect your car to the internet provide openings for data theft, tampering, and other cybersecurity risks that simply have not existed on the roads until now.

Car hacking may call to mind action-movie-like scenes of millions of Teslas being remotely seized by terrorist groups and commanded to drive into hospitals. That’s thankfully far-fetched. The bigger risk is to personal and financial information related to various digital add-ons and connected features, which are essentially unavoidable with modern EVs—as is the requirement that you pay for them over time. Mercedes-Benz will unlock more horsepower for up to $90 a month, BMW lets its cars’ safety cameras record 40-second snapshots of video for $39 a year, and Ford’s BlueCruise hands-off driver-assist feature is now $75 a month.

Of course I don’t use a “smartphone on phone” either, so I might be an outlier.

We Don’t Need No Flaming Sparky Cars

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm …

… recently took 4-day EV caravan trip across the southeast to “draw attention to the billions of dollars the White House is pouring into green energy and clean cars.”

What happened next is like a scene out of VEEP

Steve from Rockwood – The irony is not lost that a politician is in an Armada of high-priced vehicles to make a point on Earth sustainability and a young family with children appear to be in the way.

Ban All The Things!

I told you so.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appointed an Obama-era group made up of 24 “leading experts” to advise him on “transportation equity,” claiming the privilege of owning a car ignites “systemic racism” and should be banned because of their negative impact on the environment.

Members of the Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity include “spatial policy scholar” Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, who says, “All cars are bad” and calls for “zero emission transit.”

However, she told the Free Beacon that she is not “advocating for a complete erasure” of cars but hopes to convince Buttigieg to re-direct the U.S. from relying on private motor vehicles.

We Don’t Need No Flaming Sparky Cars

WSJ: The Electric-Vehicle Bubble Starts to Deflate

It’s ironic, to say the least, that the U.S. is seeking to imitate China’s economic model at the moment that its industrial policy fractures. Look no further than its collapsing electric-vehicle bubble, which is a lesson in how industries built by government often also fail because of government.

Tesla last week slashed its prices in China to boost sales in an oversaturated EV market. In July Tesla and other auto makers in China agreed to stop their EV price war, only to scrap the cease-fire days later owing to government antitrust concerns. While lower prices may benefit consumers, auto makers in China are bleeding red ink and going bust.

A plethora of Chinese EV start-ups launched in the past decade, fueled by government support, including consumer incentives and direct financing. Auto makers churned out EVs to suck up subsidies. Giant property developer Evergrande Group launched an EV unit as its real-estate empire began to implode, but now the EV unit is foundering too.

About 400 Chinese electric-car makers have failed in the past several years as Beijing reduced industry subsidies while ramping up production mandates. Scrap-yards around China are littered with EVs whose technology has become outdated, redolent of its unoccupied housing developments created by government-driven investment. […]

Cox Automotive reported this month that EV inventory had swelled to 103 days of supply in the U.S., about double that of gas-powered cars. Auto makers and dealers are discounting EVs to sell their growing supply. The average EV price paid by consumers has fallen 20% compared with a year ago to $53,438, driven by Tesla’s price cuts and dealer incentives.

Ford recently reduced its EV production targets as its losses and unsold inventory grow. At the end of June, it had 116 days of unsold Mustang Mach-Es, and GM’s electric Hummer had more than 100 days of supply. And this is in a growing economy.

Traditional auto makers will have to raise prices on gas-powered cars to compensate for their EV losses. A United Auto Workers executive said Sunday that Stellantis is threatening to move production of its Ram 1500 trucks to Mexico from suburban Detroit, no doubt to reduce costs. The EV jobs President Biden touts will come at the cost of union jobs building gas-powered vehicles.

Meantime, EV start-ups are floundering as interest rates climb, and they struggle to scale up manufacturing. Lordstown Motors filed for bankruptcy in June. Nikola Corp. warned this year that it had “substantial doubts” about its ability to stay in business.

Garden Gnome Barbie And Her Fantastical Barbiemobile!

“I walk, I take the subway.”

“The Deputy Prime Minister was pulled over for driving 132 km/h while travelling between Grande Prairie and Peace River,” said spokesperson Katherine Cuplinskas.

The Deputy PM’s office confirmed the charge to the Toronto Sun after news of the interaction broke on the Counter Signal website.

In that story, editor Keean Bexte reported that she was driving 42 kilometres over the speed limit. Freeland’s office has so far not answered what the speed limit was in the area of the highway where she was driving.

Off The Rails

A rolling metaphor: Ottawa Euro-designed LRT vehicles not built for city’s U.S. style tracks

The Alstom Citadis trains on Ottawa’s LRT were designed for European tracks where restraining rails like the ones to prevent derailments on the tight curves of the Confederation Line are not used, OC Transpo’s general manager Renée Amilcar told councillors Wednesday.

Wear and tear on the trains’ hub assemblies caused when the wheels rub against the restraining rails has been cited as one reason for two past derailments and the current four-week shutdown of the line. Work crews are currently adjusting the heavy restraining rails by millimetres to ensure there is zero contact with the train, as ordered by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board.

I was promised our Dictator would make the trains run on time.

We Don’t Need No Flaming Sparky Cars

All in all*, they’re just another brick on the road.

The owner of a 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat with an extended-range battery regrets buying the electric truck after attempting a road trip, only to abandon it and finish the drive with a gas-powered rental vehicle.

Dalbir Bala of La Salle, Man., left the truck in Minnesota last month after he said he tried unsuccessfully to charge the battery at two different charging stations.

“It was really a nightmare frustration for us,” Bala said.

He bought the truck — which is advertised as having a range of 515 kilometres — for $115,000 in January. He spent an additional $16,000 installing chargers at his home and his trucking business, and upgrading his residential electrical panel.

Bala, his wife and three kids left on a trip to visit Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Chicago for business, on July 27. The truck was fully charged when they left their home just south of Winnipeg, and Bala had plans to stop at level 3 charging stations, which provide faster charges, located along the planned route.

He Cut His Finger Smashing A Glass

The man who forgot how to swim.

The story became one of palace intrigue due to the anonymous 911 call, the location of the Obamas at the time of the incident, and the former president’s injuries at a golf course not long after the event. He was sporting bandaged hands and a black eye. It might be a coincidence, but the drowning has sparked many conspiracy theories and accompanying fact-checks, which don’t mean anything. The liberal media destroyed the ‘fact check’ beat when weaponizing these pieces against the Trump presidency.

Like the FBI, it’s lost all credibility. If anything, it only pours more gasoline on the conspiratorial bonfire. Later, it was determined that the Obamas were on the island but not at their residence, though the emergency call log from police appeared scattered. And the freakish thing about the Campbell case is that he isn’t the first chef to die serving a former Democratic president. The Clintons personal chef, who also served the Bush White House, died in 2015. The cause of death: drowning.

Fruiti Kaputi

NY Post;

Vegan influencer Zhanna Samsonova has allegedly “died of starvation” after subsisting exclusively on a diet of exotic fruit in Malaysia, according to her friends and family.

She was 39.

The Russian national — who frequently promoted raw foods on social media where she was known to her millions of viewers on TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram as Zhanna D’Art — reportedly died July 21 after finally seeking medical treatment during a tour in Southeast Asia, according to local media outlet reports.

“A few months ago, in Sri Lanka, she already looked exhausted, with swollen legs oozing lymph,” one unidentified friend told Newsflash. “They sent her home to seek treatment. However, she ran away again. When I saw her in Phuket, I was horrified.”

We Don’t Need No Flaming Sparky Cars

“It’s dead, Jim”.

Running out of battery is as easy as running out of gas. The trick here would be to run out in a safe location. We planned to keep driving until the truck stopped moving, but we didn’t know exactly where that would be. Like gas-powered cars, some EVs have a little extra emergency range left after the gauge reaches zero.

That in mind, we struck out for the Santa Clarita River Valley north of Los Angeles, an agricultural community with only a pair of slow Level 2 wall chargers available for EV drivers and no Level 3 DC Fast chargers for 25 miles in any direction. Once we’d worn out the battery, we’d call Rivian Roadside Assistance and see what happened. Where would they tow us? How much would it cost? How long would it take to charge up enough to get home? We were going to find out.

We Don’t Need No Flaming Rings Of Fire

Two people were injured Monday morning, one of them seriously, when an e-bike burst into flames in a Bronx apartment building, the FDNY said.

The e-bike caught fire just before 6 a.m. in the basement of 768 E. 187th St., a four-story building in Belmont.

Twelve FDNY units and 60 firefighters responded to the fire and were able to bring it under control around 6:30 a.m.

One civilian was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital in serious condition but is expected to survive.

We Don’t Need No Flaming Sparky Cars

Toronto Sun;

Ford Motor Co.’s is throttling back on plans to ramp-up electric vehicle production, pointing the finger at a price war for battery-powered vehicles.

The automaker on Thursday said it would need another year to meet a year-end target to reach an annual production rate of 600,000 EVs, which it now expects to reach in 2024. Ford also abandoned plans to be making 2 million EVs a year by the end of 2026.

It now expects to see losses from EVs hit $4.5 billion this year, up from an earlier estimate of $3 billion. That’s more than double the $2.1 billion the company lost on EVs last year.

Survivor: The Greatest Reset

Washington Post;

When Rebecca Vance went on a camping trip with her 14-year-old son and her sister last summer, she hoped the excursion to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains could be a path for them to “live off the grid” and start a new permanent way of life away from civilization, according to a family member.

But the decision to disconnect turned out to be deadly after three decomposed and partially mummified bodies were identified Tuesday, not long after the remains were found at a remote campsite in western Colorado. The deceased were identified by Gunnison County, Colo., Coroner Michael Barnes as Rebecca Vance, 42; her 14-year-old son, who has not been publicly identified; and her sister, Christine Vance, 41, all of Colorado Springs.

Trevala Jara, the Vance women’s stepsister, told The Washington Post that the group said they were going to live “off the grid” but did not tell loved ones where they were going to be. The two sisters and the boy probably started camping in July 2022 and died sometime over the winter, according to the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office.