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Thread: The State of The Car

  1. #1201
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    Well, the Nissan Maxima ends production at least in ICE guise this year.

    Any thoughts on how cars are going? Also, has anyone on the forums bought or driven an electric car? I feel like they're pretty close to a mature product now.

  2. #1202
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    I'd be curious about people's EV experiences as well. As a stupid car person on the internet, it still doesn't quite sit right with me when existing nameplates get rehashed for EVs that bear no relation to their combustion forebears. This doesn't prejudice me against EVs, as the same thing has been happening with crossovers and SUVs for a while; against which I'm rightfully-prejudiced (see: stupid car person on the internet).

    This isn't a novel opinion, but it strikes me that EVs are the perfect vehicle for most people's needs: quiet, docile, and relaxing to drive. For the average commuter, that seems like a perfect mix. In this country where people are used to being able to drive trucks everyday on the off chance that they need to tow a boat or haul 50lb (220N) of mulch twice a year, it'll be a harder sell, but I think they'll come good. It's too bad that current battery tech is so damaging to the environment.

    They've started to come into their own with ICEs as well, but Hyundai and Kia have really hit their stride with their electric offerings. The Ioniq 5 should be commended for being a very good modern adaptation of the Austin Allegro (any company bold enough to reference a British Leyland design earns my respect; I can only hope that someone revives the "flying" buttresses from the XJS) and EV6 is also a very clean, well-thought-out modern design. They, along with Tesla, seem to have been the first to realize that EVs need not look dweeby or like some pastiche of "the future car". The Nissan Leaf, for example, strikes me as a very rational choice for a car let down by dowdy styling. All that said, the Ioniq 6 has a bit of dog-furtively-shitting about its design; though I expect it to grow on me. They've also bought a big stake in Rimac, which is exciting. Porsche is slowly figuring out those market demands as well and the Taycan is still their best-looking non-sportscar, though that is textbook damning with faint praise. The rest of VAG is also slowly improving with the Bus and all Audi's stuff though I think all the electric SUVs from VAG, BMW (the iX is truly-exemplary in this regard), and Merc look terrible.

    I'd be curious to know if the folks of UCP are excited, resistant, or neutral about increasing electrification both from the zoomed-in perspective of the cars themselves, and the forty-thousand foot view of motoring in general.
    "Kimi, can you improve on your [race] finish?"
    "No. My Finnish is fine; I am from Finland. Do you have any water?"

  3. #1203
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    Very funny lb to N reference there you slipped in.

    Probably a good thing for commuting. I am concerned about ensure the grid is up to the task of powering these vehiciles. Not really any good reasons it can't be, but a question more of allocating resources to other areas poorly.

    I was talking to my friend tonight actualy, he is thinking of going one electric, one conventional for his family. In a big suburban place like the GTA, that's a good idea I think. Not sure if the economics adds up yet for electrics but still, a good idea.

  4. #1204
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    f6hellcat13, I think an electric car is 95% to a mature product now. It's kind of amazing to witness this sort of transition, sort of when we went from horses to cars although on a much smaller scale. At one point in history there were electric cars competing with gasoline and steam powered variants. I think once the charging infrastructure improves, that might be the end of the gasoline powered car. I really like the convenience of charging at home. Going to the gas station is sometimes a highly unpleasant experience, especially when it involves large crowds and busy intersections.

    I honestly really enjoyed variety with cars and car models. I remember a time when a coupe, sedan, hatchback and wagon variants of certain sedans were available. Say for instance a Mazda 6 was available as a sedan, liftback and a wagon. Those were cool times.

    Also relating to electric cars, has anyone noticed how heavy these rolling batteries are? The new Hummer EV is 9000 lbs and can get to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. That's like commercial driver's license territory there. There's no one on the planet that needs an EV to get to 60 that quickly and weigh 9000 lbs.

  5. #1205
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSXType-R View Post
    f6hellcat13, I think an electric car is 95% to a mature product now. It's kind of amazing to witness this sort of transition, sort of when we went from horses to cars although on a much smaller scale. At one point in history there were electric cars competing with gasoline and steam powered variants. I think once the charging infrastructure improves, that might be the end of the gasoline powered car. I really like the convenience of charging at home. Going to the gas station is sometimes a highly unpleasant experience, especially when it involves large crowds and busy intersections.
    I agree that filling up is a chore and I suspect that many others feel similarly. Though as someone with a small bladder, many gas stations have been godsent on long roadtrips... Filling up in LA was pretty tedious, as I'd imagine it is for you in New York, though it's certainly less-annoying out here in 'burbs.

    I spent a few months in California this year for the first time in a while and I saw quite a few Mirais kicking around, so Toyota's doing their best to create a modern steam analogue. As an aside: I feel like Toyota has nailed the anodyne, yet sexy shape with the new Mirai that I think Tesla did very well with the original Model S.

    I honestly really enjoyed variety with cars and car models. I remember a time when a coupe, sedan, hatchback and wagon variants of certain sedans were available. Say for instance a Mazda 6 was available as a sedan, liftback and a wagon. Those were cool times.
    I am reminded of what I like to call the monogenre in pop music: a sort of saccharine distillation of hip hop, R&B, "traditional" pop, electronica (EDM in particular), rock, synth, etc... On the off chance that I hear it, I am always amazed at how many disparate musical elements the artists and producers have woven together and how (often, though not always) dilute and bland the resulting elixir is. In some ways, I find this analogous to the dissemination of crossovers in the car world: a lifted (truck) with a wagon (wagon, duh) body on a sedan's (car, double duh) underpinnings invariably and wretchedly branded as a "coupe" (two-door sedan/coupe, triple duh). So there we go: every musical genre in one song and every car in one blob. Occasionally crystals precipitate out from this underwhelming solution and you get a decent, creative song (I'm not such a snob as to dismiss all pop music) or, as much as it pains me to admit it as an irredeemable and unrehabilitated car snob, a nice versatile car like a Dacia Duster. In both cases, however, the result is usually about as stimulating as watery porridge.

    Also relating to electric cars, has anyone noticed how heavy these rolling batteries are? The new Hummer EV is 9000 lbs and can get to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. That's like commercial driver's license territory there. There's no one on the planet that needs an EV to get to 60 that quickly and weigh 9000 lbs.
    The new Hummer is quite baffling; I have no idea what kind of a person would design that thing, much less buy it.
    "Kimi, can you improve on your [race] finish?"
    "No. My Finnish is fine; I am from Finland. Do you have any water?"

  6. #1206
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    Quote Originally Posted by f6fhellcat13 View Post

    The new Hummer is quite baffling; I have no idea what kind of a person would design that thing, much less buy it.
    I recently saw the electric Charger, and it raised the same question.

    Who wants this? It looks great. Has a fake exhaust thing. Very odd. I am not sure it'll be made at Brampton Assembly, nearby, anymore. Have to check. Sad!

    Another thing, have y'all noticed like the car show buzz seems to be near dead? I guess not surprising, but the old pace of the big shows has been radically changed by the digital era, and COVID seems to have been the death knell. I guess another part is so many of the new releases are boring crossovers so I pay less attention.

  7. #1207
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    Yeah, I went to the LA show this year and it was a pretty pathetic affair... Even compared to the very lackluster NYIAS I went to in '19. Even just two years before that, NY seemed to have a decent buzz going and it was a good time. Two years before that in LA, same deal.
    "Kimi, can you improve on your [race] finish?"
    "No. My Finnish is fine; I am from Finland. Do you have any water?"

  8. #1208
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    Quote Originally Posted by f6fhellcat13 View Post
    Yeah, I went to the LA show this year and it was a pretty pathetic affair... Even compared to the very lackluster NYIAS I went to in '19. Even just two years before that, NY seemed to have a decent buzz going and it was a good time. Two years before that in LA, same deal.
    Oh for sure, the car manufacturers have definitely scaled back on the effort they put into the auto shows. I remember the freebees they used to give out in 2004 at the NYIAS. We even got demos of Gran Turismo and all the posters and car brochures you want to grab. I went this year with a friend and honestly half the manufacturers weren't even there. Honda, BMW, Mercedes and Audi didn't show up, and usually they're front and center. Upstairs there was so much extra room Radwood actually set up a booth and some electric Cobra manufacturer also had a display. Go back 10 years and that would have been unheard of. Downstairs some of the smaller manufacturers usually set up and they actually used up half the display area as a test site for electric scooters and unicycles.

  9. #1209
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    Speaking of which, has anyone seen the combustion vehicle ban California put out for 2035? With no investments in the electric grid, I fail to see how that could ever pan out. California as it is is already suffering from rolling blackouts. They're going to at least have to invest in nuclear energy to bridge the gap as renewables can't generate anywhere close as enough power.

  10. #1210
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    Nuclear fission and renewables have to be the way in the medium term. IN the long term, Fusion (if we can work it) and renewables have to the the way, as they are both essentially limitless for human civilization timescales. One day I realized that no matter what, we will run out of oil/natural gas in any case. May as well make the transition to green energy now and not cause climate/human/animal.

    Chornobyl was a disaster in more ways than one. Ontario is phasing out 1/3 of our big reactors (nukes are about 50% of the grid, hydro 30%, renewables a bulk of the rest, and we run a gas plant or two to cover "topping" and smooth the load I think). The new Hitachi SMRs are going to be installed at another plant a bit further east.

    To your point NSX, I do not see a plan for dealing with an large influx of transportation running on batteries. Sad! What is the plan!?

  11. #1211
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    Kitdy, they keep saying electric cars are the future. Did they forget where we get batteries from? They’re also a finite resource, they’re literally made from a group of elements called rare earth elements. And surprise, it’s still incredibly polluting to mine them.

    It’s hilarious nuclear was never an option until Russia made gas/coal/oil super expensive.

  12. #1212
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSXType-R View Post
    Kitdy, they keep saying electric cars are the future. Did they forget where we get batteries from? They’re also a finite resource, they’re literally made from a group of elements called rare earth elements. And surprise, it’s still incredibly polluting to mine them.

    It’s hilarious nuclear was never an option until Russia made gas/coal/oil super expensive.
    Make your mechanical flywheels while tungsten is still cheap!
    "Kimi, can you improve on your [race] finish?"
    "No. My Finnish is fine; I am from Finland. Do you have any water?"

  13. #1213
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    Quote Originally Posted by f6fhellcat13 View Post
    Make your mechanical flywheels while tungsten is still cheap!
    Might as well make it using depleted uranium haha. I didn't know flywheels had tungsten in them.

    Also, speaking of rare earth metals, another weird thing is that catalytic converter theft has gone through the roof. Back when hybrids used to be new catalytic converter theft was a big problem, but now with the bad economy I guess people are going for them again. Is that a problem overseas too?

  14. #1214
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    Nah, most all automotive flywheels are ferrous; I was thinking of the electromechanical hybrid that Porsche made a few years ago that spun up a flywheel (not connected to the engine) rather than dumping the regen into a battery. It looks like they use the flywheel as an electrical motor's rotor so it's comprised of magnets embedded in carbon fiber. The magnets are obviously weighty enough and, as a part for racing, they're trying to make it as light as possible. To this end, they spin it to the frankly-terrifying speed of 100,000 rpm. https://www.popularmechanics.com/car...brid-flywheel/

    The advantage for tungsten is its high weight, stability, and strength compared to most things at the bottom of the periodic table; it's much easier to boost your moment of inertia by increasing weight and maintaining size than by mounting Ferris (not ferrous... I'll see myself out) wheels to cars to store energy. That said, the aerospace bearings, vacuum chamber, and the fact that a flywheels "discharges" more quickly under no load make it impractical for most driving. I drive my Insight maybe once per week and the battery's state of charge is never significantly different than when I've parked it. A flywheel, even in a vacuum, would have spooled down considerably unless it had power-hungry magnetic bearings, which would deplete the battery on their own...

    Due to some weird circumstances in my life, my Insight spent a few months in airport parking (don't ask...) and when I came back the 12V lead-acid battery had been stolen, but the 3 (!) cats had not been touched and the "big" NiMH, dinosaur tech these days, hybrid battery in the back had not been touched. Fortunately, the hybrid battery takes hours to remove (at least at my amateurish level of mechanical competency) so that is a disincentive to thieves. One of the three cats is under the hood so they could have easily gotten to that when they yanked my battery, so I was not as disappointed at having to shell out beaucoup bux for a cab to take me to the autoparts store to grab a new one. Coming back to that after two hours of sleep on a redeye was bad, but it could have been far worse.
    "Kimi, can you improve on your [race] finish?"
    "No. My Finnish is fine; I am from Finland. Do you have any water?"

  15. #1215
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    I remember that 911 with that flywheel! Sounds just about as terrifying as an old car that I can't remember which had a driveshaft running between your legs in the passenger compartment!

    I'm curious why Porsche never continued development on that 911 GT3R, I guess it wasn't worth the extra complexity and weight.

    Frankly I'm surprised you have an Insight! I'd be curious if anyone ever tried retrofitting older NiMH hybrid battery packs with lithium ion ones. One huge criticism for electric cars and hybrids in general is that there's no recycling infrastructure to keep the lithium in use. At some point we're going to run out of it, just like gasoline and I don't think anyone realizes that yet. I don't quite remember, but NiMH batteries at least in my electric R/C car doesn't like being emptied halfway, they like full discharges and full recharges or else there's a nasty memory effect. I wonder how hybrid cars managed that back then.

    Side note, is anyone underwhelmed by the new Mustang? Any thoughts on Dodge going electric and axing the Charger and Challenger?

    For one, I'm curious how police departments will manage. For the short term at least, they would still be able to get the Ford Explorer/Expedition in police packages. From what I know, GM isn't really making any police vehicles other than the Yukon. So I guess Dodge is exiting the police market completely?

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