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"The Relay" Online Newsletter
August 2022 Issue

This is the monthly online newsletter for the car club council. All car hobbyist events are listed on this site under "Calendar." Just click on the link above to view the list of car shows and other activities.

President's Message

We have a meeting this month and some decisions to make. First we have to review and decided how we wish to proceed on a possible 4th Annual Breakthrough Car Show. Two of the last three have had rain and lowered than expected attendance due to that weather. The park has advised me they will come up with some rain dates just in case of bad weather. If we decide to continue with the show next year we will have to make several changes and adopt a budget at the October council meeting. Pamplin Park has decided to have a Car Club Council day at the park free of charge for council members and one guest. There will be a presentation of this at the August 22 meeting.

We will be meeting at a new location. I tried to get Cesare's Ristorante & Pizzeria where we have met several times over the years. The restaurant is under new management which requires a $50 deposit to hold the meeting room. I cannot predict the future so I don't want to risk losing the deposit because of inclement weather or some other reason. This requirement is happening at several restaurants and I think it's a bad idea. We could of course just "show up" at a restaurant with no reservation and may be restaurants that charge a reservation fee should consider that. Another problem is we don't get the meeting room like what happened in April. I was told we'd be in the meeting room and when I arrived at the restaurant I was told we needed at least 50 people to use the room - and of course when I made the reservation no one bothered to tell me. Let's face facts - the restaurant was not that crowded on a Monday and they certainly could have given us the meeting room where everyone could have easily heard what was said at the meeting. So we get to try a new one. And in October I'll try to find another new one. Feel free to send me suggestions.

I'm sure you realize the media and government officials think that we are just plain stupid. We are being driven toward a no fossil fuel future by the climate change mantra and the elite. But we aren't as dumb as they think. I just read a New York Times poll where only 1% of the people though climate change was the most important issue. Lots of people though the economy, inflation, political division, guns, abortion, Democrats and Biden, immigration, war in Ukraine, racism, Republicans and Trump, human rights, religion, crime, healthcare, education, and foreign policy all beat out climate change.

And people are starting to "get it" on electric vehicles. The truth - sooner or later - always comes out. As the police say "someone always talks". Electric vehicles just don't seem to get the range that the EPA states. Charging times are longer than what we are being told. Batteries don't last as long as we are being told. I saw on social media where someone decided to tow a vehicle a couple of thousand miles using an EV. They had to stop and charge every 100 miles. The trip took days. Just keep in mind the media, government and the elites don't out number us and we still have free will to do what we wish.

Looking forward to the August events after being at some really hot ones in July - hope to see you at the events.

~ Fred


The 1950s

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be Monday, August 22nd at 6:30 PM at Anna's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, 11027 Hull Street Rd, Midlothian, VA 23112-3253, 804-675-0002. The restaurant is located in the Victorian Square Shopping Mall at the intersection of Hull Street and Genito. Menu Link.

“Explain to me — if the environment is so fragile, if the world is going to end in twelve years like AOC told us, why do we have to shut down oil drilling in America but it’s OK to drill in Saudi Arabia?” ~ Sebastian Gorka, radio host and former Deputy Assistant to the President in the Trump administration

Car Hobbyist News

That quote above says it all about the Biden administration - shut drilling, shut down pipelines, shut down leases, do what it takes to increase the price of fossil fuels to get people to abandon them. And we had to listen to the Biden administration talking heads along with the media talking heads telling us that gasoline prices went up not because of what Biden did but because of the global market for fuel and the war in Ukraine. Now that gas prices have dropped the Biden administration is taking a victory lap claiming they did that. Biden has bragged about his release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and says it helped lower prices but a lot of that oil got sold to China. Strange Biden's press secretary says Biden can't lower the price of gas but when it goes down he takes credit.

From Thomas McArdle: In a clunker of a gaffe during House testimony on July 19, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “the more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles,” letting the cat out of the bag that high gas prices will allow the left to drag Americans kicking and screaming into the new world of cars that cost well over $30,000 and can’t travel 300 miles on a single charge.

Bottom line this is what is all about - increase fossil fuel prices to get you to go green. The problem? People hate high gas/diesel prices which lead to price inflation on everything. The Biden administration is in a dilemma about what to do - do what the climate change activists want or try to make the voters happy for the mid-term election. And it doesn't look pretty.

Now the Supreme Court is reigning in the administration with new decisions like West Virginia v. EPA.

From Wikipedia: "597 U.S. ___ (2022), was a U.S. Supreme Court case related to the Clean Air Act and the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon dioxide emissions related to climate change.

The case centers on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) proposed by the EPA in 2015 by the Obama administration. Among the provisions, the CPP had included regulation at existing power plants under Section 7411(d) of Title 42 of the United States Code to implement "within the fence line" emissions reduction technology and "outside the fence line" generation shifting to alternative clean energy sources such as solar and wind power. The generation shifting aspects of the CPP were challenged by several states and coal industry companies, and the CPP was stayed by the courts and never came into enforcement. The Trump administration's EPA put forth a less-aggressive Affordable Clean Power rule in 2019 which was similarly challenged by other states and stayed by courts. The stay was challenged by multiple states and coal industry companies, seeking to question the EPA's ability to regulate existing power plants under 7411(d) as proposed in the CPP.

In a 6–3 ruling issued on June 30, 2022, the Court ruled that the regulation of existing power plants in Section 7411(d) fell under the major questions doctrine, and within that, Congress did not grant the EPA authority to regulate emissions from existing plants based on generation shifting mechanisms, which would have invalidated the Clean Power Plan. The EPA may still continue to regulate emissions at existing plants through emissions reduction technologies.

Some legal experts have stated that a ruling in West Virginia v. EPA which limits the EPA's power could have a significant impact on the agency's future ability to regulate emissions. The ruling also impacted Biden's climate change plan, which relied on cleaner power sources. While it did immediately set back the U.S.'s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases as much as had been planned, the EPA is still able to mandate emission reduction technology on older plants, such as carbon capture and carbon sequestration, and converting coal plants to operate off natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal. These improvements could reduce the carbon dioxide output from plants by 10% to 15%. However, as guided by Michigan v. EPA, costs must be included in the EPA's assessment, which may limit what technologies could be used. States themselves are also free to set emissions regulations, such as existing Global Warming Solutions Acts, though these regulations and laws are expected to become the subject of litigation."

This is great news as the federal government now appears to have 4 branches - the fourth being the administrative state - unelected federal employees making law and policy. Keep in mind global carbon dioxide emissions hit a peak in 2018. Since that time they have come down - yes they have come down yet our federal government continues to work to reduce them. And yes we still have only 10 - 12 years to go before something big happens just like we did 30 years ago.

Here's some state news from the Thomas Jefferson Institute: "In 2021, the Thomas Jefferson Institute helped beat back the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which was designed to force the reduction of CO2 emissions by raising the price of gasoline and diesel to reduce usage. While Governor Northam may not have brought the planned multi-state compact up for a vote, that hasn’t stopped Biden Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg from planning a similar gambit nationally and administratively – even though legislation to do so did not pass. Over at The Wall Street Journal, the editorial board points out that such a rule ignores the Supreme Court’s decision against such regulations. The battle continues, on all fronts.

Part of the feds’ plans includes a $106.4 million allocation to Virginia to build more high-speed EV charging stations (Virginia has only 832) enabling vehicles to “power up” in 20-60 minutes. The problem? Service stations lose money on selling electric at those high-speed stations, partly because of “demand charges” imposed by power providers. Additionally, station owners are concerned that Dominion will set up its own charging stations and avoid charging themselves demand charges by using money from ratepayers (that’s you) to subsidize costs. As Steve Haner has pointed out, charging ratepayers to subsidize other costs is a favorite tactic.

There are plenty of battles for affordable and reliable energy here in Virginia. Over at Bacon’s Rebellion, Dr. David Wojick (who is working with the Thomas Jefferson Institute on a forthcoming paper) observes how the massive wind farms scheduled off the Virginia coast may threaten the North American Right Whale. Radical environmentalists may soon have to decide between saving the wind or saving the whales."

And the battle over those wind turbines 27 miles off the Virginia coast continues along with local fights over solar panel farms. We do need more electric power plants and will need them even if there were no electric vehicles. Virginia imports most of the electricity used in the state from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. I have to ask the question - if we need more electricity and we do then why don't we build nuclear power plants which are better for the environment than both solar panels and wind turbines or why not just dam up one or more of the many rivers in the state and build hydroelectric plants?

Virginia Classic Cruisers Pearson July Cruise-In
Virginia Classic Cruisers Pearson July Cruise-In - July 8 ~ see all the photos at Album - opens to a new window
Photo by Ron Clark

This Mercury Comet’s Brake Failure Can Be a Lesson For Us All

From Hagerty
The most dangerous part of a car is the nut holding the wheel. There is no shortage of things that can—and will—fail on a car, but the driver and how he or she deals with the situation when things don’t feel right is the single most critical thing in a car. The latest example of this is a video posted by AutotopiaLA (consider this a graphic content warning as the video linked here does show the crash in detail from multiple angles) of a custom 1964 Mercury Comet crashing into an innocent Honda minivan. We can all learn from this sad situation.

On the surface, this accident is caused by brake failure. In reality, this accident was almost certainly caused by an unsafe driver. The video highlights and discusses factors that led up to the crash. The owner mentions that the brakes are undersized due to the availability of brake kits when the build was first started over two decades ago. Then, while out driving in traffic, the throttle on the 1300-horsepower supercharged engine sticks and the driver elects to drag the brakes to keep the speed down. The passenger mentions a heavy smell of overheating brakes and the driver shrugs it off. Of course, that builds heat in the already undersized brakes to the point that they fail right after the driver makes a quick stab at the throttle and accelerates past the camera truck they are driving with.

The driver does take some evasive action, but it all falls short to rein in the downward-spiraling situation. It looks like he attempts to put the transmission into park, but the park pawl sheers almost immediately. The next action is an attempt to find a clear lane to run the red light the car is quickly approaching, but no clear lane exists so the drivers steers into the rear bumper of a Honda minivan.

From the moment the driver experienced the sticking throttle he should have stopped and shut off the car. Same with the smell of hot brakes. Yes, the pressure of having a film crew around is a thing, and that can cloud a lot of decisions, but even if only for the safety of the passenger in the car with him it would have been prudent for the driver to safely address an obvious problem.

No one wants to admit that the consequence of their actions caused injury to others, which is probably why the video documenting the incident doesn’t explicitly outline those consequences. And I know there must already be someone firing up the comments section declaring me an idiot armchair quarterback, but the fact is I have been in a very similar situation. Last fall I was racing my Honda XR250R motorcycle at GingerMan Raceway here in Michigan. Between rounds I noticed a little oil present in the catch pan under the engine and traced it to a very small leak behind the countershaft sprocket. I could have band-aid patched the seal and gone out for another session and one of two things would have happened:

A. Nothing. The bike would be fine.

Or, B. The seal would puke oil all over my rear tire and the track, likely causing both myself and other riders to crash.

With those options, it’s my responsibility to avoid the worst, pack it up, and go home. It is not my place to put other people at a risk they do not even know they are taking. The driver of this Comet chose option A and paid the price. Unfortunately, so did the minivan driver the Mercury hit.

Accidents happen. That’s why they are called accidents. Based on what we are seeing here, however this looks to have been a preventable crash. Once the driver continued on with a sticking throttle, he was operating an out-of-control vehicle. Actions like this leave a mark on the reputation of vintage and classic cars, not to mention their owners. Proponents of removing aging vehicles from the road via legislation don’t need more ammunition. It’s up to each and every owner of an old car to behave like a responsible adult and keep the image of our beloved vehicles on the positive side of the ledger. We all want to enjoy driving our cars on the road, so let’s treat that privilege with the respect it deserves.

What To Do If the Gas Pedal Sticks
Time for a story from my youth. In the 60s my father was the post administrative officer at Camp Pickett (now Fort Pickett). Whenever something big happened he had to go and fill out all the paperwork. One weekend evening he was called to come in for a traffic accident that killed three soldiers. At that time the sentry station was on the main road into the base. Route 40 crossed that road a couple of tenths of a mile from the station. The sentry on duty at the time said a speeding Corvair went by the station and instead of stopping someone yelled out the gas pedal was struck. The Corvair had the misfortune to cross Route 40 at the same time a tractor trailer was coming down the road. The Corvair went under the trailer decapitating the three soldiers. When my father told me what happened I said why didn't they turn off the ignition key?

If the gas pedal sticks the brakes will not stop the car. You need to turn off the ignition - if you have a column switch be sure not to turn it all the way until it locks. You can also shift into neutral or step on the clutch on a standard transmission vehicle. The engine will still race but that will give you time to turn off the key. Just keep in mind stepping on the brakes is not going to stop and might not even slow the car down any.

The Street Dreams Cruisers 7th Annual Show
The Street Dreams Cruisers 7th Annual Show July 16 ~ see all the photos at Album - opens to a new window

Fatal Electric Car Crash with a Parked Semi So Horrific a Special Crash Investigation Unit Has Been Assigned

From Independent Journal Review
Another fatal accident involving an electric vehicle left two Lompoc, California, natives dead last week near Gainesville, Florida.

A 66-year-old female and 67-year-old male inside a 2015 Tesla Model S exited Interstate 75 and entered a rest stop on Wednesday, Fox Business reported. The vehicle proceeded to crash into the back of a parked 18-wheeler, and both people in the Tesla died.

Both a local law enforcement agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are investigating the tragic event, but neither has confirmed whether any of the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) were engaged when the crash occurred.

“That is a consideration that will be explored during our investigation,” Highway patrol Lt. P.V. Riordian said.

The NHTSA has appointed a Special Crash Investigations unit to assess the incident, Fox Business reported.

Another fatal accident involving an electric vehicle left two Lompoc, California, natives dead last week near Gainesville, Florida.

A 66-year-old female and 67-year-old male inside a 2015 Tesla Model S exited Interstate 75 and entered a rest stop on Wednesday, Fox Business reported. The vehicle proceeded to crash into the back of a parked 18-wheeler, and both people in the Tesla died.

Both a local law enforcement agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are investigating the tragic event, but neither has confirmed whether any of the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) were engaged when the crash occurred.

“That is a consideration that will be explored during our investigation,” Highway patrol Lt. P.V. Riordian said.

The NHTSA has appointed a Special Crash Investigations unit to assess the incident, Fox Business reported.

This is the 37th Tesla crash to be probed by the NHTSA. Couple from California were killed when their Tesla drove into the back of a Walmart truck that was parked in a Florida parking lot. The impact was so severe, the car’s roof was sheared off.

The NHTSA requires companies to report crashes involving ADAS, Fox Business reported. From July 2021 to May 2022, Tesla reported 273 crashes in which ADAS were involved.

If investigators determine ADAS were involved in the Wednesday crash, it would be the 38th crash involving ADAS to be investigated by the NHTSA since 2016.

Of the previous 37 wrecks, 30 involved Teslas and 11 of the crashes were fatal. A total of 15 people died in those crashes.

In June, Fox News reported the NHTSA had elevated its probe into Tesla’s Autopilot feature. The probe moved into an engineering analysis, and it could ultimately lead to a recall in the worst-case scenario for Tesla.

In Sacramento, California, Metropolitan Fire Department responded in June to a report of a Tesla that had caught fire after sitting idle in a wrecking yard for three weeks. The department was forced to take drastic measures just to extinguish the blaze.

“Crews arrived to our first Tesla fire,” the department wrote on Twitter with a video of the vehicle. “It was involved in an accident 3 wks ago, and was parked in a wrecking yard. Crews knocked the fire down but it kept reigniting/off-gassing in the battery compartment. Crews created a pit, placed the car inside, and filled the pit with water.”

While disasters like this one may be rare, a car that bursts into flames while sitting idle is an obvious safety threat. It was also made worse by its tendency to reignite, which is a problem that has previously been reported with electric vehicle fires.

Project Director of EV FireSafe in Melbourne, Australia, Emma Sutcliffe told CNBC that firefighters are “just expected to kind of figure it out” when it comes to EV fires. But with the new technology being rolled out at a record pace, he said this becomes almost impossible.

“We’re still trying to catch up with all this stuff,” Chief Fire Officer of Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion Fire Chas McGarvey said. “But it changes almost every day!”

Before these vehicles hit the market, Tesla should ensure these safety risks are identified and properly addressed. By continuing to push vehicles with serious potential problems, they are putting Americans at risk unnecessarily.

McKenney Cruisers Cruise-In - July 17
McKenney Cruisers Cruise-In - July 17
Album - opens to a new window. Photo by Ron Clark.

Leetown Car Club Car Show
Leetown Car Club Car Show July 23
Album - opens to a new window

BMW Heated Seats Subscription Is Real And It Costs $18 Per Month

This is from Motor 1
There's one for a heated steering wheel, too.

We've been "warned" about how subscriptions could become the automotive equivalent of a video game's downloadable content, and we're beginning to see more examples. On its ConnectedDrive Store in South Korea, BMW owners can pay a monthly fee to have a creature comfort such as heated seats. It costs ?24,000 or approximately $18 at current exchange rates. Alternatively, you can get a one-year plan for $176 or a three-year subscription for $283.

The BMW ConnectedDrive Store is a portal used by existing owners to download a variety of apps. It's all done over the air, without having to visit a dealer to have the new software installed. With heated seats, the German luxury brand is kind enough to provide a one-month test period free of charge. Should you want the feature permanently, that'll set you back $406.

A similar subscription plan is offered for a heated steering wheel and it costs $10 per month, $92 annually, and $161 for three years. You can also buy it outright for $222. Do you want wireless Apple CarPlay? That'll be $305. The store also allows BMW customers to upgrade the headlights to include a high-beam assistant, additional safety systems, and the camera-based Driver Recorder.

One of the most unusual items found in the BMW ConnectedDrive Store is called IconicSounds Sport. It essentially plays fake engine noises through the car's speakers should you be willing to pay $138 to have the feature permanently. There are no monthly or yearly subscription plans available for this "feature."

If you're wondering about the potential of in-car subscriptions from a business perspective, Stellantis estimates it'll make a whopping $23 billion (yes, with a "b") a year by the end of this decade. With the risk of stating the obvious, you're paying for features the car already comes with, at least if we're talking about heated seats/steering wheel.

We can already imagine a smartphone-like jailbreak to unlock these goodies without having to pay the automaker. Doing so will likely result in voiding the warranty after taking down the automaker’s paywall. Even if someone is willing to wait until the warranty expires, chances are that person will hack the car the very next day to "download" all the available features.

Of course, this isn't something new as upgrades through the OBD port have been around for many years, especially for VAG products.


What we used to do in summer

Biggest Reason Why People Aren’t Buying Electric Cars Revealed in New Survey

From The Epoch Times
A survey discovered that charging logistics is the primary reason why Americans aren’t buying electric vehicles.

Consumer Reports, which said it surveyed around 8,000 Americans, found that 61 percent said they wouldn’t seek to own an electric vehicle because of charging logistics while 55 percent cited the number of miles a vehicle can go per charge. Another 52 percent said that the costs of buying and maintaining an electric vehicle are cost-prohibitive.

Another 46 percent of the respondents stated they have not heard of any financial incentives available for owners of electric vehicles.

“We found that 14 percent of American drivers say they would ‘definitely’ buy or lease an electric-only vehicle if they were to buy a vehicle today,” said Consumer Reports. “That’s up markedly from the 4 percent who said the same in a 2020 nationally representative survey from CR of 3,392 licensed U.S. drivers.”

According to recent figures from Kelly Blue Book, the average price of a new electric vehicle hovered at roughly $56,000. In contrast, the average price of a new compact was about $25,000 at about the same time. The average price of a new, non-electric SUV was $34,000, while the electric version was nearly $45,000.

Meanwhile, a recent report from data analysis and advisory firm J.D. Power, however, found that electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids may have more problems than internal combustion engines.

While internal combustion engine vehicles averaged 175 problems per 100 vehicles, this jumped to 239 among plug-in hybrids and 240 among electric vehicles, a June 28 press release of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study stated. Lower scores represented higher-quality vehicles.

Tesla models, which were included in the industry calculation for the first time, averaged 226 problems per 100 vehicles, according to the report.


“Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them,” David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, according to the press release.

Amid elevated gas prices, White House officials have continued to suggest that Americans buy an electric car as Republicans have faulted the Biden administration’s policies for the spike in prices.

In mid-June, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm suggested that Americans can deal with $5 per gallon of gasoline by ditching an internal combustion engine in favor of an electric one.

“If you filled up your EV [electric vehicle] and you filled up your gas tank with gasoline, you would save $60 per fill-up by going electric rather than using gasoline, but it’s a very compelling case,” she said in a clip circulated by Republicans on social media on June 14. “But again, we want to bring down the price at the point of purchase.”

Old School

The Briefs

Since 2013, when he was only 13 years old, Le'Genius Williams, now 22, of St. Petersburg, Florida, has spent a whole lotta time in the criminal justice system, The Smoking Gun reported. After release from prison in 2020, he was arrested in 2021 and released on $12,000 bond in February. But his latest run-in with law enforcement was on June 13, when he allegedly struck his girlfriend in the face with a handgun, then drove off in a truck with another man. When police caught up with him, they found loaded firearms, cocaine and fentanyl in the vehicle. Le'Genius, once again not living up to his name, was held on $77,000 bond, and his earlier bond was revoked.

When 35-year-old Gloria Harpel was confronted by police in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, on June 16, she was walking down the street wearing no clothing from the waist down, North Penn Now reported. Initially, Harpel told officers that she had thrown her pants down the storm drain, but later she said that snakes had eaten them. When taken into custody at 2:30 p.m., Harpel was making "nonsensical outbursts" and was sweating profusely; she was held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, where she presumably was issued a pair of trousers.

Jeremiah James Taylor, 33, broke into a Park County (Colorado) Sheriff's substation on June 20 near Lake George and took off in a marked patrol car, USA Today reported. But you can't really completely hold that against him, because at 3:27 a.m., when a call for domestic violence in progress was broadcast over the police radio system in nearby Teller County, Taylor was the first to arrive at the home in Florissant, siren blaring. The unfamiliar "Park County sheriff" appeared intoxicated and the car was damaged, and when Teller County deputies asked Taylor to turn off the car and step out, he sped away, later crashing into the woods after a high-speed chase and attempting to flee on foot. Finally, Taylor was arrested and charged with four felony counts, including impersonating a police officer.

Colombian cyclist Luis Carlos Chia won a stage of the Vuelta a Colombia race on June 5 and threw his arms out wide to celebrate after crossing the finish line, Canadian Cycling reported. But he was immediately forced to grab the handlebars again in an attempt to avoid hitting a group of photographers -- among whom was his wife, Claudia Roncancio. Chia struck his wife with his bike, knocking her to the ground, where she lay unconscious as medical staff attended to her. "I don't understand why she didn't get out of the way," Chia said after the accident. Roncancio needed four stitches and was kept under observation in a local hospital, but she is reportedly recovering.

On the evening of June 28, at the intersection of Gough and Fulton streets in San Francisco, more than a half-dozen Cruise robotaxis stopped operating as they should and stalled, blocking the intersection for several hours, Tech Crunch reported. The Cruise vehicles were launched just the week before in the city, operating between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. "The first thing I say to my co-worker is that they're getting together to murder us," one online poster joked. "They even made it so the street sweeper couldn't hit an entire block." The errant cars were retrieved with the help of some humans.

Ah, the thrill of the open road, the miles rolling by under your boots, the wind blowing through your mullet ... or not. According to Newscenter1-TV, Rapid City (South Dakota) Regional Airport has announced a partnership with the world's largest motorcycle rental company to offer rental bikes for the upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August. Now you can fly in, don your leathers and roar into Sturgis fresh as a daisy. "We believe this added amenity will be convenient for guests," said Patrick Dame, airport executive director.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its first report on accidents involving vehicles operating with advanced driver assistance systems engaged, and Tesla earned the No. 1 spot on the list. The study looked at crash data over an 11-month period ending on May 15. According to the report, out of 392 crashes, 273 — or 70 percent — occurred with Tesla vehicles. One of the major reasons, but not the only reason, why the company topped the list is that it manufactures the most popular vehicles in the ADAS category. The Drive’s Rob Stumpf, an expert on automotive technology, pointed out that Tesla’s total number includes both vehicles equipped with standard Autopilot (Level 2 ADAS) and Full Self-Driving beta software (Levels 3 to 5). Honda finished in second place with 90 crashes; Subaru had 10; Ford, five; Toyota, four; BMW, three; GM, two; and Volkswagen, Hyundai, Lucid and Porsche, one each. Before starting this study, the NHTSA issued an order requiring manufacturers to report all crashes involving vehicles operating with either an ADAS or an automated driving system “active within 30 seconds prior to the crash,” The Drive reported. Stumpf reported that the 30 second figure is significant because “the NHTSA recently revealed that it had discovered at least 16 separate instances when Tesla’s Autopilot system ‘aborted vehicle control less than one second prior to the first impact.'”

According to the International Energy Agency, electric vehicle sales reached a record 6.6 million globally in 2021, more than doubling 2020’s numbers. Now, a major American automaker is pledging to fully electrify one of its name brands by 2030. General Motors has declared it will no longer offer Buicks with internal combustion engines in North America by the end of the decade, while also unveiling its all new Buick Wildcat concept that would debut as soon as 2024.

Five automakers — General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Stellantis and Volkswagen — have issued electric and hybrid vehicle recalls due to possible defects that could cause fires or stalling. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s investigating the matter, which affects more than 138,000 vehicles with batteries that were made by LG Energy Solution of South Korea. Ford and BMW have also recalled batteries in recent years. In addition, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board Investigated a series of fires in Telsa vehicles, saying that the high-voltage batteries pose safety risks to first responders after crashes.

From Hagerty: SEMA’s North Hall will feature an expanded section dedicated to electric vehicles including new EV platforms and conversions. “The EV aftermarket is evolving quickly and continues to change; we’re curating a unique collection of the latest products related to electric vehicles and the aftermarket,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “SEMA Electrified will help businesses see the latest trends and understand how the EV market has evolved. Visitors will gain an understanding of the advancements and opportunities for the future.” SEMA was a key sponsor of a new bill in California that would provide eligible motorists who EV-swapped their vehicle that was originally powered by a gasoline- or diesel-burning engine with a $2000 rebate to help offset the cost. That bill passed unanimously in the lower state legislature, the California Assembly, last June. The bill now awaits a vote in California’s upper state legislature, the California Senate. There have been increasing numbers of EV conversions on display at SEMA, some of which we’ve covered at previous shows, but the aftermarket for EV conversions is still in its infancy, making the swap to electric power far more daunting than your typical engine swap. While many enthusiasts are turned off by the silent powertrains, it’s in SEMA’s interest to help the fledgling companies that enable hobbyists to complete these kinds of conversions. Doing so makes for a bigger tent and SEMA needs all the support it can get to help fight for all enthusiasts. Strangely, both General Motors and Ford will be absent at SEMA 2022, which is unfortunate as both are gearing up to offer electric crate motors to help such conversions along. — Brandan Gillogly

Mark MacGann, Uber’s former chief lobbyist for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, came forward yesterday as the whistleblower who leaked more than 124,000 files of confidential company records to the media. Dubbed "The Uber Files," the documents—comprising emails, text messages, and more—reveal the ride-sharing company's activities in over 40 countries, including lobbying strategies and controversial practices during government investigations. The massive trove of information, spanning 2013-17, is part of a global investigation led by The Guardian and the nonprofit International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. MacGann, 52, who left Uber in 2016 after two years and played a role in the company's conduct, said he decided to speak out because he believes the company disregarded laws in dozens of countries, thwarted law enforcement, and more. The company acknowledged some of the allegations, noting the change in leadership in 2017 when then-CEO Travis Kalanick was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi.

London’s only Bugatti dealership has opened an espresso bar serving a $60 cup of coffee. Offered in a carbon-fiber cup, “The Ettore Shot” also grants buyers access to the showroom and lounge, which is furnished with unique carbon and leather chairs from the Bugatti Home Collection, and features art and sculpture that’s in harmony with the Bugatti brand. Caffeine-seekers in a hurry can also get a takeaway flat white or Americano at Ettore’s Espresso Bar, at H.R. Owen Bugatti in the heart of Mayfair.

The Detroit Demolition Department has selected Michigan contractor Homrich Wrecking Inc. to partially demolish the abandoned Packard Plant on East Grand Boulevard in East Detroit. If approved by the Detroit City Council on July 19, the project will be funded by federal pandemic resources, available through the American Rescue Plan Act, totaling $1,685,000. The contract to demolish a portion of the 100,000-square-foot property would be valid through August 1, 2023. A Wayne County judge ruled in March that the buildings significantly threaten “the public’s health, safety, and welfare” and gave the city permission to start the demolition process after property owner Fernando Palazuelo missed a court-ordered deadline of April 21 to file for a demo permit.

Buy or lease Cadillac’s first all-electric SUV between now and the end of August, and your dealer may offer you a strange proposition: Agree to let GM track how you use the EV, and you’ll get $5500 off. (The single-motor, rear-drive model with 340 hp, dubbed the 450e, starts at $62,990 including destination; the yet-to-be-named 500-hp, dual-motor, AWD version is $2K more.) You just can’t talk to anyone about what the car is like. Seriously: GM makes you sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to get the discount. GM is the first automaker, as Cadillac’s Michael Albano told the Detroit Free Press, to bargain with customers for real-time data. Since all 2023 model year Lyriqs are spoken for, this strange offer is moot for most … unless Caddy gets a positive response and decides to offer it for the 2024 model year as well, which is available to pre-order. We’re unsure, given the full 2023 order books, whether Cadillac set aside some early-production Lyriqs for this program; if so, the NDA would make a bit more sense. If you’re getting the car at the same time as everyone else, why the secrecy?

According to the Detroit Free Press, the FBI just carried out a search warrant for the North American subsidiary of the world’s largest aluminum alloy wheel manufacturer. OEM supplier Dicastal North America, based in just 30 miles outside of Grand Rapids in Greenville, Michigan, belongs to CITIC Dicastal Co., which accounts for 17 percent of the global market for alloy wheels. CITIC Dicastal Col. is in turn is part of CITIC Fund, one of China’s largest state-owned conglomerates. Ford, GM, Stellantis, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan all source wheels from Dicastal, though the first two, speaking to the Free Press, don’t anticipate any effect on production. The investigation is ongoing, and all we know for now, thanks to the Freep, is that yesterday the FBI seized computers and sent everyone at the Greenville location home.

GM Defense has confirmed that a GMC Hummer EV will be used “for analysis and demonstration” to fulfill the U.S. Army’s request for a light- to heavy-duty battery electric vehicle that will be used in “operational and garrison environments.” The GMC Hummer EV features GM’s Ultium Platform, a 24-module, double-stacked Ultium battery pack that provides 1000 horsepower, 11,500 lb-ft of wheel torque, 329 miles of combined driving range for Edition 1, and 0–60 mph acceleration in as little as 3 seconds.

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that it will increase the percentage of electric vehicles included its new fleet from 20 percent to 40 percent. The USPS says at least 50 percent of the new trucks will be purchased from Oshkosh Corporation. The Wisconsin-based manufacturer was awarded the contract in February 2021, but how many of the planned 50,000 vehicles would be EVs has been a bone of contention ever since. In April, 16 states sued for a more thorough environmental review before the USPS could move forward with its $2.98 billion plan. Britt Carmon, a clean vehicles advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, applauded the EV increase, telling the Detroit News that “the U.S. Postal Service finally got the message that cleaner vehicles are a win all around.” The USPS and environmental advocates have been squabbling over this issue for nearly 18 months, and while it may seem like the two sides have finally reached a compromise, we aren’t so sure. Neither is Carmon. “This change pushes the envelope in the right direction, but it’s also not nearly enough,” she says. “To save money and protect our health, the Postal Service should go much further and electrify most of its fleet.” Stay tuned. — Jeff Peek

About how much does the battery in the new electric Hummer pickup weigh? Answers are 3,000 lbs. (1,326 kg) or as much as a 1967 Camaro or as much as a 1984 Dodge Caravan.

A Connecticut Transit electric bus caught fire Saturday in Hamden, Connecticut, according to fire officials. The Hamden Fire Department posted on its Facebook page, “Crews responded to an electric bus fire in the parking lot of the CT Transit Bus Depot on State Street this morning.” “Lithium ion battery fires are difficult to extinguish due to the thermal chemical process that produces great heat and continually reignites,” the Hamden FD noted. WVIT-TV reported that with this type of battery fire, officials said they just have to let it burn. Two CT Transit workers were transported to the hospital as a precaution from exposure to the smoke, and one firefighter for heat exhaustion. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. WTNH-TV reported that CT Transit Interim Deputy General Manager Josh Rickman said the bus involved in the fire was purchased in 2021. In April, the Paris, France-based public transportation operator Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens temporarily pulled 149 electric buses from its fleet after two of them burst into flames that month. The second explosion occurred on April 29 around 9 a.m. local time near Paris’s 13th arrondissement, on the famous left bank. Footage of the bus engulfed in flames was widely circulated on social media.

The tidal wave of electric vehicles coming from General Motors may be looming large, but at least two of its brands—GMC and Chevrolet—will continue to offer gasoline-powered vehicles alongside BEVs for at least a few years, according to a report from Automotive News. The report gives a full rundown of what’s coming for each of the nameplates from the two brands, (there’s a lot of platform-sharing between them), but a few are worth calling out specifically. Chevy’s Silverado EV is slated to go on sale next spring; GMC’s been quiet about how it will incorporate the Ultium battery platform into a Sierra EV, AN says the GMC will be unveiled later this year. GMC has invested quite a bit of money into two high-end Sierra trims—the Denali Ultimate and the AT4X—as ways to boost profit margins ahead of the reveal of a Sierra EV. In the mid-size game, combustion-powered versions of the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon are due for a refresh early next year, but electric versions are on the way as well, due sometime in 2026. GM’s cash-cow SUVs, the Tahoe/Suburban siblings from Chevy and the Yukon/Yukon XL from GMC, will get all-electric versions in 2026 that will also be sold alongside the gas-powered versions. As for Chevy’s pony car? Sadly, the Camaro is expected to cease production in 2025, replaced by a similarly sized EV that’s yet to be named. That’s marginally better than earlier rumors that had production ending next year, but a hard pill to swallow nonetheless. But the biggest news comes from the house of Corvette: Forecasters expect an all-electric version of America’s Sports Car to debut in 2025, alongside at least one (gulp) Corvette crossover arriving that same year. In the immediate future, we’ll see a hybrid version of the Corvette (dubbed the E-Ray) later next year—we’ve seen this one out and about at the Nürburgring already—which will join the standard C8 and the yowling Z06. While the all-electric transformation may be in full swing at Cadillac and Buick, GM’s not giving up on ICE—or its short-term profit potential—just yet. Ford has adopted a similar strategy with plans to retain gas-burning engines for its pickups through 2040. Blasphemous as it may seem to the crossed-flag faithful, rumors have been circulating around a Corvette SUV for a while now. From an emotionless business perspective, the case for a Corvette SUV is hard to argue with, but consider our pearls clutched. Elsewhere in GM’s lineup, all-electric versions of its full- and mid-size pickups and full-size SUVs could prove quite profitable. That will help subsidize development of smaller electrics like the forthcoming Equinox EV that Chevy says will start around $30,000, even as raw material shortages affect battery cell prices. — Nathan Petroelje

NASCAR legend Richard Petty has joined forces with SEMA, meeting with members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to advocate for passage of the RPM Act (Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act). Petty and Specialty Equipment Market Association CEO Mike Spagnola traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to fight for Americans’ right to convert street vehicles into dedicated racecars, as well as the motorsports parts industry’s ability to sell products that enable racers to compete. The EPA maintains that such modified race vehicles are not legal under the Clean Air Act, but the man known in racing circles as “The King” told members of the media that “the EPA is overstepping its jurisdiction and penalizing small motorsports parts businesses. The RPM Act is essential to the racing industry and protecting the careers of young racers all over the country. During most of my racing career, my fellow NASCAR drivers and I competed in racecars that started out at as street-legal vehicles.” SEMA has been fighting this battle for years, and it has turned up the heat on Washington in recent months to finally get the RPM Act passed. Bringing in Richard Petty is more than a PR move; he is a personable, reasonable everyman whose words and influence are palpable. Let’s hope that legislators are listening. — Jeff Peek

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C-10

Repair Mistakes & Blunders

From Rock Auto
Many years ago, my brother helped me change the engine in my 1970 Dodge pickup. The body of that old pickup was not in terrible shape, but the engine was shot. A friend gave me a 1971 Dodge pickup that was completely rusted out but had a good engine. So one night, my brother and I dove into the project at the shop I worked at. We pulled the motor from the donor truck and installed it in mine. We were making good time, both of us were pretty tired, but we pushed though and got the engine installed. Then it was time to fire it up.

It cranked and cranked while trying to come to life but it just would not. We checked the timing and made sure all the wires were in the right positions. I cranked it again; nothing. We checked and rechecked but could not get that engine to fire. We could not figure it out...the engine was running great in the donor pickup. Finally, exhausted and exasperated, we gave up for the night, rolled the truck outside and went home.

The next day, my boss asked me if we got the truck running, to which I responded with a dejected, “No.” I opened the hood and started to tell him what we had done. At the same time I looked up next to the wipers and there sat a distributor rotor. We had been tired enough that we forgot to install it under the distributor cap. I installed the rotor and the truck fired right up!

Sam in South Dakota

Corvette

Electric Vehicle Nightmare: Girl Learns Car Needs New Battery,
Then Family Realizes It Isn't Made Anymore

From Western Journal
As more Americans buy electric vehicles, the pitfalls of owning such a car become clear, and one teenager in Florida just discovered a major problem firsthand.

Avery Siwinski, a 17-year-old student in St. Petersburg, was thrilled to join the ranks of electric car owners, thinking she not only was helping to save the environment but also was going to save a ton of money by avoiding high gasoline prices.

But not long after taking possession of her car, she was met with a major crisis unique to EV owners.

Siwinski told WTSP-TV in St. Petersburg she was excited when her parents bought her a used 2014 Ford Focus Electric from AutoNation Ford in Pinellas County. The car was like new with only 60,000 miles on it.

“It was fine at first,” she said. “I loved it so much. It was small and quiet and cute.”

But then, Siwinski said, “all of a sudden it just stopped working.”

Her dashboard started lighting up like a Christmas tree telling her that a major problem was detected.

After owning the vehicle for only six months, Siwinski was shocked that it needed service so soon. But her shock turned to outrage when she and her family took the car to AutoNation to see what was wrong.

The Siwinskis were told the battery pack was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced — and the bill was going to be $14,000.

The family had paid only $11,000 for the used EV in the first place, and now they were being expected to shell out more than that just to replace the battery pack.

But then things got worse. The dealer said it couldn’t even get a battery.

The car has been sitting at AutoNation for months as the family waits for one to be shipped to the repair shop.

Sadly, Siwinski’s father died of cancer during that time. Her grandfather stepped up to try to help secure a battery for the vehicle, to no avail.

“They could cost twice as much and we still couldn’t get it,” Ray Siwinski told WTSP.

“It turns out that this is a pretty common problem with this particular car,” he said.

To add insult to injury, AutoNation told the family it would buy the car and take the problem off the family’s hands. And what was the offer price? A mere $500 — meaning the family would lose more than $10,000 on the deal in less than six months.

Ray Siwinski said customers should be aware that car dealers are not able to really service EVs because of a lack of qualified technicians as well as parts.

“If you’re buying a new one, you have to realize there is no secondhand market out there because manufacturers aren’t supporting the cars,” the grandfather said.

WTSP had a final message from the family to viewers: “The Siwinskis’ message to you: Do your research before buying electric. They warn it may cost you far more than you realize.

“Fox Business Network reported last month that dealerships were warning new EV owners that they might have a problem finding qualified service technicians when their cars have issues.

The supply chain for EVs is not yet in place, the report said. Parts are not stocked, techs are not trained, and in many cases, EV battery packs have not even been manufactured in quantity to assist aftermarket owners.

The reality seems to be dawning on many.

New EVs cost $50,000 and up, and most Americans cannot afford that expense. The largest number of Americans drive used vehicles — 72 percent of cars bought in the U.S. are used. But as the Siwinski family discovered, used EVs are not so affordable when the cost of replacing a battery is more than the cost of buying the car.

If electric vehicles become the norm, the situation might price many Americans right out of owning a car at all.

Chevelle

Firefighters: Electric Vehicle Fires Present New Challenges

From News Nation
Although less common than gas-powered vehicle fires, electric vehicle (EV) fires can be extremely difficult to put out and in many cases, require 10 times as much water to extinguish.

It’s a reality fire departments across the country are starting to grapple with as more Americans switch to electric vehicles amid record-high gas prices.

“We’re at that critical point where the consumer-driven world we live in is pushing these vehicles out and the fire department is playing catch up,” said Lt. Tanner Morgan with the Grand Prairie Fire Department near Dallas, Texas.

In a typical gas-powered vehicle fire, crews often put out flames with less than 1,000 gallons of water. But in electric vehicle fires, high voltage lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to “thermal runaway,” an uncontrollable self-heating state, which means significantly more water is needed.

“The protocol is to start using copious amounts of water, up to 3,000 gallons, so that’s what we started doing,” said Fremont Fire Department Battalion Chief Gary Ashley after an EV caught fire following a wreck in 2019.

Earlier this month, firefighters in Sacramento needed 4,500 gallons of water to extinguish a Tesla fire after the previously damaged car spontaneously ignited while parked in a junkyard. Despite spraying water directly on the car’s battery compartment, the vehicle continued to reignite, the agency wrote in an Instagram post.

Tesla’s own emergency response guide for the Model S warns that battery fires can require between 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of water to fully extinguish the flames.

Morgan is concerned many agencies don’t have access to the amount of water needed to put out EV fires, pointing out that the typical fire engine does not carry thousands of gallons.

It’s a problem experts say will disproportionately affect parts of the country where fire hydrants are less common.

“In rural areas, especially on interstates where there are no hydrants, this is going to create a logistical issue for emergency response agencies as they’re going to have to shuttle the water up that they need,” said Tom Miller with the National Volunteer Fire Council.

Although more difficult to extinguish, at least one study suggests electric vehicle fires are significantly less common. An analysis by AutoInsuranceEZ examined federal data and found there were 25 EV fires for every 100,000 electric vehicles sold. By comparison, there were more than 1,500 gas-powered vehicle fires per 100,000 sold, analysts determined.

That fact is not lost on EV owners who say the additional anti-collision safety features help further reduce the risk of fires.

“The chance of getting into an accident, into a fire, is far lower than any other car. So if you reduce the total number of accidents, the chances of getting into a fire are much lower,” said Malini Sexena, who owns a Tesla.

By 2030, electric vehicles are expected to account for more than half of all new car sales. That trend has made EV fire education a priority for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

In 2020, the federal agency released a lengthy report outlining the safety risks posed by lithium-ion battery fires, highlighting a California incident that required 20,000 gallons of water to put out.

The NTSB has urged all EV manufacturers to educate first responders about the specific risks related to battery configurations that often vary between makes and models.

“The vehicles on our roadways are changing in some fundamental ways and these changes are creating a different set of risks and hazards that the responders need to be aware of,” said Tom Barth, the special investigations chief at the NTSB.


How Far Can a Gas Truck & an Electric Ford Lightning Go Towing the Same Camper On ONE Fill-up

From: Western Journal
YouTube publisher Fast Lane Truck did a comparison between an electric and a gas-powered pickup to determine how far each could tow a 3-ton box trailer.

The contestants were an electrified Ford F150 pickup vs. a GMC Denali Ultimate Edition with a 6.2-liter V-8 gas engine.

Each towed an identical new “toy hauler” trailer about 25 feet in length that, while empty, was large enough to transport an entirely-sheltered automobile.

The vehicles began their test in Longmont, Colorado, heading southbound on Interstate 25 toward Denver, about 33 miles away.

The F150 charged up and the GMC filled up before taking to the road. The electric truck’s computer estimated 160 miles of range, which included calculating for the size and weight of the trailer. The gas-powered GMC’s computer, also taking the trailer into account, estimated 264 miles of range.

Off they went, with the goal of the F150 getting 147 miles down the road to a fast-charging station in Pueblo, Colorado.

But that estimate was optimistic. The electric truck had only traveled 6 miles when the computer recalculated range from 160 to 150 miles, cutting things very close if it was to reach Pueblo. That called for a change of plans — the new charging stop was Colorado Springs, about 45 miles closer.

After going 50 miles, the electric truck recalculated its range to indicate it couldn’t even make Colorado Springs. South of Denver, the truck was down to a 20 percent battery charge and, concerned about being stranded with a dead battery, the driver had to turn around and drive the F150 back north to the Denver exurb of Castle Rock to find a fast charger.

With low battery warnings blazing, and power automatically reduced to 90 percent, the electric truck, with 9 percent left on its battery, hobbled into a Target parking lot in Castle Rock.

But that caused another problem. Battery chargers tend to be lined in rows on the edge of parking lots. Because they do not provide a drive-through like a traditional gas pump, they cannot accommodate a vehicle with a trailer.

As a result, the F150 test vehicle and trailer were blocking a major portion of Target’s parking lot. “They’re probably not going to sponsor us in the future,” quipped one of the test participants.

The gas truck? Its computer showed 129 miles of remaining range, so that driver had enough range to return to their starting point in Longmont.

Then came an analysis of costs, which favored the electric vehicle.

In the end, the GMC, after returning to Longmont, traveled 156 miles and used 17.3 gallons of premium gasoline, costing $93.79. That comes to 60.1 cents per mile energy costs. And it still had 65 miles of range remaining.

At Castle Rock, the electric F150, after 45 minutes, was charged 74 percent; it was not fully charged due to time limits in needing to return the trailer at a point halfway back to Longmont. Cost of the 74 percent charge was $27.

At $27 for 74 percent of a charge, the electric F150 would have been fully charged at about $36.49. Subtract its remaining 9 percent charge valued at about $3.28 and its total energy cost was about $33.21. As a result, its 86-mile trip cost 38.6 cents per mile.

So the electric truck had the energy cost advantage.

An argument against electric vehicles is their cost. But in this case, vehicle cost comparisons are difficult to make –the GMC Denali Ultimate Edition is about $80,000; an electric Ford F150 can range anywhere from $40,000 to $90,000.

The electric F150 in the Fast Lane Truck video seemed to have a lot of options, indicating it might be a higher-priced model, but test participants didn’t say.

But the electric truck has a serious problem with range, especially when towing. Its computer was unable to accurately calculate its distance and the driver had to stop for a charge about 85 miles earlier than initially estimated. Indeed, efforts to get a charge became urgent when the battery became hazardously low.

There is a place for electric vehicles — high-density urban areas with perhaps lighter loads.

But attempting to electrify a classic brand like a Ford F150 and use it in its traditional duties makes it very out of place.

And there are the egregious efforts by the Biden administration to raise gas prices so we can all save the planet by buying electric vehicles.

Unrealistic — there’s more to practicality than nice-sounding ideas.

Firebird

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