Simanaitis Says

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NEW CAR NEWS

THIS NEW YEAR’S SimanaitisSays is appropriately Janus-like. It looks back at late-2020 Automotive News tidbits and looks forward to the future of the automobile.

Janus, Roman god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages… you get the idea. Image by Loudon dood of Janus at the Vatican Museum, Rome.

And, as leavening agent, these tidbits include several wacky items from this authoritative weekly journal of the auto industry.

EV Predictions. Janus should have a plug in his forward-pointing hand. Electrical vehicle prognostications are in general media as well as in Automotive News’ specialized view.

Newsworthiness, though, is not on consumers queuing up to buy EVs. Rather, the hype is generated by the world’s governing bodies, local, state, and federal. 

As noted in Automotive News, November 23, 2020, “California in September announced plans to stop the sales of new passenger cars and trucks with internal combustion engines by 2035. The Canadian province of Quebec followed suit last week.” 

In December 17, 2020, the journal cited President-elect Joe Biden saying the U.S. “could ‘own’ the market with the right green policies. He promised to build 550,000 EV charging stations and create over 1 million jobs by investing in clean energy research.” Biden also appointed Jennifer Granholm, Michigan governor 2003-2011, as Energy Department Secretary.

Automotive News notes that to achieve EV goals, “Biden’s administration will need to coax a closely divided Congress to approve tax credits and billions of dollars more in stimulus funding.”

Other Slalom Cones Encountered. An Automotive News Editorial, October 5, 2020, noted “EV Improvements Will Still Need to Satisfy Shoppers.” It observes, “So far, electric vehicles have been little more than a highly subsidized niche market in the U.S. That’s not much of a track record for automakers as they lay out their investment plans for future EVs.”

Government leadership can encourage people, but it’s consumers that do the purchasing. 

Shipboard Mangling. Were Janus a car enthusiast, he would have been dismayed by mangled metal shown in Automotive News, December 7, 2020: “A salvage crew has started cutting apart the Golden Ray, a cargo ship that capsized off the coast of Georgia more than a year ago, giving the first look at some of the 4200 new vehicles rotting inside.”

Images by Barry Barteau from Automotive News, December 7, 2020.

“The operation,” Automotive News said, “is using the largest barge in the U.S. to haul away the ship in eight pieces, with a 1-mile perimeter of mesh netting set up to catch vehicles and other debris that fall out.” 

Rolls- Royce News. Were Janus epicurean, he would enjoy several Automotive News tidbits on Rolls-Royce: “After entering a new segment with the Cullinan crossover, Rolls-Royce is returning to its sedan roots with the redesigned 2021 Ghost” (September 28, 2020). 

The Cullinan Black Badge has a 600-hp V-12, a far cry from my Honda Crosstour’s 192-hp inline-four. I suspect there may be other differences as well.

In the same issue, Automotive News reported, “Rolls-Royce is developing a standalone electric vehicle as some governments increasingly ban combustion-engine vehicles from city centers. At least 20 major cities worldwide plan to ban diesel or gasoline-powered vehicles from their centers by 2030.”

“Home, James. And, this time, you may go through the city centre.” 

Adieu, Lit Lady. “The European Union,” Automotive News, October 19, 2020, reported, “has turned out the light on a glowing version of Rolls-Royce’s ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ hood ornament.”

“The ultraluxury brand,” Automotive News said, “has discontinued the $4558 option, which it has offered since 2013, on vehicles sold in Europe in response to a crackdown on light pollution.” Rolls-Royce noted that the illumination is activated only while the vehicle is parked, but apparently this isn’t enough to satisfy EU regulations.

Whisper to me, James. Automotive News, October 26, 2020, reported, “Drivers testing the 2021 Ghost claimed its silence was disorienting. Thus, engineers recalibrated the engine, modified the sound insulation in the doors and lightened up the padding in the headliner. They also designed the rear seat frames and trunk components to vibrate at a particular frequency to create a low ‘whisper’ sound.” 

I imagine Janus won’t need sunglasses, nor earplugs. It’s going to be a good year. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021 

2 comments on “NEW CAR NEWS

  1. valter s prieto jr
    January 2, 2021

    Electric? No thanks. No spirit, no sound, no fun. ICE rules!

  2. Mike B
    January 4, 2021

    EV no sound? Well, it can add some with the sound system, like many other cars do these days when the sound of the real engine isn’t very pleasant. And they aren’t really silent; my Bolt makes kind of a gear-whine growl when pushed on acceleration (and when regenerating on decel) much like the old Back to the Future Rocket Rods ride at Disneyland (when it was working). Different, and not silent. But unlike a classic Harley, it’s a local sound, not one that rocks buildings 4 blocks away. Noise should serve a purpose other than auditory demolition.

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