Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


YESTERDAY, I GLEANED TIDBITS FROM Automotive News concerning BEV repairability and FCEV Class 8 trucking. Today, this authoritative journal changes pace to discuss Formula 1 research, Britain’s aging car parks, and a parable of Japanese masking and EVs. 

F1 Spinoff to Mass-market EVs. Formula One propulsion systems are among the world’s most efficient, sophisticated (and costly). Yet, think of their development as being pure research to the benefit of road-going automobiles. Automotive News, May 8, 2023, reports that the Mercedes “F1 team is working on projects developing parts for mass-market EVs including batteries, inverters and new generations of motors.” 

AMG Petronas W14 F1 car, 2023.

Does This Car Park Make Me Look Fat? Generally, BEV batteries amount to nearly one-third of total vehicle weight. As noted by Automotive News, April 17, 2023, “Battery packs weighing thousands of pounds can make EVs significantly heavier than gasoline-powered vehicles, especially the small cars that have long been commonplace in the U.K.” 

The problem: “Many multistory garages across the United Kingdom were built in the 1960s and ’70s and could be too weak to bear the added weight that EVs have; this, according to a report from the British Parking Association.”

For example, Automotive News notes, “A Tesla Model S weighs nearly 5000 pounds, while a GMC Hummer EV pickup tops 9000 pounds.” 

Let’s pause here and consider the environmental relevance of a Hummer EV. 

“For comparison,” Automotive News observes, “a 1970 Ford Escort weights less than 2000 pounds.” And, by the way, my Mini Moke (a darling of the Wild and Crazy London ’60s) had a curb weight of around 1100 pounds. Not that London parking structures were ever crammed full of Mokes.

Automotive News quotes, “ ‘I don’t want to be alarmist, but there definitely is the potential for some of the early car parks in poor condition to collapse,’ structural engineer Chris Whapples told The Telegraph.”

Image from Automotive News, April 17, 2023.

A Decidedly Non-PC Memory. Back in the ’60s, we used to run highly unauthorized autocrosses in the virtually empty parking structure of Boston Commons. 

Don’t try this at home, kids. Especially with your overweight BEVs.

Masks, EVs, and a Stubborn Japan. Hans Greimel has been Automotive News’ highly respected guy in Japan for more than a decade. In an Editorial Comment, May 8, 2023, he expands on what “Covid-19 masks and electric vehicles have in common.”

“Both,” Greimel says, “are sad symbols of the country’s resistance to change…. You’d be surprised how many Japanese still can’t break the compulsion to mask up.”

Image by Hans Greimel from Automotive News, May 8, 2023.

What’s more, he notes, “As the rest of the world rushes to roll out EVs, Japanese carmakers and their domestic customers cling stubbornly to hybrids and internal combustion—especially in ubiquitous minicars.”

How to Say “Luddite” in 日本語? Actually, I’m a professed Luddite on these matters. I well remember the wearing of masks in Japan long before Covid entered our lives. The idea was, and apparently continues, to prevent transmissions of one’s respiratory germs to others—and vice versa. I confess that I still wear my KN95s, particularly when mixing it up indoors with unmasked folks.

And, as Greimel notes, “The market is already saturated with gasoline-electric hybrids, which cut carbon emissions and save fuel. Charging is sparse, and lots of people live in apartments that don’t provide garage plugs.” 

What’s more, Greimel says, “Japan’s electric grid is powered mostly by fossil fuels, which partly defeat the point of EVs.”

He also teaches me a new nihongo word: “There’s a Japanese term called gaiatstu, 外圧, which translates as outside pressure.” Greimel cites Commodore Matthew Perry’s opening Japan for trade in 1854 and the new Japanese constitution following World War II as examples. 

Both of these led to miracles: the Meiji Era and one of our strongest allies. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: