At What Price Progress?

Press deadline for this column is coming up right on the heels of the SEMA show. As most readers know the SEMA show is all about the entire motorsports aftermarket. The other thing we know is all the coolest of the latest hotrods built are debuted there. This writer could not make it there this year however he has been enjoying pics sent back to him by SEMA model, Tracy SG Rider. Friend her on Facebook.

I would just like to say that you truly cannot appreciate the magnificence of all of the creativity that goes into all of these cars and parts that are shown down there unless you have been there. And it is a shame that there are many members of our government that would very much like to see everyone of us being transported around in nameless, faceless, driver-less little boxes in the future. And as Gearheads I would like to think that there are damned few of us that would look forward to existing in that kind of a future. So with that said, let’s get on to the news of the day.

Communist China has made an announcement and now California has come on board with them. They are in favor of banning the sale and use of internal combustion engines in the future. And make no mistake about it, California is no bit player in the overall scheme of things. They are the sixth largest economy out there.

And let us consider one thing concerning this all electric vehicle Utopia that they envision. They all require batteries. And what do we all know about batteries? That’s right Egbert — they always go dead. So what then? We throw the whole car away just like our cordless drills, iPads and cell phones because it is too expensive otherwise. And understand this – that will get expensive! As you are forced to use more and more of your residual income in order to have transportation then what will that do to your discretionary income and your standard of living? Think about it.

There is a lot of talk about mining companies these days. This Brave New World that our Visionaries conceive of should work out quite well for them. This world full of batteries is going to require a long list of rare earth metals such as lithium and Cobalt. There is not enough of that around, so… China might be able to dig up a bunch of it. How much do you think they will charge us?

News from the Tesla front. Seems they are having a few problems with their every man car, so to speak. That would be the model 3. Seems they are having problems with the spot welds on the assembly line. Something to do with the car’s construction of mostly steel as opposed to aluminum. All we know is that they are behind schedule and they need to pick up the pace. Now we are hearing that they have fired something around 400 to 700 employees.

Now a tidbit from the European community it seems that the powers-that-be are attempting to declare mandatory insurance for all competitors in all of motorsports, all the way up to F1. But here is the rub, the insurance companies are not interested in issuing those kinds of policies. We will see what happens.

Motorsports magnate, Bob Lutz has written an article about the future of driving cars. It has proved to be quite controversial. Refer to Automotive News for more.

Now, here’s an update on Uber. This has to do with their flying car project. It is moving right along. They have signed an agreement with NASA to create a new air traffic control system for 2020. Elon Musk of Tesla has weighed in on this and he says—not doable.

And finally, back to Earth we have Google’s Waymo operating totally driver-less in Arizona. They are planning to be hauling around the public in just a few months.

Finally I must announce the loss of renowned, local race car designer, Rolla Vollstedt who passed on at the age of 99. Also my 20 + year old cat, Keeper passed on as she approached 99 in human years. Keeper was a car cat who made appearances in many of my Driveway Repair videos that I have done on YouTube. She is sorely missed. That’s all for now GearHeads.
—Chuck Fasst

Posted in News.

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