The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
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America Just Welcomed Another Car Company Into Production

Lucid just started rolling cars off its assembly line only a couple weeks after Rivian.

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Photo: Lucid

It is neat that America has been seeing new car companies not only sprout up but get cars into production. Feels like it’s been a long time. All that and more in The Morning Shift for September 29, 2021.

1st Gear: I Remember Lucid Being Close To Production ... In 2017

I got to ride in Lucid Motors’ prototype back in 2017, a year after we wondered if it was the next big thing and two years before Lucid thought it’d be entering into production. Well, it’s late 2021 and we’re here, as Lucid announced:

Customer-quality Lucid Air luxury electric sedans rolled off the assembly line today during the event at AMP-1, which included a factory commissioning ceremony with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Governor Ducey joined other policymakers and invited guests in highlighting Lucid’s local job creation and economic development, increase in high-tech manufacturing footprint, and plans for future expansion in the state. In addition, customers, analysts, investors, and members of the media were given the opportunity to be some of the first to test drive the Lucid Air.

Lucid Air Customer Deliveries to Begin in Late October
Lucid expects reservation holders of Lucid Air Dream Edition models will begin receiving their vehicles in late October, with customer deliveries ramping up thereafter. Grand Touring, Touring, and Air Pure model deliveries are expected to follow. Lucid has thus far received more than 13,000 reservations for Lucid Air and increased the planned total production quantity of the Dream Edition to 520 vehicles.

The EPA recently released its official range estimate for the Lucid Air Dream Edition Range, which is the longest range for any electric car rated by the EPA: 520 miles on a single charge, more than 100 miles over its closest competitor. The Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance and Lucid Air Grand Touring also achieved EPA estimated ranges far beyond any other EV. With customer-quality cars now coming off the line, Lucid has confirmed that the Air meets all the applicable regulatory requirements from the EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation.


Between this and Rivian, we’re in an exciting place.

2nd Gear: If Only There Was Some Way To Understand Why We Keep Widening Highways When We Know It Doesn’t Ease Traffic? (It’s Corruption)

Building new highways makes a lot of important people a lot of money, so it’s hard to fathom why we keep doing it year after year, even long after we’ve all acknowledged that it doesn’t make traffic go away. Wait, no. No. It’s very easy to fathom.


Bloomberg just put out a fun article explaining the history of highway widening, and how we’ve known how it doesn’t work for as long as it has been a thing. Here’s a little example, from B’berg:

The Van Wyck Expressway opened in the New York City borough of Queens in 1950. “Traffic will flow freely,” said Robert Moses, quoted in Robert Caro’s book The Power Broker. It did not. “The new road had not freed [residents] from the trap of daily travel,” Caro wrote. “It had closed the trap on them more firmly than ever, for new traffic, generated by the new road, was also jamming the local streets.”

By that time a growing number of urban planners and commentators recognized the futility of combating congestion by expanding roads. In his 1955 series about traffic in the New Yorker, Mumford vented his frustration: “Dismaying congestions heap up within the city, and the only prospect before us under the present system of planning and building is ‘more and more of worse and worse.’”

But the reach of that message was limited. “Ordinary people didn’t read people like Lewis Mumford,” says Mark Rose, a history professor at Florida Atlantic University. Real power lay elsewhere, particularly with state highway departments flush with public funds. “These guys dealt with traffic,” Rose says. “Their primary constituencies were construction companies and road engineers.”

The whole thing is a good read, and a nice explainer on how none of this changes if the economies of it don’t change either.

3rd Gear: UAW Wants In On Ford’s Giant Battery Factory

Ford is going in on battery production, but at the moment, its biggest announcements are non-union. The UAW wants in, as Reuters reports:

The plan for Ford Motor Co. and Korean battery partner SK Innovation to build three battery plants in the U.S., announced this week, will prompt a furious drive by labor leaders to organize the plants, potentially setting the tone for future union drives at auto industry factories in southern U.S. states.

The UAW, which represents about 150,000 hourly workers at the U.S. plants for General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler parent Stellantis, is working to represent workers at battery plants. Union leaders have said Ford has a “moral obligation” to make sure battery plant jobs are good-paying union jobs.


I’m not sure that Ford has an obligation to do anything but make money, but the workers certainly have a very strong incentive to unionize.

4th Gear: “Money Is Not A Concern” For British SUV Startup

As for the other side of the auto world, please enjoy this story about Land Rover knockoff Ineos from Automotive News:

Ineos Group, the British chemical company bringing the rugged BMW-powered Grenadier SUV to North America in spring 2023, will open its order books on Thursday.

The company says 63,000 hand-raisers have expressed an interest in the boxy off-road vehicle globally, with 12,000 of those in North America. Now the company wants to see who’s serious about buying a retro-looking utility vehicle that is aimed at fans of stripped-down, classic SUVs such as the original version of Land Rover Defender.

Those hand-raisers will be given a two-week opportunity to place a $450 deposit on a vehicle. After that, reservations will open to all customers, Ineos’ North American Executive Vice President Greg Clark told Automotive News.


Ineos is different from most other startups. Money is not a concern for the company; it is one of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers.

“This is not an exercise in crowdfunding by any stretch of the imagination,” Clark said.


“Money is not a concern” is the only phrase I want to be written about me in any business publication, ever.

5th Gear: Just Listen To The Taxi Workers

Speaking of organized workers once again, the New York Times has a good article laying out how we should listen to taxi workers and not the city government invested in exploiting them. Per the NYT:

New York City has an opportunity to solve a debt crisis that has devastated a central institution in the lives of many New Yorkers: yellow cabs and their owner-drivers. The solution would come at a relatively modest cost and would help redress an injustice from which the city benefited financially: a creditor-driven bubble in the price of medallions — the permits that allow people to operate cabs — that led many drivers into debt bondage and even prompted some to commit suicide.

The city should take action. It should adopt a plan put forward last year by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance in which the drivers’ debt would be restructured and the city would serve as the guarantor of the medallions’ value.


Reverse: You’ll See Some Headlines Today About Ford Announcing The Eight-Hour, Five-Day Work Week

There will also be glowing, saintly pictures of old man Ford. Do not forget, the reality of the matter was a little different:


Neutral: How Are You?

I found the retaining plate, which had somehow flown into my tool box. I now have to figure out how to get roller cam brakes to work.