BMW just jammed some batteries into an X3 and called it a day like we didn’t already do this dance with the Mini E, the BMW ActiveE, and the other EV Mini I can’t remember the name of. Tesla has it easy. All that and more in The Morning Shift for Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
The Tesla Model S started production in 2012, and showed that the world was ready for a full-on, from-the-ground-up electric car. One that wasn’t just the shell of a gas-powered car with some batteries jammed in.
And yet, some 8 years later, BMW is still facing up against Tesla with a shell of a gas-powered car with some batteries jammed in.
This is the BMW iX3, which debuted today and is a big deal for BMW’s operations in China, as Bloomberg reports:
The Munich-based company unveiled the iX3, a variant of the mid-size X3 and its first battery-powered SUV, via an online news conference on Tuesday. The model will sell from about 68,000 euros ($77,000) in Germany.
Built in China, the car comes with an electronically-controlled top speed of 180 kilometers per hour (112 mph) and a 286-mile range. It represents the start of BMW’s most serious push into electric cars since the i3 debuted seven years ago.
The iX3 “is perfect for every distance,” BMW Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said during the event.
I am so glad that BMW has developed a car good for every distance, as if our highways were clogged with cars that simply exploded after driving 55 miles or some shit.
2nd Gear: Toyota’s Expectation To ‘Fully Resume’ Global Production Lasts One Day Before Coronavirus Shut Down Venezuela Factory
Please enjoy this report from The Japan Times on Sunday, heralding “Toyota to fully resume global output for first time since February.” It sounds impressive!
Toyota Motor Corp. will resume automobile production in all of its manufacturing bases around the world for the first time since February, a source with knowledge of the matter said Sunday.
Toyota’s factory in Venezuela, the last where output had remained suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to restart operations on Monday, according to the source.
And now please enjoy this report from The Japan Times on Monday, announcing “Toyota to delay restart of factory operations in Venezuela.” That didn’t last long:
Toyota Motor Corp. will delay the restart of its factory operations in Venezuela following a four-month suspension, as the country has extended measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, an official said Monday.
Venezuela is the last country where Toyota’s output has remained suspended since the outbreak of the virus. Toyota had previously planned to resume production on Monday.
Restart plans in the country have not been decided, according to the official.
Honestly, I’m glad Toyota didn’t rush into things, but it’s still unreal to see even the most stalwart automaker in the world get its ass handed back to it by Covid.
I suppose “debates over new study sparks in academia” isn’t exactly news, so to speak, but there is some worthwhile pushback against a new report that claimed Uber and Lyft drivers were making more money than previous studies (or, you know, any casual observation of the world at large) had figured. The warning sign, as the New York Times explained, was that the study was done with the assistance and blessing of Uber and Lyft:
The Cornell study is valuable in part because it drew on data from both Uber and Lyft, which allowed the researchers to avoid some potential pitfalls. For example, other studies may double-count a certain amount of work time because a driver who spends an hour with the Uber and Lyft apps simultaneously activated may seem to have worked for two hours rather than one.
Still, much of the result appears to have been influenced by two decisions. The first involved whether time spent waiting for a fare is work.
While other researchers have assumed that drivers are working any time their app is turned on — even if they’re not on their way to pick up a customer or don’t have a passenger in the car — the Cornell study counts such time as work only if it directly precedes a ride. If a driver turns on the ride-share app but is not dispatched on a ride before shutting it off, the authors do not count the time as work.
According to the Cornell authors, this assumption adds about $2.50 per hour to the typical driver’s earnings.
Mr. Katz, the Harvard economist, said the assumption appeared at odds with a conventional understanding of work. He cited the example of a receptionist, who is typically considered to be at work even during down time when he or she may be surfing the web.
The study also didn’t account for what drivers were losing on depreciation of their cars, even while it did account for costs like gas and maintenance spent for “extra miles” driving for an app. This added an extra couple bucks an hour to the new study’s wages estimate. Sure to be appreciated by Uber and Lyft, though I doubt so keenly felt by actual app drivers.
Toot toot the big horn, these all-electric trucks are rolling in. Are states ready for them? They’re trying to be! Automotive News reports:
A group of 15 U.S. states and the District of Columbia on Tuesday unveiled a joint memorandum of understanding aimed at boosting the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and phasing out diesel-powered trucks by 2050.
The states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Vermont.
The states committed to developing a plan within six months to identify barriers and propose solutions to support widespread electrification, including potential financial incentives and ways to boost EV infrastructure. Trucks and buses represent 4 percent of U.S. vehicles, but account for nearly 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
All right, so, developing a plan within half a year so that diesel trucks can be phased out by 2050 is maybe not the most high-speed plan, but it’s something.
Given that coronavirus is a national, hell, an international problem, and that a big concern about coronavirus is it being spread from country to country and city to city, you would think that there would be clear government support to keep airline companies afloat while also keeping people from cramming into planes like nothing was at stake here.
Contrast that with what Delta told Bloomberg today, lamenting that new coronavirus cases seem to e cropping up just as it was getting people back on airplanes:
Delta Air Lines Inc. says the resurgence of new coronavirus cases and related travel restrictions have stalled a fledgling recovery in U.S. travel demand and prompted the carrier to slash the number of flights it had hoped to return to its schedule next month.
“Demand growth has largely stalled,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in an interview. “The pace of improvement from this point is going to depend on consumers’ confidence in flying.”
I’m sorry, we’re putting “consumer’s confidence in flying” as the main governing factor of how air travel works in this country? This is what happens when you have a government disinterested in doing any actual meaningful governance.
Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress and prison that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, a decade of political turmoil and terror in which King Louis XVI was overthrown and tens of thousands of people, including the king and his wife Marie Antoinette, were executed.