Ford is surprised, Mazda’s MX-30 EV has a price, and Elon. All that and more in The Morning Shift for August 24, 2021.
Many people say that Twitter is bad, and they are right, but it’s easy to forget that in the old pre-Twitter world, honesty was a thing you only came by at the bar. Everything was just between friends, and people weren’t out here showing their asses to the world in public. As much as people say that Twitter is bad, the reason it remains vital is that it’s a window into people who would have been unknowable in the old world. It is TMI, but TMI gets a bad rap; everyone loves TMI.
All of which is to say that Elon Musk is a Twitter user, and a pretty earnest one at that. When he’s not sharing silly memes, he’s frequently interacting with Tesla fans, detractors or just regular Twitter users. Last night, he did so again, saying that Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” beta, which is not full self-driving, is “actually not great.” This isn’t the first time Elon has not sounded so sure about it.
In Elon’s world — which, spiritually, is always Silicon Valley, even if he’s currently living in Texas — this kind of honesty from a company CEO is evidence why you can trust a company. For the rest of us, it is handy buying advice. This would all be funnier if lives weren’t at stake.
That is according to Reuters’ anonymous sources, who are definitely not Ford public relations employees, why do you ask.
Ford Motor Co(F.N) has doubled its production target for the F-150 Lightning because of strong early demand for the full-sized electric pickup truck ahead of its 2022 launch, and the company plans to spend an additional $850 million to meet that target, several people and suppliers familiar with the plans said.
The No. 2 U.S. automaker is targeting annual production of more than 80,000 in 2024, up from its prior target of more than 40,000, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified. Shares of Ford rose 1.3% on Monday.
“They were pleasantly surprised by the demand for the Lightning,” one of the sources said of Ford officials.
Ford sold almost 800,000 F-Series trucks last year in America, so 80,000 F-150 Lightnings is still a relative drop in the bucket, but you gotta start somewhere I guess.
For the entire U.S., the MX-30 EV is only launching in California. That’s probably because it’s the only market in America in which an EV is viable from a business standpoint and not, you know, a chore or some kind of virtue signal. The Mazda MX-30 EV seems just fine, if not more than that. It gets only an EPA-estimated 100 miles of range, which is low, but enough for most people.
A fancier trim will start at $36,480, and include all the usual bells and whistles, Mazda said Tuesday:
The 2022 Mazda MX-30 EV can be equipped with the Premium Plus package that introduces all-new i-Activsense safety features and elevates the sophisticated feeling of the electric vehicle. Blind Spot Assist enhances Blind Spot Monitoring, by providing steering assist to help keep the vehicle in its own lane if the driver attempts to change lanes while another vehicle is detected in the blind spot. When traveling at speeds below 6 mph, Front Cross Traffic Alert produces an audible and visual alert on the instrument panel to help warn the driver when the front sensors detect vehicles approaching from the front left or right side of the vehicle at speeds above 3 mph. This package enhances the vehicle with the Bose 12-speaker premium audio, heated steering wheel, 360° View Monitor with front parking sensors, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry, and a complimentary three-month trial of SiriusXM™ satellite radio. The rearview camera display includes dynamic lines while the frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror adds HomeLink and the cargo area adds a convenient light. The 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels are finished with a bright silver color. The leatherette seats are available in either Pure White with gray fabric or Vintage Brown with black fabric, with both options still featuring fabric using 20% recycled threads. Through this package, MX-30 is available as a single-tone exterior paint in Jet Black or Machine Gray Metallic premium paint or in the three new multi-tone color options mentioned above.
The Munich auto show — Wiki tells me that it is actually a “mobility” show these days — is happening next month, somehow. But automakers are already hedging their bets, according to Automotive News, in this case by sending far fewer people than normal.
Volkswagen Group will be at the show with about 150 staff. About 70 employees are scheduled to be at the actual trade show, with about 80 people operating in the background. At other shows of this size, VW Group has often had teams of over 500 people.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are sending as few employees as possible to the IAA,” a VW spokesperson told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
Audi and BMW did not yet give specific employee numbers, but also said they will have a reduced presence.
An Audi spokeswoman said the brand would be on site with a “reduced number of employees.”
Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, will hold a pre-show evening with CEO Ola Kaellenius purely as an online event.
BMW is prepared for the “worst case scenario,” according to a spokesperson, and could also show its show presentations entirely online. “Since new restrictions are possible again at any time due to the pandemic, we can also broadcast all our events digitally, if necessary,” the spokesperson said.
Automotive News also reports, hilariously, that some are also worried that “important business meetings” will be canceled. Pour one out for all the canceled dealz.
The boats won’t be delivered until 2024 and will only result in a single-digit percentage reduction in CO2 emissions, but these days I’m taking good news anywhere I can get it.
A.P. Moller-Maersk said on Tuesday it had ordered eight vessels which are able to run on carbon-neutral methanol to accelerate the decarbonisation of its fleet and meet increased customer demand for greener transportation.
The Danish company has vowed to only order new vessels which can use carbon-neutral fuel as it seeks to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050. As vessels typically have a lifetime of 20-35 years, this means it must have a carbon-neutral fleet by 2030.
The eight vessels, which can each carry 16,000 containers, will be build by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and are expected to be delivered by early 2024.
The vessels will be 10-15% more expensive than normal ones and will each cost $175 million, Maersk’s head of fleet technology Ole Graa Jakobsen said.
At noon on August 24, 79 A.D., this pleasure and prosperity came to an end when the peak of Mount Vesuvius exploded, propelling a 10-mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice into the stratosphere. For the next 12 hours, volcanic ash and a hail of pumice stones up to 3 inches in diameter showered Pompeii, forcing the city’s occupants to flee in terror. Some 2,000 people stayed in Pompeii, holed up in cellars or stone structures, hoping to wait out the eruption.
A westerly wind protected Herculaneum from the initial stage of the eruption, but then a giant cloud of hot ash and gas surged down the western flank of Vesuvius, engulfing the city and burning or asphyxiating all who remained. This lethal cloud was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock, burying the city.
The people who remained in Pompeii were killed on the morning of August 25 when a cloud of toxic gas poured into the city, suffocating all that remained. A flow of rock and ash followed, collapsing roofs and walls and burying the dead.
Much of what we know about the eruption comes from an account by Pliny the Younger, who was staying west along the Bay of Naples when Vesuvius exploded. In two letters to the historian Tacitus, he told of how “people covered their heads with pillows, the only defense against a shower of stones,” and of how “a dark and horrible cloud charged with combustible matter suddenly broke and set forth. Some bewailed their own fate. Others prayed to die.” Pliny, only 17 at the time, escaped the catastrophe and later became a noted Roman writer and administrator. His uncle, Pliny the Elder, was less lucky. Pliny the Elder, a celebrated naturalist, at the time of the eruption was the commander of the Roman fleet in the Bay of Naples. After Vesuvius exploded, he took his boats across the bay to Stabiae, to investigate the eruption and reassure terrified citizens. After going ashore, he was overcome by toxic gas and died.
Hurricane Henri — or was it a tropical storm by the time it made landfall? I can never keep track of such things — came and went in New York on Sunday and Monday, and a tree didn’t fall on my street-parked car. You have to be thankful for the little things.