Orlando Ready To Kick $800,000 To This Flying Car Bullshit

Illustration for article titled Orlando Ready To Kick $800,000 To This Flying Car Bullshit
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The world has not been kind to the development of flying cars. Orlando, Florida, though is ready to kick $800,000 in potential tax rebates to this airport launch-pad Jetsons-wannabe proposal that’s clearly going nowhere. I don’t know how this is real. All that and more in The Morning Shift for November 12, 2020.

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1st Gear: Why, God?

I don’t know how or why Orlando even has the ability to give away this kind of tax rebate, but we can never count out Florida. The New York Times explains this particular shitshow in an article “Meet George Jetson? Orlando Unveils Plans for First Flying-Car Hub in U.S.” The Old People state seems jazzed about it:

In an announcement that drew immediate comparisons to “The Jetsons,” the city of Orlando, Fla., and a German aviation company formally unveiled plans on Wednesday to build the first hub for flying cars in the United States.

The 56,000-square-foot transportation hub, shown for the first time in renderings and in a video simulation, resembles an airport terminal. Think Eero Saarinen.

The so-called vertiport is scheduled to be completed in 2025 and will enable passengers to bypass Florida’s notoriously congested highways, the city and the hub’s developers contend.

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For a younger generation, this does not immediately draw comparisons to The Jetsons. It draws comparisons to The Monorail.

I am impressed by one thing: the expected timeline is 2025. Lots of restraint there. Normally these are all perpetually two years away.

2nd Gear: Nissan Looking Forward To Smaller Losses Than Expected

As the global public has been getting back into buying cars, we’ve seen profits spring back for luxury automakers and even large-volume producers like GM. Nissan is a special case, though, and its big victory today is that its losses will be less than expected! Bloomberg explains:

Nissan Motor Co. cut its operating loss outlook for the current fiscal year by about a third, fueling optimism that the automaker is regaining its footing after the coronavirus pandemic dented global sales.

The loss for the year to March will be 340 billion yen ($3.2 billion), compared with the prior forecast for a 470 billion yen operating loss, the Yokohama-based company said in a statement Thursday. For the July-September quarter, Nissan reported an operating loss of 4.8 billion yen, compared with analysts’ average estimate for a 148 billion yen loss.

The shrinking deficits are an early sign that Nissan’s efforts to cut more than 300 billion yen in fixed costs, reduce capacity and restructure the business are paying off. That’s fueling optimism that the automaker will join Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which recently doubled their full-year profit forecasts, in recovering from outbreak-related disruptions. For Nissan, a recovery in U.S. and China helped to bolster performance, according to Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at Carnorama.

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Nissan is a special case because it was Having A Time long before Covid started trashing everyone’s ability to buy a new car, so I’m happy for it.

We also can’t rule out that a new Z car is pushing the entire company towards profitability. All evidence backs it up.

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3rd Gear: Honda Is A Twitch Streamer Now

Unable to do the right thing—debut the eleventh-generation Honda Civic as a massive hologram projected above major US cities—Honda will unveil its newest iteration on Twitch, as Automotive News reports:

Honda plans to present a prototype version of the 11th-generation Civic compact sedan on the streaming platform Twitch next week, prior to its arrival in U.S. showrooms in late spring 2021 as a 2022 model, the automaker said Thursday.

Honda said in a press release that it will give a first glimpse of the redesigned sedan in prototype form on Tuesday, Nov. 17, live on Honda’s Head2Head Twitch channel. Twitch is a gaming and live-streaming platform popular for esports competition.

The world debut will feature an exclusive performance by recording artist Cordae, the company said. Honda is a major esports sponsor and promotes the Civic as a key entry vehicle for young people, first-time buyers and multicultural shoppers.

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Twitch is fine, but Honda is missing out on having the presentation be entirely fan-operated. If Twitch can play Pokemon, it can definitely launch a car.

4th Gear: Car Sales In China Still Rising

The rise in car sales in China extended into its seventh straight month. October figures were up 13 percent, as Automotive News China reports:

New-vehicle demand in China continued to grow for the seventh consecutive month in October as the economy kept recovering in the wake of the coronavirus.

Industry-wide deliveries rose 13 percent to exceed 2.57 million last month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Wednesday.

Sales of commercial vehicles including trucks and buses surged 30 percent to around 464,000.

Demand for light vehicles — sedans, crossovers, SUVs, multi-purpose vehicles and minibuses — increased 9.3 percent to some 2.11 million.

Deliveries of electrified vehicles soared 105 percent to some 160,000. The number includes roughly 133,000 electric vehicles and 27,000 plug-in hybrids.

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5th Gear: I Always Forget Rolls-Royce Makes Nuclear Reactors

Rolls-Royce (the plane one not the car one) is moving forward with a project it has been working on for a few years now; the company is developing a small-scale nuclear reactor and plans 16 power plants across the UK for them, as the BBC reports:

A consortium led by Rolls-Royce has announced plans to build up to 16 mini-nuclear plants in the UK.It says the project will create 6,000 new jobs in the Midlands and the North of England over the next five years.The prime minister is understood to be poised to announce at least £200m for the project as part of a long-delayed green plan for economic recovery.Rolls-Royce argues that as well as producing low-carbon electricity, the concept may become an export industry.The company’s UK “small modular reactor” (SMR) group includes the National Nuclear Laboratory and the building company Laing O’Rourke.

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Rolls-Royce has been involved in nuclear power since the 1950s, and had the first all-British reactor design in a nuclear sub in the mid-1960s. That we have not seen a nuclear-powered Rolls-Royce car is a tragedy of the 20th century.

Reverse: This Counts As A Transportation Story

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Neutral: What Failed Transportation Technology Would You Wish Took Off?

Orlando could be funding much more interesting failed technologies. Jetpacks, perhaps. Ekranoplans. Rocket-powered trains. What dead-end transportation tech do you wish got the funding?

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

In the US? Long distance high speed rail. Other smaller countries have it figured out, granted they don’t have the space for massive freeways like the US does.

Imagine being able to go from Pittsburgh to Chicago (460+ miles and 7-8 hrs of driving) and back in a day without having to sit in an airport for 3-4 of those hours.

Yes there are down sides to it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it to happen...