You might remember a whole dumb episode about Elon tweeting about Tesla going private. Sometimes I like to imagine what we would think of Elon if his Twitter didn’t exist, but at this point that’s an inextricable part of his brand, and probably an inextricable part of Tesla’s stock price.


3rd Gear: Japan Says It’ll Be Done With Purely Gas-Powered Cars By The 2030s

The country has said almost as much before. On Friday, when many people were busy doing Christmas, it said it again.


From Reuters:

Japan aims to eliminate gasoline-powered vehicles in the next 15 years, the government said on Friday in a plan to reach net zero carbon emissions and generate nearly $2 trillion a year in green growth by 2050.

The “green growth strategy,” targeting the hydrogen and auto industries, is meant as an action plan to achieve Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s October pledge to eliminate carbon emissions on a net basis by mid-century.


The government will offer tax incentives and other financial support to companies, targeting 90 trillion yen ($870 billion) a year in additional economic growth through green investment and sales by 2030 and 190 trillion yen ($1.8 trillion) by 2050.

A 2 trillion yen green fund will support corporate investment in green technology.


4th Gear: BMW Is Also Building Lots Of EVs 

This is all, of course, because of the European Union’s regulatory structure.

From Bloomberg:

BMW AG plans to produce an additional quarter of a million electric cars in the coming three years, according to the German automaker’s chief executive officer.

“We already had ambitions growth plans and want to further expand our market position,” CEO Oliver Zipse said in an interview with the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper published Sunday.

Zipse said his “biggest concern” is that Germany’s transition to E-cars will be hampered by a lack of charging infrastructure, with Europe’s biggest economy expected to have as many as 10 million of the vehicles on the road by 2030.


About 70 million new cars are sold globally every year give or take a few million, so 250,000 is just a sliver but things are heading in the right direction.

5th Gear: Beetle

Yesterday in 1945 Volkswagen started mass production of the Beetle. You probably have never heard of this car, as it never became a cultural icon or had much resonance in car history. Indeed, Volkswagen started producing the Beetle back then and it was never heard from again.


From Autoblog:

Volkswagen is celebrating the 75th anniversary of one of the most important dates in its history. Against all odds, it launched series production of the Type 1 — which we know as the Beetle — on December 27, 1945.

Prior to that date, the factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, and the Beetle both faced a grim future. Although the car was developed before World War II, only 630 units were built during the conflict as the factory shifted its attention to the war effort. It was consequently bombed by Allied forces several times during 1944. When peace returned, it would have been much easier to level the factory, scrap the Beetle, and do something else with the site.


Despite the hurdles, Volkswagen launched series production of the Type 1 two days after Christmas in 1945, and it built a total of 55 cars before December 31. Cars were largely assembled by hand, so the factory didn’t reach the 1,000-cars-per-month goal until early 1946. At the time, exceeding that number wasn’t possible due to the aforementioned shortages, but production increased significantly as the situation improved. Introducing the Beetle to the United States in 1949 dramatically increased its popularity, and it helped turn the model into an icon.


Reverse: Streetcars? Streetcars!

Mass transit advocates have been obsessed with high-speed rail as long as I can remember, but may I suggest more streetcars and buses instead.


Neutral: How Are You?

I can’t get over how good the car scene is in Los Angeles. Everything looks like it hasn’t aged a day and there are so many small Japanese trucks. And Corvettes. Give me all the old small Japanese trucks and Corvettes.