Capitalism Eats the Planet

earthapple This is how they do it:

Driven by the rise of the millennial generation and a global growth boom, the auto industry is in the midst of a new golden age, said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co. COO, in a speech at the Automotive News World Congress. The industry should take advantage of that to lure new talent, he said. Fields called it “the most exciting time for the auto industry in the last 25 years.”

Growth of small cars and luxury sales are pushing industry growth from different ends.

“There are 2.1 billion people reaching driving age in countries where the number of middle-income consumers is growing. These countries have huge potential for growth of first time buyers,” he said.

“Today the luxury segment accounts for 8 percent of the total global market,” he said. “Globally, the luxury market is forecast to add approximately 2.3 million vehicles in the next five years — with lots of opportunity in markets like China, the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Brazil.”

An exciting golden age, indeed! Is this how Thelma and Louise felt in their last 30 seconds?

[Source: Automotive News, January 14, 2014]

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In Flagrante Delicto

When Tesla starts its fires, its execs always leap out and issue indignant denials of any inherent problems.

For those keeping track, this is what happens next.

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House Afire

Teslas burn houses, too.

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Cars and Space

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Not sure who made this animated gif (click on it to activate), but it shows the implications of cars-first transportation for urban design.

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Clooney v. Musk

Clooney: “I had a Tesla. I was one of the first cats with a Tesla. But I’m telling you, I’ve been on the side of the road a while in that thing. And I said to them, ‘Look, guys, why am I always stuck on the side of the f**king road? Make it work, one way or another.’”

Musk: “In other news, George Clooney reports that his iPhone 1 had a bug back in ’07.”

This Elon fellow is one of the easier targets around. His ego must be immense, as he clearly can’t hear himself pratfalling. A bug? A bug is an annoyance in an otherwise functional product. A $100,000 car that repeatedly leaves you physically stranded is a bit more than a bug. And need we remind that “electric” cars are not new inventions? Quite the contrary.

And, then, of course, there’s that other bug:

Telsa Model S automobile destroyed by a fire is seen in a handout picture from the Tennessee Highway Patrol

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musk tries to excuse this one by pointing out that gas cars also catch fire. Of course, the average gas car that catches fire is over a decade old and worth about 1/100th of these Tesla bombs.

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Tesla Fire #3

Tesla Fire3

They have the chutzpah to say this: “We have been in contact with the driver, who was not injured and believes the car saved his life.”

Yes, it saved his life — from itself!

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Catching Fire

More evidence of the wisdom of moving a half-ton/14 cubic feet of advanced batteries around at highway speeds in order to power cars with coal:

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Tesla Fire

As we continue to await Elon Musk’s ten-minute battery charge, it seems that his $70,000 boondoggles are liable to to be entirely destroyed by running over “large metal objects” in the road:

Love the excuses from Tesla’s damage-control department:

Yesterday, a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car’s alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did. No one was injured, and the sole occupant had sufficient time to exit the vehicle safely and call the authorities. Subsequently, a fire caused by the substantial damage sustained during the collision was contained to the front of the vehicle thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack. All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car.

The real story, of course, is that a commonplace under-car impact that would have caused little or no damage to a conventional gasoline-burning automobile totaled a $70,000 Tesla and put both its occupant(s) and fire fighters in severe danger, while creating a huge traffic jam, all thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack.

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The Wages of Opportunism

C. Wright Mills complained of the U.S. left’s “liberal practicality,” by which he meant a tendency to sell out at the first chance, a “kind of democratic opportunism.”

quixote Ralph Nader, for all his upsides, is a major case-in-point, and precisely in the area that delivered him his fame — cars.

Consider the pathetic lawsuit just filed by Public Citizen and allies. The goal? To force car capitalists to make back-up cameras standard on all car models sold in the United States. The alleged reason? Such cameras “would prevent 95 to 112 deaths and 7,072 to 8,374 injuries each year.”

Now, let’s take 112 deaths as a real number. In 2012, a total of 34,080 people were killed in U.S. automotive collisions. 112 divided by 34,080 equals 0.003. That’s three-tenths of one percent.

And, of course, one major question is how much good a back-up camera actually does. If a child darts in front or back of a moving car, how much does the camera speed driver reaction time? It certain can’t be 100%, and might well be close to zero. Meanwhile, according to the Naderian logic of lawsuit, once the cameras are mandatory, the inherent dangers of automobiles to darting children are just fine and dandy.

Such tragi-comic flea-fucking, is, alas, the beginning, middle, and end of what passes for transportation militancy in this market totalitarian society, despite the times.

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Joe Strummer, Where Are You?

strummer A car in the fridge
Or a fridge in the car?
Like cowboys do – in T.V. land

 

 

 

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The unstated means of availing oneself of that achingly-needed built-in vacuum cleaner? Purchasing the top trim level of this Honda Odyssey minivan, the “Touring Elite,” base price $44.450. The least expensive version of the Odyssey minivan? $28.825.

None other than Car & Driver calls this amazing up-selling ploy “the world’s most expensive vacuum cleaner.”

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