Critics of the current administration have pointed to the impending bankruptcy of Fisker Automotive and the recent suspension of operations at taxi maker Vehicle Production Group as examples of why the government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in it’s zeal to promote alternative energy. The DoE effort under which those two companies received financing is the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, ATVM. Putting aside political ideologies, contrary to the image given by the apparent failure of Fisker and VPG, the ATVM program actually has a pretty decent track record when it comes to picking winners and losers.
Category: News Blog
Most of our readers probably already know the broad strokes of the Fisker story. If you’re interested in the finer details of the history of the extended range EV company that appears to be circling the drain, GigaOM, a site that covers the investment side of tech companies, has published a fairly comprehensive 4,000 word look back at Fisker by Katie Fehrenbacher. Read More >
This week, the idea of Brazil’s cars being “unsafe” due to inferior construction has been gaining a lot of currency on the blogosphere after the Associated Press published a report on this topic. Very few outlets have anyone posted in Brazil to do any deeper digging, but TTAC does. Unfortunately, our man Marcelo de Vasconcellos is currently in exams right now (good luck, Senhor!) and was unable to write up an article refuting these claims. Still, Marcelo took the time out to talk to TTAC about the problems behind the article.
So much is going on in the automotive world. Unfunded mandates by government for fuel efficiency, electronic safety systems, pedestrian safety and so on. The whole rising gas prices thing etc. etc.
I’ve found something that trumps all of those non-issues. A few weeks ago, I was driving along the Long Island Expressway, mindlessly commuting to work, when I stumbled upon this chewing up the miles eastbound. Read More >
The city of Atlanta (Motto: “Home of the airport where you changed planes last Christmas”) has installed a roundabout at a rather busy intersection near my house. This is highly entertaining if you’re watching from a safe distance, such as a nearby restaurant patio, or possibly South Carolina. But actually driving in this roundabout is the closest most Atlantans come every day to serious injury, or at least a rather large fender dent.
We all know it’s true: Americans aren’t fond of roundabouts. In fact, a new survey says 93 percent of Americans would rather stub their toe on furniture in the middle of the night when trying to locate the bathroom than drive through a roundabout. Admittedly, the facts of this survey are highly disputed, primarily because I just made it up. But there’s no arguing that we’d rather have a traditional intersection, which is more dangerous, but less confusing. For those of you thinking that roundabouts aren’t that confusing, just remember: this is the country that bought a million PT Cruisers.
Fortunately, I’ve prepared a few tips on how to successfully negotiate a roundabout. I recommend printing this out and storing it in your car. That way, when a roundabout approaches, you can take your eyes off the road and frantically search for it as you drive through, thereby becoming the best driver in the roundabout. Read More >
Years ago, I was paid to help a neighbor clean out his garage. It was an old, ramshackle building with a dirt floor and over the years it had been filled with an amazing amount of crap. At the very back, under a canvas tarp, I found a long neglected late 60s Honda CB750 in fairly rough condition. When I asked about it, my neighbor told me how, as a younger man, he had purchased the bike new and travelled the highways and byways of the American West for many years before finally coming home a settling down to start a family. To him, it was an icon of his youth and a time of freedom. To my young eyes, however, it was just a neglected old bike covered in dirt and cobwebs, found forgotten, alone and unloved and condemned to spend its remaining years as a lifeless touchstone of another time. It struck me as a particularly sad end to a life of service and I decided then that no vehicle of mine would ever languish its remaining life away in a barn or under a cover.
The Ford Fiesta looks to be picking up and moving from its current assembly locations in India and Mexico to a central location in Thailand when the next generation rolls around in 2016.
If it weren’t for a Papal visit, Dr. Z may never have come to know Mercedes-Benz.
State Sen. Nicholas Sacco, D-Hudson, says drones could benefit society if used correctly; his bill , introduced on April 25, would let police and fire departments use drones for extreme conditions that might be too dangerous for humans, or where existing tools simply wouldn’t work.
“Think about missing children, missing seniors,” Sacco told the Star-Ledger of Newark. “The immediacy and the ability to use drones to find them quickly is very important. Think about forest fires. Things like this are extremely important.”
Children: Used As A Vague Justification For Tyranny Since About 1950! Is there anybody left who is naive enough to think that drones will be used to find missing children? After all, missing children tend to be inside buildings and/or surrounded by other, taller people. Not great conditions for drones, really.
On the other hand, a freeway is a great place for drone surveillance. And while they’re up there scanning the freeways tirelessly for missing children, seniors, or forest fires, they might as well issue some speeding tickets, right?
Welcome to the traffic Skynet. But New Jersey already has a John Connor.
Daimler presented its new S-Class yesterday night in the airbus factory in Hamburg, and with the pomp and circumstance appropriate for a car that is supposed to bring the big turn-around at Daimler. German Spiegel magazine promptly grouched “that the most revolutionary part in the car is the fact that in large parts, it is not new at all.” Der Spiegel called an unimpeachable witness: Germany’s Kraftfahrtbundesamt, the agency that issues type approvals in Germany. It simply amended the type approval for the old W221 model. Read More >