Automotive News Underground 9/23/2022

Estimated read time 4 min read

All kinds of turmoil to cover from this week.

It’s been another crazy week for the industry, especially with the energy markets poised to impact how we all get around.

1. A fuel better than diesel?

Loop Energy, a hydrogen fuel cell company, claims to have developed a new cell system which can pull off superior fuel economy than a diesel engine. That’s quite the tall claim considering one of the biggest hits against fuel cell vehicles has been the high cost of hydrogen. If this development turns out to be the real deal, it could revolutionize how our transportation is fueled in the coming years, thanks to many advantages fuel cells have compared to battery-electric powertrains.

Read more about this story here.

2. Road deaths finally decline.

For the last seven quarters, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates roadway deaths in America have been on the rise. Finally, for the second quarter of this year the estimate shows a decline. There’s been great debate about what’s been fueling deaths on roads for the past several years, countering the supposed effects of constantly increasing government safety regulations for automakers. Hopefully this trend keeps up, but if not regulators surely will use it to justify even more aggressive standards in the near future.

3. Ride like the wind, Mercedes!

German auto giant Mercedes-Benz caused quite the stir this week when it announced an aggressive wind energy plan for the Papenburg test track, which it claims will suffice for 15 percent of the company’s electricity needs in Germany. Immediately, news outlets praised the move as a way toward energy independence, as if Mercedes said the wind turbines would provide 100 percent of its electricity needs. Also, there’s zero talk about how the bulk of the company’s operations are now located outside Germany. But the move performed exactly as designed, boosting the automaker’s image in the right people’s eyes at a time when “green” energies have been racking up the failures. This is like watching an alcoholic friend fall flat on their face from drinking, declaring they’ll sober up, then the next night they’re tipping the bottle again.

4. San Francisco could set a dangerous precedent.

Like I’ve written about before, we know newer cars with all their advanced onboard systems have allowed marketers and large corporations to spy on your activities. Meanwhile, a measure in San Francisco which would allow the police to access private surveillance cameras, including those used in homes, was passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. It’s not difficult to see how these kinds of measures could easily be extended to dashcams or factory-embedded cameras on cars, further eroding privacy for citizens.

Read more about this measure here.

5. Lithium battery fires are incredibly dangerous.

Another topic I’ve covered before is how lithium batteries burn extra hot and for a long time, plus they can be wildly unpredictable, a set of facts many powers that be won’t allow to be discussed in the open much. Perfectly illustrating this point was a Tesla Megapack catching fire at a power facility, releasing so much toxic smoke into the air that authorities in Monterey County, California told residents to shelter in place. Read about it here. As Michael Shellenberger so aptly observes, people have been conditioned to be more afraid of nuclear power plants than lithium batteries, despite the batteries being far more deadly. Check out his argument here.

6. Massachusetts residents get utility sticker shock.

Some smugly dismissed my post in July about rapidly increasing electricity rates in German making owning an electric car not nearly as cost effective as it once was, proclaiming that such a thing would never happen in the US. Well, our time has now come and Massachusetts in the canary in the coal mine. You can see a report out of Boston about electric bills skyrocketing by over 60% this winter, thanks to the local utility company relying on Russian gas to generate electricity. Too bad regulators have smacked down fossil fuel harvesting domestically, all in the name of saving the planet.

Photo via Loop Energy

You May Also Like

More From Author