Detroit: “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here”

Just had a rare sight: what must be a Geo-cum-Chevy that seems a 90’s Corolla duplicate. Chevrolet, for some typically-Detroit “idea”, went to the expense and turmoil of absorbing Geo into its marketing and merchandising…just before they turned off its lights.

Wonder if that car I saw is a legacy of the ’80’s Toyota/GM joint-venture (NUMI) in Fremont, California? Probably you know, in the ’80’s, NUMI turned out one platform, alternately-badged Corolla and Chevrolet Nova. NUMI is no more. I doubt the partnership lasted long, despite the billions of Detroit dollars thrown at it.

Is there, like, a wormhole in Detroit that sucks brain cells? So many decades since the import invasion of the U.S., and Detroit still— at least in my opinion– doesn’t turn out a single model preferable to an import*. In fact, I’m tending toward the idea this “retro” rage simply represents a bankruptcy of thought and vision in Detroit. And, in my opinion, there’s even a lack of corporate memory in at least one case: take all the badges off a current Camaro, and I, at least, see Mopar.  That makes “retro”, to me, at lest, even more pathetic.

*unless-- perhaps-- you want a "monster truck".  But ask yourself:  when was the last time you saw a monster truck with a rear diff considerably higher than OEM?

No matter how widely-flared the fenders, no matter how wide the wheels, my observation is, the rear diff is only marginally-higher than OEM.  What good is that off-road?  That ain't gonna get ya far thru the wild stumps, fells, and shrubs.  Some monster S-U/V's have forward shields on the rear diff, and, I guess, that may help.

When was the last time you saw a monster S-U/V that appeared recently off-road (that is, dirty)?!?  When was the last time you saw a monster S-U/V with off-road tires?!?

Nope, the only off-road solution I can think of is an articulated rear diff.  And those come standard on...the M1114 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.  Even if the manufacturer or DoD would sell you one, got $250k in your pocket?  And if surplus ex-DoD humvees are available, I haven't seen one.

When was the last time you saw a monster S-U/V an import?  None big enough?  I think not.  Monster S-UV's are practically all American.

Methinks the monster S-U/V is not utility or sport, but xenophobia.

Sorry.  Couldn't resist these digs.


ElReg: “Self-HEALING BATTERY could make electric cars practical at last”

Trustworthy and wonderfully-humorous tech journal The Register reports Stanford propellor-heads have discovered a possible basis for a much-more safe, sustainable and durable lithium-ion battery.  “ElReg” particularly emphasizes the potential here for a much-more sustainable electrically-powered automobile.

But your humble curmudgeon-commentator doesn’t get electric cars in the first place.

Unless one has a large, high-amperage source of aeroelectric or hydroelectric (and what percentage of us might that be?) one only displaces the emissions, from the tail-pipe to the fossil-fueled generator station smokestack. So, still, toxic emissions mount while stocks of fossil fuels decline. The environment still is damaged and, thus, we and our children still are in danger.  And we hurtle ever more toward the end of the source of most everything we touch, including the keyboard and computer through which humble commentator writes at this moment.

Or, worse, one trades-off the emission for fuel-rod waste. And that, can it be said honestly and truly, we have figured out what, safely and sustainably, to do with? I think not. So, still, the environment is damaged and risky.

Then there’s the battery– this is a little more on-topic– as Tesla concedes, it will die. And dead batteries of that size and capacity, can it honestly and truly be said we know what, safely and sustainably, to do with? Yet again, the environment is damaged and risky.

So, it seems, at day’s end, electric automobile power has yet to be an ecologically more-sensible and safer alternative to local internal combustion.

This curmudgeon welcome this news from Stanford. Yet, it seems long before this technology could make a car battery endure to a point of reasonably-valuable trade-off for the toxicity of its inevitably-dead and dangerous husk.