This week Sam and Rebecca both discuss their experience with the Nissan Murano. Rebecca has also been in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV while Dan drives the Honda Pilot.
In the news, four decades of tilting at mid-engine wind mills finally pays off for Don Sherman as GM confirms the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette will debut on July 18, 2019. Tesla really doesn’t want to sell any $35,000 Model 3s and the gang discuss the challenges of updating a 50 year old airplane for the 21st century.
This week Rebecca describes a road trip she took in the Buick Regal with her millennial nephew to watch some sportsball. She also samples the new generation Mazda3 sedan and we ponder the potential of Mazda to reposition itself as a more premium brand. Sam drives the BMW X4 and isn’t repulsed while Dan is less enamored with the latest Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
In the news, Ford’s fourth-generation Escape is revealed and it’s becoming more of a city slicker. It also brings back the hybrid and adds a plug-in hybrid. The Audi e-tron Quattro has a range number and it’s disappointing and Rebecca tries out the Jeep Gladiator.
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Sam says that even with driverless cars, he’s not sure if Lyft can still make any money. There’s no networking effect. There’s no loyalty or switching costs. So the only way to make it work is to have a lot of drivers and lower fares. Also, companies like Lyft and Uber have no real hard costs or assets. They don’t own the cars, or have to maintain them, or pay for the gas. When you go driverless, suddenly you have to pay for cars and maintain them. Those hard investments and will be in the billions at first.
This week, Rebecca finishes up with the Volvo V60 and tries out the new Ram 2500 in Manhattan. Sam has also been in a big truck with the 2019 Nissan Titan Pro4X while Dan goes small with the Hyundai Kona Ultimate. In the news, Lincoln releases the first teaser image for the Corsair compact crossover while Geely ponders stepping in to save the Smart brand from oblivion. Speaking of smarts, the European Commission is moving to make a whole suite of driver assistance features mandatory including automatic speed limiting.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the etiquette of charging an electric vehicle. Sam says that some EV users believe it’s OK to park next to a charger, thereby making that charger unusable for hours. Tesla has addressed this issue by charging people after their car has been filled up. Users now get a 5 minute grace period. Leo says while that’s true, if you’re traveling and are parking at the airport, you don’t really have a choice. While that’s a special case, most EV owners are just using charging spots at the mall and other locations as parking spots. Thereby preventing other EV drivers from charging.
Meanwhile, Mercedes Benz has included What3words navigation to their 2019 vehicles. All you need to do is input the three words of your destination, and it’ll take you there. What3words is a system that assigns three words to every ten foot square all over the planet. Sam has tried it out, and he says the only real flaw is you have to know the three words of your destination, which you can find here.
This week Sam has returned from California and after driving the 2019 Kia Niro EV, he has a rant about electric vehicle drivers that think they have a right to park right next to the building even when they aren’t charging. Rebecca has been driving the lovely new Volvo V60 and Dan has the “first ever” Ford Edge ST. In the news, the crew ponders the new Cadillac CT5 that was shown ahead of its public debut at the New York Auto Show. Porsche drops some teasers of the upcoming Taycan electric sedan and Fisker pivots with a new production, retail and service strategy. Sam talks with Henrik Fisker and the team opines.
Sam joins Leo in studio, and he says that while electric vehicles are getting more popular, it would still take 20-30 years to replace the entire fleet in the US. He drove to Eastside Studios in a KIA NIRO electrified vehicle. The NIRO Hybrid gets 50 mph, but you can get a plugin hybrid as well, which gets 27 miles on a charge. Or you can get a fully electric NIRO, which has a 239-mile range.
The whole crew is back in the same time zone this week as Rebecca shares her thoughts on the new Toyota Rav4 Hybrid, Sam drives the refreshed 2019 Nissan Maxima and Dan plays with the Ford F-150 Raptor. The mythical mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette has been Don Sherman’s personal unicorn for nearly 50 years and the first prototypes go back even farther than that. It now seems closer than ever and yet still so far away and we discuss why.
Cadillac is adopting a new badging scheme similar to what Audi launched in Europe a couple of years ago and no seems to be happy about it. We discuss whether to just dispense with the badges entirely. Meanwhile Rivian seems to be developer a modular bed system for its upcoming electric pickup truck.
Next week, Sam will be test driving the new KIA Niro. It’s an electrified vehicle, which is different from an electric vehicle. And there’s also an electrified hybrid that offers some electric propulsion but isn’t completely electric. That kind of propulsion varies. The Nero has an electric motor that runs alongside the engine, and one that charges the batteries and regenerative braking. But it still needs gas to power the main engine. A plugin hybrid has a larger battery and can drive about 15-40 miles, but once depleted, relies on gas. So driving around town, which is most driving, you can go electric, and then on longer trips, you can use gas.
As Wheel Bearings breaks into triple digits we have one more two part show with Rebecca still in the sub-continent. In the first half of the show, Sam and Rebecca talk more about transportation in India and the challenges of deploying electric vehicles there. Sam has been driving the Genesis G70. Then Rebecca and Sam dive into some of the highlights of the 2019 Geneva Motor Show including the Honda E prototype, a new era of coachbuilding based on electric vehicle platforms like the VW MEB, the Alfa Romeo Tonale and some new Aston Martins.
Meanwhile Dan has been driving the 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. Dan and Sam dive into the new plug-in hybrid versions of the Jeep Renegade and Compass coming next year and Tesla’s new Supercharger V3.
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