Weekly Roundup: Better Get Hit in Yo’ Sole Edition

If you were sitting up front on last Friday night’s flight from LaGuardia to John Glenn, I hope you will accept my apologies for the two loudmouths who were sitting across the aisle from each other and laughing like brain-damaged morons for the whole ninety minutes that the plane sat on the tarmac prior to receiving takeoff clearance. It was just pure chance that my brother and I had a chance to share so-called “first class” on a regional jet; my inbound flight from Zurich had been delayed two hours, causing me to miss my connection out of JFK. Meanwhile, brother Bark’s exit from Miami had been held up by weather. It just made sense to us to meet up at LGA and fly from there. And if we were a little obnoxious, it was just because I hadn’t seen the dude in five weeks and we had a lot of stories to tell.

For more of those stories, click the jump.

For TTAC, I considered the post-gasoline future, which was oddly prescient given that the UK announced plans to ban gasoline cars the day after I published. I also offered some advice on an unpredictable choice of track rat.

Meanwhile, Bark roared back with a rental 911 review and a cautionary tale of misleading pricing.

At R&T, I told my real-world story about using OnStar in a life-or-death situation and mourned the loss of the delightful B-Max.

This will be a busy writing week for me — and to my immense joy, I don’t have a single plane trip scheduled for the next forty days. I wonder if I’ll start missing them?

22 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Better Get Hit in Yo’ Sole Edition”

  1. don curton

    A friend of mine was in a bad wreck. The front drivers side was crushed, including the battery. No power, no OnStar. The one time she needed it, one of their primary advertising points, and it didn’t work. She recovered, then called and continued complaining until they refunded her past several years worth of payments and she will never pay for that service again.

    I’m thinking on a $60k suburban, they could have easily added a second smaller battery directly to the OnStar system for just such a scenario. Seems like losing electrical power in a wreck would be somewhat common.

    Reply
    • Tomko

      That’s interesting. What model year was that?

      The OnStar modules I’ve read about, known as VCIM, contain an internal battery to power the system in the event of a loss of vehicle power.

      Reply
      • Tomko

        The VCIM back up battery was first implemented on 2006 Impala and Monte Carlo. It was rolled out on other models in following years. Not sure when that was for Suburban.

        Reply
        • Don Curton

          I’m thinking the wreck was around 2010 or so, the vehicle would have been several years old at that point.

          So I realize my anecdote is dated and new models are better, but seems like just a little thought could have been applied back then.

          I do pay for OnStar on my wife’s Buick, mainly so she won’t try to use her phone GPS while driving.

          Reply
  2. Hogie roll

    Your predictions about the death of gasoline automobile assumes that there is still a majority white country developing technology left in the world, and not having a road war.

    England is more likely to be under sharia law by they time should theoretically be crushing the last petrol car.

    Given that most polite people refuse to acknowledge such possibilities, that only makes it more likely.

    Reply
  3. Don Curton

    The post-gas future has caused me some thought in the past. At one point I owned a mid-60’s musclecar. I maintained it as a driver, not a garage queen. Some people wondered at that, thinking the car was too valuable to risk driving in daily traffic. My thought was that it’s value was facing two tremendous cliffs –

    the first being that the value attached is largely sentimental and out of line with any performance or utility of the vehicle. At some point, the majority of people who remember cars from the 1960’s will die off from old age. At that point, younger people will look on those the same as I look at cars from the 30’s and 40’s, neat but I really wouldn’t pay much money to own one.

    The second is technology. At some point the majority of cars will have traffic sensors, GPS tracking, lane avoidance warning, auto collision braking, etc. and so forth. At some point they’ll simply pass laws mandating that anything on the road have a majority of these features present, or else it will be unlawful to use on public roads. Period. For the public good, and all that. Thus any car older than, something made 3 or 4 years ago will suddenly be relegated to garage queen and parade duty only. Even if ICE continues, it will be ICE with all the electronic gadgets.

    So I drove the hell out of it, knowing that at some point in the future I wouldn’t be able to drive it at all. I think the autonomous car is still a ways off, but all the technology necessary for it will seep into our current driving now (my wife’s Buick will slam on the brakes based on front collision sensors). The final push will be half technology, half legislative. IMO.

    Reply
    • Lucas Zaffuto

      I think you’re on the right track. I think first it will be illegal to drive on the interstates without autonomous tech, and then at some point later it will expand to all public streets. As car enthusiasts, if we’re really, really lucky, hopefully that some point later will be pretty late in our lives so it won’t matter as much to us.

      Reply
      • jz78817

        I think that’s backwards. the interstates are the “least unsafe” roads. it’s the congested intersections in cities and suburbia which are the problem.

        Reply
        • Lucas Zaffuto

          You are correct, of course. However, it is the interstates which have the most predictable traffic patterns and thus are easiest to automate, which is why every semi-autonomous system currently on the market focuses on interstates.

          Reply
          • jz78817

            I don’t think in-city autonomy is going to work very well until there’s also a fairly robust vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication solution. an AV “knowing” what the cars around it are doing (and going to do) will be critical.

            unfortunately that leads to a chicken-and-egg situation where you aren’t going to have a lot of AVs out there until you have robust V2V, but you aren’t going to have robust V2V until there are a lot of AVs out there…

  4. Athos

    Jack, loved the article on the B-Max, however, this is innacurate: “the Ford EcoSport, debuted in India a while back…”

    The first Ford Ecosport debuted in Brazil more than 10 years ago. Launched initially with FWD and 1-2 years later AWD was added. It came with a 1.6 or DOHC 20lt engine. It looked the offroader part, and more importantly, it looked great, like a mini Escape/Explorer of the early ’00s. It had a dash that was quite similar to the contemporary Fiesta. When equipped with the 2lt engine, it was a peppy little thing.

    On the second gen one, you are 100% right. The facelifted model has just launched in Brazil.

    Reply
    • hank chinaski

      Between the lack of B pillars and that huge pano sunroof, I wonder how it survives side impacts or rollovers.

      Reply
      • jz78817

        well, conceptually it’s the same as extended-cab pickups with rearward-opening rear half doors. The “pillar” is just the reinforced front edge of the door, combined with robust latches.

        Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’m very important: that’s one answer

      Read the October R&T: that will give you the real answer.

      Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        A cool idea for a series of articles or videos would be going for a ride as a passenger with significant automotive personalities in their daily drivers (or favorite cars).

        Reply
  5. Jeff Zekas

    Hey Jack, off topic: what do you think of Bathys watches? Just watched a Petrolicious video about the guy who makes them (he owns a Volvo P-1800) and he mentioned “affordable” watches which are also well made. What’s your opinion?

    Reply

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