Every turn you take, every stop you make, I’ll be watching you

Our smartphones are constantly sending data to Google or Apple; our online searching, movie watching, product buying is all being recorded, shared and sold. And our newer, connected cars are the latest addition to this network of 24×7 surveillance. But Tesla is taking it to a whole new level. Quote.

Every mile, every block, every inch of pavement driven by a Tesla vehicle generates a trove of information that can reveal as much about you as about your car.

Why it matters: Tesla is more of a tech company than a car company. And because data is critical to self-driving cars, it has designed its vehicles from the outset to be sophisticated rolling computers. As all cars get smarter and more automated, the data they collect will unlock new conveniences for drivers ? but also new privacy concerns.Show less

Most modern vehicles already gather some data. They include a cellular Wi-Fi connectionthat transmits basic telematics data from the car to the cloud.

  • The data they collect could include your vehicle’s location and your car’s personal settings, such as contacts you’ve synced from your phone, addresses you’ve plugged into the navigation system, and even your favorite radio stations.
  • Automakers use that information to suggest pre-emptive maintenance, for example, or to offer remote help such as unlocking the doors or roadside assistance.
  • Carmakers often share that information with business partners who provide services like navigation or real-time traffic.

But Tesla collects more information than most.

Read more »

Just the thing for the summer BBQ season


ABC NEWS reports from California the unfortunate tale of a Tesla which caught on fire three times in one day. To catch on fire once is chance, to ignite twice is coincidence, to go up in flames three times is a pattern. Quote.

While driving on a highway on Dec. 18, the driver got a tire pressure warning indicating a flat tire, and had the car towed to the nearby Los Gatos Tire and Auto Repair, Santa Clara County Fire Captain Bill Murphy told ABC News.

“I go in there, doing the paperwork and I start hearing a funny hissing sound,” the Tesla owner told ABC San Francisco’s station KGO-TV. “I thought, oh, it must be something going on in the shop next door.”

The owner turned around to see the car on fire, and firefighters were called to the scene. […]

?We extinguished the initial fire very quickly,? Murphy said. Shortly afterwards, the firefighters saw gas and steam coming off the car- which began venting gas, which Murphy said they believed was a sign of batteries burning. He said his crew again doused the car with water before flames could erupt and contacted Tesla, which recommended propping up the car to access its underbody where the battery is located, Murphy said. They continued to monitor the car for about 6 hours to ensure there was no lingering heat, Murphy added. His crew doused it with an estimated 2,000 gallons of water. End quote.

I trust all that toxic, contaminated, water was safely contained and disposed of in an approved manner. Quote.

At 10 p.m., the car was moved to nearby tow yard, where it then reignited, Murphy said. The third fire was contained to the car, and did not spread. Firefighters spent nearly ten hours at the scene to ensure the battery would not ignite again. End quote.

16 hours of multiple firefighter time spent on one car. Quote.

The Tesla owner told ABC San Francisco station KGO-TV that he purchased the car about three months ago, and had driven it about 1,200 miles. He added that it would be the last Tesla his family owned.

“If this car had been in the house, and we had been on vacation, when this thing caught fire, the whole house could go under,” he said.

Some automobile experts say that the public is still learning that electric cars can catch fire, just like traditional cars.

?People tend to look at electric vehicles and assume they won?t catch fire because they don?t have a traditional combustion engine,” Alistair Weaver, editor-in-chief of Edmunds, an automobile research company, told ABC News. “The reality is that they still can still catch on fire.?

“Certainly if I was a Tesla driver I don?t think this is a source of panic,” Weaver added, who himself drives a BMW electric car. In fact, electric cars are less likely to ignite than gas-powered vehicles, he said, but when they do they can require more time and more water to put out.

In a statement to ABC News, Tesla said ?We currently investigating the matter and are in touch with local first responders. We are glad to hear that everyone is safe.?

Santa Clara Fire Department Captain Murphy said that firefighters are adjusting to responding to fire incidents that are different than what they have been accustomed to.

?The presence of large lithium ion batteries in vehicles is something we are encountering more often,? Murphy said. ?It?s still categorized as vehicle fire. We just have a different fuel now. There is some additional complexity to the fuel that?s burning.? End quote.

I suppose, looking on the bright side, after Shaw, Woods and Ardern get us all into electric vehicles and the gas reserves run out, we can huddle round unrecyclable car batteries and burn them for winter warmth.


Selling the dream

Let’s compare a couple of companies:

Company A made and sold about 1.3 million cars and 5.3 million motorcycles last quarter.?Company B?made and sold about 83,000 cars last quarter.

Company A has?$US 18 billion in cash in the bank.??Company B has $US 10 billion of debt.

Company A earned?over $US 9 billion last year.?Company B lost $2 billion last year.

Company A looks like a pretty good bet. Company B does not appear to?be a wise investment. Read more »


Smug cars for Smug owners


With petrol prices falling you’d think there would be a drop off in purchases of smug powered cars.

But it appears this isn’t the case, even though they are horrendously expensive.

It seems smug people still like buying smug cars.

People buy vehicles for all sorts of reasons. They buy because the vehicle meets their utility?a pickup truck for a handyman, a van for a big family, a Lincoln Town Car for a professional driver. Some make decisions based on fuel efficiency and low cost. But as is often the case with consumer products, many people make vehicle purchase decisions based on how the product makes them feel, or how it makes them look. In the U.S. in particular, the car you drive is a means of expressing your identity. ? Read more »

Another dud Green idea


The Green party is a party of dud MPs, dud ideas and dud results.

Yet another of their dud ideas has crashed and burned because they never bothered to check out the details.

They wanted the government to replace the extremely fuel efficient diesel BMW fleet with gay electric cars…except they never checked if they will ever be available in New Zealand.

The Green Party may have ideas around having Tesla Model S sedans as government limousines, but if they do they will be private imports, with Tesla telling AutoTalk it has no plans for the New Zealand market. ? Read more »

Electric Cars are Gayer than Fossy’s Gay Ute

I make no secret of the fact I hate electric cars, and hybrids. Sanctimonious green taliban type full of smug drive them….they are like minis..taking up way more space on the road than they deserve. The only thing worse on the road are cyclists.

Robert Tracinski thinks they are abomination…and I agree with him.

Electric cars never really made any sense. They are cloaked in the sanctimony of the green movement, because they don’t use nasty fossil fuels like gasoline. Instead, they use electricity, which is sent out through power lines from big power plants, which generate this electricity?how? Oh yes, by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. This is known as the “long tailpipe,” which goes from the car charging up in your garage all the way back to the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant. And don’t forget, electric cars also have giant batteries made from nasty toxic metals like lithium and cobalt, the manufacture of which?frontloads?carbon dioxide emissions.

So the electric car was always more an exercise in green paternalism?it is the future, as selected for us by our betters?than a serious attempt to solve any real or imagined problem.

What makes even less sense is the stupidly ridiculous time ti takes to charge the stupid things. What are you supposed to do while it charges…sit there and smugly tell other smug pricks around you just how smug and cool you all are.

Then there was the fuss over?the?failed Tesla test drive and the social media disaster that befell Tesla:

The folks at Tesla, flunking Public Relations 101, decided that they would respond to this bad review by drawing a lot of attention to it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk?claimed?the review was a fraud based on data taken from the car’s internal logs. Tesla had an unhappy experience with a segment on the British automobile program “Top Gear” that they?claimed?was misleading. (I am shocked,?shocked?to discover that Jeremy Clarkson could play fast and loose with the facts.) Ever since, Tesla switches on a monitor whenever they loan one of their cars out to the press. So they claim the?Times?reviewer purposely drove the car in a way that ran down the battery and then deliberately lied about the results.

Musk’s rebuttal is less than convincing. He brays that the reviewer was lying when he said that he had to drive at 45 miles per hour?and points to logs showing Broder driving at about 50 miles per hour. Similarly, he declares that Broder turned up the heater to 74 degrees at the very point he supposedly had to turn it off?but the graph he uses to verify this shows that Broder?did?turn the heater way down a few minutes later. In other words, Musk is seizing on technicalities, while the data he presents more or less verifies Broder’s account.

I’m all for never trusting the ink-stained wretches of the press. But if you read through Musk’s argument, the real heart of it is that Broder took too many detours between charging stations and didn’t wait long enough at the stations for his battery to take on a full charge. In other words: the car is OK, it’s just that?you drove it wrong. Excuse me? Is Tesla really marketing a product which relies on the consumer to coddle it to get it to perform just right?

More smug.

[S]ince when is driving a car supposed to be so complicated? The whole point of technology is to use the machine’s energy and yes, to burn up natural resources,?in order to save human effort. The machines are supposed to work for us; we don’t work for them. This is especially true of the automobile, which is all about freedom, independence, going out on the open road and deciding on the spur of the moment where you want to go?not about filing a flight plan and having technicians talk you through your trip.

I understand that the first round of a new technology doesn’t always work well and early adopters may have to make tradeoffs and accept limitations. But the Tesla is supposed to be the electric car?withouttradeoffs. This is supposed to be a mass-market car, the first wave of electric vehicles that can be manufactured and sold in truly industrial-scale quantities. It’s not supposed to be for hobbyists who don’t mind tinkering around with an experimental vehicle for the sake of technology curiosity.

But the folks at Tesla have gotten swept up in the quasi-religious hype of environmentalism. They’re not just manufacturing a curiosity for hobbyists. They’re?saving the planet, one preening and sanctimonious upper-middle-class driver at a time.

Smug, smug, smug…I agree with Tracinski, the electric car is an abomination.

An email about gay electric cars

A reader emails about my post earlier on Tesla electric cars:


I have a friend in?Germany?who has a Tesla.

It is bright yellow, not green, and unbelievably fast.? Read more »