The original Apple iPhone’s chief designer could see more physical buttons returning to cars, Dodge unveils a special Hellcat Redeye, Tesla gets sued again. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Former Apple Chief Designer Sees A Need For Buttons In Cars
Iconic modern Apple products are marked by minimalism, although the chief designer of many of those products recently expressed a need for physical controls in cars. Former Apple Chief Designer Sir Jony Ive spoke at The Code Conference alongside Apple CEO Tim Cook and businessperson Laurene Powell Jobs about the latter’s late husband’s legacy, among other things. The discussion, led by journalist Kara Swisher, moved to the topic of multi-touch interfaces and even lightly touched on physical buttons in cars, as Australian automotive website Drive pointed out, writing:
“I do think there are fabulous affordances with interfaces like, for example, multi-touch [the technology allowing for pinching and zooming on phone screens],” Ive said.
“But we do remain physical beings. I think, potentially, the pendulum may swing a little to have interfaces and products that will take more time and are more engaged physically.”
When the panel’s moderator – journalist Kara Swisher – asked if Ive was referring to cars, the former Apple design boss responded, “for example”.
I haven’t watched the conference, but it’s worth noting that The Verge‘s live blog of the conference includes a slightly different quote from Ives – a response to Swisher asking for his thoughts on how things are currently designed. The quote reads:
“We’re so preoccupied with what we’re wrestling with,” Jony says, deferring. “There are fabulous affordances with interfaces like multitouch. But we do remain physical beings, and the pendulum might swing a little to have interfaces that are more tactile and more engaging physically… there are examples where the interface is driven inappropriately by multitouch.”
Kara asks Jony how he’d design a car and he laughs. “You know I can’t answer that.”
While touchscreens do have a place in phones, it’s generally not a good idea to operate a phone while driving. Physical buttons and knobs allow for muscle memory to take over, keeping the driver focused on the road. It’s more than just good cabin design, it’s good safety practice.
[Editor’s Note: I have to say that I love the buttons in my older cars. A knob for volume, a rocker to change the channel, a rotary dial for vent selection, an adjacent rotary dial for the temperature setting, a slider for dome lights – these buttons all look and feel different, and that means pressing them doesn’t require me to look away from the road. Some automakers have HVAC and volume/channel-change physical buttons, and some even have them on the steering wheel. Plus, many have voice-command. But there’s still quite a heavy reliance on the touchscreen these days; some of that makes sense, since infotainment systems these days have so many functions that they’d require scores of physical buttons to operate, but still. I agree with Ives that automakers could work to step up their physical-button games. -DT]
The Dodge Charger King Daytona Pays Tribute To An Icon
For the fifth runout special edition Dodge muscle car, the American brand is bringing back the King Daytona nameplate. I know what you’re thinking, “What on earth is a King Daytona?” Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
The original King Daytona was a 1969 Charger Daytona owned by drag racer Big Willie Robinson, a man who used racing as a way to build community after the Watts Riots. He has a pretty incredibly story and it’s worth writing a full article on him at some point. For now, just know that he was an absolute icon of west-coast drag racing.
Fast forward to 2022, and the new King Daytona is a Charger Hellcat Redeye Widebody with the wick turned up to 807 horsepower, a pretty awesome number. On the outside, the King Daytona is extremely orange. Go Mango paint complemented by orange brake calipers keeps things loud, while a black tail stripe and satin chrome wheels add just the right amount of pop. On the inside, the orange accenting continues in the stitching and on a special badge in the console.
Like other Last Call special edition models, the Charger King Daytona is more of an appearance pack than a performance pack. However, it pays tribute to a really cool icon of motorsport and I can totally dig it for that reason alone. If this is a Charger that speaks to you, get ready to hunt. Dodge is only making 300 examples of the Charger King Daytona, with allocation to be announced at a later date.
Tesla Sued Over Alleged False Advertising
Drivers continue to fight back against Tesla’s wild claims relating to advanced driver assistance systems. Reuters reports that a plaintiff is suing the carmaker, claiming the company made false promises of autonomous vehicles.
Briggs Matsko, the named plaintiff, said Tesla did this to “generate excitement” about its vehicles, attract investments, boost sales, avoid bankruptcy, drive up its stock price and become a “dominant player” in electric vehicles.
“Tesla has yet to produce anything even remotely approaching a fully self-driving car,” Matsko said.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco seeks unspecified damages for people who since 2016 bought or leased Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features.
Considering Tesla’s claims regarding solving the problem of autonomous driving, this lawsuit could have some proper legs. Calling Tesla’s bluff has been a long time coming and should the suit proceed, it could result in compensation for a vast number of Tesla owners.
The Great Build-Out Of Charging Infrastructure Hastens
Automotive News reports that several states’ plans for implementing EV charging infrastructure have already been approved for funding under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program.
Plans submitted by Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin are among those approved. D.C. and Puerto Rico plans also are approved.
“Thanks to the commitment of state leaders who worked hard to develop EV charging networks that work for their residents, we were able to approve these state charging plans quickly and ahead of schedule,” said Stephanie Pollack, acting administrator for the Federal Highway Administration. “We are reviewing the remaining plans and are on track to finish the process by our target date of Sept. 30, if not sooner.”
The program aims to help fund the implementation of 500,000 EV charging stations across America by 2030. With new EVs announced in a seemingly constant stream, the right time to crack on with infrastructure development is now. Kudos to federal and state government for moving quickly on this issue so far.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Thursday, which means that the weekend is right around the corner. While it seems like a surge in EV market share could happen any year now, I’d like to know when you plan on adding an electric vehicle to your fleet. Personally, I don’t see myself picking up an EV for quite some time. I mostly rely on public transit around town and use my car for road trips and other events where I want to drive rather than be stuck in urban traffic. Because of my unique use case, I don’t see an EV fitting in with my needs until something with heaps of range ends up suitably depreciated.