Max Verstappen poses next to a special Honda e, Ye is working on a vehicle, the EU mulls a toxic label for lithium. All this and more on 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.
Bring Your Own World Champion
Look, any excuse to post Honda e content is a good one. This wonderfully adorable electric city car is everything the next Mini should be – hip, gadget-filled, sustainable. It just oozes cool from every seam and shut line, an inch-perfect depiction of what retro modern should be. Leaning into the fashion car role, Honda’s decided to launch a special Limited Edition version in Europe, and it seems to have smashed it.
A limited-edition fashion car is always a tricky thing. Play it too safe on the colorway and it’ll seem boring. Going a bit wild risks the special edition aging poorly, so it’s a bit of a tightrope here. Thankfully, Honda’s used common sense – a bit of red, a bit of black, job done. The cherry red paint looks absolutely dripping, while the black roof, alloys, and trim add some decent contrast. I’m generally not a fan of black wheels, but I reckon they might just work here. Anyway, Honda’s only making 50 of these Limited Edition models for Europe, so they’re sure to sell quickly. Also, just to be extremely clear, Max Verstappen is not included with the purchase of a Honda e Limited Edition. Sorry, Red Bull fans. Another minor disappointment is that the Honda e still isn’t planned for the U.S. market. A bit of a shame considering how hip it is, but understandable given its limited range. So, if you’re American and want to get your hands on a Honda e Limited Edition, set an alarm for 2047.
Ye Is Working On A Vehicle
From shoes, to electronics, to rapping about bleached assholes, Ye is a cultural force who’s here to stay. More importantly, this controversial figure is not afraid to get properly weird. While the release of Donda 2 had a bizarre cyberpunk aesthetic and the shift from rap to Christian music is a bit of a strange move, that’s nothing compared to the Donda foam vehicle.
At this point, I have no idea if the Donda foam vehicle will actually be a real concept car or just a rendering. The first photo states “Conceptualized, designed, manufactured in the United States,” but what does Ye mean by “manufactured”? I haven’t forgotten about Turbo Grafx 16. Still, this rendering is heaps better than the will.i.amg that Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am dropped earlier this year. The Donda foam vehicle is a cab-forward van-like thing with a huge rake and what appear to be airless tires. Nifty stuff with properly weird enthusiast credentials. As for the “foam” part of the name, we’re still trying to figure that out. The Renault 5 used foam-dipped bumpers, but that doesn’t mean the Donda foam vehicle is intended to use traditional construction techniques. Maybe it’ll float like a giant Yeezy slide? Who knows? Actually, who even knows if we’ll ever see a full-scale version? Still, it’s neat seeing those without traditional automotive design experience try their hand at cars. Sometimes it results in brilliance, sometimes it results in The Homer, but it never hurts to try.
EU Mulls Toxic Label For Lithium
Hot on the heels of banning new fossil fuel-powered vehicles past 2025, the European Union is mulling over declaring lithium carbonate, hydroxide, and chloride as dangerous Class 1A reproductive toxins. According to Bloomberg, some of the studies cited in this proposal date back to the 1980s and 1990s.
Now, I don’t mean to be rash here, but has the European Union gone thick? It’s common knowledge that the phrase, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” is often the most terrifying one in the English language, but it doesn’t take someone with even a triple-digit I.Q. score to realize this is a bad idea for the concept of affordable electric cars. In a best-case scenario, classifying lithium carbonate and hydroxide as Class 1A toxins will set up roadblocks and added costs for extracting and refining lithium, and producing common NMC batteries found in most EVs. In the worst case, it could mean that automakers are forced to find different battery tech and quickly. See, the EU plans to phase out similarly-classified carcinogenic and mutagenic toxins like flame retardants and PVC, so a wide-scale phaseout of lithium could have catastrophic effects from the mines to the battery recycling centers. It just isn’t conducive to the EU’s plan to have a competitive local battery supply by 2025.
While environmental regulations are a good thing, weighing short-term costs and benefits of sacrificing some lithium regulation for stable domestic production of vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions makes it fairly clear that electric vehicles are a fairly large environmental improvement over fossil fuel-powered vehicles, and incremental environmental gains can likely be made once domestic production is stable. Then again, electric vehicles alone won’t save us, so if we’re going for a shitshow anyway, we might as well do it big.
Rivian’s Moving Units
Let’s end things off with a bit of good news, because who doesn’t like good news? Electric truck maker Rivian is ramping up production. Reuters reports the Normal, Ill. firm produced 4,401 vehicles last quarter and delivered 4,467. Hey, those aren’t bad numbers considering Rivian’s a startup and we’re experiencing a global shortage of everything.
Rivian built just 2,553 trucks in the first quarter, so 4,401 represents a fairly significant jump in production. As the chip shortage eases, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see that figure rise further. God knows Rivian hopes the same, catching up on deposits seems like a herculean task. Hopefully the maker of nifty electric trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles can keep things up. It’s always nice when carmakers succeed at making good vehicles because more choice in the marketplace is a good thing. At the bare minimum, it makes the roads more interesting.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. While Ye’s attempt at designing a vehicle certainly seems interesting, I’d love to know what automotive designer you feel is underrated. Maybe you want to vindicate Chris Bangle, celebrate Harm Lagaay, or give thanks to Uwe Bahnsen. I’ll nominate Luigi Colani for being a car designer worthy of more credit. While his designs were certainly experimental, I reckon he’d have had a lot of fun in the current low-drag EV age. He had such a wonderful vision of organic futurism that was decades ahead of its time.
[Editor’s Note: This is just to remind Thomas that our health plan includes vision. – JT]
Lead photo credit: Honda
Well, gasoline is pretty toxic, too. So maybe just don’t eat lithium batteries?
Gasoline can be burned off or emptied and then burned off in various ways, lithium batteries are expensive to remove from wrecked vehicles and cannot be burned off. also it is cost prohibitive currently to recycle them. Lithium-ion batteries contain materials that shouldn’t be dumped in a landfill, and old batteries can catch fire if they aren’t cared for.
Slightly OT question. If wheels are going to be painted, why do they all get painted black? Why not something more interesting?
Best color to hide brake dust.
So another naive question. Since we are talking EVs, how much dust does regenerative braking create?
It shouldn’t create any, unless you’re driving on a really dusty road. Also depends on your tires’ composition.
Regenerative braking does not use the brakes you see by the wheels. Think of regenerative braking as the electrical version of engine braking in ICE.
It’s most likely painted black so your eyes focus on the red. It makes the car look more like a car and less like a crossover/SUV and hides the height the battery adds to the car.
No Kanye, no.
I LOVE the styling of the Honda ‘E’…….BUT…..it has SUCH POOR RANGE. The new 500e is smaller than the ‘E’ and has so much more range! 🙁
I saw a truckload of Rivians on the way to delivery when I was driving from Chicago to Ohio. The best thing I can say about them is I didn’t notice they were Rivians until I was right up on them. They look like a normal, very nice truck.
Although he is one of the most celebrated automobile designers ever, it’s hard to rate Paul Bracq highly enough. So no matter what you think of him, he’s probably still underrated. Most of the 1960s Mercedes cars, and the initial designs of BMW 3, 5, 6 and 7 series in the 1970s are his work as lead designer or design chief.
At least a little underrated is Noboyuki Kato, who designed the second generation Toyota Solara. My Solara is 15 years old, and random people still compliment me as if it were something fresh and new. By that measure, it has aged exceptionally well.
Claus Luthe is a great “caretaker or continuance of great design” type designer. His earlier work was with NSU and Audi where he earned high praise, but his best is the direction he took BMW’s sedans in the 70s and 80s. He is credited as one of the first to embrace digital tools in the design process. Including him here is an uncertainty I’m going to indulge. His work will always be shadowed by his conviction for manslaughter. He killed his eldest son, who is said to have been a severely addicted drug user, by stabbing him during a violent argument. It was truly tragic event in so many ways.
Those are three who immediately come to mind.
“It’s common knowledge that the phrase, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” is often the most terrifying one in the English language”
Geez. Common knowledge according to who?? Reagan? Rush? Tucker? Good grief.
As per JohnnyCab’s comment, it appears to be just a matter of ensuring we don’t suffer too much undue environmental harm from such nascent technology involving massive quantities of various chemicals & minerals, some of which are still not fully understood. After all, corporates almost never take into consideration the potential impact on people & the environment unless they’re forced to do so by governments.
Common, as in most people are aware of it. He’s not wrong.
Remember that time Ye met with Trump and showed him a photoshopped plane and told him to make Apple or Google build it?
Honda needs to sell the E over here
“European Union is mulling over declaring lithium carbonate, hydroxide, and chloride as dangerous Class 1A reproductive toxins”…
Probably paving the way to a strategy of recycling batteries in the future, so each step of the process must be clean.
I had to Google Luigi Colani, and I’m sorry I did. Thomas, take up Torch on that vision coverage.
WT Actual F is this:
I honestly don’t know what the hell you’re talking about in the second segment, but something tells me I’m better off that way.
As for underrated designers, I have to “nom”inate Peter Wheeler’s dog.
I’ve seen 2 Rivian’s in the east suburbs of Cleveland. One at work and another just cruising around. They are nice looking trucks.
All I want for Christmas in July is an Edit button.
Hello there neighbor,
I have not seen a single one, then again I work from home and am married with a kid so I don’t get out like I used to.
Why aren’t they bringing the E to North America? It’ll take sales away from the other larger cars they make more margin on?
Yup, we are too dumb to buy them. Look what happened to the Fit.
Difference being, the fit was ugly.
It cost $38K+ in Europe, for a small EV with less tan 140 miles of range.
For that money in the US, you are spitting distance from entry level models of the Mach-e, Ionic 5 and EV6, all with 100+ more miles of range and more interior room. The Honda e would be a sales disaster here.
I didn’t know that Rivian was based in Normal, Illinois. There’s a school named after me there!
They’re not. That’s just the best bargain factory they could find for starting up. They’re supposed to build their “forever home” factory in Georgia.
They’re based in Cali.
That’s a shame, the Thomas Metcalf School churns out highly qualified students that would make a great asset at any company.
It’s the old Diamond-Star plant that used to build Mitsubishi Eclipses, Eagle Talons, and Plymouth Lasers.
Designer worth remembering? L. J. K. Setright.
I don’t know which is worse, Luigi Colani’s designs or “Ye”. Both are excreble.
I saw my first Rivian in the wild over the weekend, parked at a charger outside the outlet mall.
how does that top photo make both Max and the car look small?
Well, Max makes himself look small all the time, so maybe it’s just an extension of that.
Does the Donda have rack-and-peanut steering?
Does the Donda Foam-mobile come preprogrammed to cut off Taylor Swift in traffic?
Another name for his car could be Godless Two Bit Coward.
That Honda e is total *chef’s kiss*
I can’t speak on Honda’s longterm plans, but I feel they would missing out on an opportunity to build their reach, especially to the younger generation, by building this. The problem is that Honda, like the other manufacturers, have all but abandoned the A segment.
They would sell so goddamn many of these in Seattle. I would literally buy one tomorrow if I could.
Selling the e here would 100% get me to cross shop Honda. As it stands, they’ve got nothing I’m at all interested in.
you say that, until you see the price of around 40K and the range of only 130 miles on a good day, but drastically less in the heat with AC running or in the cold with the heat on and the cold zapping the batteries. 20K mavericks with plug in hybrid daily driving capability that also get 40 mpg when the battery is not in play will be the huge US seller for the entry level car people for a while.
They’re not making many $20k Mavericks in the first place, and they’re certainly not making plug-in hybrids at that price.
Sorry, you are correct, it is a full hybrid, not plug in. the next gen is supposed to be plug in, but the ones I have start and run on electricity only until the onboard battery is depleted. They are sold out, but still the qty is pretty high in the Fleet arena right now.