Elon Musk has some surprising comments about fossil fuels, Nissan’s axing the Rogue Sport, and Honda goes to the dogs. 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.
Elon Musk Says Something True
Elon Musk is a spectacular troll and shit-talker and this sometimes makes it difficult to give full credence to what he says, but Reuters reports that he said something that seems quite basic and also quite true at a conference in Norway earlier today.
“Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise civilisation will crumble,” Musk said on the sidelines of an energy conference in the southern city of Stavanger.
“One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy,” he said. “That will take some decades to complete.”
That is correct. While it would be dope if all of a sudden we had enough sustainable energy to power all our homes and businesses and cars and phones, the reality is that we do not. It will take an enormous amount of money, effort, and time to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, so transitioning towards clean energy is very much not an overnight switch.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep working in this direction but, for once, Elon Musk has put a realistic timeline on something. Good job Elon. Please stop talking there before you ru…
“One of my less obvious things to be concerned about is the birth rate, and I think its important that people have enough babies to support civilisation so that we don’t dwindle away,” Musk said.
There’s the old Elon! Good grief. Birth rate isn’t everything when it comes to sustaining civilization, so I guess the oil and gas comments could be chocked up to a fluke.
Nissan Is Reportedly Killing The Rogue Sport
I know it’s early in the morning, but I need you to think really hard. When was the last time you saw a Nissan Rogue Sport in the wild? Exactly. In what isn’t exactly surprising news, Automotive News reports than a Nissan internal memo says the Nissan Rogue Sport will exit production this December.
“With the all-new Rogue and recently redesigned Kicks, we will continue to cover this part of [the] market effectively,” Nissan Vice President Scott Shirley noted in the memo.
“We are also able to invest more resources in our current vehicle lifecycles and next-generation products,” Shirley noted.
While this all sounds about as boring as watching a layer of dust form on a coffee table, it’s an important moment of reflection on product portfolios. Too many manufacturers are guilty of selling vehicles that fill unneeded niches. For instance, the Hyundai Venue is a relatively slow-selling entry point to Hyundai’s crossover range. Citing Hyundai’s July sales report, only 1,895 Venues found homes last month compared to 4,253 Kona crossovers and 3,910 Accent subcompact cars. While the car shortage has affected these numbers, the Venue has historically held low sales compared to the Kona, a vehicle that’s only $2,300 more expensive when comparing base trims. In an era of component shortages, leaner lineups could really benefit manufacturers. Anyway, let’s see what else Automotive News has to say.
Ditching the Rogue Sport will allow Nissan to invest more into the subcompact Kicks, according to a dealer who requested he not be identified.
“We can get more bang for our buck with the Kicks, especially since it’s going all-wheel drive,” the dealer said.
Pause. The current U.S.-market Nissan Kicks in on the same V platform as the Versa and isn’t offered with all-wheel-drive. In fact, nothing in the V platform is offered with all-wheel-drive. Could a new Kicks be just around the corner? It’s certainly due for a new generation, so I’m excited to see if there’s any truth behind this dealer’s comment. The current Nissan Kicks is a brilliant bargain for anyone in the market for a new small hatchback and I’m hoping that the next one keeps prices low and equipment high.
Honda UK Launches New Dog-Friendly Accessory Packs
There’s no road trip companion quite like a dog, and Honda UK aims to make driving with dogs a bit safer and more convenient with several new dog-friendly accessory packs. Available for the CR-V, Civic Hatchback, and Jazz (known in America as the Fit), detailed pack equipment varies but the general concept stays the same. Each accessory pack comes with a dog guard for the cargo area, rubber floor mats, and some kind of cargo mat, while the accessory pack for the CR-V adds a bumper protector. While these accessory packs are a bit niche, Head of Automobile for Honda UK Rebecca Adamson shared some sound reasoning for the dealer accessories in a media release.
For many people, including me, dogs are so much more than a pet. They’re part of the family. The dog accessory pack is designed to bring peace of mind when travelling, no matter how long or short the distance. Not only will it help to keep your dog safe and secure while on the move, but it will also reduce the likelihood of interior damage.
While these dog-friendly accessory packs are only for the UK market at the moment, I’d love to see them on this side of the pond. A dog guard for a Civic Hatchback sounds quite brilliant for city-dwelling dog owners, while a bumper guard for the CR-V should prevent owners from scratching the paint while loading and unloading bulky items. Also, just look at the dogs Honda UK has in the press pics. Aren’t they adorable?
Lucid Hires Former Apple Exec For Software Help
While hard characteristics like cylinder count and square-feet-of-leather used to set luxury cars apart from more retail-grade machines, the concept of luxury in the electric vehicle space seems to be led by software. So how does an automaker create more luxurious software? Well, hiring from Silicon Valley is certainly one way of doing it. Automotive News reports that Lucid Motors has hired former Apple executive Derrick Carty to get the EV startup’s software up to speed.
Carty’s responsibilities at the newly created post include advanced driving assistance systems, audio, embedded software, and systems architecture, Lucid said a news release.
Carty will report to Michael Bell, Lucid’s senior vice president of digital.
“Derrick’s wealth of experience with systems architecture and his ability to lead teams that create customer-friendly, easy-to-use software interfaces is crucial as we continue to roll out new Lucid Air features via our over-the-air software updates,” Bell said in the release.
Carty seems like the sort of person Lucid Motors needs right now. Lucid still hasn’t rolled out Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, so letting owners mirror their phones will likely be a priority for the startup. In addition, over-the-air updates to enhance both features and cybersecurity are the norm in the EV world, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Lucid Motors wants some extra focus on those updates.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. With the work week back in swing, I’d love to know what automotive adventures you got up to over the weekend. I’ll admit, other than ordering new fog lights for the 325i and giving it a wash, it was a light weekend for me regarding car stuff. Still, light weekends can still be fun, so whether you finished up an engine swap or simply enjoyed a crisp heel-toe downshift while on a grocery run, I’d love to hear what you got up to.
Lead photo credit: Tesla
This weekend, taking another run at trying to figure out why I’ve got an “O2 sensor stuck lean” error on both banks. The actual output seems sane as far as I can tell, and it’s kicking over to closed loop and running ok. A couple people have theorized a vacuum leak, but I can’t seem to find one and short term fuel trim doesn’t seem elevated. Trying a smoke generator next, and after that trying to make sure the heater wires are getting power.
Flush: it’s been raining nearly every day in Florida lately, and I have some health issues that sap my tolerance for the Florida sun these days. By the time I have the energy and the clear weather at the same time so I can swap the radiator fan in my Honda Accord… I have to cut the damn grass instead.
If Elon wants to be useful, he should devise a way to keep the rain off my grass but on my fruit trees.
“I’d love to know what automotive adventures you got up to over the weekend.”
Does “commuting in Bahrain” count? It’s certainly an adventure! Lots of really cool cars here though.
Not at all surprised that the little Nissan Rogue Sport is getting the axe. They’ve been available for several model years and I think I’ve maybe seen 2 in the wild. What does surprise me is that both Chevrolet and Hyundai still do it offering 2 vehicles in the same basic segment. Chevy with the Trax and Trailblazer and. Hyundai with the Venue and Kona. The Trax and Venue are respectively the “cheap seats” while the Trailblazer and Kona are a bit pricier and meant to be more stylish and desirable in that size class.
Re: What automotive adventures you got up to over the weekend?
Hosed off the ’66 Biscayne and wheeled it down to the local town-festival car show on Saturday. It was small, but fun – parked next to a really sweet and rare ’66 Mercury Park Lane Marauder with a 410 V8 and learned about a mule-festival in Missouri that I think we’re going to try and go to in a couple of weeks. Sunday evening involved helping my neighbor fix the rusted rear brake line on his ’93 Sedan de Ville that I sold him last year so he could make it to work.
Does driving around at a crawling pace in the rainy darkness for hour after hour while shouting my dog’s name count as an automotive adventure? My sweet, wonderful, deeply stupid pooch decided he couldn’t stand to be away from his family and broke free from my sister’s house last weekend, where she was pet sitting him while my partner and I went on a three-day mini-vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, on a misguided quest to find his parents. At pretty much exactly the same time as our boat left the dock, my sister was chasing him down the street in her bare feet with a three-month-old baby strapped to her chest.
What happened after that was honestly pretty heartwarming, although I was obviously way too stressed out at the time to fully appreciate it. Not only did my sister start driving around the neighborhood looking for my dog, so did my other sister, my parents’ next-door neighbor, one of my cousins, and any number of complete strangers whose doors my siblings knocked on. It’s a powerful feeling to know that other people really do have your back in a pinch.
While my partner and I were eating the most joyless ice cream cone of our lives, we started to hear that people were sighting the dog. This dog is super people-oriented and will jump into a car even if you’re just unloading groceries, and I’d assumed from the get-go that as soon as he saw a human, he’d leap right into their arms. But no, the poor guy was all freaked out and wasn’t about to come to anyone who wasn’t his parents. So, despite being a good three hours’ travel away at this point, my partner and I decided to get on the next boat back and go find him.
We arrived at the last place he’d been sighted just as it was getting dark, and just as a storm was coming in. The next hours were spent fruitlessly tromping through soaking-wet poison ivy, and cruising back and forth through the neighborhood calling for the dog at the top of our lungs. A stranger sighted him in a local park, but by the time we got there the trail was cold. Another couple hours of driving and yelling, and we decided it was time to call it off for the night and regroup in the morning. Our spirits were at a serious low point.
We went over to my aunt’s house, and she and her husband proceeded to get us appropriately drunk over dinner, and then sent us up to bed. After sleeping the sleep of the inebriated, I got a call from my sister at about 5 AM—the damn dog had turned up on her next-door neighbor’s lawn! They’d actually gotten a leash onto him, but he slipped his collar and was just laying there in the grass, collarless. A standoff ensued, as meanwhile my partner and I threw our clothes on as fast as we could and boogied on down there, running every red light we safely could on the way.
Naturally, as soon as my partner got out of the car, he jumped up and hopped right in. Relief! Joy! Exasperation at how stupid and yet smart our dog was, to have run off like that but then found his way back to a completely unfamiliar house after spending the night in the dark and rainy woods! We were overjoyed to have him back, and unimaginably grateful to all the people who helped us find him.
He got his way in the end, by the way. We went back to the Vineyard for the remainder of the weekend, and this time we took the dog with us. He had the time of his life.
Does driving around at a crawling pace in the rainy darkness for hour after hour while shouting my dog’s name count as an automotive adventure?
Been there, done that except in my case it was ten days trying to find my cat. I put up posters, knocked on doors, made a general nuisance of myself. Being a nuisance paid off though. My cat was eventually found hiding in the attic space of a neighbor a few doors down. Because I had been so persistent the neighbor noticed small things that otherwise would have been ignored, so my neighbor put on her deerstalker hat and correctly deduced she had a guest.
After that scare I put an RFID tracker on my cat’s collar. It’s range isn’t great but its enough to walk down a sidewalk and rule out the house I’m walking past. It’s paid for itself many times over. Had I such a system when my cat went missing I’d have found her in minutes rather than weeks.
Now I preach the need for such trackers even for indoor-only pets. I’ve heard far too many tales of pets lost forever because they got out, panicked and wandered out of familiar territory. Chips don’t always work so they can’t be depended on.
For a dog I think an Airtag, Tile or pet only equivalent is the best option. Most GPS trackers have piss poor battery lifetimes so unless you are religious about keeping up the charging schedule its too likely to be dead when you really need it.
I actually saw a Rouge Sport in the wild the other day. It was jet black and had a hot pink vinyl decal of the Disney version of Tinker Bell on the left rear pillar (I didn’t look to see if there was a matching one on the right).
Ah, yes. Hyundai’s Venue.
More expensive than the now-discontinued Accent, while only being marginally larger interior-wise, gets worse fuel economy, and costs a few grand more. And the base price is only about $1,500 less than a Kona, with no AWD option (HRV, Kicks, etc). It also doesn’t get anything more than the base 6-speaker audio, so no fun stereo.
So, it’s once again the “SUV (CUV) Tax”
Though in other markets where it’s more popular, like India, they get an actual N-Line version with a 1.0L Turbo Triple & DCT. Makes about the same power as the 1.6 NA, but a buttload more torque.
The Venue actually has LESS leg room and shoulder room than the Accent. And the lack of shoulder room is a big reason why I feel cramped in a Venue.
All I can think about is who is going to catch that Dachshund from falling to his death as he steps out the back of that HR-V? He’s about to descend with all the grace of a hammer falling off a ladder.
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