Home » Is The Tesla Model Y Really The Best-Selling Car In The World?

Is The Tesla Model Y Really The Best-Selling Car In The World?

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Whether your closet’s full of T-shirts with Elon Musk’s face on them or you’d sooner die than be seen in one of his cars, you cannot deny that Tesla is—to borrow a phrase that the tech bros love—crushing it lately. But is that oft-cited data point that the Tesla Model Y is the best-selling car in the world really accurate? A look at the numbers provides a more complex picture.

We lead our morning news roundup today with that, plus some surprising news about the federal government stepping it up on autonomous cars; more details on General Motors’ big plans for OnStar; and some not-so-promising developments out of a hydrogen-car taxi program in Japan. Let’s hit it.

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Model Y VS. Toyota Corolla: Who Ya Got?

0x0 Modely 04
Photo: Tesla

It’s unclear where exactly the claim about the Model Y’s best-selling car status came from. Near as I can tell, it started popping up in May with some JATO Dynamics research data, but it’s definitely a claim Musk has repeated himself. (And because we believe in transparency and accountability here, unlike other outlets, I should admit I’ve said the same thing at times.) So points to Autoweek’s Todd Lassa for taking a closer look at the data here, and the answer is… yes and no.

The story goes that the Model Y unseated the ubiquitous Toyota Corolla as the world’s best-selling car this year. But, as that story notes:

Problem is, on all the charts we could find from Tesla as well as from fawning electric-vehicle sites reporting on them, the company groups Model Y production and sales with Model 3 production and sales. Tesla delivered 412,180 Models 3/Y globally in the first quarter, and we can’t find the breakout among the two.

We reached out to Toyota for Corolla numbers, and the automaker reports it sold 740,561 Corollas worldwide in the first quarter of this year, counting all versions including the Cross. That’s about 75% more than Tesla, even if you count the Model 3 in with the Model Y. Sorry, Elon, not even close.

So the Corolla is really still the king by a pretty wide margin. But here’s the thing to remember: As I said about the Land Cruiser recently, the Corolla isn’t a car so much as it is cars. It’s got a ton of variants, in the U.S. and globally, and that includes the sedan, hatchback, wagon in some markets, the Corolla Cross compact crossover, plus an assortment of different engines sold across the world—and that’s before you get to weirdo outliers like the GR Corolla. It’s effectively a car lineup unto itself, while the vehicle named the Model Y is more or less the same thing across the world—give or take some RWD and AWD configurations and battery sizes.

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I land a little less decisively on this than Lassa did because I think you have to start with how you define things like “model” and “Corolla” to begin with. But! None of this is to discount the success of the Model Y, as it’s clearly the EV sales leader here and abroad and likely to stay that way for a long time. They’re still flying off the figurative shelves wherever they’re sold.

So the verdict, at least for me, is that the Model Y is the world’s best-selling battery EV and one of the world’s top-selling cars. I don’t know how useful you will find this information, but I think it’s worth talking about.

Feds Get Serious About Autonomous Cars, Finally

Waymo Autonomous Jaguar
Photo: Waymo

You can find countless examples of how the U.S. government takes its sweet time getting around to regulating any sort of new technology: social media, crypto, AI—the list goes on and on. At this point, autonomous cars—particularly fully autonomous robotaxis—aren’t brand new, but the feds have remained happy to just punt any regulating to state governments instead. America took tepid steps toward AV regulation in the Obama years but the Trump administration pared those back.

It’s true that states have different rules around car regulation, period, ranging from ultra-strict (New York, California) to “do whatever the hell you want” (Texas.) But sooner or later the federal government is going to have to do something about both robotaxis and increasingly automated consumer vehicles.

That day may be coming sooner than we all thought. The Detroit News (subscription required) has a scoop that’s weirdly gotten little attention elsewhere about a new office within NHTSA that’s due to face this head-on:

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The Office of Automation Safety housed in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will have a division that will set new safety standards for automated vehicles of all levels and a division to process exemption requests from current standards. It will also spearhead a program to be proposed this fall dubbed the ADS-Equipped Vehicle Safety, Transparency and Evaluation Program (AV STEP), which will allow a larger number of test AVs on the road through a new process that does not have a 2,500-vehicle cap.

“The objective of this office is to consolidate our existing resources to make us more effective and more efficient in addressing the incredible safety potential that automated driving systems could have on our society,” said Ryan Posten, associate administrator for rulemaking at NHTSA, who is leading the creation of the office. “We’re going to do this in a way that delivers the appropriate levels of safety and controls.”

The Detroit News is the first to report the existence of the office, which was quietly launched this spring.

If you need more proof as to why this matters, keep in mind that despite a dismal 2022 for AV startups, investments into that world keep flowing; automakers and tech companies alike are still chasing the goal of full Level 4 autonomy someday; and conulting firm McKinsey said this could be a $400 billion industry by the middle of the next decade. Like with EVs or lower-emission vehicles, this won’t be some instant switch but a gradual shift to more automation in all sorts of cars on the road. That means a lot of issues need to be solved.

However, regulatory issues remain. There are no specific safety standards for AVs, so companies that want to build self-driving vehicles that don’t have controls for a human driver (such as a steering wheel or acceleration and brake pedals) need to get an exemption from NHTSA, and they’re only allowed to deploy up to 2,500 annually.

NHTSA says it will endeavor to answer exemption requests within six months, or a year for more complicated requests, but it regularly takes longer.

This, of course, depends on whether NHTSA’s new office has the personnel and power to face it all head on. NHTSA always complains it’s underfunded and under-resourced (then again, what federal agency doesn’t say that?) and this is a small effort for now until it gets more budget soon:

Congress is considering President Joe Biden’s budget requests now and will finalize funding levels by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. NHTSA is working within its existing budget in the meantime. The agency requested $17 million and 10 staff members to develop the office, as well as $3 million and 15 staff added to an enforcement division dedicated to evaluating AV safety in the fiscal year 2024 budget.

Either way, I agree with Guidehouse analyst and car guy Sam Abuelsamid here: “It’s about time.” We have to deal with this at some point and while it maybe should’ve been 10 years ago, now’s as good a time as any to start.

GM Finally Does More (Or Tells You About It) With OnStar

If you’re like me, you primarily remember GM’s OnStar technology from those TV commercials in the 1990s and 2000s when the main attraction was shown to be helping you make phone calls or calling to see if you were alright in the unfortunate event you rolled your car. I think it’s fair to say GM hasn’t quite taken advantage of its early telematics and in-car data system—certainly from a public awareness standpoint, anyway—as much as it could have. I’ve heard from people inside the company who’ve lamented they never did more with it.

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That now seems to be changing, according to Automotive News. Now that cars are becoming increasingly connected, digital and automated, OnStar is going to be marketed as the heart of that:

General Motors is launching a new advertising campaign that aims to reposition its OnStar service as the digital connection underpinning in-vehicle safety, connectivity and entertainment.

The campaign set to launch Monday gives OnStar a new tagline — “Better Never Stops” — and includes a commercial promoting the brand as the link behind all of GM’s vehicle technology, from its Super Cruise hands-free driver-assist technology to real-time navigation.

Previously, OnStar used the tagline “Be Safe Out There,” which GM said will continue to be part of safety-related messaging.

[…] OnStar has become known over two decades for its in-vehicle safety service, including the ability to connect with advisers for roadside and crash assistance, as well as for connectivity. Going forward, (Laura Thornton, marketing director for GM’s digital business and OnStar) said, the brand will take on an expanded role in connecting consumers to more technology, such as Super Cruise and in-vehicle apps and entertainment.

Don’t worry, though: OnStar will still be OnYourAss if you attempt to do crimes.

Hydrogen’s ‘Chicken And Egg’ Problem In Toyota’s Home Market

Toyota Mirai 1
Photo: Toyota

If you ever wonder how hydrogen-powered cars are going, look no further than this example cited by Bloomberg about Kobe-based taxi company MK West Group. It added a few hydrogen Toyota Mirai models to its fleet because they’re nice and complimented their fleet of mostly hybrid cars. But so far, the value proposition isn’t there:

The cars’ biggest selling point is they can be refilled, super quick — handy for a taxi company where having drivers idle means money lost. The Mirais take three to five minutes to have their tanks replenished, giving them a leg up over electric vehicles that take at least 30 minutes on a fast-charger.

But compared to a hybrid car, for example, the cost of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle rises by around ¥1 million ($7,100) if it runs 150,000 kms a year as a taxi, [company president Yoshiaki] Aoki said.

“You’d have to be crazy to buy a FCEV, even considering the environmental angle,” he said. “And customers aren’t prepared to pay extra money because the taxi they’re using is good for the environment.”

And here’s the problem: even in Japan, the country where arguably the biggest hydrogen true-believers come from, investments aren’t being made into H2 stations. You may think “the market” has to rise to meet the moment in every case, but the truth is that sometimes new technologies and big shifts have to be subsidized like crazy by taxpayer money—as has been the case in countless countries and industries over the years.

Hydrogen providers do get subsidies from the government to cover station installation and operation costs, but there isn’t sufficient policy direction from Japan’s current ruling party, and it’s become “a chicken-and-egg problem,” Ueno said.

“There’s no demand so there are no stations, and there are no stations so there’s no demand, and this has been going on for quite some time,” he said. “Something has to break through.”

Right now in America, we’re seeing record investments into battery plants and charging stations as the EV market grows—though part of the problem is EV charging stations are astronomically cheaper to build than H2 stations. I’m not convinced this always needs to be an either/or situation, and a company as big as Toyota is probably wise to keep its powder dry on H2 as a long-term thing. But without huge public investments, H2 may just stay stuck in neutral.

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Your Turn

For that last sentence, I should be clear I’m talking about passenger cars: H2 is showing a lot of potential for trucking and industrial applications. Beyond that, where do you see H2 going? The (eventual) future or a branch of the powertrain tree that doesn’t grow into anything else?

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Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
11 months ago

Yup, fuck this timeline and I’ll get an EV over my dead body

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
11 months ago

A Corolla is a Corolla…also Tesla sucks

Bork Bork
Bork Bork
11 months ago

There’s a hydrogen station here in Helsinki but it’s been closed for years for lack of use. I think a nearby city is doing a bus pilot program.

anAutopian
anAutopian
11 months ago

If e-fuels are more economical than hydrogen, then your answer is definitely NO to hydrogen.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
11 months ago

“Beyond that, where do you see H2 going? The (eventual) future or a branch of the powertrain tree that doesn’t grow into anything else?”

Simple- the sky, specifically big jets. BEVs are, barring an absolutely miraculous improvement in the mass energy density of batteries, a complete non-starter for anything larger than about a 10 PAX prop plane. Greatly simplifying, this is because the very best batteries can pack about 1% of the energy per unit of mass that jet fuel can, and for any given cruising speed the energy consumption of an aircraft scales against mass not in a linear fashion, but as the doubling of a square- A320/B737 sized BEV would have a range of under 100 miles.

So I’m guessing not a lot of people are paying attention to this yet, but all across the globe airlines carrying both both PAX and cargo are trying to sprint ahead of the emissions regulation hammer and convert to net-zero carbon fuels. At the moment, this means Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and e-fuels (fancy name for synthetic SAF) because you can convert existing airliners to run off of them- see Boeing’s current ecoDemonstrator fleet, a 777 and a 787 both of which are using as much SAF as is available at destination airports. While nothing is of yet set in stone, the general industry consensus is that by 2035 much of the airspace governed by North American and European regulators will require a substantial (30-100%) level of SAFs/e-Fuels to be used for commercial operations. So within the next decade and a half, the availability and use of net-zero carbon fuels will skyrocket in aerospace, and I have no doubt that technology will trickle down to other industrial and automotive applications.

But that is only a solution for the current generation of airliners, and still results in carbon emissions that must be recaptured and integrated back into the fuels, all while sustaining conversion costs. The better option is LH2, either to power fuel cells or directly burn in engines. LH2 is extremely attractive for aerospace because it has 3x the mass energy density of jet fuel, and as demonstrated above, mass savings carry enormous benefits for air vehicles, and you can do very cool things like cryogenic ingestion engines which would be considerably more efficient than even today’s best turbines. Also, the aerospace industry has actual experience with tanking LH2 and its myriad challenges, and fuel tank flammability is already an extensively regulated and engineered subject on existing aircraft which means the technical leap is far, far smaller than it would be for an automotive application.

There are already prototype LH2 (fuel cell) airliners flying with Universal Hydrogen, and Zero Avia has a big contract with Alaska to convert some of their Q400 turboprops into 500 NM range, the first of which was started in March of this year. So in the not very distant future, it is likely you may be flying on an LH2-fueled air liner.

Last edited 11 months ago by Wuffles Cookie
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
11 months ago

Since Tesla has no year models and changes designs as often as Stellantis how do you differ the sales between quarters and years?

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

The date? …

R Rr
R Rr
11 months ago

and they’re going to hammer that shit all the way through the already here lithium and cobalt shortages.

FYI hydrogen fuel cells need platinum, and the electrolysers need nickel and zirconium; all those are far more scarce and difficult to extract & refine than lithium

Last edited 11 months ago by R Rr
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  R Rr

Ever hear the phrase “you catch more flies with honey?”

Honey only costs about $4k per ton.

I’d explain but I like my job and don’t want to be sued out of existence.

Thevenin
Thevenin
11 months ago

Every single regulation and incentive and infrastructure push that’s driving electrification has a carve-out for fuel cell vehicles. All of them. Even the ones in the EU.

It’s fair to be frustrated, but there’s no conspiracy here. The manufacturers aren’t selling fuel cell vehicles because whenever they try, customers (other than you, I suppose) look at the cost of running them and walk away laughing.

Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
11 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Oh cool, an internet expert

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
11 months ago

I don’t understand why CNG is not getting more attention. Sure, it is still a fossil fuel, but it produces about 20% less emissions at the tailpipe than gas according to the EPA, and all the technology and infrastructure exist and is relatively cheap.

David Smith
David Smith
11 months ago

Go ahead, get started. You know you want to.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
11 months ago

Leaks. Leaks everywhere. The wells leak very toxic fracking fluid into groundwater and that’s just the start. Methane is almost as bad as helium for not staying where it’s put. The pipelines leak at junctions. The compressor stations leak. The low pressure distribution lines leak.

I live 150 miles away from the heart of PA’s part of the Marcellus Shale deposit. It’s a dirty little secret that a goodly number of rural PA residents can light their tap water on fire so people can prattle on about how “‘Murican gas” is so good for us.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
11 months ago

Isn’t the Model Y technically a light truck, not a car?

Parsko
Parsko
11 months ago

Hydrogen…
Let’s take some electricity and make hydrogen with it. Then stuff that into cars.

OR…
We can just stuff that electricity directly into the cars, bypassing all the “efficiencies” of making/using hydrogen.

HydROgEn iS tHE FUtuRE!!!!

Parsko
Parsko
11 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

The other thing that irks me about the trucking industry is that all their fuel tanks are “standardized” and “exposed”. Aka, it’s the EASIEST industry to convert to electric, and have systems fully automated for them (to do battery swaps).

How many different style fuel tanks are there on big rigs??? We don’t CARE about style, or what these things look like. They aren’t the emotional tie to our lizard brains like our personal vehicles are. This is the closest thing, and lowest hanging fruit, to the battery swap.

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
11 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

“Hydrogen is the future” if you have only an elementary school level understanding of chemistry.

“The only emission from burning it is water!”
Cool. Where is it?
“It’s the most common element in the universe!”
Great. How do you break down the molecular bonds to get to it?
“Molecular what now?”
Can you violate the laws of thermodynamics to somehow get more energy out of the H2 than you put into harvesting it in the first place? How do you store it safely? How do you transport it? How do you build the infrastructure to get it into individual vehicles?
“The only emission from burning it is water!”

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
11 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

Or, if you have a graduate level understanding of engineering. Total system efficiency matters.

Contemporary EVs are very heavy because they use an extremely not-energy-dense storage medium. The very best batteries we have right now, in a lab, have approximately 1/50th the energy density of gasoline. When applied to a high-performance real-world scenario such as Formula E, that number drops to 1/100th the energy density. Liquid hydrogen such as is used in aerospace applications has a mass energy density 3 times that of gasoline. Now, hydrogen does have a tankage problem, but this is an engineering problem not a fundamental physics one, and lots of good progress is being made with modern composites. But most critically it is not a two and a bit orders of magnitude energy density problem.

Contemporary EVs also suffer their worst efficiencies at higher speeds, because the torque and efficiency of an electric motor are at their peak values at zero rotational speed, and drop from there, with no corresponding increase in combustion efficiency to offset the drag penalty. Hence why your highway mileage for an EV is always worse than in-town (assuming similar parasitic losses). Contrast with ICE powerplants (burning LH2 in the same fashion we now burn gasoline), which tend to have their best efficiencies at such speeds, and which account for the majority of miles driven for the average driver, and the vast majority for shipping companies.

Finally, there is one last advantage of hydrogen that is seldom discussed- it is possible to convert an existing gasoline or diesel ICE powertrain into a hydrogen one by replacing the fuel system and headers. While expensive, it would provide an option to keep collector vehicles on the road in a minimal emission configuration, or provide an economical refit option for larger fleet vehicles (semis and the like) instead of compelling a whole new build, which burns far more resources than a conversion kit.

So yes, you take additional efficiency losses using your (hopefully green) electricity to generate hydrogen. But the vehicle that then uses the hydrogen has a number of efficiency advantages over an EV: it will certainly be much, much lighter for any given application, it will have a better efficiency at highway speeds, and of course you can fill your tank in 5 minutes instead of 45.

LH2 vs EV is a far more complicated question than can be answered in a comment or an article, but the efficiency of an LH2 vehicle has a number of structural advantages over EVs that are seldom discussed, and these advantages come a long way to equaling or surpassing the conversion efficiency losses, which may well result in a net lower footprint for a number of applications.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
11 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

Also, the only ’emission is water’ is only true if you burn it with pure oxygen, is it not? Which is… exciting… if not done veeeery carefully. You still get NOx emissions burning it in air, tho that’s more of an issue for the hydrogen ICE crowd, not team fuel cells (wherever the fuck the hydrogen ICE fans have gone these days).

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
11 months ago
Reply to  Gilbert Wham

Hydrogen ICE fan here- most of use play in the sky, and eventually you’ll fly on an LH2 powered airliner because BEV airliners are not really an option, for reasons I commented on upthread.

But just FYI- the NOx emissions problem for LH2 combustion is in all likelihood significantly overstated, see here for technical explanation:

https://www.power-eng.com/hydrogen/when-it-comes-to-hydrogen-were-probably-overestimating-nox-emissions-heres-why/

Also, if you want a rather lengthy DoE discussion on the topic, see here:

https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/h2iq-hour-addressing-nox-emissions-gas-turbines-fueled-hydrogen-text-version

TL; DR: It is certainly something to be concerned about, but unlike carbon-based fuels which emit CO2 as an actual chemical product of combustion, NOx emissions from LH2 combustion are a catalyzed byproduct that can be significantly reduced with some fancy engineering (keeping average combustion zone temps below 1900K for one), and experimental power plants have been able to meet ultra-low NOx standards already.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
11 months ago

If hydrogen is going to be viable for commercial trucking (not clear of course), then it will be viable for passenger cars at least in populous areas. The trucks will need refueling stations and those stations would be silly not to offer services to non-truckers. I could see a future where it’s only viable for things like planes and trains, which I don’t think would spill over into general availability.

Robert L
Robert L
11 months ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

Wouldn’t that make them viable only in rural areas? Or am I wrong that most publicly accessible truck stops are in rural areas on the interstate?

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  Robert L

No, I think you’re wrong that most publicly accessible truck stops are in rural areas.

Many really big full service (showers, restaurants, ect) truck stops are out in the middle of nowhere, although many aren’t. Pay attention at gas stations and you might be surprised how many regular gas stations have a fuel island out back for semis.

Maymar
Maymar
11 months ago
Reply to  Robert L

I know a bunch of the light industrial area surrounding my local airport has plenty of trucking-related infrastructure as it’s all a bunch of interconnected logistics, and of course you’re going to put truck stops places a lot of trucks end up.

Although, I’m not sure I’m signing up for a car that requires me to make a 45 minute round trip every time I need to fuel it up.

R Rr
R Rr
11 months ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

When the cars, the fuel, the fuel stations are ALL more expensive than battery EVs, then on top of that you add the inefficiency (use electricity to produce H2, then use more electricity to compress & cool it, only to use it in a fuel cell to convert it back to electricity to run an electric motor) and polution (H2 is made from methane mostly, one of the worst greenhouse gasses), you’d have to be pretty delusional to think hydrogen in passenger cars is a sane and realistic possibility.

Also the way hydrogen leaks out of a car’s tank in a matter of days just adds to its terrible-ness.

The reason Toyota keeps at it is the japanese govt subsidies it keeps getting for it (and why it keeps lobbying for them).

Last edited 11 months ago by R Rr
Harmanx
Harmanx
11 months ago
Reply to  R Rr

Exactly. And there’s no room in there for any argument that H2 is a good idea for semi trucks either. The fossil fuel industry loves hydrogen because with it they could still sell a product to drivers — and very likely a green-washed product created, cooled, and transported using their favorite substances: coal and oil.

Chris D
Chris D
11 months ago
Reply to  R Rr

Making hydrogen from methane eliminates the methane. Hydrogen is H2, methane is CH4.

Drew
Drew
11 months ago

‘I land a little less decisively on this than Lassa did because I think you have to start with how you define things like “model” and “Corolla” to begin with.’

Model 3/Y lumped together and all Corollas lumped together seems like a fair comparison, though it would be nice to see things broken out more. The 3 is a sedan, the Y is a 2- or 3-row crossover. The Corolla is a sedan, hatch, crossover, or wagon. Sedans and hatches largely compete in the same space, and wagons and crossovers are similar. The available 3rd row in the Y positions it in a very popular US segment that Corolla doesn’t touch.

Besides, that is a massive sales difference. If you did break things out more, I suspect the Y would not gain the edge here.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
11 months ago

 I should be clear I’m talking about passenger cars: H2 is showing a lot of potential for trucking and industrial applications.”

I disagree. I don’t see much promise at all. BEVs will spank the ass of hydrogen vehicles in the commercial space just like they’ve done in the consumer space for all the same reasons.

If hydrogen can’t make it in the consumer space, then it doesn’t have a chance in hell in the more TCO-sensitive commercial space.

“Beyond that, where do you see H2 going?”

I see hydrogen never being little more than low-volume PR exercises used by companies like Toyota to make it look like they are “doing something”. And it will only impress people with little or no real knowledge of what is truly ‘green’ and what isn’t.

Anyone with any real knowledge knows that from a ‘green’ perspective, hydrogen vehicles are expensive/inefficient CRAP compared to BEVs.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago

The energy density and refueling time are some big advantages that hydrogen potentially has over battery electric, and those do matter more for a heavy truck than they do for a grocery getter.

I agree that the storage and transport and, most importantly, cost means that hydrogen won’t take off.

Goose
Goose
11 months ago

x

Last edited 11 months ago by Goose
Goose
Goose
11 months ago

If hydrogen can’t make it in the consumer space, then it doesn’t have a chance in hell in the more TCO-sensitive commercial space.

Ahh, yes, as everyone knows “what works for consumers works for commercial users” is so true. I mean, we totally don’t see commercial things use completely different tech than the consumer. I write this sitting on my office toilet which is plumbed directly to the water supply with no tank, before I go move the propane powered fork truck, to lift the 480V 3 phase air compressor into place that will eventually power 100% of the hand tools on the production line we are installing. You know, all things that the standard consumer first had at home to first prove its capability before the commercial space was willing to adapt its use.

Let’s get real, a products suitability for consumers has no sway if it will be suitable for commercial users.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
11 months ago

In the consumer space we already know that BEV aren’t great for towing things. Scale that up to semi-sized loads and the efficiency of the battery starts to drop off pretty quick.
Because we’re talking about industry here, the refueling time for H2 seems a big selling point. If it takes me 20-30 min to refuel my Tesla or Hyundai passenger car, it’s going to be upwards of 1-2 hours of downtime for the semi given that the batteries are going to have to be so much larger. Maybe if we ever get some of the fabled battery tech advancements that are always and perpetually 5 years away that could change and you might be right.

My bet is going to be that we end up with some sort of hybrid H2 and battery–electric system for semi and container ships since those big ships account for a very large percentage of CO2 emissions. I just don’t think the batteries are ever going to be efficient enough on their own, well at least not in my lifetime.

Dan Bee
Dan Bee
11 months ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

What about strong plug-in hybrids? RAM is about to launch exactly this to sell alongside its BEV truck.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
11 months ago

But Monkey boy is still working very hard, round the clock.
As evidenced by the cool re-branding of Twitter. Thanks to Elon life gets better every day.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago

I see Model Ys everywhere. In my area Teslas probably make up 10% of all cars or even more at this point. For a lot of NPCs they’re the defacto aspirational car, and with the price cuts/sink hole-ing EV values and the prevalence of charging infrastructure in the Northeast a lot of folks can now afford them and are willing to take the plunge.

That being said, I think the Model Y and Model X are some of the ugliest cars on the road right now. Both just look like Model 3s that swallowed an air hose. They’re bulky and ungainly looking and I don’t think the sedan esque/coupe SUV styling works at all, with Tesla or any other brand quite frankly. Teslas entire lineup is absolutely begging for refreshed styling but god emperor Elon says we’ll get nothing and like it.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago

So I’m not the only one that thought that the Model Y was a rather ugly obese looking car.

Robert L
Robert L
11 months ago

Teslas entire lineup is absolutely begging for refreshed styling but god emperor Elon says we’ll get nothing and like it.

Hate the guy but he’s not wrong here. If they’re going after the Corolla market then aesthetics are going to be very unimportant relative to price.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  Robert L

I generally agree with the Henry Ford approach that Elon is going for here.

People don’t change every 3-7 years. Roads don’t change every 3-7 years.
Why do cars need to change every 3-7 years?

If a cars design is fundamentally good, age will not make it stop being fundamentally good.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

“People don’t change every 3-7 years. Roads don’t change every 3-7 years.
Why do cars need to change every 3-7 years?”

Worn out tooling for one. Fixing design flaws for another. Better safety, better emissions, more efficient designs there are lots of reasons for cars to change every 3-7 years.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

> If a cars design is fundamentally good, age will not make it stop being fundamentally good.

Design for utilitarian purposes is an iterative process. What was good 5 years ago would very likely be better today.

Protodite
Protodite
11 months ago

I’d have to disagree here honestly. I don’t personally want a Tesla, and it’s not to my own tastes, but I do think that von Holzhausen has absolutely knocked it put of the park with how dialed in they are design wise. I just passed a model S today on I-80 and was amazed how well its design holds up being so old. Model Y gets a lil jelly beany for me compared to the 3, but the consistency through it is very nicely executed and I can see the broader appeal, especially with how nicely the top glass from windshield to back flows over the vehicle. Much like Polestar, there is a very Industrial Design approach to the aesthetics.

However, I’m guessing with your mention of “god emperor Elon” this isn’t an opinion based solely on the design.

Last edited 11 months ago by Protodite
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Protodite

They look like 1990s bulb Tauruses to me.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
11 months ago

I agree. That entire class of vehicles is pointless and ugly. I was stuck behind one of those stupid Mercedes coupe/SUV monstrosities today. As always, it made me very angry. The fucking thing has a boot. A boot! The size of a boot in a perfectly fine mercedes sedan! What the everloving fuck is the point of one of those stupid, road hippo, karen-mobiles if you can’t at least fit a load of stuff in the back of it?

Vee
Vee
11 months ago

Hydrogen as replacement for small aircraft fuel and unelectrified train lines I think is the most likely chance at success. Having the fuel cell protected in a helicopter or single engine airplane is already critical, so making a non-porous liquid hydrogen tank seems like a basic expectation that develops off of that. For trains it would replace current diesel-electric units, locomotives people are starting to get upset at for starting wildfires, being loud as shit, and coating buildings in soot as they pass.

In either application batteries would never cut it because they’d be too damn heavy if of a usable gAh. That is unless solid state graphene batteries come along, which isn’t likely in the next twenty years.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago

I’d appreciate a deep dive into the economics and carbon emissions of H2 vs ethanol or “e-fuels”.

My understanding is that virtually all hydrogen production is from natural gas, and is not really “clean” in the sense that it’s being sold to us as. Producing it from seawater or some other renewable source is likely much more expensive and not commercially viable.

The Bonnie Situation
The Bonnie Situation
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Agreed — only advantage I see for Hydrogen is it could, maybe, someday be made primarily through electrolysis with renewable electricity. So ethanol’s carbon intensity is relatively plateaued (arguably, since we could use better feedstock than corn) but hydrogen has a much better hypothetical emissions improvement.

Compared to battery electric, biggest pros to hydrogen are for energy-intensive applications (over the road trucking, maybe air travel, etc where batteries are too small/heavy/take too long to recharge) and that you can use it to buffer renewable electricity (e.g. pump out tons of extra hydrogen when it’s sunny or windy). Biggest downside is it’s much more efficient to just store that energy in a battery than go through the whole set of efficiency losses of making, storing, and using hydrogen.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago

Compared to battery electric, biggest pros to hydrogen are for energy-intensive applications (over the road trucking, maybe air travel, etc where batteries are too small/heavy/take too long to recharge) 

This is where I’d really like to see the comparison to ethanol, which is much denser and easier to store without pressurized tanks and such.

and that you can use it to buffer renewable electricity (e.g. pump out tons of extra hydrogen when it’s sunny or windy)

Yes, I can see this if and only if renewable electricity becomes virtually limitless and free. But if it’s just as cheap and easy to make something denser, like e-fuels, H2 may lose this advantage too.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago

“Agreed — only advantage I see for Hydrogen is it could, maybe, someday be made primarily through electrolysis with renewable electricity”

That won’t happen for a long time if ever.

As far as I’ve been able to figure out right now it would take the entire renewable energy capacity of the United States – including all its hydroelectric – just to make enough industrial hydrogen for the world. IMO this is where the world needs to be focusing its renewable hydrogen efforts, not on transport but on making renewable hydrogen for industry. Industrial hydrogen is going to be needed regardless and there is no other option. If and only if industry gets more renewable hydrogen than it can use should anyone even think about using H2 for moving around.

Ben
Ben
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Ditto, although when I’ve looked into it before it’s somewhat difficult to nail down numbers. There are a lot of ranges involved (25-40% efficient is a rather large spread, especially when multiplied by another 25-40% efficiency in a separate step of the process). That said, the numbers I have seen make it pretty clear clean hydrogen is multiple times less efficient in terms of energy usage than EVs, and when you consider that there are concerns about what large-scale EV adoption will do to the grid you have to seriously question how hydrogen is going to be viable.

Take the electrical infrastructure problems of EVs and at least triple them, then multiply it a few more times because building a hydrogen station is drastically more difficult than installing an EV charging station. And even that hasn’t gone well, Tesla excluded, so what are the odds hydrogen stations are going to be more reliable?.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben

I’m less interested in efficiency arguments vs. EVs because you’re right, there’s no way any manufactured fuel will compete on efficiency alone.

For certain applications though (heavy towing, airplanes, etc), energy density is much more important than outright efficiency, unless and until batteries improve by an order of magnitude. So in that sense, I’m interested in seeing how those options (ethanol, e-fuel, H2) compare to each other.

Last edited 11 months ago by V10omous
Robert L
Robert L
11 months ago

The 30 minutes v 3 minutes comparison isn’t a complete way of thinking about it. The 3 minutes doesn’t factor in that the taxi has to go to a specific refilling location which is more often than not going to be further away than a charger.

Also, I assume the 30 minutes is to go 10-80 charge which may or may not be overkill. A handful of 10-15 minute charges while the driver takes a break might be more realistic.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago
Reply to  Robert L

Depends on whether the company can arrange its own on site refueling but yeah, putting in a few L3 chargers would be a lot easier and more space efficient than parking a trailer of CH2.

JDE
JDE
11 months ago

considering volatility with regards to Battery materials, the lack of those big batteries to be recycled profitably, and the eventual wear and tear on the road surfaces, all the while eating into fuel taxes, I could see an alternative fuel that has far fewer downsides for the actual customer being popular. considering the Fuel cells use large capacitors over a battery for short term storage, I could also see the long distance travel issues worked out via something akin to a third rail in the Highway systems. this would also segregate energy use for on highway driving and provide a tax stream for repairing the roads destroyed by 7,000 lb battery dragging SUV’s. It also might make Level 4 driving easier to attain as the vehicles on these roads would potentially be tracked and could be speed limited pretty easily.

This would allow a long distance drive to be something you either use to see the scenery safely(as a driver) or allow you to start driving at 9PM and arrive the next morning sleeping in your vehicle.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
11 months ago

Strangely enough, I see over a dozen hydrogen cars every week when I get sent to a neighborhood of LA for week.

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
11 months ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

If there is 1 or 2 H2 stations near that area I can see people justify buying one since they’re dirt cheap.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
11 months ago

yea, there is. There are even lines to fill up!

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
11 months ago

Future of H2? Replacing diesel generators in locomotives, well at least until a Norfolk Southern train goes full Oppenheimer in Ohio

JDE
JDE
11 months ago

I think the oil companies are looking into Biodiesels to avoid this. certainly makes some sense to use up waste oils that generally start as oils from plants over using a lot of electricity to make Hydrogen for them. those big storage tanks are natural heat tanks if painted black, that is usually part of the bio diesel process.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
11 months ago

In Tesla’s defense, doesn’t Ford group all F-series sales together? That’s what I’m seeing from their annual reports. I think it’s not very clear/honest, because they are grouping F-150’s with up to (I think) F-550s/F-600s which are vastly different vehicles.

Other car OEMs have similar examples, but I think that the F-Series range is so vast that it’s too much of a catch-all. Just my opinion though, and not saying that what Tesla is doing is really all that correct either.

JDE
JDE
11 months ago

F150 is separated from Super Duty, and in that category they have light and medium duty trucks. but certainly the F150 has many variations and drivetrain options. a 2 door 8 foot bed 2.7 v6 base model work truck is massively different from a platinum series Lightning.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
11 months ago
Reply to  JDE

Do they really? In the official sales figures that Ford is putting out, I’m seeing F-series with the comment:

“To note, Ford F-Series sales figures are comprised of the following vehicles:

  • F-150 family, including the F-150 Raptor
  • F-Series Super Duty family, including the F-250, F-350 and F-450″

So not F-550/F-600 probably because they are class 5/6 which is Medium Duty, even though they share a lot with the F-350/F-450.

I have seen Ford separate out the Lightning sales though, which does make sense today. But maybe there is some other official doc from Ford that does separate out F-250/350/450 from 150s.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
11 months ago

Still on Top: Ford F-Series Retains Title of Best-Selling Truck for 46th Consecutive Year; Overall Best-Seller for 41st | Ford Media Center

Here is a press release that shows how Ford reports their data (hopefully I can post a link here?). They do appear to include the F150 as well as all Super Duty trucks in their figures, including commercial trucks like the F600. They refer to the SD line as the “F series super duty” in the press release. I just checked my truck and owner’s manual out of curiosity and could not find any reference to “F series super duty” anywhere. It has the F250 model designation on the side, so maybe you could hallucinate it as referring to itself as an “F series super duty”?

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago

The “F-Series” as a catch-all made a lot more sense decades ago, when they shared engines, bodies, etc.

In 1999 the Super Duty went to a separate body, and the last shared engine was discontinued in 2015. Ironically, the interior has become more similar recently.

I agree that it should be split into F150 and F250+ at least. But they won’t do that willingly, because to my knowledge, GM sells quite a few more 1/2 ton trucks than Ford, and the difference in HDs is what allows the “F-Series” to pull ahead of the “Silverado/Sierra + HD”.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Anecdotally, and at least in the American West, GM definitely does not sell “quite a few more” half tons than Ford. I’ve always thought it was very believable that F150s were by far the best selling pickup.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Even including HDs, GM was on top in 2021 and 2022.

https://tfltruck.com/2023/01/full-size-truck-u-s-sales-report-for-2022-gm-is-still-on-top-ram-slides-down-here-is-what-happened/

I don’t think there’s much doubt that GM is in third place in the 3/4-1 ton market; Ford and Ram own that. So the only conclusion is that GM makes it up in 1/2 tons. Of course, like I originally said, no one is willing to break out the data for fear of looking bad.

Last edited 11 months ago by V10omous
Goose
Goose
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Doesn’t Ford use the same cab in the SuperDuty stuff as the F150 again? I thought when they made the change to aluminum bodies in 2016 or 2017 they chose to have them share cabs again?

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Goose

Yes I believe the structure is the same, but I’m not sure if they’re identical in the sense you could interchange doors or something.

Chris D
Chris D
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Lumping all F-series pickups is a cheap way to claim the top sales position. Hyundai could do something similar by calling everything the H-series Elantra, the H-series Whatever, and claiming that they are all related enough to be in the same statistical column.
Next will be Ford claiming that the Mustang and the Mustang Mach-E are counted together, too. They deserve an asterisk, just like Barry Bonds does.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris D

Well GM and Ram do the same thing. So Ford really does sell more trucks than any other brand (sometimes, like the last two years, Chevy + GMC combined surpass them).

It’s silly now when there’s no shared powertrains or bodies. But they used to be the same, so I get it.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
11 months ago

I don’t think it’s a coincidence how often Teslas turn up in The Morning Dump.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
11 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Right? I guess slow car news day = increase Tesla chatter, and autonomous cars need regulation, and hydrogen cars don’t work.

Omg this just in, water is…and we’re getting confirmation, yes water still wet.

JDE
JDE
11 months ago
Reply to  Fuzzyweis

what do you expect from the old-site peeps from NYC? At least they did not bring the Bicycle dude over too.

10001010
10001010
11 months ago
Reply to  JDE

Hey, I miss Raphie’s bicycle articles! I mean, I don’t miss them enough to visit the old site and dodge pop-ups and accordion ads and self-playing videos and slideshows to try to find one of his bicycle articles, but I enjoyed reading them.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

I for one could go for more bicycle content here.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
11 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Avid bicyclist here, but I am rarely able to read anything about bicycles for some reason. I love riding my bike but for some reason it’s a completely different relationship than I have with cars.

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

But how will you keep up with all the advancements in multi-thousand-dollar wireless shifting technology?

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
11 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

I had a guy try to upsell me from a $600 bicycle to a $900 bicycle. The expensive bike was identical to the cheap bike but had a fancy high tech frame that weighed 3 pounds less. I pointed out that I, a then 260 pound man, could easy exceed that weight reduction by skipping dessert a few times and riding the cheap bike. He still seemed genuinely shocked when I opted for the “inferior” bike. He was paid by the hour and did not get a commission, so it didn’t matter to him. Some people are really into bike tech, I guess. I still enjoy riding the $600 bike almost 20 years later, so I am not one of those people.

10001010
10001010
11 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

All my bikes are from the 80s/90s so Raph was working on bikes very similar to mine which helped keep it interesting for me.

Drew
Drew
11 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

As someone who wants to get more into bicycling, but finds the bicycle-specific sites to be a little too much for my skill/knowledge, bike content here would be fantastic.

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago
Reply to  Drew

Once you read a couple issues of Bicycling, you’ve read them all.

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago
Reply to  Drew

What kind of thing are you looking for? If you want to see more custom stuff, like fun cruisers done by people on budgets using spare or found parts or rolling sculptures done by artists who just like to ride or mess around with stuff without gate keeping and marketing-led spandexer snobs, you might like Rat Rod Bikes (it’s not just rats).

Drew
Drew
11 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

That sounds pretty great, thank you! The problem I am currently finding is that I would like to consider an e-bike, but the reviews and info are all from either people who are looking at them as tech, not just bikes, or people who have such high standards for bikes that I’m certainly not looking for the same things they are.

Now I’ll go take a look at rat rod bikes!

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago
Reply to  Drew

Finding a good bike shop is like finding a good mechanic, but they are out there and the staff at a great shop will meet you where you are, attitude-wise, and get you on a bike that meets your needs.

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago
Reply to  Drew

I’m not a tech guy, either, and I don’t get paying car prices for a bike of small, specific advantages and disposable construction over something decent that’s a reasonable price that can last indefinitely. The funny thing is that the real tech that would make a difference would be more recumbents, but since they were outlawed from racing in the ’30s, they never gained popularity in spite of their significant efficiency advantages (though they also tend to look a little goofy). I started building my own Bafang mid drive, but a bunch of other projects have taken precedence. Hoping to get back to it soon. I enjoy the problem solving and making something that looks different.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Yeah, no. Campers and the occasional airplane are borderline relevant. Bicycles are not auto (they require pedaling) and most definitely not pian, whatever that means. Those bicycle articles were annoying and wastes of bandwidth.

Drew
Drew
11 months ago

Skip bicycle articles then. You definitely don’t have to read every article.

Chronometric
Chronometric
11 months ago
Reply to  Patrick George

I know generally what readers care about here…

Is this determined by what we click and comment on? If so, the results are the same. Ultimately, the Morning Constitutional is the best chance to inform the readers and start a conversation. There is a lot of Tesla news because Tesla is good at generating news, even if it is sometimes bs. I think the mix is fine, and as for the NY crew, I’m glad they are Autopians as long as they are not telling readers of a car site that we should all live in dense urban spaces or else we are killing the planet.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
11 months ago
Reply to  Patrick George

Wow, didn’t intend to engender so much interesting discussion with my original comment, nor criticize the choices made by Patrick. I was just being a smart ass equating what generally appears in one’s own morning dump, with Tesla’s appearances in The Morning Dump. It’s been interesting, though.

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago
Reply to  Patrick George

I became a member to support a site that isn’t enslaved to metrics. I don’t get the sense you are trotting out clickbait. And seeing all of the writers respond in the comments is pretty cool. Keep up the good work!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
11 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

I’m with DadBod.
I’m a member, buy merch, evangelize about the site, etc. And I do that because the owners are genuine enthusiasts: it doesn’t feel like this is all about the profit. I quit the old site because it was so littered with pop-ups & auto-play that I couldn’t pleasurably read it any longer. The interaction with writers is great, and I couldn’t count how many notes I’ve taken/screen shots on side issues that have come up in extended threads

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
11 months ago
Reply to  Patrick George

Thank you

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