Home » President Biden’s 100% Tariffs On Chinese EVs Could Have The Hilarious Outcome Of Lotus Building Cars In The United States

President Biden’s 100% Tariffs On Chinese EVs Could Have The Hilarious Outcome Of Lotus Building Cars In The United States

Tmd Lotus Usa
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There are currently no Chinese brands selling electric cars in the United States, and there are very few Chinese-built electric cars here right now. That’s likely to be the case for a while as President Biden delivered on his threat to raise tariffs on electric cars from China this morning. Both Geely-owned Polestar and Geely-owned Lotus are bringing Chinese-built EVs to the United States, but Polestar has plans to build a plant here. Lotus? Not so much, but with a 100% tariff (basically doubling the price of Chinese-built EVs) maybe that will change.

The world is a complex, interconnected kinda place which results in some curious outcomes. Often these quirks come courtesy of the government. In this case, it’s the U.S. government looking into the “exhibited unexpected behavior near traffic safety control devices,” whatever that means. And while we’re talking about driverless cars, the former head/founder of Cruise has started a new robot company.

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Vidframe Min Bottom

Finally, it’s the best Morning Dump of the year! There’s a new Škoda Octavia! Crack out the Budweiser, I’m gonna talk about Czech cars.

Biden’s Tariff Is Basically A Ban On Chinese-Built Electric Cars Of Which There Are… Not Many

Lotus Eletre 8

I think it’s true to say that if a Chinese brand tried to sell cars in the United States it would disprove the theory that any press is good press. It would not go well (you should see the comments we have to edit/delete when we write about Chinese cars). Why do we accept a million items made in China but not cars? That’s probably worth of its own article Whatever your opinion is, even a ban on Chinese brands selling in America wouldn’t mean much. 

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But Chinese-built EVs? Almost every company selling cars in the United States has an operation in China and there are plenty of Chinese-built cars for sale over here, including ones from American brands (both the Lincoln Nautilus and Buick Envision are Chinese-built). This new tariff won’t impact them.

BTW, I guess we should hear from President Biden on what he’s doing, via this big White House statement:

With extensive subsidies and non-market practices leading to substantial risks of overcapacity, China’s exports of EVs grew by 70% from 2022 to 2023—jeopardizing productive investments elsewhere. A 100% tariff rate on EVs will protect American manufacturers from China’s unfair trade practices.

On top of that there are new increases in equipment and metals related to Chinese-sourced batteries:

The tariff rate on lithium-ion EV batteries will increase from 7.5%% to 25% in 2024, while the tariff rate on lithium-ion non-EV batteries will increase from 7.5% to 25% in 2026. The tariff rate on battery parts will increase from 7.5% to 25% in 2024.

The tariff rate on natural graphite and permanent magnets will increase from zero to 25% in 2026. The tariff rate for certain other critical minerals will increase from zero to 25% in 2024.

Despite rapid and recent progress in U.S. onshoring, China currently controls over 80 percent of certain segments of the EV battery supply chain, particularly upstream nodes such as critical minerals mining, processing, and refining. Concentration of critical minerals mining and refining capacity in China leaves our supply chains vulnerable and our national security and clean energy goals at risk.

That might have more of an impact on battery-related costs for certain automakers, but most companies planning to sell electric cars stateside have either built local plants or are rapidly trying to deploy them. The big reason for that is many of these brands want to take advantage of Inflation Reduction Act subsidies, which means those companies are already trying to build a supply chain that uses less China-sourced stuff.

And then there are the funny little exceptions. If you export a car built in the United States you can import a similar car and avoid the tariffs. This is how Geely-owned Volvo kept the price of the EV Volvo EX30, in spite of it being built in China, as Volvo exports the EX90 from South Carolina.

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This works for Volvo. But what about Geely-owned Polestar, which is a Sino-Swedish brand that builds some of its cars in Taizhou, China? Polestar is already planning to make the Polestar 3 in South Carolina this year and, given Europe’s growing discomfort with Chinese cars, is looking to export more cars to Europe from South Carolina.

That leaves Geely-owned Lotus as the odd company out here, because both the new Lotus Eletra and Lotus Emeya are supposed to be designed in England and built in China with no plans that I’ve seen to build cars anywhere else. A 100% tariff makes that an interesting proposition.

The obvious solution, to me, is that Lotus should build cars here in the United States in South Carolina. Imagine what Colin Chapman would have accomplished if he’d had the might of American manufacturing behind him? I’m not saying this is what’s going to happen but Lotus, historically, is comfortable changing its plans.

I think an outcome of all of this being a South Carolina-built Lotus is about the funniest side effect imaginable and it’s the one I’m definitely trying to manifest into being. I want a Lotus with a big MADE IN AMERICA sticker on it. C’mon Lotus. Do it. Do it.

Feds Looking Into Waymo Over ‘Unexpected Behavior’

Waymo Autonomous Jaguar

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The post about driverless cars operating better with a fourth traffic light generated a lot of discussion, even though the technology feels quite a bit in the future. But maybe we need it?

Here’s the skinny from Reuters about an National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inquiry into Google’s self-driving arm Waymo:

The auto safety agency will investigate the Waymo 5th Generation automated driving system performance “in the incidents identified in this resume and similar scenarios, as well as to more closely assess any commonalities in these incidents.”

The investigation, which is the first stage before the agency could demand a recall if it believes the vehicles pose an unreasonable risk to safety, will evaluate Waymo vehicles performance “in detecting and responding to traffic control devices and in avoiding collisions with stationary and semi-stationary objects and vehicles.”

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but the article does mention incidents while entering construction zones, as well as collisions with gates and chains. David, fortunately, didn’t have many of those issues when trying out Waymo in Los Angeles.

Cars are hard! Self-driving cars are harder.

Cruise Founder Starts New Non-Taxi Robot Company

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Kyle Vogt went from co-founding Twitch to co-founding driverless car company Cruise, which was later acquired by General Motors. Vogt was the CEO of the company when one of its driverless Chevy Bolts dragged a pedestrian to the side of the road in California. After a poor response to the incident, Cruise temporarily suspended its fleet of autonomous taxis and Vogt resigned.

My suspicion is that Vogt’s deal with GM/Cruise precludes him from working for/starting another self-driving company (also, who needs the stress?).  Still, robots are fun! Vogt seems to have landed on his feet and is co-founding a bot company… called The Bot Company.

As you can see in the tweet above, The Bot Company is going to make robots that make our lives easier. At this point, I was thinking of doing a whole riff on how he’s creating a bot to fix the lack of time resulting from “the complexities of modern life” caused, in no small part, by his fellow Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Then I realized I need a robot to wash and fold laundry and I decided to just shut up and pray that’s the first thing his company makes.

I See The New Škoda Octavias Are In Early This Year

Octavia Group Shot

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Can you believe that me, Matt Hardigree, could not shake loose a Śkoda when I visited England last year? I am, if you didn’t know, the biggest booster of Škoda on this side of the Smědá. Something about Śkoda not having many cars in England and me being some random ass American. Oh well. I don’t give one pork knuckle, I’m still a fan.

If you somehow weren’t aware, the now wholly-owned Volkswagen Czech brand does what wholly-owned VW brands do and builds cars on different Volkswagen platforms. In some ways it’s a mainstream budget brand but, like JetBlue, it tries to offer a little more for your money. I also think that, historically, Škoda makes more attractive cars on those various platforms than other VW brands. A Škoda Kodiaq is, for instance, the handsomer version of the big Tiguan.

And the Octavia is the way better Golf Mk8/Audi A3, now recently refreshed for your enjoyment:

17 Skoda Octavia Combi Shot

Did I mention it comes in a wagon? It comes in a wagon (or Estate, as they call it). I love a Škoda wagon.

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This is just a refresh, as pointed out by Škoda in its press release:

The refresh of the fourth modern Octavia generation includes a new, upgraded design with revamped front and rear bumpers and an updated Škoda grille. Also new are the second-generation LED Matrix beam headlights, revised LED rear lights with animated indicators and new alloy wheel designs. The new range structure comprises four trim levels – SE Technology, SE L, Sportline and vRS – and offers seven Design Selections for the interior.

Last time I was in Prague I did get to borrow a vRS Octavia sedan, which currently puts out about 260 horsepower from Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter TSI fourbanger. It was great. This in an orange wagon, please!

What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

The artist St. Vincent, named I assume for the weird cars of Australia’s Gulf of St. Vincent, has a new album out and you should give it a listen. If you’ve never heard St. Vincent she’s an art pop/rock singer with a David Byrne streak who can play the guitar like Colin McCrae could drive a Subaru. I’ve never seen her solo act live, sadly, but I’m fairly certain I saw her perform with mega-band the Polyphonic Spree. Maybe I should do the Spree one morning? Anyway, rather than starting you with the new stuff why don’t you dip your toe in the water with the early song “Cruel” and work your way there.

The Big Question

What is the most advanced thing you’d trust a robot to do? Drive? Fold your tighty-whities?

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SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
1 month ago

Well, “add lightness” and SC are phrases never to be contemplated together.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Don’t worry. It’s only a matter of time before a pickup truck is released.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
1 month ago

Just about every year at CES, there’s at least one company promising a machine that will wash, dry, and fold your laundry. I have yet to see one truly successful demo.

Lincoln Clown CaR
Lincoln Clown CaR
1 month ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

I’m on board for a fitted sheet folding robot.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago

LOL, it would just roll the fitted sheet up into a ball like everyone else does.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago

Good enough for me. Where can I get one? 😉

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
1 month ago

At a store that includes a cafe they have a couple of robots. One travels around with a tray of candy to try, along with boxes to purchase. It does a good job of avoiding customers and not being annoying. When I ordered some food to go, I put the number card on the table, and when the food was ready, the robot came out of the kitchen, found the card, and said “your order is ready”. I picked it up and the robot returned to the kitchen. Both were acceptable uses of a robot.

Goof
Goof
1 month ago

What is the most advanced thing you’d trust a robot to do?

I’d say to eat my spare change, but I remember those you could get at a K.B. Toy Store or a Spencer’s Gifts or some such… and they couldn’t even do that right.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 month ago
Reply to  Goof

When I was a kid I got a change-sorter kinda thing from Gold Circle. It was promptly returned.

Detroit Lightning
Detroit Lightning
1 month ago

The failed, autonomous driving CEO pivoting to hacking chores is right out of the Silicon Valley show on HBO

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 month ago

“Crack out the Budweiser, I’m gonna talk about Czech cars.”
Would that be a Budvar or Czechvar? Would a Pilsner Urquell be as good a choice as any (current Japanese ownership since 2017 notwithstanding)?

Username Loading...
Username Loading...
1 month ago

We need to protect local manufacturers as they are important for providing a large number of jobs, but they are also a critical part of the nation’s ability to defend itself, ww2 the arsenal of democracy was a huge advantage and to lose this ability because the industry was allowed to wither and die would not be a good strategic move. However, it is important to provide affordable options for people who need reliable transport and not allow domestic OEMs to fall behind the Chinese. We need some sort of stepped tariff that starts prohibitedly expensive then tapers down to an amount just enough to offset any uneven advantages due to labor practices. This would give domestics some time, but would push cheaper vehicles because competition is coming.

SaabaruDude
SaabaruDude
1 month ago

The overlap in manufacturing abilities to jump between mass market automotive & current-gen military hardware is nowhere near what it once was. Supporting our military industrial base shouldn’t be part of the EV tariff discussion.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

I agree that you can’t really switch a modern auto plant over to building bombers or tanks anymore, but a lot of the component suppliers and industrial base in general has overlaps.

Losing auto manufacturing means losing a lot of those suppliers.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

And to further your point, even if they aren’t as close as they once where they are still some of the closest to what would be needed.

I’m having a hard time understanding some people’s enthusiasm at letting an entire industry potentially crumble (dramatic over-characterization but I think they would still be ok with it) so they can access cheap Chinese stuff.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

One would think they would have learned from the many other industries that have crumbled in the last 30 years, but no.

Saving a few bucks (and for many, sticking it to American automakers they don’t like) carries the day. Depressing to see.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I have no desire to “stick it to American automakers,” as you put it but I do have some reservations about this approach.
Currently there is really no incentive for automakers (or any other company really) to diversify the product lineup to offer something for all areas of the market.

I guess it’s just a quirk of the current state of our system. All these companies are after maximizing growth of revenue. I get it. Revenue and profit are the point. It does seem to be a moment that lacks balance. We can’t have niche vehicles anymore because there isn’t enough volume and CEOs don’t seem to have the patience to answer a shareholder question about, “why are you wasting time building this low volume sports car when you could be building more CR-Vs and RAV4s?”

Automakers had to be pushed into making smaller, efficient cars when the Japanese showed up in the 70s. I get all of the arguments about China. I wouldn’t buy from them. And I think it’s telling when the two political parties that are always at odds about EVERYTHING do find this to agree on. Be it TikTok or electric cars I bet there’s more they’re not telling us and it’s likely a good thing to slow it all down. But it seems like the auto industry (and others really) could use competition from somewhere to kickstart some interest in lower volume and more interesting products than all the same-ness we currently live in.

TL;DR, we need more diversity from somewhere if not China.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

I guess I don’t really agree that we live in a sea of same-ness. Or if you truly feel that way, I’d simply ask when you think it was better?

Most people buy trucks and CUVs now, most people bought trucks and sedans before that, and just sedans before that.

There have always been some weird low-volume offerings and there still are now.

I’d add to this that automakers all over the world have the same profit incentive, that the US is not alone in seeing fewer small cars and sedans offered, and even if Chinese automakers were allowed in, their first offerings would almost surely be anonymous CUVs.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I look at some of the quirkier offerings in Europe, especially places like the Czech Republic and others that aren’t the usual places we tend to think of. Just today Matt mentioned what Skoda is up to and even that is a little out there for our market. Hell, we can’t even have sedans anymore!

I wouldn’t put it as, “other times in the past were better,” but I do look back on my lifetime through 80s, 90s and early 2000s to compare to today.

Just as a few examples, could we have something like a Subaru Brat, a Suzuki Samurai, or could Geo even be a brand today? We have a rear engine Corvette today which is pretty great. But do you think the Viper ever sees the light of day in today’s market? the Vette has a history so we get it, but as an experiment could you see a manufacturer today taking that type of wild risk? I guess you could say some of the electric hyper cars fit that category but they lack a sense of experimentation and crazy that I guess I miss. Look at all the crazy Japanese offerings through the 90s. I know that is a special case where there was a market boon in Japan and they had enough capital to do pretty much whatever they wanted.

The point is (belabored though it may be) is there was so much experimentation and quirkiness and weirdness. If they sold 5000 units, that was ok.

I completely realize that everyone should respond to me with the “old man yells at clouds” grandpa Simpson meme. But I miss the weird and I miss that car styles used to be more different.

I get that the market has spoken and no one wants cars anymore. But lower volume SUVs were a thing when cars were popular and automakers didn’t seem to care as much if they didn’t sell a billion of everything and you could more easily find that weird thing you were looking for.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

I think in many respects you are selling today’s offerings short, and that weird stuff exists now, just maybe not in your preferred segments.

Imagine explaining a BMW X6 to someone in 1990.

Imagine telling someone in 1990 you could buy today a 300 hp, 3 cylinder, AWD Toyota Corolla.

Imagine telling bubble-era Toyota they would someday collaborate with BMW on a low-volume sports car.

Imagine explaining you could buy an F150 or Bronco with 37″ tires from the factory. Or a Wrangler with almost 500 hp.

Imagine explaining the Cybertruck to anyone at any time in human history.

Imagine telling a Subaru Brat owner that in 2024 you could buy a Ford Maverick that provided more utility, more seats, and got 40 mpg for half the price of an average new vehicle.

And so on.

There is still a diversity of sedans, they just are now more concentrated in the luxury and sporting segments, which has always made more sense. I mourn the loss of coupes and 2 door SUVs, but even I need to admit that no one bought them when they were offered.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Perhaps that is my underlying point;
In previous eras (is that the right phrase? Makes me feel old) the same number of people were buying coupes and two-door SUVs (also see: regular cab trucks). But now automakers have a lower threshold for what they will accept to manufacture the different styles.

In 2006 I bought a 2 door VW GTI. I’ve no idea when they stopped offering those here but we can’t even have minor variations of body styles on same models of cars because of all the points I’m trying (poorly) to make. I don’t think the demand for this has changed a lot. Manufacturers just care more about maximizing profit than catering to every niche.

I don’t intend to sound anti profit. I know why this is necessary and generally support the profit motive in most any transaction. There is always a pendulum like swing with profit on one end and market share (or product diversity if you will) on the other and companies swing back and forth on what is important to them at any point in time. I just don’t remember a time in my life with so much focus on efficiency and profit at the expense of choice.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago

The sentiment seems to be “they didn’t make good enough vehicles, so let them die.” Which … who are “they”?

“They” = decisionmakers = executives.

The executives are going to be JUST FINE no matter what happens to the companies (the Boeing CEO just got an 8-figure severance!!). The people who are hurt when a company fails are the thousands of regular workers.

Phuzz
Phuzz
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Aren’t most of the component suppliers Chinese?

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Username Loading...
1 month ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

Sure it isn’t what it used to be but if a conflict of that scale broke out there would be a lot of equipment that would have to be produced somewhere. Even if it isn’t as well suited as it was it’s still probably the closest fit.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 month ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

It should be a part of every discussion. Planning for the worst doesn’t happen at the declaration of war. By then it’s waaaay to late.

Dolsh
Dolsh
1 month ago

What is the most advanced thing you’d trust a robot to do?

I was thinking about those lawn mowing robots. I hate cutting the grass. But then I’ve also seen Maximum Overdrive many times, so maybe a lawn mower that cuts on it’s own isn’t so good.

Folding tighty-whities it is then.

Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago

It depends on how tight its grip is…..

Last edited 1 month ago by Parsko
Nic Periton
Nic Periton
1 month ago

I rather like the robot that mows the lawn, specially when the chickens ride on it.

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
1 month ago

Is there a point to driverless cars other than eliminating the labor cost of the driver? Why would anyone support this? There is almost nothing more expensive to local and state governments than the long term unemployed. Some of them become homeless, which is the most costly of all. Others turn to crime, which is expensive, especially if they get caught and go to jail. Still more will be on government subsidized programs for income, rent and food.

Currently I can step outside and minutes later a human being who is earning a living will drive me wherever I want to go. Please someone explain to me the benefit to society of driverless technology.

Last edited 1 month ago by FleetwoodBro
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

Shh, you’re not supposed to say the obvious part out loud. It might hurt the SPAC valuations…

Red865
Red865
1 month ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

It’s not the ‘benefit to society’ but the benefit for the ‘financial/capitalist class’ and the ‘hot potatoes’ of cutting edge ‘tech’ company stocks.

Mike B
Mike B
1 month ago
Reply to  Red865

This. They’ll downsize and obsolete the majority of jobs in the US, then frame the displaced workers as lazy drains on society.

Dolsh
Dolsh
1 month ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

Right now… you’re right.

In theory, there’s a long term vision where we can see cities without parking lots. There could actually be green spaces (or more condo buildings) and cities could do a better job of accommodating pedestrians and bikes. There would be no gridlock, as autonomous cars wouldn’t need traffic lights. An autonomous car doesn’t need to stop to eat or go to the bathroom, and if it’s an EV, it can charge when waiting for the next pickup.

As far as I know, there are no cities that have a long term plan that includes the impact of autonomous cars. That long term plan would have to include economical development to maintain employment for all the people who aren’t driving. There are white papers out there that talk of the future of urban development, but that’s it as far as I know.

So right now, it’s all about a company doing a thing to make money at minimal employee cost.

Robert L
Robert L
1 month ago
Reply to  Dolsh

I get the theory but we’re so far away from that being possible that I don’t think it’s even worth considering. In the meantime, it’s just all downside – additional empty cars consuming energy circling around cities while reducing driver incomes.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert L

Why would they circle around like Ubers and Lyfts when they don’t actually have passengers?

One of the things about driverless cars is having the algorithms running to know where demand will be ahead of time, and the driverless cars will simply park near those places until needed. Or wait to depart for those places until right before they’re needed.

These are the calculations that bored taxi drivers don’t compute.

Robert L
Robert L
1 month ago

Why would they circle around like Ubers and Lyfts when they don’t actually have passengers?

Uber and Lyft drivers can’t just cruise around endlessly because they need to stop to relieve themselves, eat, etc. Robotaxis don’t and so the rational thing to do would be to keep them in high density areas for as long as possible.

They’re not going to park because there aren’t many free places for them to park in areas where the demand is highest.

Last edited 1 month ago by Robert L
PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert L

Networked smart vehicles would “know” the optimal number of vehicles to have in motion in each area at each time, and the rest will park themselves nearby, at distances appropriate to handle surges.

Fewer human drivers means that most of the downtown parking spaces that exist will be available. Many of those will become “pause and charge” stations, probably via long term lease agreements. And most taxi stands will be converted to “pause and charge” stations as well.

Robert L
Robert L
1 month ago

Networked smart vehicles would “know” the optimal number of vehicles to have in motion in each area at each time

Different operators will still have competitive incentives to flood high demand areas with more cars than necessary any time that the cost of operating is lower than the amount they can make by picking up rides. An idle car isn’t making any money after all.

and the rest will park themselves nearby, at distances appropriate to handle surges.

“Nearby” is the problem though – in urban cores, at rush hour this probably won’t work because the amount of time it takes for the taxi to enter the demand area will be too high to make economic sense.

Fewer human drivers means that most of the downtown parking spaces that exist will be available.

It’s possible but there are still going to be tons of human drivers for the foreseeable future.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert L

Different operators will definitely have competitive incentives.

Just like self driving cars will have incentive to move a slight bit sooner at stop signs and yield at merge points slightly less often, to give advantage to their owners/passengers.

I guess the summary is that we see the same problems, but overall, I expect it will work out much better than you do.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

You seem to be conflating autonomous taxis with autonomous technology in general. I think continued development of the technology will pay dividends for privately owned vehicles.

-Autonomous cars promise greater safety in the long run (maybe not yet, although I’d be cautious about extrapolating from some notorious incidents).

-They allow for people who physically can’t drive to get around without the inconvenience of mass transit.

-They promise to reduce boredom and fatigue on long drives.

SaabaruDude
SaabaruDude
1 month ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

yes, all the homeless, out-of-work buggy whip builders & horseshoe blacksmiths really clutter up the sidewalks these days.

Dumb Shadetree
Dumb Shadetree
1 month ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

My aging parents live in a semi-rural area and refuse to move. When my Dad eventually passes, it’s been made very clear that Mom will still not move. Also, she doesn’t really know how to drive, doesn’t have friends, and (likely for similar reasons as the lack of friends) there’s no way I could convince my wife that we should move closer and help take care of her.

While I doubt driverless cars will be a thing by then, I would gladly pay whatever it takes to obtain a car that can take her to doctor’s appointments and wherever else she needs to go.

Aardvark775
Aardvark775
1 month ago

Election year pandering to both racists and unions! Something the whole country can get behind. 4 more years of subsidized giant pickup trucks and SUVs – global warming can be a problem for the next guy to get elected, if any American still cares about it.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Aardvark775

Imagine seriously thinking the only reasons to not want our auto manufacturing outsourced to China are racism or unions.

Last edited 1 month ago by V10omous
Mike B
Mike B
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Well, most people have no problem buying any other cheap goods from China, but autos are somehow special.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike B

They are.

The national security implications of losing auto manufacturing are higher than losing kid’s toys, televisions, clothing, or the many other things that are no longer made here.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike B

It’s more than just the cars, it’s the entire industry that is involved. The expertise in machining, metallurgy, supply chain management, assembly and on and on. It’s a huge network of knowledge and capacity that is important to the US in more ways than one. Not to mention the economic impact from skilled jobs that support it.

Knock-down furniture, sure. But complex and economically significant industries, nope.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike B

Most people don’t have time to evaluate the supply chain for every pair of socks they buy. A car is worth approximately 50,000 pairs of socks, so it’s a bigger impact with a single purchase.

Space
Space
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike B

Speak for yourself, if given the choice I would pay extra for a US made product.
Assuming I had enough money to buy anything except food.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
1 month ago

I Robot something something, I don’t trust them. Especially the ones in the conex containers. I doubt any robot being build has the 3 rules programmed into them.

10001010
10001010
1 month ago

The ones missing the 3 rules aren’t nearly as dangerous as the one that discovers the 0th rule.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago

It’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie, but wasn’t the hero robot the one that could violate the 3 rules?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago

I’d argue that Polestar is a Chinese brand- Chinese owned, 100% of the current product line is built in China (some additional volume of the Polestar 4 is contracted out to Renault Korea), it’s about as Swedish as MG is British (or as German as the last incarnation of Borgward was)

Ben Chia
Ben Chia
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

That’s a tricky one. My opinion is that it should be based on where the design and engineering HQ is located.

That said, it puts Smart in a weird place, because the design is by MB in Germany while the engineering is by Geely in China. So it’s neither here nor there.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben Chia

Well, SAIC has a large tech center in Birmingham, but I don’t think that makes a difference, since cars haven’t been built there in a decade

Robert L
Robert L
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben Chia

I’d argue all of these companies (Volvo, Lotus, Polestar Smart etc etc) are all in a weird place. Geely being a primary supplier as well as the ultimate owner makes it pretty confusing.

10001010
10001010
1 month ago

+1 for the laundry bot, I wish all the $$$$ being spent on self-driving were instead being spent on folding tshirts. Sure, I’d trust a robot with my clothes but I still lose my shit every time one orders me to “place my items in the bagging area” when I’ve already placed the !#%$ING ITEM IN TEH %@!#ING BAGGING AREA!!!!

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago
Reply to  10001010

Cashier bot: “Please wait for assistance.”
10001010: *rips cpu from checkout unit and smashes to the ground in a blind rage*

Red865
Red865
1 month ago
Reply to  10001010

I found that giving a hard whack to the ‘bagging area’ many times resolves the issue in a sorta satisfying manner.
Remember, all us customers are now criminals.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago

The flag sticker caused me to chuckle a bit as I well remember the proliferation of them on old Toyotas in big-box parking lots circa 2004. They were the equivalent of the flag lapel pin at the time.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
1 month ago

I trust robots like the ED-209 to protect and serve the city of Detroit, and Omni Consumer Products knows what’s best for us.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

You have ten seconds to comply.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

A 100% tariff rate on EVs will protect American manufacturers from China’s unfair trade practices

FIFY.

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
1 month ago

After my experience with a Roomba, the most advanced thing I trust a robot for is to vacuum the same square foot of floor for over and over again until the battery dies.

I absolutely don’t trust a robot to drive yet. Our Tesla FSD trial has led me to start calling it FDS. Or Fudge Dat Stuff*

*edited for the censors.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

I trust robots implicitly. They just do what they’re told. It’s the programmers I worry about.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago

What is the most advanced thing you’d trust a robot to do? Drive? Fold your tighty-whities?

I already trust robots in any repetitive, predictable work in a controlled environment. Driving is not that. Manufacturing is a great place for robots. Folding laundry seems like a good use, maybe for retail or industrial use first (folding my own laundry hardly seems worth buying a robot, at least until prices get really low).

Self-driving cars should be put on some sort of rail system separated from the roadways. Maybe linked together in a chain for maximum efficiency. And they should have a fixed set of stops so that people can get on and off in predictable locations. And we could come up for some other word for it, maybe something that rhymes with plane?

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

You could have different versions of these self-driving car chains (that’s the word that rhymes with plane, right?). Super long highspeed versions for cross-country travel. Smaller, electric powered versions for urban commuters. Hell, you could even have some of them elevated or underground to avoid interference with regular car traffic!

Chains! The transportation of the future!

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

I think you’re onto something here. If only there were some way to get this transit tech to the masses.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

People could buy their chain tickets from publicly available kiosks placed strategically near the places the chains start and stop!!!

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
1 month ago

My god, the new Octavia looks hideous. Looks like the front of a late model Kia and BMW made love to each other and they slapped it on the Jetta. I know it’s platform sharing but Skoda’s used to look much better, dare I say Superb?

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago
Reply to  M0L0TOV

Yeah I thought it was an approximately 10 year old Kia Optima with a different front end.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

I have three kids, ages 7, 4, and 1.

Any time I imagine a robot doing something, I try to imagine how I’d feel if one of my kids had to do it.

Putting away toys or setting the table (grudgingly), yes probably.

Driving a car (or power wheels) on a controlled course (my driveway), sure I guess.

Complex cognitive tasks requiring tradeoffs between risks of injury, property damage, or death? Laughable.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Now I’m just imagining telling a robot, “No, look where I’m pointing. It’s right there! No, not up there; why would it be somewhere you can’t even reach? You put it there.”

And it seems likely.

Last edited 1 month ago by Drew
V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

The similarities really are striking in some ways. Taking instructions purely literally, rather than understanding context (say sorry to your brother like you mean it, don’t just say the words, when I say stop hitting him that doesn’t mean start kicking him, etc).

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Taking instructions purely literally, rather than understanding context

It’s also like working with contract security. I used to have to run training scenarios. They hire people who will do as they’re told, not people who can understand any sort of variance from the expected.

“I lock this gate at 1800. There is a work pickup parked here and it is 1800. I will lock the gate.”

When I see the shitty security robots that fall into fountains and such, I just think about those guys and realize it’s pretty much the same result.

Der Foo
Der Foo
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

Don’t get me started on my short term career in security guarding.I was ill suited since I regularly rubbed two brain cells together.

You are so right. Nothing like hearing the supervisor chewing out some guard for not opening the gate for the police/fire or not allowing the owner of the property to open the gate.

Last edited 1 month ago by Der Foo
Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

This is … perfect. I can’t wait to have this argument with my dishwasher robot:

Me: “Stop breaking the dishes.”
Robot: *stops breaking the dishes*
Robot immediately after it stops breaking the dishes: “I’m NOT BREAKING THE DISHES.”
Me: “No, but you WERE breaking the dishes when I told you to sto- my god I am arguing with a robot…”

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Robots are best suited for the three D’s: Dull, Dirty, Dangerous.

Note that Driving is not one of the D’s.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Driving is often dull and is statistically dangerous compared to things most people do daily.

I am in favor of continued development of self-driving vehicles as long as the system is defeatable.

Last edited 1 month ago by V10omous
Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Everytime I go to Stop & Shop, that useless robot always follows me around, haunting me like I”m some criminal. I mean, the pound of roast beef cold cuts I just stuffed down my pants is just there until I get to the check-out lane, I SWEAR.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
1 month ago
Reply to  Parsko

You mean pound of banana’s, right???

Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago

The robot would love to see that too!

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

I think an outcome of all of this being a South Carolina-built Lotus is about the funniest side effect imaginable and it’s the one I’m definitely trying to manifest into being. I want a Lotus with a big MADE IN AMERICA sticker on it. C’mon Lotus. Do it. Do it.

The even funnier outcome could be if Lotus used their newfound American presence to supply chassis to an Andretti-run and Cadillac-powered F1 effort.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
1 month ago

For all the talk of Chinese EVs, those Chinese companies sell 3 ICE cars for every BEV in China, and at least some of them are even cheaper than the BEVs. What’s stopping those from coming stateside? Because that is what the OEMs should fear when they’ve abandoned everything south of $40k.

Ben Siegel
Ben Siegel
1 month ago

Those cars would have to pass both NHTSA crash testing and US Emissions compliance. That’s what’s stopping them from coming stateside so far. Not saying they’re insurmountable hurdles, but they’d have to get certified to try to sell here.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben Siegel

On top of the already in place tariffs on them

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben Siegel

The electric cars have to pass the same crash standards and no one seems to think they won’t be able to make whatever adjustments are necessary. Emissions are another story, but the latest Chinese standards are within striking distance of US standards. They’re working where the US companies were 10-20 years ago, and the methods being used to pass today’s standards aren’t a secret. They could likely be there in one development cycle with a big push.

Ben Siegel
Ben Siegel
1 month ago

Yep. If the cost/benefit were worth it they could do it. But they cant just start shipping their current cars this way. Maybe they could pass right now, but they’d still have to go through the certification, which isn’t quick or cheap.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben Siegel

Exactly. My point is that no one fearing Chinese BEVs should be taking regulatory barriers as a warm blanket protecting them from Chinese competition in the 93% of the market dominated by combustion. They have unused factory capacity coming out of their ears. Those factories can build ICE.

People will scoff right up until you tell them “$500/mo pays it off in 3 years and the warranty lasts for 5.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Pit-Smoked Clutch
06dak
06dak
1 month ago

China’s regs are mostly a copy of ECE regulations, which is why they pushed into Europe first. Meeting the FMVSS differences is more challenging and significant expenditure, and has no benefit to the company if US/Canada doesn’t buy into them.

I think the difference is China set up their industry to have a cost advantage in BEVs exclusively. There isn’t as significant a cost advantage in ICE, so there isn’t an incentive to buy Chinese of other OEMs.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
1 month ago
Reply to  06dak

Admittedly I don’t have numbers to reference here – in the past I found it wasn’t that easy to figure out what the Chinese ICE car market pricing looks like, as it’s hard to find reliable info written in English – but we know that China incentivizes consumers to choose BEV over ICE aggressively – by subsidizing the price of BEV, taxing ICE, and charging as much as $15,000 to get a license plate you have to wait years to be approved for if you want an ICE car in cities – and ICE still has 70% of the market. I just don’t believe that these companies won’t be able to build a very cost-competitive ICE vehicle when the starting point is an already-cost-competitive vehicle with the most expensive part (the battery) removed.

06dak
06dak
1 month ago

China ICE cars are expensive mainly due to taxes, even more per vehicle than the US. $15000 for a plate is pretty cheap for most major cities and limited quantities are given out per year. I know people that waited 3 years to get a inner-level Shanghai plate. For NEVs, plates are free and unlimited for access and days (for now).

I was in Shanghai in December and SHOCKED how many NEVs were in use. Hard to say definitively but I felt like half the cars already were NEV, including most of the cabs. Quite the change from 2018 when I was there last. I think just like the US, a lot of the tier 2 cities and countryside are still heavily ICE due to lack of incentives and charging infrastructure.

Needles Balloon
Needles Balloon
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben Siegel

Since mid-2020 (announced in 2016), China has moved to an analog of the Euro VI emissions set, plus some stricter evap rules similar to the US. They’ve also mandated OBD-2, use the stricter WLTC cycle rather than NEDC, and requires testing of vehicles up to 100k miles as part of emissions certification.

While I’m unsure on how Chinese domestic market crash regulations compare to European and US’s versions, all Chinese vehicles tested on the Euro NCAP in 2023 earned 5 star ratings.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago

What is the most advanced thing you’d trust a robot to do?”
Write Internet articles.

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