A fair warning: We have lots of EV news on today’s Morning Whatever, as is often the case these days. But it’s pretty big news and some astute analysis all around, and if you’re even remotely interested in driving electric soon, it’s stuff you’ll want to hear. Let’s get started, shall we?
Supercharge Me, Daddy
Yeah, I don’t love when Tesla is the big driver of Morning Whatever news or car news in general, but sometimes it’s unavoidable—and this is a pretty big deal. Today, the Biden White House announced Tesla has confirmed it will open several thousand of its Supercharger network to other, non-Tesla EVs by the end of next year.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last year that the company would start doing this soon (and indeed, it’s been doing it in certain European markets for a while now) but now the move is actually official. At least, it is according to the White House. We’d all be idiots if we didn’t anticipate Musk changing course in some way and at some point down the line.
Why is the White House even getting involved here, you ask? Because under the provisions of the EV-thirsty Inflation Reduction Act, opening up the Supercharger network qualifies Tesla for a chunk of a new $7.5 billion federal program for companies to spur charging network development. That, and this opens a whole new potential revenue stream for Tesla. Here’s the Wall Street Journal:
Tesla plans to open at least 3,500 new and existing 250 kilowatt chargers to drivers of all kinds of EVs by the end of next year, the White House said. Fast chargers can repower cars in about 30 minutes, but those available to any kind of EV are in short supply across U.S. highways, where their presence is considered key to boosting EV adoption as auto makers convert fleets to electric.
Tesla already has a U.S. network of more than 17,700 fast chargers at over 1,650 locations, but in the U.S. they aren’t available to other types of vehicles. The network is popular among its drivers and widely regarded as the most reliable in an industry where finding operable equipment can be challenging. The White House said the company would triple its Supercharger network.
Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.
White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu said that Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk participated in a call last year with other executives and administration officials, part of a series of discussions about how to improve highway charging. “He was very open. He was very constructive. And at that time, he said his intent was to work with us to make his network interoperable,” Mr. Landrieu said.
Reuters says the move could “turn Tesla into the universal filling station of the EV era,” but personally, I think it’s a bit too early to go that far. Still, the Supercharger network remains the best, most extensive and fastest network anyone’s built in the entire world, and its availability to other EVs is a huge boon to drivers everywhere. (For all my criticisms of Tesla and Musk specifically, I do think the Supercharger network is the best thing it’s ever done for EVs, period.) The White House’s goal is to build 500,000 public EV chargers by 2030, up from 130,000 currently.
In theory, any EV driver should be able to use the Tesla app or website to set up an account, plug in their car via an adapter, charge seamlessly and be billed online. It’s a hell of a lot easier than using ChargePoint and the rest, I’ll give it that. But a few notes: one, EV journalist, friend of the site and guy-who’s-generally-smarter-than-I-am John Voelcker thinks this may not be that transformative a move, although right now he’s just speculating because Tesla’s PR arm was replaced with a Catturd Twitter customer support bot years ago:
(4/X) Soooo … if Tesla adds its "Magic Dock" CCS connector to 3,500 new + existing charging cables (not sites) within 2 years + if it doesn't add a single new site by then…that means it's opening up just 12.5% of its Supercharger cables. Less than that if it adds more sites.
— John Voelcker (@johnvoelcker) February 15, 2023
Second, we’ll see how all these EVs not designed to work with Superchargers play nice from a hardware and software perspective. It’s already led to some parking weirdness since the charging ports vary from vehicle to vehicle.
Either way, it’s potentially very good news for anyone who wants the convenience of Tesla’s charging network without the risks of crashing into an Arby’s when Autopilot shits the bed. We’ll see if it delivers on its promises here.
Ford Halts F-150 Lightning Production Over Battery Issue
We’ve been covering Ford’s issues with recalls and quality concerns for a while now, and those really came to a head last year when the company posted a $2.2 billion loss for 2022. Quality has to become Job One at Ford again, if it ever was; it can’t afford to do otherwise.
So while $F closed down last night on the heels of news that Ford was halting F-150 Lightning production temporarily to solve a battery issue, I get why; I think it was the right move. A year ago, it feels like Ford would’ve shipped the trucks and just figured things out later. Here’s the Detroit Free Press on this:
The bestselling all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning was not being built Tuesday at the Rouge site in Dearborn because production has been stopped while engineers try to determine what’s causing a battery problem, Ford spokeswoman Emma Bergg confirmed to the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday.
She disclosed that the high-tech plant, built and designed specifically for this high-profile vehicle, has been out of production for a week now as the team tries to figure out the issue. Bergg declined to discuss the battery matter in detail. The vehicle is officially a “stop build” and “stop ship” situation.
While there is no stop sale of current vehicles on dealer lots, new vehicles are not being shipped to Ford dealers at this time, Bergg said.
Ford sold about 15,000 F-150 Lightnings last year, making it the best-selling EV pickup truck in America, but that’s only because the market is so small right now. And that number’s a drop in the bucket compared to total F-150 sales. The point is, Ford’s better off getting this right now, before these things really roll out in force with defects that piss off tons of customers—including first-time Ford buyers.
Toyota’s EV ‘Reality Check’
A lot of people have risen to defend outgoing Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda’s conservative and skeptical approach to battery EVs, saying Toyota knows what it’s doing and it’ll strike when the moment is right. And it’s not like Toyota is unprofitable, either. Far from it. But Toyota has investors too, and they’re demanding the automaker be ready for the future we’re all starting to see coming.
At Bloomberg (sub req’d) columnist Anjani Trivedi has the smart take on new CEO Koji Sato’s EV-forward approach. Here’s the part I liked:
Unlike its long history of troubled communication around electric cars, Toyota’s message was clear: This is a technology transition, not just another vehicle-making exercise. That means the changes to manufacturing won’t just be incremental shifts away from the internal combustion engine; rather, it will be a complete overhaul. Sato acknowledged that the fundamental differences — how energy is converted and used, and the aerodynamics — mean each part and process will have to be adapted for EVs.
That realization and its public acknowledgement is crucial. EVs aren’t just another vehicle with a different fuel or power source that can rely on existing factories. As automakers across the world race to keep up with production promises, committing billions of dollars to their electrification journeys, this is a much-needed reality check.
Who Will Offer The Last Manual Standing?
We’ll close on a more fun note, albeit also one about technological change. Over at Ars Technica, another friend of the site, Steven Ewing, posits an interesting thought experiment: which automaker (and which car) will offer the last three-pedal setup, at least in this country? It’ll either be like, the Porsche 911 or the Nissan Versa, right?
Despite car enthusiasts’ best efforts, the manual transmission’s days are numbered. Blame it on electrification, future autonomous technologies, or the fact that kids these days just don’t care about driving. Whatever helps you cope with this inevitability, the demise of the stick shift is not an “if,” it’s a “when.”
That’s not to say the manual’s death will be quick; plenty of companies continue to offer three-pedal setups. But who will be the final holdout, the last bastion of the DIY gearbox? Will it be a sports car or an out-of-left-field contender? Put on your speculation cap as we explore some potential scenarios.
That’s a fun read. Personally, I’m kind of over the Save The Manuals thing; I prefer driving one too, but it’s outdated technology at this point and you can always buy an older car if you want that sensation. Still, it’s delightful to see something as fiercely modern and high-tech as a Porsche 992 that got optioned with an old-school stick. If you see one of those on the street, try and become friends with that person.
What will be the last manual car sold in America? You can bet the Mazda Miata will go out guns blazing, Jeremy-Renner-in-The-Town-style on that one, at least.
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Last manual automobile sold in America? Probably nothing new, probably a last call variant of a current automobile like the Bronco or Wrangler.
I don’t have a problem with driving a BEV but current BEV offerings in the US don’t interest me and I won’t buy a new ICE car without a manual transmission.
My money is on Morgan Motors. Their entire business model is selling ‘sports cars’ that are at least 50 years behind the times.
Or Caterham. I bet most of their owners were driving before automatics existed!
Everyone’s thinking sporty sport cars but probably be something like the Wrangler or Bronco as sporty sport cars go to faster than humanly possible automatics.
The last manual transmission car will probably be a Caterham.
Ford Recalls And Manuals:
Owners of Broncos with the 7MT have been reporting for the past year on the transmission doing its best rock-polisher imitation.
Over 70% of owners that answered this poll have confirmed that it’s affecting them. Since it tends to appear in cold temps, that ratio may be closer to 100%, assuming folks in warmer climates just haven’t heard it yet.
“…Tesla has confirmed it will open several thousand of its Supercharger network to other, non-Tesla EVs by the end of next year”.
sooo, right after the cybertruck goes on sale??
I wasn’t all that impressed with Ford back when Quality Is Job One.
Had a full size van that was a hot mess and that Ford and their dealer network never could fully fix.
– Warped head that went through exhaust manifolds and gaskets every couple years.
– Rear AC unit that required seals to be replaced annually, plus recharged.
– Bent frame around the two front doors bad enough that water drizzeled in when raining and wind noise overpowered the radio. We had a previous van that had an encounter with a front end loader that was better repaired that this van was built new.
– Interior parts cracking if you looked at them too hard.
Ford seems to be getting a beating on quality ratings lately. Maybe they can turn things around, but it will be a few years at least before we start seeing it. It will take that long at least to get better engineered parts into the system.
I don’t expect anything to change. Their business model is literally “make shitty cars, make people feel good about buying them, nickel and dime them to death with repairs until they buy a newer model, rinse and repeat”. They invented and perfected engineered failure.
I worked at O’Reilly for over 5 years. Motorcraft is a cult, and Ford cultists would pay 30%ish over my lifetime-warranty premium part to get a Motorcraft part with a 2 year warranty, then be surprised when it died at exactly 105 weeks.
I have a manual daily driver that is getting up there in years and miles. That said, I’m trying to keep it running until its electric replacement can be sourced. Then it’ll become a “fun” car and backup in case the Electromatic 3000 eats a drive unit or gets bricked by an ill-coded OTA update.
My bet for the last manual standing is something expensive like Porsche.
Finally. But why the fuck do you need an account to charge? Why not just put a credit card machine on the chargers? Connect the plug to the car, put your card in, and charge, like every gas pump out there.
Toyota knows that EV tech isn’t quite ready to be someone’s only car yet, and there is a lot more to go before they can be. They will jump in when they know they can make an EV with the reliability people expect from Toyota.
Because if you don’t have to have the app, they can’t trace where you are going and send ads to you! The money’s in the information, not the electrons they are providing.
They should open up a full-fledged Tesla “gas station” with a store.
even actual gas stations don’t actually make their money off the gas. The real money comes from the store.
FavTrip should add some EV charging.
A charging station called Volta offers free charging and ads, without the need to make an account or use an app.
I don’t know if this will ever post. I dearly, dearly hope the new comment system doesn’t have this random 403 Forbidden error that I keep getting every time I try to post this.
“Finally. But why the fuck do you need an account to charge? Why not just put a credit card machine on the chargers? Connect the plug to the car, put your card in, and charge, like every gas pump out there.”
From what I read this is one of the biggest problems with the EV charging network. It’s like if every gas station had an app you needed to install and use to fill up there. Even worse, the apps (like most apps) are pretty shit and fail on a regular basis.
“Toyota knows that EV tech isn’t quite ready to be someone’s only car yet, and there is a lot more to go before they can be. They will jump in when they know they can make an EV with the reliability people expect from Toyota.”
Repeating myself from one of the articles yesterday, but I don’t buy this argument. If they were truly waiting for the right moment to jump in the pool with a Toyota-quality EV they wouldn’t have released the half-baked Bees Forks. I think they got caught off guard and are scrambling to catch up. Which, thanks to their experience with batteries and electrification, they probably will, but it may take a while.
it posted 🙂
They could use a quoting feature tho :p
You know who won’t like the Tesla charging stations move? Tesla drivers. Now they’ll have to share. Some kind of discount or number of charges free to Tesla drivers might alleviate some pouting.
I have always owned manual transmission vehicles because I enjoy being part of the drive system and the added control it gives me. No matter how advanced, I’ve never encountered an automatic that afforded a driving experience superior to a manual. That’s not to say some weren’t close, but none were better. Plus, when it comes to cost, weight, simplicity, durability, and reliability, in my opinion, auto trans lose, hands down.
The other downside, from my perspective, is that automatic transmissions with multiple special driving modes encourage largely incompetent drivers to attempt things with their vehicles that they shouldn’t, such as off-roading or driving in blizzards. I don’t see that as a good thing.
If -when- I eventually transition to an EV, the point becomes moot, but until then, make mine with three pedals.
The other thing to keep in mind is that Tesla will still have control over which chargers get shared.
You can bet that only the most poorly utilized, “oops, did we really put a charger here” stations will be shared at first.
The only ones shared after that will depend on a charger-by-charger cost/benefit analysis to guarantee maximum revenue for minimal compliance, and virtually no inconvenience to Tesla drivers.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again-the save the manuals stuff is a bit of a scam and manufacturers are riding it for easy sales. Off the top of my head here are cars that can be bought new with manuals today: the Toyabaru twins, Miata, Mustang, Camaro, Civic SI/type R, Integra, Nissan Z, BMW M2/M3, Supra, Taco, GR Corolla, all spicy Golf variants and the Jetta GLI, WRX, Elantra N and N line, Porsche 718, Porsche 911, the CT4 and CT5 V Blackwings, Bronco, Wrangler, Challenger, Mini Cooper, Crosstrek, feel free to add others that I missed.
Manuals aren’t the default transmission anymore, that much is true. But it makes sense that they aren’t given how much transmission technology has improved and the fact that so much of the population lives in or around cities. If you want a manual car you can go out and buy one new with minimal effort. I just don’t understand the panic/moral outrage over them that affects so many enthusiasts.
And before I get shot down in flames (cue the AC/DC) let me clarify something: I can drive stick and enjoy driving stick. If I were shopping for a pure fun car right now RWD and manual would be non negotiable. I just don’t understand the mass hysteria around stick shifts…kind of like how I don’t understand the mass hysteria around V8s. Right now there are still myriad options out there. Go grab one if you’re worried, just don’t be a sucker and get ripped off.
should note subaru nixed the manual for the new crosstrek
I know, but I was speaking in the context of right now. I don’t think the new Crosstrek is hitting lots anytime soon.
V8s mostly disappearing behind a 6-figure paywall is a bigger deal IMO. Plenty of attainable manuals out there as you point out.
Apart from the Mustang and Camaro and once the FCA cars demise is complete, I don’t believe it will be possible to get 8 cylinders in a car-shaped vehicle for under about $60,000.
It does look like that hurricane 6 might be a decent consolation prize though.
Will it be available in anything other than full size SUVs and Ram trucks though?
I sure hope so. Allegedly they benchmarked BMW’s B58 which is an amazing engine. I’d love to have those benefits without, well, you know…BMW reliability or beaver teeth front grilles (the M440i would literally be perfect for us but I won’t be caught dead in one).
I can’t imagine they’d just abandon fun ICE cars when they were their bread and butter for so long. I’m crossing my fingers that there will be a new Challenger/Charger that has an ICE motor on offer.
There’s a brand new black M440i convertible I see every day at work, and the rest of the car is gorgeous. I love it from every angle that doesn’t include the front fascia. It’s not something I would personally shop for as a new car, and now it’s too ugly to consider later as a used car.
Reports I’m getting are still very, very firmly in the “this is not the engine you are looking for” camp.
Fuel mileage isn’t half bad. But electrical problems are at the “I wished I was doing warranty work till I saw the seats and comebacks.” (Meaning: off the fucking charts, and they ain’t staying fixed. Seat memory and seats in the WS and WL are basically non-functional.) And every reported engine problem so far is of the ‘replace the whole vehicle’ variety.
Which is a shame because while the CVT in subarus is pretty good, the manual makes the car so much more usable with its power. I live in a very hilly area and would constantly be struggling up (and down) the hills without the manual. Of course the manual in the crosstrek is also easily the worst manual I’ve ever driven in a modern car.
Why is the White House even getting involved here, you ask? Because under the provisions of the EV-thirsty Inflation Reduction Act, opening up the Supercharger network qualifies Tesla for a chunk of a new $7.5 billion federal program
Hammering home once again that they are not a car company, they are not a rocket company, they are just leeches that wouldn’t survive without constant, repeated government handouts and emissions accounting scams.
The only reason they’re doing anything is because they need more free money. So they will do less than the minimum – promise to open the chargers, not actually do any of the work at all, use it to pump Melon’s shares so he can throw more temper tantrums on Twitter, demand more handouts to actually do the work, and continue to not do the work.
Boy, what a real fucking worthwhile use of tax dollars and everyone’s time.
It’s clear you haven’t read their income statement and thus, have no idea of where they make most of their money.
I’ll give you a hint… it isn’t from selling EV credits or any sort of ‘handout’…
Are you telling me that Tesla didn’t lobby for this IRA thing? Then who did?
Another nail in the manual transmission’s coffin is fuel efficiency. A 6+ speed automatic with the advanced control modules today will shift more often than a driver and get better fuel mileage.
Though they are still more expensive to build, automatics have also come down in weight over the years, helping with efficiency.
Back in 80’s Europe you could walk in to your local Citroen dealer and buy a manual AX Diesel, and drive home doing 100mpg. We have failed to improve on that.
A skilled driver can change in to the appropriate gear as well as a machine can. And if you aren’t in the appropriate gear why did you bother buying a manual?
Plus you could just follow the idiot lights for changing up and down gear.
Efficiency won’t be the thing that kills the manual.
I consider the ability to survive a crash with literally any other vehicle, and to reach freeway speeds in under a minute to be improvements, but YMMV.
Anyways, your argument held more water before 8-10 speed autos with precise computer control arrived. It’s pretty incontrovertible that modern autos are more efficient given the same engine and normal driving habits (ie not shifting into 6th at 25 mph).
That Ford/GM 10 speed is also a gem when it’s tuned with malicious intent. I’d probably still take the Tremec and no lift shift feature in a V8 Camaro but I’d absolutely spec the 10 speed over the stressed-from-the-factory stick that’s standard in the GT Mustangs.
Sure, if we’re assuming the driver isn’t actually trying to be efficient then the thing the driver controls probably won’t be efficient. If the shift lights are programmed correctly the driver will shift at the same point as the auto would, so given the same ratios there will be no difference.
I drove several AXs, none were particularly slow for the time. Both my brothers crashed theirs and didn’t die. Not as safe as a modern car, but better than a 2CV or a motorbike.
An S1 Elise weighs about the same as a Citroen AX but is vastly stronger and has a very advanced crumple zone. Fit one with a sufficiently feeble engine and skinny tyres and I reckon 100mpg could be safe and fun.
But unless you think someone is going to shift a 10 speed manual, you won’t have the same ratios.
A friend of mine got in a head on crash in a Geo Metro and wound up with permanent injuries, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t have a ton of sympathy for 1600 lb subcompacts in the 21st century.
People already drive 7 speed manuals just fine, I’m sure they could cope with another three if it made a measurable difference to something they cared about.
I picked up my permanent injuries head-on in a CRX. I’m less concerned with crash safety than I am with other drivers not being so distracted that they drive on the wrong side of the road. I can’t blame Honda for this deformed hand.
Just because they have 7 gears to choose from doesn’t mean they use all 7. Even with 6 gears in the Mazda 5, Pontiac Vibe, or the RX-8, when not driving for fun I’ll typically only use 4 of those 6 (1-2-4-6) to get the ratio spread while minimizing shifts.
Even if we assume a skilled, efficiency-minded driver that is very aware of the engine’s operation, there are a few factors that can make automatics more efficient than manuals in modern vehicles.
1) The gear ratios and final drive ratios for manual and automatic transmissions are rarely the same, let alone the number of gears. Before the mid 2000s, this tended to help manual transmissions, but now the number of gears and the ratio spread helps automatics in placing the engine in the ideal BSFC island for a given vehicle speed and load.
2) Automatics can now make up for their additional torque convertor and hydraulic pump losses as all these things have been optimized so that an auto trans in normal driving has about the same power transmission as a manual transmission (some are better, some are worse, since manual transmissions typically don’t employ tricks like variable displacement lubrication pumps etc)
3) On a manual you have a dip in power when shifting occurs. This requires the engine to work harder for the time you’re in gear and go through a quick transient to 0-load during the shift, then back up to higher load in order to keep the same average acceleration rate. Not only are these transients a period of low efficiency, but then you need to ask the engine to provide more power (and use more fuel) to get the vehicle to the same speed at the same time, such as when following a drive cycle.
4) Human drivers don’t know the engine’s best BSFC curve, and even if you’re trying to follow the shift lights perfectly, there is still that dip in propulsive force when shifting that most drivers want to avoid or at least smooth out for normal driving. This makes the shift take even longer, which can exacerbate the issues from #3 above, unless the driver skips gears. Typically when driving in-town, I’ll only use 1st to get going from a stop, 2nd, then straight to 4th then 6th to maximize time in gear and minimize the inefficient transients and disruption to smooth driving during shifts. 3rd gear only really gets used if I’m winding out the engine to get onto the highway (and this is in a Mazda5 minivan, so its not like I’m working with a huge power-to-weight ratio by anyone but mdharrell’s standards), and 5th gear almost never. This is similar to the logic behind the “skip-shift” lock-out feature that GM implemented on some manual transmissions – it was more efficient to spend more time in a higher gear than to go through all the gears from 1st to 4th or 1st to 6th, but GM could only get credit for it on the drive cycle tests if they implemented a lock-out on the gear selection.
5) Engine braking, where you cut fueling on a manual transmission when decelerating in gear, is less and less common, since the catalyst doesn’t like cold air being pumped through it, cooling it off and making it less efficient. Additionally, many modern transmissions can use their torque convertor lock-up clutches to achieve some engine braking as well. Therefore, while you can still engine-brake in a manual, it isn’t as much of an improvement over an automatic as it once was (and engine braking as you work your way down through the gears, blipping the throttle between each gear, was never more efficient – those blips kill the efficiency benefits).
An S1 Elise is safe? Yeah, the crash structure is good and the tub is quite strong, but the A-pillar is non-structural. In a collision with anything taller (which is basically everything), the driver’s skull becomes the crumple zone.
Where would one find such a creature?
Very few people want a 53hp car that takes 20 seconds to go 0-60 and gets worse mileage in actual real world use than a Prius.
The Lotus Esprit was one of the last cars to have pop-up lights, I think the Lotus Emira will be the last car with a manual gearbox.
At least the last traditional ICE-with-manual-gearbox-and-a-clutch. I’m sure there will be EVs that have some kind of manually selected gear ratio doodad.
The Lotus is a good call. Their low R&D budget means a slow refresh cycle, and there’s a good chance they’ll keep the Emira going at low volume even once electrics are out.
Has there been any writing on why Tesla superchargers work so much better than the CCS alternatives? Design? Maintenance?
Would love to understand that better…
A significant advantage is that of the walled garden. Much like Apple does with the control of both software and hardware, Tesla has the advantage of control over the charging station and the vehicle. Because there is a level of communication required between car and equipment, that is a potential struggle elsewhere, since you need to accommodate everything with a CCS port. You also need your charging equipment to accommodate various rates of charge, depending on what the vehicle can accept. Add to that the likelihood of those other charging stations also including CHAdeMO and you have significant additional complexity.
I also suspect the use of the car as the payment system helps alleviate issues caused by the use of apps to connect with chargers. The Tesla has a wired connection to the charging hardware, unlike your phone. And, depending on your provider and data plan, that introduces problems outside the charging station’s control, too (not that those problems are as frequent as the station not communicating). This seems like a solved problem, since credit card readers would make it all so much easier, but that is not the way most of these companies see it.
Because Elon whips his employees if they don’t work 80 hour weeks keeping the chargers working
Once the EV market sorts itself out- including the convergence of charging capabilities- Tesla will take it’s place in history alongside Marmon, Hupmobile, and Pierce-Arrow.
Too funny !
Won’t it just be a confusing mess if some Tesla chargers accept all cars and some don’t?
They already do that across the EU. The route planning lets you know which ones are compatible or using the app on your phone.
The Tesla play is more protectionism than revenue. The revenue has always been available, they just chose not to pursue it.
The issue for Tesla here is that there is a huge chunk of money available and if Tesla doesn’t use it someone else will, and that someone else will be a big player that will dimmish Tesla’s charging advantage. So that puts Tesla in a tough spot, either play ball or compete against it.
Note, it’s not direct competition in the “where am I going to charge” sense but if there is a reliable and widely available alternative to Tesla then Tesla’s network will be less of a selling factor in selling its cars. So they might as well profit from the diminishing advantage. I’m also sure there are loopholes and Tesla will maintain some sort of Tesla only advantages.
I’m kind of disappointed because I was hoping for a Tesla alternative that is not subject to Musk’s whims.
Morgan, I bet.
The last manual will be in something expensive enough to pass on the associated emissions compliance and certification costs. It will likely also be something that uses an off-the-shelf transmission that remains available for aftermarket applications, like the Tremec T6060. No one is developing a new manual in the 2020s.
The Miata is a tempting answer, but not likely, unless they abandon the affordable price point.
My guess was always the Corvette, but we know how that turned out. I suspect it will be an expensive, limited edition 911 variant. The last “regular” vehicles with the option will probably be the Mustang and the Wrangler.
I forgot one more point I had intended to make. Look to the powertrains that are already available in manual. I doubt we’ll see a lot of new combinations become available.
Something like the Bronco, which is recently introduced, likely to continue without major changes for a while, and already comes in manual. Would it be out of the question that the 4 cyl/7 speed powertrain remains unchanged for the next decade? I’d say no.
Every new generation of a vehicle that comes out gives automakers a clear opportunity to introduce electrification and cut manuals. The best bets are vehicles with long development times. Mustang, Wrangler, Bronco etc.
I’ve owned a lot of manual Jeeps. I never buy new cars but I may very well buy the last manual Wrangler I can with the intention of keeping it as long as possible. My ’04 Wrangler is going to need some new body panels pretty soon.
Buy a few of ’em! A 2021 low-speed head-on collision in my ’05 Wrangler compressed the front fenders a tiny bit into the side panels. That totaled it. The body shop claimed they “called every salvage yard west of the Mississippi” and couldn’t find replacement panels. I chose to accept the check rather than start a crusade. Good luck Mr Metcalf!
Don’t they still sell fiberglass replacements for Jeeps?
Well except the 7 speed Bronco trans. I would almost guess Ford with the Mustang and the Crawler guys wanting the Bronco to have one will be the last one standing. but as long as wrangle holds out on profits and sales they could be the last of them too.
Tesla announcing opening a tiny fraction of their chargers to other cars by the end of 2024 is just Tesla using the press for some cheap and easy good PR.
If the press remembers to ask how many chargers have been opened to other cars at the end of 2024, the answer will likely be “we’re working on it” because none were opened.
It also opens them up for more fat government handouts, and who likes government handouts more than wealthy conservatives?
They’ll absolutely open up the minimum number of stations that will get them the maximum payout. Fewer than the minimum if they can get away with it.