Lordstown, Ford and Dodge EV news, plus the Super73 S2 e-bike | Autoblog Podcast #769
In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski. They kick things off with an update on our long-term Kia EV6, and a review of the Super73 S2 e-bike. In the news, Lordstown halted production, Dodge gave the Charger Daytona EV a new sound, Ford studies heated interior panels for EVs, the Pininfarina Battista becomes the world's fastest-accelerating car, and the IIHS ups its safety requirements. Finally, our hosts take to the mailbag for an update on a previous Spend My Money segment.
Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.
GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have a great show for you this week. We're going to talk about a whole host of different kind of random things. We have some new rules involving the IIHS-- what's a top pick, what isn't.
We're going to talk about the-- not sure if I'm saying this right-- the Fratzonic exhaust sound in the Dodge electric muscle cars. We've got potentially heated interior panels for electric cars according to Ford. And the Pininfarina Battista is perhaps the fastest car, at least according to the latest figures out of their testing.
Updates on the Kia EV6, our long-termer, and the Super73-S2 e-bike-- we will spend your money, sort of. We have a good mailbag question. With that, I'll bring in Senior Editor for all things consumer, Jeremy Korzeniowski. How's it going, man?
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: You know, people might notice that my voice is a little bit deeper and more nasally than normal. I literally left my house one day all of last week, and that one day I managed to catch COVID. So pretty much recovered at this point, so feeling OK, but you can still hear it my voice a little bit, so please excuse me for that. But doing pretty good.
We were just talking earlier today-- we often mention the weather at the outset of these shows. Now, Greg lives at the Detroit area. I live in Columbus, Ohio area. It's like, a three-hour drive away. It's icy and snowy and in the 30s where Greg's at, and it's nearly 70 degrees and sunny here in Columbus. That is an encapsulation of weather in the Midwest for you.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's weird. Like, the front lines must be kind of cutting through somewhere around like Toledo or something.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Must be. Yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: Because normally it's not like you're in some tropical paradise three hours south, you know? It's a pretty big difference, but hey.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, we're back into the 30s tomorrow, so I'm only going to be able to enjoy it for one day before it gets back to winter.
GREG MIGLIORE: Usually we get one day like that, one or two in February at the end of the year, but I don't think we're going to get one this year. We're starting to run out of February.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Well, I mean, the weather gods are not smiling on Detroit this year I guess.
GREG MIGLIORE: Clearly not. Clearly not. Yeah. No, other than that, I'm just getting ready for the drop of "Drive to Survive" on Netflix. I think it's coming tomorrow. You don't normally see like, Friday drops on Netflix I guess, but that's when episode 1 airs, so I'm excited.
It's sort of like an annual tradition at this point, you know? That drops. You can kind of recap last year, get in the mood for the new F1 season. Then the first race is March 5th. I didn't realize it was that soon.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: The F1 season is a lot longer than you think it is.
GREG MIGLIORE: It is. It's really long.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. There's like, a break in the middle that, you know, it's a couple of weeks where there's no racing, but like, it's turned into a global phenomenon. You know, they keep adding races here in the States, and there's so much travel time. Like, it's a big thing. Here in the US where you still like sporting seasons that go like, half a year, F1 is not like that. They race a lot.
GREG MIGLIORE: One of the things I actually like about that though is like, during the final season or final race of the year, you can kind of look ahead and you're like, oh, yeah, no. The next one is like, 2 and 1/2, 3 months away. So it's kind of nice you don't have that whole like, gap at the end of maybe baseball season when you're like oh, wow. It's late October, early November, and then there's no baseball until basically April.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Right.
GREG MIGLIORE: You don't have as much FOMO, if you will.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. You know, it'll be interesting to watch this season's "Drive to Survive," too, because-- so not last year, but the year before-- and so "Drive to Survive" is showing you the behind-the-scenes look of what happened the previous year. You're not like, giving a live look-in behind the scenes while it's happening. You're getting a recap of the previous year.
Last year's F1 season wasn't quite as interesting as the one prior to it where like, it literally went down to the last couple laps of the last race. We don't need to get into it too much, but super controversial ending.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's true.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Not last season, but the season before. This previous season, the one that we're about to watch in "Drive to Survive"-- not quite as compelling of storylines. You know, Mercedes got off to a rocky start. They started picking up a little bit of steam throughout there, but, you know. And Ferrari had a relatively good season too.
Charles Leclerc-- he started off strong but then kind of faded. So like, I don't know. Are they going to be hurt by the fact that Red Bull and Verstappen kind of clinched things relatively early in the season? Is that going to impact viewership at a time when they really need to up their viewership numbers? I don't know, but I think it'll always be interesting no matter what.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, that's a good point. I've, you know, bounced between a few of the series, and I agree with you. Last season's wasn't quite as interesting-- the Netflix series, not the actual racing series. Although again, to your point, it was wrapped up relatively early.
I don't know. I watch F1 just because to me it's a great sport, obviously, and I watch "Drive to Survive" simply because I love the behind-the-scenes stuff.
So like, we already know what happened. That's what I tend to like. So we'll see. It's a nice appetizer.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: You watch the show and you're like, wow, that Christian Horner can be kind of mean sometimes, you know?
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: You get views into what it's like to be in Formula 1 much more so than just the racing side of it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So that's coming up. And I honestly never make it through the whole series. I tend to like, watch it, and then I get into it, and then like, F1 season starts.
And of course, it's March Madness and stuff like that. For me, it's just really good kind of like, filler viewing sort of on like, a Wednesday or Thursday when there's not a lot going on in the world. But then like, the weekends tend to fill up with sports. So anyways, yeah. Check it out-- "Drive to Survive." That really turned into a little bit of a news section there on that.
But we'll get to the news. Let's talk about some cars first. We're going to be electric actually. I'll just jump right in here, talk a little bit about our long-term EV6, and then you can talk about an electric superbike, which I think is awesome.
So inadvertently, we have done an all-electric review section. But EV6-- I mean, how are you feeling about that car? I'm curious what you think real quick before I go into a little homily, if you will.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: I quite like it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah?
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: I had our long-termer for, I don't know, something like a month, and, you know, it's such a good around-town car.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. The range is so strong on it, and the range estimate is so spot-on that it's not like you're-- like, range anxiety isn't really a thing once you pass that 200-mile. You know, very, very few people are going to be pushing that range on a regular basis. I even drove it from Columbus to Detroit without stopping for electricity. I obviously had to recharge before driving home, but like, how often do I drive further than that? So get rid of range anxiety and just enjoy the benefits of an electric car, and the EV6 is a good electric car.
Yeah. I think that's a good way to put it. It's won multiple Car of the Year awards. It won the Utility of the Year for NACTOY, of which I'm a juror, and I think that was a great call by the organization. It's a nice, well-rounded-- like, it's got the style play.
If it was an internal combustion thing, I think just on the style alone, the functionality, it could win on its own merits. I think it's a great design. I think the electric propulsion system has been good.
You know, the big thing since probably I've last talked about this-- and I've only had the car for a couple weeks, a couple, few weeks at this point. I did charge it up at an EVgo station-- or excuse me, ChargePoint station-- pretty locally. You know, it was a good charge.
It was funny. Another guy in an EV6 rolled up to me and was like, hey, how's your charge going? And he was actually an engineer for one of the local OEMs. I won't name it.
But he just was like yeah, you know, kind of driving around. When I see another EV6 charging, I sometimes pull in and just say hi and stuff. So, I mean, that was kind of cool.
And the charge went well, if you will. I haven't really done a fast charge of anything in a little bit just because nothing has crossed my plight, if you will, that required as such. But it was good. It started out slow, and then it really was charging at almost peak capacity, and I got to 80%, 81% pretty easily.
The hardest part of the experience was ChargePoint just refused to take my credit card. It wouldn't let me put in my work card. I think I ended up using like, Google Play to get it done, which was obnoxious. And I was like, the charging is working, but your app is not working.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah
GREG MIGLIORE: So that to me was garbage. They make you use the app, which I think is also obnoxious. Like I can't just chip it or swipe my card. Like, come on, you know? That was another annoying part of just the ChargePoint experience.
But overall, yeah, topped off. I was going to take it on a road trip, but I did some of the research, and I was like, you know what? This is going to require multiple charge, and it's going to become more of the vacation than I want it to be, so I didn't.
But I've been driving it since we've been back and before that pretty regularly, and it's great in the snow and the slush. Like I said, it's an ice storm, so we've got all-wheel drive. It has snow tires on it. It's working like a champion.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: And the batteries are so low to the ground in all of these like, kind of skateboard-style chassis'd EVs, if you will, it puts the weight down low, and that's not to be overlooked when it comes to driving dynamics, but also in foul-weather handling. The point of inertia makes-- it's a big part of the equation. I'll put it that way.
Getting a little bit of commentary on your charging experience, I've had some good charging experiences, and I've had some absolutely awful charging experiences.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: And it's frustrating to me that I feel like the car companies have finally gotten to a point where EVs are viable for the majority of the population, but the charging networks are just so, so much further behind. I'm pretty fortunate that here where I live there's a Meijer, which if you're not from the part of the country that has like, a Meijer, it's like a combined grocery and, you know, odds-and-ends store. It's just a really big place. And every Meijer around here has EVgo charging stations, including ours, and they're relatively new.
It's kind of a rural area, but close to an expressway, so the majority of people that end up using them don't live in this town that I'm in. They're passing through, and it's like, their stopover. They stop in my town just north of Columbus, Ohio instead of getting off in Columbus where it's a little bit busier. That's probably more information than our podcast listeners really care about, but the point that I was getting to is it's nice to have a destination charger so close to where I live that usually has charge bays available and is new enough that it supports the 350-kilowatt charging that a lot of electric vehicles can now make use of.
And there's a little bit of an EV charging etiquette out there that I think people who don't drive electric cars or have never driven an electric car would be surprised to know about. Here's one way to think of it. If you go to a gas station, and you've got a vehicle that runs diesel, and they've only got one diesel nozzle, and it's being blocked by someone who doesn't have a diesel vehicle, and they're stringing the gas from the neighboring station, and they just took that spot because it was easy and convenient, but they're blocking your use of the actual nozzle that you need, there's a little bit of a similar etiquette with EV charging.
Some older electric vehicles-- say, gen 1 vehicles-- could charge up to say, 100 or 150 kilowatts per hour. Some of the newer ones with-- what is it-- 800-volt architectures, including our Kia EV6 long-term tester, can charge at over 300 kilowatts an hour. So when you're pulling up to a station, some of those plugs will only support, say, 150, and some of them will support 350. If you've got an EV6, and someone with an old electric vehicle is hogging the 350-kilowatt station that you'd be able to charge in 30 minutes, but they're getting no extra benefit out of it, that's irritating. Not as irritating as if someone's like, blocking the EV charging stations with their big pickup truck because they've decided to make some sort of statement that they hate electric vehicles. Not that irritating, but still a little bit.
There was one instance where I pulled up in our EV6. Someone had a Mach-E that was not capable of charging as fast as the EV6, and he's like, oh, I'm at like, 80%. He's like, "Do you mind if I get up to about 90%, and then I'll give you this fast charger?" He's like, "Or if you're in a hurry, I'll move it over now. I'll stop the session and move it over now." He was really concerned that he was hogging the fast charger that my car would charge faster on.
And I was like, oh, no, no. No worries. I'm going to be in Meijer for an hour. I'm doing my grocery shopping, so it doesn't really matter. And I waited 15 minutes, did a little bit of shopping, came back out, plugged in.
And anyway, interesting. Like, that's an extra thing that you need to know when you've got an electric vehicle. How fast can it charge? Which plug is it that I want to plug into?
The apps are supposed to show you how fast a station is, is supposed to show you how many plugs there are at the 150 versus 350 or what have you. They're not always reliable. They don't always work. You get there, and it's available, but it says like, system updating or something.
Like you said, Greg, it doesn't accept your credit card. You have to jump through some sort of weird hoop. I had one-- it wouldn't accept payment through the app, but it did take the swiping of my credit card on the actual machine.
It shouldn't be unreliable. In this day and age, we should be able to figure this out. And it's super frustrating that we're there on the vehicle side and not there in the charging infrastructure side, and I really hope it gets rectified quickly.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. The last two cars I've had in our long-termers, the 330-E, which is just like a-- slow charger isn't the right way to put it, but it's just the best you can do is like, a level 2 charger with that. There's no level 3 fast charging. And then the EV6-- it's really illuminated for me just the challenges in infrastructure.
Because I mean, candidly, I'm a big supporter of EVs, and I think they're interesting. I think they're fun to drive. Many of them are design statements. And I think politics aside, you can take that out of the equation and just say, well, yeah, man, there's not a charger here that could charge my vehicle fast enough, and that is a problem.
And I'm looking forward to-- I know the state of Michigan is looking to install like, a bunch of them on the 75 corridor, which I think would be awesome. If that were in effect now, maybe a year from now, I would have taken the EV6. You know, I would have. But it's exactly to your point that was like, well, OK, I think this is a fast charger-- pretty sure it is-- but what if I get there and it's not working?
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Exactly
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Or if it's busy, you know? If it's only a level 2, that means I have to stay there for like, five hours, which suddenly, this becomes more of my vacation than I want it to be. So again, that's why I didn't take it.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It's not an issue-- I mean, the EV charging part obviously is only relevant to electric vehicles. But the same issue exists-- like, think of it this way. If you don't drive an EV, you've got a gas car, or let's say you've got a diesel car or whatever.
Let's say you're driving from Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, California, and there's a whole big, long stretch of highway where there's like, one gas station that you're counting on being able to fill up in before you, let's say, cross over into Indio or something like that. You pull up to the gas station, and it won't accept your credit card. And they're like, well, we've got gas, but you're going to have to pay in cash. I don't have cash.
You know, it's the same kind of frustration that you would have. Like, you planned your trip. You need this piece of infrastructure to work or else your trip is over, you know?
They've got to figure it out whether it's upgrading the technology or the operating systems the places run, running hard-wired connections into them as opposed to a satellite connection. Or if it's the hard-wired issue, run satellite. Do whatever it is that you have to do. Charge me an extra dollar or two if that's what it costs to make this thing reliably work, but just make it reliably work.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah, I agree with you. Like you, I've had a Meijer experience because there's one somewhat near me that has a whole bank of chargers, which is great. It's just tricky, you know?
I actually went to the supermarket yesterday, and there was a Volta charger. I was like, cool. Never used a Volta charger before.
And this is hilarious. There was a Maserati parked in one of the spots that was not a plug-in.
Obviously not a plug-in.
Yeah, but I looked at the sign, and it was like, these are not launched yet. They're installed, but they're not working.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Got you.
GREG MIGLIORE: So I just parked there, and I was like, man, I was hoping to get like, kind of top off during this like, 45-minute shopping. And that's not even an infrastructure thing. The infrastructure in this case is literally getting there, which is a great thing. It just wasn't there yet.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: The other thing-- if you're listening to this podcast and you're thinking, oh, this reinforces my dislike of electric vehicles, hearing them talk about that, just remember this is one use case that we're talking about here. If I had that EV6, and it was my car that I was driving every single day, I would plug it in in my driveway or in my garage every night.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, exactly.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: And every day, I'd leave with 225, 240-- whatever the range was-- miles in the tank that day. I would never have to plug it into any-- well, not never. Only have to worry about this charging infrastructure on trips. The vast majority of your charging, if you live in a home that you can put a charger in, is going to be on your home charger.
And we did some math on the rates, too, if you're concerned about how much it costs. It is so much cheaper to put electrons in batteries than it is to put gas in tanks. I could fill the thing up in off hours. It was like, $6 worth of electricity on my meter for 240 miles of range the next day.
GREG MIGLIORE: Wow.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: I mean, that's how cheap it is when you're charging at home. It's so, so much more energy-efficient and lower payment than gasoline is.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I got 57 kilowatt hours. It took me 47 minutes to do it, but that includes a really slow start because it was really cold, and it was $10.52. So I basically got from 20%-ish to about 80%.
And to your point, this isn't like, an indictment on EVs or something. It's more like the road trip element of it. If I were just driving around town, it's not a problem. If I get low, I go to this fast charger that is nearby, I top off, then I'm good. You know, it's a good place to catch up on work emails, drink some coffee. It's not a problem for me.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. I'm going to anecdotally end on an experience that my wife had the other day that she was complaining. Well, we were talking on the phone. She stopped to get gas. She gets in the car. We're talking, we're talking, we're talking.
Now, she's driving a GMC Suburban with a 42-gallon tank, so this is a really, really large gas tank. This particular gas station pump was just moving excruciatingly slow.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Everyone's put the nozzle in their tank, and they're like, why is this taking so-- it was just like, crawling. And I don't know if it was a low pressure situation, if they were having a hard time with their pump or whatever, but we were talking on the phone for like, nearly 20 minutes before it finally hit the full point of that 42-gallon tank.
I have to think that let's say in the 1930s, when vehicles were-- let's change that. Let's say the '50s, when, post-war America, pretty much everyone's got a gasoline-running vehicle in their garages now. There are probably a lot of these snafus that if there were podcasts back then, we could retroactively listen to where people would be complaining that oh, the Texaco station, you know-- they finally put one in, but there's not enough, et cetera.
Like, it's an infrastructure issue that will eventually be solved because car companies are selling these vehicles. They're not going anywhere, so they're eventually going to get to a point where we'll have the coverage and reliability that will make this a moot point. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.
GREG MIGLIORE: It reminds me to your point of doing a podcast, trying to talk about like, when Eisenhower was trying to lay out the interstate highway system in like, the '50s, or some of the public works things with FDR in like, the '30s. You know, we really are on just the beginning of this.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. We're on the cusp of something great.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. So let's talk about electric motorcycles.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: Tell me about the one you were in, the Super73-S2. What a great name.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. So the Super73-S2-- actually, it is on two wheels, but it's more of a moped style than motorcycle. This week, Zero Motorcycles actually put a concept out. It's the SRX concept.
And if you're listening to this, if you like motorcycles, definitely check Autoblog for the story. It ran on February 22nd. It's a concept bike, and it's absolutely amazing.
That's not the bike that I had this week-- or not this week, but recently. What I had was the Super73-S2. I got the thing up to about 30 miles an hour. It does have pedals, but you definitely cannot pedal that fast.
It had a pretty sizable battery. I never had to recharge it during the entire week that I was riding the thing. I don't have like, numbers in front of me, but I'd say I probably got-- I kept the throttle pinned pretty much nonstop. And I put 10 miles or so on it in the week that I had it, and I still had over half a charge left, so you can kind of do your own math there.
But I think it's interesting how many more people are looking at electric bicycles as that, you know-- people used to use the term "final mile." I don't think that really is an appropriate term these days, but like, the alternative to firing up my Suburban with its big V8 engine if I'm just running around the corner to oh, I'm out of coffee cream. Or I'm going to meet a friend at X restaurant that's five miles away, whatever. Those are all things that I did with the bike during the period that I had it, and they work so well for that. I threw a backpack on, and that gave me plenty of room for a little grocery run.
And yeah, it's a really, really great platform for around-town, city riding in streets that have a 25- to 35-mile-an-hour speed limit. You're keeping up with traffic. You're not a nuisance, and there's plenty of range. Just a really positive experience to the point where I think like, yeah, I would like one of these things parked in my garage, and I would use this a lot.
There's a lot of uses for these little electric bikes. And the one that I had is not terribly expensive. A couple thousand dollars would easily pay for itself in gasoline, if you've got a big Suburban like mine, over the course of a couple of years.
And it makes you feel good that you are using a vehicle that's right-sized for the purpose as opposed to firing up your gasoline-powered vehicle unnecessarily. So I get the appeal. I get why people are buying them. I get why it's a category of vehicle that's expanding so quickly with new players.
My one piece of advice if you are shopping for an electric bike-- I tested the Super73-S2. Did not have rear suspension. It had front suspension.
It's only a couple hundred dollars more to get the upgraded model that has rear suspension on it, and you want it. That's money well spent. It has a big old padded seat, but I hit a couple potholes at 25, 30 miles an hour that gave me a little bit of a ooh, you know? That's "I haven't done that since I was a teenager" moment. So yeah, spring for the rear suspension if you're doing the shopping yourself.
GREG MIGLIORE: This is a sweet-looking thing. For one thing, if I called it a motorcycle earlier, it's not, but it does kind of look like one.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It's moped-ish, yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: Moped-ish. It's got a good look. Looks like it is about $3,300.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, 3 grand.
GREG MIGLIORE: Looks good. You could get it in-- I'm just going through the configurator here. It looks good and literally all colors. Bone white, obsidian.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Bone white is what I had.
GREG MIGLIORE: OK. The green looks pretty gnarly too. I like that. It's a cool-looking bike. I mean, to your point, knowing a little bit about the area in which you live, I could see how this could work really well for you. And aesthetically it looks awesome.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: Kind of old school.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: I know. Yeah, very old school. I had so many people give me thumbs-up on this thing. It was surprising actually how many people like stopped and looked.
And they could realize that I was on an electric bike, but it didn't look like a dorky electric bike. Like, it looks pretty cool. It's very stylish. Kind of a flat track handlebar, kind of the flat-top puffy seat like '70s moped style. Yeah, very, very, cool and definitely recommended.
GREG MIGLIORE: So it looks like it's 20 miles an hour plus top speed, they say. 40 to 75 miles of range.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. So let me spill the beans on that.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It comes with an instruction manual. Pull it right out of the box, and it's software-locked to 20 miles an hour. That's like, beginner riding mode. Most municipalities have like, a tiered system of electric bike-- or moped, even-- capabilities. So like, 5-brake horsepower or less vehicles.
A lot of areas cap the top speed at 28 miles an hour. They say we don't want you going faster than 28. Well, the Super73 team-- you can pull it out of beginner mode and put it into the advanced mode immediately. There's also a completely unlocked mode.
Did I test it in unlocked mode? Well, it's my job to test it in unlocked mode, of course. Did I take it out of unlocked mode after testing? No, I did not.
You can back off the throttle a little bit to stay legal at that 28-mile-an-hour limit, but I found some parks with big, open areas, and I got the thing about 31, 32, 33 miles per hour on flat, level ground. But even at that 28 software-locked speed, you're basically keeping up with around-town traffic in regular roads. Even if they've got a 35-mile-an-hour speed limit and you're not quite going that, you're also not holding anybody up. So yeah, it really works pretty well.
GREG MIGLIORE: For $3,300, this, to me, seems like kind of a good deal.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: I agree.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I mean, you rode it.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. Like I said, I would bump up to-- it's a couple hundred bucks more, but they've got models with rear suspension. If you're spending $3,300, spend $3,700 $3,800 and get the rear suspension. Your backside and lower back will thank you for it later.
GREG MIGLIORE: OK, sounds good. Cool.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: And full review coming soon to autoblog.com.
GREG MIGLIORE: Coming soon.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. I shot some photos. I've got a write-up coming, so yeah, check out what I had to say about it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Can't wait to read it. Can't wait to see the pictures too. I think bikes like this are really-- I'm not a rider, but it's in my alley, if you will. I like the vibe. So should we run through some news here?
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Absolutely.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right, let's do it. [VOCALIZING] I have got a little bit of an audible. I just saw this. I will throw it on here.
I'll lead off, and you can tell me what you think, so we're kind of doing it live. Lordstown stopped production, and they're doing a recall of a relatively small amount of their trucks. They've only made a relatively small amount.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: That's the Endurance pickup truck?
GREG MIGLIORE: That's right. Yeah. Due to-- and I'm reading the "Wired" story here-- performance and quality issues with some components. So yeah, check out the story. It's on Autoblog. They put in some paperwork with NHTSA, and obviously the stock hit 8% down, as you would say. And they're going to voluntarily recall 19 vehicles, which, I mean, frankly, their goal was to deliver 50 last year, according to Reuters, and then their first batch is going to be about 500.
So this is surprising. I mean, actually no, I shouldn't say that. It's not surprising. These things happen with every automaker.
You know, right now, it doesn't sound great. It doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming days. How big of a problem is it? How quick can they fix it? And can they get back to their production targets? So we'll see.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. I just looked it up, Greg. On Reuters it says that they've made 31 units. And we'll get this up on Autoblog too. You'll be able to read it there.
They've made 31 units. Citing performance and quality issues with some components, as you said. That is so nebulous. That could mean anything.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Like is it the seat back adjusters are locking, and it's causing an issue that they've got to fix? We don't know what that means, so obviously more to come on that. Echoing what you said, it's not surprising to me that a company like Lordstown would have teething issues getting their vehicles out. I'll have to wait and see exactly what the problems are here.
I can tell you that I have visited that plant, done a full factory tour. Where they're building them is a great factory. They've got well-qualified people designing, engineering, assembling them. Did they maybe get it rushed into production a little bit to try to hit their numbers and targets and please investors? Maybe. But I really hope that this isn't like, some sort of death knell for the company and it ends up leading to a demise or anything because they've got a cool product.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: And it's different than everything else. Think of it this way-- when Tesla first launched, Elon Musk himself has said that they were within days of bankruptcy several times in their infancy. Every company, every startup, small company trying to mass-produce a product as sophisticated and complicated as a four-wheeled vehicle with all of today's modern safety requirements, and to be able to compete with the likes of, say, Ford with its Lightning pickup with their startup-- it's hard. So, not surprising. Hopefully it doesn't turn into too big of a debacle.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. To your point, this is par for the course for startups and for everybody. I mean, we just did a story about Ford recalling the Mustang, the Explorer, and the F-150, which, I believe the newest of those vehicles they've been building is the Explorer since the '90s.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Broncos too. Broncos are in there. Did you say that?
GREG MIGLIORE: Broncos, yeah. So it's not like Ford doesn't know how to build cars. They've been doing it for 110-whatever years, 120 years. So again, it's a common problem, but again, it's tough when it's a newer company. The problem here doesn't seem to be like, super reported out-- let's put it that way-- so we'll kind of withhold judgment there.
It's kind of weird. Not weird, but it's interesting. Both you and I have driven these trucks. I drove a production model, and you drove a very much more pre-pro, bare bones one a couple years ago. I liked it generally. I didn't get a long time in it, so it's very hard for me to write a big, extensive review on it.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Right.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's tough on price. I do feel like one of the things that's helped them is Ford keeps raising the prices of the F-150 Lightning. Before, it was such a screaming deal. You were like, well, why would you buy this startup electric truck from a company you've never heard of when Ford will sell you one for 20 grand less.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: Ford's definitely coming back to the pack with that.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: I think the field is-- yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: I can actually speak to that a little bit. I tried my darndest to find one of those low-priced Ford F-150 Lightnings, like what is it? They call it the pro model or something like that. It's the one that's like--
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It's stripped of a lot of the consumer-friendly content, but the basic truck package is the same. And they were selling them for like, 50 grand-- $48,000 to $53,000-- something like that. And I was like heck yeah, I'll take one of those. I tried so hard to find one within hundreds of miles of me. Impossible.
Either like, a dealer had one, and they were just completely unwilling to sell it at the price that Ford stickered it at, or there were a line of a dozen people ahead of me saying "I'll take it," you know? And now that truck doesn't exist at that price anymore. I think Ford probably didn't just how to price the vehicle, and so they came in at a point where people were like, OK, that's compelling.
And it was so compelling that Ford was like, ooh, we got too much demand for this thing. Obviously people are willing to pay more for it, so they jacked the price up by literally like, $20,000 from what was initially-- or something close to it. $15,000, $20,000 what it was initially launched at. And they're still selling for over sticker price.
A friend of mine got a loaded-out one. What's the top spec? Platinum maybe? Is that what it is?
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. He had to drive with the trailer in his other pickup truck all the way to North Dakota from Ohio just to get one within a reasonable time frame. So yeah, getting back to how this relates to Lordstown, at first I was totally in agreement with you. Like why would you take a flyer on this startup electric truck company?
They've got a cool product. I like the ideas behind it. I like where they're going with this. And you know, I'd have to spend a week with one to really draw a conclusion in how I feel. Like, does it really stack up or not_
But if they're able to maintain that $50,000, $60,000 price range that Ford has now basically abandoned with the Lightning, they might have a little bit of a niche there that could potentially be survivable. Even Rivian has dramatically increased its pricing since the vehicles were first up for reservation. So we'll see what happens with Lordstown.
I'll just put it this way. I'm pulling for them. I really hope that they're able to make a success out of it. It would be very disappointing if it turns into kind of a Fisker situation where they've got this kind of neat, compelling product, but things just don't go their way, and it's a one-model-year only kind of thing. I hope that that doesn't happen with Lordstown.
GREG MIGLIORE: Original Fisker.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: The original Fisker, yeah. Now it's Karma.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Now it's karma. And there's a new Fisker, which is a whole topic for another conversation, because they've announced a whole bunch of products, and not a single one of them is actually purchasable at the moment. So anyway.
GREG MIGLIORE: That's true. That's true. It's tough to make cars.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: You know? Reading a little bit more, apparently the issue is an electrical connection issue that could result in a loss of propulsion while driving. So that's the issue, reading the Reuters story. We'll keep you posted.
It's funny. So if you're listening to this on, I don't know, Friday evening, you're opening a beer on your patio, Saturday, whatever you're doing, it's like, Thursday afternoon. It's a little later than we record the podcast, actually, to let you behind the curtain here, and I was just sort of scrambling the jets. We had a Slack conversation going. I was letting people know, hey, we want to get this up on the site now. This is a big deal. So yeah, it'll be up there by the time you're there, and maybe we'll have a follow-up.
But yeah, I liked driving it. It was fun. It looks good. It's a work truck, but it's pretty--
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It's unique.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's unique. I agree.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It's very unique, yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: It reminds me of a Ridgeline a little bit.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: A little bit, yeah, in that it is a different take on a traditional concept?
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's a good thing, I think.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, I agree. There's plenty of room for diversity in the automotive industry. Lordstown, if you're not familiar with it, designed this pickup truck. It's got four individual motors-- one at each wheel-- so there's no traditional transmission. There's no traditional drive shaft that runs like, the length of the vehicle. And it both complicates things, because they've got a whole bunch of electrical connections, and, you know, maybe it's not too surprising that that's what Reuters is saying the trouble could be with. They've got high-voltage wiring running to every corner of the car now, not just to one specific front motor or rear motor or what have you.
But it's a little bit complicated, but it's also much more simple in another way in that there's a lot less like, kind of rotating mass in various spots of the vehicle that traditional drive trains like axles, drive shafts, transmissions, transfer cases. The Lordstown Endurance doesn't have to have any of those things, and yet it's still a four-wheel drive truck fully capable of sending as much or as little possible to any of those four wheels like a very high-end, kind of more traditional system might do. It does it in a much more simple manner, but it's also new and untested, so probably not terribly surprising that it's got kinks.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Now, I mean, we'll just see. These things happen. Sometimes they work out. Sometimes they don't.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Their response to it-- that's going to be the real story here. I don't think the story at this point is they had an issue with it. The story is going to be how do they fix it, and what happens to their bottom line because of it? That's going to be the follow-up.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so that's Lordstown. A little bit of an audible there. Let's run through a few other news items, and we'll close this thing out here.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: All right.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's a good show. Is it the Fratzonic? How do you say that?
Yeah, they're calling like the Fratzonic or something like that, yeah.
Fratzonic. Maybe I'm emphasizing the front syllable too much. Yeah, sound check. That's our headline. This is the sound of electric cars-- an electric charger. What do you think?
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It is interesting.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Like how to describe what the system even is? If you know anything about your orchestral instruments, picture a wind instrument-- a tuba, a trombone, something to that effect. Dodge has literally made a like, tube-shaped instrument of sorts and a vibrating, reverberating kind of mechanism at one end and an open horn shape at the other end. And basically with that kind of like, instrument, so to speak, they're able to make any number of sounds.
So they're saying yeah, one of the cool things about cars is that they make this noise, you know? Especially people are big in their Hemi Mopars, you know? Their SRT8s with the verbally exhaust. So what Dodge is saying is like, you don't have to give up that cool sound of a car. But what they're doing now is tuning it.
So I've got a piano in my room downstairs. Every several years, somebody comes in, and they have their little tool kit, and they tune the piano to make sure that the noises that it's making is just right. Well, Dodge is doing that right now behind the scenes. They keep retuning it, slightly changing this vibration, slightly changing-- you know, I'm making these things up, but like, the thickness of the metal of the horn, the slight shape of it. Every little change that they make results in a slightly different sound emanating from the back of this electric vehicle.
Do you want that at all is the first question you have to ask. And if the answer is yes, I do want that, what do you want it to sound like? So Dodge has decided they're answering that first one for you. You want it.
Now what they're doing is tuning it to make it sound exactly like what they think an electric super-performance car should sound like. And it's going through many different iterations. I've heard it a couple of times. They had one out at SEMA.
And they keep working on it. They're looking for feedback. Until they finally put it in production, they can continue making changes to it and keep refining the sound that they're trying to emanate from the back of this car.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's very Dodge take on electric things. I think it's a good thing. I think everybody's going to have a different take on how their electric cars look, feel, sound, so that's kind of cool.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It's interesting. If you stop in and just sit back and think about it, like, let's say that you answered the question yes, I want my electric vehicle to make some sort of cool sound, there's a lot of ways you can go about that.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: For instance, Tesla put speakers on their cars, and they let people plug in sounds of their own to a very irritating effect in a lot of people's opinions. Dodge is doing it completely differently, and they're saying like, we're going to make this part of our electric DNA, and we're going to do it through not speakers. We're literally going to make an instrument that this electric car is playing and sounding like.
It is a very Dodge take on things. Even going back to the 1960s, you know, Dodge Mopar-- so Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler-- they had very interesting takes on the muscle car era, the classic Road Runner "meep meep" horn being a prime example. But the way that they name their cars, the colors that they paint them-- they have a little bit of an irreverence to them, and this almost seems like an extension of that. Like yeah, we don't want to be kicking and screaming and dragging our feet into the electric age, so what are we going to do that says, OK, we're going electric, we're going performance, but we're also tipping our hat to our heritage customers that want something unique and different? And this is one of the ways that they decided they're going to do it.
GREG MIGLIORE: So I'm going to just hit play on the video in our story. I have no idea if some ad is going to play, but we'll just try it. Listeners, I apologize if this doesn't sound right, but let's just see.
Easiest thing is to play it. Let's see what happens. And-- oh, there it is. It did play.
If that didn't come through, and I don't know, maybe we'll edit that out. We'll see how it goes. But if you didn't hear it, just head on over to the story. It's easy to find.
Again, I mean, just if you told me that's how it sounds, I like the sound.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. I'm torn. I like the idea of the sound that I'm hearing out of an SRT8 or a Hellcat is the sound of the internal combustion engine, but, I mean, the flipside of that is the exhaust that we've trained ourselves to recognize is also highly tuned.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. That's true. That's a fair point.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It's totally true. There's entire engineering departments that design the exhaust systems on these Dodge, basically, crazy muscle cars. They've been doing this for years. They've been tuning them.
There's no engine. There's an instrument now, but it's just like-- I don't know, it's kind of an extension of what their audio engineering department has been doing since internal combustion first started.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right. So let's talk about electric vehicles again on panels. This is an interesting thing I think Ford is considering. They showed this basically.
One of the things when you're driving an EV-- you get better range if you turn down the air conditioning or the heat. That also means you've got to really drive with like, layers on or with the windows down, which can also aero impact your fuel mileage-- or "fuel"-- electric mileage range is.
So basically what Ford is suggesting is making the panels inside the car are like, warm, if you will. I think this is kind of cool. It's just like a demonstration sort of thing. And, you know, some cars do offer this already in like, a limited fashion. They're more like luxury cars. BMW-- I drove one that did that. I'm pretty sure Mercedes has done that as well.
So I think this is a really good idea. I also like to be warm and toasty when I drive, so I already like this idea. But I think for EVs, there's a lot of potential. We'll see, you know?
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It is interesting. So it's a conundrum because the heat that you get out of an internal combustion engine is waste heat. It would be doing nothing if it didn't serve to warm up the cabin.
That's not the case with electric vehicles. They need a separate heat source, and it has to come from the battery. No one at this point is better than Tesla at managing properly the heat that the electric batteries, the motor, everything, both produces and requires.
Greg mentioned earlier when he was talking about the EV6, like, oh, the battery started charging a little bit slow because it was super cold outside. Well, that's because the batteries have to condition. They have to get up to a certain internal temperature before you can really start pounding electricity into them. Tesla's got this super crazy technology where they've got this-- it's like an eight-way valve or something like that. It's like an engineering marvel from my engineering friends who talk about these kinds of things.
I don't totally get every aspect of it, but it's the world's best heat management system for electric vehicles. What Ford is saying is, hey, we've got this other idea about how to generate heat, how to manage heat, how to make sure that the interior is getting up to temperature. Is it going to be as efficient as Tesla's way? I don't know.
It doesn't surprise me that Ford is thinking about this and coming up with new ways and issuing press releases to make sure we know that it's something that they're working on. I think that's great. Eventually, every car company will settle on their own methods of how to do it. But even as far back as the initial Chevy Bolt with a B-- not volt with a V, but B. I don't even know if that's clear on the podcast. Bolt as in B, the second letter of the alphabet.
When they launched that vehicle, they made a big deal about talking how it's much more efficient to heat the person than to heat the ambient air of the vehicle, and they made whole dashboard displays and graphics showing you like, oh, if you turn your heated seat on, it's only going to reduce your range by X amount as opposed to if you set your internal cabin temperature at 75. And for us to maintain that temperature, it's going to reduce your range by this amount. It's much more efficient to heat the person and make them comfortable than it is to heat the air inside the vehicle.
This is another way that Ford's doing that. Think of it this way. They're talking about turning panels inside your car into little, itty bitty radiators. They're giving off heat.
And it's just like if you have every seat full in your car, people are giving off 98.6 degrees of body heat, and the interior is going to heat up faster because of that as opposed to if you're driving alone. That's kind of like the same principle here. Ford is saying it's going to heat up these bits and pieces, and it's going to increase the ambient temperature inside the vehicle. Hopefully it's sufficient. I think that's cool. That's cool that they're working on it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Could be an either/or thing. Not an either/or, but a both/and type of situation.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, right.
GREG MIGLIORE: You know?
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, absolutely.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so Pininfarina Battista is the fastest car in the world according to some metrics. This is one. Tests that were done in India with the car magazine "Autocar." They staged a couple of tests here, quarter-mile and half-mile, and they put up some pretty fast numbers.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Sure did.
GREG MIGLIORE: I think for me the interesting move here is just that Pininfarina-- for a while there, they were in some rough shape, you know? They've kind of pivoted from being like, this quasi in-house design arm for Ferrari to they've really expanded what they do there-- you could argue the car says Pininfarina, although it's got a lot of different things going on with it-- to making cars.
The records are cool. Records are always cool, whether on the Nurburgring or Guinness or you name it. But to me, this is kind of cool evidence that they can sort of create, with a little bit of help from others, a very credible, very fast supercar. I'd love to drive the Battista. I think it would be amazing.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, totally. Some of the most beautiful cars in the world have been designed by Pininfarina. It goes back-- oh, since 1930. It says it was founded. Interesting that they are doing this, and here's why I say that. The Pininfarina Battista-- underneath, it runs drive train components, designed, and manufactured by-- how do you say it? Is it Rimac?
GREG MIGLIORE: I think it's that. Yeah, we'll see. Sure.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, that's Croatian-- the Croatian electric car company that has now teamed up and partnered up with Bugatti. And Rimac is one of the premier electric drive train manufacturers in the world. They provide the guts of a lot of the world's most powerful, fastest, both on road and on racetracks. They provide a lot of the stuff that makes them go, including the drive train for the Pininfarina Battista.
Prior to this record, the Rimac-- what is it? The Nevera? Is that what they called it?
That's the vehicle that held the record. Interesting that Pininfarina went to India and set these records. Pininfarina is traditionally an Italian company. That's where it was founded. That's where it's headquartered. But it's owned by Mahindra, the Indian manufacturing powerhouse. Make a lot of tractors. They make some very Jeep-looking off-road vehicles. And they're the money behind Pininfarina right now.
Pininfarina partnered up, as we said, with Rimac for the powertrain. The acceleration numbers of the Battista are just like, a tenth better or a fraction of a second quicker than the numbers that were published with the Rimac. How does Rimac feel about that? That's the obvious question.
Are they going to say like, oh, good for them. Great job. Or are they going to throw even stickier tires on the Nevera and reset another record? That'd be my guess. I don't think that this record is going to stand for forever.
Regardless, we're splitting hairs here. Couple these up. They're obviously different vehicles. One of them is Pininfarina Battista, one is a Rimac Nevera, but couple them up. They are the fastest vehicles in the world that happen to be powered by electricity. But regardless, they're just like-- we're talking insane acceleration numbers.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, Rimac does some interesting things. Usually this is the time of year when we'd see like, the latest version of whatever they're working on at the Geneva Motor Show within a couple of weeks or so. So they're always a company that I think is really-- they can do pretty cool things.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: They're extremely impressive.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: And young too. Like, how quickly they've gone from like, startup to teamed up with Bugatti is mind-boggling.
GREG MIGLIORE: That's a great point, yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: How successful they've been, how quickly they've done it.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Then we'll file this under boring but important. The opposite of, I guess, the Battista is IIHS top picks. And there's actually some changes this year, which is perhaps more interesting.
The list of the latest top safety pick, top safety pick plus, is now out. Again, go to the website. We're not going to read the whole thing. But fewer cars made it this year because of a couple of changes.
And then I know your voice is about done, so I'll toss it over to you. What do you think? And then I will read all of the Spend My Money, and you can take a breath.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, sure. Yeah, no problem. And again, I apologize to all of our listeners. My voice is a little bit hoarse today. Car safety is not a sexy topic to talk about.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's important.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: It's important, yeah. We don't devote a huge amount of time in "The Autoblog Podcast" very often to talk about vehicle safety. Obviously it's extremely important as a purchasing decision.
So Greg and I were talking about this a little bit earlier. I'm sure everyone listening to this has had this thought in their head, or have at least heard it from someone else-- why are cars constantly getting bigger? Why are cars constantly getting heavier? Why are they so much more expensive? Why is the cost continue going up?
Safety is one of the biggest factors driving that. Today's cars are orders of magnitude safer than what they had been in previous years. Companies like the IIHS-- they are financially incentivized to want to improve vehicle safety because IIHS stands for Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. And yes, it is funded by car insurance companies that want vehicles to be safer both for capitalistic reasons, because it's better for their bottom line in payouts, but also furthering safety is a noble prospect no matter how you slice it.
So here's why it's important. Every couple years, IIHS revises their safety ratings because car companies get to a point where they're really good at hitting the numbers that they've been-- not numbers. The bogeys that they've been given. So you start seeing a whole bunch of vehicles get the same safety rating-- the best rating.
I'll read this directly out of our report. It says, "With last year's testing, 101 vehicles earned awards. Now just 48 do" with the new ones, and only 28 of them are top safety pick plus, which is the highest.
So what they're doing is adding additional safety aspects and elements to their previous awards that make them harder to hit and therefore technically more safe. More safe in a very narrow, specific rating type. In this case, there's headlight-- or not headlights. But night safety of automated technologies and side impact, I believe, are the two things that were marginally made more difficult to hit.
But what we're going to see happen is eventually, the car companies are going to hit these bogeys, and all the new vehicles are going to hit those numbers. And four or five years from now, some new wrinkle will be thrown in, and they'll call the herd again, and the car companies go back to the drawing board. Every time this happens, a little bit of expense, a little bit of size, a little bit of something, a piece of technology is going to have to be added to the vehicle to make it hit this new safety plateau. So that's why it's important.
It's not like now everybody is like, oh, did you see that new Mustang? Yeah, five-star safety rating. You know, that's not the kind of thing that we talk about, but it's extremely important. And it's one of the driving factors of current vehicle design is cars are bigger, faster, and fortunately safer than they ever have been before. Unfortunately, that also makes them more expensive, and heavier-- things that are not so desirable. But that's kind of the way that these things progress.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, that's a good analysis of how this is kind of shaking out. And I think it does matter to consumers because a lot of people-- you like to know hey, oh, it's an IIHS top safety pick, safety pick plus. And when I was doing some car-buying research a while ago, I sort of rationalized the purchase of one car because it's like, well, it's not this, but it's mainly because of-- I think it was the headlights at the time.
You might remember a few years ago, the headlights were a big drawback for a lot of different cars. They weren't bright enough or didn't see far enough or whatever it was. They were newer vehicles with technology on headlights from years ago. So we just were seeing fewer top picks, if you will.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: And if companies like IIHS don't make car companies respond to these new ratings, the car companies aren't just going to magically take it upon themselves to come out with this really high-tech new lighting technology that really does improve your ability to see at night. They've kind of got to be prodded into doing it. That's the other aspect of this.
My '93 Suburban doesn't have great exterior lights. There's not a whole lot I can do about it. The brand new Suburban that I buy on the dealership floor right now has much, much better headlights, and the reason is because these standards keep evolving over time. That is the march of progress.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so speaking of our personal cars, let's spend some money here. Dave in Phoenix writes, "Hey guys. I wrote back in September 2021," and asked about a sporty crossover to replace his beloved 2015 Lexus IS 350 F SPORT. "Unfortunately, the IS 350 was rear-ended and totaled. Everybody's OK." So that's good to hear.
This a little bit after the fact. This is almost like a mailbag question too. So they ended up getting a 2023 BMW X3 xDrive30i, graphite exterior, red kind of burgundy interior. He likes it. It's fun to drive. "Best infotainment in class," he says.
They actually had two different vehicles coming in within the week, so he had a choice, and he paid sticker-- MSRP. So this is kind of a rare experience I'm hearing in the car-buying segment. This is just sort of his dealership experience. They looked at an Acura RDX with the super handling, all-wheel drive. They only had a front-wheeler to test. None in stock, six weeks to order, and it was $3,000 over sticker with some other stuff that he wasn't interested in.
The Mercedes GLC 300-- no new models, let alone new generation. That's true. That is coming out. Only returned service loaners with about 3 to 5 grand on the mules, we'll call them, the test mules. So he was like, yeah, we'll pass on that. I agree.
The Lexus NX 350 F SPORT Performance-- he says "the longest name ever." There's some longer ones, but it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. This is impressive according to Dave.
There were none in stock. They could not order them as the allocated cars to dealer, it sounds like, were already gone. Two-month wait for a vehicle. Long story short-- oh, and it $3,300 over sticker. So it sounds like Dave liked it, but he couldn't--
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Justify it.
GREG MIGLIORE: For sure. So he got the Bimmer at sticker, had a couple to choose from. I think that was a good call. I think, frankly, even looking at the field, all things being equal, I would have leaned pretty hard onto that X3 as it is. Second part of this is he's asking "Because BMW does have factories in the United States, does this help them with the supply situation?"
So again, like I said, two parts here. My first part is good call, Dave. Hope you like the X3. I like the X3. I think you're going to enjoy it. Some other decent things in the field here, but not worth the hassle or the additional cost.
Now, the second part of this is a little more complex to unpack. I don't think BMW having a factory in the US-- Spartanburg, I believe, South Carolina-- really helps them, per se-- or hurts them. Excuse me. But I also think they're not immune to some of the supply chain problems by that either.
I mean, let me put it this way. There is a million Ford factories in Michigan, and you still can't get like a bunch of their products. So it doesn't necessarily mean hey, you have a factory here. You're good to go.
But I also think it can help. It doesn't hurt. Let me put it that way. So that's kind of a roundabout way of approaching it, but that's my thought.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah, I think you're spot on. It can't hurt, you know? Having your factory emanating from the country that you're selling the vehicles in, you would think logistically that it would simplify processes. That's not the only vehicle that's made in America.
And like you said, Greg, a lot of those made-in-America vehicles are still supply constrained and difficult to find and selling for over sticker and all of that. So there might be something there to that. I don't think it's because the X3 is unpopular compared to the others.
The X3 is a strong seller. It's a strong competitor in that segment. Definitely would be one of the vehicles that I would say yeah, take a look at the X3. It's pretty darn good. X1-- not so much. X3-- yeah.
So I think you made a good choice there. I really like the color combo you went with too.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Yeah. I don't know that I've seen one in person with the graphite and that deep red interior, but I like that color combo in general. So you had a choice in colors, and I think you chose wisely if you value my opinion.
Do I think that the situation is going to improve? Yes. I think it is improving. I think if you would have done this experiment 18 months ago, it would have been even more irritating and hard to find what you're looking for. I think we're a little bit on the upswing. I think it's awesome that you were able to find the car that you wanted for the price that you wanted to pay and not have to wait forever for it.
The flip side of that, though, is I think, kind of, people's perception of how you buy cars is changing a little bit too. The classic American way is hey, I'm looking-- I remember in the mid-'90s, my family bought a Jeep Cherokee. And how did we do it? Well, we went to the biggest Jeep dealership in the area, looked at all of the Cherokees that they had on the lot, and picked the one that we liked the best, both by color and by options. That's how Americans, for years and years and years, have done their car shopping.
I think that's kind of changing. The idea of ordering the one that you want, the idea of even putting a reservation fee down-- there's going to be more and more and more of that as time goes on. There's going to be probably less of a push to have every different vehicle on the lot to choose from instant gratification is still going to be a part of it, I think, but it's probably going to diminish in importance as the years go on.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, I tend to agree with you. I think it's a different buying experience as time has changed. I mean, even from when we were growing up.
Well, I think we ended up-- this was kind of an impromptu show. I'll put it out there. We thought maybe we'd end up going about 45 minutes. We're at an hour and 15, so hey, there we go.
Obviously this was your regularly scheduled podcast, but thanks to Jeremy for stepping in. Associate Editor Byron Hurd was going to be the host this week. You might remember Jeremy was on pretty recently talking about the Ineos Grenadier. Sort of Byron's turn, but he lost power. And I think it's back on as we hear this, so that's good news.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: Full circle. Back to the weather in Detroit, huh?
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, you got to do that. You got to do that.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: He lost power because of the ice storm, and here I am filling in. Beautiful here in Columbus.
GREG MIGLIORE: I know you're under the weather. It's 4 o'clock. The Red Wings play the Rangers tonight in hockey. I'm excited about that-- an original six match-up. My plan is to open up a Sam Adams cherry wheat, which I think is a good spring beer. It's not spring at all right now, but sure, whatever.
You have any go-tos besides, I don't know, Advil and hot soup? Or anything you're going to be drinking this evening?
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: So I just got back from Scotland, and I've got a lot more scotch in my house than beer right now.
GREG MIGLIORE: Nice.
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: I did my taxes under the influence of COVID last weekend, and my wife felt bad for me for spending my sick day doing that, so she rewarded me with a Bell's Two Hearted hot pack. It was like, four different kinds of Bell's IPAs, and I've been slowly working my way through some of those. I haven't tried them all yet. I haven't tasted them all.
The other day I had-- the can is still sitting here-- Big Hearted IPA, which is an imperial, kind of a big IPA, 9.5 ABV. That's a one-and-doner, but it was good. I enjoyed it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Well, hey, it's not quite spring yet, although it is in Columbus for another 12 hours. You have some pretty good beers to--
JEREMY KORZENIOWSKI: There you go.
GREG MIGLIORE: --get you through whatever you're trying to get through. Let's put it that way. If you enjoy the podcast, please give us five stars on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get the show. Send us your Spend My Moneys. We are starting to run down on those. That's email@example.com.
Come back next week if you're listening to this for the launch of Autoblog Electric. We're going to have a page devoted to electric vehicles stood up. There's some infrastructure. There's a map charging utility that I think is going to be pretty cool, so check that out. Have a great week, everybody. Be safe out there. We'll see you next time.