Off a cliff with some new car smell
A Tesla survives a 250 cliff drop but still lies about full self driving, Anthony invents the car bidet, Fred explains exactly what that new car smell is and Michael has audio problems. Plus recall roundup
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note: this is a machine generated transcript and may not be completely accurate. This is provided for convience and should not be used for attribution.
Fred: Pretty yours was it sucked that we lost a few trees, but there you go.
You can’t have everything, either beauty or.
Anthony: either but, or that’s what we should name the podcast either. Tree . Ah, alright. Michael, we were having some technical difficulties.
Michael: Hi, how’s it sound now?
Anthony: Hey, that sounds much better. Awesome. That must be it. Yep. 2023, start off the year with a good Tesla story.
And this, I’m not being sarcastic. This is actually very impressive. So in in Caala, Northern California, a four-year-old girl, a nine-year-old boy and two adults survived Monday after the car plunged off a Northern California cliff, along the Pacific Coast Highway, near an area known as Devil Slide.
That’s known for Fatal Wreck. The Tesla sedan plummeted more than 250 feet from the highway, crashed into a rocky outcropping right above the water, and everyone survived. That’s, I h s really has to upgrade their testing standards. That’s incredible.
Michael: I wonder if IHS wants to run Claires off Cliffs to do that.
That sounds really expensive. Was, it was incredible. I think we saw as first responder quote to saying, they, he’s been there to meez and seen many crashes
Anthony: of, I’m sorry, your audio’s. Your audio’s all crackling and crunchy still.
Michael: We’re gonna have to figure this out.
Anthony: And this is a time limited.
Michael: I’m wondering if it might be my network connection hopping on and off here. Okay.
Anthony: He adjusts that, unbelievable. Fred, what did you think about this when you read the article?
Fred: It’s amazing structurally I, it’s incredible that they survived car ruling down cliffside and, an elevation of a couple hundred feet.
It does make you wonder a little bit though, about the automatic emergency break. In the in the Tesla, you’d think that they would somehow have a ability to note that they have gone off the edge of the continent and, they probably shouldn’t try to drive there.
Anthony: What’s a problem with Northern California?
I don’t know if you’ve done a lot of driving out there, but. A lot of these roads are, shouldn’t exist. They wash away regularly. They’re on the edge of cliffs, like this is known as Devil Slide, where it’s 36 fatalities in the last decade alone
Fred: on our run. Yeah. 1 0 1. I have the good fortune to have driven all the way down there and survived the experience.
Anthony: mean, it’s absolutely beautiful, but why aren’t there road barriers in the way and if our intre. Legal mind has, I
Fred: don’t know. I, I was going down there one time and I was taking pictures along the way and I saw a really nice spot to take a picture, so I went out and waited through the weeds and, got to a good point.
to take the picture and successfully flip the shutter, and then took a close look at the weeds I was waiting through and it turned out to be poison Sumac which I can tell you is very lit. I plumped up really nicely after that, even though I tried to be careful taking my clothes off. But yeah, interesting.
I guess that’s why people stay in their cars along the. . I
Anthony: guess so. Michael how’s our audio? How do you think it
Michael: is a little better?
Anthony: No. What is going on? Maybe disconnect. The microphone will just go right to computer Audio. Let’s see here. Let’s see. It’s like your gain’s cranked. It’s my
No it’s much better now. It’s something setting on your microphone. All right. That’s weird. So I was suggesting that the Institute for Insurance for Highway Safety upgrade their crash testing to handle this. Cuz this is like six star crashworthiness.
Michael: Yeah. I don’t think they have room in their facility for a 250 foot cliff.
That and. . I also don’t think, this is a type of dynamic testing that would be impossible really, because you, there’s so many different ways a car could go over a cliff. You’re gonna be witnesses in this situation suggested the car was flipping, which to me sounds like it was end over end.
You could go on sideways. There are a million different ways. And to the other question, we’ve got 4 million miles worth of roads in America and putting barriers up every place there’s a drop off might not make a lot of sense from an infrastructure perspective. . I think it might make more sense in the future to build cars, that know where those drop-offs are and won’t go over them.
That might make more sense. But this situation was pretty tragic. The, yeah, the driver was charged quickly with I think, child abuse and attempted murder. So it sounds like there was some pretty compelling witness testimony to the effect of it being an intentional act. You can’t, that’s not something I think infrastructure can plan for.
If you want to drive a car off a roadway and endanger yourself and other people, it’s not going to be something that the d o t for each state is going to be able to solve by putting up barriers.
Anthony: But I also don’t, ima, a lot of these coastal roads in California that they wash out regularly and disappear.
So it’s maybe not so much a barrier issue is more of. Don’t build roads there. .
Fred: Little late for that, I’m
Anthony: afraid. But they move the road. Like I, is this too radical of an idea? Because I, because they keep rebuilding roads in these places that washed it. I remember driving through the Santa Cruz mountains when I lived out in California and like regularly, like it was.
You, you were like, do I live today? Do I die today? You’re watching half of the road disappear. And there’d be no one to coordinate traffic. You just be like, Hey, is this other driver? And California drivers can’t handle the rain. Mudslide, eh, not so much either.
Michael: But’s a major highway what you that they wrong.
So that’s a tough call. It’s going to probably, I don’t think you could eliminate the road. I think the solution is to. Continue to rebuild the road if it’s worth it to the citizens in California. But, who knows? This is a, this goes along with a lot of, ideas I’ve thought about in relation, hurricanes and places that tend to have disasters over and over again.
And for some reason people continue to live there and to in some circumstances use taxpayer money. To continue to live there. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Particularly when we’re seeing things like rising sea levels and, the, the suggestion at least that storms in the future are going to get worse and impact these areas even more.
We see right now in California, they’ve had, I think they’re on their third storm today, that’s caused some pretty massive flooding and I can’t imagine that. The roads and highways in California are perf are doing too well right now. There’s gotta be a lot of landslides and a lot of other things going on.
Fred: Yeah. One in that particular case though, once you name something in the coast Highway, you’re pretty well constrained about where you’re going to put it, .
Anthony: Fair enough. And the view is amazing. It’s very pretty.
Fred: If the pen is mightier than the sword, it’s probably mightier than the bulldozers as well.
Michael: But I would say, it’s a testament really to, to the crash worth. It’s something that you’ll never hear me say a bad word about Tesla on is their crashworthiness, which, they do great in tests and this, it wasn’t a test, this was a, it’s. A lot of people describe as a miracle.
I don’t really believe in miracles, it’s a certainly a testament to, the crashworthiness of Teslas. If they could get their marketing skills up to their the level of their crashworthiness design, I think we’d see a lot. We’d have a lot fewer problems with ’em.
Anthony: Continuing along Northern California and fun cars.
The San Francisco gate had a little article about someone’s ride and a driverless Waymo and about how they’re like, Hey, this is fascinating. I got in this car and it drove itself. But they concluded that, I’m not really sure if we need this now. There’s a couple things in the article that really stood out to me.
One there was, there are certain appealing aspects of the service, like the fact that the fleet up is ma is made of entirely electric cars in good clean condition. Also known as brand new cars that are barely used. That’s, wait a couple years when this is widespread, and those seats will be covered in vomit and torn apart.
The other thing, and this is a very Silicon Valley tech worker approach to life. The reason that some of these people, like these driverless vehicles is they feel safe, falling asleep, can do whatever I want since there’s no human total freedom like I can, which is so disconnected from the human experience.
Like it’s, I don’t want humans around me while I pick my nose in a cab or do something else. It’s very strange to
Michael: me. , I I didn’t notice those two particular flights when I was eating. I noticed more, the person had a good ride. And then after, reflecting on it was thinking, why do we really need this?
And there weren’t really any good reasons. Being able to pick your nose in the car by yourself doesn’t really strike me as something that we should be developing half a million dollar vehicles for. I’m still a little I guess on the side of folks who are questioning, why do we need this right now?
Obviously if these things were working perfectly and completely prevented traffic injuries and deaths, it would be another story. But they’re not, and they’re nowhere near that point yet. And until they are, that why question is really big because. , we had a lot of questions about, whether people can actually ever own these things.
It, it’s essentially, For the next few decades, at a minimum, we think probably going to be a robo taxi type situation where the car’s coming to you. And there are a lot of questions there regarding, is that as efficient as someone simply driving an EV from their home to their location and back when you’ve got a another vehicle that’s going to have to come to them, take them, and then come to them again to take them back home.
So there’s some inefficiencies there that really don’t make a lot of sense. So we’re still on the, we’re, I think we’re, we are definitely still waiting to see good reasons for this technology to be deployed widely across America. We just don’t think it’s quite there yet. I think we’re stuck
Fred: in the classic Conundrum of whether you want to embrace inductive reasoning or deductive reasoning, and which is complicated, but with the EVs and attaches and self-driving, people are just convinced that they’re a good idea and all of their analysis of the situation seems to derive from the belief that this is a good idea.
And so whatever circumstances happen, The reporter saying, why are we doing this at all? People tend to interpret that as meaning this reporter just doesn’t really understand it. We’ve gotta believe that these are good things and we should go ahead and continue down this road. . Whereas the evidence of what people are experiencing with these things is frankly, mostly negative so far.
People throwing stones at ’em, people resenting ’em in their neighborhood. The reporter being disillusioned by even a perfectly performing, self-driving vehicle. It’s interesting it’s interesting to me that it really seems like an article of faith among people that this has gotta be good. So what is it about this that I don’t understand that makes me think it’s not.
Anthony: I found a good reason to have this self-driving robo taxi on New Year’s Eve. My wife and I ordered a Lyft to take us from our apartment to a friend’s. And you get to watch on the app where the driver is and the driver got stuck in a loop. in a park near me and it just, you see it’s hey, two minutes away.
Now it’s three minutes away. And it literally just went around. The person went around on a circle and it’s not like there’s any other traffic. They’re li literally in a park that I don’t know why they were there to begin with. But they kept getting stuck and in a loop. And so they come and get us and they park across from our apartment, which is.
Four-Lane Highway, expecting us to cross. There’s no crosswalk, there’s nothing. And I’m like having to wave with the guy, like there’s no way I’m coming across. He eventually gets us and then he can’t follow the map inside the car. The map says Go left. He goes right. Again,
Michael: you explains him getting stuck in the circle.
Anthony: very confus If you can’t, Anthony,
Michael: At that point, didn’t you think it would’ve been prudent for you to find a different driver? ?
Anthony: See, yes. When we saw him do the loop a couple times, I wanted to cancel it. But the problem is if you cancel it at that point, they’re like, charge you anyway.
Yes. And so you’re like, what the hell? So I took a chance and we eventually got there. There was a point where Lyft texted me and said, Hey, are you safe? Because we see that you’re not going the right direction. ,
Michael: wow. That’s good that they have that, that in their tech. So at least alert or potentially help out people who are in a bad situation.
I’ve probably been in similar situations, I think mainly after concerts in DC Sometimes it’s really difficult to get a, to get an Uber, to get to you, an Uber or a Lyft. And it’s, you’ll have a lot of cancellations and a lot of frustrations. So I understand once you get a, once you get that driver hanging onto that chance at a ride is important.
Anthony: I just didn’t want to be billed for a service that I felt unsafe with. So Lyft, if you’re listening, allow me to cancel it. You’re watching the driver and they’re getting stuck in a circle. Like it wasn’t even a roundabout, like it was bizarre. So that’s my my robot taxii wouldn’t have done that cuz robots are perfect.
And , the two of them were looking at me dumbfounded. The video version of this is gonna be amazing one day. . , speaking of technology gm there’s a petition for OnStar subscribers. So OnStar, remember it came out in what, the nineties? Very cool service that uses old. Two G cell phones to that you can say, help, I’m stuck and I can’t get up.
And you press a little OnStar button and they say, Hey, great, we know where you are. It’s been using Verizon and Verizon. I didn’t even know Verizon still had their two G service. Cuz they’re phasing that out. They’re phasing out 3G surface. And so a bunch of OnStar subscribers are like, Hey, just, upgrade our service.
Like we, it’s. , your home internet provider they’ll give you a new cable modem if need be. And so far GM is just being silent on this or saying, use an app instead.
Fred: Yeah, I don’t really understand that, that whole imperative by GM to leave his customers hanging. It seems like a bad.
but two, two G is going away, 3G is going away. That’s just what’s happening. So people have gotta make adjustments. I don’t think the band, I don’t think the bandwidth allocation is going away. I think it must be just going to somebody else. Or a question of the formatting of the message.
Michael: I I, we discussed this before in, in relation to 3G and the 3g.
The end of 3g, which is something that I think is ha has already happened or is in the midst of happening. But two G is even older technology, but the, GM was using two G for its OnStar on vehicles through 2014, up to 2015. I, this is well after the advent of 3G and into the 4G era, I’m pretty sure.
So I think that GM could have. some better planning there. It’s something that’s gonna become critical as we put more electronics and cars, ensuring those electronics can last for the usable, life of a car, which is going to be at least over a decade. And, building vehicles into 2015, into the 2015 model year when they already knew two G wasn’t going to be available in the future.
And probably 3G as well is just, doesn’t seem like a good. Good customer service plan.
Fred: No. That’s a good example of orphan software, and we’ve talked about that too, how. When you buy a car or when you buy a durable asset that relies on software, the software world continues to progress while your durable asset sits there and collects dust.
That’s a persistent problem among any complex system that relies on software that isn’t necessarily tied to that system. You’re always trying to play catch up to the latest technical advances. And sometimes like a Tesla, you just fall off a cliff.
Michael: and it wouldn’t be, it wouldn’t be a big deal if, they didn’t have automatic crash notification wrapped into this system for us at least, if it was just a matter of whether mommy can call Johnny to make sure that he’s been picked up from school or, some of these creature comforts that we see being loaded into electronics and cars, if they relied on two G you get what you paid for there.
But when you’re putting safety features into these, they don’t, they should not be running into the type of problem that Fred was talking about, and they shouldn’t, if they do, there should be some kind of plan that will allow owners to, to continue having automatic crash notification without charging them exorbitant fees.
Here GM appeared to offer them plans subscription plans that could upgrade their system, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of GM owners are very happy with that. .
Anthony: Yeah. Cause it is a monthly service. And I remember seeing a long time ago in a girlfriend’s trunk of her Buick basically the module for it.
And it was just, it looked like a cell phone essentially. So it shouldn’t be a hard swap to make. But what
Michael: do I now? Yeah, I’m sure a, anything that costs a dollar means a lot when you scale it amongst every car GM produces. So I’m sure that’s on their mind. ,
Anthony: right. Here’s a fun little ADAS news.
This doesn’t really qualify for recall Roundup yet, so it’s not that. But from Nissan, improper bumper refinishing could degrade a s. This is the, what does ADAS stand for again? Goddammit. Advanced driver assistance system there. Yeah, I got it. So basically that’s where a lot of cars have their radar sensor.
Except for Teslas because they don’t believe in radar sensors until two weeks from now, which they’ll believe in radar again. Yeah, there’s
Michael: a lot of cars use proximity sensors there and they don’t have, full scale radar In ultrasonic Yeah, in, in most a s applications. But it would the thing about.
That story that was interesting was, it’s, something as small as an extra coat of paint can interfere with your sensors and your system. And that’s something that, you know, when you consider that it’s something that should inspire owners, first of all, to be sure that they’re keeping that area of their car clean.
Because if an extra coat of paint. Something of that thickness can interfere. Then, dirt, snow, anything that’s going to collect in your car, bugs, all those things can interfere with your a, a function. Maybe one day we’ll have wipers for our bumpers to prevent this problem, but I haven’t seen those yet.
Anthony: That would be hilarious. I like it. So people out there make sure your bumpers are clean. Bumpers don’t really exist anymore, but you know that front fascia of your car. Make sure that’s clean. Yeah, that’s where I’m coming. And
Michael: they’re putting sensors all over the place now. So it, it really, if you wanna make sure your sensors are clean, you’re gonna have to consult your owner’s manual, figure out where those things are and make sure those areas.
Aren’t obscured by your, Santa Claus stuff at Christmas, your reindeer nose, your bows, your Reese, your, Dallas cowboys flags hanging outta your car. There’s a lot of things people put on their cars that. You need to be careful with your bug bra on the front of the vehicle.
Oh, what, you know what they call it? A bug bra. It goes across the front of your car to protect your car from bugs going into your air intake. I believe it is .
Anthony: Is this a problem like that? It needed a solution. ,
Michael: it’s sold. I’ve I saw it regularly back in the day. I haven’t seen one in quite some time now.
But, there’s, if there’s a problem, there’s somebody selling a solution. Sometimes if there’s not a problem, there’s somebody selling one.
Anthony: Wow. Okay. Or we’ll just come up with a car service car, clean all of your sensors at once, feel refreshed.
Fred: be a growth industry for some of the folks in New York hanging out on the street corners though.
Are they still doing the windshields there or are they
Anthony: that was They gone away on the nineties?
Michael: No they still do them in, I know they do them in Baltimore because I believe someone was killed when he got out of his car and went after some of them about six months ago. So it’s still a thing. Not
Anthony: in New York though. I haven’t seen que men since gi.
Michael: That’s what I was gonna say, Rudy. Rudy got rid of him, right?
Fred: Did he not like the competition?
Michael: Hey, nevermind.
Fred: It’s political
Anthony: jokes. Yes. Should we move? It’s a new year. Should we move into everyone’s favorite segment? The Tower of Fred. You’ve
Fred: now entered the Dow of Fred.
Anthony: Oh, let’s do okay. This week. It’s not some random technical turn, some acronym that will confuse me. It is new car smell and people love the new car smell.
But Fred, it’s just for aldehyde. ?
Fred: No, it’s much more than formal. Aldehyde. Formaldehyde’s, only one small part of it. . This is a, this is actually leading to a bigger problem which is the decline of sperm. and males throughout the western world. But let me use little bit crack
Anthony: roll cars cuz of people doing this in the back seat.
What’s happening here?
Fred: What’s happening is that there are a lot of chemicals in the world that have never been tested for toxicity. And there are a lot of chemicals that have been tested for toxicity. There’s more that have not been tested than have been tested. I’m gonna give you a little biochemistry here.
Okay? So if you think of dna, n a and r n a and you’ve both heard of those, right? Everybody’s heard of those. What they are essentially is a little stacks of wa chemical wafers that are arranged in a certain order and they have a certain size. And unfortunately, that size of the little wafers is about the same as what’s called an aromatic hydrocarbon, like benzene, for example.
They’re flat. Benzene, aromatic hydrocarbons are flat wafers that have a, are about the same size as the dna and the rna. The, what are called the bases that go in there and I won’t trouble you with the names of those, but the problem is because they’re the same size and shape, these chemicals can kind slip into the R n A or DNA n a sequence.
And so when that is transcribed it’s not transcribed correctly because all of a sudden it’s not, it’s like a zipper. If you get something stuck in a zipper, it doesn’t work very well anymore. And the DNA is essentially like a zipper. Things are supposed to fit just together and zips up nicely.
So all these chemicals are a lot of these chemicals can interfere with that. So some of the common. What are called volatile organic chemicals that are found in the air inside new vehicles include benzene, which is an aromatic hydrocarbon tuen, which is an aromatic hydrocarbon styrene again. the same classic chemicals, and also from aldehyde, polyvinyl, chloride, and burmin.
None of these are gonna be good for you.
Anthony: Oh yeah. No, they’re not good for me then. No,
Fred: they’re not good for you. So the question then is, how much of this are you really getting from your car? And with a new car smell, there’s a higher concentration. The reason you can smell these things is because they’re chemically active.
If you couldn’t smell them, they would not be chemically active, right? So there’s all chemically active, and as anybody who’s ever breathed, knows things that are in the atmosphere can cross your barriers in your lungs, your blood. . All right, so this is the way all of those work. So one of the classes of chemicals is also called phthalates, which is hard to say.
P H T H A L A T E.
Anthony: Oh, I know what these are. Yeah. Oh, plastic soft
Fred: exactly right. Yeah. Used to be in in kids’ bins and squeezy, rubbery ducks and all that sort of stuff. They have been, From children’s products because they are called endocrine disruptors. That endocrine des disruptor obstructors, excuse me, means disruptors, means that it is something that can interfere with the normal processes for sex hormones in your body.
Sex hormones and growth hormones and all those kind of things, those are all endocrine products. They’re all disrupted by this classic chemicals. So the problem with thalates is it’s in the new car. Of course it’s also in a lot of cars that have been left out in the sun. If you’ve ever had a new car and you’ve left it in the sun for a while, you probably noticed that you had a film on the inside of your windshield.
It was really difficult to clean. That film is from Volatile Chemicals, the same class that we’re talking about that evaporated from your dashboard and then deposited on the screen on your. windshield, I should say, screens, the English part of that. But yeah. . So anyway, this film is,
Anthony: go ahead. It’s not just my spittle on the inside of the windshield from yelling.
Fred: cutting down, that’s an added feature, but yeah, it’s, that’s part of it. Anyhow the point is it’s really hard to clean. It’s full of chemicals and it’s deposited into your body of the same way it’s being deposited onto the windshield. Nobody’s ever tested this for exactly how many ate are in there and what that concentration of ate is doing to.
We do know that there’s been at least one car company, Nissan, which was sued due to excessive migration of chemicals out of the dashboard and into the car, causing a lot of glare, difficulty seeing it was shiny and sticky on the dashboard. It also deposited on the windshield. This is due Toth folates.
Tth Folates are in the vinyl. , every piece of vinyl that’s in your car is got ate in it. Cause that’s how they make it vinyl. It does not have softeners in it. It’s very brittle. So you can break it very easily. That’s not what you want in the car, particularly if you’ve gotta have an airbag penetrate through the vinyl to protect you in the event of a crash.
So there’s careful chemical composition when these chemicals leach out of the. Plastic due to sun exposure and temperature. They go into the air, they cover surfaces. They cause glare. They do a lot of bad
Anthony: things. Okay, so I why my phalates are in the car. They’re making my vinyl and my fake leather soft.
But why is benzene in my car?
Fred: Benzine is a product that’s used in a lot of adhesives. And to make the adhesives basically you can think of them as thinner for the adhesives. So that’s, that, that’s how they get into the car. Okay. You’ve also got chemicals that are coming out of the foam, the polyurethane foam that’s in the seats.
You’ve got chemicals leaching out of the seat belts, for example, cuz they’re made out of nylon. Yeah. Fire retardants. Yeah. I’m sorry, what Michael? Fire retardants as. That fire retardant. So all that stuff is going on in your car and you’re being exposed to it. So in 2016, the e p A was given the novel task of addressing all of the chemicals that are being introduced into commerce and all of those that were already in commerce, there were about 80,000 chemicals that had never been tested for toxicity that were being sold in the United States.
The idea was that they would get through these chemicals and then we would then have a very good idea of how much exposure American population was having to potentially toxic chemicals. So how do you know that? Number one, you have to determine which ones the toxic. Then number two, you have to figure out what the consequences of those are.
Unfortunately, since 2016, the e p A has been completely consumed with merely testing the new chemicals and at the rate they are going. People think it will be a few centuries before they actually catch up with the 80,000 chemicals that are already in commerce, much less the new ones that are coming out.
. The other thing that I’m concerned about, and I seem to be alone in the world about this, is that from 1973 to 2011, men in western countries had a 52% drop in sperm concentration from an average of 99 million per milliliter to 47 million per milli. This is a big drop. And some companies say that’s not a problem because you’re still your guys are still fine until you hit 40 million, that’s when you fall off a cliff.
To me, this seems like we’re all walking along the edge of a cliff and a way that we really don’t want to do that. Knowing that folates are a known endocrine des disruptor. And knowing that. This is primarily a phenomenon of men in developed countries. It’s not happening. Undeveloped countries.
Leads me to the back, to Cassandra, right? There is a strong correlation between people driving new cars and men losing our, their ability to produce adequate amounts of sperm. And I, I don’t know why nobody else has gotten into this. I think this is a concern. So wrapping this all up.
Okay. If what you’ve got in your new car smell is yes, a refreshing blast of joy in commerce and that’s great. , my wife’s getting a new car and I’ll probably enjoy the new car smell. You’re also getting a boatload of chemicals, some of which have been known to cause grievous biological problems including loss of fertility, cancer, and a lot of other.
Consequences of incorrect D n a transcription. Boys and girls, if you wanna study biochemistry and car safety, this is, I think, a fertile area to look into. Remember some of the most common VOCs found in the air inside new vehicles include benzine, toluene, formaldehyde, styrene, polyvinyl, chloride, and bromine.
A toxic mix that you don’t want in your New year’s. Festivities.
Anthony: So could this be a new excuse by men who are lazy or unprepared? Unprepared by unprepared men to say, yo baby, I don’t need a condom. I got a brand new car.
Fred: It could be, man.
Fred: Seriously. There’s certainly a lot of excuses for men, in that situation.
And this could be another one. Hey baby, I got a Tesla. I’m good to.
Michael: I think this sounds like a good way to sell leather interior. Leathers
Fred: Leather’s got its own set of problems,
Anthony: right? Or hemp seats, that’s fire retardant. It doesn’t need chemicals. That’s
Fred: pretty good. I like that idea.
Michael: stone when it
Anthony: catches fire, right? , it doesn’t have THC in it. Hemp, it’s fine. Hardly ever hard. My sister-in-law runs a I guess it’s a mattress company where it’s all chemical free and she’s went and had to do fire retardant testing because all this stuff has to be fire retardant cuz of some obscure law from like the thirties.
Michael: there are questions about the safety of fire retardants. Big questions. Oh,
Anthony: they’re, it’s horrible. And so she, it’s great. We go to the, she goes to the lab and you get to see footage of it. And the guys in the lab, first of all, they don’t like burning any of this stuff cuz they realize what’s in it and what they’re dealing with, even with full respirators on it.
So they love trying to set her mattresses on fire. One, they wouldn’t catch on fire. And two, the guys were like, this is amazing. We’re not going to ingest horrible chemicals. This. But it’s fascinating. So fire retardants, do we really need ’em?
Fred: Those chemicals that are all, those chemicals that are in the mattresses are also in the seat.
Components in your car, the foam, the stitching, the covers, right? It’s all still there. So yeah. And Ben option’s good, but I dunno what you can do. And now there is a simple solution, which is to drive with your windows open and always keep the fresh air on in your car. Or the covers of that is that if you drive your car with the windows closed, recirculating the air it’s probably the worst you can do for yourself.
Anthony: Or just to have everyone buy a Jeep and, remove the doors
Fred: or take the. .
Anthony: Oh, the bus is, it’s got its own odors. Okay. No, it’s not .
Fred: you go. It does have its own set of problems.
Anthony: Yeah, you’re right. Yeah. I’m gonna take the bus later today and let’s I’ll let you know. I will let you know how it goes.
Time for recall, Roundup, how’s that sound? Strap
Fred: in time for the recall. Roundup.
Michael: That sounds great. Sounds good. We had a, NITSA and the manufacturers take holidays too, so we did have a rather slow week of incoming recalls over at Nitza.
Anthony: But we got some good ones from our friends at Volkswagen.
Potentially 37,558 vehicles affected. It’s another toccata airbag. This is unbelievable. The driver’s side airbag inflater may explode due to propellant degradation. We know this. Why is this finally happening now? What vehicles? This was for 2015 to 2016 Volkswagen Beetle convertibles.
w were te, were Takata still even on the market at like Edin 2015. Yeah. What when did that recall
Michael: start? The vehicles under that recall started being built around, I think 2002. Those inflaters were installed. I, there are vehicles with Teta airbags in them up through, in some circumstances, the 2017.
Model year, I believe, and that’s where they were building them in late 2015 or early 2016. And, basic. And so that’s the kind of the drop dead date that we try to tell people to go to safe airbags.com and check their VIN number to get their, the repair on these things.
Anthony: Lots of bad puns today.
This is the, that’s the drop dead date. He keeps talking. No, I didn’t mean
Michael: Obviously. The thing on this VW recall was they had, they. Ray’s questions about their particular inflaters with nitsa. They were functionally saying something similar to what GM and Ford both unsuccessfully did within Conseque petitions.
Saying, yes, we have ammonium nitrate airbags in these cars that were built by toccata, but they’re different and we don’t think they’re going to have this defect. Nitsa shot down both GM and Ford, although it did allow them a few years and some delays, which means they had to replace less inflaters.
In the end, VW kind of took a different tack and entered an agreement with Nitsa whereby they’ve done a scheduled recall. So they started in 2021 on these, I believe they’ve. January 1st, 2023 was the deadline for this segment of vehicles, which are mostly, I think 2015 and 2016 Volkswagen Beatles.
And then they had another deadline in 2025 to basically finish off the recall. So these were vehicles that are, very recent models. So they’re not going to have the environmental exposure of the 2002, 2003, 2000 fours that we continue to see have serious problems. And so the agency stepped in and said, okay, we’ll give you.
A little break. You don’t have to recall them all at once. And VW was going through some financial issues at the time due to their emissions, cheating that scandal that they had. So I don’t know if they were in a position financially to do it all at once, that might have played a role in it. So ultimately Netzah let ’em off the hook and gave them a scheduled recall schedule.
In. Staggered recall schedule, so you’ll see another recall in 2025 on this.
Anthony: All right. People check your car. It’s free if it has a Takata airbag or not. Safe airbags.com. Is that it or is it safe Airbag
Michael: Safe airbags.com. I believe it is. And we recommend that because it directly connects people who are actively looking for a fix with a dealer or someone who can fix the.
Anthony: And again, the fix is free. Get it done. So then we have the from automotive news. Automotive news is very different. Publication, but automotive news covers the GE recalls in review for the for 2022, and the winner for the most recalls is Ford. Ford issued 65 recalls affecting more than 8.6 million vehicles.
That is amazing. And that’s an increase from 2021 where they issued 53 recalls covering nearly 5.4 million vehicles. What is going on here? This was their, the most recalled component was their powertrain. Which I guess was running off of steam. ,
Michael: The, when you see, when I see a lot of recalls from one manufacturer I’m not sure whether to think, Hey, great, they’re actually, doing their safety work and getting bad cars off the road, or they’re really building a lot of poor quality vehicles with safety issues.
I’m not really sure where I fall there on this one mean Ford. a lot of vehicles and sells a lot of different vehicles in America. So the fact that they are recalling this many vehicles is a good thing from a safety perspective. But it would probably be great, and I’m sure owners would agree with me if they were building them without these problems in the first place and owners didn’t have to continue to return to their dealership to get fixes.
So the numbers. May mean something, they may not, they may mean that Ford has the best safety system in America and that they’re getting these problems off the road fast. I don’t believe that, that could be the case. So the numbers themselves don’t tell us a whole lot about this situation.
Fred: About 25 or 30 years ago, there were Ford commercials that proudly said quality is job. Maybe it has taken a while for that slogan to take hold within Ford, or maybe it left with, what’s his name? Nasser, the guy who jock . Yeah. Tried to take over the whole world with Ford and got booted out after a while.
Quality is job one. I always like that slogan, but it’s taken a while to catch on.
Anthony: And looking at their specific recalls, it was in just this past November, they recalled over 600,000 Bronco sport and escapes for fire risks. Before that they had a recall 50,000 Mustang Mock E for potential power loss, which, and we’ve discussed both of these.
On the show. But it’s interesting looking at the full list of other manufacturers and they ranked this by the number of recalls as opposed to vehicles affected, which is interesting cuz like I said, with Ford it’s over 8 million vehicles. And then we look at, general motor is 3.2 million vehicles and then you jump to Tesla, it’s 3.7 million vehicles.
Now Tesla makes not that many cars. A year compared to General Motors and Ford. I think what Tesla makes in a year is what they do in a month or something like that. So that’s a really high and scary amount of recalls from one manufacturer. That’s, is that Tesla essentially recalling every car they’ve made in the last couple years?
Michael: There’s, there were 20 different recalls there. And they were also, Tesla has, I think they have barely made more than that many vehicles at this point. When you see vehicles effective, what they’re doing is for each recall, they’re adding up the number of vehicles that were involved in each recall.
Conceivably you could come up with a number there at the end that’s even higher than the number of vehicles that Tesla’s ever produced. It doesn’t really tell you a lot. . Other than that, there was a high volume of recalls over at Tesla this year. No, building cars is something that needed to happen there because they’ve been dodging recalls for years now.
Fred: Yeah, building cars is really hard. If you don’t pay attention to all the details, you end up with the Yugo. A lot of, and a lot of the things that happen to cars only happen over time because people treat them in ways that you didn’t really expect as you were going through the design process.
And I think this is something that Tesla is going to learn, the only way to learn it, which is the hard. as their cars get older and people accumulate more experienced with them. Along with that will come recalls for all of the unanticipated design flaws or design shortfalls that you know, any car will have, but especially a brand new product with a hundred percent new parts is bound to have a lot of growing.
Michael: And speaking of growing pains, one of the things that, that I noticed most in that list was the, we had a record number and it wasn’t even close of rear camera and rear visibility system recalls, which I know we pointed out on the podcast during recall roundup every week as we saw them week after week.
But it’s been a really really big year for problems with rear view camera systems, which frankly is a little confusing because it’s not, technically I don’t think it’s an incredibly difficult thing to accomplish. But one of the issues we’ve continued to see over and over is tying these safety systems into infotainment and other systems that end up having software problems or other problems and some failures involved.
Anthony: That’s interesting that you caught that in this article cuz they quote a man named I don’t know if he has any relation to you, but named Michael Brooks, who tracked 34 rear view camera incidences. It’s, small world, right?
Michael: Yeah. He must be a great guy.
Fred: Oh, he is a great guy. No doubt about that boss.
But , it’s interesting though that the cameras are right on track with the whole idea of. Problems emerging as systems get older is the, it’s been about what, 10 years now since rearview cameras came into wide use?
Michael: Yeah, they started going in, yeah, probably a little over a decade ago, but they actually weren’t mandated, which was a big problem for us until the 2018 model year.
Fred: So there’s lots and lots of ’em now. And as with any other new system unanticipated problems are emerging it’s a really difficult environment for electronics to be in the tailgate because you’ve got a lot of very fine mist and salt spray water, mist, dirt, very fine, particular matter.
All of that collects on the. Of the car as anybody who’s washed a car knows all too well, that’s a really lousy environment for electronics. And I wonder if this is just a consequence of people not adequately anticipating that really bad environment, not hardening the system enough to compensate for all of those insults that’s gonna suffer back there.
Anthony: why everyone should come down to Anthony’s car day. That’s right. Come to the car day, get all your cameras and sensors washed. If you mention this podcast, I’ll give you $5 off the car day. Come on down. Available in Larchmont and in Englewood. .
Michael: No one in American knows what a bide day is. Anthony.
Anthony: Oh it’ll clean your car.
Nah, you have to be a very big bt look, we have international listeners, they’re like, oh, good idea.
Fred: I’m not sure the idea of industrial scale bidets is ever gonna go over too well.
Anthony: The naysayer Fred Perkins,
Fred: everybody. Cassandra
Anthony: Cassandra is Cassandra, Fred Perkins. Speaking of that, we have Reader Mail.
Now I’ve gotta find it. And it is from our long term World’s favorite subscriber to our show. Our favorite listener, one of Fred’s favorite siblings from Jane Perkins. How would you compare the polluting aspects of electric cars versus gasoline powered cars? Just because electric cars don’t emit noxious fumes, are they really cleaner or is it a form of virtue signaling for those who need that?
Fred: That’s a great question and it’s very difficult to answer. Thanks for giving us a great question. It’s hard to answer Jane and embarrassing me in public. A lot depends on how big a circle you draw. the system. If you spread your circle all the way out for electric cars to look at the whole process of mining the cobalt and child labor and transportation across the seas and all of those things which people have done it tur, it turns out that.
The impact of electric vehicles compared to internal combustion engines is marginal. If you have a conventional source for electricity if you have a solar source for electricity, then there’s are clear benefits in the overall footprint. Associated with the electric vehicles, but that’s only a minority of places in this country and even fewer overseas in a lot of other countries except Denmark, where they have recorded a hundred percent.
Use of wind power for all their electric power. So I guess if you wanna bring your car to Denmark, you would have minimum footprint. But there’s, that’s, it’s a great question. It, there’s no simple answer for, it depends on how the car is manufactured or what’s in it, where you’re operating it and the way you’re operating it.
It’s the, the short answer is use it as little as, use any car as little as possible. And get as much mileage as you can out of that car. But the longer answer is this, there’s no simple way of saying one is better than the other. There’s too many variables involved. .
Anthony: I’m gonna be the optimist here though.
As battery technology improves, Tesla’s making a big shift to reduce the amount of cobalt in their batteries. Other manufacturers doing the same thing. I think things will keep getting better. And I think I want as many electric cars on the road as possible. Cause that will have to force a massive upgrade of the infrastructure in this country to supply that power.
And hopefully they’ll get clean sources for. But as we’ve all discovered from this podcast, I’m very naive and optimistic and hope there is regulations on
Fred: things one. Oh, we love you for that, Anthony, that’s great. It’s also gonna wear out the roads faster and require bridges to be replaced more quickly.
And jobs baby. Yeah. Depends on how big a circle you wanna draw around at Anthony. But I love the idea of new and better batteries as.
Michael: And if you buy a hum ev, you are kicked off the podcast.
Anthony: I no I have no interest in that. One of my brothers, he has an electric car and it’s perfect cuz he has all his solar panels on his house.
And I’m like, that’s great for you. He’s yeah, I just come home and I plug it in at night and I’m good to go. I’m like, yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. Isn’t that dark at night he puts a flashlight out on his. Yeah, I’m just,
Anthony: saying that. And they do have solar panels that they’ve managed to get them to work at night.
Now what happens is during the day, the they heat up, they warm up, they expand, and that contraction at night as the sky cools is like a pazo current gets generated as this crystal shrink back. , it’s pretty
Fred: neat. Sounds great. Still, photovoltaic is based on the photo part.
It’s a kind of a compound word, so it’s hard to see how. Photo will take in the dark is going to be as effective as you might like. Nevermind, but
Anthony: Yeah, of course. He’s got kids, they stand out on the roof with flashlights. It’s weird.
Michael: That’s great. Those kids love it when there’s a full moon.
They get a night off.
Anthony: Exactly. . Hey, with that listeners, first of all, we want to thank you for all of your generous donations during the month of December. It was amazing. We’re coming to you live from our private island because of it. That’s not true. But it is incredibly helpful. So much so that I’m not gonna bother you for donations for the least.
The next couple. But if you want to, you can go to auto safety.org, click on the red donate button, but you don’t have to. Okay. But if you want to, that’d be great too. And thanks for spending the start of 2023 with us.
Fred: Thank you. It’s gonna be a wonderful year.