No. 984
February 20, 2018
 

About The Autoextremist@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of Autoextremist.com.

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On The Table


Monday
Jan282019

JANUARY 30, 2019

(Porsche images) 
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. has announced an agreement with Electrify America, LLC to provide the first all-electric Porsche, the Taycan, with three years of charging at Electrify America public stations across the country. This charging benefit will be included in the price of the Taycan. In addition, Porsche U.S. dealers will install their own fast-charge kiosks and Porsche will also offer home charging technology when it launches late this year. Electrify America highway and metro stations, and many Porsche dealers, will offer DC fast charging at rates up to 350 kilowatts. “Every Porsche is a sports car with soul, and the Taycan is soul electrified,” said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA. “Together, Electrify America and our Porsche dealer network will provide a national infrastructure for DC fast charging that frees future Taycan owners from range anxiety. And Porsche home charging technology will turn the customer’s garage into the equivalent of a personal gas station.” Editor's Note: These plans are pretty impressive. Even more striking, Porsche is managing to get out in front and start leading the conversation about this stuff (whether or not they deliver is another issue). Hello? GM? Anyone out there???? It's all an optics thing at this point, and that's what gets the headlines. And of course, because journalists love Porsche, it won't be long before everyone is suddenly thinking EVs are awesome, can't wait, etc., etc. (much like the way that Tesla seized the crown). Meanwhile, vehicles like Volt and Bolt EV have languished by the wayside for literally YEARS, and it's all GM's fault (marketing, that is). GM could have (and should have) owned this space long before now. It is just sad. -WG  Editor-in-Chief's Note: It is sad and I concur. Seeing Porsche - one of the world's premier brands - attack this electrification issue will be very interesting to watch. The powers that be at Porsche clearly understand that they have a very narrow window of opportunity to establish the brand in the Battery Electric Vehicle space, and they're being aggressive because they have to be. As I've said many times before, selling BEVs will present the biggest marketing challenge that the auto industry has faced in decades, perhaps ever. Nothing will happen automatically and assumptions can't be made, because that will not help convince consumers in the least. Porsche is putting its full marketing might behind this effort. It's just too bad that GM couldn't muster the marketing commitment to do the same, leaving the Volt and Bolt EV to twist in the wind. -PMD
All 191 U.S. Porsche dealerships will install their own DC fast-charge kiosks. 120 Porsche dealerships will feature Porsche Turbo Chargingwith charging rates up to 320 kilowatts.
Taycan buyers will receive three years of unlimited 30-minute charging at Electrify America locations, comprised of more than 300 highway stations in 42 states as well as more than 180 sites in 17 metro areas. The Electrify America highway stations will have a minimum of two 350 kW chargers per site, with additional chargers delivering up to 150kW. The highway stations will be spaced along multiple routes and no more than 120 miles from each other. Nationally, the distance between highway stations will average 70 miles. Charging dispensers at metro locations will be able to charge at speeds up to 150 kW.
Using 800 volt technology and the combined charging system (CCS) plug, the Taycan will be able to add more than 60 miles of range in four minutes – the fastest in today’s automotive market. 
(The Petersen Automotive Museum)
On Saturday, February 23, 2019, the Petersen Automotive Museum will open its newest exhibit featuring ten groundbreaking race cars, each with a unique story of triumph and victory, from the collection of Petersen Founding Chairman Bruce Meyer. Titled “Winning Numbers: The First, The Fastest, The Famous,” the exhibit will include exceptional competitors including Le Mans winners, land speed record setters, dragsters and road racers. Visitors of the display will find the winningest Ferrari road racer of all time, the 1957 Ferrari 625/250 Testa Rossa (above), which claimed first prize in more than half of the 50 races in which it was entered; the first production 1962 Shelby Cobra, CSX2001; the 1962 Greer Black Prudhomme, which was raced by drag racing legend Don Prudhomme who won 237 of the 241 races in which he piloted the car; the renowned 1952 So-Cal Speed Shop Belly Tank Racer, which was fashioned from a P-38 Lightning fighter belly tank from World War II by hot rod racing icon Alex Xydias; the 1979 Kremer Porsche 935 K3 that took first place overall at Le Mans; and the 1929 Ford “747” Bonneville Racer that Meyer ran 204 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. “Winning Numbers” will run through January 19, 2020. Keeping with tradition, the exhibit will be preceded by an opening reception featuring gourmet food and a fireside chat session hosted by Meyer himself. The exhibit represents the first installment of the three-part “California Collecting” exhibit series, which will focus on three prominent collections belonging to the region’s most revered enthusiasts.
(Audi images)
To celebrate two decades of iconic design, Audi of America has announced the 20th Anniversary Edition of the Audi TT, now available in U.S. dealer showrooms. With a limited number of models available in the U.S and globally, the TT 20th Anniversary Edition features "unique design elements that celebrate the heritage of the Audi TT and embody the model’s transcendent design." The limited 20th Anniversary Edition is available in coupe and roadster body style - painted in either Aviator Gray pearl metallic or – exclusive to the U.S. – Nimbus Gray metallic (our favorite). Yes, all models will feature Moccasin Brown Fine Nappa leather with custom-made yellow contrast stitching. How much? $52,900 plus destination for the coupe, and $56,800 plus destination for the roadster.

(VW)
Volkswagen will unveil the first fully electric version of a new dune buggy at the 89th International Geneva Motor Show, from March 7-17. The concept vehicle is another in VW's product lineup based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). This concept of the fully electric buggy is inspired by the vehicles that were created in the 1960s in California, like the Meyers Manx. Back then, the Beetle chassis served as the basis for these buggies. VW's reinterpretation of a dune buggy has no fixed roof or conventional doors, while the large wheels and off-road tires and open side sills dominate the overall look.“A buggy is more than a car. It is vibrancy and energy on four wheels. These attributes are embodied by the new e-buggy, which demonstrates how a modern, non-retro interpretation of a classic can look and, more than anything else, the emotional bond that electric mobility can create,” states Klaus Bischoff, Head Designer at Volkswagen. 

 
Editor-in-Chief's Note: We don't hear from our intrepid, Portlandia-based correspondent very often, but we thought you might enjoy his take on the Portland Auto Show from Dave Guyette. -PMD

2019 PORTLAND AUTO SHOW: THE QUEST FOR THE ELUSIVE SUPRA.

By Dave Guyette

Portland. My co-worker got excited when I told him I was going to the PDX Auto Show.

"Pics will be good. Curious if the new Supra will be there," he inquires. 

"I'd hope so. Toyota sells lost of cars out here. You'd like this one. It's a re-badged Z4," I mention, knowing he drives a 3 Series. 

He mused: "It needs to be more than just a Z4. Supra is a legend in performance. It needs to live up to the name."

"What, you think the BMW of today can't match the performance of a 20-year-old Toyota?"

"Depends on if the Supra owner has 1200 bucks to play with." Point taken. 

Oh! That's why BMW made this car. They WANT that extra $1200 per customer. No need to go aftermarket. We give you all the turbo you need on the base model.


I've gone to this show for the last two years, but this time, I scored an extra ticket for the Opening Night. How? A friend of mine works for a certain German "mobility" company. Making software. That's as far as I'll go to describe him, except to say he's got as much interest in the internal combustion engine as I have in electric propulsion. We make quite the Odd Couple.

"Sneak Peek Charity Preview Party" is what it says on the top of the Ticket. "Cocktail Attire Required" was the small print several lines below. We didn't suspect anything until we queued up at the front door, behind several men dressed as successful used car salesmen. Oh, we got through the gate. After all, this was for charity and Portland is anything if not charitable, especially to those who don't know how to dress. Or read.

We started on the ground floor, and despite the complimentary food and drink, we figured it would take an hour to get to the front of the line. We came to see cars, so we wandered toward a big blue oval in the sky....

Nearly two decades ago, Honda created Asimo, a humanoid robot. It could move a little, and even talk in response to simple gestures. Asimo was polite, in that it didn't threaten its human creators by showing off. A human generation later, we get... Hank, a more 'human' creation in that he works the crowd like a washed-up comic at Summer Camp. Hank was the Featured Display at the Ford area. There was no sign of the new 700HP+ Mustang, but they did show off the Bullitt version, which appeared in Detroit last year. Way to go Ford! Year-old cars. Twenty-year-old robots. No wonder you need VW's help. I did take a quick pic of the Bullitt:

It has a pop charger.

Honda was not much better. They didn't excite, but they didn't annoy you with a Robot either. Their Featured Display was family-friendly: a mock up simulator of a NASCAR tire change. 

Every Father's dream: playtime activity to train their kids to work on the car.

The nicest Honda on display was the Civic Type R. No sign of the NSX, but then again, it's as old as Asimo, who was also not in attendance.

I don't know if it has a pop charger.

We then floated by the ultra-luxury displays of McLaren, Bentley, Rolls, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. We took pics, but they're not worth showing. All the models were kept together behind a roped-off section of the floor, and despite the fact this was a tickets-only event, nobody was allowed to touch. Is there a dealer who sells all these models? Yes, but he's located in Seattle.

We were getting hungry, and fortunately for us, the grub lines were short in the FCA section. This being Chrysler, everything was sparsely populated. Still, a good gin-and-tonic can put anyone in the Right Mood, and two of them can persuade you to actually sit in one of these:

Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?

Yes, it's pretty on the outside, but a royal pain to fit into, unless like me you are too drunk to drive. I've long held that the Mazda Miata is MUCH more comfortable.

Close by were bigger hot rods from Dodge:

Put that color on any other car, and it's questionable. On this car, it's BOSS.

Yes, it has a Hemi. And a pop charger.


Moving on, we came to the imposing Ram trucks. There was no dedicated display of any engine. Instead, I was attracted to another feature:

If the compartment is lockable, does that make it a gun rack?


My alcoholic buzz fell off when I visited Toyota. Sure, the bleach-blonde pixie who greeted us was appealing, but she faded when we asked to see the new Supra. Would we rather like to enter our sweepstakes giveaway instead? No, thanks, we're good. And disappointed. In fact, the only Toyota worth a picture was this 4Runner, and only because it had a tent on top.

Tent sold separately. Please do not climb on ladder, the sign reads.

My friend wanted to see some electric cars so we went to VW, where I had to explain what he was looking at under the hood:
How do I know this is electric? No pop charger! 

After all this 'excitement', we needed a reprieve. Our diversion was a section of floorspace entirely devoted to...popup campers. Deluxe ones, of course. Made of environmentally-sustainable wood and pitched as a potential solution to Portland's chronic housing shortage.

You could fit a family of four in there... somehow.

It got busy in Tent-ville, and we, like so many natives, were crowded out. Luckily, the 'suburbs' we fled to were settled by the custom dealers. On display was, for me, the Ride of the Night. I got to sit in the backseat of a '69 Lincoln Continental, the same one featured in those old James Bond Films.  

"Take me to the airport, Oddjob!"  I ordered the driver.

Also on display was a 2010 Morgan 3-wheeler. This little beauty was slung low to the ground, so much so that if you took out the engine, you could easily mistake it for an entry in the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby.

Actually, a real Soapbox racer would NOT have roll bars.

Other notable cars were the usual things you'd see at a summer auto drive. Inside the convention center, everything is perfectly waxed, and we could touch them, if only because we were the only people in the room. We wandered into a room dedicated to electric cars and spied one of these:

Do they still make these anymore? 

I somehow managed to fit into one of these:

Fiat Clown Car (electric).

After our fill of electrics, we walked into a great Hall of Motorcycles: BMW, Ducati, Indian, Triumph, Moto-Guzzi, and Harley-Davidson. I have to say that we found the motorcycle crowd to be much friendlier than the rest of the audience. I guess, with bikes, people just want to RIDE them, and talk about riding them. With cars, people want to make things into more than just driving: eco-political statements, social status-markers, fashion and marketing critiques, tongue-in-cheek satirical blog entries... 

*ahem*

With that being said we headed upstairs, to the "Luxury Loft," where the really nice cars live. Just on the outside of the 'Luxury Room', and presumably 'looking in', was Alfa Romeo. The area wasn't well lit, and not many people stopped by.


Who'd ever want to buy a pretend luxury car like this?

Once inside the 'Loft', we were treated to the likes of Mercedes, Acura, Jaguar and Land Rover. I just want to point out the interior of the Mercedes, with their innovative seat adjusters:

Comfy, and three memory positions: One for you, one for you partner, and one for your mechanic.

People flocked to Jaguar and Land Rover at the far end of the room. Judging by the crowds, I doubt you'd find any of their models at dealer discount. We were more interested in the eye-candy each maker brought.

Again, the color. Lemon-chiffon yellow would NOT work on any other car.

Is this how the British transported Blood Diamonds out of Rhodesia?

It turns out there are TWO 'Luxury Lofts', and we had to go to the other one to look at BMW and Audi. That room is carpeted in white with a large blue stripe down the middle. On one side, there is Audi. On the other, BMW. Make your choice, and prepare for battle. I chose to hit the open bar again first. More gin-and-tonic, as the beer selection was not up to usual Portland standards.

On the BMW side we sat in the 850 coupe. As a fan of Bimmers, I am always curious to see how the company is screwing up their namesake. I took a pic of the interior door to illustrate:


Two things: 

1. BMW is very proud to show you that they installed bespoke Bowers&Wilkins speakers everywhere. They made sure to tune into classical music to make the point. I can say it sounded nice.
2. Note the seat adjustment. There are only TWO memory settings. Either BMW is so confident of their reliability that you won't need one for your mechanic, or BMW figures every driver will stay single. Also unlike Mercedes, the actual seat controls are down on the seat... where they belong!

We tried to get into as many BMWs as we could. We eventually found our way into the i8. Everyone around us were impressed, because we figured out where the scissor-door handles were.

Impress your friends... just by opening the door.

At long last, the next available model to sit in was the elusive Supra that Toyota didn't have downstairs!

Toyota supplied the paint.

Once again, we found ourselves enamored by the interior and by extension, BMW marketing. Instead of classical music, BMW piped in Kendrick Lamar to appeal to a younger audience. We were also impressed by the navigational display system, and in particular, we came across this menu option:

It reads: "Set New Area to Avoid."

Oh yes, BMW. You know your exclusive audience well. Of *course* they have a need to AVOID places... and presumably people in those places too. Free advice to Toyota: given your slogan of "let's go places," you *might* want to take this feature out of your Supra-skinned Z4s.

The next place we had to go to was the exit. It was closing time, and given how much we enjoyed the food & drink, we ran out of opportunities to see every automaker's display. With apologies to Audi, Volvo, Cadillac, and Porsche, I didn't have time to investigate if their navigation systems were as offensive as what I saw in the BMW.

On our way out, I made sure to bring my friend over to one last display, one not from an auto maker, but from an auto destroyer. Every year, a local junkyard brings in a recently-compacted specimen, for inspection. Guess the correct make, model, and year of the car and you win a giant flat screen TV. Here was this year's hunk-of-junk:

My guess: the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
 
The Portland Auto Show runs for four days, always (so long as local dealers supply it) on the last weekend in January. Next year, with the Detroit show moved to June, will PDX scoop the Motor City? I'd be happy to let you know.