Pop quiz: What do the breaking Mitsubishi Automotive Scandal and the VW Scandal have in common? Why can we guarantee there will be more?
Fossil fuel powered cars are already at their limit of efficiency
There is no where to go from here folks. It we keep demanding the impossible, we will keep seeing these scandals. One after the other.
It got so bad that we had a previously reliable, proud German icon, Volkswagen, go into panic mode and actually make up a category to meet new emission standards. Think about that for a moment. .Volkswagen was backed so far into a corner that they had to literally made up the “Clean Diesel” category.
I can only imagine that they reasoned, “we simply cannot make the numbers. We need to buy time until the technology catches up. For now, as a stopgap measure, lets make up a fake clean category and own it. In the meantime, lets try to get something real going. Come’on boys!”
I hope that sinks in to your noggin. How unrealistic and untenable this situation is. Governments are demanding fossil fuel cars to do what they cannot do. Simple as that. It’s like when Kim Jung Un stops by your factory and asks for monthly sales figures. You make it up. And you make it just a little better than the last one.
“So Kim, just for sheets and giggles, what were the last prefectures numbers? And a nervous weak laugh….KIM: “One trillion dollars a day!”. Smiles all around, “Those slackers! We passed that figure on the 28th!”. Ha ha ha…ha.
We are trying to get gas cars to do what they cannot do. Be clean, cheap, reliable. It ain’t gonna happen. But if we keep asking, they will keep trying to make us happy somehow.
Don’t bring up the story of how Ford demanded his engineers make an 8 cylinder car despite it being “impossible”. Ok maybe that was true that time but it’s not true every time. Sometimes it’s too much. And you get to the point where you force people to cheat.
Which brings me to the latest scandal. Bloomberg broke the news today that “Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has admitted to manipulating test data in order to improve fuel-economy claims” on over 600,000 cars. They were making cars for Nissan and Sheriff Carlos Ghosn busted them. So once again, we have a scandal. And governments didn’t catch it. Some random event happened and it became public.
So how about this some common sense for once: “instead of making laws that defy the other laws (of physics) why don’t we start asking manufacturers to start producing electric cars as a certain percentage of their total volume?” If we are going to regulate the industry why don’t we listen to them? If we keep demanding stuff they can’t do, we will continue getting scandals like Mitsubishi Motors and Volkswagen back.
So basically, gas cars have gotten about as clean and efficient as they can get given our current level of technology: Can’t get blood from a stone.
Reminds me of my trusty NSR back when I was living in Tokyo. For those who don’t know the NSR but love motors, you would have loved the NSR. 250cc, two stroke and I think the finest bike ever produced. It was perfect in every way. They called it the “Suicide Bike” in Japan…and in Italy. It was so fast and engineered so well, that, if you loved racing, there was nothing else. NSR owners are psycho about their bike.
The only problem was that it was a 2 stroke. And 2 stroke meant that if you rode it hard, you basically painted 4 lanes of road behind you black. I road raced at night in Japan. It was upstanding citizen (Clark Kent) in daytime until my alter ego evil clown appeared on the streets of Tokyo and Chiba. And Japanese guys loved it. A foreigner racing around the Imperial Palace at 180+ km got their blood racing too. And much fun was had. One high speed accident where the Japanese God Amamatsu was looking out for me but besides that good luck all around.
But back to that nasty 2 stroke technology…. All around the world the 2 stroke was being phased out. Japan was one of the last to do it. Mainly because Japan made all the bikes then. Japanese bike makers tried in vain to make a 2 stroke that didn’t raise earths temperature 5 degrees for every mile driven: but in vain. New 2 strokes were finally outlawed. Then after the bell, Honda announced their 2 stroke that almost met the new standards. We all held our breath. Surely the government could fudge the numbers a tiny bit to keep the funnest engine ever made running? With all the money stake. But, alas, the decision was final and 2 strokes would no longer be made.
I often think back to that time and wonder if Honda would have announced their invention just a bit earlier (before Japan’s bureaucracy was set in motion) would they have let them make it. I’m sure they would have. And to me, literally it was the worst case of homesickness for a technology that I ever had and likely ever will have. The 2 stroke Honda NSR was like a wife to me. Seriously. Man I loved that thing. But when I had to let her go, it changed me.
In contrast, letting go of gasoline engines is easy. Electric is fast, powerful, instant. Letting go of gas is not a problem. But that’s where we are folks. It’s time to let go of gas. I doubt it will be as painful for you as losing the ‘NSR was for me, but if it is, you have my full sympathies. Really. You do. Email me at [email protected] if you have a story about that. Would love to hear it.
So that’s where we are. Electric cars are already faster than gas cars and battery technology is moving along nicely. They have zero exhaust so we no longer need emission checkups so we win there too. The more we get behind electric and constructively guide the automotive industry the faster it’s going to adjust. If we keep being morons we will force their hand. And make no mistake a proud Japanese company like Mitsubishi fudging numbers, means they are at the wall. Let’s help them to the right thing and eliminate auto exhaust totally. No more checking. No more cheating. Less BS and cleaner air. How bout it?
PS: Companies that make things we need are not our enemies. If we work with them, great things can be accomplished. If we try to make pigs fly, then all bets are off.
Link to breaking story.