It is sheer coincidence that today’s post title has the word “audible” in it; today is the first day of the 2022 college football season. In the context of America’s favorite sport (football in general) an audible is a last-second change of play by the quarterback.
Originally, I was going to write about something else today and make a confession, of sorts. I have decided to wait until the relevant situation has been resolved before I make that confession.
Below is an appropriate picture to mark this day, however (when in Rome…). I used to be a huge fan of this school’s football team, but it has become increasingly difficult to remain a fan because their performance has been so far below what it was for the first three decades of my fandom. Go Big Red? Now, watch them be upset in their season debut; they are 10-12 point favorites.
On this day in 1859 Edwin Drake’s well, drilled in an effort to extract oil, reached 69.5 feet. Initially, there were no signs of oil (the drilling–in Cherry Township, Pennsylvania–had begun nearly a month earlier). However, the next day the hole was filled with crude oil.
While this particular well was not profitable this event signaled the beginning of oil as a primary fuel for use in the industrialized world. That era will come to an end, but not as quickly as the zealots think, in my opinion.
The number of cars and light trucks owned by people all over the world is probably about 1.2 billion. Almost all of them are powered by internal combustion engines (ICE). Millions of ICE-powered vehicles are still being manufactured every year.
Unless governments enact an outright ban on ICE-powered cars, an extremely ill-advised move given the total disruption it would cause, it will take decades until they are completely replaced by something else. Of course, as I have written time and time again, eFuels/synthetic fuels are a path to a world with lower emissions from vehicles that makes much more sense than spending billions or even trillions to move to an all-electric vehicle fleet. By the way, did you know that cars and trucks only produce about 20% of CO2 emissions?
That being said, I saw one of these cars on the way back from breakfast this morning and continue to be wowed by its looks.
Yes, this is the Cadillac ELR, a plug-in hybrid sold in model years 2014 and 2016. The ELR was based on the Chevrolet Volt’s platform although, of course, it was much more expensive than its Chevrolet cousin.
To me, this is what the two-door CTS of roughly the same period should have looked like. In 2013 (the calendar year in which manufacture began), the ELR was awarded “Best Production Vehicle” in the Eyes on Design Awards. However, the ELR was a failure as only about 3,000 were manufactured.
Although I know they are designed primarily for aerodynamics, I don’t think Teslas have an appealing exterior design. They look rounded-off or “melted” to use Todd Deeken’s word. I think the ELR is easily one of the best-looking cars of the 21st century, although that is at least as much an indictment of current automotive styling as it is praise for the ELR.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I think seeing an ELR today (and I have seen one–perhaps the same one, maybe not–on several occasions since moving to Arizona) is another example of the amazing car culture here. Yes, the metropolitan area population here is five times that of the state in which we lived before we moved to Arizona. Yes, in this part of Arizona median/mean household income and net worth are much higher than where we used to live. Still, those conditions don’t necessarily have to manifest themselves as car fandom.
I like to think that I am not a narrow-minded person. My disdain for the zealots’ push to move to EVs is not denial about the very likely scenario that electric-powered cars will become the dominant paradigm sometime in the future. I do not think EVs are the answer, they are certainly not the only answer, but I can read the writing on the wall.
As always, and even though this is well-worn territory, I would like to read your thoughts on this topic. Thanks.
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