Tag Archives: cars and coffee


2024 Lucid Gravity: A new electric SUV is coming to save Tesla’s fancier rival

Regardless of its financial outlook as a company, Lucid is one of the more remarkable names in the Californian new guard of automotive technology. Considering the star power it wields, the high-caliber design and performance of its first electric car should come as no surprise. The Lucid Air is the product of a collaboration between former Tesla Model S chief engineer Peter Rawlinson and the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 (aka the ND Miata) designer Derek Jenkins. Now, with the upcoming Lucid Gravity, the iconic duo is tapping into the SUV market.

Whereas the Lucid Air was a beefy sedan with a curb weight exceeding five tons, the Lucid Gravity will adopt many of the same design cues for what will presumably be an even heftier machine. Anticipated to arrive sometime in 2024 with similar performance, range, and pricing to the Air, the Lucid Gravity is little more than a concept ripped straight from a gallery at this stage, but if their shared otherworldly style is any indication, the EVs will have more than a few things in common.

2024 Lucid Gravity price and specs

Like its sedan equivalent, the Lucid Air Sapphire, the Gravity Sapphire is expected to push 800 horsepower while maintaining up to 440 miles of range on a single charge. So it makes sense it would cost as much as a house in the ‘burbs.

Estimated price:TBA; starting at approx. $80,000
Estimated range:TBA; over 440 miles
Estimated power:800 horsepower
Battery capacity:TBA; approx. between 88 kWh and 118 kWh
Seating capacity:7 passengers
Zero-to-60:TBA; <3.5 seconds
Drag coefficient: 0.24 cd

(Editor’s Note: Estimates, current as of 11/27/2023, pulled from Lucid Gravity release page and known stats of Lucid Air powertrains)

Unlike the Lucid Air, which came in both rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations, the Gravity SUV may come standard with the latter. Even as RWD remains the drivetrain of choice for sports car enthusiasts, modern luxury SUVs like the Alfa Romeo Tonale tend to forego the option altogether.

Even as an SUV, however, the Gravity will have the advantage of instant torque and mind-bending acceleration over its gas-powered rivals, giving it a zero to 60 time of under 3.5 seconds.

The Gravity will feature the same fast charging setup as the Air, meaning it should squeeze out 200 miles of range in just over 10 minutes. Lucid has said bi-directional charging is coming to its vehicles soon, so the Gravity may be able to provide power for a campsite or a home during a power outage and could potentially charge other EVs.

2024 Lucid Gravity
Image credit: Lucid Motors

Interior and tech

The Lucid Gravity is not reinventing the SUV playbook. Underneath and on the outside, it’s another electric SUV. Inside though, it’s perfection.

It’s not just the looming panoramic roof and windows that give it that spacious feeling. The interior panels, roof, and body pillars are angled outward to let light into the cabin. The windscreen stretches over your head when you’re sitting in the front. You can look up from the front passenger seat and see the real stars at night, which has never been done before.

Of course, the reclining leather seats and soft-touch panels are brilliant, but you expect that in an $80,000 luxury SUV. For some more innovation, Lucid added a funky frunk that can seat two people and if you don’t have bad friends, a couple of beer coolers and bodyboards. It’s flexible, washable, and opens up like a hatchback. Essentially, it’s exactly what you want from a useful front trunk!

Frunk friends Lucid Gravty
Image Credit: Lucid Motors

Lucid equips its vehicles with a load of impressive interior tech, including a massive 34-inch display. Unlike Tesla, it offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and buyers can upgrade with a premium audio system. Lucid includes physical steering wheel controls and a few elsewhere, but many of its vehicle functions and settings are housed in the touchscreen. 

Beyond that, the Gravity will receive Lucid’s suite of trick safety tech. Blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, lane centering, and collision avoidance will be the order of the day, as it is for many upscale family SUVs, electric or otherwise. Lucid’s DreamDrive driving assistance feature, which they’re lovably touting as more of a co-pilot than a full autopilot function, will also make an appearance in the Gravity.

Lucid EVs: 2024 Lucid Gravity vs Lucid Air

The Lucid Gravity shares much of its underlying engineering and structure with the Lucid Air sedan, so there will be many similarities in how they drive and perform in everyday situations. The Lucid Air is a striking performer that offers sub-two-second zero-to-60 mph times in its quickest configurations, and the Gravity will likely offer comparable performance when even higher-performance variants drop. Even so, less than 3.5 seconds in the Gravity is still plenty quick. Despite carrying the extra weight of an SUV, the low battery position will ensure smooth handling and stability.

The differences between the Lucid Gravity and Lucid Air will become more apparent when you take them off-road. Early concept images from Lucid showcase what appears to be a posh luxury SUV like you’d find at your local Whole Foods, if it’s anything like the Air, the Lucid Gravity’s looks may be deceiving. The exceptionally capable electric powertrain and increased ride height could allow for an adjustable suspension and other trail-friendly features.

Pre-production renderings and photos we’ve seen so far of the Lucid SUV reveal third-row seating with a spacious rear cabin akin to the Air. We don’t have interior details yet, but the vehicle’s greenhouse is almost completely made of glass for a bright, open-cabin feel. We know the Gravity will come standard as a five-seater, but buyers can upgrade to a three-row, seven-seat configuration. Lucid offers a range of leather options, including Nappa full-grain and synthetic. 

To live up to its price tag and stand out from the Air, the 2024 Lucid Gravity will have to offer ultra-high-end luxury finishes and even more advanced technology. Also, with so many competitive options available for a fraction of the price, the Gravity will need to be a transcendent option, in terms of range and performance, to get traction. The Air has done this with its performance and design, and Lucid could take a similar approach with the 2024 Gravity.

Lucid Studio The Westchester
Image source: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

Lucid Motors company news: volatile stock prices, job cuts – a reason for concern?

Lucid recently announced it’s cutting 18 percent of its workforce due to underwhelming demand for its vehicles. The company’s position in the market is precarious, as its vehicles are priced above and beyond most of its rivals, including the already-spendy Tesla Model S Plaid. Lucid’s pricing and positioning in the market also make its vehicles ineligible for federal tax incentives. Recent production forecasts show Lucid falling well short of expectations, and the company is only expected to build half of the 27,000 units analysts projected.

None of that is to say that Lucid is going out of business, but 2023 will be the company’s best shot at righting the ship. Company CFO Sherry House said Lucid had enough cash on hand to last through the first quarter of 2024, but lower demand and production volume won’t help extend that date. Additionally, Lucid stock has fallen in recent weeks as the company announced layoffs and insufficient sales.

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WCCS garage car show

This California garage’s grand opening celebrates the best of car culture with an even grander car show

A cool breeze and steady clouds rolled over LA to remind us that autumn weather was around the corner. Angeles Crest became the set of some derivative horror flic and dampened any enthusiasm to soak up the nonexistent rays in Malibu. I was in town sampling yet another press car, but nothing more. How uncharacteristic of me, as I always try to find other immersive things to do, other stories to tell. Might as well when in such a hub for culture, food, and driving. But this time around, nada. Already wished Porsche a happy 75th at The Petersen. Already visited the Lady of the Lake at The Mullin. Maybe one day, I’ll hit the apexes at Willow, but not this weekend. What to do.

I wasn’t about to be the airhead who sucks at planning so bad they couldn’t find anything to do in LA on a weekend. But thankfully, a nifty little Instagram post pointed me towards a new garage in Gardena to spend my Saturday morning. A local group, Brekkie Car Club, was the crew putting on the show, but an outsider like me knew next to nothing of them. I expected a small parking lot meet like those I had been accustomed to and maybe a coffee stand.

I probably should’ve browsed their page and done my research before showing up with the lackadaisical attitude I initially had. Now I feel rude for making any assumptions.

Cool breeze, warm coffee, fiery cars

Integra Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The alley was mostly full, so I parked the Acura Integra loaner in an overflow lot across the street with the other late attendees who had already begun spilling out of the entrance. The howls of Japanese straight-sixes and German flat-sixes clash as attendees come and go down the street. Even the cars spilling into the street and the overflow area were among the cleanest examples of tuner cars, even the ones that were clearly for show or casual street use. And this was before you entered into the actual show.

Humorously, being set in the alley of a parking facility in Gardena, it was definitely the largest Cars N’ Coffee I’ve attended, longitudinally speaking. Cars stretched down seemingly a couple hundred feet of tarmac, lining the entrance to this newly-minted garage and culminating in a pocket of vendors and top-shelf cars. 

On display was among the broadest spread of diversity in American car culture, a gathering for many tastes with people from all walks of life. And no, this sort of event isn’t exclusive to solely this region, but you don’t see it in such droves in many other places. It’s somewhat alien yet completely on-brand for this corner of the country. From home-brewed tuners to shop-built restomods. From sport compacts to supercars. There was plenty to behold. Peep at the slammed truck that I’m willing to bet is lower than the actual lowrider in attendance. 

WCCS Car Show
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Growing up in Las Vegas, our car culture is but a scaled-down caricature of what lies 300 miles westward. It was a scene I knew but turned up to scale I rarely experienced back home, with a rainbow of personality and creativity to match. My home has some bang-on Cars N’ Coffees. I will not deny them that. But it’s not often I see a kei truck and kei van sitting pretty next to a 911 Carrera lowered on WORK wheels. Nor is there ever a Vorsteiner booth with Europe’s finest rocking sets of circular artwork.

Seriously. Get a load of the rollers on the gray Urus. And the 991.1 GT3’s bronze two-piece center-locks with the polished rim? It’s like something out of a Speedhunters post.

Typical in this day and age, you’re never short on grayscale cars, but the blinding paintwork of vehicles from the Chevelle 454 SS to the pair of old and new BMW M2s do just enough to pierce through the otherwise dreary backdrop of clouds. 

And did I mention the Fast & Furious Supra, complete with nitrous bottles and a fully dressed-up interior? No? Right. Nevermind then. Forget ‘bout it, cuh (I had to). 

Fast & Furious Supra
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

There was no shortage of heavy-hitting knockouts on display. In addition to Vorsteiner’s Urus and Huracan STO demo cars and the armada of Skylines and 911s outside sat the illustrious, drool-worthy collector pieces inside the facility. Truly the stuff of dreams and living legends. Try the cleanest Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X you’ll ever see outside of a magazine cover from 2015. Or not one, but two Carrera GTs. Or if you’re more into modern performance, there’s no going wrong with a GT2 RS.

And it’s not like everything in attendance was a minty-fresh collector’s piece pulled from an RM Sotheby’s auction ad. Some cars were textbook definitions of pristine. Others preferred patina. It was a healthy mix of cars made to look as if they were on the assembly line and ones made to tell the stories of their history. Every drive, every adventure, and every nick from probably following a dump truck too closely.

WCCS garage car show GT2 RS
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Perhaps my personal favorite was locked in a three-way tie between the Honda N600 rocking an interior adorned with stuffed toys and knitted seat covers, the Evasive Motorsports Honda S2000R restomod in all its carbon fiber and Championship White glory, or the Bugatti Type 35 continuation car by Pur Sang. But is it wrong to even mention the S2000R and the Pur Sang in the same breath, let alone park them within a couple dozen feet of each other? Or is that just the time we live in, where a Japanese sports car of the 2000s can transcend its original platform and stand on the same pedestal as something that belongs at Concours d’Elegance?

Or, here’s a better question. Who cares?

Pur Sang Bugatti Type 35 at WCCS garage car show
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

A melting pot of metal and memories

Prestige matters little when both vehicles exist as symbols of their creators’ love and ingenuity. Here, they sit for a like-minded audience to gawk over every intricacy that makes them special, even if they’re worlds apart. The co-existence of these cars in one space puts the intimidated or uninitiated at ease and encourages them to branch out of their wheelhouse to discover cars they wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

The same goes for every car here. A 911 GT2 RS shares the same square footage as an S14 240SX and an Evo X. Mustangs and Camaros intermingle with M cars and Supras. Because why the hell not? There is no segregation of the various cults like I often see with other events. There are no “Mustang people” or “Porsche people” here. They’re just car people.

WCCS Car Show
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco
WCCS Car Show
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

This level of variety in car culture and its people proves, when done right and not with the foolish delusion of chasing clout and outlaw stardom, that it’s more than just an exercise in materialism and vanity. And it’s this melting pot that makes for great memories and meeting new people.

But why on a cloudy day in some industrial park alleyway in Gardena? Surely, there was no one staging for quarter-mile drags in the hopes of appeasing triad bosses or winning pink slips to ten-second cars (bam, two references in one piece). Brekkie’s show was more of a celebration than anything else. A celebration of diversity in car culture, as well as the grand opening of a new garage for these cars to potentially call home. 

Celebrating a new home for our four-wheeled friends

Hell, that venue had to belong to someone, right? Right. So hats off to auto journalist and TheSmokingTire co-host, Matt Farah, who celebrates the opening and unveiling of the Westside Collector Car Storage South Bay location in collaboration with Brekkie Car Club. His 90-car garage presents itself as a hub for dedicated hobbyists to give their cars a home when they themselves can’t, delivering a much-needed service to the local community seldom seen throughout the LA area and other densely populated metropolises.

Matt Farah portrait at WCCS
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Tucked deep into this otherwise unassuming alley gives the location a lowkey vibe. If you didn’t recognize the signage out front, it’s almost speakeasy-like for cars. Its privacy and security are to be further bolstered by the later construction of a concrete wall, and that’s only a fraction of future developments soon to follow. Being more sprawled out given its location, the WCCS South Bay facility will soon exceed the capacity of its original Playa Vista location, which made headlines upon its opening for its impossibly ingenious use of such a compact space. Adopting the second building adjacent to the now-opened garage will reportedly allow car capacity to inflate to 170, with room to spare for indoor and outdoor lounging, a conference room, a kitchen, and a dining area. 

Get that. A kitchen. In the same place you’d park your weekend toy. To some, it may just look like a glorified parking structure. But the enthusiast in me, who probably watched too many movies and played way too many games, sees a lounge for car clubs, a hub for drivers’ meetings on rallies, and your character’s starting garage should they ever make a Test Drive: Unlimited game in California. 

Excessive? In all the best ways. So think of it as a gift to the community, because as much as we love them, cars are a hassle in big cities. After all, the eclectic customers who will soon fill these bays surely deserve some treat for keeping our increasingly niche hobby alive with cars that are becoming more like museum-worthy exhibits with every passing year.

And I mean. Come on. It doesn’t sound like a bad place for the valet to take their sweet time when they give you a place to kick it.

So yeah. I’m a fan of this idea and of gatherings like this. And you should be, too. People like Farah and his crew at WCCS make being octane-blooded in concrete jungles feel less like wedging your passion between a rock and a hard place. And it’s lively, community-driven shows by groups like Brekkie Car Club that keep the flame burning for veteran hobbyists and hopefully light a flame in the hearts of the new and curious.

Not a bad assessment, huh? And to think all I wanted to do was kill a Saturday morning.

WCCS Car Show
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

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How ‘Severance’ and ‘Parks and Rec’ star Adam Scott ended up at my local cars and coffee in NYC

As explained at length in an interview with Magazine-X and the NYCars & Coffee website, since October 2022, I’ve organized a local get-together for car enthusiasts on an almost weekly basis. Cars and coffee is a massive phenomenon on the west coast as well as in smaller towns across the US and even around other parts of the world. To the average New Yorker, the notion of a Sunday morning spent standing around in a parking lot talking to people about their cars is a real head-scratcher. But for many, cars and coffee is a once-a-week reprieve from an exhausting life in the real world.

At cars and coffee, it’s rare to hear someone talk about work for more than a few minutes. You can be anyone you want, so why be an employee? In the Apple TV+ series Severance, that notion of work/life separation is taken to a literal extreme. Staff at Lumon Industries undergo the titular neurological procedure that divides their consciousness into two distinct partitions, an “innie” dedicated to work and an “outie” to home. I imagine, perhaps to a lesser degree, celebrities engage in a similar form of mental compartmentalization when out doing normal, non-celebrity things.

In Severance, Adam Scott is Mark, a severed Lumon employee whose work brain shuts off the moment he leaves the office. In real life, Adam does the same to great effect.

Image credit: Gabe Carey

When he unceremoniously emailed me last week asking about this weekend’s cars and coffee, I thought nothing of it. Adam Scott, I assume, is a somewhat common name. Under the impression it was just your average car guy confirming our Eventbrite schedule is up to date, I sent a generic, boilerplate response pointing him to our social media profiles. For a moment, it did occur to me after the email went through, that it could be the same Adam Scott that played Ben Wyatt in Parks and Recreation. But when I asked my wife her opinion, half-jokingly, she laughed and we both moved on.

Image credit: Gabe Carey

The next morning, still half asleep, I did my morning rounds checking all three Instagram accounts: @thegabecarey, @nycarsxcoffee, and @acceleramota. Initially, I scrolled past the blue checkmark in my notifications, because verification has lost all meaning. But then I saw it. Holy shit. It is that Adam Scott.

Image credit: Gabe Carey

Me being the overeager social media sharer I am, naturally, this development was plastered across my feeds the moment I was a little bored and in dire need of a dopamine rush. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, you name it. Bring on the likes, comments, and shares! All week long, the engagement trickled in. The problem was, I had no idea if he would show.

“What’s the conclusion? Is he coming?” wrote a colleague of mine on Twitter, three days before the event.

I could have emailed him back and requested he signs a legally binding agreement to guarantee his presence. I could have, but I’m normal, so I didn’t. Instead, on April 2 around 9 AM, I pulled into a Queens shopping center parking lot, and I waited. Not for a special celebrity appearance, but for anyone itching to board their escape hatch, leaving their innie behind at home on a Sunday morning.







About an hour later, I spotted an unfamiliar guest sporting a red beanie and dark, circular shades. Standing next to him was a long-haired teenage boy bearing his resemblance. As I approached the pair, the man reached out to shake my hand, addressing me by name.

“Oh, wow, Adam! Thanks so much for coming out,” I said. “What’d you bring?”

He explained that they had flown out from LA to shoot interior scenes for Severance, so while they couldn’t bring a car, he was grateful for the chance to bring his 16-year-old son, Graham, to a car meet in New York City.

Adam said his son had recently gotten his driver’s license, along with a BMW 330i – ah, yes, nicotine for car guys. When I got my first tattoo, the tattoo-havers in my life warned me of the dangerous obsession that would inevitably ensue. Like the next time they saw me I’d be covered from head to toe in barbed wire and teardrops. Tattoos never had that effect on me. My BMW 4 Series did. Already I could see the signs emanating from Graham as he stood in awe of the M5 Competition brought out by an NYCars & Coffee regular.

Image credit: Gabe Carey

As Adam and I parted ways and I returned to mingling, introducing myself to new guests as they arrived, I texted my wife who urged me to take a photo with him. While I did acquiesce, and he was more than okay with me posting our selfie on social media even though I offered not to, I was reluctant to do so.

From a distance, you couldn’t distinguish Adam Scott from the guy with the Audi wagon. Based on the tone of their interactions, I’m certain at least some of the people standing around chatting with him had no clue they were talking to a famous actor. But that’s the allure of cars and coffee for someone like Adam Scott. It’s the exact opposite of Hollywood spectacle. Even Adam Scott gets to have an outie.

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Acceleramota founder and NYCars & Coffee organizer Gabe Carey standing next to white 2018 BMW 430i with hand on hood

Interview with Mag-X: An up-and-coming auto writer talks about… the automotive life of Generation Z

For event updates, you can follow NYCars & Coffee on Instagram, join the Facebook group, or check out the official website. If you’re looking for an auto show in New York City, our weekly meetups could scratch that itch. In the meantime, learn about our mission at Acceleramota.

The following interview was conducted by journalist Daisuke Sasano in February 2023. A localized translation was then published in the March issue of Japanese car magazine Mag-X. As of this writing, the print edition can still be purchased from Amazon Japan.

The following text was translated from a Japanese translation of an exchange that originally took place in English. I could not have managed to pull this off without the help of my wife, Victoria Song.

There aren’t many car clubs in New York City, but one called NYCars & Coffee was founded last October. The organizer, Gabe Carey, is a Gen Z American and an emerging automotive writer. Gabe will likely be a driving force for today’s young Americans. He has deep, interesting thoughts and it’s easy to understand how young Americans think when you speak to him.

For this monthly report, we’ll focus on an interview with Gabe.

[Editor’s note: Because this interview is almost two months old, I’ve added a few parenthetical asides, clearly labeled as such like this one, to account for statements or predictions I made that are now outdated.]

My car history

Toyota Prius (left), Mazda MX-5 (center), Scion xB (right)
Image credit: Gabe Carey

Sasano: How many cars have you owned? Tell me the names of the cars.

Gabe: Believe it or not, just four so far. But I’m 26, so there’s plenty of time!

Sasano: That’s true! (Laughs)

Gabe: My first car was a 2006 Scion xB with about 110,000 miles at the time of purchase. Most of the popular kids I went to high school with drove lifted pickup trucks and American muscle cars. Me being the rebel I was, I made the complete opposite choice. Sadly, I totaled the Scion back in 2016, about seven years ago now. My second car was a 2012 Prius. I guess I had an affinity for Toyota. (Laughs)

[Author’s note: Gabe currently lives in New York City but his hometown is in Maryland. It was one of the original 13 colonies to become independent from Great Britain, and is a region with a lot of nature including mountains and a coastline.]

As I entered my mid-20s, I wanted something a little sportier – a convertible! – but I was also on a tight budget. Naturally, I bought a Mazda MX-5. A 2013 Miata Club. Here in the United States, some people call the NC Miata (that is, any Miata built from 2005 to 2015) a boat since it was, and still is, the heaviest generation of MX-5. The Miata is a fun toy, but far from practical, especially in NYC, where owning one car is a luxury, nevermind two. It didn’t take long after I bought the Miata for my wife to start complaining about the lack of cabin and trunk space. We take a lot of road trips and needed more room to fit our luggage and sometimes the pets. Don’t even get me started on groceries!

Sasano: A lot of times in Japan, there’s a lot of times when wives decide which car to buy. What’s your current car?

2018 BMW 430i
Image credit: Derek Han

Gabe: Now I drive a 2018 BMW 430i. It’s unique for a 4 Series, though, for a few reasons. First, it has the M Sport package, so it’s decked out with red leather seats and tasteful red and blue colorway accents peppered throughout. It also has a Steptronic, or manumatic, transmission with paddle shifters for manual gear shifting, as well as sport suspension.

Best of all, I didn’t have to sacrifice the retractable roof since it’s a hardtop convertible – one of the last of its kind from BMW. The only change I’ve made so far was swapping out the stock brakes for the M Performance kit, bright red Brembo calipers and all.

[Editor’s note: In March, I also added a DME performance tune, for what it’s worth.]

An auto show in New York City every week

S: What would you like to do in the future with NYCars & Coffee?

G: Well, in a perfect world, it would be my full-time job! (Laughs) The short-term answer is continuing to grow our attendance each week, attracting more types of vehicles, and exploring respectable ways to make money. Eventually, that could mean another auto show in New York, but right now I’m in talks with a few local businesses as potential sponsors. Our first Instagram Reel had over 11,000 views so there’s a ripe opportunity for some kind of brand collaboration. I want to maintain a relaxed, casual environment while also maintaining a roof over my head.

V-shaped arrangement of various cars
Image credit: Derek Han

S: You said you made NYC Cars and Coffee because there weren’t a ton of other clubs. Was there any other reason or motivation?

Ultimately, I want to give New York car folks a place where they can set brand allegiance aside and come together to celebrate the positive aspects of car culture. Like a laid-back auto show in New York where even the car-curious can congregate every Sunday with diehards eager to share their expertise, no gatekeeping allowed. We still have a long way to go before everyone is comfortable attending automotive enthusiast meetups like mine, no matter how much they love cars. But everyone is welcome at NYCars & Coffee, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, and experience level.

The hope is that, by establishing those values early on, we attract mature open-minded people with all sorts of cars, from vintage classics to JDM to the 2023 Rivian R1T.

[Author’s note: There are many so-called “Cars and Coffee” groups currently popping up across America.]

The reality of range anxiety

S: Do you have any plans to buy an electric vehicle? If not, please tell me the reason.

G: Yes, absolutely! I’m reviewing the 2024 Polestar 2 soon, which would probably be my electric vehicle (BEV) of choice right now if I were to buy one.

[Editor’s note: I was supposed to review the Polestar 2, but sadly I didn’t have the chance to submit the paperwork for the loaner before I was laid off from the publication letting me review it. I did, however, test drive the 2023 model and I was impressed!

That said, I’m not sure I’m ready to fully commit to an all-electric powertrain just yet. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are a great alternative for now, at least until our charging infrastructure gets better. “Range anxiety” is real.

[Editor’s note: I’ve since backpedaled on this position. PHEVs are a necessary, albeit disposable stopgap solution to a temporary problem. Based on how fast the infrastructure is developing, I suspect range and charge times will be less of a concern by the time I invest in another car.]

Unlike many other developed nations around the world, Americans are dependent on cars for long-distance travel, whether they’re visiting friends and family or traveling to other states. We killed trains in the US when the car was introduced. Rather than providing more options, we cut funding for public transit altogether in favor of more expensive passenger vehicles, and now we’re suffering the consequences. I believe there’s a place for both methods of transportation, not just one or the other.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 parked on the street
Image credit: Hyundai

S: Can you give an example?

G: My parents live more than 230 miles away (about 370 km). For the base model Ioniq 5, for example, Hyundai recommends Level 2 charging after an estimated 220 miles, which can take about 6 hours to complete. That’s 10.5 hours for a trip that would take about six hours less in a gas-powered car. We need fast charging to be more widely available and less taxing on the batteries before I’m comfortable going fully electric. 

[Editor’s note: With Tesla is opening up its Supercharger network to other makes, a BMW spokesperson told me last week that the number of fast chargers available for non-Tesla EVs has jumped more than 60% since this interview took place. And you can probably skip this next paragraph. My Tonale reservation was non-committal. Thankfully, I never put down any cash.]

S: What’s the car you’re currently thinking of?

G: I’ve pre-ordered an Alfa Romeo Tonale, the first “electrified” vehicle from the Italian automaker (it’s a plug-in hybrid) my wife and I plan on using as a second car for longer road trips. The Tonale will give us more space for luggage and help us save money on gas, for the most part without completely sacrificing the fun factor of a sports coupe or a roadster. Plus, the planet could benefit from lower emissions coming from me. (Laughs)

[Editor’s note: Thankfully, I never put down any cash on the Tonale. Probably not going through with that now.]

Fueling the future: electric vs hydrogen

S: Japanese automakers, especially Toyota seem far behind the curve in adopting EVs. Let me know your opinion.

G: In the US, there’s a TV comedy series called Curb Your Enthusiasm. I don’t think it’s popular in Japan, but the main character – Larry – famously drove a Prius for eight seasons straight. In the ninth season, which aired in late 2017, he switched to a BMW i3 compact hatchback. Of course, I’m sure it’s a paid placement, but I still feel it speaks to Toyota’s waning relevance in this space.

Larry David driving BMW i3
Image credit: HBO via Product Placement Blog

For years I said, “The day Toyota launches an electric car is the day electric cars become viable for most people.” Toyota makes affordable, reliable vehicles, right?

But Toyota entered the market too late. The bZ4X, Toyota’s first all-electric production vehicle, only sold something like 260 units before it was recalled because the wheels were falling off. That sounds like a punchline at the end of a bad joke, but it happened. Pending a shift in focus from its new president, Koji Sato, Toyota is betting on hydrogen and plug-in hybrids.

[Editor’s note: You know, I wasn’t expecting this section to age well and yet…]

S: Do you think hydrogen cars will be accepted in the US? 

G: I understand where Toyota is coming from with hydrogen, I do. Hydrogen vehicles don’t use as much of our global lithium supply, they are faster to refuel, and they require very little maintenance. They’re also a hard sell to consumers more concerned about the impact of fossil fuels on their wallets than the climate, which unfortunately accounts for a lot of Americans. Hydrogen fuel costs about the same amount at the pump as gasoline – and in some cases can be even more expensive.

[Author’s note: Generally, in America, it’s cheaper to maintain EVs than gasoline vehicles and so the shift from gasoline to electric will be more affordable. Because of that, the price of hydrogen will be an important factor.]

Toyota bZ4X parked on a cliffside
Image credit: Toyota

That said, not every Japanese company is failing to adopt EVs, however. Remember, the Nissan Leaf was one of the first. Although it’s not going to win any awards for its speed, the Leaf has been around for more than a decade. Sony and Honda are also doing some interesting things with the Afeela. While Toyota seems to be juggling more than it can handle, Honda is releasing the all-electric Prologue this year and Acura is giving birth to a whole family of EVs. At the same time, Honda is collaborating with General Motors to build a brand-new hydrogen fuel cell system from the ground up. I only hope the delay is a result of Honda’s perfectionism and not its stubbornness. Perhaps we’ll see at the international auto show in New York.

Magazine-X has printed 50,000 copies each month in Japan. As you are an automotive writer, can I have a message for Japanese readers and Japanese automakers?

Embrace change. But at the same time, please don’t stop making affordable sports cars.

NYCars & Coffee is an NYC car meet always held within the five boroughs. For those unfamiliar with cars and coffee, ours is something like an auto show in New York. Each week, we gather in a parking lot – yes, to admire everyone’s rides, but more so to get out and meet likeminded members of our local communities. See the NYCars & Coffee website or follow @nycarsxcoffee on Instagram for more details.

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