"Electric Soulless Devaluing Elephants"

Jul 16, 2019,07:00 AM

I am trying to get to a reasonable, sustainable transportation machine without losing my soul or taking on an elephant.

Honda Insight - small, light, excellent economy & emissions performance. We got ours shortly after they went out of production. Now sitting at about 110,000 miles.

The Fiat 500e was a brilliant choice. Devaluing being the exception - its value sank like a lead weight on a fishing line - but we leased so it wasn't our problem. 

The usual Fiat body but wonderful trim, colors, and performance, for a bargain price (it was $150 a month lease, no cash down) thanks to brainless California regulators forcing auto companies to make and sell cars most people don't want.

OK, white interior is silly on a lease car but we are old and careful and had plenty of other cars to do "the dirty work"

Some of you know that I gave my Volvo to the auto museum as a donation and they resold it. The Jaguar was miraculously turned into a fraction of a U-N Perpetual and resides in the garage of a pal. The Honda Insight also started out as a swap-over -- I converted an FP Journe CS into cash by handing it over for the pink slip of the Honda.

But for this generation of vehicles I paid real money. The first move, after becoming discouraged by the lack of station wagons and the tidal wave of SUVs, was to buy a Kind-of-a-Pickup. Honda Ridgeline is not too big, not too heavy, plenty of V6 normally aspirated power, not a CVT transmission but a real shifting automatic, 4WD for off-roading and towing, folding back seat for extra utility, and a trunk in the pickup bed. It's okay to drive but the User Interface of the controls is terrible, alas. 

Now comes the new Electric Non-Elephant. 

Question: How do you know when GM (or any manufacturer) gets a car right? They discontinue it! 

So I got a Chevrolet Volt (Opel Ampera) a couple months after discontinuation but before stocks ran out. This gem is powered by 2 electric motors, an 18 kWh battery pack and a 1.5L all-alloy 4 cylinder ICE. Thanks to clever buttons on the console you can force it to electric, gas, or computer-control. It will do at 100 km on (plug-in) electric and 600 km on 8.5 gallons of gas. So no range anxiety whatsoever.

The shape and curves are nice too, even (or especially) in white / black livery; the aerodynamic tuning is far more complex than the Fiat was.

The color is not nearly as exciting too look at but the overall experience so far is quite nice. Interiors are normally boring black but I was able to find a rare grey (Light and Dark Ash is the marketing name) leather interior.

It seats 4 real people and 1 dwarf, and because the batteries are in the central tunnel, not under the floor like the Fiat, there's actually room for your feet.

and a very spacious boot / hatchback area with separately-folding seatbacks.

It's no featherweight midget like the A110 but then I have two Lotuses and a Honda Insight in my fleet to fill that role.

How is it performing so far? The dealer gave us the first tankful, and I had to drive home 100 miles, but including that we've now done 550 miles - 100m on $5 gas and 450m on $15 electricity.


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Poll: Futuristic or Vintage vehicle - which is your preference?

 By: cazalea : July 15th, 2019-15:07
Please reply with one or the other general preference in the title of your reply. Bonus points for identifying the watch! Cheers, Cazalea ...  

Gerber. ;) [nt]

 By: amanico : July 15th, 2019-15:10

Futuristic cars, but vintage watch for me! [nt]

 By: Chronometer (aka yacomino) : July 15th, 2019-15:14

Vintage 👍...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : July 15th, 2019-15:17
But not the easiest pastime !

Classic and modern for me.

 By: amanico : July 15th, 2019-15:31

This will work

 By: JohnFM : July 15th, 2019-15:50

Sorry, another try!

 By: JohnFM : July 15th, 2019-16:54

Are you visiting my neighbor? If so you have Beverly Hills BMW plates on the car and a wire running out the driver door

 By: cazalea : July 15th, 2019-16:37
I suspect it's not you. Do you know what that black wire could be? Mike

Mine is the Sephisto Grey color but strange about that wire...

 By: Clueless_Collector : July 15th, 2019-18:08
Maybe the driver is trying to measure something on the rear “wind channel”??? ...  


 By: Jurry : July 31st, 2019-01:05
I just like both. Can’t help it, I like the i8 a lot, that Volvo is gorgeous, my modern new S class drives perfect yet when I get in my 74 Mercedes SL500 I feel happy as well.

Futuristic (modern I would say)

 By: 1WatchMan : July 15th, 2019-16:43
But I appreciate classics as well.

I’ll just say ICE over electric for me.

 By: jp884 : July 15th, 2019-18:47
Their has to be a visceral connection for me that electric simply cannot deliver regardless of the 0-60 numbers.

Futuristic electric for me. [nt]

 By: Horo_Traveler : July 15th, 2019-18:59

Classic Coupe [nt]

 By: Gelato Monster : July 15th, 2019-19:13

Vintage Citroen for me...

 By: jporos : July 15th, 2019-19:22
I'll take the Ochs & Junior watch as well, Cazalea.

Good try — it's the Paul Gerber special for PuristsPro

 By: cazalea : July 15th, 2019-20:21
In between MIH and O&J: Triple rotors Mike ...  

I love the DS...

 By: jporos : July 16th, 2019-16:35
but the Deux Chevaux is great as well.


 By: sham1 : July 15th, 2019-21:07
Vintage cars are lovely to look at with their detailing but are too expensive to maintain. I once had a Mercedes 190SL which cost me one thousand sterling pounds a month to maintain After six months, I had to sell the car, as the head had to over rule the...  

I too have not driven it! :-)

 By: sham1 : July 15th, 2019-22:47
My automotive holy grail as it costs double in Malaysia as it does anywhere else due to import taxes on cars.

I am reluctant to drive it......

 By: sham1 : July 15th, 2019-22:50
just in case it feels as good as it looks in which case I would be in a predicament as to whether to get rid of all my watches or buy the car. Okay, okay, no competition - the watches will always win!!


 By: sham1 : July 15th, 2019-23:45
which is why I drive a lot cheaper a car so that I can afford both in Malaysia!! While in London, it was Aston Martin Vantage and Patek while in Kuala Lumpur, it is Subaru BRZ and Grand Seiko!!

I know, I know

 By: sham1 : July 16th, 2019-00:44
Aston and RW Smith wouid have been better but my RW Smith will only arrive in 2022

Ha! Ha!

 By: sham1 : July 16th, 2019-09:12
The price of an Aston in Malaysia is the same as a Patek minute repeater and the Patek would win every day!!!

Crazy! [nt]

 By: amanico : July 16th, 2019-09:14

CRAZY???!!!!! Your 200.000th post and all you write is “Crazy!”

 By: ChristianDK : July 16th, 2019-10:10
I had expected something spectacular. Anyway- huge congratulations dear, dear friend! ...  

Your 200,000th post was to me??!!

 By: sham1 : July 16th, 2019-10:24
That I am truly honoured and shall always cherish. You are a legend Nico!!

It seems so! ;) [nt]

 By: amanico : July 16th, 2019-10:35

I am a vintage guy.

 By: Bill : July 16th, 2019-02:15

Nice angle for the photo of your 'rod

 By: cazalea : July 16th, 2019-08:24
I like the "upskirt" look with that chrome and paint detailing Mike


 By: VMM : July 16th, 2019-02:48
Yes, both. Vte

Vintage !

 By: bimbeano : July 16th, 2019-03:23
Because these days futuristic means electric soulless devaluing elephants .... . There are some exceptions off course like the A110. Bim

"Electric Soulless Devaluing Elephants"

 By: cazalea : July 16th, 2019-07:00
I am trying to get to a reasonable, sustainable transportation machine without losing my soul or taking on an elephant. FIRST TRY Honda Insight - small, light, excellent economy & emissions performance. We got ours shortly after they went out of productio...  

First Gen Insight ...

 By: bimbeano : July 17th, 2019-07:22
.. was a truthful, with good intention, built economical car. The looks are actually supercool, it was light, cut through air like nothing else .... after that it slowly started to get awkward with most EV and hybrids ... why oh why do you need a so calle...  

Mine ....

 By: bimbeano : July 18th, 2019-02:46
.. only for a couple of days. Would i put my money on it ? Yes but only on one condition ... The problem right now is that i live in a region where all the houses are build alongside the roads, speed camera land we call it here. Flanders has the highest d...  


 By: bimbeano : July 18th, 2019-04:43

I just saw! ;) [nt]

 By: amanico : July 18th, 2019-04:49

It is a fine little machine (emphasis on little)

 By: cazalea : July 17th, 2019-07:57
and at 1800 lbs (838 kg) it was almost 1000 lbs lighter than any car tested for fuel economy in the USA. The EPA had to come up with a new test regimen because on their standard lap around SoCal freeways the Insight didn't use enough fuel that they could ...  

You convinced me !

 By: bimbeano : July 18th, 2019-02:39
Well, actually only about your Honda that is . Love that first picture !


 By: patrick_y : July 16th, 2019-12:42
Looking good Cazalea!

Typo [nt]

 By: FRAMII : July 18th, 2019-05:00

the BMW

 By: Weems@8 : July 18th, 2019-11:51
The duck i know every screw of it. But horses ran away, and taking a mountin road is return down the road. The car have charm, but performance like a turtle.