Here are the latest reader questions – and my answers:
Eric, I love listening to you on the Tom Woods show. As a 2016 Outback owner, I’m very excited about the new Subaru Ascent. What do you think about it?
I haven’t had a chance to drive the Ascent yet, because it’s a pending 2018 model and not in production/available in the press fleet – but here’s what I can tell you about it based on materials Subaru has released to the car media: It will be a larger-than-Tribeca crossover SUV with three rows and seven passenger seating. Though it is a large vehicle – about the same size as a Mazda CX-9 – it is probable it will be powered by Subaru’s 2.0 liter four cylinder engine, not the larger six. The engine will, however, likely be turbocharged – or at least offer it.
Subaru says it will launch this vehicle in Spring 2018. Expect a base price around $34k.
Given that car chargers are so cheap and so small now, why haven’t car manufacturers inserted them into the engine block so you never have to get a jump-start? I should think you could create a little chip and attach it to the starter that detects a low battery and automatically does a jump-start. Or better still, why not build in feature right into the car battery?
You’re right that jump starters are available that aren’t much larger than a carton of cigarettes. These could be included as factory equipment, too – just as tire inflator/repair kits are already included as standard equipment in some new cars.
I don’t know about inserting them in engine blocks, though!
One difference – and potential problem – is that a built-in charger would probably need to be hard-wired to the car’s electrical system in order to maintain its charge over a long period of time (conceivably, many years). There would probably need to be a monitoring system of some kind to keep track of its state of charge. Degradation over time would be another issue.
These would add some additional cost/warranty issues – which is probably why it hasn’t been offered yet.
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