A Measure of What We’re Losing

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The supercharged, 702 horsepower and 10-miles-per-gallon ’23 Ram 1500 TRX is a very practical vehicle.

Unlike its electric non-equivalents.

Where to begin? How about with what it can pull – which is 8,100 lbs. This is nominally less than what an “electrified” half-ton pick-up like the Ford Lightning can pull. But what’s relevant isn’t how much a truck can pull – if it can’t pull very far. With a 6,000 lb. trailer behind it, the Ford Lightning I test drove recently lost half its fully charged hypothetical range of just over 300 miles after less than 60 miles of actual driving – and pulling.

The TRX only gets 10 miles per gallon – and less than that when it is pulling a trailer. But it goes a lot farther, a lot sooner. It has a 33 gallon fuel tank, which endows it with 330 miles of range that isn’t cut in half by pulling a trailer. Or by the cold. And even if it did, it only costs a few minutes of your time to refill the tank and resume your trip. You do not risk the “health” of your gas tank by filling it to full, either.

Which brings up this supercharger business.

The TRX has a real one, hence the italicized text. A mechanical device that increases engine output by increasing the volume of air inside the engine’s cylinders. There is no waiting for this power, either. It is available whenever you need it. Just push down on the gas pedal.

Tesla hijacked the term and applied it to its network of so-called “fast” chargers. These “superchargers” are electric devices that make you wait a long time for the power they provide and they are often not available when you need them. They are “superchargers” in the same sense that a drug cocktail that neither prevents you from getting sick or spreading it to others is a  “vaccine.” But the word-hijacking is done to appropriate meaning. In the case of Tesla “superchargers,” the idea is to make it seem cool to wait.

The real supercharger also makes authentic noises in that what you hear when it makes power is the sound of the lobes spinning and gears whining. What you hear in an EV is inauthentic sound – conjured to create the ersatz sounds of what’s not there. Some EVs – like the Mercedes EQS I test drove recently – make a Jetsons-like sound when you push down on the accelerator. It isn’t actually the sound made by the car’s electric propulsion system. These all make the same sounds, being essentially the same things, sized differently. To make this car’s propulsion system sound different, the sound system plays that Jetsons-like sound for you.

I prefer the sound of the TRX’s supercharger whipping and compressing the air – and the sound of the spent air coming out of the V8’s dual sewer-sized exhaust tips, which are also real rather than decorative.

But it’s not so much the visceral that makes the TRX practical. The sounds it makes and the feelings it summons are pleasant, obviously – at least to anyone who isn’t “triggered” by the sight – and sounds – of a big American truck. The point is that even though it is extravagantly powerful – just like its electric analogs, the Ford Lightning and Rivian – it is useful, as a truck.

Unlike its electric analogs – which aren’t.

It imposes no costs on its owner other than what he paid for it. Which – interestingly enough – is less than what it costs to buy the electric equivalents. A TRX stickers for $78,790. This includes the standard “long range” 33 gallon fuel tank that enables this 702 horsepower truck to travel about 400 miles before it needs a fill-up. The ’23 Ford Lightning Lariat – with the optional “long range” battery and a 320 mile range – stickers for $82,769. This does not include the cost of upgrading your home’s garage wiring so that you can recover some of that range in a few hours rather than waiting overnight for much less than that.

A new Rivian stickers for $74,800 to start – without the “long range” battery. Adding that adds $16,000 to the tab. Now it has about the same range as the TRX – but there’s no getting around the longer wait.

Neither the Lightning nor the Rivian will hold full charge if left unplugged. You can leave the TRX unplugged for months and the worst that may happen is its starter battery may have died.

With EVs, you pay more – and get less. Except, of course, as regards more C02 “emitted” .  . . just not at the tailpipe. 1,000-plus pounds of 400-800 volt EV batteries hog a lot of power. And it takes a lot of power to propel a vehicle that weighs 1,000-plus pounds more than a non-electric equivalent. It’s part of the reason why you don’t go as far in an EV. And it is why you wait longer, oftener.

This isn’t intended to be a slam of electric trucks (and cars) which do have some desirable attributes, such as their tremendous and instantaneous power delivery – but rather an ode to what we’re on the cusp of losing. More exactly, what is on the cusp of being taken away from us – by forcing all of us into electric trucks and cars.

Assuming we can afford them.

The irony is that more people probably could if they weren’t being forced on everyone, which is making them more expensive for everyone. But the cost is measured in more ways than just price – and time. The price we’re being asked – that is told – we’ll pay is the surrendering of choice.

Of horses for courses.

An F-150 Lightning might be a great choice for the affluent urban buyer who doesn’t need to pull a trailer (or a load of sheetrock) very far, if at all. But it is an untenable choice for the buyer who does need to do those things.

And it’s about more than just need, too.

America used to be a place where wants mattered – and those selling stuff needed to cater to wants as well as needs. No one really needs to eat steak or drink real coffee or live in a single family home. Sky prawns and esratz/chichory coffee and apartment living are certainly “alternatives.” And there is nothing wrong with them, if that’s what you want.  But there is when you don’t and they are the only alternative.

Buy an EV if it suits. Wear a “mask” if you like. Take drugs that aren’t “vaccines,” live in the city and dine on sky prawns rather than steak. But respect the right of others to choose alternatives, like a TRX and a New York strip.

It’s what being an American used to be all about.

. . .

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28 COMMENTS

  1. A measure of what Eric is worth.

    I see 2375 reads at the top of the page. Must be worth reading the entry for them.

    One of those readers addressed an envelope, bought a stamp for 60 cents, then mailed the envelope with the address of 721 Hummingbird Lane SE in Copper Hill, VA.

    The envelope will be at that address a few days from now.

    Cheers!

  2. Can you imagine what will happen if the government requires U.S. military branches to replace their ICE vehicles with EV powered equivalents? EV tanks? EV rocket launchers? EV jeeps? I’m still waiting for the White House to add EVs to their oh-so-important fleet of land whales.

    • Hi David,

      Aside from being ugly, there is the claim that it will “recover” 100 miles of range in ten minutes at the “fastest” chargers. Even if this were possible – and it’s not, except perhaps in a handful of places were it would be feasible to build liquid-cooled chargers capable of pushing that kind of voltage – it is still a diminishment. I can fill the TRX I have right now to full – in five minutes – anywhere.

      It’s like they’re trying to convince us that less is better – especially when it costs more.

  3. “….’23 Ford Lightning Lariat – with the optional “long range” battery and a 320 mile range – stickers for $82,769…”

    I live in the typical middle-size/smallish town and have a good idea of the income levels and this truck will not sell here, not for that price. I wondered on a previous post that a 10-year car note might be in the future for some. Heck, forget zoning laws.. we might need to go back to horses if the work is close enough.

    • ‘This truck will not sell here, not for that price.’ — Manse Jolly

      Sixteen percent of auto borrowers in 4Q 2022 took on a note of over $1,000 per month:

      https://finance.yahoo.com/news/car-owners-strain-more-loan-144203764.html

      That’s a very small club in my smallish town, and yours too. And it’s gonna be shrinking like an ice cube in the sun by next summer.

      The landlady said you got the rent money yet?
      I said no, can’t find no job

      She said that don’t confront me
      Long as I get my money next Friday
      Now next Friday come I didn’t have the rent
      And out the door I went

      — George Thorogood and the Destroyers, One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

  4. America used to be a place where wants mattered – and those selling stuff needed to cater to wants as well as needs.

    The intelligencia believes want can be manufactured. At some level I agree. Everyone is susceptible to a sexy marketing pitch, because it’s an exploitation of the inherent requirement for seeking out anticipated future need.

    Marketing fails when there’s obvious faults with a product but they are ignored or glossed over to get into a market. Anyone who has used the old product for a long time and is overall satified with it will be a hard sell. It took decades for Toyota to become the dominant brand in the US, even though they had a better product for years prior. Didn’t help that they also had a long standing cultural problem due to Worold War II. It basically took a generation removed from the war to consider a Toyota (or BMW), but once they did the industry changed. The “smart people in charge” believe the same thing can happen with electrics, but I don’t see where the massive improvement comes from.

    The upside for manufacturers is that they can appease Uncle AND get back to the 3-4 year replacement cycle again. This time with automated assembly lines and chinese parts. If their guy gets to be House Speaker, slapping a name badge on an F-150 Lightning will count as “assembled in USA”

    https://bsahely.com/2019/02/15/the-engineering-of-consent-edward-l-bernays-1947/

    • ‘Everyone is susceptible to a sexy marketing pitch.’ — ReadyKilowatt

      Three generations on from Eddie Bernays, the contemporary consent engineer is a precocious boho nerd, attired in white linen, who hosts swell parties (planned by a committee) in his loft, with electronic dance music and hip people — and gets his salon obsequiously promoted in the New York Slimes:

      ‘His loft has become a destination for an ecumenical social scene drawn from tech, politics, academia, media and New York City’s 4 a.m. dance floors — part salon, part Saturnalia. The popularist, it turns out, is popular.

      “He’s cool enough to be among the beautiful people,” said Henry Williams, a Columbia student who does occasional work for Blue Rose Research, the political strategy firm started by Mr. Shor last year. “But he’s also the king of the nerds.”

      https://archive.ph/bZeiu#selection-679.0-687.167

      Wow. Elvis Presley weeps in envy. But this is the united front of the Left and the Lügenpresse that we’re up against, camouflaged in their casual Burning Man party attire.

      H L Mencken probably penned an appropriate lampoon of this crowd a century ago. But I can’t be arsed to look it up.

      • Partying on our dime. Couldn’t get through the whole thing but this dude probably never put in a day’s work in his life. For certain he puts more effort into party planning than providing value:

        Working closely with his lieutenants, Mr. Shor divided his minimally furnished loft on the Bowery into distinct areas, each with its own atmosphere and purpose.

        A microcosm of the Democratic Socialist dream. Stay in your safe space and let them run the big show. I’ll bet these guys root for the Wizard instead of Dorthy. All bluster and no output. Actually they probably can’t get past the Judy Garland gay pedo thing…

  5. A group of people who want no part of the WEF’s “Great Reset” initiative have launched something called “The Greater Reset”, which is a response to the WEF. They’ll have events online and in person (Mexico and Texas) January 18th-23rd. More information can be found at
    http://www.thegreaterreset.org. Speakers at the event will include Del Bigtree, Catherine Austin-Fitts, Tom Woods, and others.

  6. Eric ….loved your Rumble video of the Ram TRX….nice to hear a HEMI with a supercharger. This discussion of “What We’re Losing,” brings to mind a question for you and all of the visitors to this site. Isn’t it about time for a rebirth of an organization with the original intent of AAA, which was to lobby for the interests of vehicle owners. All of the “automobile” organizations have been captured by the EPA, the Insurance Industry and NHTSA with the delusional manufactures cheering them on. There are about 300,000,000 million vehicles registered in America, if only 5 or 10% of those owners organized it would be a very formidable organization.

  7. You want a full-sized automobile with a powerful V-8?

    You can’t have one!

    Feel persecuted yet?

    Jordan Peterson is going to be gulag-ed up there in Canada for thinking thought crimes. Jordan has gone all Julian Assange, has got to be stopped. I smell a WEF rat.

    Canadians need to come to the aid of one countryman.

    Now.

    First, they came for the thought criminals.

    No, they are coming for the thought criminals.

    Whatever a thought criminal is, you’ll know when they find you and haul you away.

  8. Who knows, maybe this Dodge truck will be able to climb the enormous pile of lies about EVs and CO2. It is an extremely tall one though, so maybe not.

    • It’s not so much about the height, as it is about the angle. I don’t know what the angle of repose is for lies, but there is no need to climb straight up.

  9. what we are losing

    like high quality, simple, inexpensive, easy to repair, long life, light weight (2006 lb), small cars, that aren’t full of plastic and computers…

    here is an example…..

    1960 Mercedes-Benz W118/W119 project – compact Benz that never was

    “Had the compact Mercedes-Benz debuted in 1963, its looks alone would undoubtedly have been a sales advantage in its own right.” The compact Benz that never was. How Mercedes attempted to expand downwards in the late 1950s.

    THE COMPACT MERCEDES THAT NEVER REACHED PRODUCTION A FORGOTTEN PROTOTYPE small Merc before the 190? …..

    Yes – it’s the W118 and W119 ….only …two 1.5 lt. W118 were built….two 1.7 lt. W119 were built…..four cars total…..

    It might have been’. It is often a line that is uttered when catching sight of a prototype of immense promise, and this particularly applies to the Mercedes-Benz W118/W119 project.

    A further development was that Daimler- Benz had acquired a majority share in Auto Union in 1958 and took full control in 1959.

    Auto Union was formed in 1932 with its four-ring badge standing for the constituent marques of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer and in the early 1950s, it was mainly associated with small cars sold under the DKW name.

    But when Daimler-Benz acquired Auto Union, the popularity of such cars was already on the wane as the German Bourgeois were now looking to four-stroke power.

    In 1958 Daimler-Benz’s Chief Engineer Fritz Nalliger asked Ludvig Kraus of the “Construction Development” to develop an in-house mid-sized car, and the result was an extremely elegant FWD saloon in two or four-door guise. The initial idea was for it to be powered by a 1.5-litre “boxer” engine (no boxer engine was developed…. the car would be called the (the Mercedes W118)

    Kraus was seconded to Ingolstadt to take charge of a product modernization project, and he was appointed Technical Director in late 1963.

    but the prototype would eventually gain a newly developed a 1.7-litre in-line high-compression engine the M118……
    The M118 was developed earlier by Daimler-Benz as part of a military project

    The engines of the F103 series were a development of Daimler-Benz for a military project that never came into being. They were dubbed the Mitteldruckmotor (medium-pressure engines) because of their unusually high BMEP (mean effective pressure, as calculated from brake torque) values, which led to a good thermodynamic efficiency.

    The engines had spiral-formed intake channels that gave the fuel-air mixture a good swirl. The engine had Heron-type combustion chambers with broad squish bands, further enhancing the mixture swirl and aiding good combustion. These features made it possible to use very high compression ratios for the time. The initial engine version had a CR of 11.2 to 1 for 98 RON fuel and even the engines intended for 92 RON fuel had a CR of 9 to 1, which was a very unusually high value for the time

    the car was called the Mercedes W119. When it was unveiled circa 1960, it seemed logical that it would be made by Auto Union as they had extensive experience of building small cars.

    Instead of building the W119 Mercedes……. the design was tweeked to make the DKW F102 was built instead………..(later rebadged as an Audi)

    A nip and tuck procedure brought the car, the mercedes-w118 back in line with what an
    ATTENTION: Audi was expected to look like back in the era.

    The result was the 1963 DKW F102 …later called the Audi F103…sedan, an uncluttered three-box design with thin pillars and a large greenhouse note………(a modified mercedes W118 design).
    curb weight, 910 kg / 2006 lbs

    and such technological developments as the inboard front disc brakes…..but….. Under the bonnet was a 1.2-litre two-stroke unit but this was now too associated with ageing machinery built in the DDR. ……the M118 engine wasn’t available then….it was used later on in the Audi F103….

    In 1964 Daimler-Benz sold its subsidiary – it wanted the funds to construct a commercial vehicle plant – to Volkswagen, and the idea of a generation of compact four-stroke cars bearing the three-pointed star seemed dormant.

    But two key assets were also transfered to VW: the M118 engine project and its creator, Ludwig Kraus.
    Kraus remained with Auto Union and to revitalise the F102;

    his solution was to longitudinally mount the 1.7-litre M118 engine from the Mercedes W119 in the bay of the DKW……DKW’s F102 now renamed the Audi F103…..

    Before the four-stroke F103 was launched in August 1965, VW decreed that it would not bear the familiar name and, as a decisive break with the past, the familiar DKW badge was replaced by a revival of the Audi brand which had been dormant since 1939.

    Auto Union was formed in 1932 with its four-ring badge standing for the constituent marques of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer

    As for the Mercedes W118/W119, it remains a prime example of how there is inevitably speculation about prototypes that never entered, especially those that looked to have as much potential. Had the compact Mercedes-Benz debuted in 1963, rather than the DKW F102, its looks alone would have almost undoubtedly have been a sales advantage in its own right.

    DKW’s F102 later renamed the Audi F103 used a Mercedes-derived engines and tweeked styling of the W118/W119 Mercedes…….

    NOTE: All VW Audi 4 cyl engines, right up to today 2022, are an evolution of the Mercedes M118 engine….

    Audi “Audi” F103 – Audi 60, 72, 75, 80 & Super 90
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7NJtry5PAI

  10. Depreciation is the biggest cost in a car (unless it is a collectable car like an old air cooled 911)

    this is the big hidden cost in Ev’s and hybrids, the deal killer, that depreciation would buy you a lot of fuel in your ice vehicle.

    Electric cars depreciate over two times faster than their internal combustion engine counterparts, a serious black mark when it comes to tallying up your actual yearly cost to run your vehicle!

    Study: EVs Cost More to Repair, Less to Maintain

    Service Advantage Goes to Gas

    Service visits – those that involve diagnosing and repairing a problem – were a different story.

    During the first three months of ownership, EVs were 2.3 times as expensive to service as gasoline-powered cars. At the 12-month mark, repair costs were about 1.6 times what owners of gas-powered cars paid.
    It’s Not Parts. It’s Labor

    Why the extra expense?

    Because EV problems took longer to diagnose and repair. Technicians spent 1.5 times as many hours working on EVs as they did on gasoline-powered cars. And those technicians cost more, to begin with. Working on EVs requires additional certifications most mechanics don’t have. Those that do charge about 1.3 times the average hourly rate.

    https://www.kbb.com/car-news/study-evs-cost-more-to-repair-less-to-maintain/

    Repairing Ev’s is a big problem now, nobody knows how to fix them, they are very dangerous to work on because of the very high voltage (lots of places won’t work on them for that reason), they are very complex compared to an internal combustion engine, they are new technology so people don’t understand them, so very difficult to diagnose. If you break down in L.A. there probably will be a repair place that can fix your EV, if you are in a small town somewhere good luck getting it fixed.

    In ice vehicles most places would do no diagnosis, tech’s won’t do it because they aren’t paid to do it, so why should they. They would use the parts cannon….just keep replacing parts hoping it fixes it, instead of doing diagnostics properly, the customer got robbed.
    Using the parts cannon on an EV could get expensive in a hurry, like a $4000 non returnable circuit board, it would be hard to hide your screw up.

    There is an additional cost for the EV owner: the tesla $22,000 battery is used up, worn out in 100,000 miles. this works out to $22.00 per 100 miles it is costing you for the battery. So the EV owner has to pay another $22.00 per 100 miles to pay for the battery, the ice car owner doesn’t have that extra cost.

    EV battery replacement costs…….

    VW e-Golf Battery Replacement Cost
    The cost of a replacement battery for a 2017 to 2018 VW e-Golf is said to be $23,442.91 by Pignataro VW in August 2021.

    the tesla battery which costs $22,000 is used up, worn out in 100,000 miles. this works out to $22.00 per 100 miles it is costing you for the battery.
    The tesla battery weighs up to 1800 lb,

    the hummer battery is 3000 lb, will it cost $30,000+ ….lol

    Mach-E battery at $25,319

    Chevy Volt battery replacement cost $26,000

    Ford F150 EV pickup battery cost…..$35,960

    plus there is a $4500 recycling fee some say….lol

    Each EV will use multiple batteries……

    Remember that to get the same level of longevity that petrol and diesel cars an EV will go through three battery packs which is hell of a large carbon footprint, and very expensive the tesla battery is $22,000, it costs you $22.00 per 100 miles just for the battery.

    3 batteries = $66,000, this makes ice cars look very, very cheap to own/run….haha
    3 Ford F150 EV pickup batteries cost……$107,880

    now you know why very few of the taxis are EV’s, charging times, higher fuel costs and very expensive battery replacement, hybrids or diesels are far better.

    • Sounds like FUD to me.

      I plan on picking up a used Bolt within a couple years.

      Last I read those experience about 10% degradation in the battery pack @ ~150,000 miles.

      I doubt the battery packs in premium EVs like Tesla perform worse than the one in a mass-market Chevrolet EV.

  11. We tow a 3-4K trailer every 2-3 weekends, all year. 200-300 mile round trip. We leave in the morning and get back at night. This will not be possible with a EV truck. It would take 2 to 4 ‘charges’. So our travel time goes from 4-6 hours to at least 10-12 hours. Can’t do that in a day, so an overnight (or two) would be required.
    I point this out to EV Cult people and they say “soooo, that’s the price you have to pay to be less emission friendly, for the planet”. But then I say but it’s not being more emission friendly as we are just moving the emissions, and the debate on total energy efficiency is highly suspect to the point that EV’s are leaning to be much less total efficient/renewable. They then scream that I don’t know what I’m talking about………………………..

    I will say again and again, the EV pickup will be the tipping point on acceptance of EV’s to the average Joe.

  12. ‘You can hear the sound of the supercharger’s lobes spinning.’ — eric

    An evil whine, to be sure … like the devil’s fiddle in Charlie Daniels’ The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

    Will the Ram 1500 TRX become a barbarous relic, and therefore collectible?

    One can imagine it displayed in a future Post-Carbon Museum in New York City … and triggered school children bursting into tears as Eric hits the gas in the video, ripping a gaping hole in the ozone layer with his thoughtless lead foot on the pedal.

    Back to the electric bus, kids. We’ll evacuate to a Hemi-free safe space.

    • Hi Jim,
      I’ve noticed there hasn’t been much alarmism about the ozone hole lately; also whatever happened to monkeypox? Guess the PTB have to keep changing up the boogeyman du jour to keep the serfs attention. “Climate Change” seems durable since the climate is always changing.

      • Mike,
        We should NEVER forget that they had to change the name from “global warming” to “climate change” because the globe just wasn’t warming the way they said it was. In spite of all the effort to fabricate evidence it was. Since the climate is ALWAYS changing, if it ain’t warming, it’s cooling. I’m partial to warm myself.

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