Sarah Fisher is sustained as Indy pace car driver; How will EVs sustain their momentum?

My hope has come to naught for the Indianapolis 500 pace car to be a resto-mod Corvair Greenbrier van with a big-block V-8 mounted amidships and a booming basso-profondo exhaust.

Statement: “Former INDYCAR SERIES driver and team owner Sarah Fisher, who remains the fastest woman in Indianapolis 500 history, will drive the 2023 Corvette Z06 70th Anniversary Edition Pace Car to lead the field to the green flag for the 106th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.” (IMS photo above.)

This is a much better choice than the feared Hummer EV, although that monster could still find a role for itself pacing up and down the coast, leading pods of whales to safety. Doctor Doolittle could drive.

Why is Elon Musk digging in the backyard?

The past month has brought some astonishing developments, with leaders of the EV initiative coming forward to say there’s not enough of the stuff that makes their vehicles go. Elon Musk said lithium prices had “gone to insane levels.” Tesla might have be pursue vertical integration to a level not seen in the auto industry since Henry Ford christened his own fleet of ore carriers a century ago.

Who will let Musk dig for lithium in their backyard?

Incidentally, because of the lockdown in zero-Covid China, production and sales at Tesla’s operation there have fallen to a drop-in-the-bucket level.

At the same time, Ford’s pet project has nose-dived after R.J. Scaringe led reporters through Rivian’s plant in Illinois. The Wall Street Journal quoted him saying, ““Put very simply, all the world’s [battery] cell production combined represents well under 10% of what we will need in 10 years. Meaning, 90% to 95% of the supply chain does not exist.”

It’s not only lithium but also nickel that’s less abundant than desired.

Scaringe’s admonition came as Rivian cut its production forecast, raised prices to $79,500, saw its overinflated share price fall, and most recently issued a recall notice for 502 units of the R1T pickup. Rivian Automotive has produced about 5,000 units so far.

Ford had an “Oops, what were we thinking?” moment and unloaded 15 million shares of Rivian stock and may well wonder what to do with the remaining 87 million shares it holds.

Right! A solitary female ‘Canoos’ into the wilderness for cozy winter camping. Canoo Inc. photo.

Impediments to electric truck production in Arkansas

EV startup Canoo had canoodled with investors to raise capital for the launch of its manufacturing operating in Arkansas, but last week the company sounded the alarm about getting caught on a cash snag, and good luck in raising more money as rising interest rates and commodities prices cause expeditionaries to eddy out.

Israeli journalist Alexander Maistrovoy contributes a gloomy assessment of the commodities situation in light of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the western sanctions.

In the economic aspect, the West is in dire need of Russian raw materials, not only energy resources, but valuable minerals. Russia is the world’s largest diamond miner, a leading exporter of cobalt, vanadium, and platinum, gold, nickel and sulfur, silver and phosphates, and iron ore. The West cannot count on other sources of energy resources — from the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Libya, and Iran. First, such resources are not enough, and secondly, they are located in an extremely unstable and unpredictable region. Attempts to replace traditional energy sources with alternative “green energy” are doomed to failure as well.

As car production drops and resources further constrict, will people be forced to limit their individual mobility by subscribing for shared use of an expensive and scarce new car? Will Chinese companies try to enter the U.S. market with much-needed offerings in the low-price segment? These issues bear watching as economic headwinds build.

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