Will Power earns 2nd IndyCar title, Bjorn Lomborg questions EV mandates, and we recall a 2001 Volvo road trip

Will Power, 2022 NTT IndyCar Series Champion, IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski

Congratulations to Will Power, who clinched the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship by finishing third, behind Alex Palou and Josef Newgarden, in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

Will Power in action. NTT IndyCar Series photo.

It’s his second series title; the first was in 2014. More than one other has slipped away at the very end.

Power earned the pole for the race, eclipsing Mario Andretti’s record for pole positions in the IndyCar Series.

Will is a great driver and classy guy.

Nice to see him succeed.

For the season’s key moment, go no further than the Indy 500. Scott Dixon was cruising toward a win–and double-harvest of points–when his last pit stop exceeded the pit road speed limit by 1 mph. Fair is fair, and the penalty cost him the race.

As we see, the series championship was the stake. Dixon would have commanded a large cushion of points going into Laguna Seca. He finished a crafty third, but 39 out.

passing the EV sniff test but little else

What a nice gift over the past weekend from Bjorn Lomborg. The political scientist and president of Copenhagen Consensus Center asked in The Wall Street Journal, “If Electric Vehicles Are So Great, Why Mandate Them?”

Good point!

Bjorn Lomborg, photo by R. Mathiasson

Lomborg writes that “electric cars are only sometimes and somewhat better than the alternatives, they’re often much costlier, and they aren’t necessarily all that much cleaner.”

EVs will not have a significant climate effect, he concludes.

Meanwhile, they become more expensive.

In a typical Lomborg theme, we discover the expense isn’t worthwhile. He cites the International Energy Agency’s projection that “if electric cars became as prevalent as they would have to be for the world to reach net zero by 2050, the annual total demand for lithium for automobile batteries alone that year would be almost 28 times as much as current annual global lithium production.”

That’s right, dig up Saskatchewan and then the Canadian Shield’s every last mineral.

Looking ahead to 2025, the U.S. Energy Department finds that “the agency’s default electric car’s total lifetime cost will be 9% higher than a gasoline car’s, and the study relied on the very generous assumption that electric cars are driven as much as regular ones.” Cost-per-mile equations come into play.

We hear optimism about EVs being embraced, but Lomborg shows the U.S. Energy Information Administration “estimates that barring new legislation only about 17% of all new U.S. cars will be electric by 2050, which translates to 13% of the total American car stock.”

In other words, we upchuck billions on subsidies.

Meanwhile, the New York Post links EVs to sterility:


Top 10 list on a cross-country trip

In 2001, just weeks before the 9/11 attacks, Volvo Cars of North America moved headquarters from Rockleigh, N.J. to Irvine, Cal.

The incomparable Vic Doolan led this pilgrimage.

Volvo had been in Jersey since 1964, but now it was part of Ford Motor Company’s Premier Automotive Group and would be sharing Irvine offices with the likes of Jaguar, Range Rover, Aston Martin, and Lincoln.

Yes, Lincoln moved to Irvine too–for a while.

It was Vic Doolan’s idea to lead his Volvolians to California in a flotilla of Volvo Cross Country station wagons. (Smart employees flew west on airliners.)

Automobile Magazine dispatched me to join the caravan in Dearborn.

Bill Ford, Jr. addressed the bravehearted along with talks from–remember these guys?–CEO Jacques Nasser and PAG chief Wolfgang Reitzle.

One of the greats, Richard Newton, who was probably bored to death, supported the story with his brilliant photos.

After I joined up, we went toward Chicago, visiting a Volvo dealership in suburban Lisle, Ill.

Next stop was Gorges Volvo in my hometown of Omaha.

The following morn, we headed west on I-80, and I realized everybody was afraid of Doolan (a total pushover). There was no chatter on our two-way radios. I opened up the channel and lectured about the wonders of Nebraska.

We were proud to be known as The Beef State on our 1960s license plates.

I discoursed about heifers, steers, and cow chips.

It worked. People started to answer.

We met Volvo dealers in Denver, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque.

By the time we got to Phoenix, we were singing the theme song to The Brady Bunch and naming them in birth order.

Everybody was exhausted upon arrival in Irvine.

After my crackers from the flight attendant, I zonked out on the flight back to Detroit. Yet, it was a wonderful experience.

Going through my file for Wagons Ho! it seems that I circulated a questionnaire in David Letterman Top 10 style about driving across the country in a Cross Country.

John Marze answered:

10. A monsoon in Pennsylvania is better than a sunny day in New Jersey.

9. Toll collectors are friendly outside of New Jersey.

8. Learning the proper etiquette of using a two-way radio.

7. Going to eat lunch and your car mysteriously has a full tank of gas when you return. [Who took care of us?]

6. Avoiding bales of hay on the Interstate.

5. The Weather Channel like you’ve never seen it before.

4. Eating Mexican food and being in a car two hours afterwards.

3. 75 mph speed limits are a wonderful thing!

2. The three C’s–cars, corn & cows.

1. The Number 1 reason for driving across the country in a Cross Country is knowing Volvo culture is alive and well in America.

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