This week’s top stories feature a battle between trucks and hybrids, the real cost of a pickup, and a new way to get to work.
- If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter, you know that Elon Musk has landed in hot water with his comments (several times). However, Tesla sales — especially of its used cars — remain unaffected. Most used cars take about 30 days on average to find a new home, but Teslas take just 26 days. In addition, the Tesla Model S holds 70 percent of its resale value, compared to 37 percent for all EVs. This may be because Teslas still qualify for the $7,500 tax credit. It also may be because these cars — especially the Model 3 — are just… cool. Their interiors are minimalist, and their driving experience is unprecedented. While competitors, like the Chevy Bolt EV, offered a $30K car to consumers first, their focus has always been fuel efficiency. Tesla, on the other hand, led with performance and impressive technology. As a result, you may want a Tesla even if you aren’t interested in alternative fuel options.
- How much would you pay for a truck? When we asked a panel of consumers that same question, they answered $35,000. And yet, the average price for a truck is $10,000 higher than that. Sky-high prices for trucks aren’t new; they’re now drawing in luxury car shoppers. These trucks, especially as they climb into the $70,000-and-up range do have pretty outstanding features. They’re incorporating new technology, like an automatic tailgate, and rich details, like two-tone leather seats and chrome details. Does this mean we should rethink the point of a pickup truck?
- Waze can find you the best way to get to work — and help you carpool with coworkers. The map app, bought by Google in 2013, wants to solve the problem of too many single-driver cars on the road. To do this, Waze lets users choose to connect with coworkers or those heading the same direction as drivers. But don’t look at this as a competitor to Uber and Lyft. Drivers don’t make much money from this service: They earn $0.54 per mile, about the same as business owners getting reimbursed from the IRS. It’s a great idea, offering to help drivers make a small change in their routine to improve traffic and congestion. We’re curious to see how many drivers sign up for — and consistently use — the service.
- If you’re shopping for a fuel-efficient vehicle, you should look at a truck before a hybrid. Really. A small increase in fuel efficiency — say, 2 miles per gallon — may not seem like much, but when multiplied across 100,000 trucks, it can add up to millions of gallons saved every year. The truck wars we saw at the Detroit Auto Show in January featured more technology, like bigger infotainment systems and automatic liftgates. The increased fuel efficiency seemed like a nice side benefit, not the most important feature — and maybe that’s the point.
- Self-driving cars are getting smarter: As automakers incorporate Level 3 automation into their cars — which allows the car to scan the environment and rely less on the human driver — they face new challenges. Autonomous cars could make us unhealthier. This is due to increased air pollution and prolonged sitting, or sedentary behavior. Yes, if more cars transition to clean technology, pollution will become less of a problem. However, we may be decades away from that future. Similarly, self-driving cars could help passengers get time back to focus on work or relax — but it could make them willing to take longer commutes.
We’ll be back next week with more stories curated for our readers.