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Car News In the Rearview: Engaging Taco Mode and Banning Sexist Ads

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Hello, and welcome to In the Rearview, where I, your auto news Yoda, show you the week’s car news in condensed form, because, judge me by my size, do you?

London air pollution

Photo: David Holt

First up, Britain has decided to jump on the banning-gas-and-diesel train like France, Norway, and India. However, rather than taking the aggressive target that Norway is by banning gas cars by 2025 or India by 2030, Britain is taking the French “Probably not actually going to apply very much” date of 2040.

Now that’s thinking outside the bun!

Meanwhile, in fantastic news for the drunk among us, when you get a ride with Lyft, you will soon be able to get your driver to run you through Taco Bell with a feature called “Taco Mode.” Really, it’s surprising that Lyft and Taco Bell didn’t do this sooner.

Lithium-ion battery

Then, speaking of things that probably should have happened a little sooner than they did, Toyota has announced that, come 2022, it would be releasing an electric vehicle using a solid-state battery, which would give more energy and charge from dead to full in just minutes. Whether or not this comes to pass, this is a telling step for one of the world’s biggest champions of hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Chevrolet FNR-X

Will the CrossVolt look a lot like the FNR-X concept vehicle? GM has yet to say.

And speaking of electric cars, if rumors are true, then Chevy is bound to shortly break my heart, replacing the Volt plug-in hybrid with a crossover plug-in hybrid called the CrossVolt. While that’s good for Chevy, since SUVs and crossovers sell so much better, it doesn’t change the fact that I like the Volt, dang it, even if I haven’t scrounged up the cash to get my own yet.

Some typical LA traffic
Photo: Jeff Turner

In other sad news, it turns out long car commutes (two to three hours per day) can wear away your brain power as you get older. However, using a computer for a few hours a day brings it up, so I guess we auto writers are balancing it out.

2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR

Then, Mitsubishi’s profits have bounced radically back in the first quarter of 2017, almost certainly thanks to the influence of new controller Nissan.

2018 Buick Regal TourX

Speaking of last-moment saves, Buick has announced that it is going to be introducing a people-catching device for the hood on its Regal Sportback, where the car can tell if it has hit a pedestrian and raises the hood about four inches to cushion the blow. The system has been at work for a while in Europe, and apparently it really has an impact.

audi china ad

Finally, sexist ads have become more of a topic in the past week, thanks to one out of China for Audi, which showed a mother of the groom thoroughly inspecting a new bride before the wedding, and likening it to a used car sale, which apparently nobody at Audi thought might bother people. This brings up a number of topics like sexism in the automotive industry, but also a bit of legislation that is being considered in the UK that would ban sexist ads. The question becomes, should we do that? Personally, I have to think it’s a bad idea to ban that stuff by legislation, which could take a worrying step down a slippery slope (since that’s a step toward banning speech that the governing people don’t like, I mean). Instead, I think we should do what we did do–get really mad at Audi and tell them so, so they know that behavior is not ok.