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dwightlooi

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  1. Good, now we are getting somewhere. So, what do you think the objective of tariff or the trade policy should be? Shouldn't it be to stop the outflow of wealth from your country to others (aka trade deficits) and preferably to cause wealth to flow into your country (aka a trade Surplus)? Now, if that is the objective, doesn't it make sense to tariff goods from countries you have a deficit with and impose higher tariffs on countries with whom you have a more deficits? For anyone living in your country, they still have all the choices in the world. They can buy a US made shirt or a Chinese made shirt. The difference is that the Chinese made shirt of a comparable quality and brand value will not cost substantially less. Sure, that makes the shirt more expensive. But, think about it. If you don't do that, how is it any different from saying that we want a minimum wage, healthcare and workers comp insurance to increase the standard of living for workers, but it only applies to Company A but not Company B? Won't Company B will get all the business, while Company A go belly up and its workers all wind up on welfare! It is not different when it comes to countries and trade. Forget everything you learned in ECON001 -- nobody gives a rat's behind about comparative and absolute advantages in man-hours when those man-hours don't cost the same amount of money! Free Trade = Suicide
  2. Solid Electrolyte Batteries -- most commonly manifested as Lithium-Polymer batteries are generally unsuitable for automotive applications because they have a low current rating and high internal resistance. They also have lower recharge cycle endurance, but that is secondary. The common method of alleviating the limitations of Lithium-Polymer cells is typically the introduction of liquid or gelled electrolyte to supplement the solid (film) electrolyte. But, this negates the advantages of true Li-Po designs, namely that it does not need to be a pressure vessel and it can be made in all manner of shapes. Liquids and gels, you see, can go gaseous and cause a cell to blow up like Lithium-Ion batteries. There are liquid electrolyte chemistries that are inherently safe (eg. Lithium-Iron-Phosphate) and proof from thermal runaway. LiFePO4 also has notably better cycle endurance. Its volumetric energy density is pretty good (about 83% as good as Lithium Cobalt Oxide) but it is heavy with a gravimetric density of only oabout 37% as good. For cars, it is simply heavier... the same capacity LiPO4 will fit in about the same space or perhaps a tad bit less space (once you dump the cooling paraphernalia), but it'll weigh 2.5 times as much.
  3. Great, and we reject Woodrow Wilson and all the other morons of Free Trade. Free Trade doesn't work, period. You can either have high wages and high standard of life, or you can have free trade. You can't have both! You CANNOT have a minimum wage, environmental rules and social safety nets -- inflating what it costs to make anything in your country -- while allowing goods made elsewhere without such nonsense to be imported and sold with no tariff or minimal tariffs! How is that supposed to work? Free Trade will only ensure that you import everything while all your workers are unemployed and on welfare. If you want free trade you need to allow companies to pay $0.05 an hour, skip workers comp, forget health insurance and have no environmental rules. Better yet you need to allow indentured servitude (aka slavery). There is no such thing as a service economy -- you can't delivery pizzas to each other and prepare your neighbors tax return when the country makes nothing and had expended its wealth to buy everything. It's unsustainable.
  4. China DOES NOT BUY American built cars, period. It doesn't matter if they raise the tariff to 40,000% All US brand cars sold in China are built in China in factories which are at least 50.1% Chinese owned. For GM, it's called the SAIC -- Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp -- where they build Chevys, Buicks and Cadillacs. Free Trade is suicide. The USA should impose a 100% tariff on all imports from all countries with whom we have a trade deficit. Maybe we can start with 10% increasing by 5% every year until there is no longer a trade deficit with the said country. We don't mind trade without tariffs. But, trade generating deficits instead of surpluses does not benefit a country. Any country shuld be able to Trade with the USA without tariffs -- so long as they take the necessary measures and adopt the necessary policies to buy as much US exports and they sell to the USA. It's very simple as very fair. Any country who wants to sell to the USA without buying US exports will eventually see tariffs in excess of 100% in 20 years and rising. Of course this is all contrary to WTO rules, which is why the USA should withdraw from the WTO -- a wealth re-distributive organization whose membership is not in the best interest of the USA or any developed nation. BTW, this is called Mercantilism -- aka Trade for NATIONAL profit.
  5. Bull$h!! Whether or not the electrical system is capable of functioning properly will not affect GM's ability to show the car on a turn table at an autoshow. Besides, the electrical system seems fine enough to allow the test mules to go around test tracks and public roads umpteen times. They may want to delay the debut for one reason or another, but a rework of the electrical system is not the reason.
  6. dwightlooi

    GM News: Ms. Barra Goes to Washington

    Is it anti-American to pay your taxes? Instead of paying for an American made product whose company and workers pay US taxes, US wages and comply with US employment laws, you pay a TARIFF to buy a product whose manufacturer pay no US taxes, no US wages and comply with no US laws. I think that's fair. Who is dramatically reducing your choices? You can buy all the imports you want; it just won't cost less than US made stuff. What is not fair is to have US taxes, US wages and US laws which result in that iPhone being $1000 if made in the USA, and at the same time having no tariff so you can buy it for $500 from some Foxconn factory in China which pays no US taxes, no US wages and comply with no US laws! How is that ever going to work anyway? On one hand you want a high standard of wages, benefits and safety for American workers which then causes American made stuff to be more expensive. On the other hand, you want to allow companies to make the same product in another country without the high wages, benefits and safety for a lot less and sell it in the USA with no tariff? No wonder we send over $800 billion -- more than we ever spent on Defense, Education or Infrastructure -- overseas every year more than we bring in! It's time to forget the "Free Trade is Great" nonsense the media and your stupid professors have been selling you for decades, and wake up to Common Sense!
  7. dwightlooi

    GM News: Ms. Barra Goes to Washington

    There is four problems with your argument. #1 How is it anti-American to encourage the consumption of American goods and services? And, since when is Free Trade "American" or "Un-American"? The USA was very much a tariff economy through out most of the industrial revolution and all the way past WWII. It is totally fair to tariff imports. Why? Because foreign manufacturers do not pay US taxes do they? They don't pay by our labor standards do they? #2 A country like the USA with lots of resources, technology, infrastructure and people can make everything that we need and want. In fact, we used to and that made the USA the per-eminent world power. However, because Americans have higher living and working standards, it will ALWAYS cost more to build locally than to buy from 3rd world countries. When you buy more than you sell it is called a Trade Deficit -- an outflow of wealth from your country to another. If you have no barriers and no policies to encourage domestic production and consumption, you WILL buy everything and make nothing. The sht hole countries will buy nothing from you and sell you everything. #3 You cannot want social safety nets, a minimum wage, environment standards and also want Free Trade. You have to choose between wanting these things or having factories in the USA that pays 20 cents an hour. Yeah, let's have a minimum wage and mandatory labor standards, but let's buy stuff from countries with no such nonsense with Free Trade. Makes a lot of sense! They get all the jobs, you get all the deficits and instead of workers making minimum wage you get workers with no job on welfare . #4 Trade is war and it has been waged since the beginning of time. You can either fight or you can lose. The EU tariffs US cars at 10% while we tariff theirs at 2.8%. China tariffs our exports from 20~60% while we tariff theirs at in the single digits. Normally, you sign deals like this when enemy tanks are on the Capitol Lawn! But we willingly sign such unfair and losing agreements. This is because for decades our elected Swamp Creatures have not been negotiating in our best interests. They were negotiating in the best interests of transnational corporations like Apple which cannot care less where products are built or sold, or which countries get richer or poorer, only that they profit in the process. Free Trade is simply stupid. It is stupid because a country which makes nothing and buys everything with its accumulated wealth is neither secure nor sustainably wealthy. At some point, you will be that useless country with an expended treasure trove. Free Trade is also stupid because it simply doesn't exist. Tariffs do not close you off to the world. Nobody is banning imports or exports. You can buy whatever you want. But, if you buy Russian Vodka or Chinese electronics you are going to pay more. Sure, other countries will retaliate with tariffs, well we have a $800 billion deficit so they will LOSE any trade war. And, much of the exports which you lose you regain in domestic sales due to barriers to imported competition. And, US workers and US companies making US goods pay US taxes. Chinese workers and Chinese companies making Chinese Goods DO NOT. It's not rocket science.
  8. dwightlooi

    GM News: Ms. Barra Goes to Washington

    There is nothing that a 50% tariff on all cars imported from Mexico, or anywhere else for that matter, won't fix. In fact, there is very little a 50% tariff on all imported goods won't fix. Free Trade = Suicide. Less Trade, or even no trade, is better than Trade Deficits. Trade Deficits = out flow of wealth, period.
  9. They could have... the Cruze is the Basic Cruze. There is one engine choice, there is one transmission choice, you get power windows, locks, AC and Bluetooth. There is no options other than color. And, screw the 1.4L turbo four. You get a 2.5L Atkinson Four with a single cam. Size doesn't really cost money; steel is cheap. 3,000 lbs of steel costs $1200 (give or take). If you want a more luxurious compact with a posh interior, lots of equipment and lots of tech, get the Buick D2xx.
  10. As a model, the Cruze is selling OK. 140,000~150,000 units is by any measure an OK figure. The CTS is at 9,000 give or take and all Mini models combined didn't even hit 50,000. GM sells about 1.5 times more Cruzes that BMW sells 3-series and 4-series vehicles combined. The problem is not volume. The problem with the Cruze is that it is not profitable.
  11. I'll say that our air quality has never been better and since I do not buy into androgenic climate change I do not see any reason to refrain from fossil fuel use or to regulate carbon emissions. Let the Europeans be the idiots. We'll reap the economic benefits of cheaper and more reliable energy. I am not convinced that we have the evidence to suggest that oil production or fracking has ANY effect on plat tectonics. In fact, I find the idea laughable. You do realize that oil wells and all the fracking are about 1 to 2 km deep, whereas continental crusts are about 40~70 km thick right? I think they pulled that photo from my Facebook profile... I have no problems with it so I never thought to change it.
  12. Except we don't actually subsidize Oil Producers. Allowing them to depreciate their assets sooner, deduct exploration expenses or otherwise pay less taxes is not really a subsidy is it? Part of the reason is that the USA is matching the lower tax burden of foreign oil producers so as to encourage domestic production for the sake of energy independence and reduced trade deficits. You actually have to turn a profit to pay less taxes. Put simply, there is a huge difference between me giving you a check for $100,000 and giving you the ability to pay $100,000 less taxes. In order for you to take that $100,000 in tax deductions you must actually have been earning enough money to pay more than $100,000 in taxes. It is actually your money that you earned, I am simply allowing you to keep more of it. If you operate a hotdog stand and make $50 a day and paying $15 in taxes. I can give you a $1million tax break and you are not going to benefit by more than $15. More importantly, you need to actually make money with your hotdog stand and sell hot dogs that people actually want to eat. If you are losing $20 a day, no amount of tax credit or break do you any good!
  13. Actually, that is not true on two levels. #1 the total demand for vehicles have not declined. #2 the demand for passenger cars (as opposed to light trunks and SUVs) declining cannot be attributed to Uber or Lyft. The fact is that city dwellers have been major users of public transportation and taxi cabs. People who commute with cars don;t replace it with commuting with Uber or Lyft. Because the UAW contract is expiring next year in April (why do you think they are shutting down in April not now and not September or any other month? Because Mary Barra is smart and is trying to negotiate from a position of strength. From a practical standpoint, those same plants can be building the SUVs currently being built in Mexico or is slated to be built in Mexico. Depending on tariffs and tax breaks (State Level) that may indeed become a consideration. Because over capacity and idle payroll costs money for no good reason?
  14. dwightlooi

    Return of the 2-Stroke Engine

    The way I will do it is for the vehicle to be a mid-range plug in electric with say a 20kWe battery. The car has no eCVT planetary transmission, just a direct drive motor like a pure electric. A 20KWe battery is good for about a 60~80 mile range (assuming regenerative braking) and direct drive. Unlike a Volt, this is actually enough for anyone with up to a 1 hour commute each way and a habit of driving to lunch or going shopping after work. But it is not so big that it has electric range which is not used on a daily basis. This is important because the battery is the single most expensive component of the EV. Saving $8000 in battery costs allow you to add a $4000 generator and still sell the vehicle for $4000 less. If the driver does nothing, the Diesel Generator will automatically come on automatically when the battery drops to 20% charge and will cut off when it gets to 40% charge. That means it'll run for about 15 minutes at a time if you are cruising on the freeway or about 8 minutes if you are parked or sitting in stop-n-go traffic (give or take). More intrepid drivers can set the Generator on and off thresholds anywhere he pleases between 10 and 90%. Any time the driver pleases, he can depress the GEN switch which will turn the Generator On. When manually triggered, the generator runs until it is turned off with another tripping of the GEN switch or until the battery reaches 90% Charge (saving 10% to absorb regenerative braking energy recovery). If you plug it in every night, the car behaves like mid-range electric such as the Leaf or an i3. The generator simply means that the car will never leave you stranded. If you never plug it in, the car generator will come on in 8 to 15 minute intervals, but drives just like a pure electric. If you are low of charge but can't plug it in for a while or if you never plug it in but want a full battery for some spirited driving, you can trip the GEN switch to keep your battery topped off. At full throttle a 200hp motor will drain that 20KWh battery from 90% to 20% in about 5 minutes (almost like in a RC Car). The difference between this and a Volt or a Prius is that the single cylinder generator is nowhere near the cost, weight and size of an 4-cylinder ICE coupled to the drive line. The car has very simple powerplant consisting of a battery, a motor and an inverter (power converter) like a pure electric except it does not depend on a huge battery for practicality. The 400cc Generator installs like a pair of mufflers and is simply a mobile charger. The cheapest version of the car can have no generator. It can also be added later on with as much effort as replacing mufflers and plugging in a cable harness. Because of the deep duty cycle, I'll very much prefer if the vehicle uses a Lithium-Iron-Phosphate battery rather than a Lithium-Cobalt-Oxide battery. Two reasons... LiFePO4 is much longer lived in deep discharge applications and LiFePO4 is inherently safe from thermal runaways and gasification (aka blowing up).
  15. Uber and Lyft has nothing to do with it. Uber and Lyft drivers need to buy vehicles too. There is certainly a trend towards high hip points and a vertical and upright seating position. The problem I see here is GM's over proliferation of models. There is really no justification for a Spark, a Sonic, a Cruze, a Malibu and an Impala. Unfortunately, I think they made the wrong call on the models to keep. Keeping the Cruze and the Impala for a compact and a full size would be a better bet. There is no reason the Impala has to be more expensive than the Malibu. Size doesn't really cost money. Equipment costs money. One of the criticism I had for GM was their march towards low displacement, turbocharged engines. if fuel economy is the goal, a better approach is not the 1.4L (now 1.5L) fours. If that is the goal, a 2.5L Aktinson cammed SOHC 2-valve four will make the same 150hp / 170 lb-ft with equivalent or better mpg numbers without the cost of the turbocharger or its intercooler. Basically, what you are doing is keeping the power stroke but throwing away about 25% of the compression stroke (hence effective displacement) with late closure of the intake valves. Since you are also not going for high revs or specific output, an SOHC 2-valve head will not only cost less, but generate less frictional losses. Displacement doesn't cost money; complexity costs money. Displacement doesn't equal gas usage either; power output equals gas usage (at least when it is making power).

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