I got a note from Jaguar advising that my free five-year “InControl Remote and Protect” subscription was expiring and would be $99/year (Canadian) going forward. That’s right, this month is five years since I picked up our 2019 Jaguar I-Pace and joined the EV tribe. Thus this (final?) visit to the Jaguar Diary series.
$99, you say?! · Yeah. What you get is a mobile app (and Web site) that does useful things, including:
Turn on the climate control to warm or chill the car while you’re having breakfast. This is a big deal in Canada.
Make it honk so you can find it in a big parkade.
Check whether you remembered to lock it, and do so if you didn’t.
Keep a diary of all your trips, which is nice and I guess super-useful if you expense your driving.
Since several of these require that Jaguar operate servers (hey, on AWS in Dublin) I guess I shouldn’t mind paying. Feels a little pricey but hey, I bought a Jag so I shouldn’t care? And I wouldn’t, except for they’re almost certainly harvesting data from the car like crazy and selling it. Which I call double-dipping.
What about the car? · I have not regretted buying it for a single second of those five years. It’s comfy, faster than strictly necessary, reliable, practical, and cheap to run, even with that extra $99/year. Go read the other diary entries for that stuff. I guess the only thing to add is that, five years in, it still feels pretty well new. It’s fun to drive. The battery seems to hold about the same number of kilometres.
But #WarOnCars! · These days, my social-media feed contains many people who point out that Cars Are Bad and the spaces humans live in should be optimized for humans, and you Really Shouldn’t Like Cars.
And I agree, mostly. I totally want to choke cars out of the spaces we live in, to create a fifteen-minute city. Simultaneously, I like cars for their own sake, for their engineering and aesthetics, for the joy of being able to go from my front door to anywhere else on the continent while seated comfortably, listening to good music.
Yes, those viewpoints are in conflict but so what. People, statistically, also like alcohol and nicotine and speeding and adultery and Reality TV and junk food. And can agree, abstractly, that indeed, those things are bad. It all comes down to protect me from what I want.
There are two problems: First, the entire western edge of North America was built around sprawl and highways. Second, Late Capitalism’s egregious inequality has arranged that it’s hard for most people to afford to live near their jobs, or even where the public transit is good.
So yeah, as we develop our cities, let’s exclude cars to the extent possible. And let’s do something about the economy too. I will vote for regulations that restrict my use of my car. And to the #WarOnCars troops: I’m on your side, but don’t tell me I shouldn’t like them.
To start with, here’s a free idea: There should be a charge for occupying city space with your car, and it should depend heavily on the car’s size and weight.
EV trends · I suspect that central Vancouver has one of North America’s highest EV densities. On our block, our side of the street, are a Nissan Leaf, a Tesla, a Hyundai Kona EV, and me. And there’s frequently a Rivian parked out front, don’t know where it lives. In fact I’m starting to see a lot of Rivians. If you need a truck, the Rivian looks like a nice one, but I don’t think people in this neighborhood do.
When I bought the Jag I was worried it was like buying a PC in the Nineties; wait six months and there’ll be something way better. I got to test that hypothesis because a good friend just picked up a Hyundai Ioniq 6, 2023 World Car of the Year. We went for a drive and yeah, the state of the art has improved.
The Ioniq is, and feels, lighter than the Jag. It charges a lot faster. Its Android Auto implementation is nicer. The dashboard graphics are gracefully space-age. The shifter is clever and intuitive. No, it doesn’t have the Jag’s raw power or silky way through turns. But on balance, it is really a whole lot of car for the money. I’d buy one.
The most important electric vehicles aren’t going to be personal automobiles. They’re going to be the buses and trains that eventually come to fill in the public-transit grid and turn cars into rarely-needed luxury options. They’re going to be the trucks that are currently a huge source of carbon loading.
Cars will be with us for a while. But they should be lighter and smaller and fewer. And electric.