Articles by Dan Albert

Jun 15, 2019

We could have had electric cars from the very beginning

... but they didn’t give riders the same illusion of freedom and masculine derring-do.

Ear­ly elec­tric cars per­formed bet­ter in cities than inter­nal com­bus­tion vehi­cles, but didn’t give rid­ers the same illu­sion of free­dom and mas­cu­line derring-do.

Apr 05, 2019

Have We Reached Peak Lyft

After the IPO

Uber and Lyft are upend­ing how we live by revers­ing a cen­tu­ry-long trend of ever-increas­ing auto­mo­bile depen­dence, with its atten­dant dead­en­ing sprawl, omnipresent dan­ger, and envi­ron­men­tal harm. Their rev­o­lu­tion will trans­form the $1.5 tril­lion busi­ness of sell­ing cars into a $10 tril­lion mobil­i­ty as ser­vice” busi­ness, accord­ing to a report by Mor­gan Stan­ley (now the lead under­writer for the Uber IPO).

Dec 02, 2018

Make Ford Great Again

For now, yesterday is where the money is.

Blunt and regres­sive, Ford’s new TV com­mer­cials make do with­out jin­gles or CEOs, opt­ing instead for Break­ing Bad’s scary-man­ly-pater­nal (don’t for­get Mal­colm in the Mid­dle) Bryan Cranston. Dressed in Steve Jobs gear, Cranston is on the verge of deliv­er­ing a Future Talk” when he shakes it off at the last minute: The future wasn’t made in a keynote speech,” he declares. (Pre­sum­ably this includes Jim Hackett’s keynote speech about Ford’s future.) Next he’s in an easy chair aboard Air Force One: A pres­i­den­tial speech did not land us on the moon.” Cut to men with pock­et pro­tec­tors sweat­ing over the Apol­lo Lunar Lan­der. Mil­lions of man hours did.”

Jul 03, 2017

Not a Techno-Thriller

The Volkswagen scandal was more diffuse, technical and tedious than most journalists allow.

Scan­dal always cap­ti­vates, and the VW news cap­ti­vat­ed Amer­i­cans for months — even those Amer­i­cans who usu­al­ly skip past the auto­mo­bile sec­tion. Reporters like Ewing pub­lished updates near­ly every day. John Oliv­er even jumped aboard with a com­e­dy bit mock­ing the Ger­man lan­guage and end­ed with the line, Hitler trust­ed us, why won’t you?” With the mar­ket pre­pared, Faster, High­er, Far­ther has been pub­lished simul­ta­ne­ous­ly in Eng­lish and Ger­man, and the author has been appear­ing on the morn­ing shows to talk cor­po­rate scan­dal. Leonar­do DiCaprio bought the movie rights.

Apr 14, 2017

Less of a Machine, More of a Pal

The car of the future will be needy and unnerving, and will lack comic timing.

Imag­ine the val­ue of a car that, thanks to an exclu­sive mul­ti-year part­ner­ship, autonomous­ly dri­ves past Dunkin’ Donuts and heads straight for Star­bucks when you say, Leaf, get me a cof­fee.” Or, a car in which Nis­san Pay replaces Sam­sung Pay or Apple Pay and takes a piece of the action.