One of the shoots I enjoy doing is finding things that are ‘right before our eyes’ but we don’t always take the time to notice. Wall art, murals, sculptures and street art seem to fall into that category.
I set out looking for wall art and murals in what is considered Old Las Vegas. Included in the following unique creative images, is the iconic American Sports Car, the Stingray for a juxtaposition- rolling art vs fixed art.
While at Barrett-Jackson’s 2016 Car Collector Auction in Las Vegas, Nevada, I had the great pleasure of spending some time with Mike Brewer, who car enthusiasts worldwide know from his and Edd China’s highly entertaining, Wheeler Dealers fame.
The following is a transcript of my recorded interview as Mike and I were walking across the vast Mandalay Bay convention center, filled with every imaginable type of transportation. Having just walked past an older Corvette, I took it as an opportunity to segue into Mike’s impressions of the new Corvette Stingray.
JD: You haven’t gone into any detail [on your show] on the C7, the new one. I know you prefer old cars.
Mike: Yeah, actually I like the C7. I like the new one. I had a little ride and drive in one of those C7s, when they first came out, and I think it’s the, well undoubtedly, it’s the best Corvette they’ve ever made.
JD: Certainly agree with you.
Mike: … And it’s the closest I think for the first time, American engineers got anywhere close to a European engineer in terms of mainly it’s styling, but in terms of the feel, because the car does feel very European on the road. You know like the Ferrari does feel, say a C6 Corvette feels very different from a Ferrari 355-
Mike: …Which feels much more connected, and that was half of the problem, you didn’t feel connected to the car, but with the C7, it feels like you’re putting on a leather glove. It really does feel like you are connected to the car.
JD: It is the total package.
JD: Thinking of all the cars that you’ve had a chance to acquire, I’m sure there’s still a list of ones that you haven’t yet…
Mike: There’s many.
JD: What are the couple that are next on your list, the one’s reflecting your highest desires?
Mike: That’s a good question. On my highest desirable list. Actually, I’ve actually almost achieved most of my dreams of in terms of inside the Corvette world. I’ve got a, I’ve just got a wonderful C3 Corvette, it’s a ’67 Mako Shark, it was the, it’s not the Stingray, it was the ’68 in red. Beautiful car, convertible. I bought that car in, I do believe in Texas, and we did a lovely restoration job on it and we took it to the lake bed and drove it. Phenomenal. That was a great car, but in terms of my dreams, and what I’d like to do, the list is endless honestly I’ve got so many. Yeah, the list is endless, I’ve got so many cars that I haven’t got to yet.
One of the cars that we still haven’t done and I can’t believe it for a Brit, is a Rolls Royce Corniche convertible.
JD: I was fortunate enough to own a 1975 RR Corniche drop head coupe Mediterranean Blue with Blue top and Magnolia hides.
Mike: You’ve had a better car collection than me!
JD: I was the second owner. It was probably the prettiest car line-wise, classic lines that I’ve ever owned. Incredible build, I loved the car. Drove it 11 years.
Mike: Wonderful. Yeah, I mean, you know there’s so many cars I haven’t gotten to yet, and walking around here at Barrett-Jackson, you know I get that feeling that I can see so many cars that sometimes cars pass me by, I don’t notice them, until I see them again, and you know, all of a sudden the world has gone mad for these pickup trucks, you know, C10 pickup trucks, and we haven’t done one of those yet on Wheeler Dealers and that’s a nice thing I’d like to venture into, but also older cars you know. If you was to ask me what is my most desirable dream car that I’d ever like to get my hands on is undoubtedly going to be a late ’20s Bentley blower. That would be it as my dream, but that in a realistic world, you know, one of those today is half a million dollars, and that’d be for just a shed.
Mike: … So it’s going to be difficult to ever achieve that dream. It’s out there, you know, one day. JD: When you source the parts.
JD: In the US versus the UK.
JD: Do you rely more on your networking here or you still use the Internet a lot like we see you doing on the show?
Mike: I spend my life on the internet. You will see that during the course of the day when I get a break here, we’re making 8 hours of live television here today at Barrett-Jackson and then when I get a break in between filming, from these people around, and when I get a break in between filming, I am sitting on the Internet, and you’ll be surprised what I’m looking for. You know I could be looking for hubcaps for a Messerschmitt or I could be looking at the, you know, the gear shifter for a Citroen Maserati. You know, I could be looking for all kinds of stuff that’s currently going on in my world out there.
Now I’m just immersed in what’s going on and in terms of car restoration, and where I need to find those parts, but the Internet is my most valuable resource, just like everybody else in the world, really. JD: Okay. You’re over here about 6 months out of the year.
Mike: It’s about 9 months now.
JD: 9 months now?
Mike: Yeah, 9 months of the year. Yeah, we’re based down in California.
JD: Right, that I knew. I guess it was 2 years ago when you were on the Velocity Live show over at SEMA, where you were talking that you just purchased that location. JD: From the whole process, from the acquisition to the restoring to the selling, which part excites you the most?
Mike: It’s most definitely the test drive at the end. It’s the achievement that you know, that sense of achievement that you’ve done what you set out to do, because you know, cars can be tricky. Some cars come into the workshop with me and they offer themselves up, they say, “Restore me, I want to be restored, here I am”, you know, and they undo easy, the nuts and bolts come off, the fenders, the hood, the bonnet, the engine pulls apart easy.
Yet other cars, they come into the workshop and they put boxing gloves on. They’re a little bit like Mike Tyson, and they want to go 10 rounds with you, and they’re not easy. They don’t want to be restored, they want to die. When we beat those cars into submission, and we give them a new coat of paint, some new lipstick, and we put them out there on the road and we test drive them. That sense of achievement brings a tear to my eye, and that’s why I do this show, I love it.
JD: That’s the enthusiasm that we see as viewers when you and Edd are out afterwards, before you actually sell it.
Mike: Yeah, I mean I just love, you know, we just love restoring cars and a lot of people don’t know this, but when the cameras are cut, not so much for Edd, but for me, when the cameras are cut, what do I do in my spare time? Restore cars. My own cars. JD: [We walk past a Mark 2 Jaguar]
Mike: Mark 2 Jaguar? Love to talk about that.
JD: Isn’t that a beauty?
Mike: It’s a beauty, but it’s not a good color. It’s not a good original color combination. Nobody ever done that, but it would work, it’d be a nice car, it’s a Jaguar.
JD: You had that in Rolls and Bentley, those color combinations.
Mike: Yeah, but not in Jaguar.
Mike: They never did that two-tone Jaguar. That’s somebody’s interpretation of what a British car should look like, and these chrome accents here that they put on the hood.
Mike: They’re not correct either, you know, they just put those on because it’s had it’s Hollywood face lift hasn’t it? It’s a British car that’s been to Hollywood. JD: Right. Do I have a couple more minutes?
Mike: Yeah, yeah you can go for it. JD: Thanks. You did a great job in Afghanistan.
Mike: Thank you, much appreciated. It’s my proudest achievement I think.
JD: It was very well recognized.
Mike: Thank you.
JD: Is there something similar you have planned down the line?
Mike: I’d really like to not go back into military programming. Having the two documentaries and nearly died several times. You know, I’ve got a wonderful wife, an amazing daughter and it was something that I wanted to do as a passion inside me and I wrote and produced that series, but I’ve done it, and I’m proud of what I’ve done. I have put a spotlight for a moment on what goes on in the real theater of war, and I felt it and you know, it’s my biggest achievement I’ve ever done in my life and long may it just stay there. You know, I can look back at it and show my grandkids and say “This is what I did”, but yeah, I don’t want to go back there again, it’s a scary place, and you know, the service men and women all across the world, British, American, whoever they are, you know, I salute them. I can’t tell you just what they go through because it’s horrible. JD: I appreciate that, thank you very much. Time for one more question?
Mike: Yeah, yeah. JD: Okay. Autonomous cars.
Mike: My thoughts on autonomous cars, okay. You know, I think, I’ve worked harder than anybody else I know, and the thought of getting in a car at the end of the day, pressing a button then it taking me home, fills me with joy. Fills me with joy, but the thought of actually doing it sends shivers down my spine. I’m never going to do that. I want to hold that steering wheel. I want to feel the pedals under my feet. I want to feel the road surface. I’m not going to trust a computer to get me home. You know, I can’t trust myself to get me home, let alone a computer, and I live in a world where you know, well we all do, you know, you’re in, if you’re on your cellphone, and we’ve got computers at home and cellphones. I’m forever rebooting mine and trying to get the thing to work, and so I don’t know if I want to be cruising down the freeways at 70 miles an hour with a computer that needs rebooting at some point.
Mike: No, I think I’ll be, I think I’ll let it go for a few years and see how people get on with it, and see what happens before I ever decide to go and do such a thing, but no. I think there is a future for it. I think there is a market for it, and I can understand why you’ve got the likes of Google and Amazon and other companies chasing after this Utopian world that we’re all going to be driving around in these wonderful self-driving cars, but I think it’s a long way off. I do believe there’s been accidents already with cars that have been automated. No for me, I want to hold the steering wheel. JD: Thank you Mike, I tremendously appreciate your time.
Mike: It’s an absolute pleasure sir, it’s always, I’m honored to talk to people.
JD: Nicky would you take one picture of us with my camera?
JD: Thank you so much.
Mike: Well, Jeff it’s been a real pleasure to meet you sir. You have a great day here today at Barrett-Jackson, I’m sure-
JD: I will.
Mike: … You’ll get lots of content. There’s tons of cars and it’s going to be exciting.
And off Mike went, continuing on his hectic pace surrounded by a Velocity camera crew to his next filming event. The impression of the man lingered in spite of the ‘energizer bunny’ style- so genuinely interested in and knowledgeable about all things automotive, so easy to interact with and personable. A real pleasure indeed!
Day one of the 2019 Automobility LA show might be best summed
up in one word “Karma.” The first media
day is basically a series of thirty minutes (or more) technology update
panels. I find it interesting on a
number of levels, including what really is new and what is status of the field.
For the most part, especially if you have attended a number
of these over the years, you take what is said with a grain of salt and
consider it a lot of marketing hype designed to stimulate discussion, create
awareness, and in more cases than not, investor interest.
My ‘take-aways’ from today include:
new CEO of Faraday (he was the CEO of Byton last year) sees the real financial profitability
coming from the interconnected digital experience, rather than through the sales
of their FF91 (September 2021) at $150-200k, or of their FF81 after that at
“living space” experience of future semi-autonomous and ultimately, fully autonomous
(levels 4 and 5) vehicles is the ‘hot’ topic focus of many presenters here.
is figuring out how to integrate all of the vehicle voice assistants, such as
OEM versions and Alexa, along with the artificial intelligence (AI) dynamic
data base so that it is a seamless experience for the end user.
out how to gain the trust in the general public of autonomous vehicles (AVs)
One split in thinking and focus that I feel isn’t being given
enough effort is that there really are two very different AV ‘roads’ that need
to be integrated for this future disruption to succeed. That is, one faction sees AVs as ultimately
the replacement for the personal car as simple a means to primarily get from A
to B, while the other is attempting to create a whole new means of experience
that people will just want to do because of the experience. The later are focused on integrating lots of
monitors (screens), high end audio, augmented reality, etc. An overriding issue for both factions is what
the respective impact will be on reducing congestion in urban environments.
Continuing issues include lack of standardized intra and
inter vehicle communication (software), privacy of the ever-expanding data base
on each end user (incrementally increasing under the 5G capabilities), and lack
of interstate DMV regulation for AVs.
It still appears that the near future of AVs will be restricted
to proprietary lanes on highways and in urban environments, where human driven
vehicles are not allowed to drive. Under
this set-up, I believe we will see a significant reduction in accidents and
Oh, and why this first day is best summed up as Karma? The
simple answer is that Karma had their FF91 there, as well as functioning
protypes of their future vision cars the SC1 and SC2 (convertible and hardtop respectively,
each with ‘scissor’ doors), and their Revero GTS model. Alternatively, as a bit of tongue-in-cheek,
perhaps the future of AVs is just karma personified…
More to come. In the interim, what are your thoughts?
My travels have provided me the opportunity to experience more than 60 amazing countries and cultures. A friend challenged me to try and provide a visual summary of one of my trips in a five minute or less ‘tour.’ [I am not sure but think the motivation was so they did not have to sit through one of my Blu-ray shows, that often run about an hour or so production…]
Having been born in NYC, and lived there for a number of years before moving to warmer climes, I enjoy returning and experiencing the ever changing cityscape. The following is from my most recent visit. I hope you enjoy and look forward to your comments in the reply section below.
This unit was provided to me by Delk, distributer for the MYCHANIC
brand, for review.
-lift 3” to 20”
-capacity 3 tons (6000 pounds)
-all steel construction weighing 78 pounds
-rolls on polyurethane wheels
The MYCHANIC 3T Low Profile Floor Jack, (model 53034) arrives in a compact, but heavy (82 pounds) single box. Little assembly is needed. When you open it, you’ll see the Owner’s Manual & Safety Instructions, the handle as two components, and the 3T Jack itself.
The assembly instructions start by telling you to insert the lower part of the handle into the jack socket. However, before you can do this there is a step not mentioned in the instructions. You need to remove the transport aluminum spring catch (shown in the following picture with the red arrow pointing to it) which holds the socket assembly down.
Doing it is easy, just step on the socket to relieve the pressure on the spring catch and slip it off. Then gently ease up on your foot to allow the socket to raise up on its own.
Once you do that, you can insert the lower handle into the socket, finger tighten the retainer bolt and then use a wrench to tighten the bolt home.
Add in the second (top) section of the handle and you are just about ready to use the 3T Jack. The instructions tell you to pump the handle 10-15 times to force out any air that might be in the system. Then you are ready to use the jack.
One of the first things you’ll notice about this jack is how nice it looks! It is finished in black with bright green highlights (like the rest of their product line). The second thing you’ll like is the considerable heft of the well-constructed unit at nearly 80 pounds. However, because of the polyurethane wheels, it rolls effortlessly and quietly across all types of flooring, without scuff marks or damage.
Well thought through design elements include protective padding on the lift arm and the saddle plate.
It raises your vehicle very effortlessly, smoothly and quickly. The low profile (3 inches!) comes in very handy when working on sports cars and other vehicles with low clearance. It smoothly goes from the low of 3
inches, to a high lift of nearly 20 inches!
As can be seen in this image, it easily goes under the somewhat low clearance of the Corvette Stingray (even with the Stingray having jacking pucks installed on its frame at the recommended jack points).
With several pumps of the handle, the MYCHANIC 3T Jack easily lifts the entire side (both front and back wheels and tires) off the floor. [Of course, for safety, the opposite side wheels are securely chocked.]
Considering its lifting capacity and heft, the MYCHANIC 3T has a relatively small footprint of 26 ½ inches long, by 13 ½ inches wide (at its widest point of the rear wheels). It lists for $199 and comes with a two-year hassle-free warranty. Country of origin is China. If you order from the MYCHANIC web site, they offer a $3.99 flat rate ground shipping to the 48 Contiguous United States.
Please let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for visiting.
This review is of the three new products from MYCHANIC. Covered are their Detailing Rig, their Sidekick Stool-KK2 and their POD Light, all were provided to me by Delk, distributer for the MYCHANIC brand.
Looking first at the
Detailing Rig (Model #52810). It
comes with all the necessary components in a box:
I used a soft mallet, blade and Philips screwdrivers, 17mm
wrench and socket, to assemble following the easy to follow graphic (only)
instructions. It took under 30 minutes
The only thing I would recommend MYCHANIC add to their graphic instructions is in the third assembly step: to make sure the holes are lined up in the bottom tray with the frame holes, before tightening the four “A” 17 mm bolts that secure the two halves of the bottom tray. I found the holes were fine on one side, but slightly off on the opposite side. If they are off slightly, you will not be able to fit the studs on the wheel assembles through both the frame and the attached tray.
The Detailing Rig comes equipped with a number of useful
options including the nicely sized soft wheels, lots of storage under the seat,
spray bottle hanging racks, a wash bucket with removable grit trap tray, and of
course a bottle holder. I particularly
like that the seat can be lifted off of its studs and put on the floor to use
as a kneeling pad. Very useful for
working on the wheels, etc.
I found sitting on the unit a perfect height for detailing
cars, as you roll effortlessly around the car.
Moving to the Sidekick Stool- SK2 (Model #52875). It comes with all the necessary components in one box:
You need a Phillips head screen driver, 17mm wrench and
socket to assemble following narrative text instructions with one graphic. It is straight forward and easy to assemble,
taking about 20 minutes.
The assembled Sidekick Stool- SK2 is a heavy-duty well-designed unit. However, I would suggest two modifications in future iterations of the Sidekick: it has an adjustable height seat, but requires you to fully remove and reattach the four 17mm bolts, washers and locking nuts to accomplish this. It would be much more convenient if you could adjust the seat by an easier process. The other modification, would be to enable you to remove the seat (cushion) in a fashion similar to what MYCHANIC has done with the Detailing Rig. I found there were times when working with the Sidekick, I needed to kneel for the task as hand.
The Sidekick has surprisingly convenient storage areas
And a drill holder/holster along with side ‘cubbies’
It includes a removable tray (that stores under the seat
area), which includes a built-in slot in the handle to hold your iPad or tablet
so you can play how to video for the project you are working on.
The assembled Sidekick is rugged, well-constructed and a very practical means of bringing your tools to the project. It rolls on four soft large caster wheels. It lists a 350 pound/ 158 kg capacity, and country of origin being China. It comes with a two-year limited warranty. It lists at $109.99.
Let me now shed some light (sorry, couldn’t help myself) on theMYCHANICPOD Light (Model #52811).
This is a compact, very well made and relatively bright ultra-portable light. It is rated at 250 lumens, and comes with the 3 AA batteries. The batteries can power it, on the high output setting, for approximately 7 hours continuous use. The POD Light is imported, lists for $24.99 and comes with a one year warranty.
The POD Light includes a magnetic base that allows the light to be rotated 360 degrees, and the base itself adheres to anything metallic. The unit has a high and low output setting. In addition to using it with its magnetic base, it can easily be hand held or rested near the area you are wanting to illuminate (if there is no metal for the base).
I found the unit just right for shooting light down in the engine wheel or for example, checking how much life is left on a brake pad. The only thing that surprised me about using the POD Light, is that modern cars have very little steel often in the engine hood or around the engine bay, to enable the base to be magnetically stuck.
The only minor suggestion I have that would make it a bit more convenient, would be to eliminate the two small Philip screws that hold the battery case cover in place. It already has a sufficient built-in catch to secure the cover, and in turn, the entire case is inside of the two halves of the unit, when you screw them together after inserting the batteries.
In summary, MYCHANIC has three winning products that make detailing and wrenching even more enjoyable for ‘us gearheads.’
[Hold on there fellow gearheads, there may be some validity in this statement 😃 ]
By Jeff Daum, Ph.D., PPA Photojournalist, Technology & Product Analyst
Interview with Justin Rees (JR), Founder & CEO Ride Systems, Kelly Rees (KR), President Ride Systems, and Ilya Rekhter (IR), CEO DoubleMap.
Ride Systems and DoubleMap had just merged at the time of this interview,
bringing together two companies with a proven track record of providing safe,
fact-based real-time information on transportation alternatives for getting
from point A to point B. This includes
public transit and on-demand (Uber, Lyft etc.) transit. The combined data bases comprise public
transit riders, corporations (employee vans), airports, universities and
hotels. While now operating under one
holding company, both will maintain their respective brick and mortar
headquarters. Both companies have a free
app (Ride Systems and DoubleMap GPS) allowing the user to see alternatives
available to get from A to B either entirely on one service or in combination,
along with real-time indication of when the option will be at a specific
JDLet’s start with a statement by you Justin: “Our services offer a quantum leap forward enabling everybody to say good-bye to privately owned cars soon.” Would you please put that in perspective?
JR Timing is everything, millennials are delaying the purchases of
large items, cars and houses for example.
They also want to live in big urban areas. So, they are already forgoing owning multiple
cars or even any car, for more liberating options. The other side of that is that you are seeing
even the automakers get into the services business. They want to be mobility companies. As you saw at CES, big companies are
investing heavily in autonomous cars, sensors, and smart cities. Those
companies are trying to shift from being a commodity producing company into service
and mobility sector.
So, you are seeing transportation
sharing options greatly increasing and providing short, medium and long-range
alternatives, from scooters to ride share, to on demand to public transit.
IR To piggy back on what Justin is saying, it starts with that
family that has one car and thinking about buying a second car, the easier we
can make it for them to ride public transit and not need to buy the second car,
the more it will continue trending that way.
Then you take it and make it more personalized with more options
including public transit, and combine in one place, and easy to use app, those
options to get from point A to point B and more and more people will use it.
JR So why do people hesitate to use the other modes of
transportation? It’s the lack of confidence in public transit, for example,
where is it? Will it ever get here? How
long do I have to wait? All those
questions prevent people from feeling comfortable in using public transit. You have to have confidence in it to want to
use it. Same thing is true for other
alternatives, such as scooters or bikes, on demand cars- you gain confidence if
you know where it is and how long you have to wait for it.
Having the information available
to them is where we come in. We own the
data in that middle market, we are in seven hundred plus locations. We provide real time information for public
transit and other modes of transportation.
Big cities, small cities, corporations, medical centers, universities. As a result, we have scooter companies, car
sharing companies and automotive companies come to us and say since you are
already in all of these places if we team up, instead of launching in just a
few select places, we can deploy on a large scale using your existing network
and contracts with the cities.
JD: Is your audience the same
for the public transit as it is for on demand rides?
IR For us it started with the transit riders, but now they can see
in the same app, a mesh network to get from point A to point B, an alternative
means to cover the distance from where they live to the bus, or from the bus to
their ultimate destination, or even not to take the bus at all but one of the
JDBut will the individual
who uses an Uber or Lyft, now decide because of your app, to use public
transit? What is the incentive?
IR Perhaps seeing there are clear options that can save money,
particularly if time isn’t critical. The
ride share companies are interested in being part of our app to get more
‘eyeballs’ to see their services. Also,
it depends on what a particular city has in terms of arrangements with
different ride share companies. If they
have agreements with for example, both Uber and Lyft, then both would be part
of our app for that city.
JDAre taxis favorable to
IR Using Dallas as an example, the city has brokered a deal with
Uber and Lyft, as well as the taxis.
That is a differentiation for our service, we don’t take a position pro
one service or another. The taxis in
Dallas have our software in their cars, so they can serve more as an on-demand
JR The option comes down to the confidence, do I take a scooter to
get to the bus, take an Uber to get to the bus, or walk to the bus. Do I even want to take a bus, is there
another option to get downtown? They
will find all those options through our app.
We have the platform where all those options can be made available. It is all about options, giving the people
options to choose from, the freedom to choose how they want to do it. Of course, with your own car, you can hop in
it and go where and when you want, but you have the cost of the car, getting
there, garaging or parking it, etc. If
you don’t have a car, the perception has been that you don’t have freedom. We provide that freedom.
Of course, it will take some
time, but people are already doing it- the millennial crowd is already doing
it. We think people are anxious to find
a better way to get around. Traffic is
as bad as it has ever been, parking and the cost of owning a car is going up,
as is the related stress. These
technologies of making people comfortable to use alternative modes of
transportation will help alleviate a lot of that stress.
JDYou had mentioned the OEMs
are interested in it. Of course, they
are focused on the shift in buying habits and have started offering their own alternatives. You have Volvo, Lincoln and Cadillac offering
new types of quick leases, no obligation, easy swap from one model to another
and totally inclusive monthly payments covering the car, the insurance, maintenance
and swap potential. For example, Volvo I
think is $500 per month to virtually any qualified individual where they offer
the option. Is this in competition to
IR That is actually music to our ears, we don’t own any of our
vehicles except for our pending start of our Tesla X car share service fleet. The reasons the OEMs are starting these new
types of leases is because they want their cars on the road. We have the
advantage of offering the use of any of those vehicles as well. It will be a natural complement.
JDBut if you own a fleet,
won’t you be seen as pushing your cars vs other options?
IR I don’t think it is a question of one or the other, it is a
question of providing as many options as possible.
KR Let’s back up a do a little bit of background on the
company. That might help paint a picture
why it won’t be a big deal. For example,
some of our biggest clients are big corporations, closed campuses, etc. They are the perfect place to start the car
share aspect of our business, a specific program for a specific client.
IR For example, where a client may have a fleet of several hundred
vehicles and thousands of employees, they can use our app to create on demand
vs scheduled rides.
JR Another example, for a client in a big city, we are able to merge all different types of transportation modes (short, medium and long range) and make them available to their employees in one app. Instead of the client having to go to each of the services and try and negotiate and integrate, we do that for them. Cities are hard to get into on large scale because of the bid process and because cities have little incentive to share information with the specific companies in their area. Because of this we are already involved with a lot of these cities, we offer our clients and strategic partners that connection. That ranges from tracking buses and shuttles for commuters to launching new offerings to the communities members in the area like scooters and car share programs.
JDLet’s segue into details
on your app.
KR It is more than an app, it also includes hardware.
JR I look at it as three pillars- the first one is what we are
known for, our mobile application. It is
free. The second pillar is in the
vehicle. In buses, most are a step back
in time, with clickers for counting passengers, manually changing the route
sign, etc. We install hardware inside the bus that takes over all these
functions and frees up the driver to focus on safety and driving. The third pillar is that the hardware we
install integrates these functions on the bus and sends real time updates to
our servers where we do business intelligence. That is then reflected for
example, in our app, showing current position, time to next stop, etc., as well
as real time passenger load, a more efficient routing and use of buses.
IR It is really the analysis and use of that data for both the bus
(or car company) and user that is key.
For example, a user can look at passenger load and decide to take a
different bus, or if the next bus has a bike rack installed, or can pick up a
person in a wheelchair. While on the
bus, they can use the app to order a car to pick them up when they arrive.
We also have numerous
capabilities we can build into the onboard equipment, such as badge readers,
WiFi capabilities, etc.
JD Where are the buses that
you have this technology currently running?
JR For example, Reno, University of Nevada, here in Las Vegas, Arrow Stage Lines, a charter bus service, Houston, Tulsa, really in all 50 states., Guam, Mexico and Australia. We haven’t done a lot of press so it isn’t well known, but we are the single largest provider of this type of technology across the world. Our service sounds like an app, but it is like the tip of an iceberg in terms of the full range of services we provide.
JDWould you talk a bit about
your new roles now as a merged organization of your two companies?
JR Merging makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. We have been fairly selfless in figuring out
what will be best for our employees in both companies, our clients, and how to
not disrupt everything. I will be the
CEO, Ilya has the same abilities but he also is one of the best guys when it
comes to strategies, and numbers and sales and will be President, so that will
be his focus, Peter (SerVass) is always about 10 steps ahead of us in looking
into the future, he worked very hard on this merger, and will be the
strategist. Kelly, her focus will be in
marketing and press.
IR We are fortunate in that both companies have very capable and
strong individuals. Culture has been very important to us. We have both been self-funded and
profitable. This year we are projecting
to be an 18 to 19 million dollars revenue company. Basically, blending what DoubleMap and Ride
Systems has done really well and making one big win.
JDDo you think you will stay
JR We are doing great the way that we are, but if the right
opportunity comes along, we won’t turn it down, but we are confident in our
ability to do this. This merger enables
us to take a risk and really grow the businesses to the next level.
IR The key is that both companies came in with clean balance sheets
and profitable. We have the funding to
JR So we are open to the option, we don’t want to restrict our
growth if the issue is capital.
JDIn summary, what would you
like to emphasize?
JR Well, we are the largest real time transit information company
in the world, no one has as many and as much variety of clients in as many
locations as we do.
IR To our existing clients, it is important to know, there is no
turnover. We are taking the best from
both companies and combining it.
JDYou handle a lot of data
obviously, what type of security and back up do you have?
JR That’s a really great question. A big and important topic for
people. We have secure data centers, AWS
with Amazon Web Services, IBM secure data centers, all sorts of redundancy and
backups. We take security around
personal information very seriously.
JDAnything else you would
like to add?
JR We are just thrilled to make this merger finally happen and
excited for what it means for the people of our two companies, and for our
clients and future clients. The sky is
IR We are both proverbial garage startups. To grow it to this, we couldn’t be
happier. We are going to keep the two
(apps) brands independent, but integrate across them as appropriate.
KR Looping back to where you opened this, needing to own a car
versus wanting to own a car are two different things. The automotive enthusiast, the hobbyist, the
love of driving is different from having to commute from A to B. As the information (transit options) is out
there, we believe more and more people will be giving up their cars.
has been fascinating learning the details, and meeting all of you. Thank you
for taking the time and sharing your enthusiasm. Continued success!
This review is of the newestCTEK charger/maintainer. It is the “CT5Time to Go” CTEK, and was provided to me by CTEK.
For those of you not familiar
with CTEK, they are a major OEM branded car battery charger manufacturer, for
example Alfa Romero, Arctic Cat, Audi, BMW, Camaro, Corvette, Ferrari, Husqvana,
Rolls-Royce, Saab and Yamaha. They also
enjoy a healthy portion of the after-market car battery chargers under the CTEK
I have been using CTEKs for
about 15 years for maintaining my automotive batteries. I started with the Multi US 3300, then the
MUS 4.3. I actually never had one stop
working properly (even after a couple of them were dropped), but I added as their
technology improved, or I simply needed an additional charger for another of my
CTEK chargers (non-OEM)
typically come packaged with two ways to connect the charger to your car
battery: ‘alligator’ clips to temporarily connect directly to the battery
terminals, and what they call the Comfort Connect which has bolt connector
eyelets that you can permanently connect to the respective terminal stud
nut. If you do it this way, the Comfort
Connect has a secure connector with a sealing flap, that connects easily to the
output cable from the CTEK unit when you need it. A third option, especially for cars with
dedicated charging accessory outlets like the Corvette Stingray has, is a
Comfort Connect Cig-Plug. I actually use
all three methods for different vehicles- permanent eyelet to the battery
terminals on one of my vehicles that doesn’t have easy access to the battery
and no live accessory plug, the alligator clips on another car where it doesn’t
have a convenient live accessory plug, but does have it’s battery easily
accessed in the engine compartment, and the Cig-Plug solution for my Stingray with
the dedicated charging port in the trunk.
Regardless of which method you
use to connect to your car (all three methods are interchangeable via the
Comfort Connect end on the output cable), the unit works the same way.
So, this brings us to the latest CTEK CT5 Time To Go.
The unit it self looks fairly similar to the MUS 4.3, as can be seen in this picture with the Time To Go on top.
All CTEK units for the most part
perform similar tasks: charging regular wet lead batteries and AGM (gel
batteries), intelligently maintaining the proper float charge regardless of how
long the unit is attached to the battery, automatic
desulphation program, and reconditioning of batteries. The newest feature of the CTEK CT5 Time To Go,
is the LED indication of the time remaining from a depleted battery until you
can attempt to start the car “TRY”, or until it is ready to use “GO” and at
100% “CARE.” It also incorporates temperature
compensation to adjust the optimum charge based on the battery temperature.
Here are images reflecting the unit unplugged, LEDs on initial plug in, and at “GO” as well as “CARE.”
Using the CTEK is straight forward, if you are connecting via the supplied alligator clips or eyelets you are set to go out of the box.
If you are going to attach via a dedicated charging accessory you need to purchase the optional Cig-Plug.
The following shows the CTEK connected in a Corvette Stingray, at the dedicated charging accessory port using the Cig-Plug. You can also see the Comfort Connect, between the Cig-Plug option and the power cable from the unit.
Pricing: the CTEK CT5 Time To Go
lists at $113.99 and the Cig-Plug lists at $11.99. However, you can usually find deals on Amazon
or elsewhere. It appears to be pricing
out at about $30 more than the MUS 4.3 currently, which is very comparable,
except it does not directly display any information relating to time remaining
in the charge cycle before you can attempt to drive your car.
As noted earlier, I can attest
to the CTEK’s build quality having dropped one of my units to the garage floor
with zero damage (well, other than I felt pretty dumb for doing it). The units are weatherproof and approved for
outdoor use. They operate properly from
-4 degrees F to +122 degrees F. The
wiring as well as Comfort Connect has never failed on my units over 15 years of
use. They also have built in back-up in
the event that power is interrupted. The unit will resume at the step it was at
and for the type battery you selected in mode (regular or AGM). Also, they will warn you if you attempt to
attach with incorrect polarity and prevent any circuit damage.
As to which model to buy, it
really depends on your intended application. If
you are looking for a highly reliable charger/maintainer, one that you can set
and forget about, a CTEK unit will serve you well.
If you have a question, please feel free to ask! Happy charging.