lunchbox 62

Inexpensive electric roadsters, why Mercedes-Benz rules in Albania, and fairly judging Tesla Autopilot.

lunchbox 62

If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve entered the no-spin zone here at, where even Tesla’s Autopilot™ software is given a fair shake—provided certain conditions are met.

But first, a detour past some low-cost convertibles and the fascinating Albanian Mercedes-Benz scene.

1992 Geo Metro Convertible • RM Sotheby's

I seem to recall a story recently published at a major news outlet about how sales of convertible cars were dropping. There were a number of factual arguments and contributing factors mentioned, except two: manufacturers don’t currently make many good ones, and our age of wealth transfer from poor to rich puts them out of reach for many reasons. The average price of a new convertible in the U.S. is north of $70,000, after all.

Used convertibles are still around, everyone who wants a Mustang or Porsche 911 convertible already owns one, and there have never been more supercar and hypercar convertibles. Is this a problem?

If it’s sales we’re truly after, what the market needs is a slate of roadsters that are attainable and easy to live with, from accessible brands.

When I say “accessible” what I mean is “not too exotic,” with design, construction, and powertrain that’s only as complicated as it needs to be. Our electric future should help with this—but it’s gotta be more MG Cyberster than current models like the $100k+ Qiantu Motor K50. (Back in lunchbox 13 I briefly covered the upcoming MG Cyberster roadster.)

Go a size and price class down, to something like the Suzuki Swift / Geo Metro / Pontiac Firefly, and there’s a wider pool of potential customers.

And now that I think about it, the car above happens to be an all-electric roadster slated to go on sale in China for less than half the MSRP of a new car in the U.S. that gives me serious Suzuki Swift Convertible x smart fortwo cabriolet vibes.

If priced below $20,000, this would be a tremendous deal for a new EV, with the convertible part as a bonus.

In conclusion, there better be a convincing PowerPoint on deck at the next General Motors board meeting for a scheme to revive the Geo Metro. Who’s with me?

Wuling Mini EV Cabrio Will Cost Up To 14,660 USD In China •

see also :: Get to know the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV • :: 1992 Geo Metro Convertible • RM Sotheby’s (Sold for $4,400 USD, 2021)

Why are 29-30% of the cars in Albania a Mercedes-Benz?

Why are Mercedes-Benz so cheap to repair in Albania?

Why is there a former dictator’s Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman squirreled away in a secret, dusty garage?

This captivating German documentary from the long-running REV series on DW (⚠️ rabbit hole alert) is well-researched, beautifully shot, and full of character.

DW, for the uninitiated, is a German state-sponsored broadcaster for an international audience.

I find people’s reasons for liking Mercedes-Benz and the myths surrounding the brand, its vehicles’ abilities, and the Three-Pointed Star are fascinating. Instead of watching yet another pointless drag race between 45 crossovers, watch this.

Why Albanians Only Drive Mercedes-Benz • DW REV - Cars & Mobility

Almost forgot: this is an all-electric coupe from China called the SC-01 with more than 400 horsepower, and a starting price below the average cost of a new car in the U.S.

If I write more I might become…emotional, and not in the good way. 🤬

Small Sports Car SC-01 to be ‘national sports car’ for China • Autocar

see also :: SC-01 Is Chinese EV Roadster Backed By Xiaomi With 435 HP For 41,950 USD •

Want to know where I get my Tesla information from? From curious, skeptical, honest-sounding Tesla owners. Far from being an Autopilot video designed to grab views, detailed drives like this one from AI DRIVR is what you need to watch.

A normal route, cyclists, pedestrians, normal streets, some weather, and even an unsuspecting passenger says that Tesla’s latest “Full Self Driving” software is behaving much more naturally in the real world.

Worst case, you spend a few minutes cruising around bustling Napa, California.

How “usable” is Tesla FSD? Full Drive through Napa, CA • AI DRIVR



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