What were the first mass-produced cars available in the US with a dual-clutch transmission (similar to the PDK transmission by Porsche)?

The first dual clutch transmission sold in the US was on the 2004 Audi TT 3.2 Quattro.

Does a car use less fuel while in neutral?

More you load the engine.The more it needs fuel to sustain its rpm. At neutral there are very low loads of pumps and alternator and transmission shaft and gears which are disengaged so naturally it would consume much less fuel than while driving be it electronic or carburetted engine.

What are the ugliest cars in the world?

I think that by any standard, and any perspective, South Korean car manufacturer SsangYong reigns supreme with this atrocity:

The SsangYong Rodius

It took me time to define that…thing in the back.

I will share how I eventually did in a second, but first look at it
(It's hideous I know, sorry, but still, look again)
and imagine it without that…thing in the back…

It would look normal, right?
Not beautiful, just normal.

So I started thinking why does something normal…"grow" something hideously abnormal?
And then it hit me.

It's a tumor.

SsangYong has developed the first car to ever grow a tumor.

And then they developed the SECOND one too!

The SsangYong Korando

The Korando was even worse in one aspect: It grew the tumor on its front…It's front just grows and grows…awful.

By the way, I think it's contagious, because later on the Pontiac Aztec (which Ameya Joshi rightfully mentioned in his answer) got it too.

So if your neighbor buys a Rodius, cover your car!

(My apologies to my friends in South Korea – Your country's vehicle design capabilities have made a quantum leap forward since, and you make the best smartphones! But this…? This was shameful)

What are the reasons Steve Jobs doesn't put a license plate on his car?

I think he told Fortune once that it was a little game that he played. Someone reported that Wozniak's account on this was that Jobs likes to park in handicap parking and it's more work on the police to properly identify the vehicle (this logically doesn't make sense to me as an illegally parked vehicle without plates can be impounded).


Why doesn't F1 racing get more coverage in the US?

I think it's a few reasons, though I love F1-

– Smaller grid, only about 20 cars on track
– Less passing, no refuels during pit stops
– As much about manufacturers as it is about drivers, all NASCAR cars are essentially identical and there's a lot more focus on sponsors and drivers.  Americans like personality driven sports
– No mainstream brands like Ford/GM/Chrysler/Toyota/Honda
– No american drivers/teams
– more technical cars and tracks, only one race in north america leads to races in the middle of the night
– no coverage on USnetworks

What are the differences between Tesla's and Fisker's strategies?

Tesla is a pure EV. Fisker is a hybrid.

Tesla builds their own cars; Fisker partly outsources.

Tesla owns their own dealer network; Fisker leverage existing auto dealers.

In other words, they have completely different strategies, different strengths and weaknesses, and world views. It is unclear whether both can be successful, which is part of why it is exciting to follow both.

Why aren't there solar-powered cars?

There are some great answers on here already that go into the technical details, but I’d like to take a quick step back and look at the greater context.

If, as Mark outlines, we’re not going to get a production car that runs solely on solar panels, it’s useful to ask: why would we even need a solar-powered car?

It seems to me that the main objectives would be to extend the effective range of the vehicle or reduce any hassle caused by the need to charge it. In 2017, though, are these really issues? The newest electric vehicle (EV) models have ranges upward of 300 miles, putting range anxiety firmly in the realm of the past.

And the many charging stations going into apartment complexes and workplaces are changing how people think about fueling their cars. Some may look sideways at the 20-minute fast charging times at Tesla’s charging stations, but if all of your daily commute’s fueling needs are met with home and workplace charging stations, the time you spend at the gas station will actually go down.

Workplace charging stations also take advantage of peak solar output times, when places like California are already seeing an excess of solar power flowing into their grid.

So, aren’t there solar-powered cars? There are! The weight and cost may make it inefficient to build them into the actual vehicle, but with a grid powered by renewable energy, every EV will be a solar (or wind) car!

Check out my bio for more answers about solar energy and expanding solar access!

What is the best radar detector for under $250?

I agree with both Ryan and Tim about the radar detectors.  However, depending on where you are, one should also consider a laser shifter such as the Escort ZR3 (or newer model ZR4) or Blinder Xtreme.

While the best consumer radar detectors can sniff out X and KA-band signals from a long way off before the signal can bounce back to the officer, rarely do they protect against LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) guns that are becoming more popular these days.  Normal radar guns send out a pretty wide beam of waves, and use the Doppler Effect to determine the fastest vehicle within that beam. LIDAR guns are far more accurate (at 1000 feet, the cone is estimated at around 3 feet).

Laser shifters actually actively jam by reacting to a police laser beam by sending out its own beam, shifting the spectrum of the returning light, rendering it unrecognizable to the laser gun’s optical sensors.

Note on legality: The Federal Communications Commission prohibits civilian use of police frequencies; thus active radar jammers that send signals are definitely not okay (however, they can't really restrict people from simply detecting light on a certain part of spectrum, so detectors are okay).  On the contrary, the Food and Drug Administration regulates laser devices, not the FCC, from a personal safety rather than a road safety perspective. Nebraska, Minnesota, Utah, California, Oklahoma, Virginia, Colorado, Illinois and Washington DC are the only states/district that bans the use of radar detectors AND laser jammers for “interfering with police business.”


When buying a used sports/luxury car, how old a car should I get when trying to optimize total cost of ownership?

There are probably two points in the lifetime curve of a car where you can obtain a price advantage.  During the other points on the curve, market forces roughly determine a correct price based on the repair costs and historical reliability statistics of that model.

The first point is "zero plus epsilon" years, which is that you want to be the second owner of the car as soon as someone else has bought it.  Because a car loses about 30% of its value when you drive it off the lot, you want to buy a "nearly-brand-new" car as soon as possible after the first owner buys it.  At that point, the car's market value has depreciated significantly while its "true" cost (relating to actual deterioration) has only decreased a bit.  Assuming normal driving rates (~10-12k miles/year), the car remains in this state for a little over a year.  So basically you want to try getting a 0.01 to 1-year-old car.

The second point is to buy a car just before it dies.  This is tricky because you don't know how long the car is going to last after you buy it, but the idea is to buy a car very very cheaply and then drive it into the ground.  As soon as you have your first maintenance event where the car is non-functional unless you pay for it, you just junk the car instead (or re-sell it if possible).  In this scenario, you've paid minimum price for a functioning car and incurred no additional ownership costs.