By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- June 15, 2017 -- In this week’s edition of Friday Fun we look at a chop shop uncovered by Edmonton police that was the biggest they had ever seen, a car for the jaded people who have grown weary of Ferraris and Bugattis, why Toyota is still pushing ahead with fuel cell technology and much, much more!
- Police in Edmonton have uncovered an enormous chop shop in Edmonton, according to a report on Global News. Police are saying it was the largest operation of its kind they had ever seen. A detective was quoted as saying, “Everybody in there was overwhelmed with what we had ... We’re talking guys who have been investigators for 30 years, dealing with auto theft, and even they were taken back. They’ve never seen anything like this ... The last few days have been hectic … The scene is huge. By far the largest chop shop that I’ve ever seen.”
Police discovered close to $2 million worth of stolen property. “Anything on your vehicle that could have been parted out, was being parted out here,” the police source said. “The parts business is very lucrative. You think, you’re paying $1,000 for a door, tires, rims. There’s big money in it.”
- Also in Edmonton this week, on Global News: “... firefighters were called to a fire at an autobody shop in the west end Thursday morning ... Crews responded to a call shortly before 6 a.m. at Perfection Auto Body on 111 Ave.” The fire was brought under control “within half an hour and crews kept it contained to one bay of the shop. It’s believed one car was affected ... The fire was put out less than an hour after it began.”
-A fire in an, “...abandoned auto shop in North York had to be treated with care due to possible hazardous materials contained in the building,” according to a story on CityNews. “Toronto Fire Services got several 911 calls about the fire at a building on Rivalda Road, near Weston Road and Sheppard Avenue West, around 1 p.m. Wednesday ... When firefighters arrived, they were met with heavy smoke and flames. [A deputy fire chief] said there were hazardous materials and compressed gas cylinders in the building ... A man who lives nearby said he heard explosions. 'Several explosions went off — like 10 explosions went off,' said the source quoted in the story. 'So that was the first thing that came to my mind — there was a bombing going off ... I see a lot of flames. The cloud up there was so dark, like Judgment Day was going on.' Crews soon got the fire under control, but [sources] said they were still dousing hot spots hours later and would be there into the evening,” according to the report.
- The Canadian Grand Prix weekend recently took place in Montreal. A writer from the Montreal Gazette gave a bit of ink to one of the cooler cars on display at the nearby Crescent St. Festival Grand Prix, a 2016 Pagani Huayra. The car is for sale for just $3,999,995. The engine, “built by Mercedes-Benz especially for Pagani, is a 6-litre, 12-cylinder, twin-turbo that produces 730 horsepower and can reach a top speed of 370 km/h. The entire chassis is made of carbon fibre.” According to Car and Driver the car is “for those who have grown bored with mere Ferraris and Lamborghinis and already have two Bugattis.”
- Collision Week reports that “The owner of a San Jose, California collision repair shop, his wife, and sixteen others have been charged with an insurance fraud scam during which they staged 15 car accidents to collect about $150,000 in fraudulent claims.” Keepin' it in the family. According to allegations by the “Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, the auto insurance fraud ring intentionally damaged cars, using some models several times. One aging Pontiac was used in three separate 'accidents' over a single year.” And really... what do you do with your aging Pontiac? The defendants “face felony fraud charges and could face prison time, if convicted,” according to the report.
- A report from our US-based content partner, Repairer Driven News, notes that “Collision Diagnostic Services and AirPro on Friday agreed to settle and drop their dueling false advertising lawsuits.” According to AirPro CEO Lonnie Margol, “ … an unwarranted cloud of uncertainty has finally been lifted ... All claims asserted against AirPro Diagnostics by CDS have now been dropped providing full vindication for our company and our highly skilled team of professionals,” he said. According to the report, “Repairify, the parent company of asTech manufacturer CDS, first sued AirPro in 2016. The allegations included, '... misleading advertising in violation of federal and Florida law.” According to the report, AirPro counter-sued, accusing CDS of similar advertising violations. The judge had some wise words for the feuding parties: “I have to say, I fear that this … litigation is one of those … cases that is equally about principle, and that a lot of good money may be thrown after bad … if it isn’t resolved.”
- Toyota is one car company that, “... believes in the hydrogen fuel cell.” The company is building fuel cell-powered buses and a fuel cell semi truck. However, a recent story on The Drive notes that, “Toyota has to admit that hydrogen power still has issues ...” Toyota is “ ... investigating a way to power its fuel cells with natural gas, which would power the breakdown of the hydrogen ...” according to the story. Nothing wrong with that in theory, but if you have to introduce a hydrocarbon energy source into the equation the overall energy viability of the system is called into question.
- Just before the price of crude oil spiked to almost $150 a barrel in the spring of 2008 the subject of “peak oil” had leaked widely through the population, but the story largely disappeared after 2008. Increases in flow from fracked shale oil reserves boosted global and domestic production seemed to “solve” the problem … for a while. Now a recent report from HSBC bank wonders if some of the ideas raised by peakists in the last decade are about to return to the news cycle. The report notes that many of the issues the peak oil activists raised in the 2000s are still outstanding:
• “The oil market may be oversupplied at present, but we see it returning to balance in 2017 ... By [then] effective spare capacity could shrink to just 1 percent of global supply-demand of 96 million barrels a day, leaving the market far more susceptible to disruptions than has been the case in recent years...
• “Oil demand is still growing by around one million barrels a day every year ... [At the same time] The sensible range for average decline rate on post-peak production is 5-7 percent, equivalent to around 3-4.5mbd of lost production every year... By 2040 this... means the world [would] need to replace over 4 times the current crude oil output of Saudi Arabia.”
• “Small oilfields typically decline twice as fast as large fields, and the global supply mix relies increasingly on small fields. The typical new oilfield size has fallen from 500-1,000 million barrels 40 years ago to only 75 million barrels this... New discoveries are limited... last year the exploration success rate hit a record low of 5 percent, and the average discovery size was 24 million barrels.”
• “US tight oil [shale] has been a growth area and we expect to see a strong recovery, but at 4.6mbd currently it represents only 5 percent of global supply.”
• “Step-change improvements in production and drilling efficiency in response to the downturn have masked underlying decline rates at many companies, but the degree to which they can continue to do so is becoming much more limited.”
• “Given the backdrop of the past two years’ severe oversupply in the global oil market, it’s not surprising that few are discussing the possibility of a future supply squeeze ... but the market will be much more susceptible to interruptions post-2017.”