Axios Closer

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Friday ✅.

Today's newsletter is 694 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 1.0%.

  • Biggest gainer? ResMed (+18.9%), the medical device company, beat expectations with its fiscal third-quarter results.
  • Biggest decliner? Dexcom (-9.9%), the maker of glucose monitors for diabetes management, delivered strong first-quarter results yesterday but gave sales guidance that was below investors' expectations.

1 big thing: Putting the vroom in EVs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The guttural roar from a gas engine disappears in an EV — but some people want it back.

Why it matters: Lacking engines, EVs are quiet, emitting only the sound of tires on pavement and the purring whir of an electric motor as it powers the vehicle.

State of play: Dodge's Stellantis brand is debuting what it's dubbed a "Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust" system in the new 670-horsepower 2024 Dodge Charger Daytona — the first EV version of the Charger muscle car.

  • The system replicates the deafening burble of Dodge's Hellcat V8 engine, Axios' Joann Muller reported.
  • Elsewhere, a company called Borla Performance Industries sells an aftermarket system called Active Performance Sound that allows drivers to dial up fake engine noise for the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle.

The big picture: What EVs don't have to fake is the instant torque they deliver.

  • Yet the fake-noise features demonstrate how the human connection between drivers and their gas-powered vehicles is nonetheless blurred in the transition to EVs.

"When I've driven the Dodge Hellcat, there has been a sense of vibration that goes right up your chest and comes out through your heart, if you will," Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at Cars.com, tells Axios.

  • "I will be curious to see if these noises will incorporate some element of vibration as well."

The bottom line: EVs are still a lot quieter than gas-powered vehicles — unless they're emitting fake noise meant to trick people into believing they're something that they aren't.

Go deeper

2. Charted: Spending more, saving less

Data: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans saved a smaller share of their income in March than in any other month since 2022.

  • The personal saving rate, the percentage of income people are putting away after spending for things and accounting for taxes, dropped to 3.2% in March, according to government data.

Zoom in: That's down from 3.6% in February, and the 4.3% averaged over the prior 15 months from November 2022 to January 2024.

  • And March's dip is in spite of a 0.5% uptick in personal income.
  • In dollar terms, personal saving was $671 billion in March, compared to $739 billion in February.

Between the lines: Driving the drop were higher outlays for interest payments, and increased spending on health care services, housing and utilities, recreational items and food and beverages.

The big picture: People are still spending, even if that means saving less. For the second straight month, personal consumption expenditures (PCE) rose 0.8% in March, the strongest in more than a year, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.

3. What's happening

🛢️ Exxon and Chevron posted lower first-quarter profits as natural-gas prices dinged the bottom line. (WSJ)

🚛 7,000 UAW-represented workers at Daimler Truck's plant in North Carolina are poised to strike when their contract expires tonight. (NYT)

4. Crash stats for Tesla Autopilot

The dashboard of the software-updated Tesla Model S P90D shows the icons enabling Tesla's Autopilot system. Photo: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Federal auto safety investigators say in a new report that they've identified hundreds of crashes — 13 of them deadly — in which Tesla's Autopilot system failed to protect its drivers and passengers.

Driving the news: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) flagged 467 crashes over about 15 months from 2022-23.

  • Many drivers put too much faith in the system, ODI concluded, as "Autopilot controls did not sufficiently ensure driver attention and appropriate use."

What we're watching: Tesla announced a recall in December that involved the delivery of a software update in response to NHTSA's probe — but agency regulators are now investigating the effectiveness of that fix.

Go deeper

5. Hotel lights are so maddening

Overhead lights are among the features that hotels prioritize. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Puzzling out the lights in hotel rooms requires a PhD these days — and travelers are getting frustrated.

The big picture: "For many frequent travelers, the most maddening thing about hotel rooms—aside from rising nightly rates—is lighting," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Too much, too little, too scattered, too complicated, an afterthought or overwrought."

  • Among the causes: Hotels are trying to provide features like reading lights or overhead lighting while often doing so in old buildings that might require rewiring.

💭 Nathan's thought bubble: If I were president, I would mandate simple hotel lights on Day 1. Only old-fashioned switches allowed.

6. What they're saying

"It's so unbelievably overvalued."
— Schenectady, N.Y., day trader Richard Persaud to the AP in a report on investors who have made tens of millions shorting Trump Media & Technology's stock.

Today's newsletter was edited by Pete Gannon and copy edited by Carolyn DiPaolo.

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