Thursday 1st March 2018. Coming up today we’ll talk about a battery teardown, and Skoda playing catch-up?



?but first, let’s talk about Hyundai / Kia and their electrification plans. Yesterday we heard about the Hyundai Kona, and 24hours later, there’s more reaction to the new model. Most of it has been about affordable range, which seems to have pleased most reviewers. The headlines of 64kWh battery, 7.6 seconds 0-60 and almost 300 miles range on WLTP ticked three important boxes.


The Hyundai IONIQ is the most efficient EV I know of, going a long way on a modest battery, so although some say that the WLTP figure is still more optimistic I’m inclined to think Hyundai know how to get the most out of the package.


The EPA range is definitely more realistic but here’s why almost 300 miles could be more accurate. The other big car release recently using WLTP range was the Nissan LEAF packing a 40kWh battery and getting 150 real world miles, give or take some either side. That’s using tried and tested battery chemistry.


The new Hyundai Kona is their first to use the cells which are said to have made a step forward in energy density. We know the LG Chem technology also includes thermal management which the LEAF doesn’t.  Maybe that range is realistic. And as for price, here in the UK the ICE version of the Kona starts at £16500. Most reviewers are saying £25,000 for the short range and £30,000 for the long range Kona electric, and then take off the £4,500 government grant, it starts to look like a very attractive option. The only issue is, you can’t buy one until the end of this year.


Staying in the family, the Kia Niro Hybrid and PHEV has been spotted as a pure BEV.  The hybrids are already great cars, using the same tech as the multi-drivetrain IONIQ models.


And my final Korean update today is the Kia Soul EV, this time using (you guessed it) the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro platform. It will be launched in the second half of this year and if you liked the sound of everything I just said, I think it makes sense to apply it to the Soul. The current soul has a 30kWh battery, so even the short range Kona battery is a big step up, let alone that 64kWh one.


One thing I should say about all of the above, given the IONIQ uses CCS for DC rapid charging, I don’t think we’ll be seeing much morae of the CHAdeMo connector coming from Korea.



Volkswagen Group has made a big deal out of its EV investment, but one of their brands not associated with EV’s is ?koda. However from next year ?koda will borrowing a few electric parts from their VW colleagues as the powertrain will be lifted from the Passat GTE.


However the battery will be a larger 13kWh pack allowing 44 miles of range. If you have a 20 mile commute, you could drive most day’s emission free.


And that’s as far as ?koda are going for now but, considering they’re able to go shopping in the VW parts store, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something built on the ID series.



Yesterday I said on the podcast that Germany allowing cities to ban diesels might embolden others to do the same. I didn’t expect it in less than 24 hours though. The mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, said on Facebook that Rome is set to do the same by 2024.


Two things Rome isn’t short on is Diesels and monuments. Around two thirds of cars sold are diesel, and around 3,600 ancient stone monuments are at risk from pollution.


Rome follows fellow Italian city Milan which already announced a 2030 diesel ban.



Writing in today’s Guardian, Adam Vaughan makes the case that the uptake of EV’s isn’t because of lack of chargers, but lack of choice in Europe.


Here’s a question: have you heard of the Platform For Electromobility? No, me neither. It’s a group of 31 interested parties, from car makers, to charging installers to industrial groups. They include Tesla, Renault ?Nissan and Siemens.


In Europe there are 6 EVs per public charger and at the current rate of installation, will be more than enough until 2020. One of the report authors says: “”It is a myth that has been spread by the car industry to create the impression they would love to sell more electric cars but there just isn’t the charging points out there. It’s a smokescreen.”



On the subject of charging, how fast is fast enough? Porsche has long talked about their 800v 350kW rapid chargers. And now they’re installing them in all 189 Porsche dealerships in North America, as they prepare to sell the Mission-E.


Charging that fast can add 250miles in 20 minutes but do you need to? It’s a difference between EV owners and those who drive ICE cars. Whilst EV owners know that 80s% of all charging is done at home ? for some people it’s almost 100% – the last 100 years has conditioned drivers to think about running low on fuel before adding hundreds of miles of range, quickly, within a few minutes when they refuel.


It takes a very short period of EV ownership to realise you just a behaviour shift. And ignoring arguments of how much better it is to always leave your house with a full tank, I think the biggest benefit of 350kW is the PR job they’ll do far more than how much they’ll be used.



Have you got 96 minutes spare to watch a video of a battery being torn apart? That’s what a professor from Weber State University in Utah has done, taking apart the 60kWh pack from a Chevrolet Bolt.


One of the insights which got internet commenters frothy was the nominal capacity being 57kWh, not 60, which is commonly quoted. It follows other teardown videos of Model S and LEAF batteries. You’ve got to REALLY love teardown videos to spend an hour and a half watching this.



And finally, a bittersweet story. We’d never wish this on anyone, but if you’re going to be carjacked, this is probably the best result.


Last Saturday in Austin a man tried to hijack a Chevvy Bolt whilst the owner was waiting at a stop sign. Rather horribly the driver was then attacked and had to escape. However the hijacker wasn’t expecting an electric car and couldn’t work it. In the time it took for him to scratch his head, a witness ran over to help and the hijacker gave up, only to be found by police hiding in some grass.


My condolences to the victim, I do hope he’s OK, and I hope they throw the book at the brainbox who can’t drive an EV.


Finally a reminder the Jaguar I-PACE Facebook live launch is 1pm Eastern time on Thursday 1st March, that’s 6pm UK and 7pm Central European.


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