Tuesday 20th March 2018.

RANGE ROVER P400 E

  • We’ll start today with a Plug In Hybrid, shock horror! The new Range Rover P400 E has been tested by Evo Magazine. OK I’ll admit, 2.5 tonnes of metal and leather is NOT friendly to the environment in any way, and it’s questionable who actually NEEDS this car. It’s lovely but you probably don’t need one.
  • Like all Plug In Hybrids I can think of this is petrol and not diesel. That’s because all those diesel torques come from electrons, a 114bhp electric motor, which makes it far more powerful than fossil fuels alone.
  • Evo say: “Land Rover quotes up to 31 miles of all-electric running, at up to 85mph. A more realistic EV range is around 20 miles, requiring a 7.5-hour charge at 10 amps (think a regular three-pin plug) or a 2h 45m top-up at 32 amps. You can, if you so choose, drive the car o?-road entirely in EV mode, since the electric motor acts through the four-wheel drive transmission, and Land Rover’s familiar Terrain Response functions all operate quite happily in EV mode too, regardless of the surface you’re traversing. Indeed, it’ll wade (at up to 900mm) in EV mode, but Land Rover recommends the engine be running to prevent water entering the exhaust system. The good news is that the car is predictably silent when running in EV mode – enough so that, as is often the case, it’s always slightly disappointing when the combustion engine engages – and the combined efforts of electric and petrol power deliver performance that’s suitably on-par with the other engine options. The electric motor’s low-end effort seems to be key to that, giving the Range Rover P400e smart acceleration with relatively little accelerator input, and even when the petrol engine joins in, it remains quiet enough so as to be largely unobtrusive. a full charge on the P400e’s batteries should see you use very little fuel at all if your most frequent trips are short”.
  • Read more at the ever brilliant EVO.

 

GOLDMAN SACHS SEE TESLA ISSUES

  • Tesla shares took a hit today. According to Business Insider: “A Goldman Sachs analyst believes Tesla will miss its guidance for Model S and Model X vehicle deliveries, and fall well below consensus estimates for its Model 3 deliveries, in the first quarter of 2018. The electric automaker has dealt with production bottlenecks, mainly due to difficulties around producing battery modules for its vehicles in a timely matter. The analyst maintained a “Sell” rating and price target of $205 per share. Shares of Tesla’s slipped around 1.5%.

 

VW FOR PIKES PEAK

  • The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is an annual event in Colorado and it could mark the return to Motorsport for VW.
  • They have been putting a series of images of a car on social media and now it all makes sense. They’ve published an image of a car with a short stubby nose, exactly how you’d design an EV. It looks like nothing you’ve seen so far from VW because for a hill climb you want extreme aero, so it has a huge rear wing. It looks like a cartoon, and it looks VERY cool.
  • With the event this year in June VW have plenty of time to prepare a car to compete in the event. It would be a great way to showcase their electric technology, which they have already in the Audi e-tron and Porsche Mission E. Or, as many car makers do with things like Le Mans, they could be using it as an incentive for their engineers and designers to push the limits and see what can be done. Either way, whilst I understand VW pulling out of motorsport because, following Dieselgate, they didn’t need to be seen burning fossils. And getting back into motorsport with electric vehicle would make a lot of sense.

 

SMELL WHAT SELLS

  • There’s a phrase they use to describe being ahead of the money ? smell what sells. Well already in 2018 VC firms (venture capital) have invested $1billion into battery technology, according to The Times. One quarter in, that’s double total investment in 2017.
  • The Drive.com say; “you can think of venture capitalists as rich firms that roll the dice on developing companies. They can cash out for huge sums of money or their investments can burn up in front of them. It’s a very high-risk, high-reward business model. This year, the number of investments in battery companies from venture capitalists is likely to hit 60, up from 37 last year. The first billion dollars have only been spread across 15 companies so far. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi announced a $1 billion venture capital fund, set to invest $200 million a year over the nextfive years.”
  • They continue: “Oxis Energy received $5.2 million to develop a lithium-sulfur battery that can pack five times the energy of conventional lithium ion. Other companies are looking to produce solid-state batteries which can provide greater range for electric cars.”
  • So whilst everyone has an opinion in electric cars, and many people pitch themselves as expert commentators either for or against EV’s, look at where the money is. I read an article over the weekend on Forbes which said, according to one industry old-timer, electric cars are always 5 years away and when he dies, he thinks they’ll still be five years away. Well I hope he doesn’t die soon, but I think he’ll be wrong. Because people with that much money to invest don’t do it on something which isn’t going to happen.

 

ATLANTA’S UPS GO ALL-ELECTRIC

  • Everyone wants their parcels delivered within seconds of hitting ‘order’ on Amazon, and now UPS are making all those trips slightly more friendly to the planet. According to SeekingAlpha: “UPS’s entire central London fleet will soon be made up of electric vehicles, marking the “beginning of the end” of what the company called reliance on the internal combustion engine. UPS’s new “intelligent smart grid” will stagger when delivery trucks charge, solving the problem of needing to recharge a large number of vehicles simultaneously without having to pay for an expensive power supply upgrade.”

 

SKODA PLAY CATCH UP

  • It looks like Skoda will be making an electric version of their Citygo minicar, as all car makers try to avoid fines from Europe for missing CO2 targets for their fleet.
  • According to Autonews: “The Citigo EV will launch by the end of next year and will be based on the VW e-Up, a battery-powered version of the Up minicar. It will help Skoda fulfil tougher European Union CO2 emissions limits that come into effect in 2020” a Skoda spokesman told Automotive News Europe.
  • VW plans to launch 80 full electric cars across their 12 brand and Skoda will account for 5 of those by 2025.”The Citigo EV will have a range of 300 km (186 miles) and will be called Citigo E” Alain Favey, Skoda’s sales and marketing chief, told Auto Express magazine in Geneva. “After the Citigo EV, future Skoda battery-powered cars will use VW Group’s MEB platform that will also underpin VW brand’s I.D. electric-car family.”

 

VW CLAIM AN ENGINE CAN BE ZERO EMISSION

  • Here’s a question?when is a combustion engine zero emission. I’m confused by this, it seems like smoke and mirrors but technically, logically and factually, I do see what VW are saying.
  • VW recently launched 1.5TSI ACT micro-hybrid 130PS petrol engine and say it’s as efficient as a diesel. Features include temporary cylinder deactivation and complete engine shut-off plus variable turbine turbocharger technology.
  • According to Just Auto: “The new VW engine either deactivates some cylinders (Active Cylinder Management or ACT) or completely shuts itself off (‘eco-coasting’ microhybrid mode). ACT, whenever possible, deactivates the two inner cylinders and always does this when power demand is low. Deactivation operates within the 1,400rpm to 4,000rpm range and at vehicle speeds up to 130 km/h (about 75mph). The driver is advised by a ‘2-cylinder mode’ notification in the instrument display. When coasting, the engine switches to a zero-emissions mode which is ‘eco-coasting’ mode, and the micro-hybrid system uses the 12-volt electrical system and a compact lithium-ion battery to supply all relevant systems in the car with energy during the phases when the engine is inactive.”
  • Whist this is enormously clever, it’s a bit like keeping the titanic afloat for another couple of hours. Yes it makes combustion engines 10% more efficient, but if you were in a bar fight, I don’t think I’d like to be asked if I want to be punched in the face 10% less. I’d like not to be punched in the case please.
  • If this passes for the definition ‘hybrid’ or ‘electrification’, all those promises of cities only allowing electrified cars starts to ring a little hollow.

 

MORE CHARGERS FOR CABBIES

  • In London 100 new rapid chargers were unveiled yesterday with 51 of them ONLY for use by the new electric black cabs, with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan saying the new chargers “mark a big step forward in the shift to zero-emissions vehicles, which the capital desperately needs to clean up our toxic air. The number of electric vehicles in London stands at 10% of the UK total [which is 118,000],” said Khan. “Alongside around 2,000 standard charge points already installed across London, at least 150 Transport for London-funded rapid charging points are set to be in place by the end of 2018, in addition to new infrastructure in residential neighbourhoods.”. 16% of NOx and 31% of Particulate Matter (PM2.5) road transport emissions in central London are caused by these older taxis.
  • Autocar say: “Drivers of cabs aged between 10 and 15 years old can apply for a grant of up to £5,000 in exchange for retiring their taxi, with the Government’s Plug-In Taxi Grant, part-funded by the Mayor, pushing the total up to £7,500. The newly announced 50kW chargers will soon be joined by a network of 150kW chargers, which are being rolled out across the country by charging company Pod Point. Those chargers will have the highest EV plug power in Britain and enable some electric cars to charge 80% in around 45 minutes. Chargemaster, another British charger company, has 150kW chargers in the “development pipeline”, so could begin installation in Britain as soon as 2019.”

 

TESLA SUPERCHARGER DEVELOPMENT 

  • Finally I’m sure you’re a fan of Clean Technica just as I am, and they took the time to chart the progress of the Tesla Supercharger Network in America from their own archives, and it’s fascinating. I urge you to read it.
  • In 2013 there were 6 Superchargers in California + 2 Superchargers on the US East Coast! At the same time Supercharger max power gets boosted from 90 kW to 120 kW. By the end of 2014 they write: “Tesla’s Supercharger network explodes to “884 individual charging points spread across 141 Supercharger stations, as compared to the 776 CHAdeMO charging points now operational in the US.”
  • Today there 8,496 Superchargers, and even here in the UK if I wanted to drive from here on South Coast to Scotland it wouldn’t be a problem.

 

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