Friday 23rd March 2018.
RIGHT HAND DRIVE MODEL 3s
- Firstly I can see from the podcast stats there’s a 2:1 chance you’re listening North America. This show has about twice as many listeners in the USA compared to everywhere else. Second by the is the UK, and then it’s Europe.
- So a note from any Model 3 reservation holders hoping for a right hand drive car ? Elon Musk tweeted at 10:22am on Thursday morning in reply to a question. Tom on Twitter said: “What I really want to know is some info on the roadmap for Model 3 in the UK. How long do I have to watch and cry at amazing YouTube reviews?”.
- Well Elon saw it, from all the thousands of mentions he gets each day, and replied: “Probably mid next year before we are able to make RHD. Wish it could be sooner. Maybe try a Model S, used or new in the meantime? Used is better than a new 3 imo, unless you want a smaller car”.
And that’s the problem Elon?you’ve been to the UK, you know everything is smaller here from hotel rooms to parking spaces. American’s come to Europe, book a hotel room, and go “where’s the rest of it?”. A Model S is biiig. However, I agree. I’ve been looking on the approved used Tesla website for a while now and £50,000 buys a great car, with warranty, direct from Tesla.
- My monthly train ticket from down here by the beach in Poole to London is £800 a month, the same price for finance on a used Tesla Model S. I can’t tell you, as I sit on a crowded train 5 days a week, how much I’d rather be driving a Model S instead.
DAIMLER TRUCKS HIT THE ROAD
- Everyone is talking about the Tesla Semi Truck but Daimler Trucks handed over the first all-electric trucks to customers this week. They are smaller, 7.5tonne trucks with 100km range for urban, last mile use. Trucks destined for the Europe and the USA are made in Portugal. And this model is already being used since last September in New York, Japan and Germany.
FASTER FAST CHARGING AT HOME
- American EVSE maker ClipperCreek just launched the new 64amp EV charger for $969, the cheapest 64amp system around, which can deliver 15.4kW of power.
- If you want to charge your EV at home with this, whilst it’s a great price, you’ll probably need to beef up your home power installation a bit.
- They say they’re launching this Level 2 charger because more EVs are on the market which can charge at faster speeds.
SEAT ANNOUNCES NEW EV
- The 4th Gen SEAT Leon will go into production in 2019, and confirmed to be a Plug In Hybrid, which could mean there is hybrid tech in the rather rapid, and very hot, Cupra variant. And actually rather than being badged Seat, could be badged Cupra under it’s own name rather than a sub brand. Chances are they might do what their owner, VW, do with the Golf GTE. It will be on sale in 2020.
- Also in 2020 will be their first full Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) built on VW’s MEB platform. 311 miles is the range given, so this basically the VW I.D. but in SEAT form.
- Only 15% of SEAT sales are outside Europe so if you’re listening to this and a bit in the dark as to who they are, they’re the Spanish, slightly less premium and and slightly cheaper bit of VW.
MAINSTREAM VIEW OF NISSAN LEAF
- Here in the UK the Huffington Post has reviewed the new Nissan LEAF. Youtube videos and reviews of the new leaf are now quite common, but let’s see what a mainstream, non-EV focussed publication has to say. Highlights include: “Nissan leaf: it now has a range of 235-miles, can be charged to 80% in just 40mins, and can drive itself even in slow-moving city centres”
- So just to stop there ? 235 miles? You’ll be lucky. Self-driving? I think Nissan would like you to call it driving assist. And as for rapid charging, Nissan PR are doing a good job of addressing complaints from people whose LEAF gets grumpy on a rapid.
- Let’s continue: “The interior looks and feels about as futuristic as Windows 95, which is a real shame. Considering the industry’s desire to actively move people over to electric cars, this feels like a missed opportunity.”
- That’s interesting because every review of the every EV which has even slightly different styling, inside or outside, is critical. Look at every review of the i3 and someone is bound to say something about it’s looks.
- Onwards: “There is half a digital screen behind the wheel which offers a glimmer of technological hope, but is actually quite confusing to navigate. And the screen in the centre console is not great. Car manufacturers who won’t use high-resolution touchscreen displays for their cars are frustrating: it’s not technically difficult, yet so many skimp on the display. The result is something that’s low-resolution and really slow to respond.”
- Here I do agree. Look at the display even on a cheap £200 tablet and it shames most cars apart from a Tesla. Why are car makers so behind with screen technology?
- Finally: “The e-Pedal, which turns the accelerator into a brake when you pull your foot back, feels deeply odd to begin with. But you do get used to it, and the premise is that you can do everything with one foot.”
MORE BOLTS FOR AUSTIN
- 20 Chevrolet Bolt EV’s are heading to Texas for the Maven service. You can have a car for $229 per week for unlimited miles, insurance and maintenance. Maven Gig drivers get access to Maven Charging and you can reserve and do everything through the app. Maven Gig is the rideshare platform also used for deliveries.
- They say: “Maven now offers its first all-electric fleet of cars for use in the gig economy, making it easier for Austinites who want to get the most out of their side hustle. Today 20 Chevrolet Bolt EVs became available for freelance drivers in Austin to earn money on their own schedules. The city’s passion for tech start-ups, combined with its high concentration of college students, makes it the ideal location for Maven Gig. Maven is working with Austin Energy, the Austin Transportation Department, and Rocky Mountain Institute to create infrastructure solutions leading to an all-electric future. Maven will leverage Austin’s Plug-in EVerywhere? network of EV chargers, including Electric Drive, Austin’s downtown smart mobility showcase complete with a DC Fast Charger and solar kiosk.”
ZERO EMISSION MILES MORE IMPORTANT
- For those of you not familiar with Tony Seba from RethinkX, depending on which twitter comment you read, he’s either a visionary who is more accurate about future transport than anyone else, or a salesman who relies on the oxygen of publicity created by making wild claims. You should read his thoughts and watch him on Youtube, do some critical thinking and make your own mind up.
- A new article on the RethinkX website says those who are leading climate policy change are getting it wrong by focussing on Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) and it’s the zero emission miles which matter.
- He says countries and States such as California are all about setting sales targets for vehicles by certain dates, and focussed on the charging infrastructure.
- The problem, says Tony, is that personal cars aren’t driven enough, with ride sharing like Uber and Lyft using cars 10 times more. Private cars are driven on average 4% of the time. He says those who build the models which policymakers use are basing it all on private ownership. Take an ICE car and turn it into a battery electric car. This is aided in places like America with tax rebates and here in Europe with a direct subsidy.
- Tony’s whole philosophy is Transport As A Service, where EV’s, autonomous vehicels and on-demand transport come together. His theory is that, if Level 4 autonomous electric vehicles were licenced in 2020, by 2030 95% of miles driven would be driven by them.
- My take is that we shouldn’t abandon the focus on EV’s but combine both approaches. I think it’s the best way to decarbonize cities and population dense areas. I work in the capital, London, and used to live there. I owned a car and a motorhome both parked on street ? don’t laugh. It makes total sense for fewer cars to drive more miles. It eases congestion, is safer, quicker and cheaper. All those EVs can drive themselves back to ‘base’ during quiet times and feed power back to the grid when we’re cooking our dinner.
- But I also live outside London in a small town, and I come from a country village. The idea of losing personal mobility isn’t so attractive. Being in an area where a car is minutes away is fine, having a car 20 minutes away from driving all the way to your house to take you to the shop for milk and eggs? I’m not bought into that yet even if it’s cheaper. Economics are powerful, but so are habits. Out in the country personal mobility is a way of life very different to a city with a great bus system, mass transit, tube, and Uber. Where I live we’re a long way from every having Uber licenced to operate here.
- Either way Tony makes you think and I followed with interest his speech which opened the day at the recent rEVolution conference. Please do ready more.
MODEL 3 AND SIRI MAKE FRIENDS
- Tesla’s software engineers have been pulling more than a few long shifts recently. Along with vastly improved Autopilot which, according to all the YouTube reviews cropping up this week, seems to have almost magical abilities. Model 3 owners have something else to cheer.
- The Model 3 now works with Apple’s Siri. You can ask Siri to check if you locked it, and even where you left it. Although if you don’t know where you left your car, you probably need more help than a virtual assistant.
NEW VOLVO ENGINE FOR PHEVs
- I told you on a previous podcast about Volvo, and in turn parent company Geely, calling time on investing in R&D for new combustion engines. So given their life cycle, the new crop of Volvo engines are the last ones we’ll see, and they’ll probably last to the mid 2020’s.
- For the first time they’ve made a 3 cylinder engine for their electrified XC40, with the Drive-E powertrain making up 10% of sales. Volvo say: “the new three-cylinder powertrain has been deliberately designed for integration into Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars. A hybridised as well as a pure electric powertrain option for the XC40 will be added later.”
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