Thursday 5th April 2018.
Hi to Mark Fletcher in California who listens on TuneIn and sent a message: “Hi Martyn I listen to podcasts on my way to work, and yours is always the first. For the last couple of days there has been a lot about Tesla, and I like to hear about all the EVs out there. Keep up the hard work”. Well thank you Mark but let me correct you, this isn’t hard and it’s certainly not work! But I get what you’re saying, for one reason or another there was a big Tesla story most days recently. So let’s put that straight.
In fact it’s been another crazy day for stories ? even this time last year this would have been a week’s worth of EV news, all crammed into one daily update. Such an interesting time to be following electric cars. I’ve got lots to get through, I think there are 12 stories I want to discuss with you, so let’s see how far we get. A bit like Street Street, let’s count ’em up together!
1 ? NISSAN LEAF PRICES, CHARGING AND AWARDS
- First story and a lot happening in the last day with Nissan LEAF. According to Pedro in Portugal, for Push EVs: “to convince customers to maintain their orders, Nissan started increasing the prices for the Leaf in Europe”.
- The base model Acenta has gone up from 28.700 Euros to 30.150 Euros. An increase of 1.450 Euros. According to the SpeakEV forum here in the UK, user JHRC said “I was informed by the salesman that the prices for the LEAF would increase from 3rd April, and on their web site a Tekna is now £900 dearer. I ordered my Tekna 2 weeks ago and made a good saving on the price. Delivery est.July 11th.”
- Mike Proctor replied, tongue in cheek: “Makes sense that they put the price up really. Now Nissan have suddenly added the extra ‘feature’ of throttled rapid charging!”. Ouch! Back to Push EVs: “With this strategy Nissan seems more worried about keeping current orders than getting new ones. Considering that by now there are probably more than 20.000 orders for the Leaf in Europe, this might be a smart strategy. This way customers who already ordered the Nissan Leaf get the feeling that they got a great deal ? and forget any possible rapid charging issue.
- I don’t think it’s got anything to do with the rapid charging. I think it’s more than likely something like currency rates, or a planned increase after early adopters bought one, or a plan to put it on sale and get headlines at the low price before hiking it. There’s no hard evidence it’s about dissuading people from cancelling orders due to the internet discussion about slow charge speeds.
- And by the way, a quick podcast thank you to Neal Archer who helpfully left a comment on Youtube to point out the charging speed discussion online has been recognised by Nissan now and they’re talking to owners. Neal asked me a couple of weeks ago why I hadn’t discussed it and, the short version is, I simply didn’t have any proof. All I’d seen at that point is a video on YouTube with JP from Eco Cars, who knows what he’s talking about, saying there was a problem with rapid charging. Then Fully Charged repeated it, along with Transport Evolved. Now a little background, for my day job I have quite a lot of legal training and didn’t fancy repeating a potentially libellous comment. Why is the original person allowed to accuse Nissan of making a faulty car then, you may ask? Well if Jonanthan from Eco Cars was telling the truth and it’s in the public interest, he’s making what’s called an honest comment. But although I trust his superior knowledge than me on EVs, I don’t trust him enough to land myself in court. If what he was saying was untrue, then Nissan could have sued me as well for damaging their reputation. You see in this country anyone who makes or repeats a false accusation, or defamatory comment, is as open to be sued. Simply saying “I was just repeating Joe Bloggs” is sadly not a legal defence. Now would me talking about it have caused serious harm? Well, more than talking to my mates about it in the pub, as this podcast has thousands of listeners, but not as much as those big YouTube channels like Fully Charged. So it’s a risk, but I erred on the side of the law. So that’s why I held back, purely selfish reasons as I don’t know anyone with a new LEAF and couldn’t test it myself. The same goes for social media as well, and it’s why there’s an explosion in people being sued for what they write on Twitter. As it turns out, Nissan point to their documentation which says this about charging: “Time dependent on charging conditions, including Quick Charger type and condition, battery temperature and size as well as ambient temperature at point of use”.
- However, I do have sympathy with 24kWh battery owners who have rapid charged all day long and now have a 40, which slows itself down for safety. That’s a huge frustration. And I have sympathy for those new LEAF owners who perhaps read a car website or review, saw that it rapid charged at 50kW, and took that as gospel.
- Some positive news for the new LEAF, Autotrader have named it as one of their “Must Test Drive” cars, Judges praised it’s updated interior, driver-focused technology and advanced safety features.
- As for most recent sales, InsideEV’s and their excellent sales tracker point out: “Nissan has finally got the ball rolling with U.S.-based 2018 LEAF production and inventory. Deliveries soared in February, but only due to several months of almost non-existent sales. The numbers are up significantly for March, with 1,500 LEAFs sold, a 1.5% increase from last year’s 1,478. In comparison to last month’s 895 deliveries, this is a heroic eff”
2 ? 55% EV MARKET SHARE FOR NORWAY
- If you want to see a country embracing EVs then Norway, with significant financial incentives, is leading the way per capita. 8,034 passenger plug-ins were registered in march 2018, up 72% year-over-year) at a record 55.8% market share. BEVs were at 5,362 and PHEVs at 2,672. The best selling car for the month is the new the Nissan LEAF with 2,172 ? that’s 41% of all pure electrics being that one car, or 15% of all market share. Yes OK it’s a small market with only 14,400 total monthly sales BUT it’s a microcosm of what will happen where you live, sooner or later.
3 ? CLEAN FERRIES FOR SWEDEN
- Third up, and I wouldn’t call myself a regular reader of the World Cargo News website, but I didn’t notice a lovely battery story on there: “Stena Line will be the first Swedish ferry operator to operate a ferry with zero emissions while berthing and in port. This initial stage of the retrofit employs plug-in hybrid technology that charges with shore power and draws on battery power for bow thrusters and manoeuvring when berthing in port. The ultimate goal is for STENA JUTLANDICA to operate fully on battery power, requiring an estimated 50 MWh of stored energy for the 3h 25m trip across the Kattegat. Shore power from clean energy sources is also an important focus area.”
4 ? TRUMP WON’T APPLY TARIFFS TO EV BATTERIES. MAYBE.
- Fourth story, and I’ll just say, Dear Americans, the rest of the world is very confused by Donald Trump. The new trade tariffs to be imposed included electric batteries on the list, but EV buyers shouldn’t worry. “Any impact on EV battery supply would be minimal to nil,” said UBS analyst Lachlan Shaw . “It is lithium-ion rechargeable cells that are the ones that largely go into EVs.”
- I’m not sure I agree. After all, China is using electric cars and Lithium Ion batteries to become a leading force in the world. Whether they make an 18650 cell for a laptop, or an 18650 cell which is used in an EV, there’s no difference. No offence to Lachlan Shaw, that doesn’t make sense to my tiny brain.
5 ? EVS ARE TOO REFINED FOR KIWI MEN
- We rarely go to New Zealand on this podcast, so let’s rectify that. A new survey has revealed blokes won’t buy an EV because it might dent their macho image. One EV owner reported promoting the climate-friendly cars each weekend at a farmer’s market, and typically found tech-savvy youngsters and mums who wanted a safe, practical and cash-saving car were on board with the idea. But they said that talking to the Dads they never got it. One quote was: “”No noise, no smell, no oil, no mess ? how can this be good?
- Hey, new Zealand men, if you need big, brash, loud car to drive, what else are you compensating for?
6 ? CAR MAGAZINE REVIEWS THE ELECTRIC BLACK CAB
- Car Magazine has driven the new London Electric Black Cab from LEVC, a company owned by China’s Geely. They of Volvo fame. Highlights from the article I read were: “it features both a CCS and CHAdeMO charging socket either side of its grille. The LEVC stores its 23kWh of batteries up front with the driver, leaving the passengers to have as much room as possible. it’s essentially a Volvo. Sure, the screen is in a different place, and you’re in a commanding driving position, but every display runs Sensus (the infotainment system used in current Volvo models), and is strikingly similar to what you’d ?nd in anything from an XC40 to V60. At £55,000 the TX is much more expensive than the diesel, but it should cost cost £400- a-month less to run, and it’ll need less frequent servicing, too.
7 ? POD POINT TO HOOK UP OUTLANDERS
- ZapMap report that: “Pod Point and Mitsubishi Motors have agreed a three-year deal that will see the EV charge point provider become a preferred supplier for the manufacturer of the UK’s most popular plug-in vehicle ? the Outlander PHEV. The new deal will see Pod Point install charging units for Mitsubishi’s retail and fleet customers. Erik Fairbairn, Pod Point CEO and Founder, said: “Mitsubishi Motors has been instrumental in bringing plug-in hybrid vehicles to the mass market. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was significantly ahead of its time and really set the bar in terms of plug-in hybrid technology. “It’s fantastic to be working with the manufacturer of Europe’s best selling PHEV and of course we’re further excited about future electrified vehicles that Mitsubishi will bring to market.”
- Dean Asplin, Product Planning Manager of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK said: “The Pod Point team impressed us with their knowledge of the market, the quality of their products ? including the capabilities of the Open Charge app ? and their commitment to customer service. We’re looking forward to working with them.”
8 – 5 DAYS TO FOCUS
- A quick mention for Ford which has started a teaser campaign for the next generation of the legendary, and very well selling, Focus. Of course there is a strange old Focus EV which specs unlikely to set the world alight. The reveal will be April 10th in 5 days time. This is the 4th generation Focus, and on sale later this year as a 2019 MY. As for an EV or Hyrbrid? You guess is as good as mine. Ford talk a good game on electrification but haven’t done much yet. A strong EV and hybrid part Focus lineup would be a massive statement of intent. If it’s just a case of a hybrid coming down the line, it’s a sign they’re a long way behind everyone else.
9 – GERMANS LOVE EVS IN MARCH
- It was a record braking month for EV’s and PHEVs in the home of VW, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 3,792 electric cars were sold in Germany last month, that’s almost 75% up on February. And 3,018 plug-in hybrids were sold, which is almost 35% up on the previous month. Talking of European sales, the UK gets it’s data today, 5th April, so that will be on tomorrow’s show.
10 ? FERRARI WILL NEVER ELECTRIFY. UNTIL NOW
- According to The Week: “An unusual Ferrari development car with a silent powertrain has been spied testing at the company’s test track in the Italian town of Fiorano. In a video posted by YouTube user PurePerformance, the Ferrari 488-based test mule can be seen stationary on the track for a few seconds before silently accelerating out of frame. While the footage hints at a possible all-electric model, Auto Express says the test mule could be trialling a new hybrid system that’s expected to debut on the Italian marque’s first SUV next year.”
11 ? TESLA DEFECTIONS AND SOLAR JOY
- CleanTechnica has picked up on several reports on Twitter of Tesla’s Solar Roof being installed, mainly around Fremont California to start with. Their report says: “All of the installs we found bundled the Solar Roof Tiles with Tesla’s Powerwall residential energy storage product, with one home featuring 3 x 14 kWh units. That’s enough for the average American home to run off the grid for 3½ days without changing habits or even using energy produced by the solar panels. One customer also commented that the Tesla installers were “amazing” to work with and that the Solar Roof Tiles were available faster than the Model 3. Tesla’s smartphone app allows users to view solar energy production, consumption, and energy flow from the various sources and consumption units. For owners with a Tesla vehicle, Powerwall, and roof tiles, the flow of energy from all of these units is displayed and can be parsed out depending on the user’s preference.” Read more and see the pics at CleanTechnica.
- I must add, that here in Northern Europe without air conditioning or HVAC, I’ve just checked my app and our house use 4kWh of electricity a day, mainly for lighting, laundry and things the TVs. Admittedly it’s a very efficient house and when the heating is on over winter, that’s gas. If I had three Powerwalls I could run off grid for almost 11 days. Even with one Powerwall I’d be good for 3 and a half days!
- Staying with Tesla and Electrek report: “Volkswagen poached a senior Tesla engineer in charge of the Model S and Model X programs, Tesla’s Matthew Renna is joining the company as ‘Vice President of Volkswagen North American Region’, steering the Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) line, Volkswagen’s modular system for manufacturing electric vehicles.”
- He was a long-termer at Tesla, having been there since 2013. Matthew said in a LinkedIn update: “I am honoured to join the Volkswagen family. Electrification is a mission close to my heart, and I am excited for this new adventure with VW!”
12 ? BIG BOOST FOR WORKHORSE
- And finally a big, big order for Workhorse and their brand new EV delivery truck. An order worth $7m. According to Duane Hughes, Workhorse President and COO: “These all-electric vehicles are being deployed by a major delivery company in the San Diego area. Like Workhorse range-extended electric trucks, the all-electric trucks are powered by Panasonic batteries, deliver a 100-mile range, offer significant fuel and maintenance savings, and provide uncompromised fleet performance.
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