Screen Shot T.E.N. Episode 2

T.E.N. Episode 2: Sales Slumps, Fiery Teslas, Sweet Soul, and Driving the CEO

Welcome to episode two of T.E.N! Short for Transport Evolved News, T.E.N. is recorded every Friday to help your weekend get off to a flying start by making sure you haven’t missed the big EV news stories of the week.


Just ten minutes in length, T.E.N. delivers the EV news in a bite-sized format, and you’ll find links to all of the stories we cover in an accompanying article here on Transport Evolved.

As always, if you like your news delivered with a little more discussion and opinion thrown in, don’t forget to watch the original Transport Evolved show — live every Sunday at 7pm London time.

Enjoy the show, don’t forget to leave us feedback in the comments below, feel free to link to our video, and remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

T.E.N. Episode 2. Show Notes

Clicking on each story below will open up a new browser window to take you to the original story.

September Slump or Seasonal Slouch?

After record-breaking sales during the month of August, September’s plug-in sales totals were a little less up-beat, with both the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt experiencing a month on month drop in sales. Chevrolet reported a U.S. sales figure total of 1,776 Volts, down from an august high of 3,351. Meanwhile Nissan sold 1,953 cars in the month, down from 2,420 in August.

In keeping with its usual refusal to participate in the age-old auto industry act of reporting monthly sales, Tesla Motors hasn’t detailed any sales figures for the month, but with cars now heading to Europe it’s clear that Tesla output remains as high as ever.

Even with the sales slump in September however, total EV sales remain several percent higher than they were last year, proving that EVs are just getting more and more popular and more people are buying them.

Plugged in, all the way

Celebrations for last weekend’s third annual International Plug-in day were the best yet, says Plug-in America, with more than double the attendees of previous years. 

With over 100 host cities across the world, plug-in fans gathered in everything from torrential rain to beautiful sunny skies to celebrate the benefits of dumping the pump,

Plug-in America estimates that 40,00 to 50,000 people took part this year, with the Silicon Valley Plug-in day celebrations — one of the largest in the U.S. — numbering some 2,000 attendees and 300 cars from more than 20 different automakers.

If you took part and have video, photographs, or stories to share with us from the day, we’d love to hear from you. Send us your links and videos at show @ Transport Evolved dot com, and we might feature you on Sunday’s show!

No batteries, no car

Japanese automaker Mitsubishi has had a tough year. Not only has it struggled to sell its i electric car against tough competition from the likes of Nissan and Chevrolet, but a few fires in its Outlander Pug-in Hybrid crossover SUV prompted a halt in production for nearly six months while the cause was discovered.

With the problem now traced back to poor manufacturing practice, Mitsubishi has resolved the issue and restarted production. But with a backlog of an estimated 18,000 orders in its native market of Japan, it can’t get enough battery packs to fulfill the backlog and launch the Outlander PHEV  in the U.S. this year as originally planned.

The only solution? To delay the U.S. debut of this important car until 2015.

Considering Mitsubishi only sold ten all-electric i cars during the month of September in the U.S., we’re doubtful this latest setback will do Mitsubishi any good at all.

In related news however, Mitsubishi has at least done something useful with all those unsold i-s.  Earlier this year, four municipalities supposedly agreed to lease fifty of the little all-electric i-s for their fleets. At the time, the deal which prompted them to make the switch to electric was described as being ‘highly favorable,’ but as InsideEVs reported this week, ‘highly favorable’ meant the cities won’t have to pay a dime towards their shiny new EVs until the start of the third year of the lease.

A lease deal where you don’t have to put any money down or pay anything for two years? That’s a big incentive for anyone to dump the pump.

Fire fire

The Internet and the electric car world was rocked on wednesday when footage of a blazing Tesla Model S made the rounds on YouTube.

Apparently, the car — which was driving along state route 167 south in Seattle, Washington, — hit some form of metallic debris and was forced to safely pull over at the next exit. At the bottom of the off-ramp, with the driver safely exited from the vehicle, a fire started somewhere in the front battery pack as a direct result of the collision.

In an official statement, Tesla explains what happened and the cause of the accident.

“On Tuesday, a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car’s alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did. No one was injured, and the sole occupant had sufficient time to exit the vehicle safely and call the authorities. Subsequently, a fire caused by the substantial damage sustained during the collision was contained to the front of the vehicle thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack. All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car. It was extinguished on-site by the fire department.

The fire was caused by the direct impact of a large metallic object to one of the 16 modules within the Model S battery pack. Because each module within the battery pack is, by design, isolated by fire barriers to limit any potential damage, the fire in the battery pack was contained to a small section in the front of the vehicle.”

We’re confident that Tesla’s analysis is correct, and think it’s worth remembering that any form of densely-stored energy can explode or ignite under the right situation. That’s just basic physics.

Will the news outlets known for sensationalist reporting remember that too? We really doubt it. Strap yourself in for another round of anti-ev News stories.

In happier, related news however, Norwegians can’t get enough of the Model S.  During September 616 Model S cars were sold across Norway, spring-boarding the Model S to the top of the sales charts not just for electric cars but for all cars.

That gives the Californian automaker a 5.1 percent share of total new car sales in Norway last month

Grat you ll’air a  Tesla (That’s Congratulations in Norwegian, apparently)

Goodbye UK, Zero Regrets

 Tesla might be enjoying European sales success, but another U.S. export from just outside the bay area — is leaving the UK for good.

Enter Zero Motorcycles, or rather Exit Zero Motorcycles, the Santa Cruz firm which made its name for producing competition-winning electric moto cross bikes.

Citing poor sales figures and a lack of support from the UK Government (Electric Motorcycles aren’t eligible for any purchase grants like electric cars are in the UK) Zero abruptly ceased sales in the UK on October 1.

Drive the CEO

There hasn’t been a week recently when we haven’t heard a story about some form or other of autonomous car, and this week is no exception.

Hot on the heels of getting its first license plate for an automated LEAF on the roads of Japan last week, Nissan has released footage of Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn getting a first-hand go at being behind the wheel of a fully autonomous car.

As you’d expect, Ghosn was enthusiastic about the technology, calling it a major improvement over previous generations of Nissan autonomous cars he’d experienced.

But perhaps the biggest piece of news to come out of Mr. Ghosn’s experience is that Nissan might be bringing an autonomous LEAF or other car to market sooner than Nissan’s original 2020 deadline.

Citing tough competition from rival firms, Mr. Ghosn highlighted the need of Nissan to be at the forefront of self-driving technology, and promised that Nissan’s first autonomous car would be on the market ‘by 2020 at the very latest.’

Give me some sweet, sweet Soul

After years of saying hydrogen is the way to go, Kia has quietly confirmed that the all-new 2014 Soul will be available in the US as an electric car.

Although we know it will look almost identical to its gasoline sibling, Kia hasn’t released any details of the 2014 Soul EV yet. That it promises, will happen at “an major upcoming U.S. auto show.” — which we think translates to the 2013 L A Auto Show. 

What we do know however — from spy shots and in-the-wild sightings — is that the Soul EV will feature the same twin-charging arrangement as the Nissan LEAF, with both a J1772 socket and a Chademo quick charge port up front for added versatility.

Range, acceleration and price are still unknown, although in order to be truly competitive Kia will have to shoot for a 100+ mile range, decent acceleration, and a price point somewhere between the Nissan LEAF and Toyota RAV4 EV to make decent sales.

As to availability? Kia says that it will be only available in ‘select markets’ making us wonder if this is yet another limited-production, california-only compliance car.

What we do know however, it that the Kia Soul EV has also been spotted testing in Europe, which does at least give us some hope we’ll see it on this side of the pond in some form or other some time soon.

15% American by Volume?

When Nissan started production of the 2013 LEAF in America last year, it made a big song and dance about how the all-electric hatch would be made in the U.S. for U.S. customers.

But some buyers have noticed that the window stickers on their new LEAFs say the car is only 15% American — the rest is made overseas.

Confused? So are we, but as John Voelcker of GreenCarReports explains, there is a good explanation.

It turns out the earliest 2013 LEAFs, while built at Nissan’s Smryna facility in Tennessee, contained a high number of parts manufactured by Nissan in Japan, or imported from Nissan’s Japanese supply chain.

But Nissan says, U.S.-made 2014 LEAFs will contain a great deal more U.S.-made content, making the car more American than ever before.



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