T.E.N. Episode 3: Tesla Rapid Charge, Plug-in Prius Price Drop, Ecotality & Ecotricity news and i3 REX pricing

Welcome to episode three 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 3. Show Notes

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

Converting to CHAdeMO

Tesla Model S owners may have access to their brilliant SuperCharger networking, but let’s face it, even in the US there are some … minor … holes in the network and in the EU the roll out is really only just beginning.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Model S could, say, use the CHAdoMO Rapid Charge stations that already exist? Well soon they will be able to using a simple – and awesome looking – adaptor. Costing a cool G the adaptor will let Model S owners add up to 150 miles per hour while charging.

This is achieved thanks to the Model S’s massive battery pack – the Rapid Charger doesn’t need to slow down the supply of power as much as it does with smaller batteried cars.

In Europe we already have a fairly well established network of CHAdeMO chargers with companies like ABB working to install massive numbers, for example installing 200 within the Netherlands meaning that everyone is within 50km of one.

The Model S really is the most versatile car when it comes to charging with more charging do-hickies and adaptor dodads available then any other production car we know. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of cars – or the Leatherman of cars if you know your multi-tools.

2014 Plug-in Prius Prices

Announced this week are the prices for the 2014 model year Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Pretty soon you’ll be able to get the base model plug-in Prius for $2000 less and the high end spec for just over $4500 less! On top of this you get all the usual plug-in Prius perks like HOV lane access and state incentives.

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is a car that splits the EV world. Some see it as the obvious next step for existing hybrid owners while others don’t really see it as an EV… I mean, come on, only 11 miles all-electric range? And, with paying a premium for that plug socket and battery many are unsure if they should make the move to plug in.

It seems with the price drop Toyota are trying to make their plug-in prius more attractive to buyers. Will it work?

Plug-in hybrid updates… Just in Japan

In related news, Toyota has announced some updates to the Plug-in Prius… but only in Japan. Japanese buyers will soon be able to get their hands on plug-in Priuses with new aluminum alloy wheels, LED-lit badges and an amazing retro 80s two-tone paint job! Here at Transport Evolved we are totally ‘pumped’ and ‘psyched’ about the rad paint jobs!

More Mitsubishi Plug-in Fun

Following in the path of the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid – although hopefully avoiding the same pitfalls – are two new plug in hybrid concepts.

The first, the Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV, is a full sized SUV with a plug in hybrid drivetrain. Mitsubishi claim that in adding the hybrid drivetrain the car will be able to achieve emissions in the range of a ‘normal’ everyday car. So if a big SUV is what you are looking for but you really want to plug in, this could be the car for you. And what’s more, this car comes with Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamics system – which, let’s face it, just sounds amazing.

The second, the Concept GC-PHEV, is more compact – sitting in the cross-over SUV territory. If you don’t need to size of its bigger brother, this may be of interest to you.

But with Mitsubishi having issues with their battery supply lines and these cars – let’s face it – being concepts, probably best to not get your hopes up yet.

Ecotality Going for Broke

Ecotality’s Blink network of charging stations had its bankruptcy auction this week with ChargingCar group emerging victorious.

The auction had been rife with speculation about who was going to try and snap up the network for what was sure to be a bargain price. Both Tellus Power and Nissan (yes, the car Manufacturer) were said to be interested but in the end it went to CharhingCar group for $3 million.

For that money ChargingCar group has gained Ecotality’s ‘12,450+ installed electric vehicle Level II charging stations, the 110 DC Fast charging stations, and the Blink back-room network.’

Let’s hope that ChargingCar group can revitalise the Blink network and make it really work for EV drivers.

One interesting point: Nissan had loaned Ecotality one and a quarter million dollars to keep the company in going until the auction. At this point it is unclear what is happening to that money as it was a loan. We’ll keep you updated.

Green From the Get-Go

Ecotricity, the self-proclaimed ‘first green electricity company’, has joined forces with the Volkswagen group to offer 100% renewable energy at home to anyone buying a VW or Audi plug-in vehicle.

Ecotricity, an energy supplier in the UK, specialises in renewable energy, specifically wind power. Their turbines being a common site all across the UK. They have now started offering a 100% renewable energy tariff to their existing and new customers and this deal seems to link in with that. The press release says that ‘Volkswagen Group will provide a 100% Green Electricity offer to all customers purchasing an electric vehicle from its Volkswagen and Audi brands.’ These include the forthcoming e-Up, the e-Golf and the Audi E-Tron.

Details of this offer are not yet available but we imagine (or maybe that should be ‘hope’) it will include favourable EV charging rates. Going forward we wonder if Ecotricity will extend this to all EV owners or just those driving a VW or Audi?

How Much Does Range Extension Cost? 

How much does an internal combustion engine cost you? It’s not a question that many EV drivers ask, but for potential buyers of the BMW i3 it is a very important question. One that has finally been answered… if you live in the US at least.

The Range Extender engine for the i3 will set you back just shy of $4000 – Taking up a little cubby hole at the back of the car the engine will allow i3 drivers to effectively double their range – or so BMW say.

BMW has been a tad cagey about how the car operates in range extended mode and what sort of power will be available along with actual distance figures. The range extender itself is fairly small being 650cc and kicking out 34-horsepower, but as we electric drivers know, those specs don’t always mean much. Something we are sure about though, is that we can’t wait to find out!

As of yet there is still no European pricing on the BMW i3.

Driving the Sun 

This week Dutch company Nuon has won the World Solar Challenge for a fifth time. They passed the finish line in their car, Nuna7 and were a massive two hours ahead of the second place team from Japan.

The race ran from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia and requires that participants power their vehicles from the sun… mostly. They are allowed to use 5kWh of stored energy. Obviously the cars stop racing at night – allowing the drivers and team to camp out under the stars – but this race really does show how far solar racing has come and how brilliant this technology is becoming.

The Dutch team managed to complete the 3000km race in just 33 hours – that’s an average speed of around 91km/h. For US and UK viewers, that’s 1864 miles with an average speed of 56mph. I’m sure you’ll agree that is amazing.

How Loud is Your Horn?

Do you play Car Ninja like me? Car Ninja is a game I have come up with when shopping to alleviate the MASSIVE boredom I have. It takes place when I am trying to find a parking space: I’ll drive around slowly and just see how many people I can drive past without them knowing I was even there. It’s much much harder than you’d think.

Well two Norwegian comics have come up with a modified version of this game. They took a Kewett Buddy – a small three-seater EV – and upgraded its horn slightly… I say slightly. They removed the one that was there and retrofitted the car with a horn from a freight train. I’m not joking!

They then had great fun creeping up on people and quite frankly scaring the living hell out of them. Being well known TV personalities helped, I think, as everyone seemed to be laughing along. Although this isn’t something I would suggest everyone does.

The comedy duo had a minor viral hit with their YouTube video ‘What the Fox Say’ which is my current ear-worm. It is well worth checking out both of these videos. I guarantee that you will be laughing!


I live in the countryside, so seeing cows isn’t that unusual for me. But I have never had one overtake me. It seems that in Japan this may just happen to some people. It is now possibly to buy Mitsubishi iMiEV vans in Cow Colours!

These e-Cows, as I am going to call them, have a lovely white and black spotted look and come with a ‘moo-er’ button for when the standard horn, or indeed a freight train horn, just wouldn’t do. Absolutely brilliant.


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