T.E.N. Episode 4: Tesla Model Y, MyFord Connect, BMW i3, Martin Eberhard, Model X, Leaf and Kia Soul

Welcome to episode four 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 4. Show Notes

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

Hello S E X Y!

Not content with trademarking the Tesla Model S, Tesla Model E, and Tesla Model X, those crazy folks at Tesla Motors have now trademarked the name Tesla Model Y.

Interestingly,  Tesla isn’t the first car maker to want to use “Y” to denote a car model. Ford did it way back in 1932, proving that even car naming conventions eventually come back.

I’m not sure if this is a concerted effort from CEO Elon Musk or Tesla ad execs, but we’re sniggering like a load of pre-pubescent 8th graders at what these four cars spell out.

F.ound O.n R.oad D.ying to connect?

Technology is just so frustrating, isn’t it?  Especially when it comes to getting one device to play nicely with another, as Ford found out this week.

As promised to owners of its Focus Electric hatchback,  Ford released an update of its My Ford Touch EV app for Apple iOS devices earlier this month. To prove it was up-to-date with the latest in Apple tech, it even required users to upgrade to Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 7, in order to use it.

….except doing so left owners with an App which, to use old ebay speak, “powered on and looked good”….but did very little else.

Blaming a buggy version of the app which was never meant to go on the App store, Ford has removed the app and advised owners to stick with the old version of the app — and iOS 6 until the issue has been resolved.

Gotta Make More

German automaker BMW admitted this week it has so many reservations for its yet-to-launch i3 that it may have to up production plans to keep up with demand.

According to Friedrich Eichiner, BMW’s Chief Financial Officer, BMW is seriously considering upping production after receiving 8,000 reservations for the all-electric i3 and range-extended i3 REX in Europe before its sales debut there next month.

And we’re not surprised. Although we were all a little cool towards the i3 until we saw it in the flesh, closer inspection revealed a car we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of. If it drives as well as it looks, BMW has a winner in the making.

Talking of making, considering BMW only planned to build 10,000 cars in the first year of production, we think it has one choice right now: Make more!

Tesla to Two-Wheels?

Unless you’ve been around in the world of EVs for a while, you probably don’t know who Martin Eberhard is, or why we’re excited that he’s joined the advisory board to a little-known electric motorcycle company called BRD Motorcycles from San Francisco.

So, I’ll give you a quick history lesson. Back in 2003, Eberhard co-founded a small Silicon Valley automotive company determined to build a super sexy, sleek, fast electric sportscar. And that company was Tesla Motors.

Now while Eberhard left Tesla Motors in 2008 after a boardroom battle with now CEO Elon Musk, Eberhard hasn’t lost his interest in super fast EVs….. which is where BRD Motorcycles comes in.

Primarily focused on lightweight dirt bikes and high-performance street machines, BRD Motorcycles is on the lookout for a battery expert to help it build super-lightweight, energy dense battery packs from the same sort of small-capacity ‘laptop-style’ batteries famously used in the Tesla Roadster.

BRD’s current bikes, the RedShift MX and RedShit SM, already hit 60 mph from standstill in a Tesla-like 3.3 seconds. With Eberhard’s help, it’s likely BRD wants to unlock the secret of awesome range too.

X-tra Surprise

It seems there isn’t a week that goes by without Tesla Motors unveiling some new store or supercharger somewhere in the world and last weekend was no exception. But instead of being on a far-flung shore, Tesla’s latest store was in its home turf of Palo Alto, the same Bay-Area city where Tesla HQ is based.

It’s no surprise then, that this particular launch event came with an X-Tra surprise, in the form of Tesla’s latest prototype for the all-electric Model X. Due some time towards the end of next year, the Model X — which is based on a modified Model S chassis — combines seating for 7 adults, an expected 250 plus miles of range, and optional four-wheel electric drive.

Oh, and we mustn’t forget those falcon-wing doors, which probably make it the most trendy crossover SUV on the market today… that’s if you like doors which go up and fold instead of doing their usual boring front-hingey thing.


It’s time to play pretend. You’re an automaker wanting to test   a new, improved battery pack in the wild. Do you take it out on the public highway in an existing EV model, or enter said car for an racing series designed to reward energy efficiency?

Or perhaps you’re part of Nissan’s elite engineering team and want to spend your spare time seeing just what would happen if you added another battery pack to a stock LEAF, giving twice the battery capacity and potentially twice the range.

Regardless of which story is more accurate, a team of engineers from Nissan’s Technical Centre in Barcelona  built a prototype LEAF with a 48 kilowatt-battery pack and entered it into the final race of the spanish-based EcoSeries marathon.

While it didn’t win the race — coming a close second to a Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell fitted with 36-kilowatt-hour battery pack — the LEAF XL (as we want to call it) hints that Nissan might just be considering adding a much larger, more capable battery pack to future-model LEAFs.

Dare we hope that a 48-kilowatt-hour LEAF is in the pipeline? We think it’s too early to say, but reckon a 48-kilowatt-hour LEAF should easily be able to get 180 miles or more per charge. That’s far more practical than the 75 miles offered by the current generation LEAF.

Nissan, if you’re watching — go on… make it.  You know you want to.

Built EV-Ready

Is your home EV-ready, or more appropriately, your garage? Some States — like California — are trying to make new build homes come pre-wired for electric car charging stations, but over on the east coast, a Virginia-based construction firm isn’t going to wait around for legislation to make your dream home come with an EV-ready garage.

Enter Capital City Builders, who announced this week that all new homes it builds from this point on will come with 240-volts pre-wired for EV charging. They’ll even add an appropriate power outlet to allow homeowners to nip down to their local home improvement store and buy an off-the-shelf charging station to plug into it.

A few years back, the same building firm made category 6 cabling — that’s the same type of cabling you might find plugged into an Ethernet port — standard in all of its new builds. In a few years, it says, EV charging stations will be as standard as a garbage disposal unit.

Way to go, Capital City Builders. We hope you’re right. Oh, and some major EV kudos to you.


Remember the Kia Soul EV? The one we enthusiastically told you would be going on sale some time next year?

At the time, Kia hadn’t released specifications or pricing, leading us to hope that just perhaps, Kia would be bringing a sensibly-priced, affordable EV to the market.

Now that’s looking less likely after a UK executive at Kia told reporters this week that the Soul EV would “not be priced to try to stimulate demand,” adding that kia “wouldn’t be selling hundreds of them.”

In other words, the Kia Soul EV is likely to be a limited market, limited production EV. Just like so many which went before.

Can you say Compliance car?

Siri, Play With my Volt

Yes, two stories in a show about iPhones and electric cars. We’re sorry, we really are — but this story is about an iPhone which wants to work with your car.

Siri Eyes Free  is Apple’s attempt to work with automakers to make Apples voice recognition service work seamlessly with on-board audio systems. Built directly into Apple’s latest operating system, provides a way to interact with your phone while driving without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road, letting you easily change your music playlists, text a friend, or set the sat nav.

In the past few months we’ve seen more and more automakers jump on board, but now the 2014 Chevrolet Volt has joined the growing list of cars which will happily play nicely with Apple’s virtual assistant, joining the Nissan LEAF on the list of Apple-ready plug-in cars.

Then again, just because the 2014 Volt works with iOS 7 and Siri Eyes Free, don’t expect it to ALWAYS work nicely with Apple products. I’ve got a 2011 Nissan LEAF which played quite happily with Apple products until iOS 7. Now it won’t display any track information when I plug my phone into the car’s USB socket, and sometimes even refuses to let me answer a call.

The best solution? Turn your phone off, and stick in an good old-fashioned CD player. But if you can’t get by on a trip without talking to your phone, at least you’ve now got the option to do so hands free.

Musk, Elon Musk

Have you ever wondered what Elon Musk’s dream car would be? I mean, he is the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX. So what would you say if I said he had just purchased the 1977 Spy Who Loved Me submarine car? Rumour even has it that he wants to put a Tesla drivetrain in it.

Yes, Elon Must was the winning bidder (with a bid of $866k) on the car.

I wonder what he going to do with it? Is he going to turn it into a underwater electric car for his super awesome underwater home that no one knows he has? Or maybe he just has a thing about being Bond. He is a Gen Xer after all!


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