Transport Evolved Episode 172. Woz, Supercharged

On today’s Transport Evolved: BMW and Tesla get all the love, 1,750 miles in a Model S, Ford fails (again) and Woz goes electric.

These, and many other stories, on this week’s Transport Evolved, with Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Mark Chatterley, and Chris Neff

You can watch on the Live page, or listen live with Mixlr.

Click beyond the break to see our full show notes, including timings of each story in the show.


Please note: 
Time stamps are given below in this font in the format [hh:mm:ss]

Welcome to the show! Today, Nikki and Mark are joined by EV advocate, New Jersey EAA Treasurer and AcitveE driver Chris Neff 

Referring to himself as “one of seven hundred electronauts” Chris Neff has been driving a BMW ActivE for the past few years — and before that a MiniE —  blogging about his experiences as he goes. An active member of the New Jersey Electric Auto Association, Chris is never afraid of making a road trip in his EV in order to educate, celebrate and entertain fellow Americans about electric cars. In fact, at the last Cars and Croissants meet, Chris met an EV a little older than his ActiveE — a 1917 Detroit Electric Model 68.  He’s also just met the folks responsible for Illuminati Motor Works — and a very strange looking EV. 

(You can chat with Chris on Twitter or Facebook, and follow his experiences with his BMW ActiveE here.)


Part 1

Plug-in sales totals for October, Honda’s 40-per-month Fit EV quota, and Tesla’s west coast Supercharger corridor.


Plug-in sales figures for October are finally in, and while both Volt and LEAF sales are higher than they were in October, they didn’t quite beat August highs. That’s well-within normal car buying trends however, but perhaps more interesting are the following facts:

  • More than 50,000 Chevy Volts have now been sold in the U.S. to date.
  • The Mitsubishi i-Miev sold just 28 cars in October, pushing sales into four figures (just) at 1,006 cars this year. (But that’s still nearly twice the 2012 yearly sales total for the Japanese hatchback)
  • The Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt and Tesla Model S dominate EV sales, although we don’t have any sales figures for Tesla — as usual.
  • Of the other plug-in cars, the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid wins at 2,095 cars in October, far more than the 1,152 of September, presumably due to the price cut for the 2014 model year. 10,069 PHEV Prius cars have been sold for 2013 so far.
  • The Prius PEHV was actually the best-selling plug-in car in America last month, outselling the Volt at 2,022 and LEAF at 2,002.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for a Honda Fit EV, you’ll be frustrated to know Honda is only going to deliver 40 cars a month until it hits its  promised U.S. production limit of 1,100 cars, regardless of demand.


In more positive news, Tesla opened its south west Supercharger corridor from San Diego to Vancouver, making it possible to drive the 1,750 or so miles from the southern tip of the U.S. to the Canadian border using just free Tesla Superchargers — if you have a Tesla Model S, that is.


Staying on the topic of Tesla, the Californian automaker signed a deal this week with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic to secure a supply of an additional two billion 18650 battery cells over the next four years for building battery packs for Tesla Model S, Model X and the third-generation Tesla cars. By our calculations, that’s enough battery cells for an additional 285,700 cars, well above Tesla’s 40,000 annual production goals for 2015.


Ad Break: Audible


This week, we’re recommending Surface Detail by Iain M Banks.

By heading to and signing up for the service, you can get this book for free, and support Transport Evolved at the same time. We thank you for your support of the show.

Part 2

BMW i3 reviews trickling in slowly, BMW rules out an i-brand SUV, Nissan LEAF gets expanded sales in Canada for 2014,  Consumer Reports shares Plug-in reliability info, and Mercedes-Benz wants more EV babies with Tesla.


With BMW i3 press drives taking place in the U.S. and Europe, initial reports are positive for BMW’s first all-electric hatchback. Even Top Gear Magazine loved it, although at the moment BMW isn’t doing i3 REX drives — and some reports even quote BMW as saying it would try to discourage buyers from ordering the i3 REX version as they really won’t need it. 

Nikki is off to test-drive the BMW i3 next week in London — so we’ll have a review up very shortly.


In related news, BMW has said that it’s not going to make an i-branded SUV — at least in the near future – saying the i-brand and SUVs don’t mix. 


Canadians Rejoice! The Nissan LEAF is due to expand its sales for Canadians for the 2014 Model Year, and gets a small price cut, as well as some extras US customers don’t get as standard, like 6.6 kW on-board  and CHAdeMO quick charge capabilities.


Consumer Reports has just released its ownership and reliability rankings for 2012/13, giving the Tesla Model S the highly-prized red recommendation checkmark. Combined with its previous 99 out of 100 rating for the car itself, we think Consumer Reports really does love the Model S.

Meanwhile however, the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid was awarded the worst score for reliability of the year, making us wonder if Ford should just give up on its plug-in car program.


With the BMW i3 just about to launch, Mercedes-Benz — or rather parent company Daimler —  has said it wants to further its ongoing development relationship with Tesla Motors by making more EV models with the Californian Automakers’ help.  With little or no in-house EV expertise, Daimler needs Tesla’s input and engineering prowess to help it develop cars that can help it catch BMW in the EV marketplace.


Ad Break:  Chronovirus


It was supposed to be just another cargo run, but for Ken Mallory and the three-person crew of the Raven, an anomaly in deep space changes everything. An unexplained turbulence shakes the small ship like never before, allowing a deadly virus aboard. One by one the infected crew is thrown back in time to relive a near-death experience, only this time death may be closer than they remember.

Be sure to check out this excellent and chilling short story by Aaron Croccoalso available as an audiobook from InEar Entertainment.

Part 3:

Self-parking EVs, Ford finally recalls the Focus Electric, and Woz buys a Tesla


Not to be outdone by Nissan, Honda has just demonstrated an implementation of its own self-driving technology for EVs. Unlike Nissan’s, this technology only works in parking lots, and actually uses the car’s rear-view camera in concert with CCTV cameras in the car park.  It’s clever, but not as clever as Nissan’s tech. Sorry, Honda.  Then again, it’s cheaper, and could probably be easier to implement, so…


More than fourteen months after it was first reported, Ford has recalled the Ford Focus Electric hatchback for the Stop Safely Now error. Just what on earth took it so long?


Just a week after we drove the Volkswagen XL1 plug-in diesel hybrid, Volkswagen has announced it has technically sold out of the car — and won’t be making any more. Instead, it will screen each potential owner and pick 250 lucky people from the ever-extending list of potential buyers.


Apple co-founder and all-round nice guy Steve Wozniak, ‘Woz’ to all geeks around the world, has picked up his Model S from Tesla. 

And finally…


Would you turn your EV into a doorless GoCart for Summer?  One crazy dude from Stanford did… *


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