T.E.N. Episode 7: Norway sales, i8 out and about, new Nissan EV, Tesla stock and Factory and a Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi Joint Venture

Welcome to episode seven 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 7 Show Notes

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

Dropping Leaf Sales – No(r)-Way

In September were all jumping for joy as the Model S became the best selling car in Norway. Not the best selling EV, the best selling car full stop. But it seems that isn’t an accolade they could hold on to, in October the top selling car was the Nissan Leaf.

Y’see, Norway has this amazing rule where the sales tax on car purchases is linked to how dirty the car is on the road. Buy an electric car and pay nothing in sales tax. Buy some 4 by 4, 8 litre monstrosity and expect to pay up to 100% extra.

Because of this Nissan sold 716 Leafs in October. Tesla on the other hand only managed 98 sales of the Model S. It’s probably true that the Model S figures for September were bolstered due to all the back-orders being filled as it went on sale. But – and this is the point here – it isn’t how many or how few specific plug in cars are selling, it’s the fact that they are outselling internal combustion cars on a regular basis.

When you start delving into the geeky stats, and who wouldn’t want to do that, you get to some amazing figures. My personal favourite is that in October plug-in cars made up 7.2% of new car registration! That’s an amazing figure!

i8 In the Wild

As the BMW i8 was officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, BMW no longer need to hide the i8 as it whizzes around various cities and locations. And one lucky ActiveE driver managed to snap the first photo of one in the wild without camouflage. I think you’ll agree, it does look lovely.

The i8 uses a 96 kilowatt electric motor mounted under the hood to drive the front wheels while a mid-mounted, twin-turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder petrol engine powers the rear wheels through a six-speed transmission. What does that mean? Well, it means it’s powerful while having a tamer eco side to it

In total, the i8 can produce up to 362 horsepower of combined gasoline and electric power, along with 420 pound-feet (569 Nm) of torque. To put that in perspective, the Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport could produce 295 pound feet of torque, 400 Newton Metres.

At the eco end of things the i8 can can travel 22 miles on a single charge of its 7.2 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. In combined gasoline and electric mode, BMW quotes economy figures of around 96 imperial MPG (that’s 2.9 L/100km, 80 MPG U.S.).

I’m going to put this out there now. I think it is only fair that as Nikki is off testing the BMW i3 at the moment and I am missing out, that I get the first drive of the BMW i8. What do you think?

Speed is Fun

Speed is fun, right? Well some people think so and like to test the top speed of cars. This week a video emerged online of Martin Thomsen from EV Network DK, testing out the top speed of the Model S on a German autobahn.

And – it wasn’t even his car. He borrowed it. This person has one trusting friend. ‘Yeah, sure, take my expensive car and drive it at stupid miles per hour down a road with other cars. No worries. Have fun.’

From watching the video over and over again we believe that the Model S P85+ will go from standstill to its top speed of 131 mph in round about 25 seconds. That’s an average acceleration of 5 and a quarter miles per second per second.

When you combine the fact that we think a lot of drivers will want to test this out and the news from last month that Tesla will provide free Autobahn tuning for Model S customers in Europe to ensure their cars handle amazingly at top speed, we think we could start seeing Model S traffic jams on the autobahns!

A New Type of EV

Have you ever heard of a Skunk Works project? It’s essentially a team of people within an organisation who are given free reign to just develop something for that sake of innovation. A famous example is the Google X Lab which has given us Google Glass and is still working on the self-driving car.

Well, it seems Nissan has their very own skunkworks project looking into electric cars and this week they announced the Nissan BladeGlider. They see the three-seater BladeGlider as an EV that was developed with form following function.

Its shape is designed to give it a very low drag-coefficient but also generate the needed downforce to keep the car stable. It’s even made with carbon fiber reinforced plastic like the BMW i3.

Nissan have even said that – unlike the ESFLOW EV sports car concept – the BladeGlider has a real chance of entering production.

All I know is – I want one!

Tesla Stock Drop

It’s the investment that many professionals have warned people not to make, seeing Tesla Motors as being over-valued. But that hasn’t stopped some investors seeings very good returns by betting on Tesla.

But this week, following the release of their third quarter results, the share price of Tesla Motors fell by 11.5 percent – that’s the equivalent of 32 cents per share. Tesla did disclosed a $38 million loss in in their report, so maybe this drop isn’t all that unexpected.

But further inspection of Tesla’s official quarter three earnings show some really promising signs. Using both the GAAP and non-GAAP financials – that’s Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for those who aren’t up on their accounting acronyms – Tesla’s revenue rose in Q3 when compared to Q2.

Tesla says its gross non-GAAP margin increased by seven percentage points and that’s while excluding income from the sale of Californian Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) credits.

Did I sound like I knew what I was saying then? Good.

What’s a ‘Giga-Factory’?

In related news, it seems Tesla wants to open their very own battery factory. Nick-named the ‘Giga Factory’ by Musk – because, y’know, that name makes total sense – the battery plant would not only produce battery cells and battery packs, but would also recycle and reuse battery packs at the end of their useful life inside a Tesla electric car.

The factory will be eco-ed to the max! Musk wants it to be the largest, greenest battery plant the world has seen.

Renault-Nissan… and Mitsubishi

It seems that Mitsubishi is joining forces with the Renault-Nissan partnership to bring some new cars to the market under the Mitsubishi badge.

The three companies have already said Renault will provide Mitsubishi with several mid-sized sedans to market in the U.S. as rebadged Mitsubishi models, while the trio has said they intend to work together to develop and build a new, global small car platform with they plan to use to introduce an all-new electric car to the market.

This makes us wonder, seeing as Renault hasn’t sold any cars in the US since the 80s, could the Renault Zoe be making its way over to that side of the pond badged as a Mitsubishi? The EV is marketed as the ‘affordable’ EV over here and it could be a big hit with inner city drivers in the US who are looking for a small car that has style and a little bit of pep.

We shall wait and see.

Top Gear & Tesla sitting in a tree

Oh dear, oh dear… Another Top Gear Tesla story… Hang on… This one is positive?

It seems that unlike the British TV Top Gear team, who have an ingrained hatred of anything that doesn’t suck, squeeze bang and blow, the US version of the show is more open minded. In a recent hour long special, the show managed to show electric cars in a positive light and it seems that the presenters fell in love with the Model S.

Being British, I still find this hard to get my head around. Can someone just check outside and make sure that pigs aren’t flying? I’m not just hoping the UK team take up the thread the US team has started.

Maybe We Should All Just Shout Out the Window?

And finally, it’s the story that just won’t die. A member of parliament in the UK, namely Mary Glindon, Labour Party constituent in North Tyneside, wants to raise concerns about the ‘new threat’ of plug-in and hybrid vehicles to pedestrians.

She cites a survey carried out Guide Dogs charity that seems to contradict every other study that has looked into this.

We don’t know what the outcome from this will be, but we just hope that if it does swing towards the horror that is noise emitters that we get to sit around and watch them get installed on all those high-end and very expensively quiet luxury internal combustion cars.


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