Transport Evolved Episode 174: Grow Your Own

On today’s Transport EvolvedModel S UK pricing, New EVs on the way, and virus-grown battery cells

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

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 host of The Geekcast, EV fan, author and all-round geek Aaron Crocco.

All out geek, accomplished author and Back To The Future aficionado, Aaron Crocco loves plug-in cars, but doesn’t yet own one. (We can forgive him though, as he owns a DeLorean AND a Toyota Prius, and has said a plug-in car is in his future at some point!)

He’s also the go-to source on anything tech-related and has been hosting The Geekcast podcast far longer than we’ve been doing Transport Evolved. When he’s not working, geeking out or broadcasting, Aaron is dad to the WonderTwins, which we think is an awesome name.

(You can chat with Aaron on Google Plus, Twitter,  find out more about his books at his website, or subscribe to The Geekcast )

Part 1

Tesla Model S gets official UK pricing, Nissan takes Japanese PM on autonomous LEAF joyride, 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf makes U.S. debut at upcoming LA Auto Show and Carlos Ghosn admits Renault-Nissan won’t reach 1.5 million EV sales target for 2016


After a long wait, we can now confirm that the 2014 Tesla Model S will be available to buy in the UK for as little as £50,280 on the road, after £5,000 government grants. Like the U.S., Tesla Model S customers can spec their cars up as they wish, adding extras as they go. The top-spec P85+ model, with all the option boxes ticked, will cost nearly twice as much.


Nissan may have recently only just released video of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn driving its autonomous LEAF around an indoor test track, but the Nissan Self-driving car is a quick study: last week, it took the Prime Minister of Japan for a test-drive around Tokyo.


Ahead of  the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen has released details of the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf.  If made in significant quantities, it could easily compete against the Nissan LEAF, with an 86 kW motor, 7.2 kilowatt on-board charger, and 24.2 kilowatt-hour battery pack.


Although Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn confidently predicted more than two years ago that the Renault-Nissan alliance would sell 1.5 million electric cars by 2016, he was forced to admit earlier this week that his predictions — like the rest of the industry — won’t become reality. Instead, he said, it’ll take three or four years to hit the 1.5 million car target, blaming infrastructure for poor sales.

Ad Break: Audible


This week, we’re recommending League of Somebodies, by Samuel Sattin.

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

Three Tesla employees hurt after industrial accident at Fremont factory, Japanese BMW i3 gets CHAdeMO — and hidden J1772 connector under the hood, Musk says there won’t be a Model S recall (unless Tesla is forced to), more specs are released about the Kia Soul EV, and how viruses can help your EV’s range


Tesla was catapulted into the spotlight again earlier this week after an industrial accident at its Fremont factory, where the Model S is made, resulted in three employees being sent to Hospital. How did the media cover this, and what’s with the almost overt schadenfreude from some outlets?  (our thoughts go out to the families of those involved)


The BMW i3 may be just launching in Europe, but over in Japan, where the car will go on sale soon, BMW has disclosed that the Japanese-market BMW i3 will feature CHAdeMO quick charging connectors, as well as a J1772 socket hidden in a strange place…


Despite there having been three fires involving Tesla Model S cars after accidents, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this week that there will not be an official Model S recall (unless forced to by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of course). Speaking at the New York Times’ DealBook conference in New York, which was also live-streamed on CNBC, Musk reiterated his belief that the luxury sedan was far safer than any other car on the market, referencing Tesla’s exemplary safety record to date.


After several weeks — even months — of speculation, Kia has finally released some more specification details for its 2014 Soul EV. There’s no price detailed yet, but at least we now know the car  will come with a 27 kilowatt-hour battery pack, an 81.4 kilowatt front-wheel drivetrain, and a range of somewhere between 90 and 120 miles, depending on whose mileage tests you use.


Colds, flus, and viruses are terrible, aren’t they? Not if you’re a biochemist trying to make a new battery for use in electric cars, they’re not.  Enter MIT researchers, who claim they’ve created an ultra-high energy lithium-air battery using spiky nano wires made by genetically-modified viruses.

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:

EFF gets upset over Renault Zoe battery rental, Japanese Mitsubishi i-Miev gets much cheaper, Nissan’s e-NV200 will eventually be sold worldwide, BMW i3 starts deliveries in Germany, Washington State records over 10,000 Charging Sessions since May 2012, Tesla promises a competitor to the Ford F-150, and Honda expects us to ride on the Uni-Cub


Champion against digital rights management the Electric Frontier Foundation,  caused a stir this week when it claimed that Renault is bringing DRM to electric cars by switching off the ability to charge on cars whose owners have stopped paying the mandatory battery rental fee.

But since Renault rents the battery — not sells the battery — with the car, is it fair that Renault can do this? Or is this a fuss over nothing? 


It’s official: after being candid about its rollout plans for the all-electric e-NV200 minivan, Nissan has confirmed that the plug-in light commercial vehicle will eventually be available as a global vehicle, just like the Nissan LEAF it’s based upon.


BMW has begun deliveries of the i3 electric car in Germany, and it’s already proving popular.


Since May 2012, when the West Coast Electric Highway was installed across Washington and Oregon, more than 10,000 quick charge events have been delivered to customers from Washington’s fourteen quick charge units.  How long will the next 10,000 take to happen? Not long, apparently.


It’s official: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that Tesla is planning a Ford F-150 competitor in its lineup at some point in the future. (We already knew a pickup was coming, but didn’t know what it would cross shop against.)  Calling it a logical step, Musk said “That’s the best selling car in America. If people are voting that’s their car, then that’s the car we have to deliver.”

But don’t get too excited: It’s unlikely to happen for five years or so…


And Finally…

Forget the Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, BMW i3, and Tesla Model S.  Honda thinks the future of urban electric mobility lies in the Uni-Cub. Do we really think it’ll happen? And do you want to ride on something that looks like a unicycle crossed with a segway?



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