T.E.N. Episode 11 5¢ theft, sneaky politics, i3 SOC, Self-driving Volvos

Welcome to episode ten 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.

Weekly show about plug-in and electric vehicles. This week news about:

the 5¢ electricity theft, Model S safety, self-driving Volvos, BMW i3’s missing SOC meter, Formula E, Mitsubishi i-Miev price drop, Tesla beats Ohio Auto Dealers, and November EV sales.

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 11 Show Notes

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


Grand Theft Electro?

Meet Mr. Kaveh Kamooneh. He’s a middle-aged Nissan LEAF driver who hit the headlines this week for all the wrong reasons in a tale of misdirection and villainy so bizarre that… well, we couldn’t have even made it up.

A couple of weeks back, Mr. Kamooneh, from Atlanta, Georgia,  was arrested and spend fifteen hours in the county jail for ‘stealing’ five cents of electricity from his local Middle School, after he plugged his all-electric LEAF into an outside wall outlet for twenty minutes to charge.

Harsh punishment? The local news stations who initially picked up on the story certainly thought so — as did many of the EV drivers we spoke to — especially as Mr. Kamooneh claimed he was parked up at the school waiting for his son to finish playing tennis.

But like an ancient game of chinese whispers, it seems the Mr. Kamooneh’s versions of events have got a little twisted over time.

According to the arresting officer from the Chamblee police department — and after his story had been picked up by every news outlet this side of the crab nebula — Mr. Kamooneh wans’t there watching his son play tennis… HE was playing tennis… on the middle school’s tennis courts which he apparently had no right to use.

Worst still, he’d had a previous run-in with the middle school’s administrative staff — which is why the police were called when he started freeloading juice for his car.

To make matters worse, he then tried to blame the attending officer for damaging his car, something the cameras on-board the patrol car disproved and was generally a bit of a jerk…to the man with the big gun…. and the handcuffs… who arrived at Mr. Kamooneh’s home eleven days after the event and arrested him.

As well as giving all us media sorts a good lesson in triple-checking our sources, it’s given a polite reminder or two to the plug-in world.

One: EV drivers can be jerks too, and Two: ya really shouldn’t plug-in to someone else’s power without checking first.

 Kein Promblem

The Tesla Model S is safe, and it’s design isn’t to blame for three recent fires. That’s the opinion of the Kraftfhart-Bundesamt — the German Federal Motor Transport Authority — which concluded its full safety analysis of the Tesla Model S’s design and operation following three incidents in which Model S cars caught fire after being involved in an accident.

In an official statement made on Monday, the German safety organisation — which has similar powers to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — cleared the Model S of any design flaws or fault. It reads as follows:

“According to the documents provided, no manufacturer-related defects could be found. Therefore no further measures under the German Product Safety Act are deemed necessary.”

Given how tough German safety standards are, we think this bodes well for both Tesla’s reputation and its chances of getting a favourable response from the U.S. NHTSA too.


Forget Nissan’s single self-driving, highway-going LEAF EV: by 2017, the city of Gothenburg in Sweden will have 100 self-driving cars tackling everyday duties, says Swedish automaker Volvo.

The Gothenburg-based company announced this week that it will launch its own autonomous car project in 2014, which will culminate in a 100-car strong test fleet of self-driving Volvo cars on the roads in and around Gothenburg by 2017.

The first few years of the project will focus on developing Volvo’s existing autonomous driving technology to be ready for life in the real world, but it will also study driver attitudes towards autonomous drive, tackle any legislative problems, and implement any necessary cloud-based technology needed for the large-scale real-world test fleet.

At the moment, Volvo says many of its self-driving prototypes will be based on its range of Drive-E internal combustion engine cars, but since Volvo’s new engine platform is designed to work alongside plug-in hybrid drivetrains — not to mention Volvo’s goal of being 100% zero emissions by 2020 — we think electric cars have to play a part in this important study.

State of Disbelief

The BMW i3 is one of the hottest plug-in cars to go on sale this year, and promises to combine BMW’s legendary performance-oriented driving experience with great energy efficiency, contemporary design, and an extensive options list which includes both a range-extending engine and DC quick charge capabilities.

But as long-time BMWi3 fan and BMW ActiveE ‘electronaut’  Tom Moloughney confirmed this week, BMW won’t be including a state of charge gauge on its i3 as standard.

Something most — if not all EV owners ask for when speccing their EV — a state of charge gauge — often called an SOC meter — represents the remaining charge left in a car’s battery pack as a percentage, and offers a far more accurate representation of how far you can travel before running flat than the ‘miles till empty’ display that many automakers include on their cars.

That’s because the SOC gauge only does one thing: count down the remaining power in the car’s battery pack until it’s empty — not try and figure out how far you can drive based on recent and current energy consumption.

But, all hope is not lost: while only the european version of the BMW i3 REX will have an SOC gauge hidden away somewhere on the main display, BMW has said it’s willing to revisit the lack of SOC display on the i3 in the light of how strongly its current ActiveE and BMW-E drivers feel about its absence.

Start Your…err…Motors?

You may not know this, but a massive number of EV drivers are actually closet petrolheads who like nothing more than watching a spot of motor racing. But if you’re like me — a conflicted, guilty liberal who can’t bring herself to enjoy the wonton gas-guzzling that is Formula 1 — you’ll be pleased to know that the race calendar has finally been set for the inaugural series of the Formula E championship.

Putting the motor back into motor racing, Formula E’s first season — due to be held over 2014/15 — will visit ten different cities around the world for all-electric, zero emissions fun. And unlike Formula One or NASCAR — which have to be held miles away from civilization due to the sheer noise of all those roaring engines — Formula E will be held in the very centre of each city, racing around the streets normally travelled by stressed businessmen, eager tourists and taxi cabs.

The first Formula E race of the season will be held in Bejing, China, on Septmber 13 next year, before travelling east around the globe, visiting Malaysia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, the U.S. (twice) Monaco, and Germany before finishing in London, UK on June 27, twenty fifteen.

Moreover, each event will take just one day, starting with an open practice before qualifying, a one-hour race and finishing with a massive live music concert to finish the day off.

Tickets go on sale early next year, so be sure to nab yourself some tickets.

 Price Slash

The Mitsubishi i-Miev hasn’t exactly sold well in the U.S. since tis introduction there in late 2011, selling under 2,000 cars since its launch. That’s less than the average number of Nissan LEAFs sold in the U.S. in one month.

So in order to help sales — and we presume its balance sheet — Mitsubishi announced a massive price cut of more than $6,000 off the price of the 2014 Mitsubishi i-Miev for U.S. customers this week.

Starting at just $22,995 before federal and state tax incentives, the twenty fourteen Mitsubishi i-Miev is now the cheapest four-seat electric car on sale in the US by a very long way.

Mitsubishi has even increased the base-model spec, including things like rapid DC quick charging, heated front seats and battery heater — all things you used to have to pay extra for — as standard-fit items.

Sadly, range will remain the same — a measly 62 miles according to the EPA. But if you’re looking for a quirky, affordable electric car that costs less than many base-model compact gasoline cars after incentives, the iMiev could be for you.

Dirty Tricks

As anyone who has watched season 14, episode 14of the Simpsons will tell you, one way of getting an unpopular piece of legislation passed into law is to attach it to the bottom of another, more popular bill.

And while the Simpsons is of course a work of fiction, that very act is surprisingly popular at both the Federal and state levels, with the trick being pulled time and time again to pass everything from anti-abortion legislature to new tax codes.

This week, the same dirty tactics were used by Ohio politicians keen to pass legislation backed by powerful Auto Dealer Associations intent on stopping Telsa Motors from selling its electric cars direct to customers in state, forcing Tesla to either use franchised dealers, or not sell there at all.

By amending the text of Senate Bill one three seven — a really benign, well-supported bill intended to pass laws to  ensure highway maintenance workers were better protected while working on the road —  Tesla’s opponents hoped they could sneak the pro-dealer legislation in via the back door.  But thanks to some eagle-eyed policy wonks, the amended text was spotted and — after some quick campaigning from Tesla and its fans — rejected unanimously by the Senate before the original bill — without the modified text — passed

Well done Tesla, and well done to the  Ohioans who spotted their Senators playing dirty, dirty tricks.

 On a Roll

Electric car sales for the U.S. during the month of November show that EV and plug-in car sales are still at record highs, with both the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt selling more than 2,000 cars during the month of November, bringing collaborate sales totals for the year for the two most popular plug-ins to more than 40,0000 cars.

Plug-in hybrids like the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energi, and Honda plug-in Accord also had a decent month, adding several thousand to the total sales figures for November.

But that’s nothing compared to EV sales in Norway, where a massive 12 percent of all new car sales during November were electric. Granted, Norway has a far smaller population than the U.S., and only one thousand, four hundred and thirty four EVs were sold to nab that large a market share. But it’s moving in the right way — and it’s the biggest market share we’ve seen given to EVs… EVER.

Feels good to see more people dumping the pump, doesn’t it?


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