Transport Evolved Episode 177: Whose Power Is It Anyway?

On today’s Transport EvolvedImprisoned LEAF drivers, the BMW i3’s lack of an SOC meter, dirty political tricks, and an unholy alliance These and more stories on this week’s Transport Evolved with Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Mark Chatterley, Marc Geller and Jonathan Porterfield.

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 long-time EV driver and advocate Marc Geller, and Founder of Jonathan Porterfield.

San Francisco resident Marc Geller has been writing, advocating, campaigning and educating on the subject of electric vehicles and sustainable living for many years. A  founder member and a director  of Plug-in America, Marc is no stranger in the arena of public and corporate policy related to electric vehicles and green energy. He’s also on the board of directors of the Electric Auto Association, and was a co-founder of its San Francisco chapter, and the San Francisco EVA, as well as one of the key people leading the fight against the crushing of the previous generation of plug-in cars by companies like Toyota and GM.

During the day, Marc works as a sales representative for Sustainable Solutions Partners, an installer of solar energy systems, efficient lighting and appliance retrofits, EV charging equipment and sustainable building services.

Jonathan Porterfield and his wife Ursula set up back in 2004 as a virtual dealership for environmentally-responsible used cars, ranging from LGP and hybrid vehicles through to all-electric cars. Unlike traditional dealerships with a large lot and big bills, Eco-Cars keeps its overheads and its carbon footprint low by working with dealers all over the country who often don’t know how to treat or sell used green cars. And its dealer forecourt is its website, where virtual tours of each car for sale are available.

Jonathan and his wife currently live in Leicestershire, but are just about to move their home and business north to the Orkney Islands, where an abundance of clean wind power and healthy living is the ideal base for a company specializing in clean EVs!

(You can follow Marc on Twitter, chat with him on Facebook, or read his blog here. Jonathan can be found on twitter, or on his company site.)


Part 1

The curious case of Kaveh Kamooneh, the politics of war charging, and how everyone should get 120-Volts at work. Plus Volvo’s autonomous cars and the Bitcoin Tesla


This week, a Nissan LEAF owner from Georgia, Atlanta hit the headlines when he was arrested by the local county police for war charging his Nissan LEAF from a 120-volt outlet at his local middle school.  But as the rest of the story details, he’d had a previous run-in with the schools’ administrators, and didn’t ask first.  Worse still, he was being a total jerk towards the police. But should he have been arrested? Did the police act appropriately, and how should you act when you discover an unused power outlet? If you’re a tax-payer, do you have a right to charge your car at a public building?


In (sort of) related news, a Police officer in California who once was able to charge his Nissan LEAF from the power outlet in his work parking lot now can’t because of a new boss who isn’t as happy with him plugging in as his old one was.   At the moment, California’s regulations requires all subsidised charging stations to be publicly accessible. That’s not possible in a police parking lot. But should all workplace charging — even 120-volt — be subsidised and easily accessible for employees and their bosses who want to support EVs? 


Not to be outdone by Nissan, Volvo announced its own autonomous vehicle pilot project last week. Due to begin next year and culminate with a 100-strong autonomous test car fleet on the roads of Gothenburg by 2017. The cars will be fuelled by a variety of engines and drivetrains, but electric will feature too, since Volvo wants to be zero-emissions by 2020. Who will be the first to market?


Last week, someone used BitCoin — the first truly digital currency — to buy a used Tesla Model S. Will it catch on?

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 2

Tesla Model S is safe, says Germany, Tesla beats Ohio auto Dealers (and passes unmodified, unrelated bill), GM cancels Envia’s battery deal, EV sales figures on the rise worldwide, and should the Porsche Panamera really get a government grant for being green?


According to the Kraftfahrt-Bundessamt, neither the Tesla Model S, nor its design, are to blame for the three fires which occurred this autumn involving crashed Model S cars. Will the NHTSA (which has just asked Tesla for more paperwork to carry out its own investigation) agree?


Earlier this week, Ohio legislators — backed by unscrupulous Auto Dealer Associations — tired to sneak in legislature on the bottom of a totally unrelated bill concerning the safety of highway maintenance staff that would have made it illegal for Tesla or another automaker to sell cars directly to customers in the state.  Thanks to some last-minute advocacy however, the anti-Tesla amendment was cast out before the bill itself was successfully passed into law.

Is there a good reason why we shouldn’t buy cars direct from automakers — and what will the automakers try next?


GM cancelled its deal with Envia this week, after allegations that Envia’s high-energy battery cell technology was built upon stolen intellectual property.  What will this mean for EVs?


At the end of November, U.S. sales of EVs were on an upward trend again, not quite reaching August’s peak, but nonetheless very healthy.  Over in the Norway meanwhile, EV sales accounted for twelve percent of total car sales during November. When will that happen in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world?


Porsche announced last week that its Plug-in Panamera SE-Hybrid was going to qualify for the UK’s Low-Emission Vehicle £5,000 government grant. After incentives, the base-model costs £83,967 after incentives, but only has a plug-in range of around 20 miles.  Is it time ‘high end’ cars like this stopped being eligible for grants?

Ad Break: Audible


This week, we’re recommending 7th Sigma — by Steven Gould. 

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 3

BMW misses out the SOC gauge on the new i3,  Mitsubishi i-Miev gets a price cut,  and are EVs really bad at keeping their residual value? Plus, the unlikely crossover between a Tesla and a VW microbus.


Despite cries from BMW’s Electronauts, the BMW i3 won’t be launching with a state of charge meter included as standard equipment on any of its models except the European version of the i3 REX.  Why is an SOC gauge so important for EV drivers, and why don’t automakers understand this?


The Mitsubishi i-Miev may not have sold well in the U.S. since its launch, but it was given a massive price cut of more than $6,000 for the 2014 model year, as well as a better standard equipment package. It’s now the most affordable EV ever — but will it make any difference to those who don’t yet drive electric?


Are used electric cars really losing their value quickly? And why? And is it a good thing?


And finally…

Meet the Tesla Vanagon. What happens when  you meld the Tesla Model S with (two) VW Microbusses.


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