Transport Evolved Episode 165: Healthy Sporty Growl

Transport Evolved Episode 178: Made Just For You

On today’s Transport EvolvedThe Nissan LEAF turns three, BMW lets its electronauts have a play in the i3, how more people could go electric than they thought, and the French take over London.

These stories an more, on today’s Transport Evolved, with Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Mark Chatterley,  Michael Thwaite and Chris Neff.

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 New Jersey EAA Treasurer and AcitveE driver Chris Neff; and third musketeer of the Transport Evolved family and Englishman in New York New Jersey, Michael Thwaite.

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.

As an owner of not one, two but four electric vehicles — five if you count his lawnmower — Michael Thwaite is well and truly an EV advocate. Founder member of the Tesla Motors Club and recently elected board member at Plug-in America , few days pass when Michael doesn’t help someone take their first step into a life without gasoline.

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

Part 1

BMW lets its Electronauts loose in the i3, talks of offering them a special-edition, starts its latest U.S. ad campaign, shares how cheap it will be to insure, and confirms Electrification is going to drive future BMW design.


At the LA auto show earlier this month, BMW held a massive drive event exclusively for BMW Electronauts — BMW ActiveE drivers who helped test the drivetrain underpinning the BMW i3.  This past week, BMW held a similar event on the east coast for East-coast Electronauts.  With two East-coast ActiveE drivers on the show, we’ll be chatting about what they thought of the i3.  (Sadly, the closest the UK TE team has been this week to an i3 was this.)


But wait! There’s more. Chris — who was on the show a month or so ago — actually got some sneaky time in the BMW i3 more than a month ago as part of a filming exercise with BMW. The result — the First Ever BMW i3 Hot Lap — is essentially what every automaker to this point has forgotten do to with an electric car.  (Here’s what Chris saw when he was taken around the track by a professional driver.)


As part of the BMW Electronaut event, BMW told its ActiveE drivers that it planned to offer a special limited edition i3 just for BMW’s existing electric car drivers. But if you could choose, what would that limited edition i3 feature in terms of specifications and on-board kit?  


In related news, BMW has said the i3 is going to be far cheaper to repair and insure than you’d think, even though it’s a powerful car with CFRP panels…


Finishing off the BMW-specific segment, BMW has confirmed that it plans to move towards electrified models in the future in order to meet tough emissions regulations. Does that mean a fully electric fleet? Unlikely, but it does mean more BMW plug-ins.

Ad Break: Audible


This week, we’re recommending Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds – Narrated by John Lee.

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

The Nissan LEAF turns three, a Washington LEAF owner gets ready to cover his 100,00th mile in his, Volkswagen prices the XL1 at $145,000, why some dealers can’t sell EVs properly, the French take over Source London, and a startup company offers test-drives that pick you up from your house.


Happy Birthday Nissan LEAF! Earlier this week, the LEAF turned three. With more than 87,000 cars on the road worldwide, LEAF has now sold 3,000 cars in the UK too — and we find out where they live. It also makes us wonder: is the LEAF really a city-centre car, or equally happy in the countryside?


The first person to buy a LEAF, Oliver Chalouhi says his LEAF is still going strong, and now has 36,000 miles on the clock, but Steve Marsh from Washington state is about to become the first U.S. customer to cross over 100,000 miles in his 2012 Nissan LEAF. Marsh, who commutes 130 miles each day, has been loaned a LEAF for a few days to ensure that his car rolls over 100,000 miles just in time for a special celebration event due to be held on Monday in his honour.


Volkswagen has taken the XL1 Stateside with some rather tasteful shots of it driving through Manhattan. But at $145,000 who will buy it?


Some EV dealers around the country — like Paul Scott — are great at selling EVs (Paul even got honoured with an award this week due to his commitment to EVs as both an advocate and EV salesperson). But some dealers just suck at selling EVs. Why is that? 


People really do hate going to dealerships to test drive cars, especially electric ones where the dealers know less than they do. If only there was a company which picked you up at home and let you take the car for a drive without annoying, untrained staff? Wish no more. Meet Seattle startup Tred.


French company Bolloré will take over Source London’s EV charging network. But what will it mean for EV owners in the nation’s capital?

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

How Better Place’s demise has impacted EV sales, why 42 percent of Americans could buy an EV today, how one guy made money from buying a Tesla Model S, long-distance Tesla Model S driving a 101 on charging etiquette, and


When Better Place — the Israeli-based company who developed rapid battery swap technology — went bust earlier this year, buyers in both Israel and Denmark were put off buying electric cars because they perceived battery swapping as the only way an EV could really work.

Worse still, with the disconnection of EV charging stations, the availability of charging in the two countries has dropped massively. Will either country’s relationship with electric cars improve?


According to a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a massive 42 percent of all American households are EV ready — and those who live there could buy any of the EVs available today as their primary car.

More still would be able to buy if better charging were available, so why aren’t people buying EVs?


This week, GreenCarReports ran two stories from Tesla Model S owners who had made long-distance trips in their Model S. Here’s what they found out, how it applies to over EVs too — as well as details from a brave man whose first ever Model S trip was a 600-mile round trip to see friends in the frigid north of Norway.


Meet Bruno Bowden, a San Francisco Model S owner who purchased his Tesla Model S and then placed it on car-sharing website After just one month, he made $2,820 of income from the service alone. It’s more than double the lease payment for his car, so will cottage rental industries crop up in EV-friendly places?


Charging etiquette — figuring out who needs to charge, and who gets priority — is not actually written down anywhere. But this week two stories did try to outline the unwritten rules of who should charge, when, and how.  What rules would you like implemented for public EV charging? 


And finally…

Would you like a license to thrill in your Model S? We would. (We’d also like a Model S)


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