T.E.N. Episode 18: 100k Leafs, Leases and Loss of Charging

Welcome to episode eighteen 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: Nissan sells its 100,000th Leaf, Ford toys with an plug-in hybrid Focus, more good eco news for London’s black cabs, lease information from BMW and Tesla, Model S Chinese prices, Charging Station downtime in rush hour and Elon’s smell.

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 18 Show Notes

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

100k Leafs on a Wall…

This week saw the Nissan Leaf reach a massive milestone when it comes to car production and sales. Nissan delivered the ten thousandth Leaf to a buyer in the UK and the ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety ninth Leaf to a buyer in the US.

The UK buyer was a dentist (yes, US viewers, we do have them over here) from Fareham called Dr Brett Garner. He and his wife decided to buy the Leaf after extended test drives including a 500 mile long range test.

The US buyer was Amy Eichenberger, a mother of two from Charlottesville, Virginia. She bought hers after experiencing the feel and drive of a workmate’s Leaf.

The Leaf has hit this milestone just after three years of production. To put this into context the Toyota Prius was at 76,600 sales at roughly the same point and didn’t hit the 100k mark until well into its fourth year of its global sales (add three more years to that if you want to count from when it first went into production).

The Leaf is now the best selling all-electric car in the world with a 45% market share.

Not too bad at all, Nissan. Not too bad at all.

From Pure EV to Plug-in Hybrid

The Ford Focus EV, from what I’ve read, is a very competent electric car. Unfortunatly, Ford isn’t that interested in selling it in huge numbers outside of California. If anyone has one in the UK and can hook me up with a test drive, please do get in touch.

However it seems that Ford may be developing a plug-in version of the Focus which may – we hope – have a wider sale base.
Called the Ford Focus Energi (That’s with an ‘i’ at the end, not a ‘y’… yeah, I’m not sure why either) the car would feature a two litre, four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and 7.6 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. This should give it around 35 miles of all-electric range.

Sources close to Ford claim a sticker price of around twenty seven and a half thousand dollars for fleet operators, which means nearer to thirty thousand dollars for private buyers.

Fingers crossed this gets put on sale everywhere. Come on Ford! We want a Focus with a plug.

Even Less Black Smoke for Black Cabs

Last time I hosted T. E. N. I talked to you about the Nissan diesel black cabs and the future all-electric Nissan black cabs. Well, hot off the heals of that announcement MetroCab – the company responsible for building most of the Hackney Carriages in London today have released details of their prototype range extended taxi cab.

All electric range, according to the London Public Carriage Office test cycle, is around fifty miles, thanks to the Taxi’s on-board twelve point two kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. That might sound like a lot for such a small pack, but it’s worth remembering that a Taxi’s in the centre of London really don’t build up a lot of speed.

When the battery pack is depleted, a one litre range-extending engine kicks in, providing a combined fuel economy on the PCO test cycle of around seventy miles per UK gallon – that’s just over fifty eight miles per US gallon.

Given taxis aren’t expected to accelerate all that much beyond the 30 mph limit in force on most London roads, there’s no mention of a 0-30 or 0-60 time for this cab, but Metrocab says the vehicle’s electronically limited top speed of 80mph is more than enough to help cabbies circumnavigate London’s busy M25 orbital motorway.

Shocking Lease

A very interesting lease quote was released onto the internet this week showing a i3 with range extending engine coming in at over nine hundred dollars a month.

George Betak, a current ActiveE driver, was given a quote for a BMW i3 REx from Stevens Creek BMW in Santa Clara which required a Drive Off payment of nearly two thousand dollars with a monthly cost of nine hundred and thirty dollars and forty two cents for thirty six months. It would be fair to say that this came as a bit of a shock to him.

We spoke to a source close to BMW Finance who said that these lease figures have been based off an unfinished internal bulletin and are not final. We were told they are currently working on the official i3 financing figures at the moment and they will be released soon. But it seems that some dealers have been happy to go ahead with quotes anyway and for many potential buyers the official figures can’t come soon enough.

So come on, get your skates on BMW. And try not to make the lease too close to the Model S lease price if you can help it.

While all this is happening in the US – UK deliveries have started without much fanfair. Just a nice quiet roll out. If you’re a i3 customer, maybe you could get in touch and let us know what you think of the car. The good, the bad… and maybe even if you leased or not?

Tesla Leases

Speaking of the Model S lease price, it seems that Tesla really wants people to lease their cars and Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, says it is the future of the automotive industry.

Tesla have already made some interesting steps when it comes to leasing. They have guaranteed that the Model S will be worth no less than a Merc S-Class luxury sedan with Musk agreeing to buy back the cars at that price even if the rest of the world doesn’t think they are worth that much.

Tesla has also added a ‘lease calculator’ to their website so prospective buyers can work out the ‘real world’ monthly cost to them when leasing a Model S. For example: A base model Model S in the US has a ‘effective Monthly lease cost of’ six hundred and nine dollars a month.

That figure is made up from a lease of nine hundred and eighty six dollars a month minus EV incentives, money saved on gas and the guaranteed resale value. The overall figure can get even less when you factor in HOV lane access and even time saved driving to and from the gas station.

Maybe leasing is the future, maybe not. But with Musk pushing the lease option we are sure he’ll find some way to make loads of people sign up.

Model S Makes it to China

This week Tesla Motors officially unveiled prices for the Model S in China… and they’re reasonable. The Model S will start at seven hundred and thirty four thousand renminbi.

What makes this special is that this figure was arrived at by Tesla taking the US price and then adding on the various taxes, shipping and customs needed to get the car to China. There is no additional markup.

This makes the Model S incredibly well priced in China – it comes in at about the same price as a Mercedes-Benz CLS 300 or a BMW 5 Series GT – both of which (I’m sure) are lovely cars in their own right but aren’t really comparable with the Model S in size or design.

This could go one of two ways for Tesla. Either loads of sales due to the relatively low price, or few sales as it won’t be seen as a ‘premium’ product.

I can’t help but think this price wouldn’t have been set without some serious thought and market research from Tesla and I hope it works out well for them. If anything interesting happens with this, we’ll let you know.

Charging Station Downtime

I’m sure most of us have experienced it. You log in to check your emails as you know you have an urgent message or log in to an online system you need to use right at that very minute to find that the system is down for ‘essential maintenance’. It’s annoying and frustrating.

But what if you were relying on that system to charge up your car? Well, this could be a reality for EV drives in the UK this coming Tuesday when one of our many many charging networks is pushing out an update.

While the update is happening, some of the charging stations on their network will lose their 3G connection to the main backend server. In the real world this means that anyone coming up and swiping their card to get access to the charging station will not be able to be identified as a authorised user and the charging station will do nothing.

We’ve been told that these charging stations do keep a locally stored and cached version of recent authenticated users, so if a driver has used that specific post before they may be able to get a charge… but personally, I wouldn’t bank on it.

The update will start to happen at 6:30pm on Tuesday – because, y’know, that’s the best time to push an update that will take down part of a network people rely on for fuel. So if you are a UK driver, watch out.

Again! Again! Again!

Next week, well, to be precise in 5 days, I will get my hands on a Model S. Yes! Me, in a Model S finally. I may just be a little excited about this.

But it seems that excitement doesn’t go away even if your family owns a Model S. Have a look at this brilliant video that we stumbled across on YouTube this week.

The three girls in the back just can’t get enough of the Tesla’s jet like acceleration, demanding for their parents to floor it ‘again’, ‘again’, ‘again’. The parents also seem to be loving the experience, laughing and playing along with their girls.

Maybe along with the EV Grin we need to come up with an EV Giggle?

Oh, yes. And if there are any questions you want answered about the European Spec Model S for when Nikki and I drive it. Just get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Me… In a Model S… Can’t wait.

What’s That Smell?

And finally – Do you like that new car smell? I’ve even had friends talk about the ‘new apple product smell’. But what about a ‘new Tesla smell’? Well, one YouTube comedy channel too that to the next – and slightly creepy level – with their video of a fake advert for ‘Elon’s Musk’.

It seems that after taking on the banks with PayPay, the motor industry with Telsa Motors and the aerospace industry with SpaceX, Elon has gone on to challenge the fragrance industry with Elon’s Musk.

The whole video is worth a watch if only for the breathy hushed voice repeating random words over the top of the advert.


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