Transport Evolved Episode 184: Locked Out

On today’s Transport Evolved: South to North in a Nissan LEAF and West to East in a Model S, fighting for a charge at work, and three adorable little girls.

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

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 on their own due to technical issues, but we hope you’ll enjoy the show anyway!

Part 1

Nissan LEAF sales top 100,000 cars, Ford rumoured to have a plug-in hybrid Focus in the works, Elon Musk wants us to lease cars, not buy them, and two charging networks go offline for essential maintenance.


At the start of this week, Nissan announced its 100,000th LEAF electric hatchback had been sold to a dentist from the UK. This not only makes the LEAF the best-selling electric car to date, but also shows how quickly plug-in adoption is accelerating.

We look over the LEAF’s first three (and a bit) years, and compare its sales figures to that of another popular ‘green’ car, the Toyota Prius.


Ford’s Focus EV is unarguably little more than a ‘compliance’ car, with limited sales around the U.S. and practically none sold in the UK. But earlier this week, we heard a rumour which said that Ford was working on a plug-in hybrid variant of its Focus hatchback for the 2015 model year.

Will it be more popular than the Focus EV?


Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made a name for himself by challenging the status quo, from the banking industry to the automotive world. But now, he wants us all to lease our cars rather than buy them.

By using some ‘creative financing’ — where the value of the Tesla Model S is guaranteed to be more than that of a similarly aged, similarly-specced Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan, Tesla has managed to keep its Model S lease prices really affordable.

And that, says Musk, is the key to the future for automakers and customers.

But do you agree? Do you prefer buying over leasing, or vice versa?


Charging networks have become a vital lifeline for any EV owner wanting to travel beyond the single-charge range of their electric cars. They’re especially popular with owners of cars that feature rapid-charge capabilities (like the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i-Miev)

But on Tuesday night, a system-wide upgrade is bringing an entire UK charging network offline, resulting in limited charge capabilities. ChargeYourCar the provider in question, says if you’ve used the charging point before you’ll still be able to get a charge. But new users visiting a charger for the first time won’t be able to plug-in.

This comes on the same day that a similar software update is happening in the U.S.

Our question is this: why is it needed?

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Part 2

South to north in a Nissan LEAF, west to east in a Model S, more money from the U.S. DoE for EV research, ATVM extension, a BMW i3 lease quote has us reeling in shock and BMW i3 deliveries happening so quietly we didn’t even notice


On Friday, our guest David Peilow, along with Transport Evolved regular Robert Llewellyn, successfully completed a 390+ mile drive from London to Edinburgh in a Nissan LEAF. It took them well under 12 hours, smashing any previous records set for the quickest journey between the two cities by EV.

We talk to David about the trip, and why he did it in the first place. And we wonder how long it will be before someone else smashes his record.


If 390 miles sounds like too short a distance, a father/daughter team just completed a Tesla Model S, well ahead of any official trips doing the same by Tesla.

Both trips relied on quick charging infrastructure, and both trips proved that electric cars can travel far beyond the distance afforded by a single charge — provided they have reliable charging infrastructure.

So what’s stopping people from buying EVs? Price? Range Anxiety? Something else? And how do we tackle it?


This week, the U.S. DoE announced a $50 million fund to help drive the U.S. towards cleaner vehicles, including a $30 million fund towards making plug-in vehicles better and charging more convenient.

What should the money be spent on? And what would you do to the EV world with $30 million?


In addition, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz hinted that the DoE’s existing ATVM low-interest loan program could be widened this year to include the supply chain for automakers too — not just automakers themselves. What will this mean for the EV world? Does this mean that parts makers will start getting greener too?


BMW’s i3 electric car has always been targeted at a premium market, but one lease quote for the i3 REx from the U.S. — admittedly not an official quote as BMW hasn’t released lease packages yet — has us reeling in horror.

Does BMW risk pricing itself out of the market?


Did you know that BMW has already started deliveries of its i3 electric car to customers in the UK? We didn’t either, but the first official delivery of a customer BMW i3 EV happened on January 11.

Since then, some more cars have been arriving in the UK, but to our knowledge, no BMW i3 REx have appeared yet.

Do you know anyone with a BMW i3 yet? And why is BMW keeping all these deliveries so quiet?

Ad Break: Chronovirus

Note: If you’re watching this show live, you won’t see this ad. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the book…

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

Tesla prices up the Model S for China, hints that China may get a Tesla factory of its very own, workplace charging gets tough in Silicon Valley, the fragrance for every Tesla owner, and three little adorable Tesla fangirls.


Tesla opened its official Model S ordering portal for Chinese buyers this week, along with official Chinese pricing. Equivalent to Model S U.S. pricing — plus taxes and shipping — it looks to be fairly competitive, and doesn’t price-gouge like many overseas brands in China do.

In related news, China may be home to the first full-size Tesla factory outside of the U.S., Elon Musk hinted this week. Why is China so important for Tesla, and what would a factory there mean for Chinese customers?


In most countries, if you know there’s a charging space where you’re headed, the chances are it’ll be free when you arrive, even at work. But for Silicon Valley employees in EV-friendly California, that’s no longer a given. 

We chat about how to handle workplace charging station demand, and how best to ensure everyone gets the charge they need when there are more cars than charging points.


Do you admire Tesla CEO Elon Musk? Do you wish you had his drive, his ingenuity, and his love of tech?

Now there’s a fragrance for you, called Elon’s Musk. Okay, so it’s a spoof video from a comedy YouTube channel, but we think it’s just too funny to miss out on the show!


And finally…

We’re all fans of the Model S’ awesome acceleration. But how do you put it into words? This trio of adorable children managed just fine! 


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