T.E.N. Episode 19: Road trips, VW Plug-ins and Longer Range

Welcome to episode nineteen 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: Coast to coast road trips in the USA, BYD launches a new (very familiar looking) van, Model S popularity, VW plug-in hybrids, i3 tax, Nissan adverts, longer range LEAFs and is BMW being hesitant about EVs?

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 19 Show Notes

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

Road Tripping In the USA

Last summer Elon Musk, when speaking to shareholders, mentioned that he would like to travel across the US from coast to coast in a Model S when the SuperCharger network linked the two sides of the country.

However, this week, a father and daughter team beat him to it travelling from New York to Los Angeles in their Model S. And, of course, this trip didn’t cost them anything as all charging on the SuperCharger network is free.

The team keep the Tesla community up to date with posts to the official Tesla Motors forum who were all rooting for them.

It seems though, that Elon – not to be showed up – is planning his own trip. He and his family will be taking a roadtrip over Spring Break. He also let everyone know that that two teams from Tesla are gearing up at the moment to try and do the trip this weekend- albeit in the opposite direction – in the fastest time the Supercharger Network allows.

Oh yes, he did also congratulate the father and daughter team – well… kinda. He retweeted @plugshare who congratulated them. That’s… almost the same thing.

What’s Good For Nissan is Good For BYD as Rumors of Cloned Electric Van Abound

According to China Car Times, BYD has just finished development of the M3, a vehicle which looks like it might be offered in either six-seat MPV format or box-panel van.

As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s true, then we think Nissan should be particularly touched by the latest vehicle rumoured to debut at this year’s Bejing Auto Show in April. That’s because the M3 bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nissan NV200, Nissan’s multi-purpose platform which is offered in panel van, MPV and taxi cab variants

Like the Nissan original, the M3 will reportedly come with a 1.5 litre gasoline engine as standard, but BYD is rumoured to be considering an all-electric variant of the vehicle using the powertrain and battery pack from its BYD e6 crossover.

Copying the looks of another car isn’t that unusual in China, but what has got our attention is the suggestion that BYD isn’t stopping with just the NV200′s design aesthetic. It wants to replicate its drivetrain options too.

Like the Nissan original, the M3 will reportedly come with a 1.5 litre gasoline engine as standard, but BYD is rumoured to be considering an all-electric variant of the vehicle using the powertrain and battery pack from its BYD e6 crossover.

We had an interesting time with the BYD e6, so we remain unconvinced that this will work out. But look forward to finding out more.

Tesla Model S More Popular In Washington Last Year Than California

Thanks to some sales data from Hedges & Company it appears the state of Washington, not California, is where most Teslas were sold during 2013 – this is contrary to what many people, including us at Transport Evolved, would guess.

Last year an average of seven point nine out of every ten thousand new cars registered in California were Teslas. Yet in Washington state during 2013, an average of 8.3 out of every 10,000 new car registrations were Teslas, placing it above California.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why this is so. While the state of Washington doesn’t offer any specific rebates for buyers of plug-in cars over the seven and a half grand Federal tax credit, electric cars are exempt from sales tax. That alone can save thousands on a new car sticker price.

In addition, the state doesn’t require EV drivers to pay tax on charging stations installations for their home, although they will have to pay a one hundred dollar annual tax to offset the revenue normally collected from motorists via Washington’s gasoline taxes.

Electricity prices, believed to be the cheapest in the whole of the U.S., also help to make EVs a no-brainer for anyone wanting to save money.

VW’s Plug-in Hybrid Will Be a Plug-in Version of the GTi

If you like VW Golfs, you’re probably a fan of the GTi, GTD and R32 models due to their powerful engines, great road holding and sporty personalities. Well, if you also like eco cars, you’ll be excited to know that later this year, a new performance-oriented badge will enter Golf stable: the plug-in GTE.

As you can probably guess, the E stands for Electric.

Volkswagen’s soon-to-launch Golf Plug-in hybrid will combine a turbocharged, four-cylinder, direct injection gasoline engine developing a maximum of one hundred and forty eight brake horsepower with an eighty kilowatt electric motor. That’s an electric motor the same size as the one found in Nissan’s all-electric LEAF.

Range in all-electric mode is claimed to be around thirty one miles, courtesy of an eight point eight kilowatt-hour battery pack fitted underneath the load bay where the standard VW Golf’s gas tank sits. Due to this, we’d expect the GTE to have a smaller liquid fuel tank than its non plug-in sibling, but we’re not sure how much smaller at this time.

Combined, the car will accelerate from naught to sixty two miles per hour in seven point six seconds, which is just a little faster than the BMW i3 REx’s and a little slower than the BMW i3 EV.

NJ = 0 Tax for i3

While Californians may miss out on some perks if they choose an i3 REx over the all-electric i3 BEV, as we’ve reported recently, buyers in New Jersey will be able to avoid paying sales tax on their new i3, regardless of the model they choose.

That’s according to Tom Moloughney, one of BMW’s most prominent Electronauts who has driven more electric miles in a BMW Mini E and subsequently a BMW ActiveE as part of BMW’s long EV test fleet program than anyone else we know.

Moloughney, himself a resident of New Jersey, posted the confirmation yesterday on the BMW i3 Facebook page.

That’s because New Jersey, like several other states in the union, follows the same vehicle classifications set out by the Californian Air Resources Board when deciding what perks and incentives to offer green car buyers. Under CARB’s regulations, the i3 REx is classified as a BEVx, a new classification of vehicle outlined to cater to vehicles which are primarily electric, but do have an on-board range-extending engine.

Meet George

Have you met George? He’s from Atlanta and likes iced tea and pulled pork sandwiches. He’s also Nissan Leaf owner who switched to driving electric after being fed up with sitting in traffic and paying for gas… Oh, and he’s a cartoon.

George is the focus of a new advert for the Nissan Leaf which focusses on the customer experience rather than ethereal and complex subjects such as climate change and mindfulness.

The advert also shows how the EV bug can spread through simple measured as showing someone that these cars do work or even by just explaining how much money is being saved.

As adverts go, it’s simple, interesting, fun and relatable. Fingers crossed this shows a new direction for electric car advertising.

Longer Range Leaf?

In the past few months we’ve heard rumours that Nissan was planning to extend that range in the future with improved battery technology and perhaps bigger battery packs, but now it appears the Japanese automaker is getting serious about offering a longer-legged LEAF in a future model year lineup.

Y’see Nissan is asking existing LEAF customers how much they’d pay for a 150-mile LEAF — if it were to make one, that is.

The survey was first reported over on the popular MyNissanLEAF owners forum on Tuesday, where various LEAF owners in the U.S. said the Japanese automaker had contacted them via email to ask them their thoughts about future LEAF models. Part of the survey form focused on a hypothetical hundred and fifty-mile EPA-rated LEAF, presumably to gauge interest in a longer-range version of the popular electric hatchback.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this hypothetical longer-ranged car however, is that Nissan asked the owners it invited to take part in the survey to choose how much more they’d be willing to pay for the extra range. The most expensive choice was $5,000 more than the current model.

Maybe Nissan is feeling the pressure to keep ahead of the game?

BMW Hesitant about EVs?

BMW’s production Chief Harald Krueger, told Automotive News this week that the German automaker won’t be adding any new electric models to its lineup until it knows what demand really is for plug-in cars.

Given the fact that BMW has a dedicated group of supporters – and even more envious fans – from their Mini and ActiveE trials, plus more than eleven thousand claimed orders so far for its i3 and i3 REx, I’m not quite sure what would constitute proof to BMW that there is demand for these cars. I mean, some people are having to wait 6 months for their i3 order to be fulfilled.

We’re not sure if Krueger’s take on future plug-in BMW development is an official company line or more his own opinion, but we have to admit to being a little disappointed that even after significant investment in plug-in cars, BMW still appears to be unconvinced of its plug-in future.


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