Transport Evolved Episode 185: More Proof Needed

On today’s Transport Evolved: Tesla completes its coast-to-coast trip in under four days, Nissan gets customer feedback on a potential 150-mile LEAF, Brammo comes to the UK, BMW says public chargers aren’t important to EV adoption, and dogs that love plug-in cars. 

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

NOTE: Today’s show is being broadcast and recorded two hours ahead of normal schedule, at 5pm GMT (12pm EST)

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 Waitrose’s Head of Sustainability Quentin Clark and editor of GreenCarReports, Classic Car aficionado and all-round nice guy John Voelcker.

Head of Sustainability at Waitrose supermarket chain in the UK, Quentin Clark has spent many of his 26 years with the company in commercial buying notably within produce, fish and livestock. As a brand, the chain has always been keen to engage in sustainable practices and high ethical standards so it’s no surprise Quentin is heavily interested in sustainable transport solutions.  With a degree in Geology and geochemistry from Exeter, Quentin is also acutely aware of the world outside of the supermarket universe, and his first career in seismic exploration is still relevant in his current role.

Quentin is a keen biker, and can’t wait to get his hands on an all-electric bike for his daily commute into London. While he currently doesn’t own an electric car, his recent 500-miles in a day experiment in a Nissan LEAF has made him hanker after the delights of EVs, so expect one to appear in his garage shortly.

A Stanford graduate, John has spend many years writing about and enjoying everything automotive. Currently a Senior Editor at HighGearMedia –– the company behind GreenCarReportsMotor Authority and The Car Connection – John can also be found contributing on Fox News, Tech Review, IEEE Spectrum, HybridCars.com and Portfolio.com. He’s also an avid classic car fan, having authored and contributed to several books on classic british cars, and can often be found working on his own classic car collection and drooling over the Bring-a-Trailer listings.

(You can find Quentin on Twitter, or chat with John on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, and read his daily posts on GreenCarReports.)

Part 1

Tesla completes coast-to-coast Model S Supercharger route in under four days, Model E will come with Supercharger compatibility, Tesla customers in Germany will get rebates for switching to renewables, Nissan explores 150-mile LEAF, and Brammo confirms UK distributor.


This morning, at 8 am Eastern Standard Time, two Tesla Model S cars rolled into New York having completed a three day (76 hour) trip from Los Angeles to New York, stopping only to charge at Supercharger stations en-route.

Congratulations to the team — but we’ve got to ask: what does this trip really achieve — and is it time for EVs to stop trying to be ICE cars?


Speaking at an owners’ event in Munich, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla’s third-generation ‘Model E’ will come with Supercharger capability, allowing owners of its affordable EV to charge at the same stations as Model S and Model X owners. Furthermore, Model E owners will be able to charge for free, too.


In addition, Musk confirmed a deal between German-based Sixt and Bank11 in which Tesla customers will be given a reimbursement by Tesla for any premium incurred for switching their energy supplier to renewable only energy — even if they’ve already got a 100% renewable tariff. Is this what we should expect moving forward from Tesla, and how can it afford to do this?


This week, Nissan North America quietly sent out a questionnaire to some of its owners to ascertain — among other things — if owners would want to own a hypothetical LEAF with a 150-mile range, and how much they’d be prepared to pay for it. 

In addition, Nissan asked owners if they’d pay a premium for faster charging. Given the fact that Tesla is promising supercharging capabilities for life, what do we think Nissan is planning?


Oregon-based Brammo Motorcycles has for a long time been at the forefront of the electric two-wheeled market. But this week, it announced the launch of its UK sales with a partnership with Darvill Distribution.

Brammo rival Zero pulled out of the UK market last year, citing poor sales and lack of incentives. What will UK bikers make of the Brammo, and without all-important incentives for plug-in bikes, will UK buyers pay the premium over a gasoline model?

Ad Break: 

Since we’ve started using YouTube for our online streaming, we’re at a point where we can’t embed adverts into our regular live stream. However, we think it’s really worth going to www.auidblepodcast.com/transportevolved to join the fantastic Audible service. There are over 80,000 titles to choose from covering pretty much any topic you care to mention. Sign up, and you can hear your favourite stories being read to you by some of the best names in Entertainment!
(If you’re watching this show live, you’ll note that we’ve got a different ad…)

Part 2

BMW says it won’t make any more plug-in cars beyond the i3, i8 until it knows about demand, says public charging isn’t important for EV adoption, Volkswagen names the Golf Plug-in Hybrid the Golf GTE, an even more performance-oriented Tesla Model S is on the way, and which U.S. state loves EVs the most.


BMW might be quietly delivering its i3 electric car in Europe and promising big thinks for its U.S. Electronauts, but this week BMW confirmed it won’t be pushing forward plans for future plug-in models — despite trademarking the i1 through i9 names — until it knows for sure how popular its i3 and i8 turn out to be. 

Given BMW already has a six-month waiting list for the i3, what exactly IS BMW doing? Is it a marketing ploy? A change of heart? Or just over-cautious business logic?


Moreover,  BMW board member Herbert Diess said this week that public charging stations aren’t important to EV adoption, citing information gathered in BMW’s long-term MIniE and ActiveE test fleets.

He’s right in some ways. After all, most people we know with a plug-in car just charge at home, and in most situations that’s enough. But we’re talking early adopters, not mainstream users here, and most of the signs point to a need for public charging before mainstream buyers will consider switching. What is the solution to this problem?


Volkswagen’s popular Golf hatchback is, believe it or not, forty years old this year. During its time, the VW Golf GTi has become a byword for affordable, driving fun, but now VW is about to add a new performance name to the Golf stable: the GTE. 

That’s the name VW says its plug-in hybrid Golf will be given when it goes on sale later this year. Essentially the same as the Audi A3 e-Tron plug-in hybrid, do we think it deserves the performance-oriented badge? And will that badge help VW sell more of them?


The Tesla Model S P85+ is one fast car. Believe us (Mark and Nikki have been driving one this week). If 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds isn’t fast enough though, tuning company Saleen is rumoured to be building an even faster version of Tesla’s iconic car. 

But what will it be like? Surely the motor and battery pack is already fast enough, right?


You’d think that with its generous incentives and fantastic EV-perks, car-loving California would be home to the most plug-in car sales for 2013. But it turns out that particular accolade goes to Washington, a little further north. 

But why is Washington EV-central? And how can other states follow its lead?

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

BMWi3 REx gets sales tax exemption in NJ, Hawaii passes new pro-EV parking bill, Aerovironment unveils its Turbo Cord, Nissan installs its 1,000th CHAdeMo charger in Europe, and why dogs love the Nissan LEAF.


BMW’s i3 REx might not get HOV-lane white-sticker access in California, but this week,  BMW confirmed it would be exempt from sales tax in NJ when it goes on sale there later this year. 


Hawaii has always been known for its love of EVs, but now a new bill which passed on Friday makes it even easier for EV owners to plug-in since it requires all parking lots over 100 cars large to include EV parking and charging or face a massive fine.  We discuss if its policies should be implemented elsewhere.


For EV owners in the U.S., charging at 110-volts is often the only choice when out and about without a dedicated 240-volt outlet nearby. But now thanks to Areovironment, a new charging cord, called the TurboCord, makes it easy to carry one ’emergency’ charging cable that can handle 110 or 240 volts easily. 


This week, Nissan installed its 1,000th CHAdeMo quick charger in Europe. But how reliable are CHAdeMO stations, and how can Nissan and charging providers make them more reliable? 


Video awesomeness for Mark to help TE expand even more. Only three items left on the wish list. We’ve bought the bulk of the computer, we just need your help to get the rest.

And finally…

Nikki has a Nissan LEAF and two dogs. They really do prefer EVs over petrol cars and in fact her Border Collie is usually sick if he travels in a non-EV. So it doesn’t seem all that strange that Japanese LEAF owners agree: their dogs love them! 


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