Transport Evolved Electric Car News Panel Show 193: Shields Activate!

On today’s Transport Evolved: New pro-Tesla bills hit NJ, Nissan recalls the LEAF, Ampera prices get slashed, and Ford one-ups Cadillac

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

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Welcome to the show! Today, Nikki and Mark are joined by editor of GreenCarReports, Classic Car aficionado and all-round nice guy John Voelcker

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 John on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, and read his daily posts on GreenCarReports.)

Part 1

Tesla announces under-body titanium shield for the Model S Sedan, the NHTSA closes its official inspection into Tesla fires, and Nissan recalls 2013-14 LEAF.


Earlier today, Tesla Motors made an official announcement stating that all new Tesla Model S cars built at its factory will come with a redesigned triple layer shield, made of an aluminum-titanium-aluminum sandwich. Designed as a direct response to two incidents last year in which Tesla Model S cars hit debris on the freeway and punctured their battery packs, ultimately resulting in a vehicular fire, CEO Elon Musk says the redesigned shield has been extensively tested and is designed to reduce an already slim chance of impact damage to ‘near zero.’ Existing customer cars will be retrofitted with the improved design shield free of charge.


In related news, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has formally closed its own investigation into the Tesla fires, stating that it could not find no ‘defect trend’ in the luxury electric sedans.

We talk about the NHTSA’s findings, and ask if Tesla’s decision to reinforce the battery pack is more about keeping its owners happy and its reputation intact than anything else.


Staying with the subject of official recalls and repairs, Nissan announced an official recall of more than 1 million cars worldwide this week, included an estimated 29,140 (approx.) LEAFs for a software glitch in its OCS. We explain what the problem is, and how Nissan is fixing it.

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Part 2

Legislators in New Jersey stand up to the MVC and Gov. Christie, why the BMW i3 BEVx remains absent from the California CVRP, how California’s green stickers may soon get expanded, and the Renault Zoe wins the Monte Carlo ZENN Rally


Despite an anti-Tesla sentiment in the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and Christie administration, some New Jersey legislators are working hard to bring bills through both houses which will provide Tesla exemptions to existing law and allow them to continue to sell cars direct to consumers in the state.

In addition, we hear that there are rumors Tesla has been given an additional fifteen days grace of operation in the state before the new law — due to come in on April 1 — is enacted. But who decided this and do they have the correct jurisdiction?


The BMW i3 BEVx was supposedly built to satisfy CARB regulations in California. But with its launch weeks away, the i3 BEVx is still not on the CVRP or HOV-lane access list. We ask why. 


There were only forty thousand of these green stickers to be claimed and at the last count more than thirty six thousand two hundred and thirty had been claimed.  But Californian legislators are rushing to open up another 45,000 stickers. Will they be successful, and what will it mean for plug-in hybrid owners in California?


Finally, the Renault ZOE was crowned the winner of the 2014 Monte Carlo ZENN rally last weekend, beating cars like the Nissan LEAF, Tesla Roadster and Think City. What electric car would you like to go rallying in — and why?

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Part 3

A roundup from the Volkswagen electromobility event in Berlin, the Vauxhall Ampera gets a price slash from some UK dealers, and Ford takes on Cadillac in the best plug-in parody we’ve seen.


Last week, both Nikki and our guest John Voelcker were lucky enough to test-drive various Volkswagen electric cars in Germany at VW’s official electromobility event at the Tempelhof Airfield in Berlin. We chat about what they thought of the e-Up, e-Golf and pre-production Golf GTE.


The Vauxhall Ampera is the UK market version of the Chevrolet Volt. Larger than most Brits are used to, the Ampera — also quite pricey compared to many diesel and hybrid cars — has been outsold by the Nissan LEAF so far by five to one. But now some Vauxhall dealers are offering unofficial price cuts of more than £5,000, bringing the post-incentive price down to under £23,000. We ask if this will encourage more people to plug in.

And finally…


Remember Poolside, the oh-so-arrogant ‘I’m a 1 percenter’ ad staring Neal McDonough  for the Cadillac ELR? You know, the one which caused quite a stir earlier this year when it dared to portray a plug-in car owner as someone who hated Europeans, didn’t take vacations and was frankly the kind of person you wouldn’t want to work for let alone meet at a charging station.

Well, in a stroke of advertising genius Ford — YES Ford — has come up with its own version of the poolside ad featuring Pashon Murray, the founder of Detroit Dirt, a sustainability consultancy and advocacy group.

We love it.


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  • Guy Gooch

    LEAF 2013, I have first hand witness of this malfunction. It deactivated with my 120 pound daughter sitting in the front seat.

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