Transport Evolved Electric Car News Panel Show 196: Bye Bye, Bar

On today’s Transport Evolved: EV sales are doubling year on year, Elon and Johnny get done for speeding, and Nikki’s LEAF loses it’s first capacity bar.

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


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Welcome to the show! Today, Nikki and Mark are joined by the innovative Ben Nelson, solar and sustainable guru, electric car advocate, plug-in Prius owner, and explainer of all things DIY EV. Here’s what he’s been up to lately:

I did work on a small winter-appropriate EV using salvaged materials and an ice skate. My little girl had fun with it too.
Not much for updates on the flooded Mitsubishi. I participated in several auto salvage auctions, but the prices always went oddly high, even for one that was in a “roll-over” accident. It’s a strange little car that NOBODY in my area has, yet they are in high demand on salvage auctions. An electrical engineer friend is going to come over and we are going to try to power the car’s motor using 240V AC wall power and a small AC Drive.
I may end up selling the car or parting it out. There’s a few parts on there (like the heater) that would be really handy for other people’s custom EV projects.
I don’t remember if we talked together before about my solar swing set. I built a children’s playhouse and swing set, specifically to mount a solar panel. It’s a 400 watt panel and is at 48V nominal, so I can DIRECTLY charge my electric motorcycle on it. It’s very simple and works really well. It’s DC-to-DC charging so it’s very efficient.
Speaking of electric motorcycles, a friend of mine is starting “Black Box Bikes”. The idea is to sell kits that allow a person to hook up a golf cart motor to a drive-shaft motorcycle. It allows for a very cost-effective DIY electric motorcycle that can also be easily upgraded. Since there’s no chain, it’s super-quiet as well.
Also near me, in Madison, Wisconsin, there’s a small startup company making electric scooters. They have a small removable lithium pack, which can be taken with and recharged indoors (great for apartment dwellers.) It’s one of the smallest, most practical EVs I’ve seen. They are available right now and only cost $2000 USD.
They have “moped” in their name, but most people would call this a scooter.
I’m already busy planning for summer festivals such as those by Mother Earth News and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. It’s the largest event of its kind in the United States. I help out with the Clean Car Show at the MREA. This year, we will have there Team Illuminati from the Automotive X-Prize. Kevin Smith and the car will be there. We’re looking forward to it and are hoping to be able to take it for a test drive!

(To find  out more about Ben’s EV endeavours, be sure to find him on Facebook,  read his blog, or subscribe to his YouTube channel.)

Part 1

BMW i3 wins two awards, and BMW ups i3 Production, Volvo launches the S60L PPHEV and how EV Sales are doubling year on year.


This week, the New York Auto Show started, and the BMW i3 was awarded not one, but two accolades by the World Car Awards. Winning both World Green Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year, we try to figure out if we agree with the judges.


In related news, BMW has announced this week that it has had to up production of the i3 to keep up with demand. Despite some early U.S. buyers being disappointed by delayed shipping, the production ramp from 70 per week to 100 per week should keep everyone happy.


Meanwhile, over in China, Swedish automaker Volvo has launched the S60L PPHEV. We ask if it would ever sell in the U.S.


Finally for the segment, a German study was published this week which indicated that not only have EV sales been doubling year on year for the past three years, but could reach 1 million by 2016! We examine what this means for EV fans.

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Part 2

How Upper Normandy is starting an electric car revolution, Johnny Depp and Elon Musk get into trouble, Tesla battles Arizonan law makers (again) and Nikki Loses a capacity bar in her LEAF.


Upper Normandy in France might not be the first place you think of when you talk about electric cars, but generous incentives have left some pretty amazing EV purchase prices for its residents. We find out more.


Ahead of the premiere of his latest film, Johnny Depp admits he and Elon Musk were pulled over for speeding… along with some fellow cast members. Is tabloid gossip like this good for electric cars?


For many months, Tesla has been working hard with pro-Tesla legislators to reverse previously anti-Tesla legislation in the state of Arizona. With Tesla looking for a place for its Gigfactory, the hope had been that Arizona Senators would reverse the ruling and let Tesla sell direct to consumers in state. But as Tesla detailed this week, that won’t happen this session.


Nikki has had her Nissan LEAF — which she nicknamed Hiro Nakamura — for three years, one month. But this morning, she lost her first capacity bar. Is she worried, and is her LEAF still healthy? We find out, and chat to her about TransportEvolved’s upcoming participation in the WAVETrophy.

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Part 3

Nissan offers free public charging for two years for all LEAF drivers, the UK government promises a dynamic wireless charging trial for EVs, how a Tesla Model S is almost as cheap to run as a Minivan, and the Coda Sedans left behind.


At the New York Auto Show yesterday, Nissan announced its plans to offer free public charging to all LEAF owners for two years under a new scheme called “EZ Charge” Is it following in Tesla’s tire tracks? 


The UK Government confirmed this week that it is going to electrify a portion of UK motorway as part of a dynamic wireless charging trial for electric cars. But how does it work?


Is a Tesla Model S cheaper to run than a Honda Minivan? One San Francisco Bay resident sat down and did the maths. You’ll be surprised by the results.

And finally…


The little Coda Sedan had great plans to offer electric car motoring to the masses. But it failed, and now eighty of them lie in a californian lot waiting for a home. We tell you the cautionary tale of the Sedans with no owner. 


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