T.E.N. Electric Car News May 9, 2014. Ep33: Nick Clegg, i3 deliveries, Tesla financials, e-NV200, Larger battery packs.

Welcome to Episode 29 of T.E.N, for the week beginning May 5, 2014. 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: EVs for Deputy PMs, i3 deliveries, Tesla Q1 reports, The Tesla Model no-longer E, Nissan e-NV200, bigger battery packs, smashing stereotypes and more attacks on Tesla’s rights.

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.

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!

What follows, as always, is our raw script for the show today. (It’s why things are sometimes written out in words rather than numbers — and why we sometimes make some errors!) You’ll find it isn’t always quite identical to the video above, but we know some of you like to follow through and click on the stories as we discuss them. Enjoy! 

Not for Nick

Last week, Nick Clegg, the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, personally announced the launch of a new five hundred million pound fund to help support and encourage electric car adoption in the UK.

At the time, Clegg went on the record to say that “owning an electric car was no longer a dream or an inconvenience”  implying that there was no excuse for not making the switch from gasoline to electric.

Except a few days later, Clegg was caught making the age-old excuse that cars while electric cars were great they just weren’t suitable for HIS family. His excuse?  — that there wasn’t an electric car on the market big enough for him, his wife, and three sons to use, and that his current ride — a beaten up Ford Galaxy Minivan — was just too big to be offered as an EV.

We set the record straight this week with some suggestions for Mr. Clegg to consider that we think are both family friendly and would suit the Deputy Prime Minister.  Head over to our website at www. dot. transport evolved dot com to check out the list.

I’m here!

Finally, after a very long wait, the BMW i3 has finally hit roads across the U.S.

The first customers to receive their shiny new plug-in were Professor Charles Rabie and his wife from Boston, Massachusetts. A long-time fan of electric cars, Professor Rabie, who lectures at Tufts University, was previously an Active E electronaut.

Unlike previous electric car launches — in which only a handfull of electric cars were delivered in the first few weeks —  BMW’s i3 delivery schedule seems really well organized and stocked, with many former Active E and Mini E Electronauts already driving their own i3s off the dealer lot for the first time this week. Among them, our very own Michael Thwaite, who picked up his i3 Electronaut Edition earlier this week.

It’s worth noting though that the current i3 deliveries are limited to i3 EVs — not the range-extended i3 REx version. That’s because the i3 REx hasn’t been given its official gas mileage figures yet by the EPA, and until it does, it can’t go on sale.

Congratulations if you’ve just picked your new i3 EV up — and let us know how well it compares to your previous car!

Ya empezó!

Production of Nissan’s e-NV200 panel van, e-NV200 crew cab van and e-NV200 Evalia minivan started this week at Nissan’s Barcelona facility in Spain.

Produced on the same production line as Nissan’s petrol and diesel-powered NV200 vans, the all-electric e-NV200 range of vans will go on sale next month across Europe. Offering everything from a practical delivery vehicle to a family-friendly minivan, the e-NV200 family features the same drivetrain and battery pack found in the Nissan LEAF EV — and thankfully the same Level 2 and CHAdeMO charging options too.

This will make the e-NV200 probably the most versatile electric van on the market today, and it’s one we can’t wait to drive.

Early next month, Mark will be heading off to Barcelona to test one of the first vehicles off the production line, so be sure to come back soon to find out what he thought of this exciting addition to the Nissan family.

A car by any other name

For the past year or so, we’ve been getting used to the idea that Tesla’s next-generation, mass-market, affordable, long-distance electric car would be called the Tesla Model E after Tesla quietly trademarked the name.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has even used the name on occasion with reference to that vehicle, but this week we learned that Tesla has dropped its Model E trademark, almost as quietly as it acquired it in the first place.

As Autobloggreen reported this week, Tesla quietly dropped its claim to the Model E trademark at the end of April, meaning it will no-longer be able to use the Model E name for its third-generation car.

We’re not sure what Tesla will call its now un-named car, but we’re keen to know what kind of suggestions you have. Why not leave your thoughts in the comments below this video?

At least 186 miles?

For the past six months or so, we’ve heard lots of rumors — and first-hand evidence — to suggest that Nissan is looking to make the battery pack in its next-generation LEAF electric car a little bit bigger than the one in the current version.

So far though, it’s all been circumspect, a little unsure, and when it’s come from Nissan, a little ‘Will we, won’t we?”

This week however, Automotive News was given the best evidence yet that Nissan is indeed working on doing something rather special to the range of the next generation LEAF, courtesy of Nissan executive Andy Palmer.

According to Palmer, the next-generation LEAF will feature a ‘game-changing’ battery technology which will have a far higher energy density than current NIssan battery technology. Higher energy density means more energy can be stored for a given size — and that means longer ranges between charges.

As for how far the next-generation LEAF will travel? In his interview, Palmer hinted that a range of at least 300 kilometers (186 miles )        would be needed in order for the next-gen plug-in to compete in the marketplace with hydrogen fuel cell cars.

What range do you want to see in the next-gen LEAF? Let us know.

As safe as…Electric Cars?

We’ve heard many safety concerns over the years from people unsure that an electric car is for them. Among them is the concern that electric cars will fry your brain with all that electromagnetic radiation produced from the motor.

But that fear has been put to bed again, thanks to the wonders of people who do science.  Enter the results of a seven-country EU-funded study into electric car radiation, led by SINTEF, an independent research organization based in Trondheim, Norway.

The team of researchers examined the electromagnetic radiation produced by fully-electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen cars, and discovered that in general, vehicles with electric motors in them produce just one fifth of the levels of electromagnetic radiation considered dangerous by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.

So as well as being less likely to burst into flames, much less polluting and lower-stress to drive, electric cars won’t give you or your kids health problems, headaches, or cancer.

Smiles all round.

It’s WAR!

It’s hardly a secret that Toyota — and its premium brand Lexus — are no fans of electric cars.

But now Lexus has taken the Toyota corporate mistrust of electric vehicles one step further in the latest ad campaign for its hybrid range of cars.

Starting with a picture of a Nissan LEAF being plugged in and a superimposed timer counting down from 4 hours, the voice over proclaims that “While some are content to spend hours waiting at a charging station or driving in search of alternative fuel, we define progress differently.”

What follows is an attack on electric cars, portraying them as slow, boring and inconvenient, while Hybrids it says, are forward thinking, constantly evolving. They are, Lexus says in its ad, the “proven way.”

Let’s just say that Lexus’ claims are misinformed and far-fetched at best, and downright misleading at worst.

For shame. We’re guessing then that we won’t be seeing any Lexus plug-ins any time soon. Do you?

Q1 Promise

Tesla Motors published its Q1 twenty fourteen  results this week, sharing details of a really busy year ahead for the Californian automaker.

Net profits for Q1 using the non-GAAP method of accounting came in at seventeen million dollars, or about twelve cents earnings per share. Using the GAAP method of accounting however, Tesla turned a loss in Q1 of fifty million dollars, equivalent to forty cents per share.

Also disclosed as part of Q1 earnings however, was Tesla’s Q1 production and sales figures. Making seven thousand five hundred and thirty-five cars in Q1, Tesla sold six thousand, four hundred and fifty seven, with the majority of remaining cars being shipped out of the U.S. for overseas markets.

Production, Tesla told us, is up fifteen percent from its end-of year production figure for 2013, but by the end of this year, Tesla says it will be producing one thousand cars per week.

Way to go, Tesla.

Smashing Stereotypes

We’re often told by skeptics that electric cars aren’t suited to life in the countryside, or to high-mileage jobs like being a taxi cab.

But one taxi cab firm in Cornwall, England is proving both those notions wrong after one year of LEAF operation.

Enter C&C Taxis from St. Austell, who purchased their first Nissan LEAF taxi cab just under a year ago. Since then, the firm has purchased four more LEAFs, and has covered more than one hundred and fifty thousand miles in the interim, something it says has saved it forty thousand pounds in fuel costs.

With a DC rapid charger installed at its offices, C&C Taxis are able to keep their fleet of LEAFs running seven days a week with very little downtime. Topping up between fares, the LEAFs take the majority of fares and customers are now even asking for them specifically!

It just goes to show: electric cars can do anything.


Last week, we told you that Tesla was planning on preparing two, not one site in preparation for building its one-thousand square foot lithium-ion manufacturing and recycling Gigafactory.

This week, we can tell you that groundbreaking is going to be happening at one of those sites in less than a month.

This little snippet of information comes courtesy of yesterday’s post-Q1 Earnings media call with Elon Musk, in which the Tesla CEO promised groundbreaking at at least one of the Tesla Gigafactory sites ‘some time next month.’

We’ll say one thing about Tesla: it sure works fast.

Missing from Missouri

New Jersey, Texas and Arizona already ban Tesla from selling direct to customers, essentially banning the company from selling in the state at all. And now those sneaky auto dealer unions want to make Missouri the fourth state where Tesla isn’t welcome.

Sneaked in as an amendment to a bill already making its way through the lower house, the anti-tesla amendment has now been passed to the senate for a vote before Missouri ends its current legislative session. Worse still, there’s less than a week left before the current session ends.

Tesla, and its fans mobilized themselves late yesterday, and we’ll be keeping our ears to the ground for updates on this important story. But if you live in Missouri, now’s the time to write and call your senator to stop this bill from going ahead — that’s if you want to be able to buy a Tesla in your home state.


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