T.E.N. Electric Car News May 23, 2014: Delivery news, Tesla UK lawsuit and e-NV200 Pricing

Welcome to Episode 35 of T.E.N, for the week beginning May 19, 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: Model S deliveries in the UK, Tesla UK lawsuit, i3 REx deliveries, Formula E car delivery, crushed ActiveE, LEAF recall, Tesla employment, e-NV200 UK prices, Tesla softtop, Bollore in the US and don’t buy the Fiat 500e.

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! 

Model S Makes it to UK

It’s been a long time coming, two years after the first deliveries started in the US, the first UK Model S will be delivered to its owner.

According to The Green Car Website, the first UK-specification Tesla Model S will be delivered on Saturday, seventh June, with other deliveries following shortly after. Like the launch of the Model S in other European markets last year and the US two years ago, expect the first few months to contain a higher-than-average number of Model S deliveries as pre-orders are fulfilled as quickly as possible by the Californian automaker.

There’s no official word yet who the first Tesla Model S recipient in the UK will be, although we’ve heard rumours that suggest customer number one is both a long-time fan of the electric automaker and well-known.

All we can say for certain is this… It’s not me and it’s not Mark.

Like with Europe Tesla will have the first SuperCharger locations up and working when the first car is handed over. We were right when we thought we spotted the first UK Supercharger location — at the South Mimms Services on London’s orbital M25 motorway — a few weeks back. Other UK sites are currently being worked on with their rough locations being on the M-twenty near to Folkstone and Dover, the M-four near Bath and Bristol, the M-five near Birmingham and the M-six near Manchester.

These four initial sites will make it possible to drive almost anywhere in the UK in a Tesla Model S purely on supercharging alone, with the only exception being the far north of Scotland.

Tesla Charging Troubles

UK based green utility company and electric car charging infrastructure provider Ecotricity has filed court papers against Californian automaker Tesla Motors in a disagreement over public charging infrastructure.

Reported by The Evening Standard Ecotricity has brought an interim High Court injunction against Tesla Motors for what it calls a “smash and grab raid” on its intellectual property concerning nationwide public charging stations.

Ecotricity says it was approached by Tesla many months ago when the electric automaker was planning its Tesla Model S entry into the UK market to help it plan and build its UK Supercharger network.

But after introducing Tesla to various motorway service companies, Ecotricity says Tesla went behind its back and tried to cut it out of any deals.

Details about what has actually happened are hard to come by but we have enquiries out with both companies and we will bring you more information as this develops.

I see my i3

While BMW delivered the first all-electric i3 cars back at the start of the month, the BMW i3 REx appears to have struggled through EPA testing procedures for some reason.

All this came to an end this week when the EPA released their findings to BMW and it was able to start deliveries if the i3 Rex to customers. BMW EV-advocate Tom Melogne was the first driver to pick up the i3 REx in the US.

In the EPA tests the i3 REx gained: one hundred and seventeen miles per gallon equivalent, that’s only 7 less than the fully battery electric i3. On gasoline only power the i3 REx will get thirty nine miles per gallon or two point six gallons per one hundred miles – not that the REx is meant to be used for that long.

Driving More Excitement for Formula E

Staying with delivery news for the moment, the official Formula E racing cars were delivered to all ten teams taking part this week at their shared premises at Donington in the UK.

The cars – snappily called the Spark-Renault SRT underscore zero one E – have been jointly made by Renault and Spark Racing Technology. They can put out two hundred kilowatts peak power while weighing eight hundred kilograms. This gives them an estimated naught to sixty two miles per hour of three seconds.

All teams taking part will be racing in the same car. The Formula E races will take place over ten cities across the globe of which nine of them have been announced.

Crushing our Hearts

Many of our viewers will be either remember personally or through having watched Who Killed the Electric Car? when GM crushed the EVones, causing upset and bad feeling that lasted decades.

So no modern manufacturer would make the same mistake, right?

Unfortunately it seems that BMW has done just this. A photo that was snapped and posted on Facebook shows a truckload of BMW ActiveE electric cars having been crushed and now on their way somewhere.

Leased to hundreds of BMW ‘electronauts’ across the U.S. as part of a two-year test fleet program to develop and test the drivetrain used in the i-three, the one-series derived ActiveE combined the style of BMW’s popular sedan with the zero emissions of an electric car. While BMW had always planned to take back the ActiveEs when it started U.S. deliveries of the BMW i-three EV and BMW i3 REx, many had hoped that somehow these important cars would avoid the crusher.

It’s unclear how many BMW ActiveE cars are headed for the same fate, but with BMW unable to sell them on to private buyers and only a limited number of cars destined for a second life in car sharing schemes, we’d guess this isn’t the last truck load of perfectly functioning ActiveE cars you’ll see heading off to be destroyed.

LEAF Recall

Two hundred and eleven two thousand and fourteen model year Nissan LEAFs in the US and sixty five in Canada have been recalled due to missing welding in their front structural member assemblies.

Rather than fixing the cars affected, Nissan has said that it was just replace them whole. Something unheard of in the automotive industry.

There are no details given by Nissan as to the cause of the missing weld, but Nissan’s official recall notice, listed on the N-H-T-S-A website says that without the welds present, the vehicles fail to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for Occupant Crash Protection and Electric-Powered Vehicles: Electrolyte Spillage and Electrical Shock Protection.

So this is something they want to fix quickly.

This is the second official recall for the LEAF in the U.S. this year. Earlier in March, the twenty fourteen LEAF was recalled to address a software fault with the car’s airbag sensor system.

Tesla Employment Level Accolade

This week, as reported by Bloomberg, Tesla Motors, the silicon valley automotive startup, has become the State’s biggest automotive employer.

Employing over six thousand people, Tesla beat out the previous holder of this title, Toyota, that had just five thousands three hundred employees in the region.

This employment level places Tesla alongside other Silicon Valley start up and social media site Facebook who has around seven thousand employees.

Of course Tesla employs more people than this world wide, but this does hint at how large the company is truly becoming. One interesting fact to come out of this is that the gigafactory could, on its own, employ more people than Tesla currently does in the whole of California.

UK Pricing for Nissan e-NV200

Nissan has announced the UK prices for its all-electric e-NV-two hundred van, it’s commercial and regular vehicle that uses the same drivetrain as the LEAF.

The van has had positive reviews from those who have tested it including British utility company British Gas and global brands like FedEx, IKEA and Coca Cola.

The e-NV200 will start in the UK for commercial purposes at thirteen thousand thee hundred and ninety three pounds and seventeen thousand eight hundred and eighty five pounds for the ‘normal people’ version. Both of these prices include the applicable UK grant and battery rental.

Both versions will be available from July with a variety of different spec levels and options. Following the model established with the LEAF, the van can be bought in Acenta and Tekna specifications. However Nissan deviates from this a little with the Acenta Rapid, Acenta Rapid Plus, Tekna Rapid and Tekna Rapid Plus specs.

As the names may suggest, these intermediate levels mainly differentiate what type of charging is available with the van. The ‘Rapid’ variants coming with CHAdeMO rapid charging and the ‘Plus’ models coming with an upgraded 6.6kW on-board charger.

Tesla Soft Top

Have you ever thought that the Model S just wasn’t ‘Californian’ enough? Do you dream of driving a luxury electric soft top with all the gadgets and gizmos of the Model S?

Well now you can: world-renowned body specialists Newport Convertible Engineering announced this week that it will offer the Tesla Model S in soft-top convertible, hard-top convertible, and two-door coupe variants.

They had originally hoped to buy five thousand vehicles direct from Tesla, carrying out the conversions on brand-new vehicles and then selling them on as twenty fifteen models but due to high global demand for the Model S they now customers to order their Model Ss first, then ship to them for conversion.

How much will this cost? Well prices range from twenty nine thousand dollars for turning a standard Model S sedan into a four-door soft-top convertible through to an massive eighty thousand dollars for converting it into a two-door hard boot convertible.

BlueIndy Heads to Indianapolis

The Bollore Group, the French company behind the highly successful Autolib electric car sharing program in Paris, has just announces its first U.S. venture — a massive car share service in Indianapolis.

Due to go live sometime this year or early next year the car sharing program will have around five hundred cars with one thousand charging stations. Like the original Autolib service in Paris, BlueIndy will make use of its own specially-designed electric cars — known as the Bollore Bluecar — instead of ones from mainstream automakers.

This is a three-door city vehicle with seating for four. Under the floor of the car lies a thirty kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack coupled to a small supercapacitor, while power is delivered to the wheels via a fifty kilowatt electric motor. Intended primarily for city use car is supposedly capable of a range of up to one hundred and sixty miles in the city, with a highway capable top speed of eighty one miles per hour.

Don’t Buy Our Car

And finally… It’s not every day you get a manufacturer who doesn’t want you to buy there car. But this seems to be the case with Fiat. Or, at least, the opinion of Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who told an audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington yesterday that he’s fed up of losing money to the three-door electric hatch.

According to Marchionne Fiat is losing fourteen thousand dollars on every Fiat five hundred e and that he won’t sell one more car than he has to due to California zero emission regulations.

Which is a pity.


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