Welcome to Episode 36 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: WAVE Trophy world record attempt, EV support in the U.S., a greener power grid, Tesla’s great patent promise, Japan’s single charging network, fuel cell vehicle credits, quadricycle safety and aluminum air battery packs.
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!
While we didn’t make it to Stuttgart, Germany to take part week-long WAVE Trophy, five hundred and seven other electric car drivers did — and managed to set a new world record in the process.
To mark the start of the WAVE, those five hundred and seven electrically-powered vehicles paraded through the streets of Stuttgart, smashing the previous Guinness World Record by more than one hundred and forty cars!
Although only eighty cars were taking part in the WAVE proper, the remaining cars came from all over Europe specifically to take part in the world record attempt — and to give a massive send off to the WAVE participants.
Well done done to everyone who managed to make it there — here’s to more records next year!
Talking of getting more electric cars on the road, eight U.S. states took another step at the end of last week towards buying an electric car easier than ever before.
Following in the footsteps of California, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have joined the land of the HOV lane access sticker in a pact to do everything they can to get more ultra low emission and zero emission vehicles on the roads.
The goal? To help get at least 3.3 million plug-in vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles on their collective roads by 2025, using everything from parking perks and HOV-lane access decals to purchase incentives and tax breaks for those who want to make the switch from gasoline to something greener.
While final details haven’t been set in stone yet, the pact between the Super Eight states will include a commitment to purchase more EVs and Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for governmental fleets too — so if you live in one of the eight states you may soon start to notice more zero emission vehicles on the streets than ever before.
Staying with green governmental policy, the U.S. EPA announced plans this week to drive a thirty per cent reduction in carbon emissions from power stations by twenty thirty, making the electricity that Americans use in their homes greener than ever before.
Called the Clean Power Plan and executed by the EPA under exeuctive powers granted to the President, coal-fired power plants will need to reduce their carbon emissions dramatically over the next two and a half decades while other, greener power generation methods are promoted by the U.S. government.
While the regulations aren’t law yet — they’re about to undergo a public consultation process — the chances are we’ll see tough new power station emission law making it onto the books sooner rather than later — and certainly before the upcoming twenty sixteen presidential election.
What does this have to do with electric cars? Well, the cleaner the electricity used to charge your car, the cleaner you electric car is. And unlike gasoline cars, electric cars just get cleaner and cleaner as the power mix used to charge them cleans up its act.
When it comes to electric car range, Tesla’s all-electric Model S sedan with optional 85 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is unarguably champion among production electric vehicles. While its EPA rating is just 265 miles per charge, it’s possible to push range well beyond 300 miles with the right person behind the wheel.
But that 300 miles range pails into insignificance next to an aluminum air battery demonstrated at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada this week.. Capable of more than 1,000 miles without needing a charge, the all-new battery could make it possible to drive from Portland to Los Angeles on a single charge.
Produced by Israeli firm Phinergy, the Aluminum Air battery uses aluminum for the anode, but air for the cathode — and its electrolyte is plain old water.
There are some problems — like the fact you can’t recharge it and have to visit a service centre for ‘replenishment’ when your 1,000 miles are up, but this battery is designed to operate in place of a range-extending engine, giving you a little emergency boost when your car’s lithium-ion battery pack has run flat.
There is nothing more frustrating to an electric car driver than turning up at a charging station to find that none of the twenty million charge cards you have want to work with it. Believe me — that’s one of the reasons why we didn’t make the WAVE this year.
That should all be a thing of the past though for Japanese electric car drivers with the launch of Nippon Charge Service, a nationwide access system for public charging stations.
Operated jointly by Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi as well as the development bank of Japan, Nippon Charge Service will take care of billing owners for the electricity they use at public charging stations, send the money to those who own the charging stations, and make sure that one single card will give you keys to the entire kingdom.
And as someone who has just got all the locks on her house changed to a single key, I can tell you that’s a pretty sweet feeling.
There’s been a lot going on in Silicon valley this week. Apple unveiled its new operating system and programming language, and Tesla Motors had its annual Shareholder meeting.
But despite Apple’s new shiny shiny, we think the award for big surprises comes this week from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who promised something ‘pretty controversial’ would happen in the near future involving Tesla Patents.
Answering a question from a shareholder about the intersect between his duties as Tesla CEO and his desire to see everyone in an electric car, Musk admitted that Tesla couldn’t change the world on its own — and after a long pause hinted that he was about to do something which could change the face of the EV world forever.
Sadly, he didn’t say what, but we and other news outlets think we’re about to see some of Tesla’s legendary patents — perhaps with relation to battery or charging technology — get blown wide open and made open source.
Imagine if every EV had Tesla Supercharging technology? That would be SO cool….
Staying with Mr. Musk for a second, that annual shareholder meeting also confirmed something we’d suspected: it was Ford who made Tesla lose the E in SEXY.
We are of course referring to the Tesla Model E trademark, something which Tesla quietly dropped earlier this year without any fanfare less than a year after registering it.
According to Musk, the whole idea of getting the Tesla lineup to spell “SEXY” was initially a bit of a joke between himself and a friend — but soon became a real plan.
Joke or not, Ford wasn’t happy when Tesla trademarked Model E. Having also a claim on the name, Ford threatened Tesla with legal action, so Tesla was forced to drop the idea.
“They are killing SEX,” joked Musk. We can’t agree more.
The little Renault Twizy — and other limited speed electric quadricycles like it — are great fun to drive around town, especially if it’s nice and warm outside. But they’re also putting you at risk of greater injury in the event of an accident than you would be in a full-size car. — at least that’s the opinion of European crash test agency EuroNCAP, which is calling on automakers and policy makers to set higher crash test standards for these tiny vehicles.
Under current European law, quadricycles have similar safety requirements to motorcycles, and don’t need to have the same airbags and crumple zones found in regular cars. The result is that many quadricycles are shockingly bad when it comes to crash safety.
To prove it, EuroNCAP took four popular European quadricycles, three electric and one gasoline — and put them through the same crash tests used on full size cars.
The Twizy fared best with a score of six out of a possible sixteen, so it kind of proves Euro NCAP’s point. Let’s hope we see better quadricycle safety standards in Europe very soon.
Compliance cars — cars made specifically to satisfy various Zero Emissions mandates in states like California — are made in just enough numbers by automakers so they can continue to sell gas-guzzling SUVs and luxury sedans.
And here at Transport Evolved, we’ve never shied away from telling you which cars fit the compliance car label, from the Toyota RAV 4 EV and Fiat 500 e through to the Kia Soul EV and the Honda Fit EV.
But now we’ve got a new car to add to the list — the Hyundai Tucson Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle, which Hyundai admitted this week is being introduced into the U.S. purely to satisfy California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate.
Admitting Hyundai will lose money on each of the four hundred and ninety-nine dollar lease FCV vehicles, a Hyundai boss this week said Hyundai is only making them for the Z E V Credits — far more than it would get for producing an electric car.
At least it’s nice to hear someone being honest and open about the fact eh?
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