Transport Evolved News Panel Show 209: Breaking Ground

On today’s Transport Evolved: Tesla does well, Nissan does less well, and Elon Musk gets a cameo on the Simpsons.

These stories and more, on today’s Transport Evolved, with Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield and guest Bob Tregilus, LIVE at 6pm BST (1pm EDT)

Welcome to the show! Today, Nikki is joined by EV advocate and podcaster Bob Tregilus.

Bob Tregilus is a long time resident of Northern Nevada where he established a chapter of the Electric Auto Association in 2007. He is also an energy policy wonk and has worked at the local and state levels on renewable energy and electric drive transportation legislation and regulations. Bob is the former co-host of the This Week in Energy netcast (as was Nikki!) and presently produces and hosts of the Plug In America Show.

(You can contact Bob through his website at

Part 1

Reno, NV could be the first Gigafactory site, Teslas’s Q2 profits remain strong, California gives away nearly 5,000 HOV-lane access decals in three weeks, and New Jersey decides the i3 REx is tax exempt after all.


Yesterday at Tesla’s official Q2 earnings call, Tesla Motors confirmed that a construction site in Reno, NV was indeed the first site to break ground as a potential future Gigafactory site. While the site was first talked about last week by Bob Tregilusshortly before locals were apparently laid off — we ask Bob for the latest from Nevada, and ask if the confirmation of the site as a Gigafactory potential will change things on the ground.


Staying with Tesla’s Q2 earnings for a second, the company confirmed that it is on track to deliver 35,000 Model S cars this year, non-GAAP profits are up, and the Model X will enter production early next year.  In addition, Tesla confirmed Panasonic to be its Gigafactory battery partner. Is Tesla unstoppable?


Over in California, the state’s DMV has handed out an astonishing 4,903 green HOV-lane decals to plug-in hybrids and range-extended electric cars during the first three months of July. That’s almost a third of the total number of decals made available at the start of the month under SB 853. Are plug-in hybrids just too popular?


After a long, drawn out, will-it, won’t-it process, the BMW i3 REx has finally earned purchase tax exemption in the state of New Jersey. The problem? Some customers have already paid sales tax, prompting the state to issue rebate cheques. Why has this been handled so badly?


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Part 2

Nissan loses money on every LEAF battery pack, we talk powerful performance plug-in hybrids, Japan rewards hydrogen fuel cells handsomely, and BMW launches a 24 kW DC quick charger.


While Nissan will sell you a replacement battery pack for your LEAF electric car, it turns out the Japanese automaker is losing money on every single battery pack. Is this a good business model for Nissan, or will it just spell disaster?


Audi will be launching a V-6, plug-in hybrid diesel version of the A8 later this year called the Audi A8 e-tron. Will anyone opt to buy it for its plug-in credentials, or is it just a way to earn some street cred for being green? In a similar vein, Porsche announced the 2015 Cayenne S-E Hybrid this week. At more than $76,400 however and with limited all-electric range, will it lose out in the marketplace to the upcoming Tesla Model X crossover SUV?


A few weeks ago, Toyota executives hinted that governments around the world would need to offer substantial incentives to encourage buyers to get behind the wheel of a hydrogen fuel cell car. This week, a leak from within Toyota suggested its H2 car has name — the Toyota Mirai — but last week, the Japanese government announced a ¥2 million ($20,000) incentive for each and every H2 car sold. Is that policy fair to other alternative fuel types?


DC quick charging stations are traditionally powerful but cumbersome, taking up the same footprint as the average U.S. refrigerator. But this week, BMW and Bosch unveiled a new slimline DC quick charging station that is small enough to mount on t the wall. While it may only offer 24 kilowatts versus the more common 50 kilowatts, are units like this the key to improving DC quick charging coverage around the world?

Ad Break: Chronovirus

Note: If you’re watching this show live, you won’t see this ad. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the book…

It was supposed to be just another cargo run, but for Ken Mallory and the three-person crew of the Raven, an anomaly in deep space changes everything. An unexplained turbulence shakes the small ship like never before, allowing a deadly virus aboard. One by one the infected crew is thrown back in time to relive a near-death experience, only this time death may be closer than they remember. Be sure to check out this excellent and chilling short story by Aaron Croccoalso available as an audiobook from InEar Entertainment.

Part 3

FlowCell technology could revolutionise the world; the Chevrolet Volt passes a new IIHS crash test while the LEAF fares badly; Robotic cars are given the go-ahed for the UK — and electric cars are allowed on Government fleets; and Elon Musk is going to appear in the Simpsons.


If you’ve never heard of the Quant e-Sportlimousine, don’t worry — but the all new luxury four-seat sports car has the potential to change the way we think about electric cars forever. That’s if the revolutionary flow cell technology taking the place of traditional battery packs meets expectations and the testing approved last week by the German TÜV proves fruitful.


The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety is one of America’s most respected crash test authorities. Crash-testing cars on the request of the automakers, the IIHS crash tests are often more brutal than those used by NHTSA. This week, it revealed the latest crash test reports for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF in its relatively new small overlap frontal impact test. The LEAF struggled, while the Volt managed an acceptable rating. Should we be worried about Nissan safety?


This week, the UK government approved the use of robotic cars on the roads of the UK from January 2015, along with a new $10 million fund to help three cities host research projects into self-driving cars. Will they take off in the UK?

In addition, the UK government has approved a new project designed to get its official government fleets switched on to electric cars. But will this mean that a Tesla Model S will become the new Prime Ministerial car? 


And finally…

You know you’ve made it big in the world if you’re invited to be on the Simpsons, so what does it say when Elon Musk gets his own episode devoted to him? 


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