T.E.N. Future Transport News 12th September, 2014. NV Incentives, Self-Driving, Apple Watch

Welcome to T.E.N! 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 future transport news stories of the week.


Weekly show about plug-in and electric vehicles. This week news about: Hydrogen’s prospects outside Japan, the EN-V 2.0, Bolloré and Renault’s partnership, Kia Soul EV, Elon Musk’s trip to Japan, Tesla’s tax breaks, MINI Superleggera Vision, Tesla Model 3 Autopilot, Apple Watch, Tesla OS upgrade.

Just ten minutes in length, T.E.N. delivers the evolved transport news in a bite-sized format, and you’ll find links to all of the stories we cover in an accompanying article blow.

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! 

Doomed to fail (outside Japan)

They might be getting massive tax breaks in their home market of Japan, but hydrogen fuel cell cars are just too expensive to build, fuel and support that they’re doomed to be victims of Galapagos Syndrome.

That’s according to Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji — who told Bloomberg last week that the cost and complexity of hydrogen fuel cell cars would mean that they’d only ever be popular in Japan.

While the Japanese government is handing out up to ¥3 million per car in incentives to those who buy a fuel cell vehicle — that’s about $30,000 – Shoji said that he doubted any other country in the world would be quite as generous.

That said, he admitted that while Volkswagen is focusing its efforts on electrified vehicles, it is still keeping one eye on Hydrogen, just in case it unexpectedly takes off. Smart move.

Be The EN-V of your friends

General Motors’ original EN-V, a two-wheeled cross between a segway and a two-seat city car might have made big waves back in twenty ten when it was given its world debut. But now its descendant, the four-wheeled, two-seat EN-V two point oh, is set to make even more of an impact in the big city, and not just because of its eye-catching design.

That’s because this week, General Motors has been demonstrating a self-driving version of the EN-V two point oh at the twenty first Intelligent Transport Systems Conference in Detroit,

Built for low-speed, around-town navigation, the all-electric EN-V — which wears a Chevrolet badge — can manage around twenty -five miles per charge, and comes with a conventional set of vehicular controls as well as enough sensors and gadgets to help it drive on its own.

These include vehicle to vehicle tech — where the car is aware of other vehicles on the road — as well as vehicle to infrastructure and vehicle to pedestrian — where the car can pick up the signal from specially-designed bracelets to avoid road maintenance workers.  Clever!

French Partnership

French car share company Bolloré and French automaker Renault have finalised a new triple-pronged deal this week which could change the face of car sharing schemes in Europe forever.

Under the deal, the value of which has not been disclosed, manufacture of Bolloré’s purpose-built all-electric car — currently built under license in Italy by Turin firm CeComp — would switch to Renault’s Alpine facility in Dieppe, France.

In addition, Renault’s all-electric Twizy city car and Zoe ZE electric hatchback would be introduced to several Bolloré car share schemes across France.

To cap the deal, Renault and Bolloré are entering into a partnership to design and study a three-seat EV for the Bolloré car share service, potentially leading to an all-new car for use in car-share schemes around the world.

Kia Soul EV Priced

Kia’s all-electric Soul EV — advertised by those cute if mischievous human-sized hamsters — has finally been given its U.S. pricing.

With a predicted range of around 90 miles per charge on a mixed cycle, the base-model Kia Soul EV will retail for $33,700 before state and Federal tax incentives, while the higher-spec Kia Soul EV Plus — which adds heated front and rear seats, power folding mirrors, projection headlights and full leather — will retail for a higher $35,700 before incentives.

Both models will come with built-in telematics, making it easy to check on the state of charge of the battery pack wherever you are with a smartphone or computer, while a 3.3 kilowatt on-board charger (upgradable to 6.6 kilowatts) and CHAdeMO DC quick charging capability should give you plenty of options when it comes to charging.

The down side? You’ll have to live in one of the few initial launch markets to buy one. Yes folks, this is definitely another compliance car.

Turning Japanese

What do you get if you take Tesla’s larger-than-life CEO Elon Musk and send him to Japan to officially mark the launch of Japanese Tesla Model S sales?

He duly hands over keys to the first lucky Japanese Model S customers, drops some massive hints about a future collaboration with known EV skeptic Toyota, and takes part in a whacky Japanese game show, of course.

According to Elon Musk, who spoke at length at the official Japanese Model S launch, it’s likely we’ll see another partnership between Tesla and Toyota in the coming few years — one far bigger than the recently-ended one between the two firms to build the all-electric, limited-production RAV4 EV. But, in typical Elon Musk style, he only told us enough to keep everyone guessing.

As for the game show? We’re not sure what happened there — but as Elon’s tweets indicated, neither really did Elon. Still, he had a good time, apparently.

Tesla Breaks

On Tuesday this week, Nevada’s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval officially recalled Nevada’s lawmakers to Carson City to hold a special legislative session designed to finalise Tesla tax breaks and incentives for its massive Gigafactory.

As we told you last week a site in the state of Nevada has been officially chosen by Tesla to be the first Gigafactory. Covering a massive one thousand acres and set to employ up to six and a half thousand people, the fifty gigawatt-hour lithium-ion battery reprocessing and manufacturing facility will have massive economic benefits to the town of Reno in Northern Nevada.

From our perspective, early Friday morning UK time, it looks like all the tax breaks have been passed, as well as an approval to sell Tesla’s electric cars directly to customers. Oh, and the legislation even voted on what Tesla’s new address would be. Electric Avenue, McCarran, Nevada.


Six-Month Wait

It might be the most unlike any MINI we’ve ever seen, but the Mini Superleggera Vision concept car — a two-seat, all-electric drop top — is proving pretty popular wherever it goes around the world.

But we’ll have to wait another six months to find out if the two-seat plug-in ever makes it to production.

That’s according to BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer, who told Reuters this week that the german automaker is currently trying to decide if the future of the MINI brand should lie in expanding its model lineup to ten vehicles, or less than five.

Until it does, we’ll have to wait and dream about cruising down the streets in a two-seat retro-styled electric MINI a little longer.

Auto-Pilot Lite

Tesla’s first truly-affordable electric car — the Thirty-five thousand dollar Tesla Model three — will come with some form of auto-pilot technology built in when it goes on sale in twenty seventeen.

That’s according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who says that Tesla’s first mass-market electric car will come with autonomous driving sensors as standard.

While Musk didn’t go into specifics, he did say that we’d have to wait another six to seven years to see fully autonomous — or autopilot capabilities — in all Tesla cars. In the meantime, expect the Model Three to launch with basic self-driving capabilities, perhaps giving it low-speed driving or some form of city driving technology at its launch.

Either way, Tesla’s third generation electric car just seems to be getting better and better.

Apple of your i

This week, Apple officially unveiled its latest iPhone models — the iPhone Six and Six Plus to a packed audience at a special event in Silicon Valley. It also unveiled its highly-anticipated smart watch, which it has chosen to name not the iWatch but the Apple Watch.

What does this have to do with future car technology? Well, as part of the two-hours long event, Apple demonstrated some of the apps we can expect to see on the AppleWatch when it launches in spring next year.

And near the top of the list is an app which lets you check on the state of charge of your BMW i3 or i8 plug-in car.

It’ll even help you find your car if you happen to have misplaced it in an unfamiliar car park.

It’s pretty cool, don’t ya think?

Upgrade time!

And just in — moments before we were due to hit record — it seems that Tesla has now officially released its OS six point nought to all Tesla Model S drivers. This means more functionality and customisation, better sat nav, and oh, apple iPhone unlocking.

Let the upgrade times roll.


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