Transport Evolved News Panel Show Episode 212: Handbrakes

On today’s Transport Evolved: Nissan finally starts to advertise the fun of driving electric, Bob Lutz calls Tesla a “fringe brand,” and Toyota asks if you’re a handbrake.

These stories and more on today’s Transport Evolved, with Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Robert Llewellyn, and Chelsea Sexton.

Welcome to today’s show! Today, Nikki is joined by Robert Llewellyn and Chelsea Sexton.

Robert Llewellyn is known by many for his portrayal of Kryten on the classic space comedy Red Dwarf. Others will know him for his many years as a host of Scrapheap Challenge/Jukyard Warsbut here at Transport Evolved we love Robert for his continued work as an EV advocate and clean energy nut. Also an accomplished author, artist and tech-head, Robert is about to release his latest book in the “News from the…” series: News from the Clouds.

One of the sales people for the original EV1 electric car, Chelsea rose to fame for her role in the Don’t Crush campaign back in the early noughties, which was captured in the film Who Killed the Electric Car? and of course its more triumphant sequel Revenge of the Electric Car, on which she was a consultant producer.

A tireless EV advocate and known for her direct approach and unwavering candor, Chelsea has worked more recently as an industry advisor, helping automakers like GM and Nissan with their electric car programs. She currently assists Nissan with its LEAF advisory board, but has no direct contact to the company’s day-to-day EV operations.

Robert’s YouTube channel Fully Charged is also required watching for anyone wanting to keep up to date in the world of green tech, so be sure to subscribe. You can find Chelsea on Twitter or Facebook,

Part one

Chelsea and Robert fill us in on their latest fun activities, including an update on life with Chelsea’s Mitsubishi i-Miev long-term loaner and Robert’s 2011 Nissan LEAF.  We ask how their cars’ battery packs are faring after prolonged use, and find out how future cars are growing in their respective neighbourhoods. In addition, we chat with Robert about the latest efforts in his sleepy Cotswold village to generate local energy cleanly and efficiently from a nearby water mill.

We discuss the successes of National Drive Electric Week in the U.S., including a new world-record for the total number of EVs in a parade.

NDEW 2014 - Morristown - Discussion

NDEW 2014 – Morristown – Discussion

In addition, we discuss California’s six-new electric car-friendly bills designed to encourage more people behind the wheel of a plug-in car. Will it affect all Californians, or only those who are already able and willing to dump the pump?

Hot on the hells of National Drive Electric Week however, Toyota published a rather cryptic and dismissive ad for its upcoming hydrogen fuel cell car.

While the video attempts to counter those who are suspicious of H2 by calling those who don’t like hydrogen ‘handbrakes,’ we ask if the style and delivery is really correct for a company trying to set out hydrogen as a new fuel choice?

Part two

BMW’s all-electric i3 electric car and its sibling — the BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car — are now available for less than $400 per month, making the BMW i3 a much more palatable deal than it once was. Will this push down the lease price for cheaper cars like the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt?

In related news, everyone’s favourite fossil fuel-chugging automotive celebrity Jeremy Clarkson, has been out and about recently in a 2014 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid electric coupe. His verdict wasn’t exactly glowing, but for someone as against electric cars as Clarkson is, is his acceptance that the BMW i8 is a fun car a turning point?

The BMW i8 is now a car you'll see on the roads of the U.S.

The BMW i8 is now a car you’ll see on the roads of the U.S.

Staying with oil, long-time fossil fuel investors Rockefeller Brothers has announced it intends to divest itself from fossil fuels — noticeably ahead of the UN climate summit. Is this the turning point for the world, or is it just a publicity stunt? And does this mean Rockerfeller Brothers will now start investing in green, future car technology instead?

Finally for the segment, electric car ads have always struggled to focus on the things which make electric cars special and fun, choosing instead to focus on things that most car buyers don’t care about like environmental benefits or saving polar bears.

But Nissan’s latest advert focuses on the fun and torque that comes from driving an electric car in the good old-fashioned stoplight derby. Has Nissan finally got the message?

Part three

Former GM Product czar Bob Lutz has been talking about electric cars again — and as you might expect, “Maximum Bob” has yet again aired some views that have given him some airtime.

This time, he turned his attention to Californian automaker Tesla Motors, calling them a “fringe automaker” in an interview with CNBC. Is he right, wrong, or just making a big noise?

Mitsubishi’s outlander PHEV has proven really popular in Europe and Asia, where it’s already outselling many other plug-in car brands. But at next week’s 2016 Paris Motor Show, we’ll see a revised version of the Outlander PHEV in the form of the Outlander PHEV S Concept. What do you think?

What do you think of the Outlander PHEV Concept ?

What do you think of the Outlander PHEV Concept ?

Well-to-wheel comparisons of how efficient a car is are often overlooked by both automotive industry professionals and advocates. But the California Fuel Cell partnership partnership update to its Wells-to-wheels analysis this week shows that fuel cell vehicles really aren’t as good as pure electrics when it comes to their energy footprint. Will this put people off buying a hydrogen car, or are there bigger issues to worry about?

And finally — while we’ve been off-air and off-line a large portion of this week due to illness, we can’t let today’s show go by without talking about the latest skunkworks project to come from Nissan: a Nissan LEAF pickup truck. Here’s why we love it so much — and why Nissan needs to make one.


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