Transport Evolved News Panel Talk Show Episode 221: Artisan

On today’s Transport Evolved: BMW says no, Carlos Ghosn says Yes, and ninety-eight percent of Tesla Owners would do it again.

These stories and more, with Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Scott Cronce and Seth Weintraub

Welcome to today’s show! Today, Nikki is joined by Scott Cronce and Seth Weintraub.



Due to problems with the YouTube stream caused by our ISP, only part of the show is available in video format (below). We will be making an audio version of the show available as normal. We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but on this occasion the problem was out of our control.

Long time EV advocate and plug-in driver Scott Cronce has been driving electric cars in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years, including a Toyota RAV4 EV and more recently, a Nissan LEAF. An active member of the Bay Area Leafs, Scott is a trained gourmet chef, also enjoys playing with gadgets and toys — and we secretly think is still a big kid. Then again, he’s also the VP of Technology at EA games, so we think that’s allowed.

Award-winning journalist and blogger Seth Weintraub has many years of experience covering the tech world, and won backto back Neal Awards during his three plus years  covering Apple and Google at IDG’s Computerworld from 20072010.

Weintraub next covered all things Google for Fortune Magazine from 2010-2011 amassing a thick rolodex of Google contacts.

It turns out that his hobby blog was always his favorite and in 2011 he went full time adding his Fortune Google followers to and adding gear and deals site. His EV-centric site is required reading for in-depth analysis of the plug-in and green energy world.

For 15 years, Weintraub was a Global IT director and Web Developer for a number of companies with stints at multimedia and branding agencies in Paris, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Madrid and London before becoming a publisher/blogger. Seth is a licensed single engin private pilot, certified open water diver and spent over a year traveling to 60 cities in 23 countries. Whatever free time exists is now guaranteed to his wife and two sons.

(You can see what Scott is up to on Facebook, or Google Plus, and you can reach out to Seth via his page.)

Part One


We ask Scott how his company’s informal band of electric car owners are getting on, and ask him if a recent study from the Department of Energy‘s EV Everywhere program really does mean workers are more likely to own an electric car if there’s somewhere to charge at work?

We ask Scott if the DoE's recent study on plug-in charging at work is really true?

We ask Scott if the DoE’s recent study on plug-in charging at work is really true?

We also talk to Seth about the news from a few weeks back that the Tesla Model X will be the first Tesla officially designed for towing — and enquire how many people really will be getting the tow package fitted?

Will Nissan's battery factory show us what Tesla's Gigfactory will be like?

Will Nissan’s battery factory show us what Tesla’s Gigfactory will be like?

Nikki also shares her experiences at Nissan’s UK battery manufacturing plant, and wonders how Nissan’s battery manufacturing process will differ from Tesla’s promised Gigafactory?

Finally for the segment, we look at the news that the Volkswagen A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro was only made as a plug-in hydrogen hybrid because the hydrogen fuel cell system just wasn’t perky enough on its own. We wonder if there will ever be a Tesla of the hydrogen fuel cell world, and if so, when we’ll see it.

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Part Two

This week, BMW officially confirmed that it isn’t looking to work with Tesla and even went on to suggest Elon Musk was PR Posturing last week when rumors spread of Tesla and BMW forming a partnership on battery and carbon fiber reinforced plastics.

BMW says no to a Tesla partnership -- at least for now.

BMW says no to a Tesla partnership — at least for now.

Shortly afterwards, Tesla contacted us to reiterate that Musk had been misunderstood by the media and sought to quash rumors as soon as they had started.

Will BMW and Tesla ever work toegether? Was this all a misunderstanding?  And would Tesla actually pay BMW for carbon fiber tech — something that BMW said it would sell at the right price?

When it launched at the 2014 LA Auto Show, the 2015 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Sedan caused quite a stir, if only because of its strange looks and much-hyped road to production.

The 2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Sedan will be hand-built at Toyota's LFA Works.

The 2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Sedan will be hand-built at Toyota’s LFA Works.

But this week, Toyota admitted that the Mirai would be produced by hand at Toyota’s top LFA Works facility. How much will it cost Toyota to produce each car, how will it cope with higher volumes, and does this mean that the Toyota Mirai will never make Toyota any money?

This week, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn gave an interview to a late-night business news network in Japan, and admitted that Nissan is working on a battery technology which will give the next-generation LEAF double its current range. On paper, that equates to more than 400 kilometres per charge (250 miles), but what will the real world range be? We try to figure it out — and pick a likely sticker price.

What will a new battery pack do to the Nissan LEAF's range?

What will a new battery pack do to the Nissan LEAF’s range?

Finally for the segment, BMW unveiled its plans this week to offer each and every mainstream BMW model with a plug-in hybrid option in the coming few years. Does this mean that BMW’s i-brand will be short-lived, or does it mean that Tesla should now be worried about some serious competition?

BMW's 3-Series plug-in hybrid prototype chassis promises many more plug-in cars from the German automaker

BMW’s 3-Series plug-in hybrid prototype chassis promises many more plug-in cars from the German automaker


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Part Three:

Consumer Reports published a list this week of the most loved cars in the U.S., and the Tesla Model S came out top with a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating.

Consumer Reports say 98 percent of Tesla Model S owners would buy another

Consumer Reports say 98 percent of Tesla Model S owners would buy another

The Nissan Versa on the other hand, came out bottom with just a 43 percent rating. Despite this however, Nissan says its LEAF electric car has a 93 percent customer satisfaction rating — which got us thinking: are electric cars more likely to earn positive customer satisfaction ratings?

Next week, the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt celebrate their fourth anniversary of being on sale. What will the next-four years of electric car and plug-in hybrid car sales bring, and what have we learned thus far?

The LEAF turns 4 next week, as does the Volt.

The LEAF turns 4 next week, as does the Volt.

Moreover, with Californians now buying a plug-in car for every two hybrids, we wonder how long it will be before hybrids are not as popular as plug-ins?

Washington State has long been a fan of plug-in cars, but with incentives due to run out next summer, a new set of incentives are being discussed which could include HOV-lane access. Will they come into force, or should Washington follow its neighbour to the south and just make everyday plug-in ownership a no-brainer?

Finally, the Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicle Tax Credit expires this month in the U.S. Will it be renewed, or will hydrogen fuel cell vehicles become a lot more expensive to lease?


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