Transport Evolved News Panel Talk Show Episode 225: No Hands Required

On today’s Transport Evolved: self-parking cars, self-driving cars, and free patents for all.

These stories and more coming up on today’s Transport Evolved, with Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Marc Geller and Joe Dugandzic.

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Welcome to today’s show! Today, Nikki is joined by all-round tech expert and lighting specialist Joe Dugandzic, and long-time plug-in advocate and driver Marc Geller.

Arizonan resident, Nissan LEAF Driver, Radio DJ and lighting expert Joe Dugandzic is interested in everything green, but has been working building his own home automation systems for more than twenty years. As well as being one of those unlucky LEAF drivers who lives in the sweltering heat of Phoenix, AZ, Joe is a regular EVangelist of the benefits of going green, telling anyone who will listen about the benefits of dumping the pump for good.

San Francisco resident Marc Geller has been writing, advocating, campaigning and educating on the subject of electric vehicles and sustainable living for many years. A  founder member and a director  of Plug-in America, Marc is no stranger in the arena of public and corporate policy related to electric vehicles and green energy. He’s also on the board of directors of the Electric Auto Association, and was a co-founder of its San Francisco chapter, and the San Francisco EVA, as well as one of the key people leading the fight against the crushing of the previous generation of plug-in cars by companies like Toyota and GM.

These days, Marc spends most of his time working as project manager for Adopt-a-Charger, a non-profit installing EV charging in state and and national parks, and other destination locations.

You can reach out to Joe on Twitterfind him on Facebook, or subscribe to his recently-launched YouTube channel. You can follow Marc on Twitter, chat with him on Facebook, or read his blog here.

Part one:

We talk to Joe about some of the big non-car stories from CES this year, and ask him if the Internet of things has grown up for twenty fifteen. We also ask if twenty fifteen will be the year that cars — plug-in ones especially — will become an extension of our smartphones and tablet computers — and if there’s any security problems that will present themselves as a result.

We also chat to Marc about ongoing Nissan LEAF battery warranties — and how Nissan should or shouldn’t behave as cars age with reference to the first-generation RAV4 EV as a guide.

We also examine StoreDot, an Israeli firm promising to develop an electric car battery pack that will recharge in just three minutes. Following on from its demonstrations this year at CES, we ask how its technology works and if it really could revolutionise plug-in car development?

StoreDot says it has the technology to revolutionise the plug-in market.

StoreDot says it has the technology to revolutionise the plug-in market.

In the automotive world, freely giving away patented technology is a rare occurrence, having occurred only a handful of times since the birth of the motor car. But this week – for presumably the same motivations as Tesla’s patent giveaway last yearToyota has announced it plans to make all of its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle patents available for free to any automakers, parts manufacturers or fuelling specialists that will use them to help spur the hydrogen fuel cell revolution. What does this mean for the future of the plug-in car — and will Toyota’s patent give away pay dividends?

We often think of chip manufacturer NVIDA as being little more than a graphics chip company. But this week at CES, the Silicon Valley company unveiled the latest of its high-powered car computers, one of which has been designed with robotic autonomous driving operation in mind. We figure out what’s inside, and why they’re just so cool.

Think NVIDIA is about just graphics cards? Think again.

Think NVIDIA is about just graphics cards? Think again.

Tomorrow at the opening day of the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, GM will unveil its second-generation range-extended Chevrolet Volt electric car. But as we found out on Friday, it will also unveil a concept car called the Chevrolet Bolt: a 200-mile concept car that will likely enter production by 2017, have a range of 200-miles per charge, and go on sale for just $30,000. We wonder what it will look like.

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Part two:

Continuing our CES coverage BMW announced a new suite of services this week for BMW i3 and i8 drivers called the ‘Intelligent i Home Charging Services’. Designed to integrate with both home storage systems and generation systems, BMW says it will not only help customers to ensure that their cars are charged when electricity is at its cleanest, but also save them money too. We explain how.

BMW's new i Home Charging Services will help you charge your BMW i3 or i8 when it's cheapest -- and greenest -- to do so.

BMW’s new i Home Charging Services will help you charge your BMW i3 or i8 when it’s cheapest — and greenest — to do so.

At the same event, ChargePoint unveiled its own Internet-connected charging system: the ChargePoint Home. In addition to integrating with ChargePoint’s smartphone app, the charging station can also operate in conjunction with participating utility companies to turn itself off during period of peak demand, helping the utility company to ensure that it can meet demand.

Are grid-connected charging stations are a good idea, or are they an unnecessary complication for most owners?

Volkswagen's CES demonstration focused on technologies which Volkswagen hopes to bring to market in the near to mid-term.

Volkswagen’s CES demonstration focused on technologies which Volkswagen hopes to bring to market in the near to mid-term.

German automaker Volkswagen might be fairly new to the commercial plug-in market — although it’s been making plug-in cars for years in limited numbers — but at this week’s CES it unveiled a whole suite of smart vehicle systems including a prototype wireless charging system for the e-Golf, autonomous self-parking systems and integrated smartphone apps. Is Volkswagen one to watch?

Keeping with the autonomous driving, Volkswagen’s luxury arm Audi demonstrated its latest Piloted Driving system by driving from Silicon Valley to las Vegas completely autonomously. Is this the future of car travel, and could it help eliminate driver stress and accidents?

Audi's A7 Piloted Drive concept managed the 560 mile drive between Silicon Valley and Las Vegas without incident.

Audi’s A7 Piloted Drive concept managed the 560 mile drive between Silicon Valley and Las Vegas without incident.

Not to be left out, BMW also demonstrated its self-driving and self-parking technologies at CES. Will twenty fifteen be the year we finally see self-parking technology really take off?

While it didn’t actually head to CES this year — at least we don’t think it did — Japanese automaker Nissan announced a massive new five-year partnership on Friday with NASA to develop self-driving cars. We geek out big time.

NASA and Nissan are working together to build self-driving cars.

NASA and Nissan are working together to build self-driving cars.

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Part Three:

Six months after work initially started on Tesla’s first Gigafactory site in Reno, NV, these latest photographs from correspondent Bob Tregilus show just how large the Gigafactory will be. We try and find some analogies to help us figure out just how big it really is.

Look hard, and you might see people. (Photo: CC By NC- SA 4.0. Bob Tregilus)

Look hard, and you might see people. (Photo: CC By NC- SA 4.0. Bob Tregilus)

Despite previously dismissing electric vehicles, Hyundai promises an all-electric sedan for 2016. What does this mean for Hyundai’s hydrogen fuel cell program? We find out.

Although the majority of transportation-based demonstrations at CES this year relied on four-wheel transportation, Gogoro wants to change the future of two-wheeled transport with its SmartScooter. We look at the Gogoro for the first time, and explain how it works.

Don't let the publicity shots fool you: the Gogoro Smartscooter isn't built for speed.

Don’t let the publicity shots fool you: the Gogoro Smartscooter isn’t built for speed.

Also at CES this week, Tesla displayed the latest version of its Model X crossover SUV ahead of its production later this year. What has changed, and will it really reach production before the end of the year?

Finally for the show, the states of Michigan, Arizona, New Jersey and Texas are named as finalists for the 2014 Luddite Award — and you can vote for them to win too. Why? We’ll explain all.


 

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Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.

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  • Tim Martin

    Unable to watch this episode. Hope you can resolve this soon. Thank you.

    • Tim, the video has just been uploaded: there was a youTube streaming issue beyond our control, so we had to rely on the recorded version.

      • Tim Martin

        Thank you once again. Sometimes I forget about the time difference. Your Friday and Sunday shows have become part of my free/alone/break/sanity self time away from the rest of the crazy people. LOL

        • Not a problem at all! Usually, it would have streamed by then. But last night, the streaming went down. So we recorded and uploaded. It took four hours to render the high-quality video for youtube!

  • Mark Benjamin David

    Oh! I am so glad Joe brought up the DeLorean, I had found out about the work-in-progress DMC electric a few years ago, there was a prototype and it was supposed to be available in 2013, I saw some video on this, and then, … … wait for it … … nothing, and go to their website in 2013, and most references seemed to be removed. So, that they are being sued makes sense as to why this project seems to have disappeared. (If they are being sued now, then, they have likely been in dispute for some time). nnnWith 2015 nearing I saw a special on this company a few months ago, but it only about the upgrade/rebuilds of used ICE DMCs, not one word about the electric conversion project (same place was working on both a more powerful ICE and the electric drivetrain conversion).nnnThere is some reference to this company in wikipedia if you go to the DMC-12 page, and just a couple short paragraphs about their electric project.nnnIt’s really too bad, would have been really cool to see Electric DeLoreans on the road in 2015! nnn…I am just now finishing up this episode, and, Nikki, I have to agree with you, I think these other guys have their heads stuck in the US, the electric scooters with the changeable battery packs would be great in cities, especially by companies that already use scooters, as you said, it’s a culture thing, most of us americans are not internationally minded, (even though most of the products we buy and use these days at least have international parts in them). So, yeah, in China, and perhaps in middle east, India, other places, travel is not like it is here in the states.nnnBut, I did find the whole show informative, I just had to comment on the DeLorean.