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Blackground reading ?
See: "Black Hungarian" - a spy novel about attempts to thwart a 700km+ EV range-record bid. Story centres around Metron, WAVE, NSA etc - see below. Amazon,Kindle,iBooks
(Blackout: in the real world meanwhile... the murder of Slovenian lithium/EV specialist Prof Janko Jamnik has been wiped from the media radar)
April, 2017 University Challenge:
- are Oxbridge
'Profs' about to be trumped, topped and capped by
Bristol/Surrey Univ. 'Drs'?
Oxbridge Profs(cap-less ?):
Surrey/Bristol Drs.(supercapped !):
Did Musk lift a Li-air patent(in 2013) from the US Defense Department(2007)? Guilty as charged !
And a related Q+A:
Q: Will 'coming soon' supercap + battery combi-powerpacks(batt-cap packs?) eclipse elusive li-air ?
A: Yes - read on !
PS: GigaCap factories next then, Elon ? Why waste zillion$$ on superchargers when superfast supercapacitors
NB. Musk has been a semi-secret supercap-superfan..for 25 years ! (See GreenCarReports and these impressively prescient 2006 TeslaMotorsClub/TMC blog postings)
Tesla v Army(Li-air patents):
Batt-Cap Bullet-Points - the transformative/disruptive (storage) dots truly join themselves :
A Super Spring Surprise ?
Jim Heathcote CEO of Surrey and Bristol Universities' business partner Augmented Optics Ltd(subsidiary = Supercapacitor Materials Ltd). Speaking in early December:
“We’re now going to start the building of a full-scale prototype, and we hope to have it built in the spring(2017)..”
“We're not talking about something which will take five, 10, 15, 20 years to realise a device. We're talking about potentially getting into prototyped devices within a matter of months."
Dr. Donald Highgate:
"Their first use is almost certainly going to be in addition to a lithium ion battery so you can flash-charge half of your store quickly,”
"With more experience, they might take over entirely."
"Augmented Optics's Jim Heathcote hopes to raise the money to build a factory to make the first supercapacitors in the UK. "
See Techworld: "Electric Cars that Charge in Minutes Could be on the Horizon"
Video re Surrey supercaps: it surely speaks volumes about the vast, disruptive appeal of this British breakthrough that the only video on the subject so far comes from a hard-core fuel-focused US website: NESN Fuel
Dr. Ian Hamerton(ex-Surrey Univ. - now at Bristol) - as eclectic as it gets ? A chemist, a physicist and a 'bassist'. And a dab-hand at the double-bass too - with musical tastes spanning many genres(see Twitter & Bristol Univ profile):
"..these include modern jazz, R&B, soul, rock and folk."
(..if you can't trust a folk-music aficionado - who can you trust ? Not to be confused with VWolksmusik of course)
Musk - a self-professed supercap superfan. Here in his own words - as cited in that 2006 TeslaMotorsClub/TMC blog posting:
"In fact, my original reason for moving to Silicon Valley about a dozen years ago(1995), before I got distracted by the Internet, was to do a Ph.D. at Stanford in the physics and materials science of high-energy density capacitors, specifically for electric vehicle applications. Prior to that, I had worked for two summers at a small company called Pinnacle Research, which focused on ultra-capacitors. Capacitors have the advantages of a quasi-infinite cycle and calendar life, extremely low charge/discharge losses, and charge times measured in minutes (if you have high voltage and thick wire) for a car-size pack. If the capacitor energy density problem is solved, the gasoline vs. electric car contest goes from being a contestable fight to gasoline getting the WWF Smackdown."
Musk 2011: "Super-capacitors Trump Electric Car Batteries" (GreenCarReports)
Musk 2013 (May 20, 11.45) Tweet:
"I'm a big fan of ultracapacitors. I was going to do my PhD at Stanford on them. But we need a breakthrough in energy density..."(!!)
- Given all of that, it does seem a little odd - given his 25 year-long enthusiasm for super-fast-charge supercapacitors - that Musk has filed two patents for combi powerpacks pairing Li-air with Li-ion - but none combining Li
-ion with supercaps(the latter serving as the upfront primary energy source providing 60-80-100 miles of day-to-day range: most drivers cover less than 50 miles for 300+ days of the year so the secondary reserve/backup/range-extending Li-ion or Li-S, Li-air, Na-ion etc backup pack could last for decades).
Oxbridge oddity: equally puzzling is the fact that the UK-wide energy-storage "Supergen Hub" research project headed up by Oxford's Professor Peter Bruce drops all references to supercapacitors in the mission statement issued with its second EPSRC funding phase(2014-2019) whereas the initial 2010 "Supergen CORE Proposal" had included multiple prominent references to supercapacitors.
What's more, Prof Bruce et al - and the EPSRC - continue to back and bet on "always a decade away" lithium air.
Indeed, in 2016 Cambridge's Professor Clare Grey announced a widely-reported Li-air breakthrough which was later formally challenged or contested by many of the world's leading specialist scientists.
In 2007 we Q&A'd Professor Peter Bruce - then at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland - regarding his research into "O2 Electrodes" for lithium air cells. As always with Li-air research, Professor Bruce included the seemingly obligatory "at least a decade away" caveat amongst his Q&A comments to us - exactly and ironically one decade ago.
Similarly, in 2016 Cambridge Professor Clare Grey(see above) likewise cautioned that Li-air cells are still "a decade away".
In 2012 IBM issued yet another Li-air press release containing the statutory "decade away" caveat/diktat-disclaimer.
Historical Oxford footnote: the "Goodenough-Bruce" connection. It turns out that in the early 1980's the then post-doctorate Peter Bruce worked for several years with the celebrated American "father of the lithium-ion battery" John B Goodenough (now 94 yrs old) at Oxford University's Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory in South Parks Road.
See Energy Storage Journal - a surprisingly fascinating read ! (eg. in summer 1939 Goodenough was kayaking and mountain-walking through Finland and Norway when his six German companions were called home to serve the ambitions of Hitler...)
So will Professors Peter Bruce, Clare Grey and so many others still be announcing "decades away" Li-air breakthroughs at the ripe old age of..94 ?
Decades after the world has switched to supercaps - and the planet's finite supplies of lithium have long-since been depleted ?
March, 2017 As the Quest for the Holy Grail power-pack ramps up...
..an SOS plea to Chris Paine:
- is it not time for one final
electric shockumentary ?
"Who Keeps Killing the Miracle Battery ?"
(for smartphones, EVs etc)
Right: Ultracap's Prof Vladimir Krstic: "charge in seconds..40x lighter than li-ion..millions of charge cycles..eco-friendly". Eureka ? Or the auto and oil industries' worst nightmare ?
Supercapacitor synchronicity ? Note that in a separate research project, scientists at Surrey and Bristol Universities announced similar ground-breaking results in December last year. Wow - even the Daily Express could barely contain their excitement at the British "boffins'" achievement.
- See below for our Top 15 short-list of Holy Grail contenders / pretenders.
- And as yet another couple of international battery conferences wrap up(IBA 2017, Nara, Japan,ICLB Miami,USA) ...someone just has to ask:
- What will the world's battery researchers - not to mention conference organisers - do with their time if the ultimate miracle cell ever makes it to production ?
So many Symposia, Seminars, Conferences - so many grand gatherings, so much hotel-hopping and globe-trotting to exotic locations, year after year, decade after decade, yet so little product or progress to show for it.
- Now connect those storage dots with:
MIT Tech Review:
"Battery manufacturers don't want radical breakthroughs".
(Memo to MIT: neither do most carmakers !)
"Why We STILL Don’t Have Battery Breakthroughs"
"Why We Don’t Have Battery Breakthroughs"
So here is our Top 15 long-ish shortlist of potential energy storage game-changers -
followed by a selection of battery bullet points, highlights, RAQs,.RMCs and LKFs(Rarely Asked Questions, Rarely Made Comments,Little Known Facts) :
Ultracap Ltd(UK) Prieto Battery
Faradion(UK) Cadenza Innovation
Oxis Energy(UK) Ionic Materials
Dyson's Sakti3(US-UK) Power Japan Plus
Amprius SolidEnergy(GM invested)
Actacell Boston Power
..and last but possibly not least a US v China head-to-head:
- 94 yr-old Professor John Goodenough's giant-leap sodium cells...
- the novel, arguably even better, aluminium-graphite dual-ion battery(AGDIB) developed by Professor Tang Yongbing's team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shenzhen.
Note: BYD is also based in Shenzhen so is it time to Build Your Dream Battery, Mr. Wang - and possibly trump Tesla ? Again.
See also: "Tesla is Playing Catch-up with BYD"
So have you now diligently checked out all of the above startups ? Are we all up to speed ? Here's a quick question to test your rigour: which disruptive battery startup has prominently featured the following bold "it's here now" claim on its homepage for the past 18 months - and recently added the image below ? (Clue: Abramovich, Chelsea FC) :
"5-min charging is already here. Charge your electric vehicle in 5 minutes – same experience as fueling, but without the fumes! "
Breakthrough Battery Bullet Points(highlights, RAQs, RMCs,LKFs etc) :
(to be continued - day after day...and possibly decade after decade..)
March, 2017 Hallelujah ! GM sells Vauxhall and Opel ! (to PSA-Citroen-Peugeot-DS)
- Will this open the door to the sale of the Chevy Bolt and Volt in Europe/Britain and an end to the "Ampera" and "Ampera-e" name-change
Let's hope so.
See Detroit News(March 6):
"GM Exits Europe with Opel-Vauxhall Sale"
So just how can GM justify saying "Yes" to the retrogressive and decorative Corvette and Cadillac in Europe(see chevroleteurope.com) - whilst forever vacillating and procrastinating with respect to the transformative Bolt and Volt ?
That's right: GM already sells and supports three commercially barely relevant retro-niche models under the Chevrolet badge in Europe(Camaros, Corvettes, Cadillacs) - so why the reluctance to give Europeans the (almost) revolutionary, headline-grabbing Chevy Bolt and Volt too ?
Record sales of the slightly shorter range Renault Zoe
show that it's clearly what the public want - so why wouldn't GM want to satisfy that demand this side of the pond ?
And as we've pointed out many times over the past two years, the "Bolt" name alone is a key additional USP - unlike Renault's effeminate "Zoe" or Nissan's limply-named "Leaf" - the "Bolt" nomenclature obviously has massive, muscular, cross-demographic, gender-busting Olympian appeal - with the potential to become an all-time European and world EV sales record-breaker.
Especially if GM bosses finally see sense and agree to produce an RHD version of the Bolt for those 70+ countries where only drugged or drunk suicidal maniacs or dazed and confused foreigners ever drive on the right(=wrong) side of the road.
Just one other little request guys: even slimly-built reviewers have criticized the Bolt's
narrow front seats.
(eg. see this video review at 6'57")
Just an inch more width would ease that squeeze !
Bottom line: for €30,000+ drivers and passengers expect ample cushioned comfort - how ironic and frustrating it would be if sales of the otherwise impressive, long-range and capacious Bolt were to fall short for want of wider seats. _______________________________
The long and short of it: long-range batteries, short-changing seats - a false economy that could so easily be rectified - and hopefully soon will be.
Note re the EV track-record of PSA-Citroen-Peugeot-DS: the company or group started off promisingly enough with the C-Zero and later the iON but they have conspicuously failed/refused to keep up(esp. range-wise)with their French counterparts Renault - despite the fact that both are involved in Formula E - one key raison d'être of which is ostensibly to speed up and stimulate advances in consumer EVs.
The C-Zero and iON are both based on the Mitsubishi MiEV and "boast"(!) a range of just 90 miles(approx) delivered by a very meagre 16 kWh battery pack.
Just for the record let's round this off with a modest little reminder that we(EVUK) have long been the only EV commentators and campaigners consistently urging Vauxhall-Opel to step aside, get out of the way and stop working to undermine the success of the
Volt and Bolt - primarily by absurdly and counter-productively changing the vehicles' names to "Ampera" and "Ampera-e" (we need game-changers not name-changers...) but also by all-too predictably refusing to commit to adequately and proactively promoting and advertising the vehicles here in Europe.
February, 2017 January-February Highlights (x 3):
1) Loglio & Pečjak: two EV world range-record rivals meet in Slovenia.
Work-in-progress: a Slovenian Solar-Van. Range options: 500km or 1000km(!) :
Left: former range rivals join forces - Pečjak trials Loglio's low-cost batteries in place of costly Kokam packs in 'Powerpiki' Smart Roadster.
Right: miles apart - compare and contrast : Renault Master ZE van - 270km. VW e-Crafter van - 200km.
But low-budget Slovenians target 500km - 1000km...with a solar roof to boot/boost !
2) ElectricGT : it's all good news: two races at each venue, non-nuclear green energy and a candid, can-do, spin-free (Scottish!) CEO.
Electric GT, the Dakar Rally and the Scottish-Spanish electrification-connection. Click pics for four inspirational videos. Let's hope they're right about the "Age of Light".
3) Schwarzenegger and Kreisel shame major carmakers with all-electric SUV(Mercedes G-Wagen) plus ...
- the electric, trail-blasting/blazing, mountain-crawling, shopping-trip Jeeps that make Arnie...look like a wuss :
e-Veni, e-Vidi, e-Vici - e-Videos x 4.
Sorry Arnie - but some all-conquering, all-slaying off-roaders have tons more barbarian-beast street-cred than others ...
Note that the e-AV
Jeep kit(top left) "takes just 2 days to fit" whilst the Kreisel Mercedes SUV conversion took two months and a mammoth team effort to complete.
Note too that two days after the Kreisel e-SUV handover in Austria Schwarzenegger met with Pope Francis(video) remarking that:
"His environmental work inspires me".
Arnold and readers may not be aware that the current pontiff's predecessor Benedict XVI (aka "the green pope") persuaded Renault to supply him with two customised pure electric vehicles whilst Mercedes, unsurprisingly, were only willing to provide a new, refashioned hybrid Popemobile.
So is there any chance that nature-loving Pope Francis might now be tempted to add a trail-blasting, Terminator-trouncing, all-terrain e-Jeep to the Vatican collection ?
EVUK, ElectricGT and our 2016 email exchanges with Sr./Mr. Gemmell:
- fortuitous coincidence - or campaigning influence ?
Eight months ago after watching this "Frunk" interview with eGT CEO Mark Gemmell we contacted the man himself('MG' ?) to voice the following concerns:
a) That the series might end up being sponsored and exploited by EDF or another major nuclear power utility - the interviewer was clearly keen on the idea...
b) Also at that time fellow Scot - now Madrid-based - Mr. Gemmell wanted just one short 40-45 minute race at each venue. Even shorter than Formula E ! In our view nowhere near enough.
So we promptly fired off a lengthy missive arguing for longer races - and nuclear-free races.
In that above-mentioned "Frunk" video Q&A:
- the interviewer had also briefly but keenly suggested that French nuclear giant EDF would make a great eGT partner(see video: 25' 46") and, again, CEO Gemmell was of the firm opinion that one 40-45 minute race was quite long enough - quote(video: 23' 40") :
"40-45 minutes - that"s about as much as most of us want to see ..then you wanna get on with your life."
Our robust riposte:
"Sorry Mark. Couldn't disagree more. Think tennis, Indy 500...even Formula One races are around 3 times as long as Formula E - and let's not forget NASCAR and 3-5 day 500+ mile WRC rally championships.
Not to mention what must surely be the ultimate anti-short-race slam-dunk clincher: the Dakar Rally ! As you yourself point out, your very own ElectricGT co-protagonist Agustin Payá and his Spanish Dakar team-mates(video) have now competed in that gruelling 8,782 km, 12-day marathon event as the sole EV entry for the third straight year - and this year(January 2-14, 2017) finally succeeded in crossing the finishing line. ".
Thankfully Mr. Gemmell's "one 45 min race - then get on with your life" argument has since vanished from the narrative - instead we'll now be getting a double-header :
"Each race weekend will consist of a 20-minute practice session, a 30-minute qualifying session and two races, a day and a dusk race, lasting each 60 km".(From Wikipedia - so far easily the best source for the latest eGT developments - unlike www.electricgt.co ! )
Two races on the same day will provide plenty of drama and tension even during the hours between daytime-dusk races as teams regroup, rethink strategies for changing conditions and scramble to fix and optimize damaged cars etc.
A canny decision Mr. Gemmell - can we claim all the credit, please ?
(PS. pls bring on that battery-swap option, por favor ! If it works for the Dakar why not for ElectricGT ? Sure, Tesla tried cell-swapping - but as we predicted - non-racing drivers just didn't need it...)
January, 2017 Samsung's 3-years-from-now, 600km battery promise - more than just a timely distraction from Korean Presidential bribery scandal ?
Bribery Charges : Battery Charges
Juxtapose these two ongoing and/or recent headline-grabbing stories from S. Korea :
1) Samsung Vice President and family heir-apparent Lee Jae-yong is accused of giving donations to non-profit foundations operated by a close friend of South Korean President Ms. Park Geun-hye.
See Reuters latest(Fri 13 Jan 2017):
"Samsung leader quizzed for over 22 hours in South Korea cash-for-favours corruption scandal"
See all news reports.
President Park Geun-hye was impeached in December following wide-ranging accusations of corruption and cronyism.
2) Samsung PRomise 500-600km range EV batteries - but not until 2020. Or possibly 2021.
See all reports.
Note that Samsung have offered nothing at all to prove their 600km range-claims : so if the technology is real, proven and good-to-go - why does the company not commit to supplying the cells now ? Or within the next few months ?
Not least in order to compete with or trump their world-beating Korean/Seoul rivals LG Chem who are already supplying long-range battery-packs for both the 450km Bolt and 350km Zoe and thus grabbing the headlines for all the right reasons ?
The pivotal, historical EV moment is now and the stakes couldn't be higher - so why would a global Goliath like Samsung choose to wait and procrastinate for another three or four years and allow star performers like LG Chem to corner the market by signing ever more lucrative long-term contracts with more and more of the world's leading car manufacturers ?
As always it's a key question that noone's asking. On the contrary, our corporately compliant media is reporting Samsung's three-years-from-now, proof-less 600km promise without the slightest hint of scepticism or criticism - and of course noone is daring to suggest that this may be little more than a divert and distract PR move to bolster the company's sagging, scandal-hit reputation and credibility.
Compare and contrast - LG Chem v Samsung : unlike Samsung, LG Chem clearly felt no need or impulse to announce or trumpet three years ahead of time(ie. circa 2012) the fact that they had developed game-changing next-gen EV batteries - they simply quietly began deploying and testing them in their - at first - low-key Bolt-driven collaboration with GM.
Of course - unlike Samsung - LG Chem were not involved in a government corruption scandal and so had no need to make sensational, unproven three-years-from-now
battery promises to divert attention, impress the press and reassure investors.
Beyond EVs - in the world of consumer electronics - the two Korean pace-makers LG and Samsung have increasingly tended to move in lock-step - launching similar ground-breaking products more or less simultaneously. Both companies for instance say they'll be launching foldable-screen tablet-phones or "flip-phones" later this year(not 3-4 years from now !) - see Daily Mail , Jan 12, 2017.
December, 2016 Hyundai's Ioniq and the chronic Elastic Range Waiting & Guessing Game. Who or what should we believe ?
Quote: "105 miles"..."125 miles" ..."Up to 220 miles"...?
To add to the truth-stretching confusion Hyundai are - self-contradictingly - teasing a 200+ mile range revamp for the year after next("soon" !).
Yes - a strange range promise indeed given that Hyundai's test-drive video(click below) claims that the current 2016 Ioniq already achieves 220 miles in normal everyday (sub)urban or "downtown" traffic at an average 60km/h.
Video: Hyundai's own range-test seriously challenges the official Korean Ministry verdict: 351km v 191km. (But why is the driver neither seen or heard in the video and who are the "experts" that Hyundai refer to as having "planned" this range test ? )
Hyundai Ioniq: more range-claim disparity and zero clarity:
"Expect 105 miles" versus "220 miles in typical commuter traffic" versus "120 miles is probably more realistic" versus "meagre range"...
Watch two more range-test videos and verdicts and enjoy more conflicting, confusing conclusions wherever you look:
Video EVidence - but no proof:
Left: Robert Llewellyn(Fully Charged) fairly guess-timates a realworld range of 130 miles.   But don't be seduced by the odd-jobbing actor's effusive praise for the Hyundai - remember that he recently swapped his Leaf for a Tesla Model S. Actions speak louder than words.
Right: Irish Times test-driver Neil Briscoe pitches 200km / 125 miles as a realistic ball-park average range.
So 351 km or 191 km ?   If you're still not terminally confused here's more to muddy the waters:
- AutoExpress slams the all-electric Ioniq for its "meagre range"..
- InsideEVs gazumps the rest by shrinking the range to new lows. In their view the Ioniq has "105 miles of real range". And then comes the killer punch:
"If this was 2010 we would be excited about this car…but it is not. It’s 2016."
Ouch ! Such a Grouch !
- at the other extreme Pedro Lima of PushEVs - who's not actually road-tested the Ioniq - uses Hyundai's own 351 km figure to painstakingly calculate that the Ioniq could almost compete with the Zoe under most conditions.
Feel a trifle de-ranged after wading through that bewildering hotch-potch of views and reviews ? More and more are popping up like magic mystery mushrooms every day as the Hyundai PR machine shifts into overdrive.
The Long and Short of it: who would really want to spend circa £28,000 on any all-electric EV with 60-80 official miles less range(depending on who you disbelieve) than the latest Zoe and Bolt - only to face the painful prospect of spending the next year or 18 months watching their Ioniq's resale value plunge and plummet circa 50-60% as the hype for its 200+
mile/charge belated successor grows and crescendos...and the Tesla Model 3 has stolen the show every which way and wherever you look ?
Hyundai and other major carmakers do appear to have been caught asleep at the wheel or out-to-lunch by Renault's delivery of the latest 300-400km Zoe and yet most are still responding with promises and the familiar misuse of the word "soon" - as in "range will be increased soon - in 2018 or 2019" or probably thereabouts.
See GreenCarCongress: "Hyundai Ioniq EV to get 200 miles of range 'soon' "
Here "soon" is being used by Ahn Byung-Ki - director of Hyundai's eco-vehicle performance group - not to legitimately signify early or mid-2017 - but some time or other in 2018 !!
Now just imagine if automotive executives or bankers were to hear the following promise from their top brass:
"OK Guys'n'Gals - your 2016 bonuses will be paid soon - possibly as early, expeditiously and rapidly as Spring or Summer 2018"
Obviously there'd be a riot in the boardroom, a mutiny for the bounty.
Or try telling your bank manager that you'll be paying off your overdraft "soon" :
"Yes - soon - definitely, Mr. Mellish ! Shortly. By 2018 sometime. Spring or Summer. Year after next. OK with you ?"
And Hyundai affiliate Kia are no less guilty of linguistic abuse - let's call it "sooner-ism" - and opposite-of-the-truth long grass, long range PR promises - procrastination disguised as imminent production and delivery by the elasticated misuse of the word "soon".
Soul'ed Short range-wise till 2018.
See 2018 Kia Soul EV Likely To Get Range Boosted". (Range bedfellows: Hyundai has 'parental' control over compatriot Kia)
That's right - a 200 mile/charge Kia Soul is coming "soon" too. Some time or other in 2018.
But until then you'll be seriously soul'ed short(ouch!) - so why not avoid depreciation-depression and wait till 2018 before considering an Ioniq or a Soul ?
Buy now - and you'll find it tough to sell your Soul a year from now. And just think what you could do or buy in these austere times with the £600-£800 a month that your short-changing, short-range Ioniq or Soul EV could easily haemorrhage in resale value over the next year to 18 months as the hype around their 200 mile/charge(official) successors grows ever louder and Tesla is eclipsing every contender and pretender to the EV throne anyway.
You'll certainly get no offers or sympathy from the likes of Robert Llewellyn as they cruise comfortably past charging-stations in their fully charged Teslas.
No prizes incidentally for guessing why the current 105 mile/charge - going on 220 mile/charge - Hyundai Ioniq is being(and needs to be) so widely promoted and advertised while the 200+ mile/charge, on-sale-now Renault Zoe scarcely seems or needs to be publicized or advertised at all and GM are happily playing hard-to-get with the Bolt.
In lieu of wall-to-wall ads and PR the French EV market-leader wisely opted to spend millions fast-tracking a real, range-doubling Zoe upgrade into showrooms in 2016 - asap(ie. genuinely "soon").
So the question obviously arises - why is Hyundai promising a 200 mile range version for 2018 if - according to their own range-test video - 220 miles/ 351 km is allegedly already relatively easily achievable in fairly typical everyday "downtown" driving conditions ?
Hyundai could have so easily avoided this sales-dampening confusion and uncertainty by raising the Ioniq's battery capacity by just 7 kWh - from just 28kWh to around 35kWh thus unequivocally increasing the vehicle's base range beyond what is still widely viewed as the key range-anxiety-zapping psychological barrier of 150 miles.
If GM and Renault can pack 60kWh and 43kWh of Korea's LG Chem cells into the much smaller Bolt and Zoe, Korean Hyundai are fresh out of excuses for not offering at least 35kWh long before 2018
That's right - if you weren't paying attention or you're just dazed and confused - Korea-based Hyundai, GM and Renault all use batteries from Korea's LG Chem - so Hyundai has the battery-supplier right on its doorstep and therefore - unlike GM and Renault - will be spared the immense expense of having to ship LG Chem battery-packs to assembly lines halfway round the world.
Yet - to repeat the key point here - it is ironically LG Chem's Korean neighbours Hyundai who are equipping the largest of the three above-mentioned EVs with a measly 28kWh pack while GM have packed a whopping 60kWh into the 30cm shorter, 6cm narrower Bolt and Renault have cleverly concealed 43kWh in the even more compact(but still roomy) Zoe.
But it's not too late for Hyundai to up the stakes and prove their EV commitment by boosting the Ioniq's battery by a modest 25% / 7 kWh.
In almost every key respect except for its indeterminate range the Ioniq deserves to be a niche-nixing game-changer now in 2016-2017. By 2018 it'll be just another late catch-up contender - lost in traffic.
The Korean carmaker isn't just short-changing customers - they're also doing an easily remedied disservice to the engineers and designers who helped create an otherwise
impressive EV with mainstream, mildly masculine appeal that would also give the upcoming(Jan-Feb?) long-range VW e-Golf a run for its money if Hyundai were to boost its own battery-packs by just 25% now - by 7kWh from 28kWh to 35 kWh.
To repeat: that would still be 8kWh less than the Zoe and a whopping 25kWh less than the smaller Bolt which packs 60kWh of staying power.
But why stop at 35 kWh ? If Hyundai's "351 km" test video is to be believed a 40kWh battery would push the Ioniq's realworld range up to around 500 km tempting many prospective Tesla Model 3 owners to jump ship early.
But Hyundai will have to raise their game and their range within the next few months
ie. genuinely "soon" (the dictionary definition of the word - not the automotive snails' pace version).
A year from now it'll be far too late to do the right thing - anyone with US$30-40k to spend on an EV will only have eyes for Tesla - unless the best of the rest are willing to significantly cut prices or engage in an all-out range and price war.
Hmm - now that's the sort of war that the People and the Planet do need - unlike wars for oil and for business as usual.
November, 2016 No, BBC ! Volkswagen is NOT "making big strides" EV-wise. They - unlike Renault - are STILL only making endless "Boy Cried Wolfsburg" next year promises.___________________________________
In almost identical reports, Wired.com gets it right(again) - whilst the BBC's Jane Wakefield singles out VW for praise(quote):
"Most of the big car manufacturers are making big strides in developing electric vehicles - Volkswagen, for example, is planning to launch 30 all-electric models to reposition itself as a leader in green transport.."
By describing this last-minute mad scramble as 'big strides' the BBC is ignoring the ugly historical truth and absolving carmakers for 5-10-20-plus years of delay, deception and obstruction. The fact is that Germany's carmakers have finally been forced into a corner - there's surely no escape this time - but they'e still not willing to go as far now - this year - as Renault and GM have with the Zoe and the Bolt.
In fact, over the past 3-4 years almost all of the world's car manufacturers have not simply procrastinated - but have deliberately and cynically flooded showrooms and choked our streets with gasoline-powered SUV's and crossovers - whilst conspicuously still refusing to offer any all-electric or extended-range hybrid SUV options and failing to increase either EV product range or - in most cases - battery range.
And of course those tens of millions of planet-hostile gas-guzzling SUV's continue to totally eclipse the (less than) 1% of global car sales that EV's still represent - thus more than wiping out any environmental benefits that the world's current crop of overpriced or low-range/limited choice, keep-it-niche EV's are delivering.
And most of those energy-squandering, dinosaurian relics will be on the road, fouling the air - and for the most part transporting just 1-2 people - for at least another dozen years.
Left: VW e-Up! - realworld range still averaging below 160km(Autocar, NEDC)
Right: VW e-Golf - realworld range still averaging below 160km according to most reviews. "Up to 300km" range upgrade promised for early 2017.
So let's just focus a little more forensically on those "big strides" that the BBC would have us believe carmakers - especially VW - are ostensibly making in the EV space, space-race or snails' race.
So far the polar opposite has been true of course - especially with respect to VW. What we've witnessed for years are not strides but unchanging stripes: permanent foot-dragging, sideways-strides in slo-mo, perpetual press release promises, presentations and motorshow make-believe - despite dieselgate VW have delivered no range increases yet to the e-Golf or e-Up - in the present tense and in the real-world, in the now-world. And neither have VW's even more EV-averse SEAT subsidiary.
No - with VW it's always "next year or "2020 maybe" or "by 2025 probably".
Sure, VW - the "Boy Cried Wolfsburg" Motor Co - have promised to launch an e-Golf with a range of "up to 300km" probably "early" next year - but only seeing is believing.
Or more to the point: seeing the promised product in showrooms - not at motorshows - is believing.
And even now, no commentators or "journalists" anywhere are daring to ask: "If Renault can double the Zoe's range now in 2016 with no price increase to boot - why don't and won't VW, BMW, Kia, Ford, Citroen, Fiat, Toyota, Honda do likewise - now ?"
Take Kia of Korea for instance: GM and Renault are both using battery-packs from Korean company LG Chem to achieve over 240 miles/charge. So why haven't Kia done the same for the Soul EV ? And why - as with every other major car manufacturer - does Kia's very sizeable product-range still tokenistically include just one electric car ?
As for Toyota - their biggest, boldest and bravest EV strides were made from 1996-2003 with the original RAV4 EV. The short-lived Tesla RAV4 EV joint-venture followed eight years later from 2012-2014.
Now, this week-as-we-speak, Toyota have been out-teasing VW by hinting they may possibly, conceivably drag their feet back into the EV space...by 2020.
Hardly worth a yawn.
Yet once again from the media we've seen nothing but uncritical approval, praise and positivity - noone has the effrontery to ask: "Why the delay ? If Renault and GM can deliver now in 2016 - why can't a giant like Toyota ?". By 2020 the company will have successfully Killed off the Electric Car - or at least their own offerings - for 17 years(since 2003). Yet the familiar collective response from the media to their latest "by 2020" announcement can best be summed up as: "Jolly well-done Toyota...aren't we the lucky ones".
But here is a deliciously refreshing bit of (all-too rare) ugly truth-telling from PushEVs and even from the Guardian...
Firstly PushEVs' irrepressible Pedro Lima:
"One thing is certain, Volkswagen talk the talk but don t walk the walk. After the scandal over VW cheating pollution emissions tests, the automaker has been showing public support for the electrification of cars, but behind closed doors the company acts in a very different way. Currently, Volkswagen and Shell are trying to block European Union efforts to cut emissions and push electric cars adoption."
UK Guardian - see "VW and Shell Accused of Trying to Block EU Push for Electric Cars" (rightly accused - as it turns out. And how genuine is that alleged "EU EV Push" ?)
No Pressure from the Press...
As we've accurately stated countless times over the past umpteen years - it is precisely and primarily because our media(old,new) have historically refused to seriously challenge and criticise major car manufacturers' chronic EV foot-dragging that we aren't already driving low-cost, long-range EV's of every description - including electric and extended-range compact SUV's and crossovers.
If the media had done its job, Chris Paine's film "*Who Killed the Electric Car" would have been superfluous to requirements - as would our own voice-in-the wilderness truth-telling efforts.
(*Watch full movie - Spanish subtitles)
And not only have almost all commentators and payrolled journalists shown themselves to be woefully incapable of informed, intelligent, fearless criticism of carmakers' perpetual procrastination, fakery and inertia - most still rarely miss an opportunity to fawningly heap praise on the most transparently naked of automotive Emperors - especially Germany's giants VW and BMW.
If the BBC wants to applaud any major car manufacturer at all then they should obviously be praising Renault for doubling the range of the Zoe this year, this month - and Nissan for incrementally increasing
the Leaf's range over the past 3-4 years.
GM clearly also deserves praise for the Bolt - despite GM-Vauxhall's ongoing, Canute-like or Clarkson-esque attempts to keep the American long-ranger out of Britain and/or sabotage its success - not least by unnecessarily, deliberately and counter-productively changing its name from the punchy, tabloid-friendly, easy-to-remember monosyllabic "Bolt" to the gentrifying, niche-ifying, abstruse, polysyllabic "Ampera-e".
That 4-syllable mouthful will inevitably reduce memory-impact and demographic penetration - which is almost certainly what it is designed to do: a Bolt penetrates - an Ampera-e EVaporates.
Talking of "big strides" - how successful and how famous a household and headline-name would Usain Bolt now be with the surname "Ampera-e" ?
Usain Amperary - as fast as lightning ?
And the "big strides" irony doesn't stop there: the GM Bolt won't be sold in the Olympian's native Jamaica - no right-hand drive versions are to be produced. So the world's 70+ RHD countries
will experience no big strides from GM.
(18.Nov GM Bolt update : the WSJ reports that the Bolt will not now be made widely available until "the Spring" of next year - exactly as we predicted in late 2014 !)
But the EV v ICE truth is even uglier than that: over the past 3-4 years almost all of the world's car manufacturers have not simply procrastinated - they have deliberately and cynically flooded showrooms and choked our streets with record-breaking numbers of gasoline-powered SUV's and crossovers - whilst conspicuously still refusing to offer any all-electric or extended-range hybrid SUV options and failing to increase either EV product range or - in most cases - battery range.
And those tens of millions of planet-hostile gas-guzzling SUV's continue to totally eclipse the paltry (less than) 1% of global car sales that EV's still represent - thus more than wiping out any environmental benefits that the world's current crop of overpriced or low-range/limited choice, keep-it-niche EV's are delivering.
And most of those energy-squandering, dinosaurian or ICE-Age relics will be on the road, fouling the air - and for the most part transporting just 1-2 people - for at least another dozen years.
"Big strides", Ms. Wakefield of the BBC ?
As in Tyrannosaurus Rex ?
À propos T-Rex, dinosaurs etc: many green-minded, earth-responsible EV-watchers may well be wondering about the global impact that a Trump White House is likely to have on all things green.
Trump has said he will tear up or cancel the Paris Climate Accord - so will carmakers see this as yet another opportunity to slam on the EV brakes ?
That's more or less what happened in 2000 of course when green EVangelist Al Gore - right up to the wire and the exit polls - seemed destined to take over the Presidency...yet somehow oil-men Bush and Cheney were astonishingly elected or selected instead.
No - this time round the EV genie is simply too far out of the bottle. Trump can't trump or trounce Tesla. GM and most US consumers and media commentators - do now appear to genuinely want the Volt and Bolt to succeed.
And ever-tightening EU emissions regulations plus
dieselgate - not to mention enlightened trailblazing Norwegians - are ensuring that a hard-won ICE-to-EV global transition just can't be halted or sabotaged by this entertainingly eco-hostile Republican President-elect.
Good or bad timing ?(Sept, 2016) : Renault's 100,000th Zoe customer was purportedly or reportedly Oslo-based Norwegian Asmund Gillebo.
Of course if Mr. Gillebo had delayed his purchase by a few months he'd have a next-gen Zoe(right) with twice the range for the same price !
Note that ICE-powered cars are set to be banned from Norway's normally ice-cold capital from 2019.
Norway - VW v Renault - an EV face-lift face-off to watch.
Will the bizarrely best-selling, expensive and short-range(160km) VW e-Golf finally be usurped by the new 300-400km/charge, far cheaper 2016 Renault Zoe ?
Over the next few months at least ? If not - why not ?
Or will Norwegians wait, wait, wait..to see if those (Boy Cried) Wolves of Wolfsburg's do indeed launch an "up to 300km" (and even more expensive) e-Golf early next year ?
According to Norwegian EV sales statistics - the outgoing Zoe R240 (=240km/charge has languished way down the popularity charts in 9th place whilst the considerably more expensive, shorter-range e-Golf has consistently vyed for the top spot against the Leaf and the Tesla Model S and lately the Model X.
Will (reputedly) highly intelligent, educated and informed Norwegians really continue to choose the already expensive short-range e-Golf over the latest long-range version of the Zoe ? Or will intelligence finally triumph over image and perceived VW brand kudos ?
Come on Norway ! Explain yourselves !
The latest Zoe delivers around 200km more range than the e-Golf AND costs circa 8,000 euros less than the promised pricey 2017 VW !
Are you really so desperately keen to be seen in a Volkswagen ! ?
Will Norwegians finally lose their cool if VW all-too predictably begin hinting at yet another delay ? Before quietly confirming perhaps that the "up to 300km" 2017 e-Golf will not hit showrooms till June..October..or the very fuzzy "Fall".
But let's wrap this up with another excellent Nordic-flavoured piece from PushEV's refreshingly - or almost uniquely - fearless and informed Pedro Lima - with some wonderfully pertinent VW v Renault etc comments from Norwegian Zoe-owners.
In no-nonsense Norway Renault are thankfully forbidden from renting the battery-pack separately - it has to be included in the purchase-price - which equates to around 20,000 Euros after very generous state subsidies.
Late Breaking BMW Bloomberg News - 12. Nov(it's not just us !) :
"BMW Labor Chief Urges CEO to Accelerate Electric Car Roll-Out"
(Manfred Shoch - you're a hero ! But what took you so long ?)
Also: $24 trillion - institutional, heavyweight investors tell carmakers to speed up EV/Clean Car transition(The Ecologist)
Fact v Fiction:
350km range ?
Yeti v Zoe (VW-Kreisel v Renault)
Zoe = fact
Yeti = fiction (until proven otherwise)
Skoda(VW) Yeti: Kreisel claim unverified 350km range.
Renault Zoe: new 300-400km range EVs will be delivered - and verifiable - from November.
Renault's imminent giant-leap doubling of the Zoe's range to between 300-400 km - so circa 350 km/220 miles - was arguably the only realworld, tease-free EV News worth reporting over the past few months.
And that 350km just happens to be the same figure very loudly and proudly claimed by headline-grabbing Austrian startup Kreisel back in June for several of its ostensibly Tesla-trumping(= "EV Cliché of the Year" ?) EV conversions including most notably perhaps a Skoda(VW) Yeti as well as two large vans - a Mercedes Sprinter, VW Transporter - and an e-Golf. All allegedly capable of 300-350 km and all fast-chargeable up to 95% in under 20 minutes.
(Note: the 95% figure is cited by Kreisel's Christian Schloegl in this video'd June 2016 presentation - at 6min 55secs. Tesla's cells he says can only be fast-charged to 80% - "dann ist es Schluss")
But still we have no proof, no independent range-verifying test-drive - all we do have are a few very brief drive-by clips showing a selection of Kreisel's conversions - with "350km range" loudly and proudly painted on side-panels - tearing around for just a minute or two. Plus one longer but sub-100km video test-drive of the company's VW e-Caddy by "Der Elektroautor" who fails to test the vehicle's claimed range("Reichweite"). That was a "first-look" test-drive way back in January 2015 - we've had no follow-up since then !
As for the elusive Yeti - well it's not been shown or caught on film at all - unlike the mythical beast after which it's named.
And that's not all that's elusive/reclusive about the Austrian Freistadt startup: oddly none of the three company-founding Kreisel brothers appear to have ever spoken on camera. Instead head of business development Bavarian Christian Schloegl(video: Quality (of) Life Forum) seems to have been allotted the Steve Jobs/Elon Musk public presentation and PR role.
So do Kreisel's laser-bonded Panasonics really trump Tesla's ?
We're told - without independent (video'd) verification - that Kreisel's cells are more compact, lighter, charge faster, yield more power/energy, produce less heat, have longer life - and will soon be available as game-changing, mass-produced low-cost(€100/kw) EV packs.
We've now emailed Kreisel twice to ask why they have still failed to provide any independent (video) verification of their very widely and uncritically reported(cf. DBM Energy/Kolibri !) 350 km range or Tesla-trumping rapid-charge claims.
We've still received no response.
So here is the latest version of our unanswered email raw and uncut - as dispatched to email@example.com a week or so ago:
Hallo, Schoenen Guten Tag, Gruess Gott ..
- First of all, we obviously greatly admire and applaud what you seem to be endeavouring to achieve in Freistadt.
But the familiar problem for us is that we still have been unable to find any independent (video) verification of your 350 km range claims - or for that matter of Christian Schloegl's(
video) better-than-Tesla fast-charge claims(to 95% before rebalancing required versus Tesla's 80%, richtig ?)
Yet this lack of independent video(preferably Youtube'd) verification of range could obviously be very simply, cheaply and rapidly rectified by Kreisel.
A trusted independent EV reviewer could very easily and simply spend 3-4 hours verifying the range of - for example - the Skoda Yeti driving in and around Freistadt covering 350km at mixed speeds under varying driving conditions.
After all the EV "space race" is now finally - letztendlich - all about affordable long range - not range claims - but independently proven and verified realworld range.
Would you not agree that you actually have a responsibility to back up sensational Tesla-teasing range (and rapid-charge etc) claims with independent realworld video'd verification ?
Compare and contrast GM and the Bolt EV - they by contrast have issued and Youtube'd a very convincing and short 6 minute video(see Youtube: Chevy Bolt range-test) in which the respected and initially slightly sceptical US motoring journalist Tim Stevens("Road Show") drives a pre-production Bolt 240+ miles on a single charge down the California coast's Highway One...with 17 miles of charge still remaining at his destination.
So: why have Kreisel not put out a similar, easy-to-arrange 5-10 minute video ?
Until and unless you do so we still only have unverified - although very credible-sounding - range-claims and various vehicles with "350km range" impressively and very visibly emblazoned on their side-panels.
So we'd like to recommend that you contact the following two trusted, respected and renowned EV reviewers and long-time campaigners/activists:
1) Robert Llewellyn - presenter and host of Fully Charged.
(He's also an actor - see BBC's cultish "Red Dwarf")
Sci-fi and sci-fact specialist Llewellyn would almost certainly jump in a plane or a saucer to Austria tomorrow for the chance to put a 220 mile/charge Skoda Yeti or an e-Caddy or e-Golf through its paces.
(Editor's note: Skoda is part of the VW Group and the Caddy - though not the e-Caddy - is also a Wolfsburg creation)
See Llewellyn's test-drive preview of the London Metrocab and his accompanied range-testing of a Nissan Leaf on a trip from London to Edinburgh.
Again - this would be very simple to arrange. All Kreisel would need to do is give Llewellyn the keys to the Yeti for 3-4 hours. (Obviously it would be good if you could also share the cost of a budget flight from the UK to Austria plus 1-2 nights at a budget hotel in Freistadt - less than 200 euros in total to banish critics' inevitable range-claim scepticism !)
2) Louis Palmer of the annual EV Wave Trophy and Solartaxi etc fame.
Why not invite them both(Llewellyn & Palmer) to Freistadt to verify the Skoda/VW Yeti's range and fast-charge capability ? And perhaps one of the (camera-shy ?) Kreisel brothers could join them for part of the 350 km test ?
Personally we think you owe it to the international EV community to provide definitive independent video verification of both range and rapid-charge capabilities.
And obviously Tesla share-holders and those tens of thousands of Tesla-believers who have pre-ordered a Model 3 - not to mention Musk himself - would like to know if Tesla's Gigafactories will be producing EV batteries that really are no longer the world's best in several key respects as Kreisel have so confidently claimed.
Note re Kreisel's (VW) e-Caddy conversion(also with claimed "350km range").
We have seen the in-car video review of the e-Caddy by Volker Adamietz of Elektroautor.com
- but bizarrely and frustratingly range/Reichweite is not verified and barely even mentioned in that video !
The other key unanswered question concerns the Mavero - your stationary energy storage answer to Tesla's Powerwall.
Why is its temperature operating-range so (relatively) limited compared to the Tesla offering ie. +5C to +40C versus the Powerwall's -20C to +50C ?
Do Kreisel's Panasonic laser-bonded EV battery-packs - like its stationary storage units - also have a narrower temperature tolerance than Tesla's Panasonic EV packs ? ____________________________________________________
(end of EVUK email to Kreisel - sent twice,unanswered twice)
Obviously a narrow operating temperature-range of +5C - +40C would not meet the needs of any major global car manufacturer and retailer. So do your EV packs match Tesla's proven -20C - +50C capability ? If so, do you have independent verification of that fact ?
Kreisel appear to believe that a collaboration with VW, BMW and Mercedes will enhance their own EV and green car credentials and credibility.
In late 2015 Germany's ARD(the country's BBC1 state TV equivalent) - briefly emboldened no doubt by the VW dieselgate scandal - aired a scathing documentary that thoroughly and fearlessly exposes the (continuing) foot-dragging fakery and insincerity of the German auto-establishment's proclaimed commitment to all-electric vehicles. It also reveals the continuing and widespread manipulation and massaging of fuel economy and CO2 emissions ratings for petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles.
One of many other low-down highlights is served up at 11m 10s when BMW's head of e-Mobility Julian Weber is asked why the i3 is so expensive despite being so much cheaper to assemble than conventional combustion vehicles. His brazenly blunt response:
"If you want to drive an eco-friendly car and you want a premium, fully sustainable vehicle then that's the price you pay."
Unfortunately this unusually bold, gloves-off ARD state TV documentary is only available in German. Fortunately - bzw. gluecklicherweise - this EVUK scribbler is more or less bilingual - so nothing is lost or buried in translation.
But even Austrians - perhaps even Australians - should by now have no problem understanding that German carmakers (still) simply can't be trusted to tell the truth when it comes to their purported and relentlessly re-reported dedication to EV's and "Elektromobilitaet" in general.
"Das Maerchen von der Elektromobilitaet - wie Politik und Industrie e-Autos bremsen".
("The Electric Mobility Myth/Fairy Tale: how Politics and Industry are Braking/Slowing Down Electric Cars")
No surprise that Deutsche Post have chosen to shun or steer clear of German carmakers altogether for the design and production of their latest fleet of all-electric delivery vans - they built their own and saved a fortune !
VW bosses are not amused - see all Google News reports.
Meanwhile - let's switch seamlessly from Austria's 350 km range proclaimers to France and the Zoe's imminent and definite 350 km upgrade.
Here's the nub in a nutshell:
"The Zoe will now have a 41-kilowatt-hour battery pack, up from 22 KWh in earlier versions, giving it a range of 300 to 400 kilometers (185 to 250 miles) on the European test cycle" (Green Car Reports)
We're not demanding an independent range-test video from Renault since they'll soon be delivering the new Zoe just two months after announcing it - it's not just another empty VW- or BMW-style carrot-dangling, jam-tomorrow PR ploy.
- not only do we have no range-verifying videos - even more bizarrely the Skoda Yeti that Kreisel's Christian Schloegl describes as his favourite company car - especially for trips to Munich - has not been video'd in action at all !
Indeed persistent Youtube searching still turns up just one strange if not surreal short clip promoting hydrogen gas(!) from Ireland(!) and showing nothing but stills of the motor, powertrain, dash and charging socket of a stationary Kreisel Skoda(VW) Yeti EV.
Was soll das alles Um Himmels Willen, Jungs ?!
Unfortunately sightings and videos of Kreisel's electric Yeti are far more elusive than those of the mythical mountain Yeti.
So to fill the Kreisel EV video void (EVoid ?) here's a rugged off-road video review of a red gasoline-powered ICE-Yeti - a Kreisel lookalike but without the red wheels.
Conclusion: what we have witnessed from Kreisel will, we fear, prove to have been little more than a mutually beneficial PR collaboration between the German auto-establishment and a company claiming - still without independent verification - to have laser-welded Panasonic-based EV battery-packs that deliver a range of 350km/220 miles and can be rapid-charged more quickly, deeply and efficiently than Tesla's Panasonics.
Kreisel seem to have primarily used all of that EV and range-related buzz and hype as a launch-pad for their Mavero stationary energy storage systems.
And Volkswagen are now talking about manufacturing EV batteries in China just a month after a new factory in Germany had been rumoured - and
we're hearing no mention any more of Kreisel or Austria.
Oh - and the "e-Crafter" van that VW unveiled three weeks ago will have a range of - oh dear - just 200 km ! So the same old same old all over again.
Surely "Craft-e" would be far more fitting a name, nicht wahr ?
And all-too predictably no "journalists" or commentators are asking:
"So what the ?#*! happened to that Tesla-Trouncing, Tesla-Toppling, Tesla-Thrashing 350 km, superfast-charge VW-Kreisel collaboration ?"
Perhaps the one "vehicle" that seems most convincingly to have publicly proven Kreisel's cells to their, er, upper limits is the sublime all-electric Elektra One airplane - a single-engined, battery-powered, solar-winged glider.
The fact that German auto giants aren't involved inevitably adds to the credibility of Kreisel's 500km Elektra range claims. (Video - Elektra One soars above Lake Zurich)
See also: Cleantechnica: "Kreisel - a New Battery Competitor In Home Storage & EVs ?".
'RE': Range-Extended, 100% biofuelled "series" hybrids
- Is it time for EV purists to look again at range-extended(RE) biofuelled EV's...aka "EREV's ?
Probably - if they can be powered or range-extended by sustainably produced, widely available 100% ethanol, 100% biodiesel. And provided pure electric range is at least 50 miles/80km.
The reality of course is that 100% biofuels are still anything but widely available - except in Brazil. And it's equally clear from our own research and experience that even E85/85% ethanol is available at less than 3% of the world's filling-stations.
If you're not already up to speed or still confused re RE & EREV's aka series hybrids
here's a little cream of the crop selection of biofuel(100% ethanol/biodiesel) and RE-related facts and state-of-the-art or recent developments that may persuade some battery EV fundamentalists to ease up a little.
As always we've tried to join as many dots and explore as many taboo little truths as possible(eg. Re-Volt - Chevy's 'bi' secret, industrial hemp as fuel, fuel v food fallacies & myths etc).
- Nissan has promised to unveil a range-extended series hybrid this year - but why not simply offer "EREV" versions of existing best-sellers like the Qashqai(above left).
And given that everyone now routinely refers not to "Nissan" but to the "Renault-Nissan" alliance in the context of EV's and hybrids - the hyper-trending ubiquitous Renault Captur(video) - a dead-ringer for a GM Bolt on steroids - is just screaming to be unleashed in series hybrid and all-electric form: an e-Captur / Capture EV and/or Captur EREV hybrid would trounce and trump a Bolt in any colour.
- Nissan's Carlos Ghosn has said that the company's eBio fuel cell series hybrid(below right) will "provide opportunities" for regional decentralized biofuel(ie. ethanol) production.
Well why not help create even more local ethanol businesses and incentives by ensuring that not just the e-Bio fuel cell concept but also the company's more imminent, conventional Volt-like series hybrids can also be flex-fuelled by 100% or 85% ethanol ?
But Nissan and other major car manufacturers will also have to
engage in some seriously aggressive lobbying of governments worldwide to ensure that non-corn ethanol production (eg. from industrial hemp, switchgrass, tall wheatgrass, szarvasi, waste - see below) becomes an attractive small and medium-sized business proposition.
- Neil Young's biofuelled and beautifuelled 1959 Lincvolt Continental conversion was the first EREV to hit the road and the hybrid headlines -
the Volt followed and now Nissan's teasing at least two range-extended hybrids.
(OK, OK - the Volt is not strictly speaking a 100% pure-as-driven-snow series hybrid - its onboard ICE can mechanically, directly drive the front wheels via a clutch - on rare 'parallel' occasions)
So will Nissan be the first company to offer 100% biofuel, flex-fuel or multifuel capability ? 100% ethanol ? 100% biodiesel ?
Unlike GM's Volt, BMW's i3, Fisker's Karma and Bob Lutz's Viamotors ?
None of the above series hybrid manufacturers ever mention the idea or prospect of gasoline-free, biofuelled range-extenders let alone the notion of replacing their good 'ole on-board ICE generators with a microturbine of the Wrightspeed Fulcrum, Capstone or Bladon Jets(UK) kind.
And Nissan's years-away, post-petroleum eBio Fuel Cell EREV(above right) - appears to be little more than an unproven exploratory, exotic and faraway concept at this point but it would definitely be 100% gasoline-free with a battery-pack coupled to a fuel cell stack which in turn is fed by 100% ethanol or ethanol-blended water(not from corn please - see below) .
Secondly and more imminently, Nissan is promising to launch an extended range EV aka series hybrid in 2016(AutoNews) that will hopefully - unlike the GM Volt - be equipped with a fully activated flex-fuel RE generator. Ideally of course we'd like to see flex-fuel or multi-fuelled series hybrid options being offered in every market ie. 100% biodiesel and 85-100% ethanol. (E85 or 85% ethanol as opposed to E100 might partially placate many EV purists - given that most EREV/Volt owners or drivers report rarely using fuel at all)
- So just why are BMW, GM* etc really refusing to offer anything other than gasoline-powered range-extenders - why not 100% biodiesel, 100% alcohol, e85 ethanol..multifuel or flex-fuel ?
*Why did GM quietly cancel and bury its plans to offer bi-fuel capability - deactivating the relevant software ? We know the predictable official excuses and alibis - but we've always preferred truth to transparent PR fiction.
*Which brings us - sssh - to GM's little "bi" secret:
Even now very few people - including most GM/Chevy Volt owners - seem aware that their vehicle carries unactivated flex-fuel software ...that can be activated in 5 minutes by an expert with the right gizmo...like John Brackett aka the "Fuelverine"(right).
See Fuel Freedom:
"John Brackett Made a Chevy Volt Run on E85, and It Was Easy"
- But why is it that - despite Brackett's best endeavours - most proponents of max-percent biodiesel and alcohol/ethanol rarely if ever actually mention range-extended EV's aka series hybrids like the BMW i3 and GM Volt which typically reduce fuel use and filling-station visitations by a whopping 80-90% but still force drivers to pump gasoline into an otherwise green lean machine ? Will alcohol and 100% biofuel campaigners join us in urging Nissan to equip their upcoming range-extenders with up-to-100% biofuel flexibility ?
Consider actor/environmentalists Ed Begley and Daryl Hannah(Video).
A few years back the world's leading alcohol-as-fuel expert and campaigner David Blume("Alcohol Can Be a Gas" - Book/Video) converted Begley's non-RE first generation Toyota Prius (parallel) hybrid to run on 100% alcohol/ethanol. A laudable fix to be sure - but Begley could stir things up far more now by acquiring a 2016 Chevy Volt(53 miles in EV mode) and flipping it to sip 100% alcohol if/when the battery needs recharging on the road.
And Daryl Hannah's 1979 erstwhile "Kill Bill", climate-killing Pontiac Trans Am was given a similar alcholic-ICE makeover - though it'll still only average around 18 miles/gallon unless it's given the full Neil Young Lincvolt treatment and fitted out with an extended-range multifuel series hybrid powertrain. (ICE or microturbine).
Left: "Daryl Hannah Takes her Ethanol-powered "Kill Bill" Trans Am On the Road"
Right: Ms. Hannah - Neil Young's heart-of-gold(?) companion for the past few years - used to drive a pretty basic biodiesel Chevy el Camino conversion but switched to the alcohol-fuelled Trans Am in 2010.
Alcohol with ICE, so to speak.
So the combustion engines in both vehicles have remained well under 25% efficient. But Hannah will be well aware that any green fix that still wastes most of a fuel's latent energy is not acceptable or sustainable on a grand scale. She's forgiven though, right guys ? She's possibly just a fallible green superhero with a faiblesse for growling engines..although she has said she rejected a pure EV conversion on weight-watching grounds. Satisfied, Neil ?
- So to recap: the answer to our opening question as to whether EV purists should reconsider range-extended series hybrids..is yes or probably. Provided they're 100% biofuel-able and flex-fuelled and the ethanol/alcohol and diesel aren't derived from biodiversity-destroying mono-cultures like corn.
In other words:
Think industrial Hemp, switchgrass, tall wheatgrass, szarvasi grass, biofuel from waste and from infertile or marginal land.
- Alcohol aka 100% ethanol engines burn so clean and coke-free that they can last for a million+ miles. Obviously if range-extending ICE/microturbine generators are likewise powered by 100% or even 85% alcohol/ethanol they should last for decades - since they're so relatively rarely used and thus do very little work week-in, week-out, year after year.
- David Blume: "The Alcohol Conspiracy and the Road Map to Energy Independence" (video) & "Alcohol Can Be a Gas" (video / book)
- Carey Burns "Hemp Fuel v Corn Fuel" (video) "600-1800 gallons/acre" - low production costs, healthily profitable, cultivation still widely banned or opposed.
So: yes to highly destructive, unproductive fracking - no to wickedly disruptive, versatile, high-yield, hippy hemp, right?
(Remember kids - always treat 'grown-ups' with the same respect they've shown your fracked planet)
- Giulio Sica(UK Guardian) asked:
"Why Has Hemp Been Ignored as a Biofuel ?"
- that was eight years ago ! It's not been innocently "ignored" of course - but proactively wiped from the political and media radar.
Note: industrial hemp unlike recreational marijuana contains very low levels of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
It is one of the fastest growing plants, will grow almost anywhere, enriches the soil, needs no pesticides and can be refined into a vast variety of commercial items including biodegradable plastics, food, vitamins/mineral supplements, paper, textiles, clothing, paint, insulation, biofuel, animal feed...
News Alert: Sept 23-24-25: "Bio Logic" - major 3-day Industrial Hemp Expo/Festival. Gela, Sicily.
See ya there, Neil/Daryl ?
So to return to that fundamental(ist) question posed at the beginning - sure, we EV purists should now cautiously welcome or at least encourage range-extended, max-bio series hybrids/EREVs - but our primary, continuing concern is that carmakers will always try to use any form of hybrid as a pretext to stall or shelve long-range pure EV and battery advances.
Bottom line: what most battery EV purists surely really seek - for themselves and for the planet - is maximum liberation from petroleum and from petrol-station dependency, optimum energy efficiency, maximum all-round sustainability and minimum cost: sadly, so far those few car manufacturers that do offer range-extended hybrids/EVs have refused to completely severe the oil-umbilical by offering biodiesel/alcohol/multifuel or "fuel agnostic" range-extenders as used in Neil Young's exemplary biodiesel-boosted Lincvolt. (a jet-like microturbine charges its batteries - not an Internal CE as in the Volt, i3 etc)
- But wait ! Let's repeat this for everyone suffering from chronic ADD and/or acute short-term memory-loss(ie. we covered the issue just ten paragraphs ago..) :
RE: the Lincvolt v the Volt and the latter's ostensible lack of flex-fuel capability...
...most people still seem unaware that the GM/Chevy Volt
carries inactive unadvertised bi-fuel software which when activated allows it to run on e85 ethanol - not just petrol. Indeed even the most alert Volt-owners seem unaware that the Volt(aka Vauxhall/Opel Ampera RIP) was originally designed and primed to be a bi-fuel or flex-fuel series hybrid.
- "John Brackett Made a Chevy Volt Run on E85, and It Was Easy"
- "Next Step for Volt Green Car of the Year should be E85 Capability"
Green Car Reports:
- "Why Isn't The 2016 Chevy Volt A Flex-Fuel Plug-In Hybrid That Can Use E85 Ethanol ?"
Neil Young - a few tracks from the album
"Fork in the Road" - dedicated to green cars, green energy and most of all to his beloved biofuelled 1959 range-extended Lincvolt Continental..
"Fuel Line" - (click for lyrics & song - Youtube):
Her engine's running and her fuel is clean___
She only uses it 'cause she's a machine
She don't need it though, just to cruise around town
Keep filling that fuel line
Keep filling that old fuel line
The awesome power of electricity
Stored for you in a giant battery
She runs so quiet, she's just like a ghost
The world is ready for a whole new game
Some old timers just wanna stay the same
But they still advertise how clean and green they are
But she don't listen to what they say
She burns domestic green fuel instead
She don't use much though and that's smart for a car
She's not the car that she used to be
She wants to take you and she wants to take me
Into the future that's her destiny
Keep filling that fuel line
Keep filling that old fuel line
"Johnny Magic" - (click for lyrics & song - Youtube):
Johnny Magic has a way with metal___
Has a way with machines
One day in a garage far away
He met destiny
In the form of a heavy metal Continental
She was born to run on a Proud Highway
Then the whole world started running out of money
People losing their jobs right here in Wichita
The home of the heavy metal Continental
Now she goes long range on domestic green fuel
100 miles per gallon is the Continental Rule
The Motor-Head Messiah went to Washington
To show them what he'd done
The senators and congressmen came down
And they rode in the heavy metal Continental
She was born to run on a Proud Highway
Johnny Magic, Johnny Magic
(a tribute to Lincvolt's magical main-man mechanic Johnathan Goodwin)
Neil Young "Just Singing A Song Won't Change the World" - (click for lyrics & song - Youtube):
You can play my guitar
See it where it'll go
Send this song
To a distant star
While the rhythm explodes
Just singing a song
Won't change the world
You can drive my car
Feel how it rolls
Feel a new energy
As it quietly rolls
Just singing a song
Won't change the world
Just singing a song
Won't change the world
You can sing about change
While you're making your own
You can be what you're trying to say
On a big wheel road
Just singing a song won't change the world
Fun in the sun ? Caribbean carousin' ? Beach party spirit 24/7/365 ? __________
Live and Let Drive.
- for less than £10,000...
As summer scorches and sizzles ..the question has to be asked:
- can eMokes, EVs and and a de-fossilized Bond help save a World That's Not Enough ?
Never Say Never, right ?
Recall: Moore in a Moke. Undercover(ie. canvas - blue and white striped).
Recall: Voodoo magic and mystique in San Monique.
Come on - who needs a straitlaced Tesla(what - no sun roof ?) or a biz-exec Bolt when £8000-£10,000 will buy you an electric Moke or a stretchy, champagne* shuttle bus ?
(*guaranteed to pop-fizz a sparkly, bubbly beach-mood wherever it goes)
Life's a beach - then you drive. A beach buggy.
Watch our exclusive(yes indeed) "Live and Let Die" Moore-in-a-Moke clip.
("Exclusive" clip ? Surprisingly there appear to be no publicly posted clips of Bond in his sky-blue striped beach buggy - so our best voodoo-video and search skills were needed to chop and crop out this one.)
Left: Shandong New Energy Vehicles - a reliable manufacturer and not just a dealer or supplier says Loglio(see below)
Right: video of International Moke meet-up and street rally
Left: low-power Chinese NEV eMoke - this specimen requires no driving licence in most countries.
Right: you gotta love that authentic Australian-Californian Black Cab look. Sadly not electric. Chinese eMoke-makers please note !
And returning (gratuitously) to the Bond-Moke-Bus theme - here's Roger almost losing his head in a downsized (last)resort bus.(sliced bus clip)
Shaken - but not deterred.
(Should have stayed with the Moke, mate)
Most of the electric beach buggies and buses pictured here are available via Alibaba and are "EEC" or EU-approved. The sub-£10,000 price-tag includes taxes, import duty and shipping.
Our Shenzhen-based EV/solar specialist and Italian expat Marco Loglio(Linkedin) particularly recommends Shandong New Energy Vehicle Co and its pleasantly communicative CEO Jason Zhang - not least because the company is an EV manufacturer not just a middle-man, dealer or supplier.
And for an extra €1500-€3500 former ThunderSky Vice President Loglio will add a variety of solar/PV roofs or extendable canopies for you - providing between 30-100km of free driving every day.
NoSmoke - Electric Mokes for the Mediterranean.
Assembled in France - but delivered to Spain(including Balearics) and Portugal. Has some NICE fun-in-the-sun sales slogans: "It's Always Summer", "The Fun Is Back", "Cool Clean Economical Easy". On the negative side: they're still only using lead-acid(!) batteries..yet a range of 100km/62 miles is claimed. Price: €14,000
Best-of Beach, buggy and bus links:
- Roger Moore's San Monique Moke is not electric of course - but he did eagerly try an emission-free Fetish in Monaco earlier this century. See Fifth Gear video.
- Boom-time's coming ("2016-2026") for take-it-easy, slower, cheaper micro EVs, NEVs, e-scoots, ebikes and ergo eMokes - according to this IDTechEx report(July).
- International Moke street convoy meet-up - racey video.
- NoSmoke eMoke - based(quite surprisingly) in France but delivers to Spain, Portugal and the Balearics.
- EV West California: at present - to the best of our knowledge - this is the only other electric, smokeless Moke-creator operating outside China(great EV West demo videos). OZ-based MokeMotors teased an electric version in 2014 but that promise, like so many EV promises, seems to have EVaporated.
The fact is there is unsurprisingly no demand for expensive electric Mokes - affluent, free-spirited Californians are always the exception to the rule of course...
- Formentera(8 miles S. of Ibiza) heralds EV sea-change with a fleet of e-Meharis and ambitious all-electric island plans. (The e-Mehari is Citroen's up-market, up-priced alternative to the cheap and cheerful Moke)
So how come attitudes and politics in Spanish Formentera are so diametrically different to the rest of Spain (aka the Costa del Repsol) ?
Can we expect e-Meharis to hit Mallorca soon ? E-Mokes electrifying E-biza ? All naturally powered by the sun ?
- "Al fresco fun in an anodyne world" - even J. Clarkson(quoted) likes or liked Mokes(video) - though he'd obviously detest anything electric and green ie. anything that doesn't waste the planet and oil the wheels of the fossil-fuelled military-industrial war machine. Here's Clarkson in Iraq 8 years ago.
- Car restoration TV show "Wheeler Dealers": the Moke in this classic double episode is petrol-powered - but the two hosts' enthusiasm is infectious and un-Clarksonesque..
- Bondage artefacts: a 1/43 scale die-cast Moore-in-a-Moke "Dinkey Toy" can be bought on eBay & Amazon. And a special edition Bond-in-a-Buggy magazine is also up-for-grabs.
So if even the most cheap-and-cheerful eMoke is beyond your means just dangle a Dinkey from your rear-view mirror, hide the Moore-mag in a glove-box and dream of mythical San Monique in an almost mythical Moke...
French connections - joining the dots...
N.I.C.E. = "No Internal Combustion Engine".
Oil and ICE - the root cause(s) of terrorism.
"Internal Combustion - How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives"
- by New York Times best-selling author Edwin Black. In this Miami Herald interview Black confirms that it was terrorism that motivated him to write the book. (Amazon).
Flashback and Blowback:
- on July 2nd more than 300 people were killed in yet another bombing in Baghdad. The massacre was allocated the customary 1-2 minutes or so on TV News and as much as half a page in many newspapers in non-Muslim countries.
But the story was dead, buried and forgottten by the next day - in most non-Muslim minds.
Yet despite the crystal-clear pipeline-to-petrol-station connection the public and the old/new media refuse to join the dots...from Iraq and the Middle East..back to the gasoline-powered cars that they now addictively drive almost everywhere and anywhere.
Even when filling up at the petrol/gas-station - the total disconnect continues.
The manufacture of consent and the engineering of denial and amnesia - Chomsky's paradigm propaganda model is surely nowhere more lethally apparent than in the public's blind, guilt-free, defiant addiction to the internal combustion engine.
So just why is it that so many relatively bold, well-meaning campaigners, greens, church-leaders and even a smattering of journalists and politicians are more than happy to call for "divestment from fossil fuel" - yet still religiously refuse to utter the words "internal combustion engine" let alone demand that this politically and environmentally devastating, dinosaur technology be finally phased out and replaced with green, peace-promoting zero emission alternatives ?
"Ditch Oil and de-ICE" - why not try pitching that clarion call catch-phrase in your next sermon, Reverend ? Afraid perhaps of losing an ICE-addicted congregation ?
Let's end once again with a self-answering rhetorical question - but one that's worth constantly repeating nonetheless: if oil-dependent Norway can de-ICE by 2025(News, June) - why are EU countries so silent, so intransigent, so reluctant to make the same commitment ?
OK, Germany has rather feebly pledged to probably stop sales of new ICE-powered cars by 2030 - yet many governments and countries - Spain, Italy and Greece for example - will never enforce a combustion-ban without an EU-wide "N.I.C.E" mandate.
Ghosn's "Realm of Possibility"
2016: Ghosn: an electric Juke is a possibility, eventually.
2015: Ghosn: an electric Qashqai / Rogue is a possibility, eventually.
2013: Ghosn: an electric Qashqai / Rogue is a possibility, eventually.
2013: Ghosn: a low-cost electric Dacia is a possibility, eventually.
(Renault-Nissan owns Dacia - Romania's low-cost car manufacturer: the Duster and Sandero are international budget best-sellers.)
Reality v Possibility in 2016:
- you can have any Nissan EV as long as it's a Leaf.
No *Juke, no *Rogue, no *Qashqai, no Dacia *Duster or *Sandero - just the limply named , take-it-or-leave-it Leaf.
Or an effeminately-named Renault Zoe.
(*That's right - whilst gasoline car buyers get to choose between vehicles with swaggeringly strong or macho names like the Juke, Rogue, Sandero, Pulsar and X-Trail - would-be EV-owners are still limited to the stereotype-reinforcing, limp Leaf or the female Zoe)
But wait a minute ! What's this ?! .....
2012 Dacia Sandero - 500km / 312 miles per charge - at normal traffic speeds. Interior space not compromised. Driving the Future and Born Electric over four years ago. (Watch clip)
It's not Ghosn's baby obviously - but the work of Andrej Pecjak and his Slovenian village team-mates at the Metron Institute. Conceived five years ago and very thoroughly road-tested in all weathers and conditions since then.
The original 2011 Sandero Metron conversion "only"
managed 400km/charge so Pecjak & Co. added solar panels to the roof to achieve 500km in 2012.
But New York WTN award-nominee Andrej and his minuscule-but-mighty Metron Institute haven't stopped there or rested on their laurels or their awards.
Since 2012 their all electric powertrains have continued to incrementally improve: in 2015 they set a well-witnessed world range-record of 826km driving at normal traffic speeds - again with no loss of interior space.
Ghosn again: "If there was a demand for it we'd make it".
Hmm, an all-too familiar cop-out and inversion of basic production-demand logic - and a favourite phoney alibi for inaction that Elon Musk has never resorted to : if the Tesla Model 3 had been conceived and born as a curvaceously compact SUV with Juke-like funkiness instead of a relatively sedate sedan it would still have been universally applauded and massively pre-ordered following its March 31st unveiling.
And thankfully at no time has Musk ever insulted the intelligence of his unusually bright audiences with a fob-off of the Ghosn or Carlos kind ie. "if there's sufficient demand we'll think very long and very hard about the possibility of producing it, eventually."
Sorry Carlos - but it's time for Nissan to grow and branch out beyond the Leaf and serve us up a far tastier basket of fruit.
Time also to evolve away from the traditional corporate (or political) conviction that...
...PR is all about exploiting and reinforcing the ignorance of the many whilst (knowingly) insulting the intelligence of the few..
So if Ghosn genuinely wanted to stimulate public demand and wake up the masses the solution is cheap, simple and self-evident: emulate what Pecjak did 4-5 years ago and have a small team of Renault-Nissan engineers create a 200 mile/charge Juke, Qashqai, Rogue, Sandero and Duster. With Renault-Nissan's resources and manpower it should take less than a month to convert all five. Ask Pecjak and friends to help out, Carlos, and they'll be ready to strut their stuff in three weeks.
Then hand that impressive panoply of Pecjak'ed prototypes over to the likes of Top Gear, AutoExpress and Autocar for a few days of testing, filming and reviewing - and thus, very inexpensively and quickly, you'll have opened the eyes(yikes!) of millions of dormant, semi-comatose or "EVs-are-for-wimps" petrol-heads and ICE-addicts in Britain and around the world.
And if that's not quite enough - then hand that swaggeringly macho assortment of long-rangers - Jukes, Qashqais, Sanderos, Rogues, Dusters - over to the valiant multinational convoy of EV cognoscenti and crusaders at 80edays.com who're currently attempting to circle the globe Phineas Fogg-style in Teslas, a Daimler-BYD Denza - and arguably best of all - a very long-range Hungarian electric bus.
As a result the media and the masses will be demanding - not just timidly suggesting - that Renault-Nissan and Ghosn finally - not eventually - convert EV possibility into EV reality.
So - let's ask a stupid or semi-superfluous, rhetorical question: why on Earth(three guesses) would Ghosn never have thought of doing what Pecjak did 4-5 years ago - and take a leaf out of a Slovenian villager's book ? For a Goliath like Renault-Nissan it would be so simple, so cheap, so quick, so effective.
So dangerously disruptive.
But major carmakers would still rather wait until cocked, loaded guns are held to their heads -
or until quality Chinese EV manufacturers like BAIC and BYD finally tear down the barricades, break through global anti-China trade-blockades and begin flooding the world's markets with what consumers really need.
Bring it on, China ! The West is askin' for it !
Carlos's latest carrot - an e-Juke. As always the "e" stands for "EVentually". Possibly.
On a lighter note: in 2011-2012 Romania's University of Pitesti built a not particularly cutting-edge or compact hybrid version of Dacia's low-priced Duster SUV. The vehicle was/is memorable first and foremost for its name - "The Grand Hamster"(video).
A few wicked wags have suggested that the odd nomenclature was a sardonic side-swipe at Renault-Nissan's very own "Grand Master" Carlos Ghosn and his rodent-like features - although the official explanation is that hamsters store food and batteries store energy.
"Grand Squirrel" would surely have been a more fitting name given that hamsters are far more famous for their short lives and sudden deaths than for their food-storing skills.
Also worthy of a mention is Marc Areny - a half-Spanish Frenchman and low-cost EV creator who moved to Romania out of frustration at French red-tape(ie. anti-EV-DIY) in order to build and promote his dream EV conversion: an all-electric Dacia Logan.
the car's price is low enough to forgive its shortish range - just 150km/95 miles. See The Long Tail Pipe and Youtube.
Singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews MBE*: is her new-born-electric, ex-Catatonia EV-angelism just another elaborate BMW (i3) PR production ?
Left: Cerys and band perform and record "Float on Down to Monte Carlo" in-car for the UK Govt's BMW-dominated, Tesla-less Go Ultra Low / ULEV initiative.
Right: the "Making of" the "Float on Down..." video.
Go Ultra Low v Go Ultra Large
Cerys's Confoundingly Confusing Contradictions - quote (Daily Telegraph) :
"I have 5 kids - I'd like a large EV - so my ideal car hasn't been built yet". (!!)
"I'm in the process of buying a BMW i3"(!!)
You cannot be ceryous Cerys !
Why no mention of the 6-7 seater Tesla Model S ? Or the X ?
And exactly how is having five kids and wanting a very large car consistent with your concerns about mankind's environmental impact on the Earth, CO2 footprints, resource depletion etc ? A case of "have your cake and eat it" ? An extra-large slice of the pie for me please ?
So given that the large Tesla Model S..er.. "hasn't been built yet" and doesn't exist for Cerys - she's instead decided to get(or perhaps even buy) the least suitable alternative - the small, high-priced, low-range i3 !!
Perfect for any affluent city-loving family of four.
Note that Matthews grew up on a farm in Wales and loves driving through wide open countryside with her 5 children or fellow musicians - so the BMW i3 would be the perfect choice for someone who doesn't resemble her at all.
Extraordinary. Is it really conceivable that Cerys Matthews has never heard of the (6-7 seater) Tesla Model S ?
And why does the interviewer in this recent Daily Telegraph article likewise not mention or ask her about the Tesla ?
NB: The 2016 7-seater Tesla Model S entry-level '60' version costs around £59,000. For that you get 248 miles of range, a 130 mph top speed, 0-60 in 5.5 secs.
(See AutoExpress, June 9th review)
And any suggestion that Cerys Matthews(MBE) couldn't afford a Model S is hard to believe given that she's on a v. generous BBC payroll, hosts her own BBC radio show "Cerys on 6", presents BBC documentaries, acts as a roving reporter for the BBC's "The One Show" and has a successful singer-songwriter career in the bank.
So the Tesla Model S would surely be her ideal electric car/mobile recording studio - unless of course her five kids are all six-foot-plus, grotesquely obese teenagers - or don't like the fact that the rear-most 2 seats face backwards.(But think panoramic views, pulling faces at tailgating drivers, being invisible to your mother-at-the-wheel - what's not to like guys ?)
And waddayaknow - the above-mentioned D.Telegraph Cerys Matthews piece contains a handily embedded link to...the undersized, short-range, high-priced (range-extended) BMW i3.
Hmm - now there's a thing.
The same BMW that Top Gear's Richard Hammond was persuaded to endorse and 'buy' (or accept as a gift - who knows ?)
And the same offer-you-can't-refuse i3(minus the REX) that the LAPD were persuaded to buy by the hundred a few weeks ago.
And the very same 81 mile/charge i3 that the once respected, independently creative, concept EV-creators Rinspeed were persuaded to dress up and phallicly hyper-sexualize with a roof-erected, extendable camera for last year's Geneva Motor Show(see video @2mins 58secs). This year they sank even lower into BMW-servitude with a cosmetically camouflaged revamp of the BMW i8 hybrid). This from the company that had previously given us the subversively submersible Squba and the beautifully organic Bambu.
The moral of the tales ? Never say "No" or "Nein" or Verpisst Euch to BMW's vast armada of persuaders and enforcers - if ya know what's good for you, your career and your kids.
So Cerys - if you want a large EV - remember that Tesla have not signed up to the BMW-dominated Go Ultra Low/ULEV initiative - so why not have an overpriced, diddy i3 city EV instead ?
OK - it's the polar opposite of what you say you need - but it's a BMW ! Think brand ! Think image ! Think what's best for BMW ! Think offer-you-cannot-refuse - not what's best for you and the planet.
To sum up - here's what Cerys Matthews should surely have told the Telegraph and others if she expected or hoped to draw unqualified applause from genuinely informed EV truth-seekers:
"I have 5 kids so the 7-seater Tesla Model S '60' will be the perfect fit for me and my large earth-friendly family. And £59,000 pounds for the 2016 7-seater Tesla is easily affordable for someone like myself - especially given the cost-savings on petrol, parking, road-tax, maintenance - not to mention recording studios. The BBC is (in)famous for paying even minor celebrity presenters very well indeed and I obviously have had a successful and lucrative career as a recording artist, singer-songwriter with and without Catatonia.
Obviously none of the much smaller, low-range EV's featured in my latest in-car video come close to meeting my needs as a would-be earth-responsible mother of five. None can match the Model S - especially not the highest-priced, shortest-range, undersized BMW i3."
So the Model S it is, Cerys.
Better still - if money's no object - why not spread your wings in a gull-winged 7-seater Tesla Model X ?
For £76,000. That's £25,000 less than the extremely cramped 4-seater BMW i8(Carbuyer Review). And far cheaper, more liberating and inspiring than a window-less, vista-less padded-cell recording studio. The Model X P90D Ludicrous version(0-60 in 3.2 secs) is also faster than a Ferrari over a quarter mile face-off(see DragTimes head-to-head video) - so will leave any BMW for dead.
(Recall or note that the Tesla-spawning TZero from AC Propulsion also thrashed a Ferrari(F355)...16 years ago in 2000 !
Here's the original video and Electrifying Times text report.)
The BBC of course would much prefer Matthews to be waxing lyrical about BMW not Tesla - so here's your chance Elon !
Why not settle a sore old score once and for all - the lawsuit against Top Gear and Clarkson - and fly a falcon-winged Model X over to Cerys at the Beeb ? A special delivery and livery ?
Who knows - she might well then feel inspired to follow her debut EV track "Float on Down to Monte Carlo" with something even more uplifting and spaced-out - with a tease of a title to suit:
"Winging it to Wales On Tesla's Trail".
And if Tesla fans Kanye West, Will.i.am, Jay Z and even Neil Young(see Bass Notes below) could be persuaded to join the jams, the jaunts and the jive-drive with the Cerys crew they might well succeed in topping the 10-40 million Youtube views/hits that James Corden's in-car celebrity karaoke smash-hit mash-ups are currently notching up on Youtube/CBS.
Note: James "Jimbo" Corden OBE* is the new-ish British host of America's Late Late Show. He uses his gas-guzzling Tata Range Rover Sport for his smash-hit "carpool" singalongs.
Cue a brief compare-and-contrast in-car detour - from C. Matthews MBE to J. Corden OBE...
...with a few recent(June) comments Corden has demonstrated extraordinary "have it both ways" clunk-headedness - some might call it crass hypocrisy - on the related issues of EV's and the protection of the planet:
- in an appearance on Stephen Colbert's Late Show Corden told the host :
"..it's just the Earth and it's ours to look after.." (Youtube clip)
Yet less than a week later - on his own show - he couldn't resist a cheap, trite below-the-belt stab at noiseless electric motorbikes with a pro-Ferrari variant on the "EV owners have small penises" smear.
And yes kids - he did use the "P" word.(Youtube clip)
Perhaps Corden and his team of ever-so edgey, earth-friendly writers should now take a fearless poke at Jay Leno's (obviously) microscopic cojones - given that the former talk-show stalwart has tested and approved countless electric motorbikes, ebikes and EV's in his long-running "Leno's Garage" series. Jay is even the proud owner of a 1909 Baker electric. What a girlie-man, eh Jimbo(OBE) ?
Much like that renowned sissy Schwarzenegger in his sexlessly-silent Tesla.
But let's terminate this Corden slap-down with a testosterone-testing little teaser:
- what terrifically macho cars did Bruce Lee, Clint Eastwood and Sylvester Stallone need in order to project or to fake masculinity in the films "Enter the Dragon", "A Few More Fistfuls of Bad Ugly Dollars"(is that right?) and "Rambo" ?
a) a Ferrari Testosteronearossa(is that right?)
b) a Lamborghini Viagra
c) a BMW Big Balls
d) an Aston Martin Machismo
e) a Bugatti Butch-Boy
f ) none of the above
Let renowned wussies Brad Pitt("You're not the car you drive" - Fight Club clip) and Stephen Seagal(right - with ebike) explain...
Ah yes, Mr. Corden - as you so sincerely say, mate: "It's just the Earth and it's ours to take care of".
Vroom vroom. It's the way he tells 'em...
(Enough already ? One Last Blast. Here's Corden shamelessly product-placing a Ferrari and Pepsi Cola - with a certain Cindy Crawford)
- Red Green Alert ! (Sunday, June 19, 'Cerys on 6')
Don't miss: long-time EV Apostle and eco-political boat-rocker Neil Young(he's still Canadian) talks to Cerys Matthews about his new album "Earth".
Does Cerys know that Neil made an entire concept album about electric cars called "Fork in the Road" ?
(Click here for all Youtube'd tracks)
- like so many too-long catatonic(see below) late-awakeners, Ms. Matthews tells us that ...
"It's time to wave goodbye to petrol and diesel".
No Cerys ! Not quite. 1997-1998 was undoubtedly the right time to wake up, speak out, get behind vehicles-for-change and kiss goodbye to gasoline-powered cars - long before it became safe, fashionable and almost mainstream(in a few countries) to do so.
In '97-'98 the Kyoto protocol had been signed and ratified, the should-have-been game-changing but scandalously underreported all-electric Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Altra had been launched in the US and Japan, California's CARB emissions mandate was having the desired effect and Al Gore was clearly set to become the next US President.
The fact that
the media and the masses for the most part didn't want to know or couldn't have cared less led to 15+ more years of war-fuelling business-as-usual, fossil-fuelled foreign policy, the inevitable explosion of Middle East terrorism and what is now - possibly or probably - an irreversible environmental meltdown.
Better late than never ? Let's bl©©dy well hope so, Cerys.
- Catatonic - definition: "an immobile or unresponsive stupor"
- Catatonia - Cerys's band from 1992-2001
- James Corden OBE v Cerys Matthews MBE. Who outranks whom ? Corden is an "Officer of the British Empire" and outranks Matthews who's a mere "Member" of that now long-defunct (in)glorious superpower.
It goes almost without saying of course that Matthews would almost certainly have neither an MBE or employment at the BBC if she'd woken up to EV's and begun speaking out publicly, fearlessly and knowledgeably on the subject 15+ years ago.
StoreDot's 2015 "come May 2016" pledge-that-never-happened: 5-min recharge and that Tel Aviv to Beersheba(and back) drive-demo.
(Remember ? 300 miles/charge, low cost, green, organic, revolutionary, "already here" - Abramovich the angel investor ?)
Chutzpah ? Bah Humbug ? A bit or a lot of both ?
You may recall that even BBC TV covered the seemingly sensational StoreDot story in August 2015 with an interview with CEO Doron Myersdorf in Tel Aviv. (That BBC interview appears to have been disappeared in the interim )
Here's an extract from the Times of Israel(May, 2015 - the Gospel Truth ? ) :
"Come next May(2016) we will present a technology to recharge an electric car in five
minutes. Using an array of 7,000 cells, we'll take a car that has a zero charge and recharge its batteries to 100% capacity."
"Then, while next year's ThinkNext(2016) is going on, we'll send it on a trip to Beersheba and have it come back at the end of the event here to Tel Aviv" - Myersdorf said in May of this year(2015), to the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd."
But - ssshucks- it never happened.
As it turned out :
a) ThinkNext 2016 took place not in May of this year but in February Herr Myersdorf !
b) the entire old/new media, EV blogosphere and comment-posting cosmos has yet again remained obligingly silent - noone anywhere - as far as we can detect - has visibly reminded Myersdorf and StoreDot of their failure to deliver on the 2015, headline-grabbing, cast-iron promise(no May-be's) to drive a 5-minute, StoreDot-charged EV from Tel Aviv to Beersheba and back either in May 2016 or during this year's ThinkNext back in February.
The public surely must by now grasp that it is precisely and primarily because companies like StoreDot know in advance that the media will stay obediently silent if/when they fail to deliver on their throwaway promises that they make those throwaway promises in the first place.
StoreDot = Power Japan Plus almost all over again ..?
Although almost all would-be game-changing EV pledges quickly dissolve into silence and compliance and disappear into the ssshadows - it has to be said that there is a striking similarity between StoreDot's promises, claims, subsequent rapid retreat etc and the Power Japan Plus(PJP) phenomenon.
PJP similarly claimed and still claim 20x faster charge times, 300 miles per charge, optimum recyclability, "organic" raw materials and reduced cost.
But unlike StoreDot, PJP sought umbrage, protection and incubation under a "UN-linked "umbrella" not long after they first hit the headlines and threatened the status quo in 2014. (See PRWeb: "World Association of Former UN Internes and Fellows Agrees Memorandum of Understanding with Power Japan Plus" )
Also unlike StoreDot, Power Japan Plus have always responded to our questions - and what's more - quickly and courteously.
For instance: we recently asked PJP why there was now - ominously - no longer any mention of electric vehicles anywhere on their new-ish website but only references to electric bikes and solar energy storage.
PJP's reply was instant and moderately encouraging - to the effect that EVs will be re-instated in an upcoming updated version of the website - although no specific date was stipulated.
StoreDot, on the other hand, have opted not to respond to our enquiries at all.
So let's go public with those stored-up, stir-it-up queries ! Here are a few exasperatingly fantabulous quotes from the company's website and the Times of Israel again - followed by our own EVUK-flavoured ripostes which we believe will resonate with EV believers, sceptics and agnostics - even those of the Jewish persuasion:
From Store-Dot.com :
"5-min charging is already here.
Charge your electric vehicle in 5 minutes - same experience as fueling, but without the fumes! "
EVUK riposte: can you please define the words "already" and "here" please !
From The Times of Israel(again):
"Its new EV FlashBattery, the company says, charges fully in 5 minutes, providing 300 miles (480 km) of driving distance. "
"This fast charging technology shortens the amount of time drivers will have to wait in line to charge their cars, while also reducing the number of charging posts in each station, and considerably cutting the overall cost of owning an electric car."
"Because it charges so quickly, a battery using StoreDot technology can be smaller, making vehicles lighter and batteries cheaper to make, as well."
"Not only will the system save time but allowing for less frequent battery replacement due to its increased number of cycles, EV Flash Battery results in a 50% cost reduction per mile over the electric vehicle's lifetime, compared to existing battery technologies."
EVUK riposte: all of the above is worded as if it's all a fait accompli - most of it is comfortably couched in the present tense or the "future-is-now" tense. Why ? Please justify !
From Store-Dot.com :
"Read more about EV needs in China in our blog "
EVUK riposte: no thankyou StoreDot !
China's "EV needs" ? Who cares ? Why does StoreDot - like almost every other would-be EV disruptor - seem now to be shifting its focus to China ?
Please StoreDot - your audience is largely non-Chinese - so kindly tell us instead about how soon you'll be meeting the affordable, long-range, quick-charge "needs" of (would-be) EV owners - NOT in China - but in Europe, the UK , America North & South, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Korea, Africa, India...
Not to mention Israel.
- Final Flashbattery Flashback: recall that Chelsea's game-changer Roman "Norma" Abramovich and Samsung among others have invested $18 million in the Israeli company's rapid-recharge Flashbattery venture.
May, 2016 No Nissan - Madrid does NOT now have the world's largest electric taxi fleet: 110 Leafs v 2800 BYD e6's in Shenzhen, 4000++ e6's in Taiyuan ...
- yet again hundreds of copycat news sites wilfully or cluelessly ignore the facts...
For the record:
- if you can handle the truth, watch the TV report(above left) and read the following understandably irate email recently shot to us by Dr. Marco Loglio(again) our main man in China ie. where the real EV action is.
Loglio, incidentally, escaped to China a decade before BMW's latest batch of disillusioned EV-specialists turned their backs on the Bavarian i-Wash-fabrication specialists in yet another Great Escape to the East.
From M.Loglio in Shenzhen
" Can I draw your attention to the numerous ridiculous news reports that have appeared on many news and EV sites around the world about the order for 110 Taxi Nissan Leafs for the city of Madrid by the company Ciudad del Taxi.
Nissan and the Western press are (very) erroneously or deliberately and dishonestly claiming that this is the biggest electric taxi fleet in the world.
("Nissan convierte a Madrid en la ciudad con más taxis eléctricos del mundo")
And the world's China-blind or China-blanking media has once again uncritically repeated this false claim.
The statement should be immediately withdrawn by Nissan and by the taxi company Ciudad del Taxi.
Here in Shenzhen there are now 2,800 BYD e6 taxis in operation which eclipses the 110 Leafs in Madrid.
And of course the 190 mile/charge e6 not only has far greater range than the 107 mile Leaf - it is also much more spacious.
BYD began by introducing a fleet of 800 electric e6 taxis in Shenzhen in 2011, on the occasion of the Univerisade Games.
Subsequently another 2000 were added giving today's total of 2800.
The current version of the BYD e6 taxi has a real proven range of 400 Km in urban use, based on a battery pack whose capacity has now reached 82Kwh - so almost triple that of the Nissan Leaf.
A perfect infrastructure for the recharging of the taxis all over the territory of Shenzhen make this vehicle the best solution for clean transportation within the city.
And here's another record-breaking update for you about BYD taxis in another Chinese city:
Taiyuan will have a fully and exclusively electric taxi fleet within the year with a total of 8929(!) BYD e6 taxis.
So to emphasize and clarify: this large city Taiyuan will only have electric taxis. No petrol, no dirty dinosaur diesel cabs.
Already 3000 e6's have been put into operation in the first 4 months of 2016 while the others will be delivered before the end of July this year.
Another key reason for the success of BYD e6 taxi fleets apart from its now well-proven technical specification (82 Kwh battery pack with more then 400 km range ) is the price which after subsidies from the central and local government is only €12.000 or 89.000 Yuan
Youtube Video: record-breaking Taiyuan only has electric taxis: over 4000 now - 8929 by the end of July.
Nissan and so many other car manufacturers really should focus on improving their mediocre battery pack capacity rather than wasting time with triumphalistic and baseless announcements that seem designed to treat China and its ahead-of-the-game EV innovation as if it doesn't exist or doesn't count or can't be believed(unlike, say, VW !!).
As you know the BYD e6 is also used as a taxi in many other Chinese cities and around the world - Brussels, London, Rotterdam - so BYD definitely and objectively has to be rated number one in the world. "_______________
It's a pity that Ciudad del Taxi and the world's media still either can't be bothered to spend 10 minutes researching simple EV truth or are intent or hell-bent on deceiving the public and themselves.
Qué lastima ! If this otherwise relatively bold Madrid initiative had been launched with a modicum of informed honesty and modesty we'd be applauding almost ecstatically - although the question "Why Leafs - and not BYD e6's as in Brussels etc" still begs to be asked and honestly answered.
The average daily distance covered by London minicab drivers is 120 miles(see FT re BYD/Thriev). There is no reason to think that Madrid's Leaf taxis won't be travelling
similar distances each day - so recharging and range-anxiety will likely be a constant niggle.
Over the last week we've emailed Ciudad del Taxi twice asking why they are misinforming the public - but the offending "world record" headline has still not been removed from their homepage or corrected. So this is by definition now a clear case of deliberate deception.( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Website Elektrek also points out that Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport operates 167 Tesla Model S taxis - so it's a pity and a pena that their Madrid Leaf report's headline fails to include the word 'wrongly': "Nissan (wrongly!) Claim The World's Largest Electric Taxi Fleet".
And Elektrek, like the rest of the media, also fails to mention the BYD e6 - or China.
All of this though is about more than just the BYD e6(taxi) versus the Nissan Leaf(taxi).
BYD and an ever-increasing number of agile, cutting-edge, style-savvy Chinese carmakers continue to expose and lay bare the half-hearted, foot-dragging fakery of the rest of the world's automakers.
Just take a look at this Forbes/CarNewsChina collaborative report from April/May's Beijing Auto Show: "10 New Electric Cars from China".
Left: BYD EV300: range 300km/190 miles, $23,000
Right: Brilliance V3 EV: range 250km/155 miles, $16,000.
Amusing to note that BMW has a joint-venture with Brilliance. i3 anyone ? Surely even the most gullible of born yesterday (BMW)brand-victims would prefer the brilliance of the bargain V3 to the low-range, high-priced i3.
(Photos: Tycho de Feijter, Editor-in-Chief at CarNewsChina ie. where the real EV news and action is. Beijing-based expat-Dutchman Tycho, by the way, is also well-acquainted with Shenzhen-based expat-Italian Marco Loglio.
Funny old small world, ain't it ?)
BMW's "i3 range increased" tense-trick: "BMW has increased"..." "BMW increases range...". *********
Reality: BMW will not increase the i3's range until 2017.
Remember that in 1987(!) BMW presented the all-electric lightweight 325iX with a TUV-tested range of 93 miles. Over 25 years later it launched the super-lightweight carbon fibre i3 with an EPA-tested range of 81 miles.
See Wired "40 Years of Electric BMW's You Can't Buy"
So - BMW is clearly determined to avoid - and have the media avoid - the use of the jam tomorrow future tense - the words "will" and "won't".
So they have once again resorted to that familiar, neat, time-warping, back-to-the-future trick-of-tenses to disguise yet another not-now, not-this-year promise.
And thanks to a media that is only too willing to obediently parrot a prescriptive PR statement that cunningly avoids the use of the future tense - the public are unlikely to notice that BMW "have" in actuality increased nothing at all.
"Zukunftsmusik" - the German term means "Future Music" ie. empty, endless jam-tomorrow promises.
So how do you avoid being accused of issuing yet more "next year BMW will.." Zukunftsmusik press releases ?
Simple ! Ganz einfach sogar ! Rely on a meekly uncritical media that sticks to your script, artfully avoids the use of the future tense and have almost every commentator misleadingly trumpet to the world that "BMW has increased the range of the i3 by n%" or "BMW increases the range of the i3 by.. "
Oops, sorry ! The i3 obviously needs to be renamed or rebranded "the 2017 i3" for this cunning linguistic, future-tense-dodging trick to work - thus:
"BMW has increased/increases the range of the '2017 i3' by n%"
And thus it is that dozens of carbon-copy chorus-line media outlets have yet again fallen over themselves to please the Bavarian Behemoth in the past fortnight by telling it like it isn't.
Repeat: the fact is that BMW have actually done absolutely nothing in the present tense, or the past tense or the imperfect tense - except release yet another jam-tomorrow, Zukunfstmusik press statement craftily replacing the future tense with those "fait accompli" present and past tenses.
So when you read that "BMW have increased the range...." - please remember to substitute the deceit with the same old unspun truth:
"BMW and the rest of the world's carmakers WILL not deliver or allow disruptive giant-leap affordable range increases until 2017-2018".
Perhaps other large corporations should consider using the carmaker's ruse - the not-so-fast food industry for instance:
"McDonalds today announced that it has increased the size and egg-iness of its 2019 McMuffin by 27%".
But why stop there ? Maybe people - individuals - not just giant corporations - should start making similar big deal PR announcements about themselves...
Here for instance is John Smith breaking a little hot exciting news to his boss:
John : Charles - I just wanted to announce that I have increased the productivity, performance and efficiency of the 2018 John Smith by 41%.
Charles : Great news John. But can I ask the obvious question ? Why not do it now - straightaway ? Why not five years ago ? Also - you've been promising more or less the same thing for the past three decades.
John : It's very different this time Charles. These things take painstaking preparation, research and development.
One more thing Charles - given that I have improved the performance of the 2018 John Smith by 41% I will naturally be expecting a commensurate salary increase.
Charles : Naturally John. Whatever you say, John.
Oh, by the way - where's that sales report you promised me ? It was supposed to be on my desk yesterday...
John : It'll be ready tomorrow Charles - or the day after at the very latest..that's a promise. I'm obviously very busy right now working on the 2018 John Smith. Not to mention the even more disruptive and productive 2020 John Smith.
We can hardly wait....
Re-read Wired: "40 Years of Electric BMW's You Can't Buy"
The media tells it like it isn t:
1) BMW "has increased" the range etc: all Google News reports
2) BMW "increases" range etc : all Google News reports
As stated many times - you now have to look not to payrolled "journalists" but to comment-posters and occasionally bloggers if you're desperately seeking informed, fearless truth-telling on almost any corporately contentious subject.
Pedro's unpaid, "unprofessional'" comments at InsideEVs(March 2016) re the "2017" BMW i3's range pithily hit the bullseye:
"BMW could introduce a 200 EPA miles range i3 right now if they were serious about EVs."
Similarly, GM could have begun producing and selling the 200 mile/charge Bolt in late 2015/early 2016 if guns had been held to CEO heads - figuratively or otherwise. Recall that in April 2015 the Financial Times confirmed that:
"General Motors Has Resolved the Bolt's Technical Challenges".
A reminder too that EV's typically contain anywhere between 600-1200 fewer parts than their gasoline-guzzling Heath Robinson equivalents - parts that therefore don't need to be designed, sourced, tested, transported, stored, assembled etc. Time and money saved. And even fewer excuses for endless pre-production procrastination.
And again - as far as the world's combustion-addicted carmakers are concerned, one major unspoken advantage of dangling that huge 200 mile/charge carrot for far too long ahead of time is that demand for and interest in the current crop of short-range EV's like the Leaf and Zoe can be significantly sapped or zapped for two or three years - as in:
"I'll stick with gasoline until the Bolt and Model 3 or the longer range i3 etc eventually arrive"
On sale in 2016: a 500km/charge affordable electric SUV/crossover.
Beating the Bolt and the Tesla Model 3/Y.
- Because Chinese consumers just don't have the patience for year-after-next promises, dangling carrots and manana-bananas...
So the inevitable bad news once again..is that the EV500 aka Ev500 will naturally only be available in China.
Take a close look at that 'registration' name-plate. E500 ? Not quite: the 'v' may be barely visible - but please don't confuse the Yema EV500 with the Fiat 500EV or 500e or 500-e(whatever).
That's right EVUK'ers - our favourite Italian-exile-in-China Dr. Marco Loglio - Marchionne's nemesis - has contacted us with the it-had-to-happen news that he's currently helping Yema develop and road-test the aptly-named EV500 - a long-range(500km), $30,000(after incentives) successor to its slow-selling, short-range E70 crossover eSUV.
So - to save ourselves the effort, the grind, the graft and the time of drafting up yet another jocular journalistic joust on the subject of long-overdue long range, we'll instead simply serve up our recent unexpurgated email exchanges with Loglio for your delectation and delight.
After all, the NSA, CIA and countless corporate/automotivated troll-hackers have doubtless snooped, sneaked and stored said emails already(right guys?) - so why not share our deviantly disruptive correspondence with an even wider audience ?
But first ! A few words in defence of medium-not-monster-sized crossover SUV's and even minivans..
It's all about ride height: higher seats are simply safer and healthier.
Safer because higher seats provide a more commanding (over)view of the road, of potential hazards, pedestrians, cyclists.
Healthier because higher seats mean that thighs and knees are more or less at a right-angle to the torso, the upper body - whereas in normal low-slung sedans the knees are higher than the coccyx - the base of the spine. The "coccyx crease" is more pronounced - ouch !
As a result, in low-to-the-road seats the nerves and blood vessels that pass through the base of the spine and the thighs are more stretched upwards - ergo under greater tension. Numbness and poor circulation can result.
In fact non-automotive ergonomic seats(eg. office chairs) are usually designed to ensure that the knees are positioned slightly below the base of the spine...which also means that back muscles are forced to work harder to keep the spine erect and vertical. Not very relaxing but very posture-pedic !
So no - higher or superior SUV/crossover ride-height is not necessarily (all) about "I look down on you" snobbery and snootiness - it can really also be seen as a distinct health and safety advantage.
Loglio - EVUK email exchanges(April-May) - Yema EV500:
Loglio : I have attached some pictures of the final street-legal version of the Yema EV500 SUV crossover that now has 500km of range. The car has a quite traditional powertrain with a maximum power of 75 Kw, max speed of 140 km/h and acceleration from zero to 100km/h in about 9 seconds.
The battery can be recharged from a 220V outlet in 8 hours and fast-charged in 30 minutes with a DC charger.
The battery pack has been developed with my personal contribution. It boasts high energy density and low cost. The final price of the car is yet to be announced but it should be around 40,000 USD before incentives.
More news for you as soon as I'm authorized to release it.
EVUK : It's worth noting of course that the EV in recent history that SHOULD have been disruptive was the original Toyota RAV4 EV - a mid-sized SUV(1997-2004).
Plus ca change...
Indeed it was primarily because the world's media (outside of California & Japan) totally refused to report Toyota's RAV4 EV(eSUV) that we actually set up EVUK around 1999-2000.
The RAV4 was also the first EV we ever drove. But even when it was used for three years by the police, fire services and a car rental company exclusively on the island of Jersey 50 miles south of the UK(near France) - the media refused to talk about it.
Despite the fact that the police and holiday-makers LOVED it. We contacted many major media outlets in the UK/Europe at the time(BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, The Independent, Der Spiegel..) - all refused to mention or report Toyota's RAV4 EV at all. Despite even the fact that for years it was Tom Hanks' favourite car(video). And California's/Hollywood's favourite EV. Still scandalous and still largely blanked out after all these years.
Plus ca change - plus c'est la meme putain chose.
Deja SUV VU.
Anyway Marco - are there any plans to produce the Yema EV500 in ever-so macho-male-masculine black at all ?
Loglio : Sure, colour is no problem. The real challenge is the ability of a small company like Yema to effectively introduce any electric SUV to a wide, regional or nationwide market.
Even in China and with a much-needed long-range SUV like this it still involves a lot of marketing effort and after-sales service.
It will probabaly initially be sold locally in Sichuan province where Yema is based and in some other city where there are already efficient distributors in situ.
Anyway this car really does deserve to be successful. It looks and feels nice and is very well-equipped. Previous versions have received mostly positive reviews(apart from their lower range).
EVUK : Marco - you may have seen that Edmunds.com put out a report in April claiming that EV owners are switching back from electric and green cars to gasoline-powered SUVs and crossovers. The report was of course eagerly repeated and regurgitated by dozens of echo-chamber and largely pro-ICE media outlets.
Astonishing how neither Edmunds.com or their colluding chorus-line failed to reach the self-evident conclusion that (wannabe) EV owners are clearly screaming out for the obvious green option that is still being proactively denied them: ie. an affordable, long-range SUV or crossover like the Yema EV500.
Carmakers as sure as hell know that's exactly what consumers want and what the market needs right now. Globally - beyond spoilt-for-choice China.
Remember too that 2015 was declared "Year of the SUV" by many of the world's car manufacturers - including Mercedes.
And recall that Nissan has dangled and re-dangled the possibility of a leafy-green all-electric Qashqai twice in the past two years(but sadly no e-Juke) : firstly in October 2013(see Autocar UK) - then again in March 2015(see Autoexpress UK).
Part II of Loglio-EVUK Email Exchanges re the Yema EV SUV-crossover(.. and another low-cost mystery range-breaker - read on)
Loglio : While in the rest of the world long range and low cost electric vehicles are still a promise or a dream, in China things really are moving now.
I have more exclusive news for you today that a company called Baoqi, based in Tianjin city is soon - this year not next year - going to launch a compact but inside very roomy and versatile 5-seater electric car with a range of up to 500 km(300-500km) and a cost after incentives that will start at just 8.000 Euro.
Remember that I am 1.90cm tall(6ft 3in) but this vehicle looks and feels more spacious and taller inside than it looks from the outside. I have driven the car personally several times and found it very comfortable not least because the square or straight-sided design means you have a lot of width and space at shoulder height.
The car's dimensions are 348x157x167 cm - wheel-base 233 cm.
There is also a very practical cargo version - see photos.
I have visited this company(Baoqi) and we are now also working on a project to create the first long range EV that also sports a prototype portable and foldable or expandable solar roof of my own design that can feed about 50-100 miles worth of "free" solar energy back into the car's batteries whilst for example the car is parked at the owner's workplace.
Obviously the problem with having solar panels (only) on the roof of your house is that if - like most people - you park your EV at your workplace most days you will need a substantial battery storage system at home to charge your car overnight and to power your home.
Also: this solar car version is set to get a lithium ion battery pack engineered by my company MLCA Ltd.
As I said, this roof solar system is still at the prototype stage and we're still looking for angel investors from anywhere in the world.
It is really a green and clean EV charging option for enthusiasts - for people who for environmental or ethical reasons want to charge their cars as far as possible directly from the sun and avoid using electricity from coal, nuclear, natural gas etc from the grid.
Attached are some pics of the car in the company show room.
EVUK : Marco - I'm guessing you'd need the help of a billionaire or Impossible Magician to export, import or teleport a Yema or Baoqi long-ranger to Europe or America given all of the anti-Chinese automotive protectionism in place around the world ?
Or maybe a wealthy Qatari or Dubai-based EV-owning oiligarch might be up for it - the country and region seems to be developing a genuine taste for electric mobility and solar energy - PV, concentrated solar(CSP) and geothermal.
But it is odd, to say the least, how relatively fragile non-Chinese EV's like the Morgan EV3, the G-Wiz and even the good 'ole Corbin Sparrow had no problem sailing through every safety, road-worthiness and homologation test out there - yet if any of those vulnerable pint-sized lightweights were to be hit by any one-tonne-plus vehicle on the road at 35+ mph their poorly protected EV-owners could surely kiss goodbye to life as they once knew it.
Who wouldn't feel a whole lot safer in the Yema and Baoqi EV's which after all are based on, inspired by or copied from the VW Tiguan and the now discontinued Suzuki Alto.
Ah yes- imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - so if any non-Chinese carmakers - Fiat, BMW, VW, Ford, Toyota, Kia etc - are similarly just itching to roll-out long-overdue affordable long-range EV's like the Yema SUV-crossover and Baoqi's versatile 5-seater/cargo EV - they should feel free to imitate, emulate and copy these two range-breaking, price-busting companies Yema and Baoqi asap. Their Chinese chiefs or CEO's would feel sincerely flattered for sure, right Marco ?
Loglio : Firstly - regarding exporting cars from China: to start with you need a special export license that is very difficult to get and especially for homologated EV's that are subject to incentives from the government.
Some of Yema's gasoline-powered cars are probably going to be sold in South America and Africa.
The USA and Europe ban the import of Chinese made cars, if they don't comply with their many regulations and requirements.
So yes - you really would need a billionaire to start the legal export/import of this car.
He would need to change a lot of components and pass the European homologation test which would cost around a million Euro.
EVUK : So maybe an EVangelical Dubai billionaire or a very talented magician would be the best bet. But then again - even Warren Buffett has failed or refused to export the 200+ mile/charge Chinese BYD e6 worldwide despite the burgeoning success of London taxi company Thriev's thriving fleet(video).
But again - it still seems bizarre that the likes of the Morgan EV3, the G-Wiz and the Corbin Sparrow managed to sail through all of the road-worthiness regulations and homologation requirements whilst clearly far safer Chinese EV's are globally blocked and blockaded by insurmountable barriers and hurdles.
Finally, and once again: to all those who have been successfully programmed and propagandized to view most news out of China with scepticism, cynicism or outright sino-phobia - a reminder that range-busting Marco Loglio is a former VP of ThunderSky - the Chinese company that supplied the long-range, robust batteries for Imperial College's almost legendary 26,000km Pan-American SRZero EV odyssey - one of BBC World's all-time most popular serialized documentaries.
Renowned UK company Frazer Nash helped prepare the battery management system for the SRZero's ThunderSky cells - see video.
More recently in 2012 Loglio - together with Global Vantage Power - set a (then) range record of 801km driving a converted all-electric Chinese Zotye version of the Fiat Multipla at normal traffic speeds from Shenzhen to Nanning - see our exclusive
TV video report.
Contact Dr. Marco Loglio via his Linkedin pages.
Refresh your memory with a refeshing energy drink:
Formula E(DF) - Aquafuel taboo continues in pre-ePrix Paris.
"Who's the Silly Billy, Daddy ?!"
Confused ? You're meant to be...
Picture the scene: Sitting room. Anywhere. N'importe où.
TV dinner on laps(appropriately). Formula E(DF) ePrix in progress in Paris.
Date: April 23rd aka April Fools' Fuel Day - don't believe everything you don't read...
Billy(aged 71/4) learns where the truth lies.
Billy : Daddy - what's EDF ?
It makes the electricity that charges the race cars Billy. The batteries.
Billy : But my friend Jamie said that they use something you can drink !
Daddy : What ? Don't be silly Billy ! That's complete nonsense ! Where did Jamie see that ?
Billy : On the internet. On Youtube.
Daddy : Oh dear ! I've told you loads of times you need to be careful about all that silly nonsense you read on the internet Billy. Lots of it's just made up rubbish. Daddy would know about it if it was true.
The cars use nice clean nuclear power - but you can't drink it ! Look - there's a big banner by the track that says "EDF". That's nuclear - not a drink !
Now eat your dinner and drink your Kool-Aid...I mean lemonade !
Billy : Dad ! Fuku...Fuku...Fukushi..wasn't that a nukulear disaster in Japan Daddy ? In Fuksushi..Fukshinobill or summfing ? Or was that in Russia ?
No Billy - that was a tsunami and an earthquake and a great big wave that killed lots of people.
Now eat your dinner, fill your face and watch the race.
Billy : Dad ! Look - my tablet says that a man called Agag drank some of that nuckulear energy on Youtube out of a glass.
Daddy : I told you it's internet rubbish Billy !
Agag ? It sounds like a made-up name ! A gag more like ! Get it ? A gag means it's just a big joke ! Probably an April Fool !
Now enough silly questions Billy - finish your dinner. And don't forget Mummy uses nice clean nuclear power to cook our food too - just like the race cars !
So - it's good enough to eat - not just drink, right ? Remember - Daddy knows best - not the internet or Youtube or your smart tablet. Your dad's a lot smarter than all of that lot ! I went to college, remember ? !
Recall that in March a Formula E source(an anon FIA-FE Facebook administrator..) emailed EVUK to say that our "please re-publicize Aquafuel in Paris" plea had been officially deemed "a good idea". Officially in the office, at least.
EDF have obviously officially disagreed.
And what's more - they hold political office ie. they're 85% government-owned.
(See "EDF Partners with the Visa Paris ePrix- Formula E", April 11th)
More Kool-Aid, anyone ?
FE Paris postscript: deeply green viewers and fans were treated to a surprisingly robust, nuclear-free Earth Day & Race Day response from Agag, Todt & Co(even Aquafuel got some rare air-time)
After the ominous above-cited April 11 press announcement most of us had fully expected to see a circuit, a podium and media-rostrum festooned with "EDF : VISA"
ads - but in the event almost nothing nuclear caught the eye and this extremely divisive hot-button issue was very sensitively, sensibly and stealthily dealt with by race organisers. Respect !
So can EVUK claim some of the credit or blame, please, VISA ? Is a debt of gratitude not owed ?
All of our research and searching indicates that no other commentators, journalists or even bloggers have dared to touch the EDF-FE-EV nuclear question at all and of course none - excuse our French - have risked positively P!$$ing on the Paris Parade.
- Aquafuel gets honorable mention in Formula E's "Earth Day Top 21 Eco Inventions" video (at 1m 38s).
(But why on Earth does Youtube prelude even this video with ads for petrol/diesel cars ?!)
April, 2016 France's(Fessenheim) Nuclear Site Offer to Tesla: Musk must be surely tempted - or sorely torn..
Click for the very latest OR older News >>>
- he's not yet said no...and yet to say yes.
By Royal Invitation...
From Fessenheim to Phénix to Superphénix - could a superchaEV-PV Phoenix rise from the nuclear ashes?
"Tesla has been invited by Ségolène Royal, France?s Minister of Environment and Energy, to transform the Fessenheim power plant into a European factory." (Newsweek, Europe)
It is spookily intriguing - even gratifying - to note that this offer to
Musk came just a month after we posted up our cage- and sabre-rattling pièce de persistence titled:
"Nuclear Powers France's EV Prowess - but FE Race Cars are Positively Nuke-Free"
- juggling and juxtaposing
France's EDF, nuclear power, Formula E's Aquafuel, the upcoming(April 23) FE ePrix race in Paris as well as Tesla, renewables, solar and Solarcity.
And that timely pot-pourri of hot or taboo topics also - by sheer spooky coincidence - included caustic criticism of the seismically senseless and foolishly fault-lined Fessenheim reactor located on the French-German border - ie. slap-bang-wallop in the centre of Europe.
Alors Elon - Allons y ?
The problem for Musk of course - the toxic PR trap - is that a move to Fessenheim(right) would almost inevitably force him to publicly and unequivocally state his (evolving ?) position with respect to nuclear power and more importantly to nuclear waste - a personal "coming out" that is far more likely to divide than conquer his fan-base and his new-found but fickle corporate/financial/political backers, enablers, protectors.
But if Musk does accept the Royal invitation - why stop at Fessenheim ?
What about the abandoned fast-breeder SuperPhénix and Phénix sites 150-250 miles S.West of Fessenheim ?
Could not new "fast-breeding" green industries - successful, sustainable and profitable - rise out of those atomic ashes ?
And we're not just referring to EV and battery factories. Why not establish both EV and PV ventures ?
Solarcity - which Musk co-manages with his
cousins - could for instance be rapidly expanded into nuclear-dominated France and throughout sunny central and southern Europe along with Tesla's many other job- and hope-creating Giga-enterprises.
What say you, Ségolène ?
Although Solarcity is not a solar/PV manufacturer per se, the company - "America's Nr. 1 Solar Provider" - could serve to re-energize and re-monetize France's decommissioned or dodo-dead nuclear sites by transforming them into solar/PV installation, training, warehouse and distribution hubs - creating a nationwide network of Superphénix Solar Centres.
Or perhaps Tesla could build a Super-Giga-Factory to produce "SuperPhoenix Superchargers" for the European EV+PV market.
And at last the mythical (plutonium-free) Phoenix could soar proudly skywards once again - and the shambolic ?5 billion-plus shame of the Phénix and SuperPhénix fast-breeder fiascos could be powerfully redressed, remedied and redeemed.
But is this all pie in the sky - as in 'pigs might fly' ?
Maybe - but anyone who thinks the sky's the limit for Mr. SpaceX has obviously been living on another planet. Musk is clearly as keen to preserve and improve life here on Earth as he is to bring life to Mars(or to green the Red Planet) - so the more potentially life-destroying or life-threatening Damoclean nuclear sites he can reclaim and reincarnate the better.
So who wouldn't want Musk to accept Royal's request ? If there's anything - short of a miracle - that could help restore the legend of the Phoenix to its former, pre-EDF glory and sanctity - it has to be the spirit of Tesla.
(California's and Croatia's)
Formula E: DS Virgin Technical Director Sylvain Filippi Bemoans Better-Battery-Ban..on Chat-E live TV to a global audience
Watch Chat-E clip collage
Yes, of course, Mr. Filippi(a "petrol-head turned electric-head") treads carefully and speaks very diplomatically in a predictably guarded, professional, job-preserving fashion.
But the underlying, understated frustration is palpable.
Clearly - if one FE team's Technical Director aka Chief Technical Officer is willing to let slip this much and speak this candidly on air - and let the batt-cat out of the bag if you will - then just imagine how much more un-broadcastably truthful his and his colleagues' battery-related remarks are likely to sound off-air, behind closed doors, off-the-cuff and off-the-record.
Time to Revolt guys. Rise up and down tools. Swap 'em for cutlasses, mount a mechanics' mutiny and hang the planks overboard.
The usual suspects, the permanent procrastinators, long-range refuseniks and carrot-danglers can sink or swim - but please, me 'arties, set the ePrix free and overturn this retrograde "not till season five" back-tracking, better-battery-ban...
(Does Formula E really still
need BMW's and VW's sponsorship now that so many infinitely more credible companies are backing the event ? And who on earth wants that hybrid interloper - the BMW i8 safety car - intervening in an all-electric race series ?!)
Breaking News(Bloomberg, 19 April): Three more BMW EV / i8 execs jump ship - quitting Germany(Bavaria) for China !
- Watch full FE Long Beach Chat-E
- Petrol-head turned electric-head - see Eureka magazine interview with Virgin's Sylvain Filippi.