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Ludicrous Speed, Buying from LG Chem, MCity USA. T.E.N. Future Car News 24 July 2015

Ludicrous Speed, Buying from LG Chem, MCity USA. T.E.N. Future Car News 24 July 2015

On this week’s show : Tesla engages Ludicrous
mode, Nissan considers partnering with LG Chem for batteries and self-driving cars get
their own city to play in. These stories and more, coming up next, on
TEN. Enjoying today’s show on Youtube and and
want to read the stories we’re referring to today? Just head to our website at www dot transport
evolved dot com forward slash TEN, where you’ll find today’s show notes — as well as links
to the latest future car news, buying guides, tech primers, and car reviews. It’s Friday, July 24th, twenty fifteen,
I’m Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, and it’s the end of what must be one of the slowest
news weeks we’ve had for a very_long_time (with perhaps the exception of this next story)… When Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced last week
that he’d be holding an International press call late our time on Friday, we had no clue
what he was going to be announcing — or even if we should bother sitting in on the call.
But common sense prevailed and we were rewarded with a trio of tantalising tidbits that makes
the Tesla model S electric sedan even more awesome. First, came a brand-new larger-capacity battery
pack with the news of a 90 kilowatt-hour battery upgrade for those willing to pay the three
thousand dollars extra at point of ordering to get it. Then there was the news that Tesla was bringing
back a single-motor entry-level model in the form a Tesla Model S 70, costing just seventy
thousand dollars and bringing the Model S within reach of many more consumers. But of course, the biggest announcement comes
in the form of Ludicrous mode, an upgrade to the power contactors and fuses on high-end
Tesla Model S P90D models that makes it possible to shove fifteen hundred amps through the
battery and reduce the 0-60 time of Tesla’s new flagship model to just two point eight
seconds. “It’s faster than falling!” joked Musk
of the 1.1 g acceleration. Yes. that’s beyond insane for sure — but we also think Tesla
should now start offering free Depends to anyone who orders the upgrade…. From an upgrade that we’re sure we don’t
really need to one we’re absolutely certain is essential to continuing sales — an increase
in electric range to the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid. And let’s be honest: it really needs it,
with an all-electric range of around six miles and a blended mode range of around 11 miles
per charge on the EPA test cycle. In fact, the twenty fifteen Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid
is nothing but a compliance car, made to tick all the boxes it needs to qualify for various
rebates and incentives and help Toyota satisfy ZEV requirements in states like California. But says our good friend John Voelcker over
at GreenCarReports, that could be about to change. Citing a trustworthy inside source,
Voelcker claims that Toyota’s next generation Prius plug-in hybrid — due to hit the market
some time next year — will come with an all-electric range of between thirty and thirty-five miles
per charge. If true, that fact will not only help Toyota
close the gap on some of its other plug-in hybrid competitors like the Ford C-Max Energi,
but could even help the Japanese automaker boost its sales of plug-in hybrids a bit. With General Motors already planning on bringing
its all-new Chevrolet Bolt EV to market next year with a claimed 200 miles of all-electric
range, the pressure is on its nearest rival — Japanese automaker Nissan — to do something
special for its next-generation all-electric LEAF hatchback. And this week we learned via The Wall Street
Journal that Nissan is seriously considering switching its battery supplier to ensure that
it can meet expectations and produce a long-range electric car capable of competing against
the Bolt EV and Tesla Model III in the plug-in marketplace. The publication cites a recent interview with
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, in which he disclosed that Nissan has ‘opened up’
its battery strategy to allow it to consider using other battery manufacturers as suppliers
for future models. To date, Nissan has spent billions of dollars
on its own specialist lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities alongside each of
its three Nissan LEAF production lines, partnering with NEC Corp under the joint name of Automotive
EnergySupply Corp. But with LG Chem now producing a 200-mile electric car battery pack for a
global automaker, Ghosn admitted that LG is currently the best battery maker he knows. There’s no news if that switch will happen,
but we’ll be keeping a close eye on things to find out what happens next. It’s been awhile coming, but this week we
heard that the Energica Ego — one of the most impressive all-electric motorcycles we’ve
seen both on paper and in the real world — has entered production. What’s more, the Italian company is doing
everything it possibly can to get the all-electric Superbike in as many different stores as possible,
announcing a deal this week with Hollywood Electrics to sell the two-wheeled rocket in
Los Angeles, as well as dealerships in Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. In addition to a beautiful design and impressive
performance — 0-60 takes just three seconds and it goes on to an electronically-limited
top speed of 150 mph — the Energica Ego also has two firsts among electric motorcycles. In addition to being the first electric motorbike
to be fully homologated in the U.S. for motorsport, it also happens to be the first motorbike
in the world to feature quick charging, meaning its 11.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery
pack can be refreshed from empty to 85 percent full in about half an hour. If you haven’t
heard of this machine yet, it’s time you check out Energica’s website for more information. Japanese automaker Toyota has long been known
for its rather dismissive attitude towards battery electric vehicles, pulling some rather
spectacular stunts over the years to portray plug-in cars as slow, dull and boring. As regulars will know, that’s an attitude
we’ve always explained away as a side effect of Toyota spending billions of dollars over
the last twenty years on developing hydrogen fuel cell technology, but this week Toyota
North America manager of National Alternative Fuel Vehicles Craig Scott told Forbes that
TOyota’s stance on electric vehicle technology was driven by its negative experiences with
battery technology. Claiming that electric cars had a ‘fundamental
science problem” that Toyota didn’t see a solution to, Scott managed to ignore all
kinds of recent advances in battery technology by companies like Volkswagen, Tesla and Nissan
in his interview, focusing instead on using the perceived battery flaws as the reason
Toyota is so bullish on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. But here at Transport Evolved we’d like
to point out that his statement was just a little poorly timed, as we also learned earlier
in the week that Toyota is sending just eleven — yes eleven — Mirai hydrogen fuel cell
cars to the UK this year. If the technology is so much better than battery cars, we’re
curious as to why so few hydrogen cars are heading to the island nation. Leave your explanations
in the Comments below. On Monday, the state of Michigan officially
opened a new city near Ann Arbour, complete with its own main street, cafes, bars and
shops. But while Mcity comes with all of the usual things you’d expect of any healthy
town or city, there’s one thing missing: people. That’s because MCity is a new 32-acre research
facility dedicated to the development and testing of self-driving cars, and is part
of a massive collaboration between local government, academic institutions and automakers. Developed by the university of Michigan’s
Mobility Transformation Centre — a private public partnership — the facility will welcome
some of the world’s biggest automakers as they ready self driving cars for the marketplace
in a carefully-controlled environment that does its best to replicate the good and bad
things about urban life. We’ll be interested to see just how this
project fares in the coming few years — as well as a similar project running concurrently
which will bring some nine thousand connected cars to the roads of Michigan in the next
few years. As those who were around in the early days
of electric cars will tell you, there was a point not so long ago where trying to find
a place to charge on a long trip was a nightmare. Either there wasn’t anywhere to officially
charge, forcing some lateral thinking and lots of extension cords — or the existing
infrastructure was constantly broken. And that’s something that hydrogen fuel
cell drivers in California are finding, with a private Facebook group for drivers of the
Hyundai Tucson FCV overflowing with complaints about unreliable and broken hydrogen filling
stations in the southern part of the state. In one case, a driver complained that due
to all three hydrogen filling stations in his neighborhood being broken, he’s not
been able to drive his Tucson FCV for five weeks — a car that he’s been paying $500
per month to lease. Worse still, unlike electric cars, there’s
no way to fill up a hydrogen vehicle any other way, so drivers really are stranded until
the infrastructure is fixed. With Toyota’s mirai hydrogen fuel cell car just weeks away
from launch, we’re curious as to just how usable these cars will be in everyday life
— even if you happen to live in an area that is supposedly serviced by hydrogen filling
stations. If the experiences of these early adopters is anything to go by, the outlook
doesn’t look good. And finally… here at Transport Evolved,
part of our weekly news-cycle ritual involves reading the weekly bulletin from the National
Highway Traffic Safety administration in the U.S. to see what vehicles have been recalled
for various problems and faults. If there’s a future car involved, we’ll
put out a short, factual piece detailing the recall, so that owners are well-informed and
know what will happen next. But this week, we noticed that Chevrolet had
recalled a single Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car in what we think must be the
smallest ever recall of cars we’ve seen. The car in question, a twenty fourteen model
made in April last year, is one of eleven vehicles, including ten Chevrolet cruzes,
recalled for a problem with their inner tie rod bolts. Ordinarily, we’d not bother reporting a
recall this small, but it just goes to show that whatever the problem, automaker work
hard to make sure that we stay safe on the roads. That’s your lot for today, and I’ll be
off now to get my house ready for an open day tomorrow. With the U.S. visa secured,
it’s only a matter of weeks before I’m half-way around the world, so we’d best
sell this puppy PDQ. We’ll be back next week at the usual time
for another show, but in the meantime, you can find all the other news that’s fit to
print on our website at www dot transport evolved dot com, chat to us on twitter at
transport evolve, or head to our YouTube channel to catch up with our latest shows. As always, there’s a lot we haven’t managed
to fit into today’s show, including details of a new fund in the UK for autonomous driving
development, we explain why air pollution rather than climate change drives plug-in
sales, we ask who the enigmatic Faraday Futures electric car company is, and we ask if the
Tesla Model S is now a real-life Supercar? So when we’re done, be sure to head to our
site to read them all. Thanks for watching, I’m Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield,
have a great weekend, and until next time, keep evolving!

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8 thoughts on “Ludicrous Speed, Buying from LG Chem, MCity USA. T.E.N. Future Car News 24 July 2015

  1. What would like to know is where the oxygen comes from for the H2 we get from crude oil refinement, which is then turned into H2O with the fuel cells. If oxygen is not a by-product as well, we sort of lose it from our air (in contrast, if H2 is produced from splitting up water into H2 and O, the equation is neutral).
    Think of it: we more and more chop down forests all over the world, therefore losing factories that transform CO2 into C (which goes back into the ground at some stage) and O2 (which goes into the air).

  2. Why haven't I saw this before?! The Tesla Model S 70 is $70,000. I'm sure blind.

    And congrats on the move! Are you going to import Hiro and (I hate myself for not remembering the Volt's nickname) to the states? That's not going to be cheap, will it?

  3. I follow TEN and Robert Llewellyn youtube thing. But I get the feeling that none of them fancy Fuelcell technology.. Even though as stated in this episode that battery only cars in the the beginning also had loads of problems.

    Am I wrong?

  4. Toyota is being dishonest when it says its early EV battery packs had problems.  We have been driving a 2001 RAV4 EV since it was new and have had zero problems.  The battery pack is doing fine, and the car is just as very practical, useful and reliable as when new.  (Which is part of the problem for automakers. EVs need near zero maintenance compared to ICE so they lose lots of servicing funds.)

    We also drove the GM EV1 Lead Acid and NiMH EVs for as many years as we could lease them, and they also worked fine, though the Lead Acid started to lose some capacity towards the end of its lease.  However no one would think of using Lead Acid for a production EV today.  It's all NiMH or Lithium Ion now.

    These objections to EVs by Toyota and pushing of Fuel Cells is counterproductive, irrational and wasteful.

  5. I really love the fact that I can plug in my 2015 Ford Focus Electric into an outlet at home and don't need to go to a filling station like you do with a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. I truly hope the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles fail. I think Battery Electric Vehicles are definitely the way to go.

  6. Pedant alert! You're English: consumers must be pronounced 'consewmers' not 'consoomers!.  If it's Toosday this must be Hoboken, not Belgium (too obscure?).

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