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T.E.N. Future Transport News 29 August 2014: VW e-Golf, Tesla Rental, Furry Fun


It’s Friday August the twenty ninth, twenty
fourteen. I’m Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield and this is episode number forty nine of T.E.N.Transport
Evolved News, for the week beginning August the twenty fifth, twenty fourteen. This week, Volkswagen North America announced
final specifications and pricing for the upcoming Volkswagen e-Golf, the all-electric variant
of the iconic 40 year-old hatchback. Priced from thirty-five thousand four hundred
and forty five dollars before incentives, plus an eight hundred and twenty dollar mandatory
handling and shipping fee, the 2015 e-Golf is similarly priced and specced to the high-end
Nissan LEAF SV. And it will go on sale this fall. For that, U.S. buyers will get a trim level
equivalent to the top-spec gasoline Golf, with high-end audio system, touch-screen navigation,
remote telematics, heated everything, and dual-zone climate control. They’ll also get CCS DC quick charging as
standard, as well as an on-board 7 kW charger — something many Brits will be jealous of
as the UK-spec model only comes with DC quick charging and a 3kW on-board charger. Don’t
ask me why. Staying with the Volkswagen e-Golf for a moment,
there’s some bad news for European e-Golf owners wanting to take advantage of the continent’s
growing CCS DC quick charging network: the e-Golf won’t charge at DBT-manufactured
charging stations. Initially reported by British e-Golf owners
frustrated they couldn’t use rapid charging on the Ecotricity electric highway — which
happens to use DBT-branded quick charging stations —
engineers have quickly pinpointed the problem to a communications fault with the charging
stations themselves. The problem appears to have been identified
and replicated by Volkswagen and DBT engineers working in Germany — and a fix should be
on the way very soon. In the meantime, if you’ve got a Volkswagen
e-Golf — like we have this week on review — bear in mind that you’ll only be able
to rapid charge at some rapid charging stations and not others until the problem has been
fixed. Amsterdam loves them, so does the city of
Bristol where we film this show. But if I’d have been asked to name another place in love
with bicycles, I wouldn’t have thought to mention Detroit in a million years. But thanks to a new project being launched
by General Motors at its Warren Technical Centre north of Detroit, General Motors employees
are switching to the charms of two-wheels to get them around the massive 330 acre site. Working alongside corporate bikeshare firm
Zagster, all nineteen thousand employees at the General Motors Warren Technical Centre
can now hire a bike to get them around the campus, making it easier than ever before
to cross from meeting to meeting without needing to make use of their own cars or the company
shuttle bus. As well as being quicker than the bus or car,
the new cycle sharing scheme is healthier for employees and embraces the wonders of
multi-modal transport: or in plain english, using multiple different types of transport
to get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner. Good job, GM! After literally months of teasing, Volvo finally
unveiled images of its upcoming second-generation XC90 SUV this week. As well as being available
in range-topping T8 plug-in hybrid form, the XC90 SUV promises to be one of the most advanced
vehicles on the road today — here’s why. First up, Volvo says the XC90 will be the
first production car in the world to make use of an advanced ‘Run off-road’ protection
feature designed to stop the kind of accidents where cars careen off the road through driver
error, fatigue or distraction. Like an advanced form of lane control, the system will alert
the driver if they are about to drive off the edge of the road, adds extra steering
force to keep the car where it should be, and tightens the front seat belts to keep
the occupants super safe. Second, the XC90 features an automatic braking
system which will slow or stop the car if you happen to turn across the path of an oncoming
vehicle at an intersection, which we hope will help reduce the number of horrific t-bone
accidents we see worldwide every year. Sadly, there’s no word of full pricing and
spec yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we do. Staying with plug-in SUVs for a second, Japanese
automaker Mitsubishi has announced that it’s about to launch a commercial vehicle variant
of its highly-popular Outlander Plug-in Hybrid for the UK market. Why turn a perfectly good five-seat family
SUV into a van? It’s all to do with the incentives awarded to commercial plug-in vehicles
in the UK. More generous than the five thousand pounds offered to private cars, the eight
thousand commercial vehicle plug-in grant can dramatically lower the cost of a business
going plug-in — and Mitsubishi wants in. Like other cars converted to van status, expect
no rear seats, an extended load bay and blanked out windows. But everything else in the Outlander
PHEV 4Work should remain identical to the family-friendly version. Here’s a question for you: how much do you
think it would cost to rent a fully-loaded Tesla Model S for a week in the UK? £200? £400? More? Unfortunately it’s a lot more — £1995
to be exact — but if you’ve got nearly two grand sitting there doing nothing, a new
company near London is ready and willing to take your money in exchange for a week-long
Model S rental. Enter Evision, a UK company which offers not
only a range of Telsa Model S rental packages but also bespoke chauffeur services to those
willing to pay a high-ticket price for a high-ticket ride in a very nice car. If a weekly rental is just too much, you can
rent a Model S from as little as £60 per hour — but you have to rent for a minimum
of three hours. But if you want a little bit of fun and you’re in the UK, it might be
a fun thing to do. With a tiny four point four kilowatt-hour
on-board battery pack and a blended electric + gasoline range of just 11 miles on the EPA
cycle before it resorts to using a gasoline engine for propulsion, the 2015 Toyota Prius
Plug-in Hybrid is something of a lightweight among plug-in cars. With careful use, you can still get a Toyota
Prius Plug-in Hybrid to give some really good fuel economy reading and yes, a longer electric
only range — but in Toyota’s latest ad for its compliance plug-in, the automaker
goes out of its way to advertise not plugging the plug-in in. Called “Choices,” the ad follows a father
and son as they go to a friend’s house for a party and find that despite being offered
an outlet to charge they can’t find a spare one. So they don’t bother plugging. in. It’s caused a large number of plug-in fans
to get rather hot under the collar about the ad, using it as proof that Toyota really doesn’t
like plugin cars and will do anything it can to stop people plugging in. Do you agree? The latest in a long line of Kia Soul ads
launched this week starring those mischievous anthropomorphic human-sized hamsters. But
unlike past Kia Soul ads, where the furry friends showed they could rap, dance, and
bring joy wherever they went, this new ad focuses on their scientific endeavours. In it, the three hamsters are in their lab,
building an all-electric version of the popular CUV when an accident involving a ray gun and
a normal-sized hamster results in a sexy catsuit hamster lady appearing from the now electrified
Kia Soul. Like any geeks devoid of female contact, the
lads decide to go to the local petstore to obtain more pet hamsters to make into full-size
party animals… and the rest is kind of self explanatory. It’s nice to see electric car ads which
don’t focus on just the electric capabilities of the car — and our furry friends say they
give it a paw up too. What do you think? They can tear around a prepared autocross
course, tackle urban streets and even drive on the freeway — but don’t think that
Google self-driving cars are ready for prime time yet.
That’s the message from various academics in the field of transportation technologies
and from the director of Google’s automated driving team himself. Google’s self-driving cars have been used
to great effect by the software giant as the poster children of near-future transportation,
and they’re now a common site in the states and cities which have granted Google permission
to test the vehicles out on the public highway. But while it’s easy to get carried away
in the dream of the future, self-driving technology is harder than it looks. As Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pointed out in
the past and Nissan has more recently admitted by dialling back its own expectations of autonomous
driving technology, building a self-driving car capable of driving 98 percent of all roads
is reasonably easy — but it’s the final few percent that prove difficult.
In Google’s case, that smaller percentile includes things like teaching the cars to
differentiate between a rock and a crumpled piece of paper, or the difference between
a pothole and an uncovered manhole. Critics of the way Google has displayed its
self-driving program say that Google is lulling the public into a false sense of security
by implying that self-driving cars are just around the corner. Google’s own team say that
they’re still confident that the majority of challenges will be met and solved in short
order. Self-driving director Chris Urmson says he
has a personal target: finishing development of Google’s self driving car in time for his
son’s sixteenth birthday. That’s just five years away. That’s it for this week. Don’t forget
to join us next week for another episode of T.E.N. In the meantime, visit www dot Transport
evolved dot com for all the evolved transport news that’s fit to print, subscribe to our
channel and other shows on YouTube. And in case you’re wondering, there’s no Transport
Evolved panel show for the next few weeks due to a summer hiatus. So until next time, I’m Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield,
and until next time, stay juiced up!

4
Comments
  • I think the electricity suppliers in the UK are dictating the 3kW onboard chargers as a 7kW charger combined with a 10kW electric shower and the other normal house hold loads would blow the main fuse in an average fuse board and possibly the utility fuse. You could install an interlock between the charger and shower but its easier for the electricity supplier if the charger in the cars is 3kW instead

  • UK houses are nominally a 100A supply.
    Wait for next year after the eager EV-Volkies have bought the slow chargers up. MKII comes next year, for the more money charger option.

    Been told the next "Leaf" after this new one will be 65KWH. That might make me upgrade… If only these damned cars had independent suspension!!!

  • Hi Nikki,  I'm enjoying your show with the addition of more pics and footage.  It is a bit sad to see how much is happening in the UK and elsewhere, as I live in Australia, where the electric car scene is very limited, and there are no subsidies or incentives to get them established.  One day…..

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