Category Archives: Electric Vehicles

Articles and Posts relating to Electric Vehicles or any kind

Pininfarina H2 Speed Hydrogen Concept at Adastral Park

We are very lucky to share our premises with numerous high tech companies here at Adastral Park.

Pininfarina H2 Speed Hydrogen Concept
Pininfarina H2 Speed Hydrogen Concept – pictured at Adastral Park, UK.

A few weeks back it was the turn of Tech Mahindra to wow us in the form of the Pininfarina H2 Speed hydrogen concept car which was touring the country.

Marco Pintor - Sales Executive, Pininfarina S.p.A.
Marco Pintor – Sales Executive, Pininfarina S.p.A.

We were very pleased to spend some time chatting to the guys at both Pininfarina and Tech Mahindra on the day and gained some very interesting insights into this marketplace.

I spoke to Marco Pintor, Sales Executive at Pininfarina at length about the H2 Speed and how the challenge of powering a high performance vehicle with hydrogen, but retaining the traditional designs cues we have become accustomed to.

Sports car designers are faced with similar challenges when designing vehicles, they must be aerodynamic, light, appealing to the eye and evoke the ideals behind the vehicle. Thus, the H2 Speed’s body is constructed from carbon-fibre.

Pininfarina
The timeless Pininfarina badge
Pininfarina H2 Speed
Pininfarina H2 Speed

Propulsion is provided by the GreenGT Full Power Hydrogen powering 2 synchronous electric motors giving the equivalent of 500 horsepower. Energy is provided from 2 stacks of PEMFC Fuel Cells with a combined 210kW of energy.

Pininfarina H2 Speed
Pininfarina H2 Speed

Power is applied directly to the rear wheels at a ratio of 1:6.3, as we many other alternative fuel cars, there is no clutch, differential of gear changing necessary, just immediate maximum torque, traction is controlled by torque vectoring.

Fuel is stored in two side mounted Hydrogen storage tanks either side of the cockpit with a combined tank capacity of 6.1 kg, with a pressue of 700 bars. Refuelling times are estimated at around 3 mins. Further energy is recovered from the braking system at 400V and a capacity of 20Ah.

Pininfarina H2 SpeedEmissions are simply air and water from the exhaust system, there is ZERO pollution from the vehicle.

So, how does this stack up in peformance? Pretty well it would seem! Th H2 is capable of a 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds,  a standing quarter mile in 11 seconds and a top speed of around 186 mph.

Sergio Farina with the Testarossa
Sergio Farina with the Testarossa

Pininfarina have been styling automobiles for over 86 years, for manufactures such as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, Peugeot and of course Ferrari with the benchmarks of design of the Testarossa and Dino.

Now they find themselves in the 21st Century producing leading edge design and technology for a new breed or race cars. The future is looking very bright for both Pininfarina and their owner Tech Mahindra.

Currently, the H2 Speed is priced at around $2 million dollars and aimed at a very particular marketplace. We should however look forward to this amazing technology finding it’s way to our vehicles in the near future.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

We’ve donated to British Red Cross

Red Cross Donation
Red Cross Donation

A little over a month has passed since we arrived back from the Scotland and as promised, we have donated the remains of our Gadget Road Trip fund to British Red Cross.

This afternoon, I transferred the remaining balance of £42.32 from our Monzo Card to the British Red Cross charity and thus rendered the account empty.

I was personally extremely upset by the Grenfell Tower disaster earlier this year, which I know also affected Paul. The British Red Cross were on the ground there immediately after it happened and provided much need assistance to the poor families that had lost their loved ones, their homes and everything they owned in a matter of minutes. It is because of this, that I wanted to donate to this charity. Since Grenfell, other disasters have continued to affect the people of our planet and the British Red Cross have continued to provide much needed support for these people who have lost absolutely everything they own and still lack the basics of clean water, electricity and food. If you would like to continue to help them, you can also donate via this link

Thank you so much again to the following people and organisations for their kind donations of funds or services!

XSItems Ltd
ACPlus
Favorite Fried Chicken
Free Reign Internet
Coderus
Gavin Dadd
Patrick Lohan
Jackie Robinson
Ian Brown
Olive Porter
Sandra Grilli
Callum McGilvery.

We wouldn’t have been able to feed ourselves during the trip and have something soft to sleep on. Thank you again.

Thanks also to Hillcroft Park in Ullswater for allowing us to stay at their lodgings for two nights (They will be featuring in the upcoming sitcom ‘Home from Home’ with Johnny Vegas, so keep an eye out!) and Far View Bed & Breakfast in Kilchoan (I won’t forget little Gracie exclaiming “My wellington boots fell over!!” as I took her and her dad on a little test drive).

 

 

1257 Miles in an Electric Car – Part 1 – A Plan is Hatched.

Holzhausen’s drawings of the Model S
Holzhausen’s original drawings of the Model S

10th July 2017

I was sitting in my office in Martlesham on the 10th July 2017 chatting to a colleague about Tesla cars. The conversation had started after he noticed the framed artists sketch hanging on my wall.

I have driven a number of Tesla Model S cars in the past from the excitable P85+ to the ‘Insane’ P85D. They are very exciting cars to drive, not just because they are fully electric and pack extremely powerful single gear motors, but because you feel your are riding on the coattails of automotive history, participating in an irreversible shift change in motorvehicle technology. It’s very exciting!

The conversation moved on the the Model X and Model 3, Tesla’s entries in to the SUV and ‘affordable’ markets. The Model X has recently appeared in the UK, the Model 3 is two years away from being available. We continued to chat for the rest of lunch, but the seed was planted.

That evening I wrote an email to Tesla’s press office requesting the loan of a Model X for review. Nothing specific, simply available dates.

The next day I received a reply from Tesla, it’s explained that things were very busy with the Model X, but the 5th and 6th of October was available for a test drive, did that suit? I puzzled for a while, in the past I had been loaned vehicles for a little longer, to give me time to get to know the vehicle, two days seemed a bit short to get a proper review in place. So, I followed up with an email, requesting a little longer.

I quickly received a reply from Tesla asking what my plans were? OK, good question, time to put on my thinking cap.

15 July 2017

My initial idea was driving from Lands End to John O’Groats, but after a little bit of Googling, I discovered that this had already been done in a  Tesla and well documented on YouTube, there was nothing original to achieve in travelling down this this ‘road’.

But wait a minute! Was there? I live about 40 minutes from Ness Point, the most easterly point in the UK. Nestled in Lowestoft, Ness Point at first glance seemed a little unloved. Some thought and effort has been made to build a stone circle, with plaques showing distances to well known points in the UK. It’s quite nice, but the surroundings aren’t that impressive, but it seemed like the obvious starting point for a challenge and wasn’t too far from home.

Now to find the most westerly point of the UK.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse sits on the most westerly mainland point of the UK accessible by a short ferry ride at Corran and a two hour drive along single track roads across an extinct volcano. There even appeared to be a ‘rapid’ charge point a few miles away at Kichoan Pier, which would set a challenge outside of Tesla’s ‘Supercharger’ network.

The plan was hatched, but it was just the beginning.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

The Gadget Man – Episode 105 – On the Sofa with Sarah Lilley at BBC Radio Suffolk

As I continue to ride the wave of euphoria of completing the 1200 mile east to west  Gadget Road Trip with my lifelong friend Andy. Today I joined BBC Radio Suffolk’s Sarah Lilley on the Sofa in Ipswich and explained how the challenge came about and how it felt to drive 1200 miles in an Electric Car and why I love Gadgets!

I also talked about how I met Vanessa, how I listen to music and an ill fated trip to Tunisia in 1996.

Listen in to the stream, bookmark the site, we have a LOAD of reviews coming up over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Driving a Tesla on a 1,200 mile round trip to prove electric car ‘cynics’ wrong

Ness Point, Lowestoft. Suffolk
Ness Point, Lowestoft. Suffolk – Credit SKYNAMIX

Of the amazing electric and hybrid cars I have been fortunate to review, by far the coolest was the Tesla Model S. Driving the Tesla really feels like you are riding on the coat tails of automotive history and due to it’s active over the air updates, you actually seem it improving and developing before your eyes.

Pointing towards Ardnamurchan
Pointing towards Ardnamurchan and a 1200 mile round trip

Since testing the Model S P85D, the car has continued to evolve from ‘Insane Mode’ all the way to ‘Ludicrous’ and ‘Ludicrous Plus’. Tesla have also introduced the Model X and more recently the Model 3.

The most regularly asked question people ask me about electric cars is ‘What is it’s range?’. Tesla has always lead the pack with their excellent range along with their network of ‘Superchargers’ . Tesla owners can expect in excess of 300 miles per charge, refuelling with electricity in around 30 minutes.

All of this has led me to challenge the cynics when they say “Electric Cars don’t have the range of my petrol car”.

Ardnamurchan, Scotland
Ardnamurchan, Scotland

On October 6th 2017, I embark on my biggest challenge to date as The Gadget Man. So big in fact, that I will be taking my father along for the ride!

Together we will be driving from the most Ness Point in Lowestoft (the most easterly point of mainland UK) to Ardnamurchan Lighthouse in Scotland (the most westerly point of mainland UK) and back again, a total journey of around 1200 miles. All of this will take place over the weekend of the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th October 2017 and will be completed on electric only in a Tesla Model S 100D.

Staying in Ullswater overnight
Staying in Ullswater overnight

Aside from being able to complete the 1200 mile trip under electric power only, we will also being travelling through some of the most amazing scenery our nation has to offer us with overnight stays in ‘Camping Pods’ in the Lake District and Ardnamurchan during our journey and a short trip on the Corran Ferry! We will we ‘re-juicing’ the car using Tesla’s Superchargers and a couple of rapid chargers and DJI are loaning us photographic equipment to help us document the journey.

We also hope to ‘live stream’ the challenge as often as possible and hope to make lots of new friends on the way!

Ullswater in the Lake District
Ullswater in the Lake District

The Gadget Man has never been a ‘paid gig’, so we are hoping that our challenge can be supported by you in order for us to be able to pay for our modest accommodation and food during the 4 day trip, all the funds we raise will be put to good use during our trip.

At the end of the challenge we will donate any remaining funds to the Red Cross.

Tesla Model S 100D
Tesla Model S 100D

If you are a business and would like to sponsor us, we will be very happy to put a link to your business on our dedicated website that we have set up for the challenge. If you know of camping gear manufacturers who who like to donate a couple of sleeping bags and pillows that would be very helpful too.

Thanks for taking the time to read about our challenge and we look forward to keeping you up to date with our planning for our road trip.

For more information, visit us at https://www.eastwestroadtrip.co.uk

 

The Gadget Man : Parrot Bebop 2 Drone with “Follow Me Bebop”

I‘ve finished testing the Parrot Bebop 2 camera drone. A fully review is coming up shortly. In the meantime here is a selection of footage I have taken over the last couple of weeks.

Electric Vehicle Registrations Continue to Soar!

The UK has experienced it’s best ever quarter for Electric Vehicle reservations, with an average of 1 EV registered every 13 minutes between January to March 2016, a rise of 23% on the same period 2015 according to Go Ultra Low

During this period, 10,496 plug-in cars with registered averaging at 115 per day and is set to continue this trend despite the recent slashing of the government grant from £5000 to £2500.

Using figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Go Ultra Low’s analysis showed the sales of plug-on vehicles rising steadily against the previous five year trends.

Motorists are beginning to see the benefits of electric vehicles and growing to understand the idea of ‘topping up’ overnight on home charge points and during the day at public chargers, along with the Plugin Car Grant which has been utilised by more than 58,000 motorists since its inception in 2011.

When asked to comment, Transport Minister Andrew Jones was quoted as saying: “These record figures show that hundreds of people every week are coming round to the fact that plug-in cars are cleaner, greener and cheaper to run. The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”

Notably the month of March seems to be one of the strongest months for Electric Vehicle sales, this year 7,144 electric cars with registered compared to the previous monthly high of 6,104 for March  2015.

Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: “This continued and steep growth in uptake of plug-in cars is testament to how electric vehicles are becoming a natural choice for increasing numbers of new car buyers. With low running costs, tax exemptions and free parking in many locations, many more motorists should be considering a plug-in vehicle as their next car. As registrations records continue to be set and the rate of EV growth carries on, it’s no longer a question of will more motorists choose electric, but when.”

The UK is now a market leader for Electric Vehicles in the European Union with one fifth of the European Union’s collection EV Sales, runner up to Holland.

Goultralow.com provides a one-stop shop for information about owning and running electric vehicles, the makes and models available and the locations of the thousands of publicly available charge points.

The Gadget Man Episode 87 – Self Driving Cars / Driverless Cars / Autonomous Vehicles

Self Driving Cars are never far from the news, and last week whilst taking a few days away in sunny West Sussex, I spoke to Mark about what the future holds for Self Driving Cars and Truck Platooning.

Tune in to the audio stream to find out what we had to say on the matter, and whether I think you would will have ‘had it’ if a fuse blows in your autonomous vehicle.

Below is a also a video where Google talk about their dreams of driverless cars and truck platooning technology.

 

 

The Gadget Man – Tesla Model 3 Launch – What we know so far

Last night (or very early this morning if you live in the UK), Elon Musk CEO of Tesla Motors finally revealed the much anticipated 3rd part of his electric vehicle master plan, the Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 in red
Tesla Model 3 in red – Image Credit : Tesla

As an established player in the EV market, Tesla were looking for a vehicle with ‘mass market appeal’. In order to do this successfully they needed sell a vehicle with was considered ‘affordable’ to the masses, this doesn’t necessarily mean everyone should be able to purchase one, but affordable in the it’s target market, which in the Model 3’s case would be Audi A3 saloon or BMW 3 series.

Tesla Model 3
Image Credit : Tesla

Elon Musk has consistently quoted that the Model 3 will be priced at $35,000 which is around £25,000 and he is not budging on this price in the USA anyway. In the UK, I would suggest £30,000 is going to be the starting price minus any remaining UK Government plugin grant that might exist by the time it launches in the UK late 2017 / early 2018.

scenic_mountain_1 Tesla Model 3
Image Credit : Tesla

There is undoubtably going to be several models in the Model 3 range such as the P and D derivatives of the Model S and Model X, the standard entry level model is looking to have a projected range of 210 miles per charge, and accelerate to 60mph in under 6 seconds. It will be available in rear wheel and four wheel drive. Owing to it’s shorter wheel base, I would expect the battery size to be smaller than the current 90 kWh of the current top end P90D of the Model S and Model X, perhaps more likely to be 65 – 70 kWh, but this is simply guessing. However with this in mind, I would expect a Model 3 65, Model 3 P65 and Model S P65D but upon release the battery technology is going to be 2 years ahead of what we have now, so we might be in for a surprise however based on the projected ranges, I would go for a 65 kWh or smaller battery, with much less powerful powertrains than the existing models.

Tesla Model 3
Image Credit : Tesla

The Model 3 is all about mass market and to achieve this the car needs to be built in a mass market car plant which Tesla already owns in Freemont, California which was used in the past to manufacture GM / Toyota cars but now is refitted to build the Model S, Model X and now the Model 3. Again I would summise that the assembly plant in Tilburg, Netherlands will look after the European assembly of the Model 3 using parts shipped from the USA. Tesla has made an awful lot of noise about the Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada which when fully up to speed will be able to manufacture more lithium ion batteries annually than were manufactured worldwide in 2013. This manufacture by economies of scale is projected to drive down the cost of the batteries needed to power Tesla’s vehicles and consequently bring down the price of the vehicles coming off the production line as well as the Tesla Powerwall home batteries.

Tesla Model 3The Model 3 can according to Elon Musk, seat 5 adults comfortably, even on a smaller vehicle footprint. Tesla does this by moving the driving position forward into the space that would contain an engine if this was a traditional petrol or diesel car. It retains the centre console screen that graces the Model S and Model X, but is now a 15 inch landscape arrangement rather than the giant 17 inch portrait version. Inside the car, it retains the quality of the other Tesla models, but is significantly more sparse, perhaps similar to the BMW i3 which sacrifices refinement for space. As before, the car includes trunk and frunk (frunk trunk), for British readers, the bonnet area can be used for luggage as can the boot space.

Outside of the vehicle, the design has been refined again completely removing the ‘grill’ of the Model S and taking the smoother front lines of the Model X to produce a completely seamless nose cone. The general design of the car echoes the Model S, but downsizing it in a similar fashion that the BMW 3 series downsizes to the 2 series. The front and rear lighting remains the same as the Model S and X, and the wheels appear to be available in a number of choices as the other current models.

The Model 3 will support Tesla’s Super Charger network from the outset meaning that fast charging on long journeys will be easily achievable.

The Model 3 is still a year away from final production, but that hasn’t stopped the flood of orders which mean’t that in less than 24 hours more that 135,000 232,000 pre-orders (and associated $1000 deposits) have been made with some people queuing around the block from their local Tesla Stores to get their order in first.

Check out the images from last night and launch video, all courtesy of Tesla Motors Inc.

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 86 – Tesla Model S P85D – Auto Pilot

The Gadget Man - Episode 86 - Tesla Model S P85D - Auto Pilot
The Gadget Man – Episode 86 – Tesla Model S P85D – Auto Pilot

I have been driving the latest Tesla Model S P85D over the past few days, specifically to experience software update 7.1 and the improvements to Autopilot functionality.

 

Tesla Model S P85D
Tesla Model S P85D

We discussed the technology behind Tesla Autopilot and also the future of autonomous and driverless cars.

 

You can listen to a recording of the stream and find out what we thought.