If Alec Issigonis could design the classic Mini again today, the iconic small car would have an electric motor. The original was launched in 1959, created during an oil crisis, and based on the idea of saving fuel and transporting four occupants and their luggage in the smallest possible footprint. Today, MINI remains connected to the design principles of Issigonis with its creative use of space and driving fun. The MINI Recharged project is an opportunity to continue telling the story of the classic Mini in the 21st century, in a sustainable way.
The electric conversion of classic Minis combines traditional values with future-oriented technology. The idea was born even before the brand had the MINI Electric on offer (electricity consumption combined:17.6 – 15.2 kWh/100 km according to WLTP; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km.). A one-off, classic Mini Electric was built in 2018 and presented at the New York Auto Show. The reactions were so positive that a dedicated team from MINI Plant Oxford set to work and developed the plan to make a corresponding offer available to customers who own a classic Mini.
To experience traditional go-kart handling with an emission-free drivetrain, the original petrol engine of the classic Mini is replaced by a modern electric drive. During the conversion, MINI Recharged makes reversible changes to the substance of the vehicle. Careful handling of the car’s historical heritage is an important part of the concept. This makes it possible to restore the classic Mini to its original condition at a later date. During the conversion, the original engine of each vehicle is marked and stored so it can be reused in the event of a future retrofit of the classic Mini.
Bernd Körber, Head of the MINI Brand said, “What the project team are developing preserves the character of the classic Mini and enables its fans to enjoy its all-electric performance. With MINI Recharged, we are connecting the past with the future of the brand.”
The MINI Recharged project means a vehicle’s life can be extended in a sustainable way. A classic Mini can now be given a new lease of life, accompanying its owner into the future, whilst maintaining its much-loved heritage. The drive is a modern electric motor that generates a continuous output of up to 90 kW and accelerates the electrified classic Mini from zero to 100 km/h in approximately nine seconds. The energy is supplied by a high-voltage battery, which can be charged with an output of up to 6.6 kW and enables a predicted range of around 160 kilometers. In addition, every electrified classic Mini from MINI Recharged receives the characteristic central instrument cluster, which now displays the drive temperature, the selected gear, range, and speed.
MINI Recharged fans gain a whole new driving experience; a silent drivetrain with instant acceleration and the ability to enter the electric or low-emission driving zones of many large cities, otherwise inaccessible with a combustion engine. For example, the electric classic Mini can drive in Oxford Street or Piccadilly Circus in London, without the driver having to pay congestion-charge. In addition, the classic conversion does not need a new registration.
MINI Recharged fits seamlessly into the brand’s future strategy, which also includes the aspect of circular economy. For this project, no new vehicles are being produced, instead, they are being created from much-loved, existing cars. It allows a classic Mini to begin a second, more sustainable life. Today, one in five new MINI models has an electrified drive. Now, the MINI Recharged project will allow the brand’s classic vehicles to become an experience of the future, whilst still bringing joy from the past.
The bespoke upcycling of the classic Mini is carried out exclusively in the United Kingdom. Each converted vehicle is given an individual number, making it unique.
Sebastian Beuchel, Head of MINI Global Brand Management said, “Individuality also plays an important role with MINI Recharged. Unique classic Mini models have always been created, including true works of art on wheels. That’s why future collaborations are also planned as part of the MINI Recharged programme, allowing well-known artists to express their creativity with specially designed classic Mini models.”
ZipCharge, today at COP26, revealed its first game-changing portable Electric Vehicle (EV) charger, the Go. By bringing the possibility of home charging to all, the Go removes a common barrier to EV ownership that exists across the world. In the UK alone, 8.5 million or 40% of car-owning households don’t have designated off-street parking.
The Go is the first element of a global portable EV charging platform that combines hardware, software, machine learning and innovative ownership models to bring affordable, practical EV charging to more people than ever. ZipCharge Go also creates an intelligent energy management platform that provides flexibility and resilience for the national power grid.
Realising that widespread EV adoption would be hampered by the inability to charge near or at home, ZipCharge co-founders Richie Sibal and Jonathan Carrier identified and developed a solution. Using their decades of experience in automotive electronics systems engineering and product development gained at cutting-edge businesses like McLaren Automotive, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, Gordon Murray Group and LEVC – their answer is the Go. Now well into the development phase ZipCharge is on track to deliver the first models to customers in Q4 2022.
ZipCharge Co-founder Jonathan Carrier “We’re delighted to be launching the Go at COP26, it’s the perfect place to introduce ZipCharge to the world. In light of the Government’s recent Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener manifesto announcement, never before has the automotive industry had cause to innovate so rapidly to help us reach a low carbon future. One of the key barriers to wider uptake of EVs is charging anxiety; the inability to charge near or at home. ZipCharge removes that hurdle and in doing so, will democratise EV ownership.”
Events such as COP26, the United Nation’s Climate Conference, are crucial to establishing robust plans to achieving the Paris Agreement. The ZipCharge team is cognisant of the fact that transport is a key contributor of greenhouse gases; the rapid adoption of EVs and innovation in automotive are key to ensuring the target of net zero is met.
The SMMT, the UK’s most influential motoring trade body, advises there are currently 600,000 plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) on the roads in the UK today – up 66% on 2019 figures – that could make use of the ZipCharge product. Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive of the SMMT, said earlier this year “In the same way people charge a phone overnight, people will want to charge at home when they park overnight.”
Distinctive design that combines simplicity and attention to detail
The ZipCharge Go sets a new standard in the visual appeal of EV chargers, with a purity of form and a modern, consumer-focused design concept. Developed by automotive and consumer product designers, the form conveys simplicity, strength and aesthetic integrity. The design balances form and function, respecting the engineering requirements, with a strong symmetry in its detail design. For example, the power panel concentrates charging functions and status LEDs in a single location to simplify access and makes the Go easier to use, which is mirrored by the scallop for the side grab handle. The front cover can also be personalised in a range of different colours and finishes, to match the exterior of your EV.
Compact and Convenient to Use Everyday
Engineered to the same standards as automotive electronics systems, the lightweight ZipCharge Go power bank is the size of a compact wheeled suitcase which can be charged at home or elsewhere using a standard domestic plug at a lower cost per kWh of electricity when compared to public charging. Using the retractable handle, users then wheel it to wherever they’ve parked their EV and plug it into the charging port. The port locks the charging cable in, securing the charger with the vehicle. ZipCharge Go provides up to 20 miles (32km)* of range, providing sufficient range for the average daily commute (in UK/EU), in a little over 30 mins and can then be neatly stored in the trunk / boot, or at home. ZipCharge Go can be used in all normal weather conditions like a normal fixed charge point.
High Performance Battery and Power Electronics
Packaged neatly inside are high energy density NMC lithium-ion battery cells and associated power electronics. A bi-directional AC-DC inverter enables two-way charging from the grid to the unit, and from the unit to the grid, so the power bank can be used to store cheap off-peak energy and feed it back into the grid at peak times. An integrated communications module supports OCPP compliant smart charging, over-the-air updates, remote diagnostics, and together with geo-fencing and tracking technology provides enhanced security and peace-of-mind.
ZipCharge Co-founder Richie Sibal “Our technical approach to engineering the Go as a lightweight, compact and safe charging solution, and then evolving that into an EV charging platform reflects our intention to combine the development of battery-based systems with the lowest future environmental impact possible.”
Sustainable Materials and Circular Approach
In engineering the Go, ZipCharge has focused on making the most of our planet’s limited resources, by doing more with less. The Go has been developed to be as energy efficient as possible with minimal losses. With learnings from automotive, the Go is designed for lightweight and performance. Like sports cars, ZipCharge uses an aluminium spaceframe to house major systems thereby improving the integrity and stiffness of the unit. This intelligent engineering extends to the consideration of the environmental impact of the materials and components. For example, the Go’s outer shell will be made from post-consumer recycled plastic. By the second half of this decade the ambition is for every ZipCharge charger to be manufactured from recycled materials.
Smart Connectivity to Lower the Cost of Charging and Save Money
Integrated 2G/4G connectivity enables users to remotely manage their Go charger via the ZipCharge mobile app to monitor the device and schedule charging events so the power pack is always ready for when they need it. Inbuilt Artificial Intelligence (AI) will enable ZipCharge to learn the users’ charging patterns and make schedule recommendations to optimise charging at off peak times, saving money and reducing the load on the grid.
Intelligent Energy Management to Support the Energy Network
Thanks to the bi-directional AC-DC inverter, the Go power bank becomes a local energy storage device that can arbitrage energy pricing through time of use rates and, when not in use, sell energy back to the grid at peak times. When hundreds of decentralised Go chargers are pooled together they form a virtual power plant that can supply demand side response services to help balance the grid, providing flexibility and resilience.
Affordability and Flexible Ownership to Democratise Charging for All
Like Peloton and other hardware pioneers, ZipCharge will offer its hardware-as-a-service. Chargers will be available to purchase outright or on subscription for as little as £49 (€57) a month. This is possible because ZipCharge has set the ambitious target to offer the Go at a price comparable to the fully installed cost of a level 2 home charge point, and significantly less than bi-directional home charge points currently on the market.
Basic software functionality will be available to everyone so they can plan and schedule charging, with the enhanced AI software functionality and insurance on subscription for a small monthly fee which, on average, will save the user £15-20 per month. Charging an EV at home has never been so convenient and affordable.
This morning was the second of my Mix Tape tracks played by James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk. I’ve attached the YouTube playlist again below which will play the interview followed by the track.
This is probably one of my favourite pieces of music ever, I don’t know quite where I first heard it, but it is a very, very, very popular dance track.
I went on holiday with my parents and some friends in Portugal. We had a villa and I brought this CD that someone had lent me, which was free on the front of Ministry Magazine, Hooj Choons.
I took that with me and it was a beautiful Villa and I went in and dragged the stereo system out beside the pool and put this on and had it blasting out sitting by the pool, and it was, it was like being in Ibiza when I was 20. It was fantastic!
This doesn’t include the abrupt ending broadcast today on air!!
Below is a playlist which includes the track after the interview.
Motor manufacturer, Kia, have today released a report detailing two pieces of customer research in November 2019 and January 2020, speaking to 3000 UK residents between 16 and 60 about their views on moving to Electric from Petrol or Diesel cars.
The research revealed that almost half of those interviewed admitted to over-exaggerating their green credentials to family and friends on subjects such as going ‘plastic-free’ and adopting zero-emission vehicles.
It transpired that 65% of parents make green decisions after pressure from their children, with 46% of parents saying they felt pressured by them to go green.
However, only 60% of Brits say they are ready to make the move to fully electric cars.
This morning, I spoke to motoring expert, Quentin Willson, who has been an electric car advocate for over a decade. He spends time lobbying the government to provide greater incentives to move to zero-emission vehicles and also has led way in getting fairer fuel charges for drivers.
You can listen to the interview in full, by clicking the play button above. You can also read the transcript of the interview below.
Matt Porter: Welcome to The Gadget Man Episode 156 – Is Society Ready to Adopt Electric Cars?
This morning I’m going to be speaking to Quinten Wilson, motoring journalist, TV, presenter and parent, and find out what his views on whether we are ready to adopt electric cars. the first question I have is from Maniel. He is concerned that if he buys an electric car, it will be less eco-friendly than his diesel because of the manner in which the electric motor is manufactured.
Quentin Willson: Well, that’s, that’s kind of nonsense really. and there’s a lot of myths surrounding this and, and the, the key research, pick this up that. People don’t know enough about electric cars, and there’s an informational issue here. But if you’re talking about mining in a democratic Republic of Congo, cobalt and things like that, it’s not brilliant, agreed. But electric cars are made usually in green factories. With renewable energy, and your, your diesel car will have been made in a factory that it’s power probably, or was prior, probably by coal and, and, and, and very intensive. Then you’ve got to get the diesel out, the ground, the oil out of the ground.
You’ve got to refine it. You’ve got to then ship it. You’ve got to transport it to the station. So. The idea that that, an old diesel or petrol car can be greener than a, an electric car is just nonsense. I mean, the numbers, it worries me that I possess his information. But over 80,000 miles, a petulant diesel car will emit 32.2 tons of CO2.
And, an electric car over the same mileage age, we’ll do 23 tons of Sierra, and that’s before you cost in all the transportation and refining of petrol and diesel. So, sorry, Maniel, it just, doesn’t apply.
Matt Porter: Yeah. He, what he started is, is as, as is quite common, with, with these kinds of forums is he cited a report which is on a, a website, which is difficult to, confirm.
The validity of it. So he’s talking about German, battery manufacturer, which is being powered by coal. but far as I’m aware, Tesla’s plans, for instance, are to build a Giga-factory in Berlin, which I assume will, their aim is to make it, from using renewable energy.
Quentin Willson: Oh, completely. Yeah. And I mean, look, if Elon Musk knows one thing, he knows how important it is, but you can’t replace, pollution and put it in another place by powering electric cars, by coal-fired power stations, that’s impossible.
Then he’s on the absolute Vanguard of all this with the solar and everything. So, it’s interesting though that we’ve got these myths being almost propagated and there is this kind of. Strange. Now fake news thing about electric cars that, you know, you can’t use them in car washes. That’s just so duff and the fact that, you know, the batteries are going to be a toxic hazard for generations to come. Where does this sort of thing come from? And I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but there’s quite a body of, of, of pushback against the whole, the whole industry. And it, it, it does worry me that this stuff still has credence.
Matt Porter: Yeah. Is a concern. I have been driving and testing electric cars, alternative fuel cars for the last five or so years myself. And I find it difficult to understand where these, where this information comes from as well. So, I’m, I’m with you on that. Chris has asked, “Do you think that the technology such as the autopilot type technology is likely to roll out into, electric cars, as a standard in the next, in the next few years, or will it be restricted to high-end models?”
Quentin Willson: I think it’s all about cost and I think, the autopilots OK, but the idea that we’ll all be driving around in autonomous cars, that’s a long way down the road. And that’s what people really think autopilot is, is, is the precursor for even Musk says, it’s at least 10 years away.
I think everybody, I talk to it all the, all the car companies say it’s probably longer, 15 years, and then you’re going to get the idea, the infrastructure worker, you can’t have rubbish signs and, and poor lines on the ground because the LIDAR and the radars have got to kind of pick all this stuff up.
So, I don’t think we’ll see autonomous cars for a long time yet. And I think, you know, your, your autopilots will, they’ll percolate down. Sure. But I don’t think there’ll be as Musk.
Matt Porter: Thank you. Graham has as asked “He lives in a terraced house with no drive or off-road parking. How is he going to be able to reliably charge his car, on a nightly basis if there is nowhere for him to plug into in his own home?”
Quentin Willson: This is a great question, and it concerns 30% of people in the UK. It’s 70% in London. if you haven’t got off-street parking, or garaging, then, you can’t really have an electric car.
So what we need to do, and again, I’ve been pushing hard, with the government for this is EV hubs that you have, in communities, in schools and supermarkets. These rapid charging hubs that people who don’t have the on-street a charging facility can take their car, plug it in for half an hour, 40 minutes, and then it’s ready to go and they can have batteries, large batteries, the size of shipping containers as well. So, you can modify the demands of all this kind of infrastructure technology. It’s there and it, you can, you can string it all together, but we just need the political will. And here’s the thing, the understanding Matt, from government ministers that we need to do this and that for me and, and, and the care research picked us up as well.
The democratization of the electric car, which is so important. We cannot carry on having them as a middle-class plaything where you’ve got your electric car and then you’ve also got Range Rover for long journeys. Everybody must have the right and the ability to drive a zero-emission car. And I’m absolutely adamant on that, and at the moment it’s skewed.
You know, really, to large income earning people. And we need to bring it right down to communities who want to be, you know, zero mission and help the environment.
Matt Porter: Do you think that that could be achieved by, government, grants or more, generous group government grants? I know there was the plugin grant, which was reduced, wasn’t it? Which was a real shame. but do you think, that needs to happen as well, or do you think it’s not affordable by the government to do that?
Quentin Willson: You can’t have it both ways, Matt, you, if you want, you know, this fantastic electric car revolution, then you’ve got to understand that it’s going to cost a lot, and we may be talking about in hundreds of billions.
Matt Porter: A bridge from Scotland to Ireland perhaps?
Quentin Willson: Yeah. Maybe two!
What we want to certainty the public wants certainty. Comment of fractures wants certainty. I want certainty. I want to know that they are going to build an infrastructure fit for the 21st century. That is future proof for the bigger, larger car batteries that are coming. A 100 kilowatt, 150 maybe even 200-kilowatt batteries and they aren’t marooned with this kind of poor thinking. The biggest problem I have with, with the government is that not enough people drive electric cars. I’ve been in a House of Commons, meeting in the House of Lords when I said, “Right, okay, how many people here actually drive an electric car?” And there’s nobody. It’s just, you know, me and a little Baroness, who, who’s always in the slow lane because she’s afraid of running out of juice!
So. I get that understanding is so important and Kia have really flagged this up in this research, which is 3000 people and it’s robust that, you know, we are anxious about this and we do want to have much more certainty and security from the government and they’re giving us these cliff edges. Choices, you know, no more new cars, petrol, new vans, or, or, or diesel cars by 2035 or maybe even 2032 will give us an option, you know, give us, give us a reason to change our behaviour and then we will.
But the two most significant things in this survey are. Your fear of not having an infrastructure and your fear of running out of batteries. So that proves that despite all the virtue signalling, the government has to do better than this
Matt Porter: There also seems to be, from what I can gather from again, from my questions, is a lack of understanding about what this switchover will be, that people.
I get the impression people tend to think that they’re going to have to suddenly stop driving their existing cars on a particular date. When the, if you like, the band comes in into, In into, into policy. And it, you know, even though when I’ve explained that no, you can carry on keeping your own car.
And then we also have people that are saying, but it’s surely going to drive the price of petrol up. It’s going to be expensive for us to keep our existing cars at that point, but too expensive to buy new ones. So we’re stuck in a rock and a hard place. So there is this kind of the whole mix of concerns.
Quentin Willson: And it’s not being properly explained to people.
Absolutely. Right! The ban, and here, let’s do this for the record, Matt. The ban concerns new Vans and cars powered by diesel and petrol after 2035 or earlier 2032 you will still be able to drive your petrol and diesel car. Nobody’s going to stop you. There may be an increase in fuel due to discourage use, but then that’s another thing I do with my “fair fuel” campaign and that that affects the cost of living and we need to keep the cost of living right down. The thing that worries me is that the government have said that they are not going to permit the sale of hybrids after that cutoff date. And I think that’s wrong-headed, but, what, what do I know?
So, people must feel that, you know, they don’t have to stop driving their cars, that you will be using these petrol and diesel cars for decades to come. Probably. and you may even see a spike in their values. Who knows? Electric car values have certainly gone up secondhand ones because of demand.
Matt Porter: The certainly seem to retain their value.
Quentin Willson: Absolutely. You look at some of the market-leading ones, and they’re up 17% in January, I think. 24% in February so far. So yeah and there’s another myth that they cost more. than petrol and petrol and diesel.
Cause actually if you factor in all the tax breaks, the benefit in kind the fact that you, if you’re a company, you can claim 100% of the cost back against the corporation tax and profits, and salary sacrifice, then the money you’ll save on fuel and, and servicing. I think we passed a watershed moment where an electric car could even be cheaper than a petrol or diesel car. Nobody’s really done the sums cause of that depreciation thing that the way you see these cars hanging on to their value and the replacement cycles are much, much longer. You keep your electric car for four, five, six, seven, eight, nine years. then I think it’s really interesting, some to have done if you look at currently.
Matt Porter: one thing is that my wife, Highlighted to me was that with hybrid cars, that there seems to be this whole mix of hybrids that are now being promoted. So, we have mild hybrids, Plugin hybrids, Self-charging hybrids. Do you not think that in some way that might confuse people that, okay, I want to buy a hybrid in there in the short term, or lease a hybrid, but, hang on a second, I’m being told that there are a whole number of different hybrids that I can have. do you think that that makes it slightly unclear to people when they look into buying a car that, are they buying the right kind of hybrid?
Quentin Willson: Absolutely you’re right, people don’t understand enough and you know, the point of sale of where you buy your electric car isn’t the right place.
Usually, the salesman wants to sell you a diesel. So, we, we really do need, as a society and as a government to start communicating these messages better and getting people to understand which is the best, the best car for you. And everybody’s needs are different and there is no charging infrastructure in certain areas.
So why would you buy a battery-powered car or buy a hybrid? And that makes perfect sense. But getting this stuff across, I think he’s really important. And yeah. Here’s the irony. Kids seem to know much more about this than parents. They really, in this research there, they are, they at the if you’ll pardon the pun, the drivers behind this, this, this moment of change.
And, and parents are reacting to the pressure from their kids. And I get it from mine. that, you know, you’ve got to do something and you’ve got to be as green as possible. And then in a way, that’s that. That’s great. Really, because it comes from innocence and our generation have kind of used up the resources of the world.
So profligately. And, and, and these kids want to change it all. And that’s, I think, a great social force that we mustn’t ignore.
Matt Porter: That’s right. there was one final question I mustn’t miss, which is important to most people, which is, Grant has asked me, “So if we all move to electric cars, how on earth will the infrastructure cope with the demand for electricity?”
Quentin Willson: Well, I, I’ve spoken to the National Grid at length about this because it’s an obvious question. and they say, when you get to say 50% penetration, we will still be okay because we will have grid management. And don’t forget that there are offshore, wind is now. Renewables is probably 55% of electricity generation.
You will need to, rebuild what is known as the ‘local circuits’, which are the wires that come into your house and into your lamppost on the streets. And that’s going cost quite a bit. That’s going to cost about 4 billion quid because they will need to take much more power. They will be able to generate enough because if we spend enough to, to, to have more renewables, more offshore, and a couple more, nuclear power stations, yes, but that’s kind of a long way off.
100% EV utilisation may never happen. Matt, it’s going to be a slow transition just because it is. and I see 30, 40, 50% by maybe 2040 and then as we get to 2050 zero-carbon, you might get 60 70% EV penetration. It just depends how we roll up the infrastructure, but everybody in the electricity generating industry and their district network operators say that we can cope if we kind of just regenerate some of the old wiring, the old substations.
Matt Porter: I think that is really important as well for people to understand, that the responsibility rests on our shoulders as much as it does, government shoulders and the, you know, if by simply looking at installing a solar panels on our homes and battery storage in our homes as well there where we can hold, we can re, we can charge three, we can hold our own power, to charge our vehicles ourselves. Or we can run our households. We’re not putting the strain on the grid at these high peak times ourselves because we’re storing energy ourselves. I think that’s a really big thing that people need to start thinking about is it’s battery storage really in their homes and solar energy.
Quentin Willson: Oh, I agree. My 21-year-old son, he never stops talking about it and showing me pictures of battery walls and, and the fact that we can, we can be completely independent of the utility companies that the big villains. And I think that’s absolutely right. And they’re all people who have these battery walls and the solar and are, are just, you know, completely pairing their house and their car on renewable energy and, Whoa, that’s just such a great goal.
Matt Porter: Quentin, thanks ever so much for your time this morning. It’s extremely interesting and I know my listeners will be happy to hear those answers and yeah, thanks ever so much for your time.
Quentin Willson: Pleasure Matt.
Matt Porter: So that was Quentin Wilson giving us his views on the impending adoption of the electric car in the next 15 years.
So, until next time, this is Matt Porter, The Gadget Man signing off.
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).
A ‘Gadget Man’ Road Trip would be nothing with a car stacked full of technology, here’s a quick summary of the gear we are rocking for the trip.
This is of course an ‘Electric Challenge’, so we are driving a Tesla Model S 100D. A 4 wheel drive, twin motor electric car, packing a 100 kWh Lithium-ion battery with a projected range between charges of more that 300 miles. We can also take advantage of Tesla’s very own Supercharger network, meaning our charge times will hopefully be under 30 minutes. Enough time for a coffee and meal on our long journey. The car is packed with driver assistance technology and always on 4G connection for maps and music streaming.
We will be taking along a DJI Mavic Pro for aerial shots. The Mavic is an outstanding, foldable 4K drone with a 25 minute flight time. It boasts the most advance stabilisation technology available today, combining GPS, Glonass and Optical stabilisation and obstacle avoidance.
As a backup, we will be taking along a DJI Phantom 3 Standard with 2 batteries.
Our filming will be carried out on a DJI Osmo+ 3 axis stabilised camera with 3.5x optical zoom and 4K video recording. This will be backed up by a GoPro Hero camera, Panasonic Lumia G3 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge smart phone.
On board the car, we have a Transcend DrivePro 230s dashcam and hopefully a Samsung Gear 360 (2017).
Editing and Blogging
Our editing will be carried out on a Dell Latitude Rugged with Core i7 and SSD drive, this will be complimented by a Transcend SSD drive and SPS Rugged USB3 1GB Hard drive.
We are looking forward to confirmation that EE will be providing us with 30gb of data and a in car wifi hotspot, to allow us to Live Stream, and Vlog during the journey.
Our trip tracking is being provided by Coderus. Custom built apps on our mobiles will transmit our GPS coordinates to our server in London, this information will be pushed to www.eastwestroadtrip.co.uk and www.thegadgetman.org.uk to allow for our friends, families and supporters to view our progress in real time. This is looking to be a fabulous addition to the trip and will encourage interaction with Paul whilst I concentrate on driving.
With 10 days to go, I was hoping it would be a matter of tying up some loose ends and some additional organisation in the lead up to the challenge…
Sadly at the end of last week, my very dear Uncle, John Porter passed away. Dad, his brother understandably wants to be at home with the family at this time, so he had to make the difficult decision to withdraw from our challenge. Due to the commitments I have already made with a whole host of people over the last couple of months, I will still be embarking on the 1200 miles electric journey.
I won’t be doing it alone though. My new co-driver will be announced this Friday, so stay tuned!!
Drones, Cameras and Dash Cams
Today was quite exciting with the arrival of a DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Osmo+. The Mavic is a 4K foldable drone and the Osmo is a stabilised 3.5x zoom camera. Transcend have also committed to sending a dash cam for the trip which should enable us to record both road and cockpit footage. We are also currently waiting for a Dell ‘ruggedised’ laptop which will be invaluable for the trip especially producing 4k footage from the camera and drones. This will hopefully give me sufficient time to familiarise myself with the equipment and weather permitting (22 mph wind and no rain) I should be able to obtain some stunning footage from Ullswater, Glencoe and Ardnamurchan. Fingers crossed (and crossed again). The DJI Osmo_ is a 3 axis stabilised camera when means I can stagger around uncontrollably and get some excellent footage without worrying about the wind.
The saga of the air beds.
We were unable to find a specific donor for the air beds that are needed for the Camping Pod in Ullswater on Friday and Sunday. This was after contacting practically every single large camping equipment supplier in the UK. Most didn’t reply and unfortunately those that did were unable to provide additional donations above their current budgets.
It was however ‘lucky’ or more likely a result of the multiple cookies on my computer set when I was searching for air beds, that a Groupon deal dropped into my Inbox on Wednesday.
Thus, I was able to purchase two double sized air beds ‘high raised’ with built in pumps for just under £80 meaning that both of us will sleep soundly. We will be taking along sheets, quilts and pillows, so we should feel right at home. I have already tested the inflation and deflation of one of the beds and was surprised at how quickly it inflated, but equally how quickly is deflated in ‘reverse’. It was easy to re-pack and fitted nicely into the included carry bag. Sorted.
Further Support and Sponsorship
I had a long conference call yesterday with a very large potential sponsor/partner. We discussed a whole host of possibilities that will help me and Dad on the trip (particularly on the comms front). Hopefully I will be able to announce something next week when I receive confirmation!
Computers, Phones and Tablets
Having just had my trusty (and smashed) Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge replaced with a brand spanking model, I am now pretty confident I don’t need to be panicking about a super up to date phone for the trip. It has an excellent camera on board and stunning screen. Tablet wise, I have a nVidia Shield K1 for ‘droning’, this extremely fast processor on board and should do nicely for the trip.
I am really, REALLY hopeful that we will receive a 360 camera and a SIM card with a hefty amount of data onboard to enable us where possible to live stream the event as best we can.
We are staying at Hillcroft Park in Ullswater on Friday and Sunday, courtesy of the site owners, which is very generous of them. On Saturday we are staying at Far View in Kilchoan about 8 miles from Ardnamurchan Lighthouse.
That’s for this update, but stay tuned this Friday to find out who will be joining me on our ELECTRIC ADVENTURE!
This week we move back to hybrid cars with the Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine Plug in Hybrid vehicle. The D6 is unique as it is a Diesel – Electric Hybrid rather than the standard Petrol Electric that we are used to.
This is a very powerful snappy car, at full ‘Power’ mode it is outputting a combined 280bhp and you certainly feel it. Along with beautiful ride, upholstery and fuel efficiency, I can see this being very popular in the company car sector.
We will be reviewing it in greater detail soon online, but in the meantime, listen in the the stream from Monday 13th July.
This week we talk about at the Volkswagen e-Golf, a really superb electric vehicle which successfully bridged the gap from traditional petrol or diesel car to fully fledged electric car.
This really was a superb vehicle on every level, the handling was just amazing. It was incredibly easy to drive and once I had got the handle of ‘Park Pilot’, that too was amazing. A really great car, and a head turner too!.
Thanks to VW Press Office for supplying the car with everything I would ever need and thanks to the two delivery drivers who were equally polite and helpful.
Dont forget to listen to the stream above, and wait for the full review coming soon!
This week we chat about the Tesla Model S P85+ electric vehicle.
If you haven’t already heard about the Tesla, you should! They are producing amazing electric sports cars with even more amazing range. Tesla were amazingly generous in allowing me to borrow a top of the range vehicle for 6 days. It’s simply superb in every way. Over the past 6 days, I have made a few new friends and have been asked numerous questions about the car.
Listen to the stream above where I talk to Mark about my time using the car. A full in depth review will be coming over the next few days.
Thanks to Tesla Motors for lending me the car, particularly Laura who has been extremely patient. To find out more about Tesla, you can view their website here
Thanks also to Paul Eaton, who very kindly gave up an afternoon of his time to stand, crouch and lay in the freezing cold taking some superb photos of the car. You can view his Flickr profile here
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