Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced proposals to change building regulations to encourage the mandatory installation of electric vehicle charge points in new homes and offices. New street lighting columns which service on-street parking will also have charging points in appropriate locations.
Along with these changes, the government has also promised more money to fund the charging infrastructure.
Mr Grayling said the proposed measures would mean the UK having “one of the most comprehensive support packages for zero-emission vehicles in the world”.
“The prize is not just a cleaner and healthier environment but a UK economy fit for the future and the chance to win a substantial slice of a market estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion by 2050”.
I’ve tested 14 different electric and hybrid cars and I’m obviously sold on the idea of alternative fuel cars. Having travelled from Ness Point to Ardnamurchan in Scotland in a Tesla Model S 100 D and found the charge network was already in place, but improvements and investment from the Government would be very useful. With mass production of electric cars and more importantly lithium-ion batteries, the costs should come down in line with petrol and diesel powered cars. We should also look forward to electric powered lorries in the near future too. Exciting times indeed!
This morning, I spoke to Mark Murphy at BBC Radio Suffolk about the proposals. To listen to what I had to say, click on the stream above.
What do you think about electric cars, do you think they will be mainstream in your lifetime? Let me know in the comments below.
So, 10 days have now passed now since Elon Musk’s SpaceX sent his Tesla Roadster on it’s way to Mars (via the Asteroid Belt). Aside from the obvious enormous publicity stunt that inevitably comes with sending your prized electric sports-car into the vacuum of outer-space, what was the real benefit of one of luanching one the world’s largest rockets into space and returning it to Earth (ably assisted by the timeless voice of rock legend David Bowie)?
Although extremely successful, SpaceX MUST continue to prove that their rockets are both reliable and REALLY cost effective to launch. In order to do this they are ramping up launches from the Falcon 9 to the Falcon Heavy on the journey to the launch of the BFR which will (when completed), be the largest and most powerful rocket ever launched from our planet.
The Falcon Heavy is currently capable of carrying 64 metric tons which positions SpaceX as the obvious choice for resupply of the ISS and eventually transporting astronauts to the station. Falcon Heavy launches are in space terms ‘cheap’ at about $90 million per launch compared to the eye watering $500 million that the new NASA rockets are projected to cost!
The new BFR will be able to carry evening heavier payloads of up to 150 metric tons, a seriously large amount! Enough indeed to be able to partake in interplanetary missions to The Moon and Mars.
So, why launch Musk’s prized Tesla Roadster into space at all? Again this is all about delivering a service to NASA and proving the rockets capabilities in the long term. SpaceX HAD to take a large payload as part of this test flight, so rather than packing the bay with concrete blocks, they chose his Electric Sports Car as it added (as it turns out) a massive amount of theatre to the mission, not only were SpaceX launching three rockets and returning all of the main launch rockets back to earth (with some stunning images of the two boosters landing together at Cape Canaveral), but also successfully unloading a $100,000 Electric Vehicle into orbit and then on to Mars (via the Asteroid Belt).
So after the theatre of the 6th February, Starman continues on his journey strapped into the Tesla Roadster, his armed resting on the window ledge, relaxing as he begins his Billion year journey through outer space. Currently (as of writing this), he is 1,817,804 miles from Earth with an mere 139,926,200 miles to go before he reaches Mars, travelling at a speed of 43,400 mph, way beyond Tesla’s service range! (http://www.whereisroadster.com/)
I am now sure that we really might see man set foot again on the Moon and then continue on to Mars in the next 10 years. Something that I personally can’t wait to see.
Images: SpaceX, Wikipedia
Music: David Bowie, Life on Mars.
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!
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.
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”.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
I thought I would post a short video showing the Tesla Model S P85D performing an Auto Park manoeuvre. This will hopefully form a series of posts and videos detailing the new updates to the car which include ‘Autopilot’ which is basically an advanced cruise control system. In the meantime, enjoy…
This week we talk about the Tesla Powerwall. The powerwall is an electricity storage solution for homes, businesses an more!
The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at a residential level for load shifting, backup power and self-consumption of solar power generation. The Powerwall consists of Tesla’s lithium-ion battery pack, liquid thermal control system and software that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter. The unit mounts seamlessly on a wall and is integrated with the local grid to harness excess power and give customers the flexibility to draw energy from their own reserve.
The battery can provide a number of different beneﬁts to the customer including:
Load shifting – The battery can provide ﬁnancial savings to its owner by charging during low rate periods when demand for electricity is lower and discharging during more expensive rate periods when electricity demand is higher
Increasing self-consumption of solar power generation – The battery can store surplus solar energy not used at the time it is generated and use that energy later when the sun is not shining
Back-up power – Assures power in the event of an outage
The Powerwall Home Battery increases the capacity for a household’s solar consumption, while also offering backup functionality during grid outages.
The Powerwall is available in 10kWh, optimized for backup applications or 7kWh optimized for daily use applications. Both can be connected with solar or grid and both can provide backup power. The 10kWh Powerwall is optimized to provide backup when the grid goes down, providing power for your home when you need it most. When paired with solar power, the 7kWh Powerwall can be used in daily cycling to extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar into the night when sunlight is unavailable.
Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3500 for 10kWh and $3000 for 7kWh. (Price excludes inverter and installation.) Deliveries begin in late Summer in the US. Plans are for Powerwall to be available in the UK before for the end of the year with more details to follow.
Mounting: Wall Mounted Indoor/Outdoor
Inverter: Pairs with growing list of inverters
Energy: 7kWh or 10kWh
Continuous Power: 2kW
Peak Power: 3kW
Round Trip Efficiency: >92%
Operating Temperature Range: -20C (-4F) to 43C (110F)
Warranty: 10 years
Dimensions: H: 1300mm W: 860mm D:180mm