Portable EV charger

chargeonthegoThe idea behind small trailers like the one shown here is simple, it’s a gasoline powered generator to extend the range of an electric car, but only for those rare times you actually NEED a range extender.  It’s not a completely new concept, but so far, these are mostly still ‘in development’ so I wonder if it’ll ever manifest itself as reality.  With battery technologies continuing to improve and Tesla rolling out its free nationwide EV charging network…the market window for devices like these is narrow and if they don’t start selling them soon, they’ll miss their chance.

(via gizmag)

The New York Times caught lying in Tesla Model S review

models_coldweathertesting10The New York Times has been caught lying in a recent review of the Tesla Model S, outed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk (Musk was quite diplomatic about this and just laid out the facts, never accusing the Times of outright lying, but I’m not diplomatic and I call it as I see it).  Even before Mush presented this evidence, he tweeted about the test to which the reporter replied, “It happened just the way I described it” (link).

So, who do you believe?  The reporter, John Broder, is no fan of electric cars and an earlier article indicates a clear bias.  The thing is, after the TV entertainment show Top Gear created a misleading and negative review of the Tesla Roadster, Tesla Motors got smart and started equipping press cars with, well, let’s just call it the ‘Special Reviewer Option Pack A’, or to describe it briefly, data logging to capture information about the car throughout the review.  It’s that information that Musk is using to contradict Broder’s story.  He never fully charged the car, and even left his final charging station when the car was saying it could only go half the distance he planned.  Even then, the car exceeded that estimated range before it finally ran out of juice (well done, Model S!).

The data is difficult to ignore, and Elon Musk’s blog post will probably lead to John Broder’s firing (or if it doesn’t, I’ll lose all respect for the New York Times).  But this focus on the data got me thinking…what if the data could be falsified?  I do not believe that was done so, I fully believe in Tesla’s data…but as a society, we’re placing more and more reliance in data, in pictures, in videos…all of which can be falsified.  We’re entering a new world where to defend yourself, your word alone will not be enough…you’ll need your own set of data to back up your claims.  This is where wearable computing may come in…imagine a personal datalogger that just works in the background, until those times you need it.  You wouldn’t need to capture all the data your accusers did…just enough data to cast doubt on that evidence.

It used to be one person’s word against the other’s in court…and to win, you attack the credibility of the other witness.  There’s a new witness in court…it’s data.  Better have your own to defend you.

UPDATE – one of the New York Times editors has posted a reply here, basically saying that there were “Problems With Precision and Judgment, but Not Integrity, in Tesla Test.”  A fair look into the issue…it helps restore my confidence in that newspaper.

Nissan Leaf price drop

Great news for electric cars…Nissan just dropped the price of their all-electric Leaf, now starting at $28,800.  Depending on where you live, tax credits and other incentives may lower the price to as low as $18,800!  That’s with the $7500 federal tax credit, and a $2500 tax credit available in some states.

Tesla Model S dyno test

I love cars…especially the sounds they make.  Which is why I found this particularly interesting – it’s a dyno test of the all-electric Tesla Model S!  It’s strange, hearing an electric car do this.

For comparison, here’s one of my favorite dyno test videos of a fossil-fuel car, in this case a turbocharged Lamborghini Murcielago.

Tesla is building a network of free charging stations

Tesla Motors is making great strides in eliminating the ‘range anxiety’ argument against electric cars. Their cars already offer amazing range (hundreds of miles, depending on the battery option chosen), but now they’re building a nationwide network of solar-powered charging stations where Tesla car owners can top off their cars for FREE! This means that you can drive from coast to coast for just the cost of food and lodging. No gas stations to worry about, just plan your trip accordingly and stop for ~30 minutes every few hundred miles at one of the ‘Supercharger’ stations. There are currently six of these stations in California, with a fast nationwide roll out planned.

You can read more about it in their press release or view the Supercharger website here.

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