Elec­tric Rev­o­lu­tion

France an­nounced that by 2040 ev­ery car on its roads would be elec­tric. In­dia has plans to tran­si­tion a decade sooner, while Nor­way is al­ready 30 per cent there. CNN’S ‘Su­per­charged’ host Nicki Shields finds out if EV’S can go the dis­tance.

Bespoke - - VISION -

Volvo’s re­cent an­nounce­ment that all of its new mod­els from 2019 will be elec­tric or hy­brid makes it the first tra­di­tional car­maker to take the plunge. Of course, there are those who have been fully plugged-in from birth – the most fa­mous name among those is Tesla. The Cal­i­for­ni­abased com­pany be­gan sell­ing EV’S in 2008, and in 2015 opened its first fac­tory out­side the US, in Til­burg, Hol­land, in an at­tempt to ramp up sales in the Euro­pean con­ti­nent and re­alise its goal of pro­duc­ing half a mil­lion cars a year glob­ally by 2020. (An­a­lysts es­ti­mate that more than half of Tesla sales cur­rently come from the US, about 30 per cent in Europe and just above 10 per cent from China, although they see China as the big­gest po­ten­tial mar­ket.) Mean­while, BMW launched its “i” elec­tric sub-brand in 2013, Audi and Porsche are all now promis­ing a range of up­graded elec­tric op­tions, while Mercedes­Benz has pledged ten new elec­tric ve­hi­cle mod­els by 2022. For­mula E – billed as the mo­tor rac­ing cham­pi­onship of your elec­tric dreams – has been go­ing since 2014, and CNN’S ‘Su­per­charged’ show cov­ers ev­ery twist and turn of the se­ries. In be­tween races, we ex­plore sto­ries re­lated to green tech­nol­ogy and re­cently, host Nicki Shields was given a chance to test Tesla’s Model S, the world’s best-sell­ing plug-in car, by tak­ing it on a four-coun­try road trip. The chal­lenge? To drive it from the UK to the com­pany’s Euro­pean ‘home’ in the Nether­lands on a sin­gle charge. In truth, the Tesla model S 100D comes with a rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing the king of long-dis­tance elec­tric per­form­ers, so this was a case of see­ing it to be­lieve it. The dis­tance from Tesla’s su­per­charge sta­tion in Maid­stone in south­ern Eng­land to the fac­tory in Til­burg was mea­sured at roughly 400 kilo­me­tres. Sur­pris­ingly, the jour­ney from Maid­stone to the ferry port at Dover made lit­tle im­pact on the bat­tery charge and the calm cross­ing be­neath sunny blue skies al­lowed us to recharge our own bat­ter­ies be­fore the drive ahead. Af­ter dis­em­bark­ing in France, we soon switched our high-tech wheels

Tesla’s new bat­tery, in­ter­est­ingly, is just about right for a drive from Dubai to Muscat. Prov­ing this car has both stamina and speed, we ar­rived in time, with bat­tery to spare.

to ‘Au­topi­lot’ – a self-drive set­ting in which the car cal­cu­lates speed, dis­tance, ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing. The law there how­ever, re­quires the driver be in con­trol of the car – and that is a good thing, as that in­cludes remembering to switch lanes to drive on the right on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent af­ter be­gin­ning the jour­ney on the left in the U.K. The amount of bat­tery power used in an EV de­pends on how the car is driven, use of the ra­dio, elec­tric win­dows and air­con­di­tion­ing and of course, av­er­age speed and ef­fi­cient han­dling. So the car’s abil­ity to cal­cu­late how much power will re­main once you reach your des­ti­na­tion is vi­tally use­ful. If it’s in­suf­fi­cient – maybe you’ve hit traf­fic con­ges­tion or a di­ver­sion – it will re-route you to the near­est su­per­charger (pro­vided there is one). And as we punched the des­ti­na­tion ad­dress into the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, the soft­ware pre­dicted we would ar­rive in Til­burg with 21 per cent bat­tery re­main­ing. Af­ter silently travers­ing north­ern France and Bel­gium, and even­tu­ally cross­ing the border into the Nether­lands, we ar­rived at Til­burg with 400 kilo­me­tres added to the clock and – low and be­hold – 25 per cent of the bat­tery charge left. Tesla’s new bat­tery, in­ter­est­ingly, is just about right for a drive from Dubai to Muscat. Prov­ing this car has both stamina and speed, we ar­rived in time, with bat­tery to spare, for a guided tour of the Tesla fac­tory – and you can see it all on ‘Su­per­charged’ at cnn.com/sport/ mo­tor­sport.

Pre­vi­ous: The new Model X in the light tun­nel at the Til­burg fac­tory, which is a qual­ity-con­trol sta­tion for paint work. Above: Mak­ing around 90 cars a day there al­ready, Tesla says it chose to es­tab­lish its fac­tory in Til­burg, Hol­land, be­cause parts can make it “any­where across the Euro­pean con­ti­nent within 12 hours” thanks to a lo­ca­tion that is both close to the Port of Rot­ter­dam and sig­nif­i­cant rail in­fra­struc­ture.

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