Sometimes it is difficult to be an Editor you have a great review lined up of all the features of the Tesla Model S and X's Entertainment/Navigation system you had fun playing with on your trip to Berlin and then Tesla issue an over the air update and change it all. Arriving over the air version 9 of their software completely changes the interface. As someone I spoke to said it has made his 4 year old car feel brand new. It also adds soemthing we found lacking on our trip - blind spot monitoring. We'll be taking a look at the improvements in a future issue.
So the burning question if you read last issue's editorial did we make it all Electrically to Berlin? A resounding yes we did... and back again. You can read all about the trip there in our special feature.
The trip back which we didn't cover as an article was in many ways more of a challenge. We had very little juice in the battery when we arrived in Berlin and the Hotel we'd ended up at had no destination charger (if we had booked a bit earlier we could have easilly got one organised). It did mean we were looking at having to do a very early stop on the journey back which seemed a little pointless. Fortunately we got lucky. An event in Potsdammer Platz on the last night happened to be taking place in a hotel above a car park that had loads of free Type 2 24KW chargers meaning we could drive to the event park up and in the time we were there gain about 100 miles of range - very cool.
The next day we decided to push it travelling all the way from Berlin to Lokeren in Belgium. Part of the reason we could do this is that the Model S had extremely comfortable chairs which meant my colleague with the bad back could stand a little longer in the car but equally the natural charging breaks fitted in with their need to stretch their legs.
We did go out of our way on one leg of the trip (slightly) but this was to experience on the highly recommended supercharger locations which had a remarkably good American Diner.
One thing we definitely concluded on this trip was that detouring 5 miles or so off the main route to supercharge rather than going to the hubble and bubble of the normal services was a delight rather than a chore.
One thing to really note on this journey is we actually stopped once when we didn't need to charge just to give the driver a break. All in all this was a great experience and had made some of my more sceptical compatriots consider Electric Cars as an option.
Oh and the total 'fuel' cost for this journey £20 and we could have avoided £18 of that if we had skipped the expensive Antwerp charger and gone to the nearby SuperCharger.
So how was IFA? Again this year a little disapointing. Yes there was some great new tech to look at, like the Segway E-Skates you can read about in my reviews, but mostly it was stuff that had been previously announced at CES earlier in the year coming to fruition. There was one piece of Audio Equipment that blew my mind but that is still under wraps - I hope to cover in our Gift Guide issue.
More interesting for me as shows go was this year's Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event. It was good to see the influx of new providers of Electric Car Charging providers and next year I suspect the percieved issues with the reliability and availability will be things of the past. It will be good to see 100KW plus supplies arriving. The German motor vehicle manufacturer backed Ionity network, which delivers upt to 350KW is expected to start work on its first UK site in Maidstone shortly. One thing to note is even if the supply is 100KW plus the actual speed of charge will still be limited to what your onboard battery management system and charger will allow. For example, although they have said this will be changed by a software update, the Jaguar I-Pace will be limited initially to 80KW.
Talking about the I-Pace we got to spend quite a bit of time looking round one at Cenex thanks to the good people at Off Grid Energy. Off Grid were using one of their PowerCubes to charge the I-Pace. This is a great bit of technology that allows charging infrastructure almost anywhere. Indeed Off Grid were also showing a breakdown recovery vehicle with an onboard battery pack to help stranded EV drivers. This is really innovative technology.
I'm also very grateful to them for letting me stand by the I-Pace they had on charge and listen to some fascinating stories from people involved in the building of this electric vehicle. Whilst some may be dissapointed that the real-world range of around 230 miles is not up to the the 290 expected based on the WLTP rating and that the efficiency is poor compared to the Tesla and Hyundai EVs of this world, it is still a fabulous looking vehicle and I'm told fantastic to drive. Hopefully we can find out for ourselves as we should have an opportunity to drive one shortly.
One other interesting snippet from LCV the manufacturers of the new Plug-In Electric Taxis which have Internal CombustionRange Extenders to sway range anxiety among drivers, have had to issue warnings about making sure those range extenders are run occasionally as the battery performance has proved so good the range extenders are being rarely used.
Another great event I attended which really opened my eyes was Connexin Live and you can read about what I learnt in our Cover Story - Smart Cities.
One thing I did enjoy at IFA was visiting with the good people at Libratone who are coming out with some really interesting audio technology. You can read Ruth's review of their Track+ headphoned in her review section along with other headphones from Jabra and a lot more.
garry @ fascinatingtech.com
Editor Garry Whittaker
Publisher Garry Whittaker for appXib Ltd www.appxib.com
Reviews by Ruth
FascinatingTech and other Two word combinations beginning Fascinating are trademarks of Garry Whittaker and appXib Ltd
Did we make it to Berlin? How was IFA? It has been a quarter of shows Garry has opinions on Cenex LCV as well.
Our cover story how smart is your cit. Garry visitied Connexin Live to find out
Better Bluetooth calls on the move - Ruth looks at jabra and Libratone's latest
Last issue's DaVinci Nano bigger brother the DaVinci Mini reviewed. Great bookshelf speakers from Edifier and a few quick looks at tech from IFA.
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