Green curly cable from evcables
EV Cable Shop has written a guide to protecting your electric cables from theft click here
Would you leave bicycle in a public place without a lock? No? So why would you leave an expensive item like an electric charging cable exposed in a public car park unprotected?
Debbie Gillespie from accessory specialist EV Cable Shop alerted me to the surprising fact that electric car cables are not locked to the car. A trawl through some forums turned up a number of stories about people who’d had their cables stolen, including one poor man who’d then been fined £70 for using an electric charging spot without charging. People can sell them, them use them, or they could just sell the metal for scrap.
A standard locking mechanism is surely on the way – pertol or diesel vehicle has a locking filler cap these days, not only to prevent syphoning fuel but also because towrags used to pinch the caps. In the meantime EV owners are using padlocks – and bike locks to protect their cables. One chap on a forum always parks with one wheel on the cable.
Debbie tells me other reasons for buying a replacement cable are that cables can be damaged (I wonder what being parked on does for a cable?) and people drive off while they are still plugged in. (I would do that.) Some people buy a spare cable just in case of the above.
And whatever the niche, an accessory industry bursts into flower around it. Take bikes – all the helmets, lycra and carrying devices, or camping – folding everything from beds to saucepans. If the Once-Ler created a thneed these days in the land of the Lorax, someone would have made a neat carrying case for it.
So it is with EV cables, you can now buy not only plain old replacement cables either from your dealer or an accessory specialist (possibly at a lower price) but also extension cables, different coloured cables, curly cables (ideal for keeping cables off the ground says evcables.co.uk, pictured) and yes, cute carrying cases.
There are also myriad charging stations, boosters and other bits of hardware to make home charging convenient and efficient.
We’re heading for a new world where you have to work out number of phases the voltage and amperage of your power connector, at least you get to chose the colour of your cable.
My third video for Ford, to highlight the new EcoGuide feature offered by the new Transit, has just gone live on You Tube. It involved finding a friendly way of explaining what this gizmo does using library footage, B-roll shot by Ford and a some specific shots we captured in a half-day shoot.
As no vans have been made produced with this gizmo yet, I had to persuade a busy calibration engineer to give me a ride in a prototype to video how it works, then persuade the HMI (Human Machine Interface) designer to send me some stills of what it will look like so we could animate the dials.
The next stage was working with skilled editors and animators and finally getting it approved by lots of people.
To accompany the video, we had to produce a press release, a screengrab image of the vehicle with an inset image of the dials, and then create a shorter cut for social media.
The next one will be on Active Park Assist!
Click here to see the video.
Back in 2007, I was privileged to interview the brilliant Debbie Mielewski, Ford Motor Company’s Senior Technical Leader, Materials Sustainability, for Automobile magazine about soybean-based foam being used for the first time the 2008 Mustang.
It wasn’t easy to achieve the durability standards for seat cushions, which need to rebound for the equivalent of 15 years. In early trials, the soy and petroleum materials separated, and the soy foam didn’t smell too good.
However, the team at Ford kept trying, and I was very pleased to see that the company is now celebrating 10 years since this ground-breaking step on the path to sustainability. Since 2011, soy has been a key material used in the seat cushions, seat backs and headrests of every vehicle Ford builds in North America.
So, 18.5 million-plus vehicles and half a trillion soybeans later, the company estimates it has saved more than 228 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the amount consumed by 4 million trees per year, according to North Carolina State University.
Ford has also began to develop other renewable materials for its vehicles and in some cases this has allowed for weight reductions, leading to better fuel economy.
Its production vehicles now feature eight sustainable materials — soy, wheat, rice, castor, kenaf (hibiscus), tree cellulose, jute and coconut. Debbie Mielewski writes in a recent press story: “As we continue to experiment, the list of renewable resources we are researching reads like an entire farm — wheat straw, tomato peel, bamboo, agave fibre, dandelions, even algae!”
I’ve always loved convertibles, in fact I always drove my 1957 Metropolitan Convertible and 1941 Chevy led sled roof-down, because I couldn't see out of either with the roof on. (A leather jacket kept the rain off.) So I was fascinated to see this infographic by Exotic Car Collection by Enterprise naming the 40 most important convertibles of all time.
Of course, you could argue that the convertible came before the car as we know it. In 1888, when Berta Benz took her husband’s motorwagen for the first cross-country automobile trip to visit her mother 60 miles away in Pforzheim, she didn’t have a rood over her head. The first horseless carriages were just that – luxuries such as a windscreen and a roof only came later. (I’m still wondering how electric cars will look when they evolve away from vehicles needing a big lump of engine in the front or back.)
So enjoy the infographic. Lists are to be argued about, so would you have chosen these vehicles at your top 60? What has been missed out? Which one would you choose? I’d have the Cord 810/12 Phaeton, or the Porsche 356…or maybe the XK120. Don't make me choose.
I enjoyed an fascinating visit to the National Transport Design Centre, part of the University of Coventry with fellow members of MIPAA Motor Industry Public Affairs Association. The brand-new facility will be used by post-graduate study at Masters and Doctorate level looking into the future of transport.
The studio has room for two full-size clay models, or there are various 3-D printing machines using a UV resin-based compound. Director of Strategic Initiates David Wright described how they could ‘grow a model out of liquid’ and create shapes it’s not possible to machine.
He then handed out some cool-looking glasses, and demonstrated the Power Wall, which can show designers a large detailed 3-D image, take it to bits and put it back together. (At this point I actually ducked, as a giant wing mirror seemed about to knock my head off.)
I was pleased to hear that computer-generated models still can’t replace the clay model. This is not only because of some annoying clashes of ones and zeros at the interfaces of complex 3-D models, but also because designers still need to stroke and feel the surface of a model.
Areas people will be researching here include making air and rail travel more comfortable by taking a new approach to interior design, creating modular vehicles and the use of wearable tech.
If Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke or Philip K Dick had lived to see this, it would have blown their minds.
This blog is by a woman driver, for everyone to read