Fixed car pictures #2: Toroidion tuning

When I saw the tail end of the Larte design Tesla Model S my first thought was that obviously some people are too stupid to grasp the idea of a powerful non-combustion-engined car, so even Tesla body kits have to have something resembling exhausts in the rear bumper…

The story even mentions they added sound effects “appropriate for a vehicle that delivers as much as 700 horsepower”. My quess is: “ngngngngngngngngngngng BLAM brumbrumbrumbrum neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee bluf neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee bluf bluf neeeeEEEEEEEEEEE!”

So, the Toroidion… The pictures of the car need minor adjustment to “better appreciate a vehicle that delivers as much as 1300 horsepower” (What the fuck’s wrong with kilowatt anyway?) Here it is, the Pallokorva design aftermarket body kit for the Toroidion 1MW complete with dual fog machines and appropriate sounds:

Toroidion 1MW tuning

Maybe now even the good people at Jalopnik can see that the car is supposed to be fucking powerful. =D

Fixed car pictures #1

One thing I have been wondering for years is the quality of car pictures (or the lack of…), especially the ones taken in shows. Either the photographers are distracted super easily, or they collectively have bad luck with some secret photo-bomber community.

Most pictures barely show half of the car and usually the car is the least prominently displayed item in the pic. I hear the Chinese are trying to fix the problem (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/18/asia/china-cars/) but that doesn’t counter the fact that thousands of older pictures (and new ones taken outside of China) are essentially broken.

So I wanted to help and started with a picture taken in Turku, Finland. I’m not sure what the photographer has been shooting, but (s)he’s managed to capture a lot of a pretty nice looking Tesla Model S:

fixed1

Original picture from: http://puerco.kuvat.fi/kuvat/Tapahtumat/Autosaloon2015/

ICEd already.

Today we had a bit more driving to do. Klaukkala->Pitäjänmäki->Klaukkala->Helsinki-Vantaa airport->Tikkurila->Klaukkala summed up somewhere a bit more than a 100km. After the airport we started thinking we’ll need a bit more juice to get home with confidence. We were headed to Tikkurila, so we decided the slow chargers at the Prisma supermarket were a natural choice.

I had read somewhere that the chargers are on something called P2. My intuition told me that a P2 should be somewhat further from everything than, say a P1. When we went round in the garage for two floors and I saw the P2 sign, I got a sinking feeling we ain’t gonna charge this time. And surprise, surprise:

Got ICEd.
Got ICEd.

A Z4 bimmer and a Ford Fiesta. Last time I checked, neither of them was available as ev and I doubt either of them was a conversion. Tytti went inside and asked around at the info for a battle plan, a security guy came and checked the license plates and they announced for the owners of the two cars. The owner of the Ford happened to arrive a moment later and he kindly moved the car away even though he was going back inside (Thanks!), but someone in some small French car or something was already eyeing the spot. Tytti went and told her that we kind of needed to ‘refuel’.

The owners of the BMW also entered their car and I tried to be witty and tell the guy I didn’t know they make Z4 ev’s. Finland is a nice country where even people who drive something Bavarian can have a civilized conversation with a poor sod like me and he was quite correct noting that parking an ICE car wasn’t exactly forbidden in any way. He also told me he can relate to the problem when I told him it’s a bit problematic when you really need some charge, but someone who doesn’t exactly need the spot is hogging it.

And that’s exactly the problem and not only in that particular place. The charging spots in Prisma Tikkurila are just slightly further than three steps away from the doors to the supermarket and there really isn’t any kind of restrictions on parking an ICE on the spots. In the Jumbo shopping mall, also in Vantaa, the charging spots are almost as close to the entrances, but at least they made an effort and installed signs that ask other than ev or hybrid drivers not park on the spots.

I think they both should do a field trip to the Kaari shopping mall in Helsinki, where the charging spots are a bit further away from the entrances, are in a 90 degree angle to the other parking spots and are at the end of an hallway. Kind of awkward in every possible way as well as highly visible. I think their parking garage has to be really stuffed before someone strays with their old-fashioned ICE car on any of those spots.

When we left back for home and I stared disconnecting the charger (3.02kWh used according to the outlet meter) I made a laconic remark how Skoda seems to have started building Octavia EV’s…

First week done.

I wrote the Finnish version on my mobile phone from a tent in our back yard. Shame the English translation won’t get that privilege. =P

A week is not a long time owning a car but it has managed to strengthen the feeling the car is super awesome. Especially now I got the summer tyres installed.

I got the tyres several days ago already, but it took some time to get them installed. It wasn’t because I didn’t have time to do that, I had plenty, but because the nuts wouldn’t fit. Why can’t the rim makers decide on one nut/bolt design per hole configuration, or better yet use same kind of bolts in all rims and cars. Darn.

Now we have four kinds of bolts and nuts. Two different sizes 17mm and 19mm bolts for the 407 and 19mm and 21mm nuts for the Leaf. Maybe I should get rid of the 21mm nuts and attach the winter tyres with the 19mm nuts as well as the cone shape on both is the same. At least then I could get rid of one impact tool size I have to carry around…

No that I got the winter tyres where they belong; in the basement waiting for the winter, the car is even quieter and the traction is way better. Now the car feels as peppy as the one we rented back in June. When the required range is not an issue I like to play around with the acceleration. At least a little. ^^

Also it seems the range is not an issue at least now, during the summer. On Friday we first took a trip to Tikkurila in Vantaa (27km*2) and after that I visited the local auto parts store some five km away and then took another trip to a larger auto parts store (Motonet) some 20 km away. After I got back home I still had 20km indicated range left, so I could have driven to Klaukkala and back two, maybe three times. Not bad.

Electric car, now!

Hmm. I joined the very exclusive club (here in Finland at least) of electric car owners. I bought an used Nissan Leaf. That was quite quick as not a week has passed since I first test drove an electric when I rented the Leaf. It’s a case of a car being too good.

The experience in itself was a bit involved but the car seemed to be without fault. I test drove it overnight so I could check it as good as possible and even quick charged it as a very first thing after it was handed over for test drive. I think they should start a coffee shop, a library or something at the Aviapolis Europcar. Or maybe they should erect the quick chargers somewhere there already is such services… But we did leaf some books where there were pictures of Finnish nature and chatted with the rental clerks.

It’s a bit funny how thoroughly I checked the car, and probably hadn’t done if it wasn’t such new technology. When we bought our 407 we test drove it for some half an hour, didn’t bother even asking the previous owner about the car and just absentmindedly checked the known problems with the model. With the Leaf I called the previous owner and asked about the car’s history, asked around for pointers and even took the car to the nearest Nissan dealer for battery analysis.

The guys at the Nissan dealer were super nice and the guy who drove the car inside the hall for analysis was laughing out loud as he had a blast creeping up on someone else in the hall with the car. =D

The car is awesome and seems to be near mint even though it’s done almost three years and 56000km as a taxi in Helsinki. The only thing that has a bit more used feel is the steering wheel. May be I have to do something about it. Maybe some leather care or smthng. During my evening ride I even found the eco-mode. Maybe I should test next how much range I can squeeze out of a full charge.

Some day pictures, maybe?

The final error: Renting a Leaf.

I’ve been reading about electric vehicles, especially cars for several years already. I think the hottest thing electric around the time I started obsessing over them was something in the lines of Th!nk city, so not much of a real car, but still interesting.

I’ve also been going on about electrics for a while now, especially since the Leaf and Tesla Model S entered market. They seem like the vehicles that are turning the electric vehicle into main stream technology. Except of course in Finland. This is the land of rhinos after all (a kind of an inside joke), so it’s quite likely we are still running gasoline, diesel and wood gas (O.o) cars for years after the rest of the world has moved on to bev, fuel cell and probably even micro fusion vehicles.

I made the error of calling a Europcar rental at Vantaa Aviapolis, some 15km from our home and nicely midway to the in-laws and asked them for a Leaf rental for two days. I was prepared to wait a couple of days to get the car, but there was no waiting list of any kind. I got the impression I was one of the very, very few to even ask about the car.

Later in the evening my significant other, Tytti dropped me off at the rental and continued to the in-laws. After getting some paperwork done a younger guy went with me outside and showed me around the car. A lucky thing I’ve read so much about the Leaf and electric cars in general as the guy didn’t seem half as sure where things are as I was =P At the very least he showed me where the charging receptacles and the 240V charging adapter are.

When I departed the rental yard (and a free chademo charger with two spots) I could hardly believe my ears. The sound of silence while driving was pure awesomenessessess. Put the car on drive, lift your foot off the brake and off you go, without making a sound. I haven’t driven a lot of conventional automatics either, so the ease of driving took me a bit off guard too. After leaving the yard and a smaller street I turned onto Tikkurilantie and floored it. The instant acceleration from a standstill was pure joy and for a moment I was a bit unsure if I was going laugh or cry.

After visiting the in-laws I only drove the car home and plugged it in. We live in a row house, so getting a charge was a bit more involved. I ran a 20m heavy duty extension cord from the 16A socket next to our front door to the side of the road and connected the charger to the cord. There was no trouble charging overnight, but I did check the extension cord, the connections and fixtures for heating every now and then. There was no abnormal heating whatsoever.

The next morning (Wednesday) we made a trip to Helsinki, from there to the Jumbo shopping centre in Vantaa and back home. We did some 80km from full charge and there was about 80km more charge left so it felt like the guess-o-meter actually guesses quite well, having guessed we’ll go around 164km on a charge. It took us 7.5 hours to fill the missing 80km to the battery. Tytti also test drove the car in the late evening and she had to concede the car is quite nice to drive.

Later that night I took the car for another spin (heck, you gotta test it well when you rent it for two days). It’s been a long time since I last went motoring just for fun, but that time it felt kind of nice thinking that I wasn’t actually burning anything polluting, so driving for fun didn’t make me feel a bit quilty. I took to central Nurmijärvi (if you can say so), spun around at a gas station, received a couple of unfriendly glares and took the scenic route back to Klaukkala. Back there I tested the acceleration a couple times at red lights and just drove around on the smaller streets where the speed limit is 30km/h. Driving that slow in an electric is awesome just because it’s so quiet and effortless.

The next day I had to take the car back to the rental. It was the first time I felt I didn’t want to return the keys for the rental and go back to driving one of our Peugeots (Our 1007 and 407 wagon had beat the living daylights out of rental Volvos, Fords, Fiats and whatnots in pure driving comfort) and I made sure the clerks at the rental heard that =P I also tested connecting the quick charger when I parked the car at the rental.

Tytti came to me laughing that my red lights are something a bit different. She drove behind me in our 407 and told me that she hardly managed to lift the clutch when I was already disappearing in the horizon. And she’s not any slower at red lights on the 407 than I am.

I was left with the feeling that somehow I need to get one of those electrics as my daily driver as soon as possible. Here’s for hoping winning the national Lotto. =D