Tag Archives: Electric

The Year of the Tesla

What’s the most annoying element of current car culture? Nope. It’s Tesla. More specifically, the fanatical members within it who worship at the Cult of Elon.

Don’t get us wrong, we love what Tesla have achieved. They’ve brought the widespread adoption of EVs forward by about a decade, created easily the most fun car features ever seen in the industry (whoopie cushion seats everyone!), and created the fastest accelerating road-legal vehicle on the planet. Which can seat five. And take their luggage.

But for every wondrous innovation Tesla have made, there’s a huge mound of dog crap countering it at the other end of the scales. Abysmal quality, the continuing ‘Autopilot’ lie, a wildly inflated unsustainable stock market value, and – most depressingly – the awful pay and conditions in which men, women and children work in Africa to mine the battery materials, so that a rich westerner can feel environmentally smug driving one mile to the store to buy organic kale, without a hint of irony.

The world’s richest man has had the issue of child labour, death and injury raised at Tesla board meetings (by Congolese nuns no less), where any changes proposed to better safeguard supply chain workers were rejected. Because he’s an absolute assclown.

As you can tell, we’re not members of Elon’s cult, but we do still appreciate his cars. When they’re not broken.

Cue 3D supercarBricks, who has recreated Europe’s best selling car in 2021, the Tesla Model 3. 3D’s model includes opening doors, tailgate and front trunk, beautifully accurate bodywork, and a life-like interior, with the realism further enhanced by custom replica wheels and LED tail light guides.

And the panel gaps are more consistent than the real thing too.

It’s a great build that’s definitely worth a closer look, and you can do just that at 3D’s photostream via the link in the text above, where an array of other excellent Lego cars can also be found.

Finally, if you’re a member of the Teslarati (or would like to raise awareness of the abuses occurring in their supply chain with those that are), take a look here and talk about it every time someone evangelises on Tesla’s behalf.

The Future was Electric

This is a BMW i3, one of the first dedicated electric cars from a mainstream manufacturer, and one of the weirdest too.

Launched in 2013 the i3 brought the arrival of BMW’s ‘i’ sub-brand (‘i’ because German car brands have zero imagination and if in doubt, stick an ‘i’ in front of it), and it was quite unlike any of BMW’s other products. A suicide-doored B-Seg MPV-style hatchback, the i3 was powered by either an electric motor, or an electric motor backed up by a motorcycle engine generator.

Despite this oddity the i3 was mostly well received, and sales have climbed every year since launch as electrification has become increasingly accepted, although they still haven’t topped more than 40,000 annually. However the i3’s strangeness – and its moderate success – mean there will be no replacement.

These days you don’t need an electric car to be deliberately weird; a regular car that happens to be electric is the order of the day, thus there is no place in BMW’s line-up for a suicide-doored B-Seg MPV-style hatchback.

Nor is there a place for an EV sub-brand like ‘i’, as the UK and many other European countries implement new car combustion-engine bans from as little as four years’ time. By then, if you’re not selling EVs, you’re not selling anything. Which also means of course, that technically the electric i3 with its little range-extending petrol-powered motorcycle engine, will also be banned.

Still, it was fun while it lasted, and Rolands Kirpis has paid tribute to BMW’s first EV with this rather excellent Model Team recreation of the i3, complete with a brilliantly detailed interior, opening hatchback, front trunk, and even the weird suicide doors too.

There’s much more for the model to see at Rolands’ ‘BMW i3’ album, where several top quality images are available to view. Click the link above to take a look at BMW’s past vision of an electrified future.

Concept_One

Usually when a new hypercar company starts up and claims to have designed a 1,000bhp car that can drive to the moon, the automotive world has a laugh, and goes back to buying Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Croatian start-up manufacturer Rimac however, have confounded expectations.

Firstly because they are indeed a manufacturer, having actually produced and sold their designs, and secondly because their cars are so ground-breaking that automotive giants are courting them as partners.

Porsche and Hyundai have bought shares in Rimac, and the company produces electrified components for Aston Martin, Koenigsegg, Pininfarina, and even Seat’s concept racing car.

It’s the car we have here that created such a stir, their 2013 Concept_One. Just ten units were produced (with nine remaining thanks to The Grand Tour crashing one), and with over 1,200bhp and a motor in each wheel, the Concept_One was the fastest accelerating electric vehicle at the time of its launch, completing 0-60mph in a little over two seconds.

Previous bloggee Vibor Cavor (aka Veeborg)‘s Model Team recreation can’t do that (unless you put it in a real Rimac Concept_One), but it does include almost everything else, including a replica removable battery in the ‘spine’ of the car complete with four brick-built motors.

Vibor might be able to put his creation inside a real Concept_One though as he lives just fifteen minutes from Rimac’s base in Sveta Nedelja. Head to Vibor’s photostream via the link above o see more of his Concept-One replica, and click here if you’d like to see why ten became nine…

Positively Charged

Formula 1 is looking increasingly out of place by the day. Despite the return of some great tracks in 2020 and the addition of some new ones (thanks to Coronavirus), the multitude of penalties, strict development regulations, huge costs, and one-team dominance often make it not very fun at all.

Worse, it seems manufacturers can’t translate the sport to the products people actually buy. Honda have announced their departure, just as they have a decent engine after years of struggle. Williams, once a dominant force, have handed themselves over to an equity company in a desperate bid to not be completely crap. And Ferrari… well they’re still earning a disproportionally huge revenue and marketing cigarettes to children.

So what alternatives are there for racing fans? The WRC is becoming cool again, but is still in the shadow of its glory days, WEC/Le Mans would be fantastic if more than one manufacturer could build a top-tier car, and NASCAR is still blobs driving round in a circle. Which leaves Formula E… We know we know, it used to be awful, but hear us out.

No less than nine of the twelve teams are backed by manufacturers, including BMW, Porsche, Nissan, and even Jaguar, and gone are the ridiculous days of drivers having to change cars mid-way through the race because the batteries were too small to last race distance.

The batteries are a common part shared between all teams however, along with the the chassis and aero – which we think is a shame as all the cars look exactly the same – but the motors, inverter, gearbox, and software to run it all are team-specific. The stupid fan-boost remains, but apart from that it’s really starting to look rather good, with the current Formula E cars called ‘Gen 2 Evo’ to ensure their differences to the formula’s  slightly rubbish beginnings are clear.

It’s one of these Formula E ‘Gen 2 Evo’ cars that we have here today, as built by previous bloggee R. Skittle and featuring its own electric propulsion thanks to LEGO’s new Powered-Up bluetooth system. A full gallery of over twenty images is available to view and you can charge over to Flickr via the link to take a closer look. Which it might be worth doing with the actual Formula E too…

Electric Essence

Suggested by a reader, and sounding like a perfume, this funky looking ‘Koncept Essence’ comes from Flickr’s R. Skittle, who has constructed his outlandish design using modular methods that replicate to those used in real-world supercar production. Remote control drive and steering and in-board suspension feature, and there’s more to see of his electric concept via the link above, where there’s also an album showing a non-GT3 version, but that one’s not orange and nor does it feature an absurd rear wing, so you can guess which version the Elves wanted to show here…

My Other Car’s a Mustang

LEGO’s brilliant 10265 Ford Mustang set has already spawned several alternate builds, including an F-150 pick-up, a DeTomaso Pantera, and an, er.. Ford Mustang, but this is the first 10265 B-Model to drop the Ford connection entirely. And the engine too.

The Tesla Cybertruck, revealed last year by having its windows smashed on stage (oops), might look like something from the future from a movie forty years ago, but that hasn’t stopped it generating the usual billion orders that Tesla somehow manages to take before anyone has driven it.

You can beat the queue however, and get your hands on one today if you own the 10265 Ford Mustang set, because Flickr’s Gerald Cacas has repurposed the pieces found within it to recreate Tesla’s decidedly odd EV pick-up.

With opening doors, rear hatch thingy, and tailgate, Gerald’s model is at least as functional as the set from which it came and there’s more to see of his 10265 B-Model at his Tesla Cybertruck album by clicking here.

Electric Egg

Today’s title may sound like something your Mom uses on the bus whilst reading Mills & Boon books, but it is in fact a car so ahead of its time they only made one.

Designed by French engineer Paul Arzens in 1942, the ‘L’Oeuf Electrique‘ (electric egg) was an incredible looking electric two seater with a range of 100km at 70km/h. That’s comparable with today’s electric city cars. In 1942! Sadly it never got made, but fast forward to 2020 at in many parts of the world it would do very well indeed. Just not in our home nation because it’s not a generically bland SUV. Sigh.

Found on, er… The Brothers Brick (TLCB Elves won’t look us in the eye at the moment), TLCB debutant aido k is the builder behind this marvellous Lego recreation of L’Oeuf and there’s more to see of Yesterday’s City Car of Tomorrow at his photostream via the link.

Weird Wheels

The wheel has been round with an axle at its centre ever since it was invented. The formula has remained this way for millennia (apart from the best forgotten Austin Allegro of course), because, well… any other method would be stupid.

Such logic doesn’t apply to concept car designers though, who regularly seem to devise a way of complicating the simplest and most reliable invention in the history of mankind.

So it is with today’s two creations, each of which applies some concept car designer madness to their aesthetic. First up (above) is BobDeQuatre‘s ‘Harley Davidson E-Wanderer’, an electric motorcycle concept built for a ‘Future Harley Davidson’ contest on the LEGO Ideas platform. Axles have clearly been banned in the future as Bob’s motorcycle does away with them altogether in favour of a set up that looks far cooler. See more of his E-Wanderer concept at the link.

Today’s second bike concept comes from Sheo of Flickr, who has not only removed the axle, but also any semblance of roundness too. We assume the track thingumy that replaces the wheels is actually two separately rotating pieces otherwise this ‘Infinity’ hydrogen fuel cell concept won’t be going anywhere at all. Deceptively large, Sheo’s creation includes some awesome brick-built lettering and a slightly terrifying model/rider to accompany it, and there’s more to see via the link above.

Electric Avenue*

As the Volkswagen empire of evil tries to re-brand itself after dieselgate, electric vehicles have charged (hah!) to the front of their strategy. Which is a good thing. If the world’s largest automotive company gets behind EVs, even if they are not the silver bullet for halting global warming that some would have us believe (those batteries have to be made somewhere), we’ll hopefully be a bit further down the path towards a planet that isn’t a burning ball of dust.

Porsche – as one of the newer members of the Volkswagen group – are also in on the electrified action, with the new (and most excellent looking) Taycan, a series of hybrids, and this; the 99X works Formula E entry.

Built by previous bloggee Malte Dorowski this neat and ridiculously complicated recreation of the 99X captures the sci-fi looks of the real Formula E racer perfectly, and there’s more to see of his electric Porsche at his 99X album on Flickr. Click the link to take a look.

*Obligatory title song

Electric Dreams

The electric transportation revolution is well underway, and is something we’re all for here at TLCB. Not that electric transport is new; it’s been around for as long as the car has and we were actually far better at it in the past (trolleybuses and trams are mostly gone now, but were commonplace in the 1920s to 1970s). This Polaris GEM EM-1400 is therefore not a revolutionary vehicle, like at all, but at least it’s another company realising that electric power is a decent option. This neat Technic version of the electric utility vehicle comes from previous bloggee damianple aka (damjan97PL) and features bluetooth remote control drive and steering via an SBrick and front and rear suspension. See more at both Brickshelf and Eurobricks via the links.

The Trouble with Tesla

Tesla. If there’s one car company you cannot criticise on the internet due to frankly fanatical supporters it’s Elon Musk’s electric automotive brand. Here goes…

Tesla were not actually founded by the creator of Paypal back in 2003, but Musk has pretty much led the company ever since, from it’s first car (the Lotus Elise based Roadster) to its position today as the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer. This is a simply astonishing achievement, particularly as it’s Tesla that have brought EVs to the mainstream, forcing the established car manufacturers to take EVs seriously. The raft of new EVs about to reach the market are in large part due to Tesla proving the business case.

They’ve also brought a sense of fun to the often staid motor industry, with models that literally spell ‘S3XY’, a drive mode named ‘Ludicrous’, whoopie cushion seats, and host of other mischievous features. Plus the Tesla Model 3 is the safest model ever tested by the Euro NCAP. And yet, would this TLCB writer buy one?…

Nope.

For all Tesla’s technical innovation and engineering brilliance the company’s primary function is to build cars, and they’re shockingly bad at it. Designs that use four times as many parts as they should (making repairs complicated, eye-wateringly expensive and slow), risible paint quality, panel gaps that  you could drive another car through, and chronic unreliability plague Tesla’s range. As the company tries desperately to meet demand (and to make money) the ‘finished’ cars are far from it, recreating the ownership experience of a 1970s British Leyland.

Whether Tesla can, or even wants to, sort these issues out is debatable. However what isn’t is that Mercedes-Benz, the Volkswagen Group, BMW, and many more besides wouldn’t be scrambling to go electric if it weren’t for Musk and what all started with an electrically-powered Elise. Which means when this writer is driving an EV he’ll be able to give a nod of thanks to Tesla, even though his car probably won’t actually be one.

Oh yeh, this neat digitally rendered Tesla Model 3 comes from Robson M of Flickr and there’s more to see at the link!