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Tesla dining out, Volvo’s video-game graphics and America’s awesome asphalt


With everything that’s going on in eastern Europe, Hong Kong and myriad other parts of the world, electric car news seems to pale into insignificance. 

But at a time when fuel prices are rising faster than one of Elon Musk’s rockets and we’re up to our foreheads in a cost of living crisis, perhaps there’s no better time to look at the innovations that could help us all make the switch to cleaner, greener (and possibly even cheaper) electric power.

Electricity doesn’t grow on trees. Or does it?

Blue Diamond garden centres will soon offer customers electric car charging at its 39 sites across the UK, according to a report from Electrive.com.

The EV website says the chargers, offering rates of “at least 50kW and up to 150kW” will be installed by charging infrastructure brand Mer from September. 

A total of more than 300 charge points will be installed, and Mer says drivers will not be charged for “overstaying their charging session”.


Tesla’s on the movie

Not to be outdone by British garden centres, Tesla has reportedly announced plans to open a Supercharger diner and drive-in movie theatre in Los Angeles. According to Electrek.com, Tesla has filed plans to build a “diner/drive-in theatre location” on Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood.


The site plans reveal a diner on the ground floor, while the top floor will have a bar and tables, as well as two rows of theatre-style seating and a standing bar behind those seats.

Outside, there will be a car park with 34 spaces, including 29 Supercharger stalls and five low-speed charging bays. There will also be two screens “visible to the rooftop area and to the cars” in the car park. 

According to Electrek.com, the drive-in theatre will show “short features” of “around 30 minutes long”, or roughly as long as a quick meal or charging session. Tesla has also asked LA officials to allow the site to open 24 hours a day.


Michigan’s magical mile

If you don’t fancy charging your car while watching a film or drinking milkshakes, why not try charging it while you drive? It might sound daft, but a report from the Independent suggests such technology is closer than you think.

In fact, the first-ever wireless charging road is already being built and is set to open next year. 

The mile-long stretch of blacktop will be found in the US state of Michigan, and will charge cars using coils in the road and a receiver on the underside of the car. As the car passes over the coils, they charge the batteries.


The report points out this technology would require vehicles to have receivers that are not currently fitted as standard, but there are advantages. 

Because the coils only work when a car fitted with the correct receiver is passing over them, there’s no danger to other road users, and if one of the coils breaks, only a fraction of the charging capability will be lost. Of course, such technology would need to be installed on pretty much every road to be useful, but this is a start.

Volvo’s video-game gamble

In-car tech is just as attractive to customers as charging infrastructure, and Volvo has announced plans to give its car interiors a high-tech shake-up. The Swedish company has reportedly partnered with games developer Epic to create “photorealistic” in-car displays. 


According to VentureBeat.com, the tie-up sees the Unreal engine (used in games such as Fortnite and the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series) to create more realistic “digital interfaces” inside the car.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away…

The Volkswagen ID.Buzz has been making friends on an intergalactic level. As part of a joint new advertisement with the Disney+ Star Wars Obi Wan Kenobi film, the new electric MPV stars alongside a host of familiar favourites including C-3PO and R2-D2, as well as the Scottish actor and star of the film, Ewan McGregor. 

The ad sees the two droids discuss an ID.Buzz that’s left on set, before the vehicle is unplugged and driven away by McGregor, who finds himself travelling with an unusual passenger…



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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024