New stereo and subwoofer in the electric car

Austria electric car

Cruising through Austria, listening to… nothing because the stereo is locked.

The stereo that came with the electric car was too boring for my tastes and I planned on replacing it with a cooler system. This plan turned into reality when I removed the stereo plug one evening to check the cable. When I reconnected the plug, the stereo asked for a code which I didn’t have. After trying a handful of combinations, the system locked up and it became useless. So I replaced it with this:

Fold out touch-screen display stereo with GPS, DVD, and TV

Electric Car Trek: The Next Generation

I bought this new Nanox NX-1410G fold-out car stereo which I got from ebay. It was a piece of cake to install and it looks awesome!

But the sound system was still lacking in the car. The door speakers and dash-mounted tweeters just didn’t cut the mustard. It needed a subwoofer to give it more depth. Fortunately, I already have one:

Subwoofer in the electric car

Ah. It’s a bit of a snug fit…

Hmm. Either the boot in the electric car is very small, or my subwoofer is very big. Or both. I needed a smaller solution, and it came in the form of a Pioneer TS-WX210A compact subwoofer.

Pioneer TS-WX210A subwoofer.

The compact Pioneer TS-WX210A subwoofer fits in nicely.

Much better!
The new touchscreen stereo is full of gadgets (including GPS, video input/output, and TV capability) and the new subwoofer makes a world of difference in sound warmth and quality. I mean, just because the car is quiet doesn’t mean it can’t be loud occasionally! 🙂

100 percent electric vehicle stickers

I designed these myself!

After driving the car around for a month, I realised that many people don’t know it’s electric, so I decided to put a cool electric car sticker on the back window. I couldn’t find any I liked on the internet, so I designed my own and had a local shop print them for me on cut-out adhesive vinyl.

100% pure electric car

I really love the little plug on the end.

I peeled off the paper and adhered the sticker to the window. The result? I actually look forward to red lights now, because it means I can watch the reactions of the people in the car behind me as they point and look for an exhaust pipe that doesn’t exist! A shallow game, I know, but heaps of fun!

I’ve already done around 1500 kilometres (932 miles) since owning the car which means I’ve had the chance to pop in and use one of the VIBRATe (stands for Vienna-Bratislava electric) EV quick chargers.

VIBRATe nabíjacie stanice pre elektromobily - Bratislava

VIBRATe charging station in Bratislava (behind the Slovnaft gas station)

Did I mention the quick charger was really quite quick?

Look at how much current is flowing:

That sure puts the quick in quick charging.

That sure puts the quick in quick charging.

354 volts at 122 amps. That equals 43.1 kilowatts of power pouring into the battery. At this rate it reaches half-full in about 8 minutes!

Then one evening, after giving the car a wash, I decided the time had come. I realised I had to do it…

Electric car in front of wind turbine

I couldn’t help it. I did the predictable “electric car in front of wind turbines” photo.


I’m not proud of this, but I took the electric car across the border to Austria and I parked in front of some wind turbines and took a photo.

Electric car in front of wind turbine

Yes, it’s predictable, but gosh it looks great.


I know, I know, it’s the most predictable photo any electric car driver can do (aside from the awesome “parked at a gas station looking confused” photo) but I had to get it off my list.

We also decided to take the car for another long drive to a lake in Austria for a swim. It was great! We drove there and back (130 km / 80 miles) on one charge – although we did stop for a 5 minute top up in a small village which had free public charging:

free electric car charging Zurndorf

Veronika posing at the free charging station.

We didn’t actually need to charge, and 5 minutes with the regular charger made no real difference to the range, but come on! It was free! 🙂

For those who like to see and hear rather than just look at photos, I made a short video for you. I hope you enjoy it!

Living with an electric car

Peugeot iOn electric car 電気自動車 elektromobil Elektro-Auto 电动车 электромобиль Словакия 斯洛伐克 Slowakei スロバキア

Driving over the Danube River with electricity – Bratislava, Slovakia

It’s been 10 days since I brought my Peugeot iOn electric car home and this has given me enough time to learn about the technology behind the car, as well its limitations.

Peugeot iOn Citroen C-Zero Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Triplets: the Peugeot iOn, the Citroen C-Zero, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Interestingly, my Peugeot iOn is actually identical to the Citroen C-Zero, which are both actually Mitsubishi i-MiEVs with different badges.
All three cars are all made by Mitsubishi which is actually a good thing, because French car makers aren’t known for their reliability.

When it comes to circuits, motors, and drivetrains I’d rather leave it to the Japanese!

imiev battery fire

The 330 volt i-MiEV battery pack

The car has a 330 volt lithium-ion battery pack which is made up of 88 individual prismatic (rectangular) cells. This pack weighs around 150 kg (330 lbs) and has a capacity of 16 kWh.

electric car motor

The size of a watermelon: my electric car’s motor

The electric car’s motor is about the size of a watermelon and propels the car from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 15 seconds. The car has a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph) and it has no problem getting up to that speed quite quickly, but once you hit it it won’t go any faster as it has an electronic limiter.

The motor in the car is attached to one of these:

electric car single speed transmission

The car’s single speed “gearbox”

The Peugeot iOn has a single-speed reduction gearbox, which puts the power to the wheels at a more efficient speed than connecting the wheels straight to the motor shaft. This box has a final gear ratio of 7.065:1, and together with the electric motor, these two weigh 64.8 kg (143 lbs).

nabijanie elektromobilov v bratislave - nabíjacie stanice Slovensko

Grabbing a few quick electrons in Bratislava.

But what’s it like to actually own an electric car in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia? Actually, it’s pretty good (but I’m really, really biased!).

There are a growing number of recharging points across the city. Some shopping malls have free “Type 1” (also known as “J1772”) charging sockets, and there are about 4 rapid chargers across town too, but you typically need a membership card to operate them.

This is actually one of my big complaints about the electric vehicle movement at this moment. If you want to more people to switch to electric, then using a recharging point must be as seamless as filling up a gas car.

Slovnaft Slovensko

I hate gas stations but they sure know what they’re doing.

What I mean is this: you can drive into any gas station in any country and you know you can fill up without problems, pay, and continue your journey.

You cannot do that in an electric car and it really annoys me. Instead, you have to have a wallet filled with charging station membership cards, accounts, and pre-paid plans – and then be hopeful that the electric car charging point isn’t out of order (which people tell me happens quite often).

What I should be able to do is to stop at any quick charging point, plug in my car and pay with my credit card number, or pay via SMS, or even make a phone call to your office to bill me later. Either way, give me one of these options!

Power companies & charging station companies, I’m more than willing to pay a premium price for this convenience, so for God’s sake, LET ME BUY YOUR PRODUCT!
Grrrrr. 🙁

Peugeot iOn electric car 電気自動車 elektromobil Elektro-Auto 电动车 электромобиль

Compact, fully optioned, and costs less than taking the bus!

The car has air conditioning, a heated driver’s seat, electric windows & mirrors, reversing sensors, and front and side airbags. And despite its compact size, this car scores 4 out of 5 stars in the Euro NCAP safety test.

i-MiEV crash tet

“Ouuuuccccch” as E.T. would say.

Interestingly, the car has two charging ports. The port on the right is a “Type 1” socket which plugs into a regular wall outlet, via the 16 amp portable charger. The wall outlets in Europe are around 230 volts and 16 amps, which means on any household socket the car sucks 3.7 kW.

This means it takes around 4 to 5 hours from empty to refill which isn’t bad at all. It also means a complete recharge from empty to full costs just €1.20 ($1.36 USD). That’s cheaper than the bus. In fact, it’s almost cheaper than walking! 🙂

230 volt, 16 amp electric car charger

The charger provides 3.7 kilowatts straight out of the wall outlet!

The port on the left side of the car however is a CHAdeMO socket which pours DC power directly into the battery pack at high amperage. Using this plug can refill the car from flat to 80% full in around 25 to 30 minutes!

The car is also wonderfully fun to drive, and I haven’t felt restricted in any way. In fact, yesterday we took a drive to a lake in Austria – and back again – on a single charge.

Kiwi EV

In Austria: the Kiwi EV has gone international!

The journey was 107 kilometres in total (66 miles) and we pushed this little city car hard, driving against a strong headwind and at highways speeds.

This really put the car out of its comfort zone: it was designed to commute at city speeds from home to the office; not keep up with BMWs and Audis at “Austrian speeds”!

Long distance electric car journey

Almost home: only one battery bar left but I wasn’t worried at all.

Despite this, we made the journey to the lake and back to Slovakia with one bar of battery remaining, and even then I wasn’t worried at all. This is because there’s a 50 kW quick charger right near the border, so I could easily grab enough power to get home in only 3 or 4 minutes of recharging!

To see all this (and our long-distance drive) in a fun & easily digestible video, click the play button below:

Now, for the next instalment I need to do something about the car’s pathetic sound system. I want more bass and a big colour display. I mean, just because the car is electric, doesn’t mean it can’t be loud!

Stay tuned!

Woohoo! I bought an electric car again!

Finally I own an EV again!

Peugeot iOn

It’s 100% electric and 100% mine!

After years of wanting another electric car, and almost two years of saving every cent, I just bought an electric car!

I really did it! It’s 100% electric and it’s 100% mine!

Peugeot iOn for Sale in Slovakia - elektricke auto na predaj na Slovensko

I knew the minute I saw it. Something just “clicked”. I had to buy it.

I’m truly gob-smacked (and very lucky) to have bought this awesome little electric car. As you can see above, the car was originally advertised for €10,000 – which is a bargain price – but the original owner (let’s call him Mr Awesome) let me have it for €7000!

Coincidently, that was exactly how much I had saved in a year and a half. It really was destiny. I was meant to have it.

But why did he sell it to me for so little? He could have easily got the €10,000 asking price as electric cars are very rare in Slovakia (at the last count there are only around 60 EVs in the whole country with a population of 5 million!).

Kiwi EV - Peugeot iOn - electric car adventures from a Kiwi in Europe

These custom plates are awesome but they’re actually purely decorative and not legal.

Well, the reason was simple, but sad. Mr Awesome bought the car for his wife in 2011 and – get this – it’s the first electric car ever registered in Slovakia to a private citizen. His wife put many thousands of kilometres on the car (and a few scratches) but sadly she passed away in late 2014 after battling an illness.

The previous owner kept the car until June 2015, but it just sat in his garage, so he decided to sell it. As I was checking the prices and availability of electric cars every day, I saw it pretty quickly. My heart skipped a beat.

I realised if I sold my gas car I could achieve the €10,000 asking price. My wife called Mr Awesome and arranged to go and see the car as soon as possible. Then, upon meeting him in person, he knew me! He’d seen some of my electric car obsessed tweets and comments around the internet and knew just how passionate I am about electric vehicles.

Long story short, he offered it to me for €7,000 as that’s what car dealers had offered him and he wanted to move on with his life. I grabbed his hand and shook it enthusiastically, and barely a day later we went to the Dopravný inšpektorát (transport office) to change the ownership into my name!

The Dopravný inšpektorát is one of the least fun places to visit in the whole of Slovakia.

A visit to the depressing and bureaucratic transport office is not much fun (is it in any country?) but it had to be done. After a short wait, we filled out the paperwork, a police officer checked everything, and I drove away in my electric vehicle!

Click below to watch the event unfold on video!

It was a real miracle. There’s no other word for it.  I’m absolutely thrilled and I’ve already driven 200 kilometres in city driving in just one weekend!

So come along with me on this voyage of discovery and gas-free adventure, starting with this one!