Some of my ancestors were living as First/ Tribal Nations people in the Mid-Atlantic states, 10 000 years ago. Others, were most likely living in Doggerland, at the same time. At least that is the story according to 23&Me, and their interpretations of my Y-chromosome haplogroup’s DNA, (I-M253/I-Z58).

Here is some conjecture about Doggerland’s past.

Extent of the Last Glacial Maximum in Eurasia source: Mangerud et al 2004, Quaternary Science Reviews 23 (2004) 1313–1332, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2003.12.009

During the Last Glacial Maximum, which ended around 18 000 BP = before present, the North Sea, Scandinavia and much of what is now coastal northern Europe was covered with glacial ice. The sea level was about 120 m lower.

Land bridge between the mainland and Britain – Doggerland and Dogger Bank. Comparison of the geographical situation in 2000 to the late years of the Vistula-Würm Glaciation. (Illustration: Francis Lima, 2016)

After the ice melted, a watershed emerged. The Seine, Thames, Meuse, Scheldt and Rhine rivers joined and flowed west along the English Channel as a wide slow river before eventually reaching the Atlantic Ocean. At about 12 000 BP the north-facing coastal area of Doggerland had a coastline of lagoons, salt marshes, mudflats and beaches as well as inland streams, rivers, marshes and lakes. Many regard it as the richest hunting, fowling and fishing ground in Europe in the Mesolithic period.

As sea levels rose and the land began to tilt in an isostatic adjustment as the huge weight of ice lessened. Gradually a large tidal bay emerged between eastern England and Dogger Bank by 11 000 BP. This was followed by a rapid sea-level rise, leading to both Dogger Bank and Great Britain becoming separate islands. Doggerland eventually became submerged, cutting off what was previously the British peninsula from the European mainland by around 8 500 BP.

Soon after about 8 200 BP the remaining coastal land was flooded by a megatsunami, caused by the Storegga Slide, a submarine landslide off the coast of Norway. This would have had a catastrophic impact on the contemporary coastal Mesolithic population It has been suggested that the only remaining parts of Doggerland at the time of the Storegga Slide were low-lying islands, and that the area had been abandoned. However, the Dogger Bank, an upland area of Doggerland, remained an island until at least 7 000 BP.

An alternative view speculates that the Storegga tsunami devastated Doggerland but then ebbed back into the sea. Lake Agassiz was a very large glacial lake in central North America. Fed by glacial melwater at the end of the last glacial period, its area was larger than all of the modern Great Lakes combined although its mean depth was not as great. When it burst releasing so much fresh water that sea levels over about two years rose to flood much of Doggerland and make Britain an island.


The prehistoric existence of Doggerland was established in the late 19th century. However, it was Bryony Coles in the 1990s, who named the area Doggerland and produced speculative maps of the area.

Non-Fiction literature

Coles, B. J. (1998). “Doggerland: a Speculative Survey”. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 64: 45–81. doi:10.1017/S0079497X00002176.

Gaffney, V.; Thomson, K.; Fitch, S., eds. (2007). Mapping Doggerland: The Mesolithic Landscapes of the Southern North Sea. Archaeopress.

Gaffney, Vincent; Fitch, Simon; Smith, David (2009). Europe’s Lost World: The Rediscovery of Doggerland. Council for British Archaeology. ISBN 1-902771-77-X.

Moffat, Alistair (2005). Before Scotland: The Story of Scotland Before History. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-05133-7. Discussed in depth in chapters 2–4.

Morelle, Rebecca (4 April 2017). “Evidence of ancient ‘geological Brexit’ revealed”. BBC News. Retrieved 5 April 2017.

Spinney, Laura (December 2012). Robert Clark (photog.); Alexander Maleev (illus.). “The Lost World of Doggerland”. National Geographic. 222 (6): 132–143. Retrieved 30 November 2012.

Julia Blackburn, Time Song: Searching for Doggerland (2019). Roger Cox, reviewing in The Scotsman, writes: “To describe Time Song as a non-fiction book about the history of Doggerland makes it sound dry and academic, but Julia Blackburn’s approach is anything but. At one point, she describes her modus operandi as “trying to learn prehistory hand to mouth as I go along” and that’s a more-or-less accurate description of what it feels like to read her writing. There is certainly no handy potted chronology of Doggerland to hang onto; instead, the author describes a series of encounters she has with some of the people who have devoted their lives to searching for traces of this long-gone landmass, from archaeologists to obsessive enthusiasts, and uses these as jumping off points to help her imagine what life must have been like in the flat, open country that once stretched all the way from East Anglia to Holland.” See:

Fictional Accounts

H. G. Wells referred to it in his short story, A Story of the Stone Age (1897). More recently,

Stephen Baxter, Stone Spring (2010) is a science fiction novel set in prehistoric Doggerland (renamed, Northland). It focuses on attempts to adapt to the rising sea levels slowly eroding Northland’s coastline. It is the first part of a trilogy detailing an alternate history in which human efforts were able to prevent Doggerland from being flooded. It was followed by Bronze Summer (2011) and Iron Winter (2012).

A more modern and dystopian story was written by Ben Smith, Doggerland (2019). Alan Warner, reviewing in the Guardian writes, “Ben Smith’s powerful debut novel takes us offshore into a polluted future and to a singular seascape – a vast wind farm of more than 6,000 turbines somewhere out on Dogger Bank. Jem, who is presumably in his mid-teens, and “old man” Greil, who is clearly unwell and weakening, live in serfdom aboard an abandoned, dilapidated accommodation rig; they use an electric boat to maintain the decaying wind turbines that extend for up to 80 miles around them. It is a losing battle against limited tools, bad weather and ill health. These custodians of rust are visited at unpredictable intervals from the coast by the menacing Pilot, who moves freely on a small supply vessel, delivering vital but unappetising tinned food. The Pilot resembles a jailer who also barters for extras.” See:

The Charm of Guitar Amplifiers

An electric-guitar store, at some unspecified location, somewhere in the world. Photo: Visitor 7

An electric guitar is an analog sound generator. The difference between an acoustic and an electric guitar is that the first uses a hollow, usually wooden box to amplify the sound, while an electric guitar needs to connect to another box filled with electronic components, generally referred to as an amp.

Any guitar amp here, will be judged solely on its ability to serve three areas where a guitarist needs an amp: 1) to practice, 2) to perform and 3) to record.

In this weblog post, two tribes of people will be encountered: musicians, more specifically members of the Guitarist clan and DIY hobbyists. Guitarists will be quickly dispatched. They know the type, size and brand of amp they want, typically a combo-amp that contains an amplifier and one or more speakers in a single cabinet. Many guitarists consider 40 Watts an appropriate size, although larger and smaller sizes are available. Jazz guitarists may opt for a Roland Jazz Chorus JC-40, rock guitarists for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 40. Satisfying their needs is very simple, involving three steps. They must:

  1. Order an appropriate amp online.
  2. Wait patiently by door with guitar, until delivery person arrives.
  3. Unbox amp, plug in guitar (and electricity) and play.

The DIY tribe is not a big, friendly group. In fact, it may have as many people with psychological labels, as musicians. It is divided into at least three clans: cloners, tweakers and circuit benders. Yet, these clans have much in common. DIY tribespeople are difficult to satisfy. They are interested not in playing, but just in the process of building an amplifier. Once it is built, that is the end of their project. A cable may never actually be plugged into the amp. Beyond testing, the amp will probably never be turned on. It will join all those other barely finished, half-finished and barely started projects collecting dust/ rusting/ otherwise decaying in assorted areas of the house/ garage/ or great outdoors. In an effort to avoid collecting more junk, the DIYist may, in desperation, seek out a guitarist, upon whom he (yes, this type of person is almost always male) will bestow his creation.

Cloner clan

Cloners are DIY types who copy a preexisting design from a commercial manufacturer, often involving reverse engineering or the use of circuit schematic diagrams and/or printed circuit board (PCB) layouts. The legality of such a process never enters the mind of a cloner. The results of their labours are seldom for sale, and do not attract the attention of manufacturers. Clones are never perfect copies, since there may be obstacles involved in accessing specialty parts or undertaking mechanically construction. However, the circuit or other distinguishing features should be close to the original.

People recreate an existing design (i.e. clone) for many reasons. The design might be historically important but out of production. so the only way to obtain the component is to build it. Other considerations may relate to costs, sentimentality or skill development. A copy may be built to test design concepts or principles.

In 2019, a cloner will probably build a chip amp, possibly a Gainclone, the most commonly built and well-known amplifier project among hobbyists. It is simple to build and involves only a few readily accessible, inexpensive parts.

The Gainclone is based on a 1999, 47 Labs Gaincard amplifier, an unconventional design with fewer parts, less capacitance and simpler construction than most amplifiers preceding it. It used a 56-watt chip, the National Semiconductor LM3875. This construction breached accepted wisdom, which favored large power supplies and discrete components. The DIY community started building replicas or clones of the Gaincard, which soon became known as Gainclones. Today, chip amp or chipamp is used rather than Gainclone, to describe IC amplifiers made by amateurs.

Tweaker clan

Tweaker clan members spend their time replacing mass market components. The tweaker I remember best did not make amplifies as such, but electronic organs. His starting point was a cheap consumer brand organ (Hammond?). He replaced each and every resister on it with one that was within a fraction of a percent of the ideal value that he had calculated. He had a large business in the Vancouver area, revitalizing church organs. The replacement of cheap/ inferior mass market audio components with high quality substitutes is the modus operandi of the Tweaker clan. Other audio components commonly replaced include capacitors (recap) and operational amplifiers. Op-amps provide power. Since most op-amps have the same pinouts, they can easily be replaced with higher specification components.

Circuit bending clan

The Circuit bending clan is interested in the creative customization of circuits. In the 1950s and 1960s it existed as the Kit building clan, with the Heathkit sept being a large and powerful force, until it suddenly disappeared without a trace. More modern clan members use conventional electronics to experiment. They dismantle machines, adding and sometimes subtracting components such as switches and potentiometers. Members of this clan value noise as much as music, unfortunately.

More recently, additional septs have emerged in the circuit bending clan, focused on microcontrollers. The Arduino and Raspberry Pi septs are currently the two largest, but the ESP32 and Micro:bit septs are increasing their presence.


While the human ear is a marvelous piece of biological engineering, it is far from ideal. The frequency range of hearing is limited, as is its ability to perceive sound pressure. Low dB sounds go unheard, while high dB sounds can permanently damage delicate biological machinery. Hearing ability decreases with age and with exposure to loud sounds, such as rock and roll played at 100 dB, evening after evening. As living creatures, natural selection has favoured some characteristics over others, so that surviving humans are often those who are able to make the most judicious compromises.

Overselling audio

The High Fidelity Society (HFS) will be used as a pseudonym for a business enterprise that sells audio receiving equipment with characteristics that far exceed human hearing capabilities. Yes, I have at one time been the target of a HFS seller who attempted to insult me into purchasing audio equipment I didn’t want or need. Such purveyors use an assortment of unconscionable tactics as a sales strategy. If a dynamic range of 20 to 20 000 Hz is good, then 10 to 30 000 Hz must be better, and 5 to 40 000 best of all. They pretend they can hear the difference. They can’t. Biology puts limits on what people can sense. The commonly stated range of human hearing is 20 Hz to 20 kHz, but sometimes the lower range limit stated is above 30 Hz, and the upper range limit may be 19 or even 17.5 kHz.

Working back from the ear, there is a chain of components that shape sound from an electric guitar: vibrating air set in motion by one or more loudspeakers, optionally, a cable to a power amplifier that produces a high current signal to drive each loudspeaker, that at a most basic level are operated with control knobs including vertical faders to control multiple frequency bands, a real or virtual pre-amp with real or virtual controls that modify tone-shaping electrical circuits or software equivalents, a cable between the guitar and the amplifier potentially eliminated by some form of wireless technology, on the guitar itself – up to multiple pickups, possibly a vibrato bar/ unit, usually volume and tone knobs, any number of strings, a pick held by a human, hopefully with fingers.

Sometimes life may not be so simple. Between the preamp and power amp stages there may be an effects loop or some dedicated amplifier tone circuits. Pre-amps may be stacked into multiple stages (gain stages) which may provide feedback loops from a post-preamp signal to an earlier pre-preamp signal.

Guitars may have passive tone controls, active equalizer circuits in built-in preamps, pickup selector switches and more. There may be other devices between the guitar and the preamp, such as a pedal or other effects.

As one progresses back over from component to component, it is important to know what can be sensed or measured and what can be ignored. At some point one will have to learn something about the propagation of sound. It will be especially important to learn how to make electronic effects: equalization, compression, distortion, chorus, reverberation and more.

Tube vs Solid-state

When a guitarist is dependent on a single tube-based combo-amp, extra tubes had better be taken to every gig. While nobody will notice if a stack or two out of a hundred or more fail to operate become some roadie didn’t pamper it sufficiently and caused a delicate tube to fail, they will notice if a vacuum tube combo-amp fails!

Risking the wrath of one of my closest relatives, I will suggest that using a tube based amplifier, is equivalent to using a cathode ray tube (CRT) based television. There was a time in the previous century when such a choice was justified, but that ended many years ago.

Technological advancements have made low-wattage solid-state amplifiers viable. These are less expensive to build and maintain, reduce the weight and heat, are more reliable and shock-resistant. High-end solid-state amplifiers are uncommon, because many professional guitarists still favor vacuum tubes. Some jazz guitarists are part of a minority that favor the cleaner sound of solid-state amplifiers. The Roland Jazz Chorus, is possibly the best known high-end solid-state amplifier.

Modeling Amplifiers

Modelling amplifiers use microprocessors and software to create digital effects. These can be programmed using a USB or equivalent connection with a desktop computer or laptop, and potentially a tablet or cell-phone.

A modeling amp with plugs for a guitar, a generic pedal, a microphone or two can imitate specific amplifiers (real or imaginary), that can provide an infinitely large number of sounds and tones, of which some might actually be desirable. This ability to simulate specific characteristics comes in a package weighing less than 1 kg (2 pounds).

The secret is to construct a full range, flat response (FRFR) amplification system as the output unit of the modeling amplifier. Guitar input is processed using software based sound processors in the signal chain before the amplifier. This allow guitarists to use PA systems and powered speakers without worrying about their sound being coloured by the amplification process.

The approach is to digitize the input signal and use digital signal processing (DSP) with a dedicated microprocessor. This is an inexpensive and compact device. A dedicated standalone modeler can be connected directly to a recording device or PA system without having to use a power amplifier, speaker cabinet or microphone

Modeling amps include the Peavey Vypyr, Deplike, Roland Cube, Fender Mustang, and Line 6 Spider series. Many DIYers will attempt to clone these using schematic diagrams and other materials intended for service and repair.

Fender Limited-Edition Hot Rod Deluxe IV 40W 1×12 Tube Combo Amp Lacquered Tweed An amplifier suitable for a musician. Photo: Fender

Hot Dog 40 Digital Guitar Combo Amp Specification

Model name: Hot Dog 40
Amplifier Type: Digital
Speaker: One - 12 inch (300 mm) speaker
Inputs: One - 1/4 inch input, 3.5 mm AUX input
Outputs: USB Recording Output, 3.5 mm Headphone Output
Channels: One
Controls:  To be determined
Effects:  To be determined
Wattage:  40 Watts
Cabinet Material: 5/8 inch (16 mm) plywood
Covering: To be determined
Grille Cloth: To be determined
Handle: Integrated Top-Mount Handle
Controls: Plastic knobs, computer control
Other Features: Digital Chromatic Tuner, Bluetooth Audio Streaming, WIFI
Footswitch: Generic 
Dimensions (HxWxD): 16 x 16 x 8 inches (400 x 400 x 200 mm)
Design Weight: < 22 lbs (10 kg)

DIY Sources

Norwegian Culture in 16 words

Trøndelag patriots claim Trøndelag is a miniturized version of Norway. Nature and technology, with lots of space. Here, Trondheim’s Fjord, the Fosen Peninsula and Skarnsund Bridge as seen from Inderøy, in January.

Welcome to a Norwenglish lesson, designed to help you learn a few Norwegian words, and some aspects of the Norwegian culture.


  1. Personnummer (identification number) This 11 digit number is the equivalent of an American Social Security number or Canadian SIN. It provides the owner’s date of birth in clear text in the first six digits, but cannot distinguish the century. It also codes for binary gender in the ninth digit – odd numbers for males, even numbers for females. Not particular appropriate in a society where people face age and sex discrimination.
  2. Folkeregister (population register) This is a database that tells where every resident lives. One of the newer iterations of this was to encode street addresses, so that emergency services could find their way to every building in the country. From the start of a street, odd numbers are on the right hand side, even numbers on the left. Our house number, 82, indicates that our driveway starts somewhere between 820 and 840 meters from the start of the road, on the left hand side.


  1. Hus (house) also referred to as an enebolig (single family dwelling) is the standard occupancy unit for families. Apartments are far less common than in Sweden, for example.
  2. Hybel (dorm room) takes what would be storage space in a house and transforms it into rental accommodation, typically for students. In addition to providing a place to live, it also gives the house owner a number of tax advantages.
  3. Garasje (garage) is a building used to store anything and everything, with the exception of a car. Building a garage is a side effect of renting out dorms.
  4. Bil (car) is a public display of outdoorsmanship, rather than wealth. While Norwegians are increasingly becoming more European, and buying more SUVs, they have for many decades prioritized station wagons, where other nationalities would choose sedans, or at least hatchbacks. In an idealized world, a car is used to transport people to the mountains or the seashore – for recreational purposes. Unfortunately, in the real world, it is most often used to commute. The word bil itself shows how many Norwegian words are created. In this case take automobil, discard the front, and use the tail of the word. In contrast, Germans use the front, Auto.
  5. Tilhenger (trailer) has two related meanings. Literally, it means follower, sometimes translated as believer. However, it also refers to a poor person’s pickup truck. Most cars are equipped with a krok (literally hook but implying hitch or tow bar). These are used for trips to the local recycling center as well as visits to Ikea. One would never dream of buying a car, without knowing the mass of trailer it is allowed to pull. Ordinary mortals are allowed to pull 700 kg, but with a special license higher weights are permitted. We have a trailer with a weight limit of 2 000 kg, but our Mazda 5 is only allowed to pull 1 200 kg. The trailer weights almost 400 kg, so we can take 800 kg of junk to the dump at a time.
  6. Båt (boat) today usually refers to something made of fiberglass, powered by a 9.9 hp outboard motor. Fishing is the common excuse used by people to explain their presence on the water. People born in 1980 or later, need to have a boat operator certificate. Those born before are grandparented in.
  7. Naust (boathouse) comes from an age before boat trailers became common. It is a building at the edge of the shore used to house boats, fishing equipment and all things nautical. Nausts don’t like to be alone, so there are often several of them in a line. Like a garage it has an alternative use as a bar and dance floor used specifically on Sakthans (Saint John’s Eve). Celebrations start at sunset on 23 June. This closely coincides with the Midsummer solstice. In addition, the celebration features burning of pyres, the higher the fire, the better.
  8. Ski (skis) are wooden sticks used to propell a person across the countryside during the winter. Purists will only reluctantly admit alpine (or downhill) skiing, favouring a Nordic (or cross-country) variety, or ski jumping or the biathon which combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. Many of the best competition skiers come from Trøndelag, including Inderøy.
  9. Hytte (cabin) is home away from home. If this is to be used at Easter (or during the winter) it should be located in a mountainous area. If it is to be used during the summer, it should be located by the sea. Increasingly, people are finding it more convenient to rent an apartment in the mountains for a week, or to buy a boat with live-aboard accommodation. Since we live in a hyttefelt (cabin community) we feel no need for an extra cabin.
  10. Julebord (Christmas party) is one of those obligatory events featuring excessive amounts of traditional Christmas foods, that vary according to the region, and – optionally – excessive amounts of almost anything else. Foreigners are never quite sure if jul (pronounced yule) is a Christian or a pagan celebration, for it seems to accommodate liberal amounts of both.


  1. Postkontor (post offices) have closed down, but reopened as post-i-butikk (post-in-the-shop), moving to a large grocery store in each area previously served by a post office. Hours have expanded to match that of the shops, which for us means from 7:00 to 22:00 (10 pm) Monday to Friday ; 9:00 to 21:00 (9 pm) on Saturday; closed on Sunday. This is where we come to pick up most on-line purchases, although if we were willing to pay more, some can be delivered to the door. Yes, we still have mail delivery, but this has been reduced to five days a week.
  2. Bank (bank) size and services are being reduced. First, the bank bok (bank book) was eliminated. Kontanter (cash) is seldom required any more. Bankkort (debit and credit cards) are used in stores and for on-line purchases. While there was a period when a minibank (ATM/ cash machine) was to be found outside any bank, these have been reduced in number. Most food stores offer cash back when making purchases, since each and every bank card has approved picture ID on its reverse. Sjekk (cheque/ check) was a payment system that was in use when we first moved to Norway. The last check we wrote in Norway was in 1992. We have two 10 kroner mynt (coins) in the car to use at stores that require a coin to be inserted in order to use a handelvogn (shopping buggy). We only shop at one store now, that has this prehistoric condition. In addition, there is Vipps which is cell-phone based payment system.
  3. Fasttelefon (landline) is dying fast. When we first moved to Norway in 1980 there was a ten year waiting list to receive one. When we moved to Bodø in 1985, we were able to get one installed in two weeks. The number of landlines reached a peak of about 2 million in 2001. Since then numbers have deteriorated to 200 000. Last month the telephone company announced that they would no longer repair service to the remaining phones, and said the last ones would be eliminated in 2023. This anouncement was met with outrage. We have not had a landline since the beginning of 2019.
  4. Fjernsyn (television, literally distant vision) is doomed. Nobody under the age of 40, some would say 50, watches programs according to a television schedule. That is performed as a matter of public service to the elderly. Most of the population stream programs at their convenience. The exception, of course, is sports.

Kaiyun Pickman

The Kaiyun Pickman is a Low Speed Electric Vehicle, aka Neigbourhood Electric Vehicle.

Wang Chao is an optimist. The founder of Kaiyun Motors hopes to transition owners of Ford F-150 pickups over to a Kaiyun Pickman. The Pickman is now NHTSA-approved for sale in USA and equivalently approved in Europe, where it is being sold in Germany and Italy.

While reports on the vehicle in January 2019, stated that it would cost $5 000 in USA and €5 000 in Europe, the American price had escalated to $9 000 by the middle of February, for a street-legal version; about $6 000 for a farm version.

While there must be caveats about the lack of safety features, the Pickman is undoubtedly an appropriate farm vehicle in rural environments, and a suitable vehicle for urban tradespeople. It is inappropriate for a daily commute involving any form of highway driving.

The Pickman is an example of a Low Speed Electric Vehicle, ususally referred to as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (USA) or Quadricycle (Europe). These are defined by limitations in terms of mass (weight), power and speed. All quadricycles must have a top speed of 45 km/h or less. In USA the limit is usually 25 mph or 40 km/h. In Europe, there are two categories: light quadricycles (L6e) and heavy quadricycles (L7e). A L6e EV must have a curb weight of 425 kg or less, and an electric motor producing 4 kW or less. A L7e EV must have a curb weight of 450 kg or less (passenger vehicles) or 600 kg or less (goods vehicles), The load capacity must be 200 kg or less (passenger vehicle) or 1000 kg or less (goods vehicle), with a maximum net engine power of 15 kW or less. .

The Pickman is powered by a 4 kW permanent magnet based electric motor with an asynchronization intelligent controller, mated to a 72V lead-acid battery pack providing 100 Ah or 7.2 kWh (26 MJ) of energy. Top speed is 45 km/h and range is 120 kilometers. There is some discussion about the load capacity. Some figures, in the table below are taken from a Chinese version, which appears to have a load capacity of 300 kg. The accuracy of the figures below is not guaranteed!

Specifications for base 2019 modelsPickmanF-150
Length/ mm3 2455 316
Width/ mm (excluding mirrors)1 3202 029
Height/ mm1 4601 918
Wheel Base/ mm2 0783 109
Ground clearance/ mm150 224
Load capacity (including driver/ passengers)/ kg500846
Curb weight/ kg6802 008

Note: Curb weight is the total weight of a vehicle with standard equipment, all necessary operating consumables such as motor oil, transmission oil, coolant, air conditioning refrigerant, and a full tank of fuel, while not loaded with either passengers or cargo. Note: In Europe, the mass of the batteries is excluded when determining vehicle curb weight.

Renault K-ZE

The interior of a Renault City K-ZE.
The modernist interior of a Renault 4.

A Renault K-ZE is being considered as an electric vehicle. One headline explained it all. “New Renault City K-ZE revealed in Shanghai as cheap electric SUV.” Yes, the operational word is cheap. This is not the only operative word in my automotive vocabulary. Safe, electric and autonomous are also important words. Tall is also important, as in 1 600 or higher vehicle height. However, tall is also important in terms of ground clearance in a snowy, poorly plowed landscape. Here, 180 mm (as in K-ZE) sound much more impressive than 120 mm (as in Zöe).

The K-ZE will not be available in Europe before 2021, at the earliest. Between now and then, there will be a lot of different EVs to consider, including the following already available: Kia e Niro, Kia Soul, Hyundai Kona, Renault Zöe, Citroen e Mehari, as well as the proposed Volkswagen I.D., Buzz and Buggy. If the range of a Citroen Berlingo could double beyond its current 170 km, it would be close to the top of the class. The same could also be said about the Renault Kangoo. The Nissan Evalia/ e NV200 gets slightly better range, but is much more expensive, eliminating it from the list of potential products.

Note: Some people may mistakenly believe that a Citröen 2CV represents my ideal car. This has never been the case. I much prefer utility vehicles such as the 2CV AZU Fourgonnette panel van, and its successors, the AK 400 Fourgonette, and the Acadiane. My interest stops there, avoiding the C15 entirely, and beginning again with the Berlingo.

When I looked at the interior of the Renault K-ZE, I focused my attention on the number of actuators (buttons) a driver would have to press, turn or otherwise manipulate. In contrast to many current cars, there seemed to be few. In many respects, European economy vehicles such as a Fiat 600 Multipla, Hillman Husky, Morris Minor 1000 Traveller, Renault 4 or even a slightly less practical but more popular Volkswagen Beetle of the 1960s have always represented a personal gold standard in terms of actuator manipulation.

While the K-ZE is based on the Renault Kwid, dimensions of the new vehicle have not been released, so Kwid dimensions have been used in the table below.

SpecificationK-ZE (Kwid)Zöe
Length/ mm3 6794 084
Width/ mm1 5791 730
Height/ mm1 5131 562
Ground Clearance Unladen/ mm180120
Wheel Base/ mm2 4222 588
Cargo Volume/ litres300338

Currently, the Renault Zöe costs NOK 215 000 (which is about the equivalent of USD 26 000/ CAD 36 000). This includes NOK 15 000 for the installation of a battery charger. The range of the Zöe is 240 km, and the expected range of the K-ZE is 250 km, both calculated using the NEDC-cycle. It is stated that the K-ZE will cost less than the Zöe.

Range is not a major consideration. The vehicle would have to have an ability to make a weekly run to pick up supplies in Straumen (13 km away = 26 km round trip), Steinkjer (35 km away = 70 km round trip) or make a day trip out to the coast. Yesterday’s daytrip to Ørlandet was 317 km. In the future, this might have to involve an overnighting, because of charging challenges. However, this fact makes vehicles with a longer range more attractive.

Normal charging at home (AC) was a challenge for Zoe, and could create problems for the K-ZE, since the vehicle could only be charged on a TN-net (400V 3-phase). This challenge was partly solved by providing a dedicated charging box and associated separator (which in essence “converts” 230V 1-phase to 3-phase).

Another aspect of this problem, has been solved by the Stavanger company Zaptec AS, that developed a small charging cable, with a built-in separator. With this, a Zoe can be charged without problems. The charging power is 10A with this cable.

NORMAL CHARGING: Charging with 2.3 kW / 10A takes 20 hours / 3.6 kW / 16A takes 12-13 hours / 11 kW / 16A (3-phase) takes 3 hours and 20 min / 22 kW / 32A (3-phase ) takes an hour and 40 minutes. QUICK CHARGE: The Zöe should be able to load 0-80 percent in less than an hour in the summer (with 43 kW AC found in a few places), but can take much longer in the winter. DC quick charging is not possible.

The exterior of a Renault K-ZE.