Tag Archives: tesla

Tesla solar products are coming to a store near you.

On Monday, newly minted Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state carbon trading program that aims to reduce greenhouse gases from the power sector.

New Jersey’s former governor (and bona fide bully) Chris Christie had pulled the state out in 2011, saying the initiative increased the tax burden for utilities and failed to adequately reduce greenhouse gases. Murphy said that Christie’s decision to withdraw had cost the state $279 million in revenue.

The state Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Public Utilities will begin drawing up a game plan to re-enter the pact.

Nine eastern states already participate in RGGI: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Now, New Jersey is joining the fray, and Virginia may soon follow.

“With this executive order, New Jersey takes the first step toward restoring our place as a leader in the green economy,” Murphy said. Jersey shore knows what it’s doing!

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Tesla solar products are coming to a store near you.

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Tesla’s going big — like, 18-wheeler big.

In a long-awaited decision, the Nebraska Public Service Commission announced its vote Monday to approve a tweaked route for the controversial tar sands oil pipeline.

The 3-2 decision is a critical victory for pipeline builder TransCanada after a nearly decade-long fight pitting Nebraska landowners, Native communities, and environmentalists activists against a pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

After years of intense pressure, President Obama deemed the project “not in the national interest” in 2015; President Trump quickly reversed that decision earlier this year. But TransCanada couldn’t go forward without an approved route through Nebraska, which was held up by legal and political proceedings.

In the meantime, it’s become unclear whether TransCanada will even try to complete the $8 billion project. The financial viability of tar sands oil — which is expensive to extract and refine — has shifted in the intervening years, and while KXL languished, Canadian oil companies developed other routes to market.

The commission’s decision also opens the door to new litigation and land negotiations. TransCanada will have to secure land rights along the new route; one dissenting commissioner noted that many landowners might not even know the pipeline would potentially cross their property.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, TransCanada’s original Keystone pipeline, which KXL was meant to supplement, spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. Due to a 2011 Nebraska law, the commissioners were unable to consider pipeline safety or the possibility of spills in their decision.

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Tesla’s going big — like, 18-wheeler big.

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Tesla and solar groups put Puerto Rico back on the grid

It was a transaction concocted on Twitter — and in a few short weeks, declared official: Tesla is helping to bring power back to Puerto Rico.

Early this month, Elon Musk touted his company’s work building solar-plus-battery systems for small islands like Kauai in Hawaii and Ta’u in American Samoa. He suggested a similar setup could work for Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, tweeted that he was game. Musk replied quickly: “Hopefully, Tesla can be helpful.”

After earlier reports of the company’s batteries arriving at San Juan’s port, Tesla announced today that it has started constructing its first microgrid installation, laying out a solar field and setting up its refrigerator-sized Powerpack batteries to supply electricity to a children’s hospital in the Puerto Rican capital.

More than a month after Hurricane Maria destroyed swaths of the island’s electrical grid, 85 percent of Puerto Rico is still without power. Total grid repair costs are estimated at $5 billion — an especially steep price for a public utility already $9 billion in debt. The lack of power is especially dire for hospitals, where unreliable electricity may spoil medicines that require refrigeration and complicate crucial medical procedures. The results could be deadlier than the storm itself, but solar power could help head off further disaster.

The idea that solar could serve as a viable source of emergency relief is new. Sure, renewable technologies have proliferated and become more affordable, but there’s a tried-and-true response to natural disasters: Fall back on diesel generators and fuel until utilities have a chance to restore grid power.

This has largely been the pattern in post-Maria Puerto Rico. One hardware store told the New York Times it was selling up to 300 generators a day. FEMA claims it has installed more generators in Puerto Rico than in hurricane-ravaged parts of Texas and Florida combined. But generators are expensive, inefficient, and prone to failure. And burning diesel in homes comes with health risks like carbon monoxide poisoning.

By contrast, a microgrid setup — that is, a combination of solar panels, battery storage, and electrical inverters that doesn’t require input from the main power grid — can potentially take immediate effect, providing reliable electricity with no pollution. And, once installed, these self-contained systems could help eliminate the rolling blackouts that were a problem for Puerto Rico’s major utility even before Maria.

Tesla is only the most prominent company to bypass the conventional avenues of rebuilding to install renewable power and batteries. Other companies and nonprofits have been marshalling resources to fill the void left by federal relief efforts. German renewable energy outfit Sonnen has pledged to build microgrids in priority areas, working with local partner Pura Energia to install donated batteries to power first aid and community centers. Another group, Resilient Power Puerto Rico, is distributing solar generators to remote communities, where they can serve as hubs for immediate necessities like charging phones and filtering water.

Marco Krapels, founder of the nonprofit Empowered by Light, traveled with a solar installation team to Puerto Rico in early October to deploy solar-plus-battery microgrid systems on fire stations. The nonprofit partnered with local firefighters to quickly cut through red tape paralyzing much of the disaster response.

“It takes only 48 hours to deploy once it arrives in the San Juan airport,” Krapels says of the standalone systems. “The firefighters, who have 18 flat-bed trucks, pulled up to our cargo plane; three hours later we were installing the system; and 48 hours later we’re done.”

The microgrid systems provide electricity and communications to the fire stations, as well as water purification technology that can provide up to 250 gallons of drinkable water a day — crucial on an island where 1 in 3 residents currently lack access to clean water.

There are 95 fire stations in Puerto Rico, Krapels says, and he estimates it will take just under $5 million for Empowered by Light to outfit them all. So far, the nonprofit has transformed two stations, one in the low-income Obrero neighborhood of San Juan and one in the town of Utuado, in the remote center of the island. After both installations, Krapels says, the local fire station was the only building with the lights on after dark — outlying and underserved communities are always among the last to receive emergency relief.

“There are parts of the island that are so destroyed that there is no grid,” Krapels says. “There is nothing to fix: The transformers are all burnt, the poles are gone, the wires are laying on the street.”

As much as 80 percent of the island’s high-power transmission lines were destroyed, Bloomberg reported, and even optimistic estimates of repair work have a majority of the island off the grid until late this year.

In the coming months, as communities and companies work to rebuild that infrastructure, there will be an opportunity to make the island more resilient. Companies like Tesla offer one path to less vulnerable electricity infrastructure. Meanwhile, organizations like Resilient Power Puerto Rico emphasize the importance of economic resilience, too. The New York-based founders want to put power in the hands of the island’s residents, modeled after similar efforts in the Rockaways post-Sandy. The nonprofit has ambitions to establish 100 solar towns, a robust green economy, and more electrical independence for all.

“If we’re going to rethink energy in Puerto Rico, let’s really empower people to deploy their own distributed renewable generation and storage,” Krapels says. “The sun is there every day, and it’s going to shine for the next 5 billion years.”

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Tesla and solar groups put Puerto Rico back on the grid

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Toyota says it’s on the cusp of a major electric vehicle breakthrough.

James Eskridge, mayor of Virginia’s tiny Tangier Island, gave the climate change activist a piece of his mind during a televised town hall meeting Tuesday evening.

He blames his island’s slow descent into the Chesapeake Bay on erosion instead of encroachment from surrounding waters. “I’m not a scientist, but I’m a keen observer,” Eskridge said to Gore. “If sea-level rise is occurring, why am I not seeing signs of it?”

Scientists predict the residents of Tangier Island — which stands only four feet above sea level — will have to abandon it within 50 years due to rising waters. President Trump, meanwhile, reportedly called up Eskridge in June to say, “Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.”

While Eskridge told Gore that the island needed a seawall to survive, the mayor doesn’t seem to buy either the experts’ or Trump’s assessments.

Gore explained that a challenge in climate communication is “taking what the scientists say and translating it into terms that are believable to people — where they can see the consequences in their own lives.”

But this is a case where someone can see it and still can’t believe it.

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Toyota says it’s on the cusp of a major electric vehicle breakthrough.

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Tesla has a big new competitor vying to build the batteries of the future.

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Tesla has a big new competitor vying to build the batteries of the future.

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Robots Love Gossip and Conspiracy Theories Too

Mother Jones

First it was the failure of robot vacuums. Then Tesla’s autopilot slammed into a truck in broad daylight. Now boosters of AI have to deal with another fiasco. The Washington Post reports that Facebook’s shiny new algorithm for selecting trending topics is severely broken:

As part of a larger audit of Facebook’s Trending topics, the Intersect logged every news story that trended across four accounts during the workdays from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22. During that time, we uncovered five trending stories that were indisputably fake and three that were profoundly inaccurate. On top of that, we found that news releases, blog posts from sites such as Medium and links to online stores such as iTunes regularly trended.

“I’m not at all surprised how many fake stories have trended,” one former member of the team that used to oversee Trending told the Post. “It was beyond predictable by anyone who spent time with the actual functionality of the product, not just the code.”

That’s pretty embarrassing. However, I did a little back-of-the-envelope calculation, and at this rate I figure that Facebook’s algorithm won’t catch up with Donald Trump until 2038. Say what you will about Moore’s law and neural nets and all that, but humans are just fundamentally better at bullshit and lies than computers.

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Robots Love Gossip and Conspiracy Theories Too

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41 Insane Facts About Tesla Motors

It can sometimes feel like 21st century history is being written by a handful of entrepreneurs and their organizations: chances are that generations to come will talk of Elon Musk in the same way that we rememberHenry Ford, who famously said “The remains of the old must be decently laid away; the path of the new prepared. That is the different between revolution and progress”. Both are visionaries who have changed the way we think about vehicle manufacture and performance, and each has embraced the spirit of their time and applied it to their business and engineering strategies. But while Ford is by now an established historical figure, Musk is still living out his story.

The entrepreneursdual background in economics and physics, combined with a canny eye for the zeitgeist, has provided the right chemistry to cook up his $12.1 billion fortune. And while Paypal is long behind him and space tourism plays a big part in his future plans, Musks Tesla Motors concern remains very much in the present. The manufacturers first half-decade ended in failure, with thescrapping of their flagship Roadster vehicle but Musk and his organization have never lost faith in the inevitability of the dominance of electric cars. With a staff of 14,000 and a market value of $33.5 billion from which Musk draws a salary of just a dollar a year Teslas wedge of the industry has grown to reflect the vision of its iconic boss.

Of course, bubbles have burst before, and weve seen many a hubristic entrepreneur wade too deep into a river of their own hype; but like Ford before him, Musks success and his potential rests on his informed vision of not just how the world will look tomorrow or next year, but in ten, twenty, fifty years time. Teslas lithium-ion battery Gigafactory, for example, will be powered by 100% renewable energy remarkable, considering it will be the second largest building in the world. Such scale, vision and conscientiousness is why Tesla is a major, major company to keep an eye on and you can begin by checking out some of the startling facts and figures in this smart new infographic.

This post originally appeared on Jennings Motor Group.

Photo Credit: Herman Caroan/Flickr

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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41 Insane Facts About Tesla Motors

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“Tiny buses for everyone!” says Elon Musk

You get a bus and you get a bus!

“Tiny buses for everyone!” says Elon Musk

By on Jul 21, 2016Share

Tesla has had a rough ride lately. A Tesla Model S on Autopilot slammed into a semi-truck, killing the driver and prompting an investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There’s talk that its yearned-for merger with Solar City may fall apart, and its high-flying stock has plunged 12 percent in three months.

What better time for Musk to unveil “Master Plan Part Deux,” which says, essentially, “Don’t look at right now! Look waay over there, in the amazing future!”

The plan, released on Tesla’s blog on Wednesday, is full of wondrous whizbangery. There will be cars so autonomous that they will earn money for you when you aren’t driving, battery-enhanced solar panels so beautiful that you will want to cuddle them, and tiny, autonomous buses that can be summoned at the push of a button. Oh, and an electric semi-truck that “will be really fun to operate.”

Musk wrote that he announced this Phase 2 because Phase 1 of his plan (fancy electric sports cars) is nearly complete. Based on the current state of uncertainty around Autopilot and the Solar City merger, it looks like Phase 1 still has a way to go.

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“Tiny buses for everyone!” says Elon Musk

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Now Tesla Wants to Buy a Solar Company

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

This story originally appeared on Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Elon Musk—future Mars settler, founder of Tesla—stepped into the solar business earlier this week with Tesla Motor’s $2.5 billion bid to buy SolarCity, the top home solar company in America.

Shareholders from both companies still have to approve the deal. And if they do, Tesla promises the results will be awesome. Musk says that he never wanted Tesla to be just a carmaker. Buying SolarCity will turn Tesla into a company that will sell you an electric car and the power to charge it. “This would start with the car that you drive and the energy that you use to charge it, and would extend to how everything else in your home or business is powered,” Tesla wrote in its company blog.

Then Wall Street frowned. The day after the announcement, Tesla’s stock slumped 10 percent, and Morgan Stanley cut its rating on Tesla’s shares.

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So what gives? Does Wall Street not have the vision to get with Musk? Is the most futuristic car company in America about to drive off a cliff?

Here are a few ways of looking at it:

This whole thing is really a family drama.

Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s co-founder and CEO, is Musk’s cousin. Is there some kind of family power struggle taking place? According to Eric Weishoff, founder of Greentech Media, Rive “didn’t sound happy enough for a man that just got $77 million dollars wealthier.” And why should Tesla buy Solar City when the two companies have been collaborating on batteries for half a decade now?

Tesla’s stock is sinking because Wall Street doesn’t get Silicon Valley.

Tesla was born in the startup culture of Silicon Valley, where it’s all about taking bold stands and getting big or going home. In Silicon Valley, companies eat other companies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snack.

Worriers, however, have good reason to wonder why Tesla wants to get into the solar business so badly when it has 375,000 pre-ordered Tesla Model 3s that it’s supposed to be making. There’s the also the example of Sun Edison, an actual energy company that went bankrupt after a massive company-buying spree.

This smushing together could actually work, because, you know, synergy!

Tesla’s current clientele is, to put it mildly, loaded. Three-quarters of Model S buyers make more than $100,000 a year. It’s entirely possible that they are exactly the kind of people who might wander into a showroom, order a car, and impulse-purchase an entire solar installation to go along with it.

Solar City sells 100,000 solar installations a year to a wide demographic. If the price of the Tesla Model 3 manages to drop from the current sticker price of $35,000 and keep dropping, it’s imaginable that SolarCity’s current customers could be persuaded to choose a Tesla for their next car.

What we really need are lots of little Teslas, not a bigger Tesla

It’s been clear for a long time that Musk is a crazy dreamer of the Steve Jobs variety. But building a big company, even a really cool big company, cannot get America to low-carbon car heaven alone. The Big Three automakers—GM, Ford, and Chrysler — arose out of a Cambrian stew of automotive experimentation in the workshops of Detroit. Many have made the point (including me) that three still wasn’t enough to create the kind of competition that the American automotive industry needed to avoid getting its ass kicked by automakers in Germany and Japan.

This sale — if it goes through — might lead to great things. But what the world really needs are many Teslas, enough to create a large ecosystem of entrepreneurs working on cars, batteries, and solar. We need this a lot more than we need to buy solar panels from a car company.

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Now Tesla Wants to Buy a Solar Company

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Tesla wants to be your renewable energy everything

Tesla wants to be your renewable energy everything

By on Jun 24, 2016 5:04 amShare

Elon Musk — future Mars settler, founder of Tesla – stepped into the solar business earlier this week with Tesla Motor’s $2.5 billion bid to buy SolarCity, the top home solar company in America.

Shareholders from both companies still have to approve the deal. And if they do, Tesla promises the results will be awesome. Musk says that he never wanted Tesla to be just a carmaker. Buying SolarCity will turn Tesla into a company that will sell you an electric car and the power to charge it. “This would start with the car that you drive and the energy that you use to charge it, and would extend to how everything else in your home or business is powered,” Tesla wrote in its company blog.

Then Wall Street frowned. The day after the announcement, Tesla’s stock slumped 10 percent, and Morgan Stanley cut its rating on Tesla’s shares.

So what gives? Does Wall Street not have the vision to get with Musk? Is the most futuristic car company in America about to drive off a cliff?

Here are a few ways of looking at it:

This whole thing is really a family drama.

Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s co-founder and CEO, is Musk’s cousin. Is there some kind of family power struggle taking place? According to Eric Weishoff, founder of Greentech Media, Rive “didn’t sound happy enough for a man that just got $77 million dollars wealthier.” And why should Tesla buy Solar City when the two companies have been collaborating on batteries for half a decade now?

Tesla’s stock is sinking because Wall Street doesn’t get Silicon Valley.

Tesla was born in the startup culture of Silicon Valley, where it’s all about taking bold stands and getting big or going home. In Silicon Valley, companies eat other companies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snack.

Worriers, however, have good reason to wonder why Tesla wants to get into the solar business so badly when it has 375,000 pre-ordered Tesla Model 3s that it’s supposed to be making. There’s the also the example of Sun Edison, an actual energy company that went bankrupt after a massive company-buying spree.

This smushing together could actually work, because, you know, synergy!

Tesla’s current clientele is, to put it mildly, loaded. Three-quarters of Model S buyers make more than $100,000 a year. It’s entirely possible that they are exactly the kind of people who might wander into a showroom, order a car, and impulse-purchase an entire solar installation to go along with it.

Solar City sells 100,000 solar installations a year to a wide demographic. If the price of the Tesla Model 3 manages to drop from the current sticker price of $35,000 and keep dropping, it’s imaginable that SolarCity’s current customers could be persuaded to choose a Tesla for their next car.

What we really need are lots of little Teslas, not a bigger Tesla

It’s been clear for a long time that Musk is a crazy dreamer of the Steve Jobs variety. But building a big company, even a really cool big company, cannot get America to low-carbon car heaven alone. The Big Three automakers — GM, Ford, and Chrysler — arose out of a Cambrian stew of automotive experimentation in the workshops of Detroit. Many have made the point (including me) that three still wasn’t enough to create the kind of competition that the American automotive industry needed to avoid getting its ass kicked by automakers in Germany and Japan.

This sale — if it goes through — might lead to great things. But what the world really needs are many Teslas, enough to create a large ecosystem of entrepreneurs working on cars, batteries, and solar. We need this a lot more than we need to buy solar panels from a car company.

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Tesla wants to be your renewable energy everything

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