Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

September 20, 2017 by  
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In the not-so-far future when  electric vehicles (EV) rule the road, don’t expect to sit around in line waiting for your battery to charge. That’s because electric automaker Tesla recently filed a patent for a mobile battery swapping technology that could replace a depleted battery in under 15 minutes. In 2013, the company toyed with the idea of building stationary rigs that can replace a car’s battery pack. However, that idea never took off. Now, the EV maker is improving on the concept and has filed a patent application for a more compact, mobile version that would be placed in strategic locations where Superchargers aren’t always available. As Elektrek reports, Tesla’s original system was designed to be autonomous, while the newer one can be operated by technicians. Additionally, the original battery swap service claimed a 90-second swap, whereas the new one says “less than fifteen minutes” is more plausible. Says the patent application, “In some implementations, the battery swap system is configured for use by one or more technicians, who will monitor certain aspects of the system’s operation and make necessary inputs when appropriate. For example, the battery -swapping system can be installed at a remote location (e.g., along a highway between two cities) and one or more technicians can be stationed at the location for operating the system. This can reduce or eliminate the need for the system to have vision components, which may otherwise be needed to align the battery pack or other components. Using techniques described herein it may be possible to exchange the battery pack of a vehicle in less than fifteen minutes.” As can be seen from the application figures, the patent application references swapping Model S and Model X battery packs. Both vehicles’ battery packs have been designed to be easily swappable. Model 3’s battery pack is not, on the other hand. Because the company aims to expedite the process in 15 minutes or less, it is unlikely the system will apply to more complicated swaps. Related: Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018 When Tesla CEO Elon Musk last mentioned the battery swap system, he said it would likely be developed to support commercial fleets — if pursued at all. Now that plans for Tesla’ all- electric Semi-Truck have been shared, Musk’s vision is coming into focus. + Tesla Via Elektrek Images via Tesla , Pixabay

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Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

Tesla extends free charging at Supercharger stations

January 4, 2017 by  
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As of two weeks from now, there will be no more free lunch for Tesla car buyers, as the company will be cutting off free access to its Supercharger network of charging stations as of January 15, 2017. Engadget reports that this is actually somewhat of a reprieve for Tesla customers, as the cutoff was initially supposed to be January 1, 2017. According to Engadget , Tesla announced this change was coming a few months ago, telling customers they were soon going to have to pay for their own electricity. Given the recent announcement, potential buyers have just a short period in which to get unlimited free electricity for their Tesla car, which amounts to a huge bonus for anyone buying before January 15. Cars bought after that date will be limited to just 400 kilowatt hours of free power per year, and owners will have to pay for the rest. According to Tesla, that’s roughly enough power to drive for about 1,000 miles. Related: Tesla’s next Supercharger could charge electric cars in mere seconds Tesla says charging beyond that amount will be available at an additional fee, the amount of which has yet to be announced. They have said it “won’t be too expensive” and will cost drivers “less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car.” So if you’re thinking about a Tesla, now could be the time to buy. This announcement comes shortly after CEO Elon Musk hinted that a new generation of Superchargers could charge a Model S in just seconds. Near the end of December 2016, Musk hinted in a tweet that the Supercharger V3 would have an ouput of at least 350 kilowatts, or more than double the output of the current Superchargers in Tesla’s network. Via Engadget Images via Tesla Motors, Joseph Thornton and Steve Jurvetson , Flickr Creative Commons

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Tesla extends free charging at Supercharger stations

Furniture folds out of the walls in this tiny transforming apartment

January 4, 2017 by  
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In order to transform this apartment in Berlin into a comfortable environment in which to live and work, Itay Friedman Architects introduced a T-shaped, multi-functional partition that creates a subtle division of space while providing additional storage areas. With furniture that folds out of the walls to conserve space, the renovation takes a distinctly nonchalant Berlinesque approach to combining old with new. The main requirement was to preserve the original apartment’s Altbau feeling, and fit two self-sustaining but interconnected units into only 700 square feet of space. It was imperative to activate every inch and provide adequate levels of privacy to each unit. Related: Renovated Apartment in Barcelona Boasts Flexible Wooden Walls and Gorgeous Mosaic Floors The use of light tones and clean lines helped visually widen the living space. Despite budget and spatial constraints, the architects managed to create a stylish, modern apartment for a trendy urbanite. + Itay Friedman Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Boaz Arad

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Furniture folds out of the walls in this tiny transforming apartment

Endangered Borneo pygmy elephants cruelly slaughtered for ivory

January 4, 2017 by  
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Elephant poaching has ravaged populations in Africa for years – and now poachers are starting to target endangered pygmy elephants in Sabah, Borneo. On New Year’s Eve wildlife officials found the bones of Sabre, a male pygmy elephant known for having tusks similar to a sabre-tooth tiger’s. Only days before, they’d found another mutilated male elephant. Both horrifying incidents occurred less than a mile away from each other. Sabre was probably murdered in late November. Conservationists fitted him with a satellite collar after finding him on a palm oil plantation in October. They released him back into the wild, as poaching wasn’t thought to be a grave danger to elephants in the area. Related: 8 Heartbreakingly Adorable Endangered Animals That We Need to Save The other unnamed male elephant was likely killed about a month after Sabre; his face had been hacked off so the poacher could grab his tusks. Danau Girang Field Centre director Benoit Goossens said a professional hunter may have cruelly slaughtered the elephants. Goossens told The Guardian, “My hope is that Sabah wakes up…we are losing our megafauna, the rhino is gone, the banteng [wild cow] is going, the elephant will be next. Those crimes should not go unpunished. Let’s not lose our jewels, the next generation will not forgive us.” According to the World Wildlife Fund, only around 1,500 pygmy elephants are alive in the world. These small elephants struggling for survival in Sabah face deforestation and habitat loss, mainly at the hands of the palm oil industry. Wildlife Conservation Society Vice President of Species Conservation Elizabeth Bennett told The Guardian that elephants will be safe from poaching only when ivory markets are closed. China has announced plans to ban the ivory trade by the end of the year – and for imperiled elephants, that date can’t come soon enough. Via The Guardian Images via shankar s. on Flickr and Bas Leenders on Flickr

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Endangered Borneo pygmy elephants cruelly slaughtered for ivory

Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car "designed by millennials for millennials"

January 4, 2017 by  
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While Tesla and Google are busy developing the technology to make cars drive themselves, other auto companies are dreaming up what those autonomous cars of the future might look like . Fiat Chrysler just gave us a first look at its all-electric, self-driving car of the future ahead of the vehicle’s official debut this week at CES in Las Vegas. Far from a sporty coupe, the Chrysler Portal is a family car primed to leave present day minivans in the dust. The self-driving Portal looks rather similar to the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, although it sports a slightly narrower wheel base. The Portal also does away with the driver and front seat passenger doors in lieu of a single sliding door on each side. It’s worth noting that Chrysler isn’t actually calling the Portal a minivan, despite its appearance. Rather, Chrysler says the Portal is “next generation family transportation designed by millennials for millennials” which serves as “an open and serene atmosphere that bridges work and home.” Related: Chrysler and Google team up to create a self-driving minivan Among its many enticing attributes is the promised range of the all-electric vehicle – a whopping 250 miles or more on a full battery charge. Chrysler promises a 350-kilowatt fast charger that can juice up the battery enough in 20 minutes to travel up to 150 miles. The Portal’s cockpit looks drastically different than any car currently on the road, of course. Stripped down and minimalist in design, the self-driving concept car still features the essentials for human driving: a gas pedal and brake as well as a steering ‘wheel’ that looks more fit for a sci-fi set than a family van. Via The Verge and Autoblog Images via Fiat Chrysler

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Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car "designed by millennials for millennials"

BREAKING: Tesla unveils powerful new 100kWH battery for Model S and Model X

August 23, 2016 by  
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In a surprise announcement this afternoon, Tesla  revealed a powerful new battery option for its Model X and Model S that pushes the cars into new territory. The upgrade would extend the range of the Model S to 315 miles per charge – the first time any electric vehicle on the market has surpassed 300 miles of range. The Model X will receive a more modest upgrade, extending its range to 289 miles on a single charge. The upgrade will also allow the Model S P100D Ludicrous to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds flat, making it the third fastest production car in the world. CEO Elon Musk said during a press briefing that the battery would be available for any cars with a “ Ludicrous Mode ” option included. Current owners will, however, be able to upgrade to the new battery pack for $20,000. Those who have ordered a Tesla but haven’t yet received their car can upgrade at a discounted price of $10,000. (The price difference is due to the cost of recycling the existing battery.) Related: Tesla announces plan for world domination: includes trucks, buses and solar power New cars with the upgraded battery option will start at $134,500 and will be produced at a lower volume than the manufacturer’s other vehicles, due to the complexity of the battery pack. It will be available for order immediately, and customers will be able to receive their vehicles starting in September. The initial production run will be limited to about 200 packs per week, so if you’re interested in supercharging your vehicle, you should act fast or expect a bit of a wait. Via CNBC images via Tesla and Maurizio Pesce

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BREAKING: Tesla unveils powerful new 100kWH battery for Model S and Model X

Tesla responds to first ever death-by-autopilot crash in Florida

July 1, 2016 by  
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This week Tesla disclosed that the first known death caused by a self-driving car was due to one of its own. Joshua Brown was involved in a fatal accident on May 7, when his Model S sensor system failed to discriminate between a bright white sky and the bright white side of a large 18-wheel truck crossing the highway. A release by Tesla admits that the autopilot system is “not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=23&v=5TjbqVartjM Brown was a Navy veteran and avid enthusiast of the electric vehicle company, posting videos of his adventures in his Model S. Tesla acknowledged his commitment to their mission in a statement about the incident, yet also reminded the public that the autopilot system requires constant awareness from the driver and employs a variety of features to encourage drivers to stay attentive. Related: The Tesla Model S can now drive, park and brake without relying on a human driver The accident, which took place in Williston, Florida, is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which reported that Brown died at the scene from the impact of the semi tearing through the top of his car. Tesla’s statement explains that neither the autopilot nor Brown applied the brakes. Tesla has recently hinted that the affordable Model 3 will be equipped with self-driving  capabilities, so the technology isn’t going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, neither are people’s tendencies to push limits or succumb to human error. The benefits of autopilot assistance are abundant, as are the precautions drivers must take to use it safely. You can read Tesla’s full response to the accident here . Via  The Guardian Images via  Flickr

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Tesla responds to first ever death-by-autopilot crash in Florida

Body parts, police protests, and financial strain plague Rio just weeks before Olympics

July 1, 2016 by  
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A little more than a month from now, Olympic volleyball players will be spiking balls in the sand on the famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Preparing the city to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games is no simple task, but a series of unfortunate and embarrassing events have added to the skepticism about the fate of the massive international event. Yesterday, a beachgoer discovered a dismembered foot as well as another unidentified body part on the shore , washed up with the tide. The police investigation is underway, but this most recent development has critics wondering whether Rio can ever be ready to host the Games. Embed from Getty Images Upon initial investigation, police suggest the body parts may belong to a woman or a young adult, but no identification has been made as of this report. Although the discovery is ominous on its own, it compounds the recent string of ‘bad news’ in Rio de Janeiro , which is now just a few weeks away from the Games’ opening ceremonies. The problems are numerous, and widespread, leading many to wonder whether Brazil’s second largest city was a good choice for the epic sporting event. Related: Soldier kills a jaguar used in Rio 2016 Olympic torch relay Two days prior to the shore discovery, the acting governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro warned that the event might be a “big failure” due to the state’s insufficient finances. “I am optimistic about the games, but I have to show the reality,” Francisco Dornelles told Brazilian newspaper O Globo . “We can make a great Olympics, but if some steps are not taken, it can be a big failure.” Embed from Getty Images The economic situation is so bad that police and firefighters are protesting against the government over unpaid wages, warning visitors that their safety may be in jeopardy. Public demonstrations were held as recently as Monday over unpaid wages, and graffiti has popped up around the city related to the conflict. On an even broader scale, health officials are concerned about the still-present Zika virus and warning pregnant women to avoid the events and the city entirely, due to the high risk of severe birth defects associated with contracting the mosquito-borne disease. Despite these events, there has been little discussion about altering the plan for the Games. Via CNN Lead image via Eric Steffen/Flickr

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Body parts, police protests, and financial strain plague Rio just weeks before Olympics

Tesla is voluntarily recalling every Model S on the road

November 23, 2015 by  
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Tesla is voluntarily recalling every single Model S on the road after one seat belt came apart. No one was hurt in the original incident and Tesla hasn’t been able to replicate the problem in any of the 3,000 cars in their possession that haven’t yet hit the road. According to the company, the cost of the move isn’t important, just the safety of their customers. Read the rest of Tesla is voluntarily recalling every Model S on the road

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Tesla is voluntarily recalling every Model S on the road

Northern white rhino dies at San Diego Zoo, leaving just 3 on Earth

November 23, 2015 by  
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There are now just three northern white rhinos on Earth, after the passing of 41-year-old Nola at the San Diego Zoo this weekend. The elderly female rhino was euthanized following a long battle with arthritis and, more recently, an infection in her hip. Zoo officials said in a statement that Nola had surgery on November 13 to drain an abscess from the bacterial infection, and her condition deteriorated in the days following the procedure. Nola is survived by three other elderly rhinos , all living on a preserve in Kenya. Read the rest of Northern white rhino dies at San Diego Zoo, leaving just 3 on Earth

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