Elon Musk wants to build an electric roller coaster at Tesla’s campus

March 1, 2017 by  
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Tesla is quickly becoming one of the coolest places to work. After an employee spoke out about working conditions in a Medium post, Elon Musk sent out an email detailing his vision for company fun – including free frozen yogurt stands and an electric pod car roller coaster . Tesla employee Jose Moran penned a post titled Time for Tesla to Listen earlier this month, calling out the electric car company for 60-70 hour work weeks and hourly wages lower than those earned by average automotive workers. He said many employees were exploring unionizing, and had contacted the labor union United Auto Workers (UAW). Moran said he believes in Tesla’s vision, but wants to make the company better. Related: Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories In response, Musk sent out a company-wide email. He said he was distraught at the mention of the UAW, because in Musk’s view the union favors large car companies and doesn’t share Tesla’s mission. He also accused UAW of employing disingenuous tactics. Musk said Tesla awards employees shares and offers the opportunity to buy stock at lower prices than the public, in contrast to other car companies. Regarding work hours, Musk pointed to changes to reduce overtime hours such as the addition of a third shift. Of course, an average Tesla worker’s week is still slightly longer than 40 hours at 43 hours a week. He also looked ahead to changes that can be enacted when Tesla becomes profitable. When the Model 3 attains volume production, the company will host what Musk described as a really amazing party. But a fancy shindig isn’t all Tesla employees can look forward to; Musk said in the email, “There will also be little things that come along like free frozen yogurt stands scattered around the factory and my personal favorite: a Tesla electric pod car roller coaster (with an optional loop the loop route, of course!) that will allow fast and fun travel throughout our Fremont campus, dipping in and out of the factory and connecting all the parking lots. It’s going to get crazy good.” Via TechCrunch Images via Austin Kirk on Flickr and OnInnovation on Flickr

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Elon Musk wants to build an electric roller coaster at Tesla’s campus

Repurposed shipping containers make a bold statement at the National Theater Company of Korea

March 1, 2017 by  
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Seoul’s trendy mall made of shipping containers isn’t the only place you’ll see cargotecture in the city. Urbantainer , the same local firm behind the world’s largest cargotecture mall Common Ground , recently completed an extension for the National Theater Company of Korea , one of the nation’s flagship theater companies based in the capital. The new visitor area comprises a series of red shipping containers skillfully transformed into a contemporary and functional space that still preserves an industrial character. The National Theater Company of Korea (NTCK) commissioned Urbantainer to create a visitor area that would serve as a social space within the grounds. To integrate the new space with the existing buildings, the designers aligned the containers with the building axis and painted them the same shade of red as the NTCK logo. “While highlighting the modular form of containers, the design is deliberately held light and maintains a balance with existing features and objects such as a former oil station and the grass square,” writes Urbantainer. Related: World’s largest shipping container shopping mall pops up in Seoul Although the cargotecture building looks like it’s made up of separate containers stacked together, many of the container walls were removed to create an interior with a 12-meter-long column-less space to accommodate large gatherings. High ceilings, access to natural light, and the light color palette give the interior a spacious and open feel. The flexible open-plan area can be manipulated with partitions and moving walls to allow for a variety of functions. + Urbantainer Images © Kyungsub Shin

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Repurposed shipping containers make a bold statement at the National Theater Company of Korea

Tesla is so confident in their vehicles they’re offering lifetime insurance

February 27, 2017 by  
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Once again Tesla is shaking up the automotive industry, this time through insurance for life. The company has started offering a lifetime maintenance and insurance package for some customers, meaning monthly car insurance bills could soon be a budget item of the past. Tesla President of Global Sales and Service Jonathan McNeill said, “It’s our vision in the future that we’ll be able to offer a single price for the car, maintenance, and insurance in a really compelling offering for the consumer. And we’re currently doing that today.” Assured of the features incorporated in a Tesla that purportedly make the vehicle safer than a typical car, such as Autopilot, Tesla has begun including lifetime insurance and maintenance package right in the initial price of their cars . The new package reflects the idea that their safety features could reduce the price of maintenance and insurance. Related: Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car In an earnings call, McNeill said, “We’ve been doing it quietly, but in Asia in particular where we started this, now the majority of Tesla cars are sold with an insurance product that is customized to Tesla, that takes into account not only the Autopilot safety features but also the maintenance costs of the car.” Such a package could allow consumers to know exactly how much a Tesla car will cost them over the long term, rather than facing unforeseen repair costs or rising insurance costs. Elon Musk made it clear Tesla is willing to offer the package if insurance companies aren’t on board, even though he said his company isn’t trying to disrupt the insurance market. He said of the insurance plan, “If we need to we’ll insource it, but I think we’ll find that insurance partners do adjust rates proportionate to the risk of a Tesla.” Via Mashable Images via Tesla Facebook and Wikimedia Commons

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Tesla is so confident in their vehicles they’re offering lifetime insurance

Chilean home’s folding timber flap gives owners optimum temperature control

February 27, 2017 by  
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Designed by Santiago-based B+V Architects , the Folding House in Las Cabras, Chile was strategically wrapped with a wooden “flap” to give the owners optimal temperature control. The unique feature prevents excessive solar radiation during the searing hot summer months while inviting the heat in winter. In addition to providing year-round temperature control, the responsive design element pulls double duty as a sun-streaming cover for the rooftop deck, which offers spectacular lake side views. The stunning 900-square-meter home was tucked into a steep incline, exposing it to the area’s high temperatures. To create a responsive design that wouldn’t sacrifice aesthetics, the architects added the double-ventilated wooden façade as an attractive and protective element. The feature allows the homeowners to enjoy the amazing lake views year-round from the comfort of the outdoor deck, without overheating in the summer months. Related: Eco friendly origami house unfolds on Brazilian beach The double ventilated wooden flap facade shades the home’s exterior walls and roof. In summer, the wooden facade acts as an eave that protects the home from excessive solar radiation . During winter, on the other hand, the wooden envelope allows heat to enter the interior, which is stabilized by high-quality insulation , as well as elimination of all thermal bridges. For additional heating on cloudy days, a small wood-burning stove can be fired up. On the interior, large floor-to-ceiling windows flood the home with natural light and also enhance cross ventilation when opened. A large open courtyard sits in the center of the interior, seamlessly connecting the exterior with the interior. + B+V Architects Via FlipBoard Photography by Rodolfo Lagos Berardi Images via B+V Architects

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Chilean home’s folding timber flap gives owners optimum temperature control

Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories

February 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla is embarking on a building spree – and Elon Musk just revealed plans for up to five Gigafactories. In Wednesday’s fourth quarter investor letter , Musk said that the second Gigafactory will be Tesla’s solar manufacturing plant currently under construction in Buffalo, N.Y. – and the company plans to announce the final locations for Gigafactories 3, 4 and 5 later this year. “Installation of Model 3 manufacturing equipment is underway in Fremont and at Gigafactory 1 , where in January, we began production of battery cells for energy storage products, which have the same form-factor as the cells that will be used in the Model 3,” the letter reads. “Later this year, we expect to finalize locations for Gigafactories 3, 4 and possibly 5 (Gigafactory 2 is the Tesla solar plant in New York).” Related: Tesla’s Gigafactory is getting a $350 million upgrade to build Model 3 parts Tesla said that the company’s first affordable electric vehicle, the Model 3 , is on track for initial production in July, with volume production starting in September — 5,000 vehicles per week at some point in the fourth quarter of 2017, ramping up to 10,000 vehicles per week in 2018. Tesla also expects solar roof production at the New York factory to launch in the second half of the year. Musk has previously stated that at least 200 gigafactories must be built in order to meet electric vehicle demand. With the announcement of more gigafactories in the works, Musk is making it clear that he is serious about accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. + Tesla Via The Verge Images via Flickr and Tesla

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Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories

Tesla to cover repair costs after Model S owner sacrifices his car to save a life

February 17, 2017 by  
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Not only are Tesla cars saving the environment , they’re also saving lives. Earlier this week a Tesla Model S driver in Germany noticed a Volkswagen Passat swerving on the Autobahn. Realizing the car’s driver was unconscious, Tesla driver Manfred Kick risked his vehicle to save the driver’s life. Then Elon Musk got wind of Kick’s heroism. When he saw the Volkswagen hitting the guardrail, Kick pulled up next to the car and realized the driver was unconscious – it’s possible he experienced a stroke. So Kick pulled his Tesla in front of the Volkswagen and tapped the brakes until he could bring both cars to a halt. He was able to administer some first aid and ask other drivers who stopped to call for help. A Munich fire station, who commended Kick for incredible courage, reported an emergency medical team treated the Volkswagen driver, who is around 47 years old, before taking him to a special clinic. Related: Did Tesla Autopilot predict an upcoming accident before it actually happened? https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/831972613912080384 At first Kick wasn’t sure whose insurance company would have to cover repair costs. In the process of bringing the Volkswagen to a safe stop he incurred around 10,000 Euros of combined damage. But he told German publication Muenchner Merkur, “The most important thing is that the man is all right again.” The police reported the Volkswagen driver’s condition is stable, according to Muenchner Merkur. But it turns out Kick won’t have to worry about repair costs after all. Elon Musk praised his actions on Twitter, and said his electric vehicle company will cover repair costs “free of charge and expedited.” Mashable reported while German police must conduct an investigation into Kick, policemen said he probably won’t get a fine, but an award. Via Jalopnik and Muenchner Merkur Images via Feuerwehr München on Facebook

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Tesla to cover repair costs after Model S owner sacrifices his car to save a life

Tesla to start test-building the Model 3 this month

February 9, 2017 by  
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Now that the Chevy Bolt has officially arrived, the attention is now on Tesla to see if it can meet its production deadlines for the Model 3. According to Reuters, Elon Musk’s company is now one step closer to the start of the official production as the automaker plans to test-build the Model 3 later this month. Tesla hasn’t confirmed how many Model 3 vehicles will be produced this month, but it will likely be a small number. In part this will allow the automaker test the existing assembly system, and quality test the Model 3 . It’s rumored that the pilot production will kick off on February 20, which will also give Tesla the ability to share the news and potentially reveal pre-production models two days later when it shares its four-quarter 2016 results on February 22. Related: Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car Tesla is expected to shut down production at its California plant for a week later this month to prepare for the high-volume Model 3. The brief shutdown will enable Tesla to make some necessary changes to the paint shop and other maintenance upgrades, both prerequisites for kicking off production of the Model 3 later this year. If all goes as planned, this should happen in July, and Tesla hopes to ramp up production significantly by 2018. + Tesla Via Reuters All images © Tesla

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Tesla to start test-building the Model 3 this month

Tesla just unveiled the world’s largest battery storage plant

February 1, 2017 by  
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Tesla just completed construction on what it claims is the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world. The facility is located at in Ontario, California and it consists of 396 Tesla powerpacks that can store 80 megawatt-hours of electricity – that’s enough to power over 2,500 households for a day or 15,000 households for four hours. Tesla nabbed the contract to build the battery storage facility for Southern California Edison in September 2016, and it was completed by the end of that year. The project consists of two 10 megawatt systems – each made of 198 Tesla Powerpacks and 24 inverters – connected to two different circuits at the Mira Loma Substation. Tesla Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel said “Storage is quite a new thing…and this is a different breed of battery. This is the tip of the iceberg of how much storage we’ll see on the grid .” Related: Solar homes with Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 are already cost-competitive with the grid in Australia SCE said the facility would allow them to draw more on clean energies like solar power . When clean energy projects produce more electricity than the utility needs, it can now be stores and utilized during peak hours. The Tesla battery storage facility seems like the perfect answer to our energy issues, but MIT Technology Review points out lithium batteries are still expensive, and no one has said how much the facility cost. It’s also not clear how many cycles the Powerpack batteries can go through before they begin to degrade – MIT estimates 5,000 cycles, which would work well in a home but not as well in a grid setting. At the ribbon-cutting, SCE CEO Kevin Payne said, “This project is part of our vision at SCE to take advantage of the wind and the sun, and operate a flexible grid that delivers clean energy to power our homes, our businesses, and our vehicles. Standing here today among these Tesla Powerpacks is a great reminder of how fast technology is changing the electric power industry and the opportunities that will come with it.” Via MIT Technology Review Images via Ernesto Sanchez/Edison International

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Tesla just unveiled the world’s largest battery storage plant

Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car

January 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla just made electric vehicle (EV) history, but you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know. With nary an announcement or social media post, the company surreptitiously introduced the Model S 100D, which boasts an impressive, record-breaking EPA-estimated range of 335 miles. Like the S 90D, the S 100D has a top speed of 155 miles per hour, and can reach 60 miles per hour from zero in a mere 2.4 seconds. If you’re looking for an EV that can prowl the roads for a long time on a single charge, the Tesla Model S 100D is now the car to beat. Compared against the Model S P100D, the S 100D can drive 20 miles further on one charge, and while it takes longer to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour (the S P100D can accomplish the feat in 2.5 seconds), the S 100D costs around $30,000 less than the P100D and includes the same 100 kWh battery pack . Related: Check out this adorable $500 electric Tesla Model S just for kids (sorry adults) Surprisingly, Tesla rolled out the exciting new option with little pomp, instead quietly adding an update to their online design studio . The new S 100D starts at $95,000, which is only about $3,000 more than the 90D. Given its extra range of 41 miles more than the 90D, some people may think an extra $3,000 is quite a bargain. Aside from the different battery packs – the 90D has the 90 kWh battery pack – both cars have identical standard equipment. As of December 2016, such equipment includes “collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking,” according to the design studio website. Electrek points out the carmaker has never before offered as many options as they provide now. With the affordable new S 100D, Tesla could see a boost in sales, as many new buyers may opt for the longest range they can get. Via Autoblog and Electrek Images via Tesla and Tesla Facebook

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Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car

Moscows Urban Farm teaches kids how to grow their own food

January 23, 2017 by  
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City living often removes people from nature and from where their food comes from, but an initiative in Moscow proves that doesn’t need to be the norm. Russian architecture firm Wowhaus recently completed Urban Farm, a development in Moscow’s VDNKh park that reconnects children with nature by teaching them how to grow their own food and how to cook meals. The farm in the city is the first of its kind in Moscow and covers a variety of agricultural activities from raising livestock to tending vegetable gardens. Located next to the Kamenskiye Ponds, the three-hectare Urban Farm comprises a series of open-air and covered areas built mainly of timber based on wooden house archetypes such as double-pitched roofs. The development is made up of three main educational areas: the livestock zone that includes a barn with chicken coops and pasture for the nearly 60 animals on site including goats, sheep, cows, and more; the workshops zone; and the crop zone that includes greenhouses , orchard, and vegetable garden. The Urban Farm is also home to a restaurant that includes a small cooking school for kids, a kiosk and picnic area, a library, children’s play area, and children’s fishing zone. Children are not only allowed to interact with animals, but are also encouraged to take care of them by preparing their food or directly feeding them. Staff teach children how to further care for the livestock and the economics and management of farming such as balancing a farm budget and making financial decisions. An on-site veterinarian makes sure all animals are well taken care of. Workshops housed in the beautiful arched buildings offer classes on pottery, woodworking, and other artistic pursuits. The greenhouses, clad in a pineapple-like facade, include hydroponic farming for herbs and vegetables, soil-based farming for flowers, and a nursery for more exotic plants. Related: Studio Gang’s Chicago farm school will teach kids how to grow their own organic food “The main objective of the project is to educate,” says a statement on VDNHk’s website . “Live exhibition is aimed primarily at children, but, as the experience shows not only kids, but also adults are happy to come here. All year round there will be held master classes, lectures, thematic presentations of plants and animals, as well as different recreational activities.” + Wowhaus Images via Wowhaus , VDNH

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Moscows Urban Farm teaches kids how to grow their own food

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