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Tesla Feature Story Assignment

*this assignment lost its three column formatting and quotes when posting to WordPress.

It was one of those first winter storms that rolled into the coast, drenching Victoria and surrounding areas in heavy rains that blew at you from all angles, obliterating umbrellas, prompting boil water advisories, and knocking out power. Chris Marks needs to get to an important meeting within an hour and he has nobody scheduled to drive him in his wheelchair van, he can take two buses although he is not sure what number the connecting one should be. So he dons his winter jacket, rain poncho, Southwester rain hat and heads off to the meeting thinking, “I cannot wait until Tesla finally releases the fully autonomous vehicle on the market”.

 

Chris can drive but does not because of a spinal injury 10 years ago that left him quadriplegic. He had taken driving lessons after the spinal injury and determined that the random, severe, muscle spasms that can be associated post injury would be too risky for him to drive himself. He has been closely following the progress of Tesla Motors and their fully electric vehicles; just last month, Tesla wirelessly bestowed an advanced autopilot feature into all their newer model cars in North America, overnight. This is widely viewed as the first step toward fully autonomous vehicles which Google and others are working on although Elon Musk of Tesla Motors predicts it will be getting this technology out to the public by 2017 or 2018; Google predicts 2020.

 

Chris’s decision to not pursue getting his license post injury means he travels by his electric wheelchair at up to 14 km/h, usually in a bicycle lane as sidewalks are too bumpy and unpredictable at that speed for a wheelchair. Being a student gives him a bus pass with good coverage in city limits that is diminished the evenings, Sundays, and at his main campus 8.5 km away from downtown. He has a modified van that accepts his wheelchair but has to schedule somebody with a valid driver’s license for a minimum of two hours, even if he just needs a 15 minute ride. To own an autonomous vehicle that can pull up to him when he calls it, take him safely to his destination, and then return him back home comfortably has seemed like science fiction in the future that is now becoming fact.

After a spinal injury, many people find creative ways to regain independence, with varying levels of success. Just modifying a zipper so that it can be used by somebody without the ability to grip lets someone unzip their coat a bit if they get too hot and zip it up if they are cold. The level of freedom, autonomy, dignity and independence that a self-driving vehicle represents is only a few levels below an actual cure for spinal injury.

 

It is not just Chris who will benefit from this technology, but the elderly, injured, developmentally delayed, and/or physically challenged demographic could see a revolution in their level of autonomy and independence. Families, business people, delivery services, taxis and transportation companies are all in line to be transformed by the introduction of self-driving cars.

The level of freedom this represents cannot be understated for many people. Having constantly different drivers increases Chris’s insurance costs, wear and tear on the vehicle, and stress levels. Some say that the autonomously driving cars being tested by Google for the last five years are already safer than humans, don’t get tired or fatigued or text while driving and will be embraced by the insurance companies. The only dings in his $60,000 wheelchair van were from an ex-girlfriend, not an employee but there were a couple employee related collisions in the past with inanimate objects like a wall in a parkade.

Some people remain skeptical of technology and may not want to trust their lives to a computer system that could possibly be as prone to randomly freezing up as an old version of Windows. Chris has been following leading edge technology in robotics, graphene and quantum computing, and of course, self-driving cars. Chris was excited about Tesla motors before he even heard there were pushing toward autonomous vehicles simply because they are all electric. His electric wheelchair goes pretty slow by bicycle or wheelchair standards but is sleek, fast, and high-performance by walking metrics. Chris likes to point out that the advances in battery construction necessary to power Tesla’s fleet will put high density lithium-ion batteries within reach of people who need them; when the distance you can go that day depends upon battery life, then battery technology can contribute to quality of life.

Victorians are usually smug about their good weather on the coast comparing themselves to Hawaii or Florida versus the rest of Canada that often gets unthinkably cold snaps and snowdrifts that can keep many people shut in for many of the winter months. Many like Chris dream of a safe, all-wheel-drive, self-driving vehicle that can get you where you need to go any time of any day like a cross between a chauffeur and a designated driver that never takes a day off.  For now, regular articles and press releases and news stories documenting the progress of autonomous vehicles to market are read with increasing interest. These are not popular mechanics articles written 20 or 50 years in the future, the technology exists today and is working and undergoing continuous refinement. With winter coming back to the coast in a wet, blustery onslaught of low pressure storms and high pressure freezing periods, Chris continues navigating the bus, covered areas in which to stay dry and scheduling helpers that scare him the least to drive him and his teenager around when necessary. The future may be here, and yet it cannot come soon enough for Chris.

 

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Wait But Why Weighs In; This Guy Gets It.

Purely a Re-blog, all the things I’ve been trying to say and more in one blog post.

Excerpt:

The battle going on isn’t about gas cars vs. electric cars. That one’s already decided. This is a war about time. Oil companies will try to slow things down, and they may succeed—but they’re not winning this one“.

A long read, and so worth it.

So good.

From Sport to Insane Speed!

Ever forging ahead, Tesla continues to over-deliver on its vehicles and people, blogs, articles, and companies are noticing. Tesla ReTweets an Economist post on March 10:

 “

RT Any doubts that electric cars are the future are blown away within minutes of driving a Model S

The Economist article linked through Tesla’s Twitter account states, “It is not so much the rapid acceleration, but the smooth and relentless supply of power from its electric motor”.

On the same Tesla Twitter page, later on March 10, Elon Musk posts a YouTube video of “Model S in drag race against snowmobile on ice lake in Norway (no tire chains or studs).
Tesla Model S P85D vs. Lynx Boondocker 800 ccm”  and that video shows switching the vehicle to Insane mode for a race against a snowmobile. This really is insane! (Jakobson, 2015).

Watch the video here.

 Of course the Tesla leaves the snowmobile behind, but my favourite part is at 5 seconds through 11 seconds..did you see that touchscreen? Wow! That is definitely the future of automobiles! I want one!

If the snow race is underwhelming for you, perhaps a video of a phone sticking to the seat as a Tesla accelerates with 4 adults inside the vehicle from what looks like 0-60? (Force, 2015).

What is the P85D? As one blogger put it: “In case you have been away from the internet in the past 12 hours, let’s recap some numbers. The P85D has 691 horsepower and will reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds…is there a better overall car than the P85D?” (McParland, 2014).

I have never even driven one but I don’t think so! Check out the blog post here.

This may or may not wrap the blog on this topic as the school semester is drawing to a close but rest assured, I will continue to watch Tesla  closely.

Embedding the Youtube video was as simple as copy/pasting but the first video was via a Norweigan site so I  left it original instead of embedding it straight from Youtube. Enjoy!

Works Cited

Force, G. (2015, Feb 06). Tesla P85D Insane Mode – Pins phone with 1.2 g’s . Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQHvMU6a0uA

Jakobson, O. (2015, March 10). Motor. Retrieved from klikk: http://www.klikk.no/motor/bil/article1526102.ece

McParland, T. (2014, October 10). will-the-tesla-model-s-p85d-be-the-best-overall-car-you. Retrieved from jalopnik.com: carbuying.jalopnik.com/will-the-tesla-model-s-p85d-be-the-best-overall-car-you-1644727868

 

Hootsuite Thoughts

In the Camosun College Digital Marketing 440 class I am taking as part of an overall marketing degree, we touched upon this blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, video Skype and other programs as well as completing the Hootsuite University and becoming a certified professional via numerous videos and exams that coach and demonstrate the minutiae filters, groups and streams available.

I like the tests and the videos are quite comprehensive but as with anything, practice and use will lead to expertise. I’m glad to have been given a fast track look at this social media management software and am enjoying getting to learn to use it.

Within the Hootsuite certification courseware, in no particular order, I thought the security and privacy controls by an overall admin are necessary; the ability to customize and shorten URLs is fantastic; the do’s and don’ts of social media etiquette straightforward and helpful; the ability to customize streams and listen across other platforms and across the Internet for keywords, positive and negative sentiments for all products or services or topics relevant to your particular company and your particular campaign/strategy is exciting and powerful.

I look forward to learning more and exploring these and other features and benefits in the months to come. These tools provide immense insight can streamline management of social media platforms for the individual, and business alike vague, and small, for-profit, and nonprofit.

Although this blog gradually focused upon Tesla and alternative energy versus oil, it began as a digital exploration for school. It has been a good experience and more than anything has taught me how much more I have to learn..

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Tesla Photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tesla_Roadster_Japanese_display.jpg

 

Newsletter: Tesla World

Tesla World

Tesla continues to crush big oil.

2010 Devon GTXModel X coming 2016.

Hi Kate!

Thanks for subscribing to Tesla World where we keep you up to date 4 times/year on the many ways Tesla is paving the way toward an oil free future!

Stay up to date on the latest info!

 

Regards,

Chris.

Tesla News:

Related News:

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Oil vs Solar Whitepaper.

Introduction:
Solar vs. Fossil Fuel; how long until solar renders Fossil Fuels obsolete?
When will battery and solar technologies be able to compete with conventional energies?

  • “Solar will account for over 40 percent of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S. [in 2015]… More than 250,000 solar projects will be completed this year” (Kann, 2015).
  •  Battery technology is set to get cheaper (Hiatt, 2015).
  •  Home solar can stabilize the grid (Fairly, Feb).
  •  Hemp based graphene super-capacitors promise to reduce battery costs (Hiatt, 2015).
  •  Despite this, Big oil seems to want to burn it all (COHAN, 2014),

Background:
The price of oil is subject to dramatic variations historically and recently, as anybody who has paid any attention to world news can attest.

  •  Oil impacts our daily life with the cost of gasoline and other products and oil “extracted per day has increased from 66 million barrels in 1990 to around 87 million barrels in 2010” (Ahmad Ahmadian, 2013).
  •  Currently, oil supplies are at their “highest levels in 80 years” with crude down to under $50 a barrel (Morrison, 2015). Despite this, in the local market, gas prices have inched back up from $.96 per liter at the end of January to $1.129/L on February 27, 2015 in Victoria BC, according to Victoriagasprices.com.
  • This price volatility and seeming disconnect between the world price of a barrel of oil and the local price of a liter of gas is a huge source of cognitive dissonance for consumers.
  • According to NASA , atmospheric carbon was higher in 2014 that it has been for the previous 650,000 years and the scientific evidence shows that, “large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically-speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands” (NASA, 2015). This means that the time to act is now, but how?

 

CO2

This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution. (Credit: Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.) (NASA, 2015).
Looking for a better way, the race worldwide to lessen dependence upon fossil fuels is in full swing with solar power and battery technology developments being reported regularly as any Google search will show.

Solution:
Green energy solutions include wind, tidal, geothermal, and solar, as well as energy storage solutions and power grid stabilization. This white paper will focus primarily on solar and battery storage technology as an increasingly viable solution to the challenges faced by modern society.

  • Solar is feasible today, and will get more so in the future as, “the largest proportion of costs occurs during deployment rather than generation, contrary to coal and natural gas power plants. In other words, the opportunities to achieve economies of scale are greater during the solar PV manufacturing stage than at the generating site itself” (Mahdi Yaqub, 2012).
  • Recent breakthroughs in solar technology promise a grid parity future sooner than later and, “[a] new type of solar cell, made from a material that is dramatically cheaper to obtain and use than silicon, could generate as much power as today’s commodity solar cells (Bullis, news, 2013).
    Presented neutrally, Solar vs. Oil facts seem to lead toward Solar:
Solar Oil
Energy derived directly from the sun Energy derived from fossil fuel
Energy source will never be exhausted in our lifetime Energy source is finite and located in only certain locations in the earth
Energy must be converted into electricity or heat using solar converters such as photovoltaic cells, thermal cells, mirrors, or ovens. Energy must be converted into electricity or heat by the use of converters that use fire to burn the oil, such as: turbines, engines, and fire
Energy can be used directly Energy cannot be used directly
Converters are passive and once commissioned will operate for years without maintenance Converters are active and have several moving parts. These will require extensive maintenance to operate for extended periods
Energy is only directly available during the periods of sunshine Energy is available at all times as long as the fuel is available
Amount of energy decreases as the latitude increases The amount of energy produced is not a function of the location at which it is being used
Zero pollutions is produced by the converters Significant amount of pollution is produced by the use of fossil fuel
Zero health effects from the use of the solar converters The pollutions from the use of oil may cause respiratory and other health hazards
Energy produced by the converters may be stored in batteries, vats and hot water tanks No storage medium needed
Converters for transportation is limited as few electric vehicles are on the market Oil is the primary fuel for transportation
The levelized cost of energy for solar systems is now comparable to that of oil The levelized cost of energy for oil systems is now comparable to that of solar
The cost to install a solar system requires a capital expenditure The cost to install a new oil electric plant is much larger than a solar plant but most oil plants have already been established and operational
Solar electric plants are the only systems that can be developed and installed on any scale, small, medium of large Oil electric plants require extensive capital and are often only used for medium and large scale systems
Solar plants are the simplest to be installed and used the least amount of parts Oil plants are often significantly complicated and requires extensive training to develop

Source: http://www.wcpsolar.com/solar-talk/41-oil-vs-solar
Conclusion:

  • Although not fully functional yet, Tesla’s home storage batteries are set to power your home in the near future and maybe allow you to sell power back to the grid (Fung, 2015).
  • A material that can make solar dirt cheap, perovskites, is gaining traction:
    ““Between 2009 and 2012 there was only one paper. Then in the end of the summer of 2012 it all kicked off,” Snaith says. Efficiencies quickly doubled and then doubled again. And the efficiency is expected to keep growing as researchers apply techniques that have been demonstrated to improve the efficiency of other solar cells” (Bullis, News, 2013).
  • Tesla has released its electric vehicle patents in an effort to jump start the industry (Solomon, 2014) and is building a gigafactory that will single handedly produce more electric vehicle battery packs by 2020 than the entire world supply in 2013, and lower vehicle battery pack wholesale price 30% by 2017 (Tesla, 2013).

Solar is the future; the future is now.


Works Cited

Ahmad Ahmadian, A. H. (2013, December 01). The Impact of Oil Price Fluctuations on the Automobile Industry. International Journal of Business & Economics Perspectives. Access via library:http://libsecure.camosun.bc.ca:2078/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=db1480fa-6402-4d4a-86f3-77065ccfdc5f%40sessionmgr4003&vid=3&hid=4213, p. 02.

Bullis, K. (2013, August 08). news. Retrieved from Technologyreview.com: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/517811/a-material-that-could-make-solar-power-dirt-cheap/

COHAN, W. D. (2014, December 29). BIG OIL WANTS TO BURN IT ALL. THE NATION, pp. Accessed via: http://libsecure.camosun.bc.ca:2078/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a713838e-fea1-46a0-9ec1-391a0d22881f%40sessionmgr110&vid=4&hid=113.

Fairly, P. (Feb, 2015). How Rooftop Solar Can Stabilize The Grid. North American, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=7024493.

Fung, B. (2015, Febuary 12). blogs. Retrieved from washingtonpost.com: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/02/12/this-new-tesla-battery-will-power-your-home-and-maybe-the-electric-grid-too/

Hiatt, E. (2015, Feb 25). Hemp Supercapacitors — Cleaner, Greener Battery Components. Retrieved from Reset.Me: http://reset.me/story/hemp-supercapacitor/

Kann, S. (2015, Feb 23). shayle-kanns-solar-predictions. Retrieved from greentechmedia.com: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/shayle-kanns-solar-predictions

Mahdi Yaqub, S. S. (2012). Feasibility Analysis of Solar Photovoltaic. Engineering Management Journal. Via Camosun Library: http://libsecure.camosun.bc.ca:2078/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=9e38fdd1-7059-49c5-a33f-f8cd9df96ef2%40sessionmgr4004&vid=6&hid=4213, 12.

Morrison, M. (2015, February 27). Canadian Dollar up amid Rising Oil Prices. Retrieved from Global News.ca: http://globalnews.ca/news/1854513/canadian-dollar-up-amid-rising-oil-prices/

NASA. (2015). Nasa. Retrieved from Causes: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Solomon, B. (2014, 12 06). Brian Solomon. Retrieved from Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2014/06/12/tesla-goes-open-source-elon-musk-releases-patents-to-good-faith-use/

Tesla. (2013). Gigafactory.pdf. Retrieved from Teslamotors.com: http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_attachments/gigafactory.pdf

 

Gas price back up, Oil price back down.

So climate change is real and there is a “90 percent probability that human activities over the past 250 years have warmed our planet.

The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels [and] the rate of increase in global warming due to these gases is very likely to be unprecedented within the past 10,000 years or more”, if you believe NASA.

So why does that matter?

The worldwide price of oil still low at $48.50/barrel and on the decline, local gas prices have crept back up from $0.95/L to $1.05 in the last week; it seems like somebody is making profits. We may explore who in a later post.

The ripple effects through the economy really highlight our dependence upon oil. Personally I am a big fan of Tesla and hope to own of his electric automobiles one day. As MarketWatch reports:

“Maybe people are still going to line up to pay $70,000 for one of his fancy new battery-powered Tesla S models. But it was a lot easier to sell the concept when gasoline was $3.70 a gallon than it is at $2.25…According to data compiled by Edmunds, the automobile market research company, sales of light trucks and other “gas guzzlers” … are suddenly booming again. And sales of hybrids, electrics and other fuel-efficient vehicles have suddenly, er, tanked…already U.S. car buyers are shunning fuel-efficient vehicles and buying themselves a new SUV. When enough do that, gasoline consumption goes back up, and so do prices”.

Good thing Tesla makes a very good automobile.

Here in Canada, the lower price of oil has serious consequences for what is now Canada’s largest economic generator, tar sands. Already, “already, top Canadian player Suncor, .. has cut $1 billion from its budget and is slashing 1000 jobs”.

Discussions with a student at Camosun tonight had him wager that oil would stay below $80 per barrel for the next six years.

What would that do to Cenovus, Tesla, the Canadian economy and the human part of the human caused climate change? Does it matter? How will alternative energy and renewable energy industries react?

Works Cited

Arends, B. (2015, January 02). Can Tesla survive collapsing oil prices? Retrieved from MarketWatch.com: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/can-tesla-survive-collapsing-gas-prices-2014-12-31

French, C. (2015, February 03). Time to panic? Layoffs loom large in Canada’s oil patch: survey. Retrieved from Yahoo: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/blogs/balance-sheet/layoffs-loom-on-oil-patch-but-not-panic-yet-165924793.html

Gasbuddy.com. (2015, Feb 04). Downtown. Retrieved from http://www.victoriagasprices.com: http://www.victoriagasprices.com/index.aspx?site=Victoria&area=Victoria%20-%20Downtown

NASA. (2014). Nasa. Retrieved from Causes: http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

Reuters. (2015, Feb 04). Energy. Retrieved from CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102394676#.