Tag Archives: green energy

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.

 

How to Tesla: Better, faster, greener, farther, and smarter every day.

  • You wake up in the morning and get ready for your day, step outside and get into your Tesla. It is waiting for you where you told it to be, with the temperature where you like it, your favorite music or radio station on, and it drives better today than it did yesterday thanks to the overnight wireless upgrade.

If you are reading this then you have probably already heard of Tesla Motors somewhere and you may know that they are all electric, “may be the safest vehicle ever tested“, can accelerate insanely fast, and they have jumpstarted the electric vehicle market globally.

But it gets better.

Tesla’s blog reveals That their vehicles, improve “while you sleep. When you wake up, added functionality, enhanced performance, and improved user experience make you feel like you are driving a new car“. The vehicle communicates in real time with the growing network of supercharging stations while simultaneously working with trip planning software to figure out the fastest and most convenient route to your destination. Your vehicle automatically calculates the best supercharging station on your route (which are free for life), and while you are sleeping downloads automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, side collision warning, and valet mode to complement its autopilot feature.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that within two years they will get 1000 km on a single charge and be able to drive fully autonomously, within three years.

Entering the SUV crossover market with its gullwing doors, all-wheel-drive, seating for seven adults, low and stable center of gravity, the newly released Model X  again changes what is thought possible for electric vehicles. Many believe the real game changer will come with the $35,000 electric vehicle set to be able to be order-able in March 2016 and manufactured in 2017 once the gigafactory, and other manufacturing pieces are in place.

Does your vehicle currently improve itself while you are sleeping? Do you wake up with a full tank every morning? Would you like too? What are you waiting for?

You don’t have to wait, this is how to Tesla today.

P85D video.

Tesla schools Wall Street and predicts humans will be pets to robots in the future

Billion dollar tweet, is it off grid home storage? http://pando.com/2015/03/30/elon-musk-created-nearly-1b-in-value-today-with-a-single-tweet/

Super intelligent future, without humans: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3011302/Could-robots-turn-people-PETS-Elon-Musk-claims-artificial-intelligence-treat-humans-like-Labradors.html

Don’t believe it? The high tech present that will displace millions of workers: