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Tesla unveils batteries that can power homes and businesses

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A lot of businesses are leveraging the power of the sun by making use of solar panels. However, most of them are left baffled after the sun sets, largely because they are inept at using solar energy when the sun is not shining.

Tesla motors, an American electric car design and manufacturing company aims to change all that. It has decided to manufacture batteries that store solar energy and serve as a back-up system for consumers during blackouts.

The announcement was made at an event near Los Angeles where Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk said that the move could help change the “entire energy infrastructure of the world.”

This change would be brought about by allowing consumers to get off a power grid or bring energy to remote areas that are not on a grid.

Musk said that Tesla Energy would partner with SolarCity, though more companies are expected to join the fray. The system is known as Powerwall and will begin shipping in the US by this summer.

“If you have the Tesla Powerwall, if the utility goes down, you still have power,” Mr. Musk said.

According to the company, Tesla Energy is a critical step in the mission to enable zero emission power generation.

“The whole thing is an integrated system that just works.”

Analysts say the rechargeable lithium-ion battery unit will be built using the same batteries Tesla produces for its electric vehicles.

The system comes in two units: Tesla will sell the 7kWh unit for $3,000 (£1,954), while the 10kWh unit will retail for $3,500 (£2,275) to installers.

Energy comparison firm USwitch estimates that one kWh can power two days of work on a laptop, a full washing machine cycle or be used to boil a kettle 10 times.

The batteries will be connected to the Internet and can be managed by Tesla from afar.

Customers can connect up to nine battery packs to store larger amounts of power.

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Will we soon be able to travel from New York to Shanghai in just over 30 Minutes in a Rocket?

And guess what! The cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft!

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ROCKET
Billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk speaks below a computer-generated illustration of his new rocket at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (VOA)

Australia, October 3, 2017 : U.S. billionaire innovator Elon Musk has unveiled plans for a new rocket that would allow passengers to travel from one continent to another in about 30 minutes.

At a presentation Friday in Adelaide, Australia, Musk showed a video of images of a rocket taking off in New York and landing in various places around the world, including Tokyo and Shanghai.

He said the New York-Shanghai trip could be done in 39 minutes, while a trip from Bangkok to Dubai would take 27 minutes and Tokyo to Delhi would be 30 minutes.

He added that the cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft.

Musk noted there is no weather outside the Earth’s atmosphere to interfere with travel times and said that once you are beyond the atmosphere, “it would be as smooth as silk, no turbulence, nothing.”

ALSO READ Elon Musk Unveils Plans to put Humans on Mars by 2024

“If we are building this thing to go to the moon and Mars, then why not go to other places on Earth as well?” Musk said.

Musk, who founded and runs the company SpaceX along with the electric luxury car company Tesla, has long been making plans for rockets to travel to Mars.

Musk said SpaceX plans its first trip to Mars in 2022, carrying only cargo with a key mission to find the best source of water on the Red Planet. That mission would be followed by the first manned mission in 2024. He said the company was aiming to start construction on the first spaceship in the next six to nine months.

Musk said space flights to enable people to travel from one continent to another could help to pay for future missions to Mars.

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Elon Musk Unveils Plans to put Humans on Mars by 2024

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Elon Musk
Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX. voa

Adelaide, Sep 29: Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX on Friday unveiled its plans to put humans on Mars as early as 2024.

Speaking on the final day of the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made the announcement of the plans, reports Xinhua news agency.

Musk, who also serves as the CEO of automotive company Tesla, said SpaceX was aiming for cargo missions to the Red Planet in 2022 and crew with cargo by 2024.

He said that missions to Mars would be launched every two years from 2022 onwards with colonisation and terraforming to begin as soon as the first humans arrive in order to make it “a really nice place to be”.

“It’s about believing in the future, and thinking that the future will be better than the past,” Musk said.

SpaceX also announced its new BFR rocket on Friday.

“I can’t emphasise enough how profound this is, and how important this is,” Musk told the Congress as the keynote speaker on the final day.

The new BFR has the highest capacity payload of any rocket ever built, meaning it has the lowest launch cost, due to its status as a fully reusable rocket while also being the most powerful.

“It’s really crazy that we build these sophisticated rockets and then crash them every time we fire,” Musk said.

He said that the new BFR could carry a 40-carriage spaceship to Mars with two or three people occupying each carriage.

The rocket is capable of flying from Earth to the Moon and back without refuelling, making creating a base on the Moon, dubbed Moon Base Alpha, achievable in near future.

SpaceX intends for the new, scaled-down BFR to replace its other flagship rockets, the Dragon, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.

Musk said the BFR could even be used for international flights on Earth, promising to cut most long-distance Earth flights to just half an hour.

He said the rocket could travel from New York City to Shanghai in 37 minutes at a maximum speed of 18,000 miles (28,968 km) per hour.

Funding for BFR development will come from SpaceX’s satellite and International Space Station (ISS) revenue.

SpaceX’s announcement came hours after Lockheed Martin revealed new technology that would see it land on Mars in partnership with NASA by 2030.

SpaceX estimated this year that a permanent, self-sustaining colony on Mars was 50 to 100 years away.(IANS)

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If I Buy Electric Car, Where will I Charge it? European Countries Aim to be all-electric by 2040

Those lofty ambitions face numerous challenges, including one practical consideration for consumers: If they buy electric cars, where will they charge them?

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Charging problems with electric car
Tesla cars recharge at a Tesla station at a shopping center in Charlotte, N.C., June 24, 2017. Buyers of Tesla’s luxury models have access to a company-funded Supercharger network. VOA
  • The distribution of public charging stations is wildly uneven around the globe
  • European Countries Aim to be all-electric by 2040
  • Due to lack of charging stations, electric vehicles make up less than 1 percent of cars on the road

New Delhi, August 13, 2017: Around the world, support is growing for electric cars. Automakers are delivering more electric models with longer range and lower prices, such as the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model 3. China has set aggressive targets for electric vehicle sales to curb pollution; some European countries aim to be all-electric by 2040 or sooner.

Those lofty ambitions face numerous challenges, including one practical consideration for consumers: If they buy electric cars, where will they charge them?

The distribution of public charging stations is wildly uneven around the globe. Places with lots of support from governments or utilities, like China, the Netherlands and California, have thousands of public charging outlets. Buyers of Tesla’s luxury models have access to a company-funded Supercharger network.

Charging stations scarce

But in many places, public charging remains scarce. That’s a problem for people who need to drive further than the 200 miles or so that most electric cars can travel. It’s also a barrier for the millions of people who don’t have a garage to plug in their cars overnight.

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“Do we have what we need? The answer at the moment is, ‘No,’” said Graham Evans, an analyst with IHS Markit.

Take Norway, which has publicly funded charging and generous incentives for electric car buyers. Architect Nils Henningstad drives past 20 to 30 charging stations each day on his 22-mile (35-kilometer) commute to Oslo. He works for the city and can charge his Nissan Leaf at work; his fiancee charges her Tesla SUV at home or at one of the world’s largest Tesla Supercharger stations, 20 miles away.

Electric cars problem
Jeff Solie plugs in his electric car Tesla sedan at his home, in New Berlin, Wis., July 13, 2017. Electric cars are seeing growing support around the world. But there’s a problem: There aren’t enough places to plug those cars in. VOA

It’s a very different landscape in New Berlin, Wisconsin, where Jeff Solie relies on the charging system he rigged up in his garage to charge two Tesla sedans and a Volt. Solie and his wife don’t have chargers at their offices, and the nearest Tesla Superchargers are 45 miles (72 kilometers) away.

“If I can’t charge at home, there’s no way for me to have electric cars as my primary source of transportation,” said Solie, who works for the media company E.W. Scripps.

Small percentage of electric vehicles

The uneven distribution of chargers worries many potential electric vehicle owners. It’s one reason electric vehicles make up less than 1 percent of cars on the road.

“Humans worst-case their purchases of automobiles. You have to prove to the consumer that they can drive across the country, even though they probably won’t,” said Pasquale Romano, the CEO of ChargePoint, one of the largest charging station providers in North America and Europe.

Romano says there’s no exact ratio of the number of chargers needed per car. But he says workplaces should have one charger for every 2.5 electric cars and retail stores need one for every 20 electric cars. Highways need one every 50 to 75 miles, he says. That suggests a lot of gaps still need to be filled.

Filling the charging gap

Automakers and governments are pushing to fill them. The number of publicly available, global charging spots grew 72 percent to more than 322,000 last year, the International Energy Agency said. Navigant Research expects that to grow to more than 2.2 million by 2026; more than one-third of those will be in China.

Tesla Inc., which figured out years ago that people wouldn’t buy its cars without roadside charging, is doubling its global network of Supercharger stations to 10,000 this year. BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Ford are building 400 fast-charging stations in Europe. Volkswagen is building hundreds of stations across the U.S. as part of its settlement for selling polluting diesel engines. Even oil-rich Dubai, which just got its first Tesla showroom, has more than 50 locations to charge electric cars.

ALSO READ: Apple to join the fiercely competitive race to design Self-driving Cars

But there are pitfalls. There are different types of charging stations, and no one knows the exact mix drivers will eventually need. A grocery store might spend $5,000 for an AC charge point, which provides a car with 5 to 15 miles of range in 30 minutes. But once most cars get 200 or 300 miles per charge, slow chargers are less necessary. Electric cars with longer range need fast-charging DC chargers along highways, but DC chargers cost $35,000 or more.

That uncertainty makes it difficult to make money setting up chargers, says Lisa Jerram, an associate director with Navigant Research. For at least the next three to five years, she says, deep-pocketed automakers, governments and utilities will be primarily responsible for building charging infrastructure.

There’s also the question of who will meet the needs of apartment dwellers. San Francisco, Shanghai and Vancouver, Canada, are now requiring new homes and apartment buildings to be wired for EV charging.

But without government support, plans for charging stations can falter. In Michigan, a utility’s $15 million plan to install 800 public charging stations was scrapped in April after state officials and ChargePoint objected.

Solie, the electric car owner in Wisconsin, likes Europe’s approach: Governments should set bold targets for electric car sales and let the private sector meet the need.

“If the U.S. were to send up a flare that policy was going to change … investments would become very attractive,” he said. (VOA)