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Electric vehicles have an obvious potential for saving lives. A recent study by the American Lung Association suggests that EVs could save thousands of lives per year in the US by reducing air pollution. But there’s also a less known design advantage of electric cars already saving lives today.

We’ve talked before about the lack of a large engine in the front being extremely useful in case of a frontal collision, especially in the Tesla Model S, and now we have yet another great example of it after a severe accident that happened in Virgina last night. expand full story

Tesla launched the latest version of its referral program today and through the new program, you can help Electrek get a new Tesla Model S P100D for our blog. We are raising the stakes so that beyond the $1,000 discount offered by Tesla when using our referral code, you will get a chance to win a new exclusive set of Arachnid wheels. expand full story

9to5toys 

Last month, we reported on the EPA filing its midterm review of the fuel consumption standard early (before Trump takes over) in order to put in place a fleet requirement of 54.5 mpg by 2025, which would force automakers to add more electric vehicles to their fleet in order to compensate for their more gas-guzzling vehicles, like SUVs and pickup trucks.

Despite lobbying from virtually all automakers (except for Tesla), the agency went ahead with making the rule official last week and it could result in a significant acceleration of the rate of investments in EVs from current automakers. expand full story

We finally have a clear idea of when GM is planning to make the new Chevy Bolt EV available everywhere in the US. They announced that the Bolt EV will be available in all 50 states at launch, but they gave up on the idea last year and as we suspected, only made the vehicle available in California at launch. It’s now in both California and Oregon – more ZEV states will follow during the first half of the year.

Now we learn that non-ZEV states will follow in July and the automaker only plans for all-state availability in September – about a year after originally planned. expand full story

Despite an announcement earlier this month and some information leaking from a subsequent investor event, not many details are currently known about Tesla’s new battery cell production at the Gigafactory.

We now learn that an upcoming event should reveal more information. Tesla’s Senior Director of Cell Supply Chain & Business Development, Kurt Kelty, and its battery cell research partner, Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University, will both present at the upcoming International Battery Seminar & Exhibit in March. expand full story

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Coal country Wyoming senators want to charge 1¢/kWh to use solar/wind power – A few senators have signed on from a state that would be hurt by less coal, and just maybe we’ll see a charge to use the sun and wind. The law is says utilities cannot pass the penny charge onto end users – seems a smart design to limit end user activism through one cent up charges but obviously a nightmare for the environment and the green energy sector, and the environment.

AES’ New Kauai Solar-Storage ‘Peaker’ Shows How Fast Battery Costs Are Falling – We brought up this power plant last week, but I like this article because it goes into detail about the project. A little over a year ago the CEO of NextERA, Jim Robo, said that by 2020 there may not be another natural gas peaker plant built because of batteries. Natural Gas peaker plants run 1-3% of the time – and only when the power company needs a little extra electricity for a short time, filling in a gap so to say. This plant – in expensive Hawaii – is a forerunner of that evolution from natural gas to battery occurring. Expect to see 20MWh battery peaker (replacing 200MW gas plants) plants popping up all over the country . This is how batteries get their foothold and scale from a manufacturing standpoint – attacking the low capacity factor (1-5%) natural gas peaker plant market.

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After delaying the latest update that was supposed to come last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has now confirmed that the automaker started pushing the ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ update early this morning to the entire fleet of vehicles equipped with the second generation Autopilot hardware, but the update will only operate in shadow mode for now. expand full story

The latest round of Tesla’s quarterly referral program ended yesterday and Tesla surprised everyone by launching not one, but two new rounds of the program: a new quarterly round and a new annual round – something it hasn’t done before.

New buyers are still getting a $1,000 discount, but the program features new prizes for referrers. It also brings back the opportunity to win a Model S or X based on your performance in the program per region rather than only a random drawing like the last few rounds. expand full story

9to5google 

Well, third time’s the charm. After attempting to complete the Dakar Rally, which is considered one of the most difficult endurance rallies in the world, for the third time in a row, Acciona’s managed to complete the race with its custom-made all-electric vehicle – a first for a zero-emission vehicle.

It’s a significant achievement that further proves that electric vehicles are just as capable or in some cases even better than gas-guzzling vehicles. expand full story

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