Today

Solar panel manufacturer Suniva, who recently filed for bankruptcy, has made a request for “global safeguard relief” from imports of crystalline silicon solar PV cells and modules. Suniva has requested that President Trump impose a four-year minimum import price on PV modules and cells, starting in year one at US$0.78 per watt for modules and $0.40 for cells.

This will more than double the price of the lower priced solar panels – and increase solar system pricing up to 40% for large-scale utility projects, 30% for commercial projects, and 20% for homeowners. This pricing for solar panels was last seen in the United States in 2014-2015. Suniva has lost more than $500M since 2015.

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We reported yesterday that Tesla was planning to start rolling out its automatic emergency braking feature on new Autopilot 2.0 vehicles by the end of the week, but we now learn that some Tesla owners are already receiving the update (8.1.17.11.45). expand full story

9to5toys 

Off-road rally cars might be one of the last car segments that electric vehicles will take over, but it’s not from a lack of trying. Haye just wrote about Audi’s interest in creating the next-gen electric rally car and now we learn of a Nissan Leaf rally car. expand full story

Audi has had a very remarkable and successful history in rally racing. In the early eighties, long before Red Bull came around, Audi first introduced their 4WD Quattro system and shattered the competition. Then after a number of successful years, Audi launched one of the most powerful and infamous Group B rally cars, the Audi Sport Quattro S1 . Its combination of a 4WD Quattro system, a turbocharged engine, and a carbon-kevlar body shell meant that these cars literally flew around the rally stages in the most spectacular and dangerous ways. No wings required.

Now Audi will have a go at it again but this time with electric powered rally cars. Attracted by the abundant and instant torque of electric engines, Audi motorsport boss Wolfgang Durheimer has indicated that the prospect of electrified rallycross is a very intriguing one.

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Elon Musk wanted Tesla to create a sense of urgency for other automakers to move faster on electric vehicles and accelerate the overall transition to sustainable transport. It helped for some, but others still don’t take Tesla or EVs seriously.

It’s certainly not the case for BMW anymore since the company is now saying that it was under “an electric assault” in reference to Tesla and other automakers working on electric vehicles. The German automaker seems now more inclined to move into the electric vehicle space. expand full story

9to5mac 

Electrek Green Energy Brief

Coal company plans huge solar farm on strip mine – If we can make it about the money, and we can win the money argument – then the game will end. This plant is potentially being built on top of a former mountaintop coal strip mine. Let’s see it happen.

Trina sells 20MW of Bifacial PERC cells – These panels (here is their spec page) range from greater than 19-22% (cheap panels are 16-17%) depending on how much light is reflected by the surface behind them. I’m bringing up this relatively small purchase (bigger than anything in my life, but a tiny drop in the world) because of the technology involved – and because I think it will give consumers a buying opportunity sometime soon. Standard solar panels are going to get further price pressure from technologies like PERC, Bifacial, etc. Use it to your advantage as manufacturers are going to try to keep their old machines – building 16% solar panels – running as long as possible, but they really want to move onto the higher margin, higher efficiency products.

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Yesterday, we reported that Tesla is planning to push the ‘Automatic Emergency Braking’ (AEB) feature to its second-generation Autopilot car by the end of the week.

Knowing this, Consumer Reports decided to lower the ratings of the Model S and X until the feature is released. expand full story

It’s not clear how many Tesla Model 3 release candidates have been spotted since Tesla launched the testing program last month. We have definitely seen two prototypes, one blue and one black, and a new blue release candidate might have been spotted this week – or at least an update version of the same blue release candidate. expand full story

9to5google 

April 25

Less than 3 months away from the planned start of Model 3 production, Tesla has received a massive order of robots for its production line. Hundreds of Kuka robots arrived at Tesla’s Fremont factory and are now being installed.

Pictures of the robots inside the factory give us a rare glimpse at what Elon Musk has been describing as an ‘Alien Dreadnought’. expand full story

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