United States Stories September 12, 2016

The Obama administration unveiled their gargantuan National Offshore Wind Strategy last Friday.  If executed, this joint plan by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of the Interior (DOI) could possibly output 7,200 terawatt-hours a year, which would be enough to provide “nearly double the total electric generation of the United States in 2015.” expand full story

United States Stories July 27, 2015

We’re mostly going to stay away from politics but this ad is very specifically on solar and renewables and it will hopefully kick off a debate on the energy sector that we’ll see in the run up to the 2015 elections.  The 10 year goal of moving US residences to renewables is a worthy 1st step. More from her campaign page

 

Home Solar Power

United States Stories April 30, 2015

 

Tesla-Battery-livestram-misssing

 

11:24 PM power wall is “beautiful, fits on the wall, garage wall or outside wall of your house. 6 inches thick. 3 feet across and tall. Really easy to fit in garage or your house.”

[11:25 PM] Mark Gurman: Connected to Internet. Smart micro grids Ten year guarantee [11:25 PM] Mark Gurman: “Nothing remotely in these price points” “Our goal here is to fundamentally change how the world uses energy” [11:26 PM] Seth Weintraub: Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3500 for 10kWh and $3000 for 7kWh. (Price excludes inverter and installation.) Deliveries begin in late Summer.

[11:27 PM] Mark Gurman: Musk says great for cold climates when there are power outages and ice storms Good thermal management system for very cold environments

[11:29 PM] Jon Jivan: Wayyy below suggested price of $13k by some outlets. Nice to see it come in so cheap. [11:29 PM] Mark Gurman: “Going to be huge in Germany”

[11:31 PM] Mark Gurman: Doesn’t require heavy foundations “the integration at the system level is the big differentiator” Ready to scale to a very large scale today

[11:32 PM] Mark Gurman: they’ve been using it for a year in house

[11:33 PM] Mark Gurman: Tesla will continue to open source the patents on all these [11:34 PM] Mark Gurman: Giga factory designed in the same as a giant car Fundamentally different way than approaching manufacturing and engineering

[11:39 PM] Mark Gurman: Installable by two people in half hour to an hour Installation prices up to distributors

[11:42 PM] Mark Gurman: “This would be bigger in terms of pack utilization than the car industry, actually comparable size” [11:43 PM] Mark Gurman: international, still need to figure out certified installers however

[11:43 PM] Mark Gurman: it’ll scale as fast as we can scale it.

[11:44 PM] Mark Gurman: international next year Germany and Australia late this year

[11:44 PM] Mark Gurman: China early next year

Musk said “we own tesla energy.com” when asked if they’d change from tesla motors as name

Update: Here’s our first look. Looks familiar

Update: Tesla Energy!

Screenshot 2015-04-30 23.16.58

Tesla Energy Press Kit

 

We’ll be covering the Tesla Battery announcement later tonight but Tesla just unleashed the livestream page. Check back soon. We’ll run down the highlights here. We’re expecting Tesla to announce home and industrial battery products that allow users to store solar and lower cost, high availability electricity for use at night or during higher cost/watt time periods.  The battery will be a down payment and rental fee which should more than pay for itself in electric bill savings.

There has been further speculation that, with this announcement, Tesla Motors will change its name to Tesla, Inc or Telsa Energy to note that it is an energy storage company, not just a car company.  We’ll find out more soon, stay tuned.

 

United States Stories February 21, 2015

In a new paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, Tugce Yuksel and Jeremy Michalek at Carnegie Mellon University have shown the average energy usage per mile of electric cars across the US.  You’ll note that warm but temperate climates like the California Coast and the Deep South especially Florida fare the best. Very hot desert areas like Arizona don’t do well because of the energy required to cool off bith the batteries and cabin. The North does poorly because batteries lose power as weather gets cooler.  Below, a Nissan Leaf efficiency is graphed at different temperatures which illustrates this disparity more clearly. The optimum range for operation is between 45 and 82 degrees where the 300W/mile threshold is beaten.

nissan-leaf-watt-mile

This all translates to CO2 emissions obviously and with the West making their energy much cleaner, they produce about 1/3rd the CO2 emissions as the north Midwest which is basically one big coal plant. In fact, that area’s energy is so CO2 intensive that running an electric car there (assuming you don’t have your own solar/wind) rivals the CO2 emissions of a fuel efficient car like a Prius.

The big takeaway is that moving to electric cars isnt enough. The grid also needs to move to cleaner power like wind and solar.

coal-energy-co2-usage-electric-cars-energy-usage expand full story

United States Stories December 8, 2014

Great interview, not much new however if you follow Tesla and its CTO into the energy industry. Some interesting bits:

Why did Tesla act differently? For a start, it does not think of itself as a carmaker. “I see us more as an energy-innovation company,” says Jeffrey “JB” Straubel, the firm’s chief technology officer, and one of the co-founders of Tesla, along with Elon Musk, the chief executive. “If we can reduce energy-storage prices, it’s the most important thing we can do to make electric vehicles more prevalent,” says Mr Straubel. “Add in renewable power and I have a direct line of sight towards an entire economy that doesn’t need fossil fuels and doesn’t need to pay more to do it.”…

Mr Straubel met Mr Musk, a freshly minted multimillionaire from the sale of his PayPal digital-payments company to eBay. “One lunch was the beginning of what eventually became Tesla,” says Mr Straubel. “We spent most of the meal talking about electric aeroplanes. But as we were wrapping up, I said I was working on a fun crazy project with cars, trying to build a lithium-ion battery pack that could last 1,000 miles.”…

“Most other companies do not believe that battery volume will grow as fast as it’s going to,” Mr Straubel counters. “They don’t understand the tight linkage between cost and volume. We’re at this crossing-point where a small reduction in cost is going to result in a ridiculously big increase in volume, because the auto industry is so big.”…

“No one wishes we could come up with a technology that makes today’s chemistry obsolete more than me,” says Mr Straubel. “We could sell more cars at a lower price. But we’re not waiting.”

United States Stories July 28, 2014

Nikkei:
OSAKA — Panasonic has reached a basic agreement with Tesla Motors to participate in the Gigafactory, the huge battery plant that the American electric vehicle manufacturer plans to build in the U.S. Tesla aims to begin the first phase of construction this fiscal year. The plant would start making lithium-ion cells for Tesla cars in 2017. The automaker is shouldering the cost for the land and buildings.     Panasonic likely will invest 20 billion to 30 billion yen ($194-291 million) initially, taking responsibility for equipping the factory with the machinery to make the battery cells. An official announcement on the partnership will come by the end of this month.     Capacity at the Gigafactory will be added in stages to match demand, with the goal of producing enough battery cells in 2020 to equip 500,000 electric vehicles a year.     The total investment is expected to reach up to $5 billion, and Panasonic’s share could reach $1 billion.     The Japanese company owns a stake in Tesla and currently makes the batteries for Tesla cars. In a contract reworked in October 2013, the two agreed that Panasonic would supply Tesla with 2 billion battery cells between 2014 and 2017.
The partnership wasn’t ever a secret or really ever in doubt. Panasonic, I think, spent some extra time negotiating better terms. Both company’s stocks are spiking on the news.

United States Stories March 19, 2014

Nissan-Leaf-Tesla-tweet

After Tesla lost in New Jersey, Nissan’s social Media Team Tweeted the “dickish” image above from the Leaf account according to ABGreen. They quickly realized the folly of their ways and deleted it and perhaps someone was straighend out (the door?) over the matter.

I mean we’re all in this together and rising waters raise all ships and all that, right? expand full story

United States Stories February 26, 2014

You’ll recall that I picked Panasonic and Solar City to be among partners in Tesla’s upcoming Gigafactory announcement back in mid-January. I went on Bloomberg earlier this month to re-iterate those claims. Today, Panasonic got a little bit more official.

Reuters picks up a Nikkei report:

Panasonic Corp is inviting a number of Japanese materials suppliers to join it in investing in a U.S. car battery plant that it plans to build with Tesla Motors Inc, with investment expected to reach more than 100 billion yen ($979 million), the Nikkei reported.

The plant, expected to go on-stream in 2017, will bolster Panasonic’s supply of lithium-ion batteries to the U.S. electric-car maker.

Last week, Tesla shed some light on its plans for building a lithium-ion battery plant, or “giga factory,” that will cut battery costs and allow the company to launch a more affordable electric car in 2017. However, it said at the time that further details would be announced this week.

The U.S. plant, which will handle everything from processing raw materials to assembly, will produce small, lightweight batteries for Tesla and may also supply Toyota Motor Corp and other automakers, the Nikkei said.

Battery costs have been a major stumbling block to widespread electric car adoption in the United States, according to analysts. Tesla’s giga factory will lower costs by shifting material, cell, module and pack production to one spot.

In Tesla’s earnings conference call last week, Chief Executive Elon Musk said the electric car maker expects to build the factory with more than one partner, but a “default assumption” was that Panasonic, as a current battery cell partner, “would continue to partner with us in the giga factory.”

“The factory is really there to support the volume of the third generation car,” Musk said on the call. “We want to have the vehicle engineering and tooling come to fruition the same time as the giga factory. It is already part of one strategy, one combined effort.”

The pieces are starting to come together. The biggest question now is how Tesla funds the other $4B in costs. Will it issue more stock? Will it bring in some very rich partners like Apple? On that note we go to last week’s earnings call for more color on that: expand full story

United States Stories January 31, 2014

I’m still infatuated with the Chevy Spark EV. The Korean/American EV can be had for significantly under $20K or $200/month meaning it can be free after gas cost savings for big commuters. The practical little 4 seat hatchback can go around 80 miles on a charge and can be charged quickly using the same SAE DC  charger as the BMW i3.

There’s more!

It has more torque (over 400ft/lbs) than a Ferrari 458 Italia and can hit 60 miles per hour in 7 seconds flat.

Did I mention it is essentially free if you currently spend $10/day on gasoline?

The Spark EV starts its life in Changwon, South Korea where gasoline and electric sparks are built by GM Korea, which was once known as Daewoo. But the heart of the Spark comes from America. GM is building the permanent magnet motors in Maryland, and instead of LG batteries made in Korea (like the Volt) GM is using American-made batteries courtesy of B456 (formerly A123. I’m not making this up). For reasons we don’t understand, GM isn’t “doing a CODA” and shipping cars sans-drivetran to America for assembly. The plant in Maryland ships the batteries and drivetrain to Korea, GM Korea inserts it in the car and ships the completed unit back to the USA.

Anyway, here’s a great review. I have no idea how they keep these in stock. Chevy please send these outside of California and Oregon.  Money quote:

Power is supplied by a 560lb, 21.3 kWh lithium battery pack located where the gas tank is in the gasoline Spark. As with the Chevy Volt, GM is taking the cautious path to battery preservation equipping the pack with an active heating and cooling system. That’s a stark contrast to the Nissan Leaf which uses a passive cooling system. Thanks to the lightest curb weight in the group (2,989lbs), the Spark scores 82 miles of EPA range and the highest efficiency rating of any EV to date. Depending on the weight of my right foot, my real world range varied from 70-100 miles.

United States Stories January 27, 2014

No battery ‘gigafactory’ information  yet but here’s the PDF. Notable is the $30,000-$35,000 base model price of the Gen 3 vehicle. Tesla’s traditionally only been able to hit the high side but so long as Federal Tax Credits are still around in 3 years, it should be a great deal especially with Tesla type specs.  expand full story

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