Nissan will build the next Smart Car, Mercedes offers in-car iPad tech, a tour of the Tesla factory, stop sign cameras are the latest gotcha, and we name our three favorite cars from the Paris Motor Show.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) Episode 188 Show notes
PALO ALTO, Calif--During a tour of Tesla's headquarters, a big, black slab caught our attention. It was sitting in a thermal testing station that would put it through a range of temperatures from -104 degrees all the way up to 122 degree Fahrenheit. This slab is the battery pack for the upcoming Tesla Model S.
Tesla's first production car, the Roadster, had a boxy shaped battery pack designed to fit right behind the seats of a Lotus Elise, the chassis that Tesla uses for the Roadster. As the Model S was designed and will be built by Tesla, the company had a lot more leeway on how it formatted the battery.
Tesla decided to package it in the floor of the car, contributing to the vehicle's handling by keeping its center of gravity low. Tesla has not specified how much the Model S' battery pack weighs, but it looked bigger than that in the Roadster, which comes in at close to 1,000 pounds. To our quick eyeballing of the Model S battery pack size, we're guessing at 7 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 6 inches thick.
Similar to the Roadster, the Model S battery pack is filled with cylindrical lithium ion cells dubbed 18650s. Tesla does extensive testing of these cells at its headquarters, cycling them at different temperatures, trying different discharge rates, and even crushing them. The data Tesla collects gets used to refine the specifications sent to its suppliers, among them Panasonic and Samsung. … Read more
Cray will put Nvidia graphics processors in future large-scale supercomputers, the companies said today.
The announcement follows this summer's jump to the No. 2 spot in global rankings of China's Nvidia-equipped Nebulae supercomputer.
At Nvidia's 2010 GPU Technology Conference today in San Jose, Calif., supercomputer leader Cray announced that it is developing supercomputers that can use Nvidia Tesla 20-Series graphics processing units.
"We're putting this technology--the next generation of Nvidia Tesla--in our large XE6 systems," Barry Bolding, vice president of Cray's products division, said in a phone interview. Cray's largest system, Jaguar, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, based on processors from Advanced Micro Devices, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world, according to the Top 500 list.
Cray, which already uses Nvidia GPUs in its low-end desktop supercomputers, is targeting Nvidia's supercomputer-specific Tesla processors for accelerating "modeling code" for scientific applications in its Cray XE6 product line, according to Bolding.
"We're doing this because Nvidia is starting to produce accelerators (GPUs) that are useful to our customers. They've done some enhancements that go beyond a normal graphics accelerator. A couple of years ago, those (Nvidia) GPUs did not have functionality that was appealing to our customers."
Bolding continued. "What we'll see first is the data centers that run a few key applications on the accelerators. The data center that has to run 500 applications? That's the data center that won't move over to accelerators," he said. … Read more
California-based AC Propulsion, the company known for providing drive system technology for the Tesla Roadster, Mini E, and eBox electric vehicles, also created the drive system for one of the Progressive Automotive X-Prize top prize winners, the E-Tracer 7002.
The X-Prize contenders were challenged to create a vehicle that could reach 100 mpg/e (miles per gallon or energy equivalent).
The long-wheel base motorcycle with cabin, developed by Peraves for Swiss team X-Tracer, was awarded $2.5 million as one of three top cash-prize winners.
The E-Tracer won the alternative tandem class. It shares the $10 million prize with the … Read more
Boosting its activity in electric vehicles, Daimler plans to start producing an all-electric sedan for Europe this fall that uses batteries from Tesla Motors.
Daimler is expected to launch an electric version of its entry-level line called the A-Class E-Cell at the Paris Auto Show next month, according to reports.
Daimler will start manufacturing 500 units of the A-Class E-Cell this fall in Germany for the European market, according to a company representative. The company has not yet decided whether it will be offered in the U.S., she said.
The car will have a range of over 124 miles. … Read more
Today Toyota Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada announced the company would launch six new hybrid vehicles by 2012. According to the company's Twitter feed, one of those vehicles will be a plug-in version of the Prius.
In addition, Toyota tweeted that it will show the Rav4-EV at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Rav4-EV is an electric vehicle built in conjunction with Tesla as part of the two companies' recent partnership.
Toyota intends to market an electric vehicle in the U.S. in 2012.
As for the Prius plug-in hybrid, Toyota is already projecting sales of … Read more
Nikola Tesla would be jealous.
A group of chemists from the University of Campinas in Brazil presented research on Wednesday claiming they've figured out how electricity is formed and released in the atmosphere.
Based on this knowledge, the team said it believes a device could be developed for extracting electrical charges from the atmosphere and using it for electricity.
The team, led by Fernando Galembeck, says they discovered the process by simulating water vapor reactions in a laboratory with dust particles common to the atmosphere.
They found that silica becomes more negatively charged when high levels of water vapor … Read more
It's not just the weather that attracts start-up manufacturers of alternative-fuel vehicles to California.
The state's Zero Emission Vehicle program has created a marketplace for credits earned by selling electric and other low-emission vehicles. That means a potential source of income for small electric-vehicle makers that earn the credits but don't need them.
Indeed, part of the business plan of some small companies trying to break into the electric-car business involves selling credits to larger manufacturers. So far the only known transaction has been American Honda Motor Co.'s acquisition of credits from electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors.
Tesla reported recently that it earned $12.2 million through March from the sale of credits earned through the sale of its $109,000 electric two-seat Roadster. The figure was included in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing for the company's planned initial public offering. The first Roadster was delivered in 2008, and Tesla has sold more than 1,000 units worldwide.
The California Air Resources Board requires manufacturers that sell more than 10,000 units in the state to accumulate ZEV credits. Individual targets are based on each carmaker's volume and market share in the state. Companies that don't comply face fines and potential restrictions on sales in California.
Credits earned through each sale are based on how far the vehicle can travel on a zero-emission fuel source. A vehicle with a range of more than 300 miles earns seven credits. One that travels more than 200 miles on a charge gets five. The Tesla Roadster brings four credits per sale … Read more
OnStar to show up in retail stores, Chrysler backs away from hybrids and electric cars, can technology end crashes in intersections, and we drive the new 2011 Ford Fiesta--was it worth the wait?Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) Episode 180 SHOW NOTES
Tesla Motors on Wednesday posted a wider second-quarter loss on higher research and development costs as the electric-car maker races to launch a new model in 2012.
The Silicon Valley carmaker's shares slipped 5 percent in after-hours trading after closing down more than 3 percent on the Nasdaq stock market during regular trading.
Tesla, known for its $109,000 Roadster, reported a second-quarter net loss of $38.5 million, or $5.04 per share, compared to a loss of $10.8 million, or $1.56 per share, a year ago.
The company had 7.64 million common shares outstanding … Read more