Tesla, a great family brand

Tesla talks a lot about safety, and rightfully so. They have beaten even the safest cars at their own game and thus have created a family brand in the process. In the spirit of safety and family, one of the major success stories that Tesla hasn’t brought to the forefront is that it could very well be the greatest family car since the modern-day station wagon — but for less obvious reasons.

The “easy” stuff. The model S and X hold an incredible amount of cargo and people and get you to your destination in a quiet, supremely comfortable and almost effortless manner. Yes, the power comes on like a knife through warm butter, in such a linear fashion that even the great combustion engines are quivering in their cylinders. With all its engineering prowess, however, the supercharging is where the true family friendliness starts to shine.

Consider for a moment the last time you took a road trip with your kid(s), something over 200 miles. Did you stop? If so, how many times? Did you take time out of the drive to get out and stretch and walk? What type of food did you eat along the trip? How did you and your family feel when you arrived at your destination? If you answered “no” to the above and prefer snacks, junk food and cranky, hangry co-pilots, then you probably aim to travel with lowest time duration in mind. This is generally the worst for your children, not to mention your health and state of mind… and this is where charging comes in.

With all its engineering prowess, however, the supercharging is where the true family friendliness starts to shine.

It’s undeniable that each time you use your Tesla for a road trip, you’re going to likely add between 20-40 minutes to your trip, per charge. Conversely, for a similar distance in a traditional gasoline-powered car, you may only need to stop for 5-10 minutes to fill up, saving you a net gain of about 20 minutes. Here lies the secret of Tesla. The extra time required to charge creates a shift in mindset, and the dreaded kicking and screaming from the back seat turns into an opportunity to get out, eat a normal and healthier meal and play.

Superchargers are usually sponsored by a restaurant, shopping center or grocery store so you and the kids can find something for everyone. Instead of eating snacky gas station food in the car, you are set up to sit down and eat a real and healthier meal at a picnic table or in a family restaurant. It has proven to be a smart model for Tesla to partner with local commerce in building their network. Many of the superchargers are situated next to parks, and almost always have space to walk around, kick a ball, have a picnic and thus provide a certain quietness not found when paying at the pump.

For the Tesla families, there’s great software showing you restaurants with clean bathrooms, grocery stores and charging availability for you as a driver to choose from. If your kids prefer Panera Bread over a grocery store, no problem, there’s an app for that; try Teslarati or EVTripping.

If you’re like most Tesla drivers, you’re looking to balance the amount of time needed to charge with the overall trip. With a recent update that Tesla pushed to the driver’s dash, you can now see supercharger availability, which is a good starting point. If you want to get a bit more detail, you can use a product called TezLab (full disclosure, my company built TezLab) that will show you your charging rate and estimated wait times, among other features, enabling you to maximize family time while you charge.

As the summer winds down and I reflect on the almost 7,000 miles of driving that’s been done, I now look forward to the times when I can charge. The experience of getting out of the car, plugging in the charger, grabbing the kids and walking away to reset is a shift, but a rewarding one. You’ll likely feel more refreshed, even with a slightly longer duration, and have a happier family if you decide to make the move to electric for your next family car.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/27/tesla-a-great-family-brand/

Pitbull sends his private jet to Puerto Rico cancer patients

Steven Sands sits outside his home with a flashlight and his smart phone at night, coping with the lack of electricity in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

Tesla is sending hundreds of Powerwall battery systems to Puerto Rico. 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, about 97 percent of the island’s 3.4 million residents were still in the dark as of Wednesday. The Category 4 storm has left thousands homeless, and hospitals are dealing with blackouts as they struggle to find diesel to run their generators. 

According to Bloomberg, Tesla has employees on the ground to install the Powerwall units, which store energy gathered by solar panels. 

It’s not clear whether Tesla is sending the first-generation Powerwall batteries or the Powerwall 2, and whether the company is also sending solar panels. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/28/tesla-storm-batteries-puerto-rico/

This is the future liberals want: Cars powered by CHILD LABOR instead of gasoline

What a truly awful read over in the Daily Mail on child labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo used to mine cobalt, a key ingredient in batteries for electric cars:

Read more: http://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2017/08/10/this-is-the-future-liberals-want-cars-powered-by-child-labor-instead-of-gasoline/

Tesla reportedly treats factory workers like many successful start-ups: Like afterthoughts

Tesla employees work on a Model S car in the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.
Image: Jeff Chiu/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Silicon Valley companies are often built around making the world more efficient, but engineering efficiency has a human cost many of them either didn’t see coming or would like to forget.

Tesla, it seems, is no different.

Reports of incidents at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory include “fainting spells, dizziness, seizures, abnormal breathing and chest pains,” according to information published by The Guardian Thursday.

Someone’s had to call an ambulance 100-plus times since 2014. At least one person passed out, “hit the floor like a pancake” and split their face open, according to a production technician The Guardian spoke with. Employees were told to “work around him.” Another employee now has two herniated neck discs after he spent years on the assembly line with his arms raised above his head to reach cars hanging in the air.

Workers believe those injuries and conditions are the result of grueling forced overtime in an unsafe environment, conditions employees believe are the result of managers trying to speed up production so Tesla can hit CEO Elon Musk’s goal of rolling out 500,000 new cars in 2018, which would be close to a 500 percent increase on the number produced in 2016.

Musk admitted to the The Guardian his workers had been having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs but said that he cared about their health and wellbeing.

Tesla’s initial years were apparently marked by an above-average level of danger on its factory floor.

Tesla’s initial years were apparently marked by an above-average level of danger on its factory floor. That level of danger fell well below the industry standard in 2017, but growing pains were marked by the literal pain of its employees, which often happens as Silicon Valley ideas of efficiency slam into the human reality of traditionally blue-collar work.

Amazon packaging factories, for example, are home to temperatures that range from “below zero” to more than 100 degrees, where workers can be fired for crying and are forced to work ridiculous hours for little pay to say nothing of the pressure on corporate employees to work all hours of the day and night, lest they be shamed into submission.

So many employees at Foxconn the Taiwanese factory that produces Apple products such as the iPhone 7 have committed suicide that the factory installed nets to catch the bodies at places where people might jump. Foxconn forces employees to work overtime in addition to their usual 12-hour days. One journalist working undercover for the BBC worked for 18 days in a row even though he kept asking to get some time off. Drained employees fall asleep on the job. At other factories that pump out Apple products, insane amounts of overtime are normal, children work alongside adults, and employees finish long hours only to retire to dorm rooms packed with people.

Uber isn’t a company that’s needed to do a ton of manufacturing (although that is beginning to change with its strides toward autonomous vehicles). But its conception of labor fits the narrative seen at Telsa, Amazon, and Apple. The company went to court to fight paying drivers like employees.

When disruption equates to a minimization of human labor, the humans who produce iPhones and Teslas wind up minimized themselves. Perhaps, after finishing The Guardian’s Tesla article, the only thing readers will find is that the injuries and allegations are eerily unsurprising.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/18/tesla-factory-injuries-apple-uber-amazon/