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Tesla Completes Construction of World’s Largest Battery Station

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Tesla has just completed an 80 MWh battery station for Southern California Edison. This battery station is located at the Mira Loma substation in Ontario, California.

 

Along with manufacturing vehicles and solar cells, Tesla Motors is well known for producing tremendous numbers of batteries. With Tesla about to release its long-awaited mass market fully electric vehicle, the Model 3, Tesla needs to produce more batteries than any company has ever produced before. To do this Tesla is building a battery “Gigafactory” in Nevada. When completed, it will produce more battery storage capacity per year than the entire world produced in 2014. Primarily as a consequence of the massive economies of scale of such a building, Tesla will be able to produce batteries for far less money.

 

However, falling battery prices do not only benefit electric cars. As batteries become cheap enough they also become an important method of balancing load for the electric grid. Since the demand for electricity various greatly throughout a day electric grids typically make use of natural gas powered “peaker plants” to balance their loads. Yet while these power plants are quick at adapting, batteries are even faster. Batteries are also safer and emit zero greenhouse gasses. Therefore with the falling cost of batteries, they will replace traditional peaker plants more and more.

 

Balancing load for the utility Southern California Edison is the purpose of this massive battery station. The 80 MWh energy capacity comes from 400 of Tesla’s new second generation Powerpacks. With all of this energy, the battery station could power over 2500 households for more than a day. Yet as previously mentioned this is not its purpose. Southern California Edison has over 15 million customers, and so this battery station will help stabilize the load for all of them.

 

This huge battery station was built after Southern California Edison started looking into different storage options following the shut down of the Aliso Canyon natural gas reservoir. This reservoir was the source for gas power plants in the region until a catastrophic failure in 2015 forced California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency.

 

Tesla has stated that it is in discussions with others for large battery projects. With falling battery prices these should become increasingly common.

Tech/Tech Companies/Smart Cars/Apple/Tesla

Tesla Poaches Key Apple Employee

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A key designer on the Mac team at Apple has left the corporation to work on designing electric cars at Tesla. Matt Casebolt headed the team behind the new Macbook Pro and the Mac Pro as director of design. According to his LinkedIn profile, Casebolt made a career switch to director of engineering for closures and mechanisms at Tesla in December.

 

There has been a bit of back-and-forth with employees of the companies, with top talent often leaving one for the other in search of stronger opportunities. Apple’s electric car project was purportedly designed as an effort to stop the outflow of valuable employees.

 

This has been a rough week for Apple management, as Chris Lattner, head of developer tools and creator of the programming language Swift, also announced that he was headed to Tesla to run software development.

 

Investors and industry insiders are wary of Apple’s standing after losing two key members, but it’s important to remember that Apple is a company of over 100,000 employees and a couple of employees leaving is bound to happen from time to time. Still, Casebolt and Lattner are big names in the technology sector and the fact that they saw greener pastures working for Tesla make some speculate that Apple is having trouble keeping their talent.

 

Unfortunately, Apple missed internal sales targets in 2016 leading to lower salaries for CEO Tim Cook and other top executives. There are rumors floating around the web that Apple is slowing or even freezing hiring, which may give some credence to the idea that Apple’s in a bit of trouble. The corporation is still gigantic and profitable, but only time will tell if this momentary setback is the start of a downward trend for the Apple Empire or just a blip in an upward trajectory.

 

Technology/Tesla/Electric Cars

Tesla Has Issues Delivering Cars

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Tesla is speeding up production of its electric cars but has issues delivering them to customers. Per CNN report, in the second quarter, the car maker has delivered only 78% of over 18,000 cars made.

Presently, Tesla is seeking to move from being a niche car maker to being a mass producer. The company plans to deliver a cheaper version of a car, known as Model 3, by the end of 2017, and this alone can spike up demand.

In the first half of 2016, Tesla delivered 30,000 vehicles, and in the second half the plan is to deliver 50,000. So this production may not catch with demand.

There are some safety concerns as well. Not long ago, one person was killed in an accident while using an autopilot feature with one of Tesla’s cars, Model S. This accident is currently being investigated.

“Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert,” claimed a Tesla spokesperson.

Still, experts claim that the autopilot feature can reduce the number of traffic deaths around the globe, estimated to be at 1.25 million people killed per year.

It’s expected that self-driving cars will be released on a larger scale in 2020. Tesla isn’t the only company planning to do so. Meanwhile, the federal government in the United States is expected to release rules for these vehicles at any time now.