Elon Musk Says Tesla Has Conquered 'Range Anxiety'
If nothing else, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk knows how to make headlines.
One of the most frequently cited drawbacks to electric plug-in vehicles (EV) such as the Tesla is that they don't go very far before you have to stop and charge them, at times greatly exceeding what it takes to fill a gas tank. That's been dubbed "range anxiety." Some EVs only go about 100 miles, while Tesla models average between 200 and 270 mpg. And while the number of public charging stations, including the faster Superchargers, is increasing rapidly especially in EV-dense states such as California, they're not equally easily to find everywhere.
On Sunday, Musk tweeted that he had solved the problem of range anxiety and that he would unveil it on Thursday. And unveil it he did, though whether it's likely to put to rest peoples' fears of running out of a charge is uncertain.
Tesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety ... via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 15, 2015
All week EV-related media and fans buzzed with speculation that it would involve a battery redesign, better distribution of power or a more accurate warning system—or something else.
It turns out to be something else. It involved two software updates to the Tesla Model S. One is a "range assurance" application which Musk claims makes it impossible to run out of range unless you do so on purpose. This app lets you know if you're in danger of running out of range and then tells you where to find the closest supercharger. The other is the "Trip Planner," sort of a high-tech version of those old AAA maps that designed a travel route for you. This one would direct a drive to a route that would keep him within comfortable distance from a charging station at all times.
"It's a big network of Superchargers communicating with a big network of cars," said Musk. "This has never happened before."
But Musk's melodramatic announcement wasn't the only big Tesla news this week. Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that would allow the company to sell its cars directly to consumers. The bill removes the prohibition on direct sales by auto manufacturers who do not have franchise agreements, allowing Tesla and other EV companies to sell directly to New Jersey consumers at up to four locations in the state. Traditional franchised showroom dealers have been fighting such measures across the country and mostly been successful. Michigan, Arizona, Texas and Maryland have banned such direct sales.
A huge victory in New Jersey for consumer choice: We are open for business! @GovChristie
— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) March 18, 2015
"I said last year that if the Legislature changed the law, I would sign new legislation put on my desk and that is exactly what I’m doing today,” said Gov. Christie. “We’re pleased that manufacturers like Tesla will now have the opportunity to establish direct sales operations for consumers in a manner lawfully in New Jersey.”
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It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
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