Inside Electric Vehicles - July 1st, 2016

Inside Electric Vehicles (Jul 1st, 2016)

A driver was killed in the first fatal Tesla crash involving Autopilot, the AA predicts soaring EV sales, Faraday Futures debuted a wild concept car, a leak suggests the Model 3 will be more powerful than promised, Gigafactory "golden ticket" invites have gone out, and the FABRIC project seriously considers the benefits of electric roads that can wirelessly charge a vehicle.
Federal regulators have revealed that a driver of a Tesla Model S sedan was killed in Florida on May 7th when his car was in self-driving mode, marking the first fatal traffic involving autopilot. Joshua Brown, 40, was ex-Navy and a major Tesla supporter, sharing his enthusiasm for Autopilot via YouTube videos showing the system working smoothly. Brown's death calls into question whether partially autonomous vehicles can make split-second, life-or-death highway decisions: In this case, a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the vehicle, and the Tesla failed to engage its brakes. Tesla released a statement: "Neither autopilot nor driver noticed the white side of the tractor-trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied." – NYTIMES

Is this tragic incident a turning point for Tesla's Autopilot? Should the autonomous element need to have full control when engaged, or is semi-autonomy still worth exploring? This is an enormous issue, and we would be fascinated to hear your take on it.  
A new study by the AA has determined that EV sales will likely soar once consumers overcome their misconceptions about operating costs. The report backs the EV as a family's "second car," saying that within two years, a single charge of an EV should be good for 200 road miles. – YAHOO FINANCE

Ever-mysterious startup Faraday Futures has revealed a wild "Mad Max meets Batman" concept car for the Formula E racing series. The completely autonomous FFZero1 boats over 1,000 horsepower and can reach 200 mph, based upon an innovative battery architecture. Many had speculated Faraday would be announcing their first production car, but this was not the case, though the company dropped hints that some of the cooler features of the FFZero1 will make their way into Faraday Future's first production car. – TECH INSIDER

Despite its consumer-friendly price, recently leaked info suggests the Tesla Model 3 will have power comparable to the current Model S. The leak reveals that the Model 3 will have a 300kW power inverter, which itself has 25% percent fewer parts than recent iterations. The new specs suggest that higher-end versions of the car may handily beat the base model's very respectable 0-60 in under six. – ELECTREK

The conversation over at Teslamotorsclub is understandably focused on the death of Joshua Brown in what is being called the first fatal traffic accident involving Autopilot. Member Travwill says "I don't think any manufacturer's safety systems (AP) front collision control systems would have stopped in that scenario, its a rare/odd case for sure. The driver/human failed to stop and see the danger as well."; X Yes has a dark view of the issue: "It was only a matter of time before the false sense of security resulted in a death."; BriansBucketList sums his thoughts well, by saying "Autopilot should be called driver assistance, and Tesla's efforts to emphasize driver responsibility and situational awareness might need to be ramped up a bit."; There are comments as well as regarding Tesla's press release on the subject. (Speculation has begun in earnest about whether or not Brown had a DVD player running a "Harry Potter" movie at the time of the crash.)

On the EV subreddit, members are discussing Sweden's "first electric highway"; Apparent Dune and Back to the Future fan MuaddibMcFly says "The biggest problem is that it's a pretty significant up-front cost; the overhead cables are expensive and unsightly, and require significant maintenance. And if you decide to do that, you practically need to install them on the entire route."; WDavis4692 adds "20 years from now when batteries are good enough for long-haul freight, Sweden's going to feel pretty stupid with all these no-longer-needed cables dangling everywhere."

A new report from Allied Market Research finds that the EV charging system market could generate $8.02 billion by 2022, especially if government initiatives to reduce emissions continue. – CBS

Highly fortunate Tesla 3 reservation holders have begun to get emails from "" informing them they are among the 12 randomly selected winners of an all-expenses paid trip to the Gigafactory Grand Opening. 150,000 reserved a Model 3 on the opening day, giving them each a 1 in 12,000 chance at an invite. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been stoking expectations for the event, and the 'Willy Wonka' allusions are flowing freely. – ELECTREK

Researchers for the EU-funded FABRIC project are looking into the feasibility of electric roads that can wirelessly charge an EV, via charging hubs buried in the asphalt. FABRIC is looking into both static charging and on-the-move dynamic charging. Their hope is to eradicate so-called "range anxiety" and allow EV drivers to forget worries about how soon their battery will or will not run out.NAKED SCIENTISTS

Do you have a take on the notion of electric roads? Do you think "range anxiety" is as all-inclusive as some articles imply, or is it hype? Drop us a note and let us know!
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