All posts by Vanguardian

Nikola Motor Company is working to bring Tesla semi trucks to the world

The startup, Nikola Motor Company announced Tuesday that it’s building trucks powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, allowing them to achieve zero emissions. That’s a step in an entirely different direction from its announcement in May, when Nikola said it was building a hybrid semitruck.

A rendering of the Nikola truck. Nikola

Previously, Nikola said its 2,000-horsepower truck would come with six electric motors with a natural-gas turbine as an onboard generator. A prototype has yet to be seen, but Nikola said the truck could achieve zero emissions and go 1,200 miles on a single charge.

It was a bit strange Nikola was claiming it could achieve zero emissions when its semitruck plans involved using a natural-gas range extender.

Now, Nikola appears to be saving face for its zero-emissions claim by stating the startup was always working on using a hydrogen range extender, leaving its natural-gas range extender in the dust.

“Nikola Motor Company recently announced that it achieved zero emissions with its electric-powered drivetrain. At that time, details about how Nikola achieved zero emissions were kept confidential pending finalization of key supplier agreements,” Nikola wrote in the press release (emphasis ours). “Today, Nikola is announcing that the electric drivetrain used in the US and Canadian markets will be powered by a custom-built hydrogen-electric 800V fuel cell.”

Nikola truck interior renderingA rendering of the interior of a Nikola truck.Nikola

Nikola CEO Trevor Milton told Business Insider that the startup is pretty much scrapping the natural-gas range extender in favor of using a hydrogen-electric fuel cell.

The truck is “zero emissions through the hydrogen fuel cell. The turbine will only be available in other countries where we don’t have a hydrogen infrastructure,” Milton said.

In June, Nikola announced it had received 7,000 orders for its hybrid electric truck. Milton says that number is up to 8,000, and that “99% [of the] orders will be for hydrogen only.”

Milton said Nikola is still planning to produce the original hybrid truck, but that it will be available after the hydrogen fuel cell option hits markets. Nikola decided to “filter out and eliminate any orders from other countries” outside the US and Canada so it could focus on the hydrogen-electric truck, Milton added.

“We always had this fuel cell development team working on the fuel cell. Now that we were able to achieve what we wanted to with the fuel cell, all those orders will only be hydrogen-electric,” Milton said.

Nikola truck renderingNikola

The hydrogen-electric truck will offer the same range — 1,200 miles — that Nikola had promised with its hybrid semi. The hydrogen-electric truck will be unveiled on December 1, with testing starting at the end of 2017. Full production will begin in 2020.

Nikola is creating a network of more than 50 hydrogen stations to support the trucks. Milton said the stations will either be very close to existing truck stops or at current stops.

The pivot from a hybrid truck model to a hydrogen one could speak to Nikola trying to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded space. Daimler is currently testing its all-electric truck that has 124 miles of range. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said Tesla will build an all-electric semitruck in his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” published in July.

Nikola’s latest strategy offers a better range than conventional electric vehicles while sticking to the “zero emissions” buzzwords.

“Tesla is really great. Their range is going to be very limited to probably under 200 miles,” Milton said. “Our truck has, essentially, a total of 1,200 miles, and that’s because of the hydrogen fuel cell on board. So you cannot get that range with pure electric only.”

Original article Business Insider on:

The Best Bacon in Auckland

Who serves the best bacon in Auckland?

Picture / Babiche Martens.

“Classic bacon and scrambled eggs at Queenies is my go-to, and the quaint Freeman’s Bay café always delivers. They use Mahy Farm streaky free range bacon, and it’s full of flavour, crispy and not too fatty.” — Zoe Walker, associate editor

“One of the best bacon dishes I’ve eaten was “bacon and eggs” during a degustation dinner at Meredith’s. Nothing like your typical pig ‘n’ chook – this featured the bacon as crispy bits atop slow-poached eggs. A smoky broth was poured in at the last minute, into which we were invited to crack the yolks, swirl, and swoon over the silkiness. It might not be on the menu anymore but there is a pickled ox tongue, with chestnuts, mushroom and bacon that is no doubt just as good.” — Rebecca Barry Hill, writer

“Personally I prefer to buy my bacon from Better Butchers on Mt Eden Rd, where they smoke their own bacon. It is absolutely perfect served with homemade Bearnaise. This bacon is the best in town! Spinach from the garden and a poached egg – yum. Who needs to go out!” — Angela Casley, recipes editor

“I like crispy bacon as much as everyone else does, but I enjoy the juicy organic Harmony bacon from Atomic cafe with poached eggs. I know where it’s come from and that it’s been sustainably farmed. It makes a difference with the flavour and texture attributed to good quality bacon.” — Dan Ahwa, fashion editor

“I won’t touch bacon unless it’s nearly burnt to a crisp, but the good people at L’oeuf in Mt Albert don’t disappoint. As a result, I can’t order anything without a side of their good stuff.” — Jessica Beresford, digital content producer

“The bacon included with the sausage, hash and poached eggs at St Heliers Bay Cafe is just how I like it — crispy on the edges and soft in the middle.” — Danielle Clausen, editorial assistant

Original article Viva on:

New Zealand Safer Roads for Bikers

New Zealand makes Rimutaka Road safer for bikers

Photos / Supplied
Photos / Supplied

Original article Driven NZ on:

8 Great Things To Do on a Weekend in Wales (And They’re All For Free!)

Some of the best things in life are free and no matter how cliche this sounds, it is true, especially when you’re in Wales. In case you are wondering what activities you can do and places you can visit without burning a hole in your pocket, here are 8 wonderful activities to do in Wales during the weekend for free.

Cardiff Bay || Image Credit: Flickr, Creative Commons: Fred Bigio

1. Watch live performances at the Wales Millennium Centre
If you are into music, plays, or poetry reading, get your fill of selected free live performances at the Wales Millennium Centre during the weekends mostly during lunchtimes or early evenings. Whether you are a jazz enthusiast or an indie music lover, the place offers an extensive variety of genres, even choirs, traditional music, or literature performance.

2. Family weekend trip to Swansea
If your family is looking for an exciting weekend by the beach, you can have a short trip to Swansea and watch the aerial acrobats at the Wales National Airshow in Swansea Bay. Aside from the airshow, there are other fun things to do in the area which are for free. There’s the Loughor Family Fun Day, Swansea and the Great War exhibition, or the Penllergare Guided Walk among others.

Wales National Airshow in Swansea Bay || Image Credit: Flickr, Creative Commons: Peter Morgan

3. Have a picnic at Lake Gerionydd
Have a relaxing picnic at the idyllic Lake Gerionydd located at the northern part of the enchanting Gwydyr Forest in Snowdonia. Spread your picnic blanket and enjoy peace and quiet as you commune with nature. You can also take a quick dip in the lake or go for a walk around the lake after enjoying your food.

4. Go for beach walks in North Wales
Want a relaxing activity that is also good for your health? Go for a walk at the beach or by the river – Wales has a good number of them. If you want to explore the beauty of the North Wales coastline, there is a 60-mile path that stretches from Bangor to Prestatyn. There are also alternative shorter walks around the area in case long walks are not your thing.

5. Visit the museums
Wales has a number of interesting museums that you can visit for free. The National Museum of Wales and the Newport Museum are two of those which have free admissions. The National Museum of Wales holds the history of innovation and industry in Wales while the Newport Museum takes you to the history of the place since prehistoric times. They also offer free activities for families and kids.

6. Go hiking on Caerphilly Mountain
Take a hike alone or with your family to enjoy the spectacular views on top of the Caerphilly Mountain. The trek is not difficult but enough to burn calories and spend all the extra energies of your kids. The activity is suitable even for younger children. You can have a picnic at the top as well.

7. Get a taste of different cuisines at the Cardiff International Food Festival
Forget your diet and head to Cardiff to sample the tastes of international and local cuisine at the Cardiff International Food Festival. The festival is filled with street vendors offering a variety of mouth-watering treats and Cardiff’s favorite dishes, such as ribeye steaks, lobster and crab dishes, and charcoal barbecue kebabs. There are also a number of bars where you can get your favorite cocktail or drink.

8. Visit Dryslwyn Castle or Margam Country Park
These two attractions are a tie and you can choose either according to your mood. Dryslwyn Castle is one of the castles around Wales which you can explore freely. It may not be as popular as its neighbours but the view you can get from there are nonetheless amazing.

The 18th century castle in Margam Country Park is well-preserved while the 1000-acre land surrounding has a well-preserved garden and orangery. It also has a deer park, children’s area, and adventure playgrounds that are all for free.

There’s no limit in fun and (often) free activities you may have around Wales. I recommend you check out Wales Online and Visit Wales for more ideas!

Original article Jonha Revesencio on:

Tesla – Australia

Tesla Makes Offer to Acquire SolarCity

Tesla’s mission has always been tied to sustainability. We seek to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation by offering increasingly affordable electric vehicles. And in March 2015, we launched Tesla Energy, which through the Powerwall and Powerpack allow homeowners, business owners and utilities to benefit from renewable energy storage.

It’s now time to complete the picture. Tesla customers can drive clean cars and they can use our battery packs to help consume energy more efficiently, but they still need access to the most sustainable energy source that’s available: the sun.

The SolarCity team has built its company into the clear solar industry leader in the residential, commercial and industrial markets, with significant scale and growing customer penetration. They have made it easy for customers to switch to clean energy while still providing the best customer experience. We’ve seen this all firsthand through our partnership with SolarCity on a variety of use cases, including those where SolarCity uses Tesla battery packs as part of its solar projects.

So, we’re excited to announce that Tesla today has made an offer to acquire SolarCity. A copy of Tesla’s offer is provided below.

If completed, we believe that a combination of Tesla and SolarCity would provide significant benefits to our shareholders, customers and employees:

  • We would be the world’s only vertically integrated energy company offering end-to-end clean energy products to our customers. This would start with the car that you drive and the energy that you use to charge it, and would extend to how everything else in your home or business is powered. With your Model S, Model X, or Model 3, your solar panel system, and your Powerwall all in place, you would be able to deploy and consume energy in the most efficient and sustainable way possible, lowering your costs and minimizing your dependence on fossil fuels and the grid.
  • We would be able to expand our addressable market further than either company could do separately. Because of the shared ideals of the companies and our customers, those who are interested in buying Tesla vehicles or Powerwalls are naturally interested in going solar, and the reverse is true as well. When brought together by the high foot traffic that is drawn to Tesla’s stores, everyone should benefit.
  • We would be able to maximize and build on the core competencies of each company. Tesla’s experience in design, engineering, and manufacturing should help continue to advance solar panel technology, including by making solar panels add to the look of your home. Similarly, SolarCity’s wide network of sales and distribution channels and expertise in offering customer-friendly financing products would significantly benefit Tesla and its customers.
  • We would be able to provide the best possible installation service for all of our clean energy products. SolarCity is the best at installing solar panel systems, and that expertise translates seamlessly to the installation of Powerwalls and charging systems for Tesla vehicles.
  • Culturally, this is a great fit. Both companies are driven by a mission of sustainability, innovation, and overcoming any challenges that stand in the way of progress.

Today’s offer to acquire SolarCity is only the first step toward a successful combination of Tesla and SolarCity. We will provide a further update if and when an agreement is reached.

June 20, 2016

Mr. Lyndon R. Rive
Chief Executive Officer
SolarCity Corporation
3055 Clearview Way
San Mateo, CA 94402

Dear Lyndon:

We are pleased to submit to you and the SolarCity board of directors a proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of SolarCity in exchange for Tesla common shares.  Subject to completing due diligence, we propose an exchange ratio of 0.122x to 0.131x shares of Tesla common stock for each share of SolarCity common stock. This proposal represents a value of $26.50 to $28.50 per share, or a premium of approximately 21% to 30% over the closing price of SolarCity’s shares, based on today’s closing price of SolarCity’s shares and the 5-day volume weighted average price of Tesla shares. We believe that our proposal offers fair and compelling value for SolarCity and its stockholders, while also giving SolarCity’s stockholders the opportunity to receive Tesla common stock at a premium exchange ratio and the opportunity to participate in the success of the combined company through their ongoing ownership of Tesla stock.

The board of directors of Tesla is excited at the prospect of a potential combination of SolarCity’s business with Tesla. We believe that the possibilities for product, service and operational synergies would be substantial, and that a combination would allow our companies to build on our respective core competencies and remain at the forefront of delivering innovative approaches for sustainable transportation and energy. We believe that a combination would generate significant benefits for stockholders, customers and employees of both Tesla and SolarCity.

We are committed to a possible transaction that is fair to SolarCity’s and Tesla’s respective stockholders.  To help ensure that, Tesla is prepared to make the consummation of a combination of our companies subject to the approval of a majority of disinterested stockholders of both SolarCity and Tesla voting on the transaction. In addition, as a result of their overlapping directorships, Elon Musk and Antonio Gracias have recused themselves from voting on this proposal at the Tesla board meeting at which it was approved, and will recuse themselves from voting on this proposal at the SolarCity board as well.  We believe that any transaction should be the result of full and fair deliberation and negotiation by both of our boards and the fully-informed consideration of our respective stockholders.

Our proposal is subject to the satisfactory completion of due diligence, the negotiation of mutually agreeable definitive transaction documents, and final approval by the Tesla board. While a transaction would be further subject to customary and usual closing conditions, we believe that Tesla is well positioned to negotiate and complete the transaction in an expedited manner. We do not anticipate significant regulatory or other obstacles in consummating a mutually beneficial transaction promptly.

In light of Elon Musk’s SEC disclosure obligations in his individual capacity as a stockholder of SolarCity this proposal will be publicly disclosed, but Tesla’s intention is to proceed only on a friendly basis.

We look forward to discussing a potential transaction with you, and hope to expeditiously enter into a definitive agreement.


The Board of Directors of
Tesla Motors, Inc.

Original article Tesla Australia on: