March 8, 2018 News of the Day: Tesla's Electric Semi Truck Makes its First Delivery, Goodyear's Oxygene Concept Tire With Living Moss Improves Air Quality

Author: Eric Walz   

Tesla's Upcoming Electric Semi Truck Makes its First Delivery

Tesla's new electric truck made its first haul, delivering battery packs from Tesla's own battery factory near Reno, Nevada to its Fremont, California assembly plant. Although Tesla said production on the new Semi until will not begin until 2019, the automaker is securing in commercial customers and putting Semi test trucks in service.

On Instagram this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted a photo of two Semis making their first production cargo run.


The trucks carried battery packs from the Gigafactory in Nevada to Tesla's car plant in Fremont, California. On major freeways, the trip is about 265 miles.Tesla will offer a Semi with a range of about 300 miles, and a more expensive version is said to travel 500 miles on a single charge at max weight while going 60 mph.

The Tesla Semi can hit 0-60 mph in 5 seconds when empty, or 20 seconds while towing a full load. The Class 8 electric truck comes equipped with four electric motors—the same ones used in the Model 3. The drivetrain is guaranteed for 1 million miles.

These large trucks require more powerful charging rates. At one of Tesla's solar-powered Megachargers, the truck can be recharged for another 400 miles of range in just 30 minutes.

Tesla has already secured reservations from a number of major corporations,including Walmart, Anheuser-Busch, UPS, and PepsiCo.

Goodyear's Oxygene Concept Tire With Living Moss Improves Air Quality


Goodyear's introduced a radically new concept tire at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, designed to bring the future of mobility to life as solution for cleaner and more sustainable urban mobility.

The tire concept, named Oxygene, has a unique structure that features living moss growing within the sidewall. This open structure and the tire's smart tread design absorb and circulate moisture and water from the road surface, allowing photosynthesis to occur and therefore releasing oxygen into the air.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 80% of people who live in air pollution-measured urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.

"With more than two-thirds of the world population expected to live in cities by 2050, the demands on transport networks in urban environments will increase substantially," said Chris Delaney, President of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. "Smarter, greener infrastructure and transport will be crucial in addressing the most pressing challenges of urban mobility and development."

Inspired by the principles of the circular economy, with emphasis on reducing material waste, emissions, and energy loss, Goodyear's Oxygene concept is designed to integrate seamlessly into future cityscapes, featuring several key performance solutions.

Oxygene absorbs moisture from the road through its unique tread and takes CO2 from the air to feed the moss in its sidewall and release oxygen via photosynthesis. In a city similar in size to greater Paris with about 2.5 million vehicles, this would mean generating nearly 3,000 tons of oxygen and absorbing more than 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

The Oxygene features a non-pneumatic construction that is 3D-printed with rubber powder derived from recycled tires. The lightweight, shock-absorbing structure provides a long-lasting, puncture-free solution intended to extend the life of the tire and minimize service issues, delivering worry-free mobility in the era of autonomous vehicles. Additional safety is ensured by the tire's open structure, which improves wet grip by helping absorb water from the tread.

The tire can even generate its own electricity by harvesting the energy generated during photosynthesis. This energy can be used to power embedded electronics, including onboard sensors, an artificial intelligence processing unit, and a customizable light strip in the tire's sidewall that switches colors, warning both road users and pedestrians of upcoming maneuvers, such as lane changes or braking.

Oxygene uses a visible light communications system, or LiFi, for high-capacity mobile connectivity at the speed of light. LiFi enables the tire to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) data exchange, which is critical to smart mobility management systems.

"Like the concept designs Goodyear has presented at Geneva in the past, Oxygene is meant to challenge our thinking and help drive the debate around smart, safe and sustainable future mobility," Delaney said. "By contributing in this way to cleaner air generation, the tire could help enhance quality of life and health for city-dwellers."

Ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Starts His Own VC Fund


Uber's embattled cofounder and ex-CEO Travis Kalanick has found a new role outside of Uber, where he was ousted as CEO last June. the new fund is called "10100" (pronounced, ten one hundred).

The fund will be directly overseen by Kalanick and will focus on the theme of "large scale job creation," he said in a blog post. He noted that investments will be in both profit and non-profit projects. The fund's focus will be on real estate, commerce, as well as emerging technology in India and China.

It's a big announcement for Kalanick, whose casual management style and lingo have come to epitomize irreverence in Silicon Valley's loose corporate culture.

While Kalanick left Uber under a cloud of controversy, he found success in building Uber into a $69 billion company, becoming the world's most valuable start-up in the process.

Here is Kalanick's full statement about his new fund:

"Over the past few months I've started thinking about what's next. I've begun making investments, joining boards, working with entrepreneurs and nonprofits. Today I'm announcing the creation of a fund called 10100 (pronounced 'ten-one-hundred'), home to my passions, investments, ideas and big bets. It will be overseeing my for-profit investments as well as my non-profit work.

The overarching theme will be about large-scale job creation, with investments in real estate, commerce, and emerging innovation in China and India. Our non-profit efforts will initially focus on education and the future of cities."

Mercedes-Benz Will Launch Citaro Electric Bus This Fall


The all-electric Mercedes-Benz Citaro E_CELL bus is emission-free. Mercedes says the 12-meter version will make its world premiere in September at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show, with production beginning later this year.

In 2012, the Citaro became the first city bus in the world to meet what is currently the most stringent emissions standard, Euro VI. The all-electric Citaro is now taking the next step from low-emission bus to being a zero-emissions bus.

Bus is powered by an electric portal axle with electric motors mounted at the wheel hubs. The peak output of the motors is 125 kW, while torque is 2 x 485 Nm. The electric motors offer full torque right from the start, even when the bus is full of passengers.

Lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of up to about 243 kWh are responsible for providing the power. These are split between up to a maximum of ten individual modules, as well as two battery modules on the roof, the standard equipment includes four modules in the rear of the bus. Depending upon customer requirements, an additional two or four battery modules may be mounted on the roof.

The charging technology used is similarly flexible. For the start of series production, charging via a Combo 2 connector is planned. If, in order to extend the range of the vehicle, there is a need for opportunity charging, there also will be an option to charge the Citaro via an overhead pantograph in the future.

The modular assembly process allows for customizable battery and charging configurations, depending on the customer's needs. Mercedes-Benz is able to offer transport operators the opportunity to configure the Citaro precisely to the individual requirements of the company, or even of each separate route.

The passenger compartment of the Citaro is heated in an energy-efficient manner by a heat pump, backed up by the usual side-wall fan heaters and the front heater. All components that give off heat are linked together, so keeping the amount of energy required for their cooling to a minimum. During the colder months, the roof-mounted air-conditioning system is used in addition as a heat pump. The use of CO2 as a coolant brings further benefits.

Another unique feature for passenger comfort is that the interior can be heated or cooled to a specific temperature while the batteries are still being charged, so the bus is ready for service immediately after charging.

Honda Urban EV to Enter Production in 2019


Honda is gearing up to launch the production version of the well-acclaimed Urban EV electric hatchback in 2019. Honda has announced its intention to start production of the car next year and deposits for the model will begin sometime in early 2019.

Honda believes, this car will test people's attitude towards the electric cars and the response will help the automaker to move forward on its electric powertrain technology.

Honda showcased the Urban EV at the 2018 Delhi Auto Expo, where it received much attention. Considering the fact that Honda aims to grab a strong spot in the Indian EV market when the country adopts zero emission pure electric mobility by the end of next decade, the Urban EV could be here. In that case, we can expect the electric hatchback to be introduced here sometime in 2020.

Honda is tight lipped about the specification and powertrain detail of this electric hatchback, but we can hope it to get a range of around 155 miles. Also, the production version is likely to come more conventional compared to the concept model that was displayed at the 2018 Delhi Auto Expo in February this year.

Honda believes, the pricing of the electric vehicles will come down to the level of internal engine powered models and Urban EV could play a crucial role in the brand's ambition to grab a strong share in growing EV market.

The Urban EV will have a mix of retro and modern styling. Inside the cabin, Honda would introduce a minimalist approach with this car. However, there will be a range of high-end advanced safety features and digital features included as well.

Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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