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The Tesla Owners Club of Austin shared that it is hosting the Kilowatts booth at the ALTNRGShow, which is an acronym for alternative energy show, in Austin. The event will take place on June 12 and 14 from 9 am to 5 pm and is sponsored by Wells Solar and Electrical Services. Anyone who buys tickets to attend the event will also be entered into a drawing to win a Tesla Powerwall. For members of the Tesla Owners Club of Austin, discounted tickets are available — just reach out to them on Twitter if you’d like to attend. The Tesla Owners Club also has a fun surprise planned for those stopping by their booth.

About ALTNRGSHOW

According to the press release, Chris Johnston and Robert Perry teamed up with Wells Solar and Electrical Services to put the event together to help the greater Austin community find answers to their questions after February’s energy crisis that was caused by the winter event. There will be several hybrid and electric vehicles on display along with solar, smart home integration, and other eco-friendly companies.

The event will unite a variety of businesses in a 70,000 square foot space — responsibly. Social distancing measures will be in place and there will be a maximum of 1,500 guests allowed in the building at one time — this is mandated by the City of Austin.

The goal is to have green energy organizations under one roof so that citizens of Austin (and Texas) can compare while shopping for ways to establish their energy independence from fossil fuels. The event will be held at the Palmer Events Center and was chosen for its eco-friendly practices and its setting against Lady Bird Lake. The event center has almost 1,000 solar roof panels, so visitors will get to see the panels as they walk into the event.

Wells Solar shared the following statement:

“Wells Solar is excited to work with ALTNRGSHOW and spend time with Austin’s residents looking for alternative energy solutions. We are a family-owned business with an emphasis on high-quality service and high-quality solar products. Come join us June 12 and 13 to learn how Wells Solar is raising the industry standards through superiour craftsmanship and over 10 years of experience serving Texas. Wells does solar better.”


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Switzerland put vertical solar panels on a roadside retaining wall

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Switzerland put vertical solar panels on a roadside retaining wall

A canton in Switzerland commissioned a project in which solar panels were attached vertically to a roadside retaining wall.

The canton of Appenzell Ausserhoden in northeastern Switzerland is aiming to generate at least 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2035. So, it exercised a little creativity and covered a roadside retaining wall with 756 glass-glass solar panels.

The panels have an output of 325 kW and an energy yield of around 230,000 kWh annually. This is equivalent to the consumption of about 52 Swiss households. The energy will be fed into the grid of energy supplier St. Gallisch-Appenzellische Kraftwerke, and the canton will get a feed-in tariff in return.

German mounting system provider K2 Systems and Swiss contractor Solarmotion installed the vertical system on the 75-degree retaining wall. The panels were anchored on a mounting rail with HUS screw anchors, and Lichtenstein-based Hilti provided mechanical dowels. 

The PV system was anchored on and in the masonry using an adhesive technique. An anchoring depth of a maximum of 90 mm could not be exceeded so that the retaining wall would not be adversely affected.

Due to the close proximity to the asphalt, the solar panels’ components are subject to exceptional corrosion requirements and are anodized for protection. Indirect components are made of aluminum – only the screw anchors are made of stainless steel.

K2 Systems says that “especially in the winter months (when consumption and dependence on foreign electricity imports are at their highest), the vertically aligned modules will achieve a very good electricity yield.”

Electrek’s Take

This isn’t a big project, but it’s a delightfully creative one, which is why it caught my eye. A retaining wall is dead space, and snow will slide off the panels in Swiss winters.

We at Electrek love it when solar is installed in intelligent and inventive ways. Warehouse rooftops? Cover them. Highway medians? Canal covers? Box stores? Put solar on them. It just makes sense.

Read more: In a US first, California will pilot solar-panel canopies over canals

Photo: K2 Systems


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Your personalized solar quotes are easy to compare online and you’ll get access to unbiased Energy Advisers to help you every step of the way. Get started here. – ad*

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Doroni’s all-electric flying car gets flight certified in the US

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Doroni's all-electric flying car gets flight certified in the US

Flying electric cars are not just for sci-fi movies. Miami-based Doroni Aerospace announced Friday its all-electric flying car, the Doroni H1, received official FAA Airworthiness Certification. And the best part – it’s designed to fit in your garage.

Doroni’s all-electric flying car gets FAA-certified

Doroni claims to be the first company to test manned flights with a 2-seater flying electric car in the US. The Doroni H1 took flight earlier this year.

CEO Doron Merdinger successfully piloted the personal electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) this summer. Merdinger said receiving the flight certification “is not just a milestone for our company, but a leap forward for the entire field of personal air mobility.”

He says the electric flying car “is poised to redefine urban transportation.” Doroni’s aircraft has already received over 370 pre-orders as the startup wraps up funding efforts.

Powered by ten independent propulsion systems, the all-electric flying car has a claimed top speed of 140 mph (100 mph cruising speed) and 60 miles range. Its unique design ensures stability during flight.

all-electric-flying-car
Doroni’s electric flying car (Source: Doroni)

It includes four ducts containing two e-motors with patented ducted propellers. Eight are for vertical flight with an additional “two pushes.”

The two-seater aircraft is designed to fit inside a two-car garage at 23 ft in length and 14 ft in width. It also features fast charging (20% -80%) in under 20 minutes.

all-electric-flying-car
Doroni’s electric flying car prototype (Source: Doroni)

Electric flying cars coming to a dealership near you

Doroni’s all-electric flying car is semi-autonomous, meaning you can guide it to different levels. A controller stick is used to push you forward, backward, or to the side.

all-electric-flying-car
Doroni H1 interior control stick (source: Doroni)

Who would buy one of these? Doroni says one of its customers is a doctor who wants to use the aircraft to skip traffic on their way to work. However, you will need a certification. It requires at least 20 hours of experience, 15 inside the aircraft and another five solo.

Merdinger says the biggest use case for eVTOLs will be for air taxis or ride-sharing. Doroni aims for a different market though.

all-electric-flying-car
Doroni electric flying car concept (Source: Doroni)

The company says there is enough space to fly everywhere, especially in suburban areas. Doroni’s all-electric flying car is designed for more than just getting you from point A to point B. It allows you to “enjoy nature,” according to Merdinger.

Doroni expects to build about 120 to 125 units by 2025 or 2026. Eventually, the Miami-based startup plans on scaling to produce 2,500 eVTOLs annually. You can learn more about the electric flying car on Doroni’s website.

first-flying-electric-car-dealerships
(Source: Alef Aeronautics)

The company is the latest to receive the flight certification. Alef’s Model A was the first electric flying car to get certfied in June.

Alef said it had 2,500 pre-orders in July. The orders include 2,100 from individuals and 400 from businesses, including a California car dealership.

Electrek’s Take

Are electric flying cars going to take over road transportation? Not necessarily. At least not anytime soon.

Doroni and Alef are both working on niche markets, which makes the most sense for the time being. At the same time, the companies are pushing forward another sustainble means of transport.

As Merdinger explained “this is just the beginning,” as the technology advances.

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Rivian already has a patent on Tesla’s Cybertruck ‘range extender’

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Rivian already has a patent on Tesla's Cybertruck 'range extender'

Tesla delivered the first Cybertrucks yesterday, and with that delivery event came the revelation that in order to get the range it promised, the Cybertruck needs a separate battery pack in the bed. But a similar battery pack system was already patented years ago, by one of Tesla’s competitors in the electric pick-up space.

Tesla’s Cybertruck website included a revelation about a feature that wasn’t mentioned in its presentation: a “range extender,” in the form of an additional battery pack in the truck bed which expands the truck’s range.

It’s an interesting solution, and we don’t know all the details of it yet. We don’t know the cost, the weight, how it will be installed and uninstalled, or whether it even can be uninstalled.

The battery pack is intended to be used “for very long trips or towing heavy things up mountains,” according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. It takes up about a third of the truck bed, as can be seen in a photo posted on Tesla’s Cybertruck site.

Tesla Range extender battery pack

So, there’s still room for cargo, just not the full 6 feet of bed length that Tesla says the Cybertruck has.

But the fact that it was described as being used only “for very long trips or towing heavy things up mountains” suggests that it will be removable, since most people don’t do that sort of thing every single day.

Making it removable is actually a good solution, because it can lower prices, make packaging easier, and improve efficiency for vehicles that simply don’t need a ridiculously enormous 470-mile battery – and most drivers don’t need that.

And if it is removable, well, there’s already a patent on that.

In 2019, electric truck maker Rivian filed a patent for a “removable auxiliary battery” that would fit into the front third-or-so of the truck bed. This patent was granted in 2020, so Rivian currently has a patent on this technology.

The patent is described as:

An electric vehicle system for transporting human passengers or cargo includes an electric vehicle that includes a body, a plurality of wheels, a cargo area, an electric motor for propelling the electric vehicle, and a primary battery for providing electrical power to the electric motor for propelling the electric vehicle. An auxiliary battery module is attachable to the electric vehicle for providing electrical power to the electric motor via a first electrical connector at the auxiliary battery module and a second electrical connector at the electric vehicle that mates with the first electrical connector. The auxiliary battery module can be positioned in the cargo area while supplying power to the electric motor, and can be removable and reattachable from the electric vehicle. The auxiliary battery module includes an integrated cooling system for cooling itself during operation of the electric vehicle including a conduit therein for circulating coolant.

We aren’t patent lawyers here, but this sounds awfully similar to Tesla’s “range extender.” The obvious potential differences we can find are if the range extender doesn’t have integrated cooling, which is unlikely, or if the range extender isn’t removable, which doesn’t seem to jive with the statement that it is only for long trips or with the marketing showing it as an optional add-on (if that were the case, why not just offer different battery sizes?).

Tesla itself has many patents (and is still pursuing more of them), but has pledged not to “initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use its technology.” It announced this in a 2014 blog post, and followed up by saying that it thinks several companies are using its patents.

So next, the question is: is Tesla’s solution different enough to avoid Rivian’s patent protection? Has Tesla licensed the idea from Rivian, and we just haven’t heard about it yet? Or will Rivian return Tesla’s “good faith” and not initiate a patent lawsuit against Tesla, if it does feel like it has a good enough case to say that Tesla’s range extender infringes on its patent?

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