Think about where our energy comes from: drilling rigs and smokestacks, windmills and solar panels. Lithium-ion battery packs might even come to mind.
We probably don’t think about the farms that comprise over one-third of Earth’s total land area. But farms can also be an energy source. Barcelona-based battery company Bioo is generating electricity from the organic matter in soil and creating biological batteries that can power agricultural sensors, a growing 1.36 billion dollar global market.
Bioo’s tech eliminates the need for single-use chemical batteries, which have to be replaced frequently. The company will work with large players such as Bayer Crop Science to pilot its sensor tech on farms, while also experimenting with using bio-batteries to power lighting installations. Eventually, Bioo envisions a future where biology may even help power our largest cities.
See how it works in this video.
Quick Charge Podcast: October 3, 2023
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Tesla expands Cybertruck testing all the way to Mexico, adds new accessories
Tesla has expanded Cybertruck testing all the way to Mexico – in Baja California, at the starting point of a rally in which Elon Musk hinted the Cybertruck would perform well. The automaker also seems to be testing new accessories.
We expect Tesla to announce the Cybertruck launch event very soon, but in the meantime, the automaker seems to be continuing to test its electric pickup truck.
Prototypes have primarily been spotted in California and Texas throughout the year, but recently, the test program seems to have expanded.
A Cybertruck was spotted in Ohio this weekend, and it appears the same truck made it all the way to Florida. That’s the furthest east we have seen one of these trucks go.
Now, a couple of Cybertrucks have even been spotted in Mexico.
Erik Johnson posted on Facebook two pictures of two Cybertrucks charging at a resort in Ensenada, Mexico.
That’s actually the starting point of the Baja 1000 rally – one of the toughest off-road rallies in the world and an event that CEO Elon Musk referenced when talking about testing the Cybertruck’s suspension.
We’re working on increasing dynamic air suspension travel for better off-roading. Needs to kick butt in Baja.
The rally is still a few months away, but Tesla could be testing the water on the local terrain.
The same truck with the graffiti decal also appears to feature an accessory bar on top and what could be a Starlink antenna – better seen in this picture of the same truck.
Starlink, a satellite-based internet service made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, has a plan option for road vehicles, and it could be a particularly good match for Cybertruck owners who will want to take the electric vehicle off-grid.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
Volkswagen taps Tesla, Rivian vet to fix EV software issues
Delays at Volkswagen’s Cariad software unit have already caused Porsche and Audi electric model launches to be pushed back. To turn things around, Volkswagen is hiring a former Tesla, Rivian, and Google executive to lead a new software design hub for future EVs.
VW’s Cariad division has been a problem child for several years now. After draining money and failing to meet its targets, Cariad’s disappointment was reportedly a reason behind former VW Group CEO Herbert Diess’s departure. Diess established Cariad in 2020 to advance Volkswagen’s EV software to help it compete against Tesla.
Cariad is developing a uniform software and tech platform for the group’s next-gen EVs, but poor execution has led to significant delays and glitchy rollouts. The issues have delayed launches for the Porsche electric Macan and the new Audi Q6 e-tron.
Oliver Blume, who took the reigns from Diess as VW’s CEO last September, has faced the same issues. The leader is making it a priority to turn things around.
Blume appointed Peter Bosch, former Bentley production chief, as CEO in May. Now, the unit is adding some veteran talent from industry leaders Tesla and Rivian.
Volkswagen hires Tesla exec to boost EV software unit
Volkswagen has hired Sanjay Lal, a former Tesla and Rivian exec, to help finally advance the automaker’s next-gen software platform.
According to Bloomberg, Lal will join VW next month from Rivian, where he worked as vice president of software platform for two years. Lal joined Rivian from Google, where he was Director of Engineering for Android Automotive. From July 2017 to June 2019, Lal was director of engineering at Tesla.
Lal will lead a software design hub at Cariad. The hubs projects will be first applied to two EVs, an Audi and VW model. Eventually, the unit’s output will be used for scaling the software platform across the Volkswagen Group of brands.
The hiring comes after Volkswagen cut production at two German plants due to slowing demand. According to Automobilwoche, Volkswagen’s Zwickau plant will shut down one of two ID.3 production lines. VW revealed a $1.3 billion investment in 2018 to transform the plant to build EVs.
Software is becoming the new vehicle design. Buyers are looking for the latest tech and features rather than worrying about the brand name.
Volkswagen is quickly realizing this. After falling behind BYD in passenger car sales in its largest market, China, for the first time, you can sense the urgency.
The automaker invested $700 million into Chinese EV maker XPeng in July for a 5% stake to develop new electric models. Audi also established a long-term partnership with Chinese state-owned SAIC Motor to accelerate EV development in the region.
EV makers like Tesla, NIO, BYD, and others are becoming the go-to for new features and tech rather than Audi or Porsche vehicles.
Tesla and others continue improving their vehicles through software updates with new features that make the car smarter, safer, and more efficient. For example, Tesla rolled out a new software update Tuesday that automatically activates and speeds up its hazard lights following a crash.
Volkswagen will have a long way to go in catching up, but hiring some veteran firepower with direct industry knowledge could help speed up the process.
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