Tesla Energy, Brookfield, & Dacra Are Developing A Large-Scale Sustainable Neighborhood In Austin, Texas
Tesla Energy, Brookfield Asset Management, and Dacra are teaming up to create SunHouse at Easton Park, Brookfield announced. This is the first Tesla Solar neighborhood and will be the nation’s most sustainable residential community, according to the companies. Brookfield and Dacra are combining their real estate experience with Tesla Energy’s products and wisdom to create a unique neighborhood that I think could be the first of many more to come.
Brookfield noted that Tesla’s V3 solar roof tiles and Powerwall 2 battery storage system will be installed in phases at homes in the SunHouse community that will be developed on land in Brookfield Residential’s Easton Park. The first phase of installation started last month with a sampling of homes under construction.
These installations will provide insight and information on product integration and will guide the installation at the next phase. The master-planned community of homes will be the final phase of the process. The goal is to establish an energy-neutral, sustainable community and a model for the design and construction of sustainable large-scale housing projects around the world.
Tesla Solar will provide ongoing oversight of the homes’ energy systems. Brookfield’s renewable power business will integrate a community-wide solar program that will serve broader public use needs and those of surrounding neighborhoods. Brookfield Residential noted that it will also incorporate a suite of technology features that include EV charging stations in each home and throughout the community.
Residents of these new homes will most likely produce enough energy to supply their daily needs while reducing daily demand on the electric grid. They will be provided with backup storage in the event of a power outage and may possibly be compensated for returning power to the energy grid.
Statements From The CEOs
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, said:
“Neighborhood solar installations across all housing types will reshape how people live. Brookfield and Dacra’s commitment to stay at the vanguard of that evolution is what makes them the right collaborator for Tesla Energy. The feedback we get from the solar and battery products used in this community will impact how we develop and launch new products.”
Brian Kingston, the CEO of Brookfield’s real estate business, shared how this would help Brookfield meet the demand for environmentally responsible communities of the future.
“This initiative brings together multiple parts of our organization with innovative and forward-thinking partners that share a commitment to advance the development of sustainable communities.
“As consumers increasingly seek out energy security alongside sustainable places to live, combining Tesla’s solar technology together with Brookfield’s real estate and renewables development capabilities will help us meet demand for environmentally responsible communities of the future.”
Craig Robins, CEO of Dacra, spoke of the overall goal that’s the best for everyone:
“Our goal is to establish that fully-sustainable neighborhoods are not only viable, but the best practical and economical choice.
“Together with Brookfield and Tesla, we are trying to change the world by creating technology-driven, energy independent communities that make the world a better place.”
The City of Austin and Travis County have both committed to sustainable development. Brookfield stated that it will work with Dacra and Tesla “over the next year to incorporate additional transportation, technology, and energy solutions to create this new paradigm for residential community development.”
“The City of Austin is excited for the arrival of these affordable options to housing powered by renewable energy,” Mayor Steve Adler of Austin said. “I am excited for the Tesla, Brookfield, and Dacra partnership’s approach to sustainable energy and housing as an example of the out-of-box thinking that continues to make our community a beacon of innovation for the rest of the country and world.”
This is exciting and I think it can be a blueprint for all housing types, whether for those who are buying homes or developers who rent out apartments. I really think that this could also benefit low-income housing as well. However, there will be several challenges in this regard. To me, owning a home is a luxury, and sadly, many others are in the same boat.
MarketWatch reported that many who buy houses are using their portfolios to do so — not their salaries. The article noted that the housing market is increasingly unequal and that it could be accompanying a K-shaped recovery from the Covid-induced downturn. Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, touched upon how the pandemic widened the gap between those who have and those who don’t. “When I started in this business, there was a broad consensus around making the American dream accessible to middle- and lower-income people. After this year I now see housing as a luxury good.”
I’ve also seen numerous posts on TikTok from both Millennials and Gen Z-ers saying that owning a home is no longer the American dream, but a luxury for very few. And the idea of owning a smart home or a clean energy home is even more of a luxury.
Tesla can change this — and most likely will in the coming decade. I think that once these initial homes in the SunHouse community are all bought and functioning, all three of the companies can plan the next one, and as with Tesla’s Master Plan that Elon shared ages ago, this can transform from luxury to a product that more people will eventually be able to afford.
It’s a great start and I’m excited to see how Tesla can revolutionize the housing industry as it has done with the automotive, energy, and others.
Tesla releases stealth update with new features
Tesla has released a new software update to its fleet and while the release notes remain unchanged, there are a few exciting features that were stealth updated.
The automaker has started to push its 2023.11.4.2 software update.
The update’s release notes are the same as the previous update, but Tesla often updates or adds features without discussing them.
That’s the case with this new update, according to Green, a well-known Tesla hacker who often discovers new features inside Tesla’s code.
He reported that the latest update includes several stealth changes:
Like most premium vehicles today, Tesla has an automatic wiper system that automatically matches the speed of the wipers to the intensity of the rain or snow.
However, unlike most other automakers, Tesla doesn’t use a rain sensor for its system.
Instead, the automaker is using its Autopilot cameras to feed its computer vision neural net to determine the speed for the wipers.
It has been deployed in Tesla vehicles since 2018, but many owners have been complaining that it is not as accurate as other systems using rain sensors.
Tesla’s solution was an update called ‘Deep Rain’ that used a new neural net to power the feature. It came out in 2019, but it was a marginal improvement.
Now Green reports that owners can shut it down if they don’t like it.
Another important stealth update for safety in this new software update is the ability for automatic emergency braking (AEB) to brake for vehicles cutting into your lane. Previously, it would try to avoid things with steering, but AEB was reserved to prevent or reduce the impact for something blocking your way.
For FSD Beta users, the update also now reduces suspensions, which occur after misuse, like not paying attention to the road when using, to one week instead to two weeks.
America’s first US-built electric mini-truck begins street-legal homologation
The AYRO Vanish has grabbed headlines over the past year as it rolls ever closer to production at AYRO’s Texas factory. Now the electric mini-truck’s final step ahead of manufacturing has begun as the Vanish starts street-legal homologation.
The AYRO Vanish is an electric utility vehicle that is designed to fit into the low-speed vehicle (LSV) federal designation. The mini-truck uses a lightweight architecture to limit the entire vehicle weight and maximize the allowable payload.
The Vanish boasts a payload of up to 1,200 lb (544 kg), which is fairly close to many standard-sized pickup trucks. For comparison, a 2023 Ford F-150’s payload capacity starts at 1,310 lb (594 kg). The company also indicated that it plans to produce a non-street legal variant that will have a higher payload capacity of 1,800 pounds (816 kg). That model would be applicable to work sites, campuses and other areas where use on public roads is not required.
Unlike standard pickup trucks, the Vanish offers highly adaptable configurations. Optional rear cargo configurations including food boxes, flat beds, utility beds with three-sided tailgates, and van boxes for secure storage all point to potential commercial applications for the vehicle.
And those future commercial customers could be getting their hands on the Vanish’s steering wheel sooner rather than later. Heading for homologation testing means that the company is now closer than ever to putting those various designs on the road.
As AYRO CEO Tom Wittenschlaeger explained:
“Now that we’ve completed our internal testing, it’s time to ensure that the award-winning Vanish meets requirements of our national governing bodies. Once we’ve completed this process and receive final approval, we can begin delivering vehicles to our customers and dealers.”
In order for any road-worthy vehicle to be considered for sale, the vehicle must go through homologation to ensure it is safe and complies with government regulations.
LSVs have reduced regulatory hurdles, but there are still many safety requirements and design considerations to be addressed. The vehicles must meet regulations for the construction, design, durability, and performance requirements as outlined by federal governing bodies. In the US, this process is governed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
This complex process of homologation allows for vehicles to be officially classified by date and category as well as have official and certifiable technical information and specifications. The Vanish is completing homologation for both the United States and Canada, for which testing includes the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 500, Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) 500 and California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.).
In parallel with its homologation phase, AYRO is now planning to begin Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) by early June to begin building the first 50 Vanish units that will be used as demo models for signed dealers.
The company plans to enter full-scale production upon the successful completion of its first 50 units.
As AYRO’s senior vice president of programs added:
“Our team has worked diligently to prepare for this day. This is one of the final steps in our product development process. Concurrently with homologation, we plan to begin LRIP and immediately following begin delivering vehicles to our customers and dealers.”
The AYRO Vanish opened for orders earlier this month, launching at a starting price of $33,990. While that price is more expensive than several other imported electric mini-trucks, the Vanish’s modular design (and soon-to-be street legal status) is a key differentiator.
AYRO’s vice president of Dealer Sales, Terry Kahl, previously explained the advantages of a modular platform:
With swappable bed configurations, we believe dealers can find a use case for the Vanish with almost any of their existing clientele. We have indications of interest from a rapidly growing number of dealers and now incoming dealers can find added value in that AYRO is accepting their pre-orders even before they join our dealer network. It should be an absolute win-win for our existing and onboarding dealers as well as future dealers.
WAU Project Cyber teased as ‘revolutionary’ high performance electric bike
We see new e-bike launches practically every week here at Electrek, but we rarely seem something quite so… futuristic looking as the upcoming WAU model currently being teased. The UK-based electric bike company is dripping out imagines of its upcoming Project Cyber, which looks like something between a high performance electric bicycle and a light electric motorcycle.
It’s not uncommon for e-bike companies to expand into the moped or light motorbike space. We watched it happen with SONDORS when the company unveiled the Metacycle, SUPER73 with the C1X, and several other smaller e-bike companies.
And while we don’t yet know how the Project Cyber e-bike will be classified, it’s certainly looking like it could be headed in a similarly aggressive direction.
WAU is best known for its long range, urban-oriented electric bikes with enclosed frames and iconic seat stay tail lights that also serve as highly visible turn signals.
It’s a welcome, distinguished design that sets itself apart from many of the other cookie cutter e-bikes we’ve seen over the last few years.
And it appears that WAU may be sticking with some of the same design language for its upcoming Project Cyber, based on the first few teaser images.
The company has been dripping out images and information in a Facebook group set up for sharing details about the upcoming e-bike.
One of the more revealing pieces of information includes a set of design drawings from early in the project. Multiple concepts can be seen, including some with and without bicycle pedals.
The inclusion of bicycle pedals would lend credence to this being a high performance e-bike, while a lack of pedals would put the two-wheeler into light motorbike territority.
WAU seems to be investing heavily in the bike’s technology, though it isn’t quite clear yet what that could mean in terms of features. Many new e-bikes have started to feature advanced connectivity features closer to that of electric cars, including telemetrics and remote operations. A teaser on the company’s site seems to imply that built-in GPS tracking may be included on the WAU Cyber e-bike.
The company is still playing it close to the vest with most details, but suggests that the new model could “revolutionize the industry.”
As WAU explained in the Facebook group description, “Get ready to be blown away by the most stylish pedelec the world has ever seen. Our state-of-the-art technology and design are set to revolutionize the industry, and we are thrilled to have you join us on this journey.”
The company also released several images showing a prototype frame being welded together, seen below.
We don’t yet know what else the WAU Cyber will hold in store for us, but with the reveal expected to come soon, we shouldn’t have to wait for long.
What do you think WAU will unveil as part of Project Cyber? Share your thoughts and guesses in the comment section below.
We’ll be sure to update as soon as we have more information on the upcoming e-bike.
Sports7 months ago
‘Storybook stuff’: Inside the night Bryce Harper sent the Phillies to the World Series
Technology2 years ago
Game consoles were once banned in China. Now Chinese developers want a slice of the $49 billion pie
Sports2 years ago
Team Europe easily wins 4th straight Laver Cup
Politics1 year ago
Have the last few wobbly weeks seen a turning point for Johnson as PM?
Business8 months ago
Bank of England’s extraordinary response to government policy is almost unthinkable | Ed Conway
Politics1 year ago
Yvette Cooper promoted and Lisa Nandy to shadow Gove on levelling up brief in Labour reshuffle
Business8 months ago
Liz Truss’s ‘favourite’ economist says chancellor ‘took his eye off ball’ and ‘overstepped the mark’ with mini-budget
Videos8 months ago
World leaders come together for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral