Monday, August 10, 2020

What Just Happened: Superchargers, Star Wars, tobacco, music, and more

Hello! You’re reading What Just Happened by News Landed. I will be diving deep into some of the most popular stories from last week. We will begin with our initial highlight story and then continue with different topics. If you have any suggestions, you can let me know by emailing me at praveen@newslanded.com.

California Tesla Superchargers have to change in 2023 and 2033

Before we jump into the story, let’s first define a few terms for you to catch up.

  • EVSE: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (fancy term for charger)
  • Tesla Supercharger: Tesla’s network of public chargers for Tesla vehicles
  • DCFC: Direct Current Fast Chargers (type of EVSE that Tesla Superchargers fall under)

If you have been reading News Landed, or simply following Tesla news, you may have read that California’s Office of Administrative Law just approved new amendments to its Electric Vehicle Fueling Systems Specifications. The new rules ban per-minute billing of EVs and also require that DCFCs have physical displays built-into the station.

To summarize, all new Tesla Superchargers from 2023 onwards require displays on them, while existing chargers require displays on them by 2033. This is because Supercharger is a DCFC. The CDFA defines electricity as “a type of motor fuel.” The new rules require companies to treat EVSEs the same as a gas station. the CDFA hopes to achieve this outcome by banning per-minute billing and making displays mandatory in EVSEs.

Future Tesla Supercharger concept
Concept of Tesla Supercharger in 2023 with display, charging a Cybertruck. Concept by @appleleaker2020 and News Landed. Contributor: @techblood

Our collaborative concept imagines a Supercharger in the year 2023 with a large vertical display. As I mentioned in my original article, the display could be the same panel as a Tesla Model X display, cutting down costs for Tesla. The display could also potentially be used as ad space in public locations.

Now the bigger question is: do Superchargers need displays? Though I agree with the motivation behind the new rules, I believe Tesla should be exempted from this rule.

Why I agree with the new amendment:

EV charging companies like EVgo and Electrify America bill on a per-minute basis. That’s because they claim that you are paying not only for electricity but also rent for the parking space. That’s absolutely the most BS thing I have ever heard. Imagine this. EVgo charges per-minute for charging EVs, but they also can control how fast (kW) your vehicle can charge. I don’t know if it’s just me, but pricing models like this make me wish there were awards for “scam of the decade.” Thankfully, the new amendment saves California from this horrible business model.

Tesla Supercharger with display, charging Cybertruck
Concept of Tesla Supercharger in 2023 with display, charging a Cybertruck. Concept by @appleleaker2020 and News Landed. Contributor: @techblood

Why Tesla should be exempted:

Tesla bills on the basis of kWh (amount of electricity) and not per-minute. Superchargers already comply with half the amendment. Now, displays. All Tesla vehicles have massive, beautiful displays inside them. Tesla Superchargers are designed to communicate with your vehicle, and information such as time remaining, charge limit, charging rate, etc., are already displayed.

Above that, owners can use the Tesla app to check the charging status of their vehicles. They can even receive notifications for the same. Why does the Supercharger itself need a display then? If the Supercharger network was open to all manufacturers, then maybe a display will be required for the sake of multi-brand usage of the charger.

There is still another problem. If Tesla doesn’t get exemption, all of its Superchargers (including existing) will have to comply with the new rules. Here is our concept of how Tesla may modify existing Superchargers by mounting on it.

Tesla Supercharger with Display Mod Concept
Concept of how existing Superchargers could be modified to include a display. Designed by Akash KrishnaNews Landed

That’s the end of today’s highlight story. Do you think Tesla should be exempted from California’s new regulation? If you have a unique take, let us know by emailing me at praveen@newslanded.com, and we will feature the most unique comment in the next week’s What Just Happened!

Here is the rest of the highlights from the past week. You can click on the title to view the full News Landed story.

Technology

– Apple has a secret team working on satellites

There have been reliable reports that Apple has a cover group of engineers and technicians working on satellite communication. The goal is to help Apple send data to its customers’ devices faster. Tim Cook, reportedly, has developed a particular liking towards satellite development. Apple might soon join Amazon and SpaceX as tech companies racing to conquer space, each for their own purposes.

– Messenger now requires a Facebook account to sign up

In a very controversial move, Facebook has made it mandatory that new people signing up to use Facebook Messenger have a Facebook account. It just seems like they are forcing people into the Facebook ecosystem. This is visible in the recent rebranding of WhatsApp and Instagram to include the new “FROM FACEBOOK” logo. It is unsure if existing accounts created with phone numbers will also require Facebook accounts to be linked to them.

Space

– Starship’s first flight hopefully in 2-3 months

Elon Musk, talking about Starship on Twitter, says that the next-generation rocket’s prototype will hopefully take flight in two-three months. That is much sooner than expected. For those that don’t know, Starship + Superheavy is a reusable rocket system that will allow up to 100 humans to travel to the Moon and Mars. The rocket will also enable suborbital Earth-to-Earth flight that will allow us to travel between almost any 2 points on Earth in under 90 minutes.

Health

– Tobacco usage declines and the US increases minimum age to 21

We combined two stories into one here. The World Health Organization published its global report on the global trend of tobacco usage, and it is declining. In the past 20 years, tobacco has resulted in around 100 million deaths. Also in the past 20 years, 60 million people have stopped using tobacco-based products. By 2020, WHO expects global tobacco reduction of at least 10 million users, and at least 27 million by 2025.

The new $738 million defense spending bill recently signed by President Donald Trump brings into effect a new minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. This law applies to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapes (they cause various diseases), and other tobacco-related products. The defense spending bill also introduces 12 week paid parental leave, troop salary raise, authorization of a “Space Force,” southern border wall funding, and repealing of the “Cadillac Tax” on health plans.

Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images

– FDA approves its first Ebola vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration of the US approves a new vaccine called Ervebo. The vaccine is manufactured by Merck and underwent clinical trials between 2014-2016. The trials have proven to be effective, leading to the FDA approval on December 19. Though the incidence of Ebola is rare in the US, it has killed thousands of people in recent decades. There have been various outbreaks. This vaccine is designed for adults only. The only measure against Ebola is prevention through vaccination.

Politics

– Bloomberg has spent $120 million in political ads

Former New York City Mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg only entered the race for the presidency on November 24, 2019. He has reportedly already spent $120 million on digital and broadcast ads. Bloomberg has started out targetting large “Super Tuesday” states like Texas and California. An aide to Bloomberg has said that Bloomberg would be willing to spend “whatever it takes” in order to defeat Donald Trump in the elections.

Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg

– Trump attacks California Governer Newsom over homelessness crisis

President Donald Trump began a volley of tweets during the holidays against various Californian Democrats. He criticized California Governor Gavin Newsom and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (from San Francisco) over the homelessness crisis that California is undergoing. Newsom previously commented on Trump, saying that he was “playing politics” by using the homelessness crisis in California. It was this comment that lead Trump to begin his Twitter “musings.”

Entertainment

– Kanye West releases Jesus Is Born and Justin Bieber announces new album

Kanye West dropped a new album on Christmas named Jesus Is King. This marks West’s second gospel album. The album was also published under his “Sunday Service Choir” rather than his own name. Kanye’s first gospel album, Jesus Is King, reached No.1 on the Billboard 200 fairly quickly. His gospel music has been met with controversy from various communities due to the way he portrays himself.

Justin Bieber seems to back on both his feet as he officially announced a new album. He used #bieber2020, which could hint at what the name of the album could be. He also announced a tour and a new single Yummy, set to release on January 3, 2020. This album will be Bieber’s first album after Purpose, which was 5 long years ago.

Bieber 2020

– The Mandalorian Season 1 ends with an epic finish

Now, this story isn’t highlighted because we are still working on our Mandalorian Season 1 review. The Star Wars live-action series, The Mandalorian, closed with its 8th and final episode of the first season last week. Season 2 is close to wrapping up shooting, and the trailer is expected around next summer. Season 2 is also expected to release in November 2020. It’s hard waiting, isn’t it? This is the way.

Automotive

– BMW is being investigated by the SEC for faking numbers

The Securities Exchange Commission is investigating BMW for falsifying its sales data. Reportedly, BMW has been reporting unsold vehicle inventory as sold, in order to inflate visible sales. Allegedly, BMW had its dealers inflate the sales statistics and report vehicles on the parking lots as sold. BMW may be quilty of sales punching, the practice of reporting higher sales than reality.

– The best concept cars of 2019

Finally, one of our automotive writers has put together an amazing gallery of the best concept cars of 2019. This includes vehicles from Kia, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Nissan, Bentley, BMW, Lexus, and Lagonda. You definitely have to check this out later.

Remember, if you have any unique views on the Supercharger display issue, just reply to this email and let us know! I’ll be picking the most unique take and featuring it in next week’s What Just Happened newsletter.

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