This system from Garmin can land a private plane when your pilot can’t

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Source: Ars Technica

Living with range anxiety: Two weeks with the Jaguar I-Pace

Living with range anxiety: Two weeks with the Jaguar I-Pace

Enlarge (credit: Marlowe Bangeman)

The Jaguar I-Pace is a brilliant car. The first battery electric vehicle from Jaguar-Land Rover, the I-Pace starts at about $70,000 and goes up from there.

My colleague, Ars Automotive Editor Jonathan Gitlin, drove the I-Pace when it launched and came away raving about it—and for good reason. Not only did it win the World Green Car award, but it also won World Car of the Year.

Jonathan covered the I-Pace in great detail, so I won’t spend much time talking about the driving experience. Suffice it to say, the I-Pace is blast to drive. It accelerates briskly, it’s incredibly comfortable, sight lines are good, handling is impeccable, it’s roomy for its size, it has some modest off-road skills, and Jaguar-Land Rover’s infotainment system, Touch Duo Pro, is well-thought-out, even if slightly laggy at times. Beyond that, JLR fixed one of the major complaints Jonathan had about the I-Pace as it entered production: the regenerative-braking settings are no longer buried under layers of menus.

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Source: Ars Technica

Tesla announces its next car factory will be near Berlin

Elon Musk.

Enlarge / Elon Musk. (credit: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Tesla’s next “Gigafactory” will be in the Berlin area, Elon Musk announced at an event in Germany on Tuesday evening. Techcrunch’s Kirsten Korosec reports that Musk made the comments during an on-stage conversation with Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess at the Golden Steering Wheel awards show.

The original Gigafactory was Tesla’s massive battery factory in Nevada. Musk dubbed it a “Gigafactory” because it was designed to produce batteries with gigawatt-hours of storage capacity. Batteries are made in Nevada and then shipped to Tesla’s car factory in Fremont, California, for final assembly.

When Tesla built a car manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China, the company dubbed that “Gigafactory 3.” (Tesla’s beleaguered solar panel factory in Buffalo, NY, is Gigafactory 2.) Tesla took a more integrated approach in China, building batteries and cars in the same facility.

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Source: Ars Technica

Tesla shows off Chinese-made Model 3s ahead of Shanghai factory start

Tesla is famous for missing deadlines, but the company’s Shanghai factory, dubbed Gigafactory 3, seems to be on schedule. Tesla broke ground on the facility in January. Now media reports indicate that work is just about finished, and the company is weeks away from beginning large-scale manufacturing.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla chairman Robyn Denholm said last week that Tesla is waiting for manufacturing certification from local government. The company hopes that will happen before the end of the year.

Tesla recently posted images of some of the first Chinese-made Model 3s on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter. Tesla allowed Chinese reporters to take additional photos of the vehicle. There are a couple of obvious differences from the American model.

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Source: Ars Technica

Evolution, not revolution, for the new 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Porsche has been making the idiosyncratic, rear-engined 911 sports car since 1963. Every few years, it gets an update—often just incremental improvements and styling tweaks, occasionally radical clean-sheet redesigns. The newest 911, known to Porsche people by the internal designation “992,” is the eighth generation to wear those three digits, and it’s new for model year 2020. It’s more evolution than revolution this time; a new eight-speed PDK transmission, a more connected cockpit, and a sharper take on that classic silhouette are the highlights.

It’s wider at both axles than the car it replaces, growing 1.8 inches (45mm) at the front and 1.7 inches (45mm) at the rear. And there’s no longer a mix of narrowbodies and widebodies—all 911s will be the full-fat size for this generation. New LED lights at the front and back give the car a distinctive look after dark, but otherwise there’s nothing about the styling that will offend the more sensitive 911 devotee. A tip for the trainspotters—you can tell a rear-wheel drive 992 from an all-wheel drive 992 because the former has a black grille over the engine and the latter has chrome bits in the grille.

Our test car has a black grille because it’s a $113,300 911 Carrera S, which means rear-wheel drive with the more powerful 3.0L flat-six engine. You can also get an AWD Carrera 4S that has the same engine, or RWD and AWD versions of the cheaper, less powerful 911 Carrera, and all either as coupés or convertibles.

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Source: Ars Technica

These electric hot rods point the way for future restomods

This week, Las Vegas is playing host to SEMA, an annual trade show and celebration of the custom car. And although multiple reports claim that the show is nothing but wall-to-wall Toyota Supras, each different to the last, a pair of customs from Ford and Chevrolet caught my eye. (The fact that Ford and Chevrolet both have PR machines that let me know they have pictures to share is entirely not coincidental.) One is a Mustang with even more power than the Shelby GT500 we tested recently. The other is a restored Chevy farm truck. The thing they have in common? Both have been converted to electric power.

Restomodding electric motors and batteries into cars is not a new thing. San Diego’s Zelectric has been converting air-cooled German classics over to the way of the electron for some time now. Jaguar developed a drop-in electric powertrain for the E-Type which it will sell from next year for an unspecified (but I’m guessing six-digit) price. Chevy even did the “converted electric muscle car to SEMA” thing 12 months ago, with the eCOPO Camaro, which used an 800V architecture and a pair of motors to send 550kW (737hp) and 813Nm (600lb-ft) to the rear wheels.

Talk about a mood stabilizer

Ford worked with Webasto on its SEMA special, called Mustang Lithium. It’s similar in concept to last year’s eCOPO from Ford’s deadliest rival but with everything turned up just that little bit more. The Lithium is based on a current Mustang fastback, minus the internal combustion stuff. It also uses an 800V architecture, with batteries supplied by Webasto. A single electric motor from Phi-Power sends “more than” 671kW (900hp) and 1,356Nm (1,000lb-ft) to the rear wheels, which should generate plenty of heat, which is good because the Mustang Lithium is destined to be a testbed for things like battery-management strategies.

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Source: Ars Technica

Uber still using Waymo-derived self-driving technology, expert says

Uber self-driving test vehicles.

Enlarge / Uber self-driving test vehicles. (credit: Uber)

In a Tuesday filing with the Security and Exchange Commission, Uber admitted that an independent expert had determined that Uber’s self-driving technology was still infringing Waymo’s intellectual property. The revelation comes more than 18 months after Uber settled a high-profile legal battle with Waymo over alleged theft of Waymo secrets by Uber.

As a result, Uber says, it will be forced to either license the relevant technology from Waymo—which could be expensive—or overhaul the affected systems. The filing didn’t specify which parts of Uber’s technology were infringing, and an Uber spokeswoman declined to comment further to Ars Technica. Uber’s disclosure was first reported by Reuters.

Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber in February 2017 after a former Waymo manager, Anthony Levandowski, left Waymo to found a self-driving truck startup called Otto. Uber bought Otto just a few months after it was founded and incorporated the company into Uber’s own fledgling self-driving project. But Waymo accused Levandowski of downloading numerous sensitive documents from Waymo’s network before leaving the company and then using them to build the self-driving systems at Otto and Uber.

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Source: Ars Technica

Land-speed car begins testing, beats 500mph with just one engine

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Source: Ars Technica

Recycling cars’ lithium batteries is more complicated than you might think

Image of batteries superimposed on a recycling graphic.

Enlarge / Challenges scale considerably when the battery pack weighs 300kg. (credit: City of San Diego)

Lithium batteries have become incredibly popular for electronic devices, and the emphasis on weight and size for those batteries means that the amount of raw materials tied up in them isn’t too large. But that’s absolutely not the case for the other growing use of lithium batteries: electric vehicles. These lithium batteries weigh hundreds of kilograms and contain a substantial amount of raw materials, some of which can be quite valuable.

Due to the relative youth of the automotive electrical-battery market, however, an organized recycling industry is only just now developing, and it faces significant technical hurdles before recycling becomes both widespread and economical. In today’s issue of Nature, a group of researchers take a look at possible means of recycling and considers how to get the most value out of electric-vehicle batteries after they’re no longer performing well enough to run a car.

Before recycling

The authors of the analysis make one thing clear up front: the majority of the cost of a lithium-ion battery isn’t in the raw materials. Instead, the cost is in the manufacturing needed to transform those raw materials into something that can function in a battery, then getting them into a structure that combines durability, performance, and safety. Thus, there’s more value in having a lower-performing battery than there is in breaking the battery apart to get at its materials.

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Source: Ars Technica

How terrible software design decisions led to Uber’s deadly 2018 crash

A bicycle leans against the front of an SUV at night.

Enlarge (credit: NTSB)

Radar in Uber’s self-driving vehicle detected pedestrian Elaine Herzberg more than five seconds before the SUV crashed into her, according to a new report from the National Safety Transportation Board. Unfortunately, a series of poor software design decisions prevented the software from taking any action until 0.2 seconds before the deadly crash in Tempe, Arizona.

Herzberg’s death occurred in March 2018, and the NTSB published its initial report on the case in May of that year. That report made clear that badly written software, not failing hardware, was responsible for the crash that killed Herzberg.

But the new report, released Tuesday, marks the end of NTSB’s 20-month investigation. It provides a lot more detail about how Uber’s software worked—and how everything went wrong in the final seconds before the crash that killed Herzberg.

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Source: Ars Technica

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