Tag Archives: tesla

Hertz to Rent Teslas to Uber Drivers

Photo: Hertz

Car rental giant Hertz announced this week a $4 billion deal to  purchase 100,000 electric Tesla vehicles, and said half those cars would be made available to Uber drivers at low rates.

TNC drivers with high ratings and at least 150 Uber trips in some markets will be able to rent the electric vehicles for $344 a week, potentially lowering their costs to drive for the company. Hertz said that price will eventually come down to less than $300. It’s the biggest deal ever for Tesla.

The 50,000 Teslas are expected to be available for Uber drivers by 2023.

From Tesla to Parking: An Executive’s Bold Move

Cover of the January issue of Parking & Mobility magazineTesla is almost always near the top of lists of innovative, disruptive companies. How could it not be? Known for its long-range, electric vehicles and increasing strides on autonomy, the company is an undisputed leader in the innovative-mobility space. So when Neil Golson, head of Tesla’s energy marketing sales and sales operations, North America, announced plans to join FlashParking, it raised a few eyebrows—why would you leave Tesla to work in parking?

Golson says there are simple answers to that question, and he sat down with Parking & Mobility to talk about it. Some highlights:

  • “A lot of my focus at Tesla was how people charge their vehicles. You build a super charging network and when people are charging at home, you run off of solar so we’re not building problems. A mobility hub offers a space and a very similar way to think about that challenge.”
  • “People are saying they have not only parking customers but mobility companies coming to them, and they’re coming to me saying they know EVs are happening but how do they do it? How many do they need? What does this look like? And how does this all get organized in a way that it’s integrated into their operation and it’s not just an add-on?”
  • “A lot of this is about understanding what amenities a consumer needs and what amenities a city needs. You don’t need scooters in Detroit in February but you certainly want them all year in San Diego. The same is true for EV adoption.”
  • “I strongly believe that in none of our lifetimes are we going to see less of a need for parking.”

Read more of Golson’s thoughts on parking, innovation, mobility, and how industry professionals can pull it all together for the future in the January issue of Parking & Mobility.

The Future is Here. Almost.

By David M. Feehan

It came much faster than I anticipated–the future, I mean. Two events told me that the future of mobility is closer than I realized, because my wife and I experienced it.

My wife works for a federal agency here in the Washington, D.C., area. A couple of weeks ago, her staff had an off-site meeting and one of her colleagues offered to drive. As they were standing near the surface parking lot adjacent to the building, her colleague summoned his Tesla from the lot, and driverless, it emerged alongside the curb to pick them up. She was, quite frankly, stunned.

Then last week, while doing some consulting work in the Twin Cities, I received a call from my brother. His son just acquired a new Tesla. Would I like to try driving it? Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Along with two of my nephews, Sean, the owner of the Tesla, gave us a brief orientation to the controls and off we went. “My Lord,” I thought, “This feels like it’s rocket propelled.” I’ve driven fast cars before, but this was unlike anything I had ever driven. Then the real “future” experience hit me. I shifted into self-driving mode, and we were navigating down a dark country road with me in the driver’s seat, and with my hands and feet off the controls. The car was literally driving itself.

You can read all you want about autonomous vehicles, but until you’ve actually driven one, especially at night on a winding road with no streetlights, you simply cannot fully imagine this experience.

I have written articles about AVs and when we can expect to be driving them. I have suggested that fully autonomous vehicles could be decades away. I was wrong. Tesla will be selling them within a year. You can buy a Tesla that is about 90 percent self-driving right now.

At first, it’s scary. But I quickly got used to it and I could imagine all of the ways this incredible device could make my travel easier. Suddenly, traffic-clogged commutes wouldn’t be so bad. I would read the morning news and emails on my iPad, or catch a few extra Zs. On a long road trip, I could relax and just enjoy the scenery or engage in conversation with my traveling companions. I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a speeding ticket. The car would automatically obey the speed limit. When I arrived at my destination, the car would find a parking spot and park itself.

The future is here, or almost. And I think I like it.

David M. Feehan is president of Civitas Consultants, LLC.

Wired: Why Parking Lots are Tricky for Autonomous Vehicles

An autonomous car in a parking lotMuch was written when Teslas under a new “Smart Summon” feature started crashing in parking lots–which was exactly where the feature was designed to work. This week, Wired took a shot at breaking down what that means for autonomous vehicles (AVs) in general, and why parking lots and garages will prove especially tricky for driverless cars. Among their findings:

  • As designed now, AVs will likely lose their GPS signals in underground garages, leaving them to find their way without a main source of direction. While they can use cameras to navigate, experts fear tight spaces like garages might leave those systems not as helpful as they are on roads.
  • Parking lots aren’t like highways, where other cars are all traveling in the same direction and around the same speed. Parking means bikes, people, and all sorts of vehicular movements and maneuvers.
  • Parking lots, in particular, are less defined than roads–Teslas seem to be having a hard time figuring out what’s pavement and what’s grass, for example.
  • Finally, parking lots are a uniquely human experience, with lots of nuance and rule-bending.

“In fact, parking lots are one of the most human places you could put a car that doesn’t need a human to drive,” the article says. “Their rules are not always consistent, and drivers, moreover, don’t always follow them. They’re full of little people-to-people interactions: a wave to let the dad behind the stroller know that that you’re going to stop and let him cross; a nod to tell the other driver to inform him that you’re waiting for this woman fiddling with her keys to finally pull out of her spot.”

Read the whole story here.


The California City Embracing the Future of EVs

By Taylor Kim, AIA, LEED AP

HOME TO ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) PIONEER TESLA, it is no surprise that the city of Palo Alto, Calif., leads the nation in electric vehicle sales at nearly 30 percent of new cars sold. As the city has embraced this technology and its role as an EV am­bassador, it has enacted some of the most robust EV parking requirements in the country.

In 2014, Palo Alto established itself as a pioneer of EV legislation when it passed a first-of-its-kind law that required new homes, apartments, office buildings, and hotels to be wired for EV charging. To encour­age adoption, the city offered a variety of incentives such as free EV charging; a $30,000 rebate to offices and residential complexes that install chargers; and a streamlined permit process for residential EV parking. The city’s current goal is to have 6,000 residential EVs by 2020 and 19,000 by 2030. This proactive legisla­tion has proven remarkably successful; Palo Alto’s EV charging spaces are currently at around 40 percent occupancy.

The Cost
Providing this much EV infrastructure comes at a high cost. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a single level 2 charging station—Palo Alto’s standard—can cost up to $65,000 with an additional $12,700 for installation. EV charging points also lead to an in­crease in electricity demand; Palo Alto projects a 6 to 7 percent increase when EVs dominate the automobile market. However, when this infrastructure is includ­ed during initial construction verses a future retrofit, much of the cost can be mitigated.

Armed with this knowledge, when Palo Alto needed more public parking to support a new public safety building planned for downtown, the city saw an opportunity to invest in the electrical future they wished to achieve. When the new California Avenue parking structure opens in 2020, 25 percent of the 630 parking spaces will be wired for EV charging, with 5 percent, or 32 spaces, accessible on its first day of operation. The remaining 125 spaces will have wiring in place so that charging stations can be installed in the future.

Such ambitious EV requirements pose unique design challenges to accommodate the increase in both electrical capacity and load. The transformer at the California Avenue Garage had to be upsized to be able to accommodate chargers for 125 future EV spaces. To lessen the overall power demand, 95 percent of the EV spaces in the facility will use power-sharing dual chargers. When two cars are plugged into a dual charger, each will receive 50 percent power, which will decrease the electrical requirements by almost half of that used by single chargers.

Providing sufficient EV accessibility requires careful consideration as well. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not provide a national standard when it comes to EV, but the state of California has stringent requirements when it comes to EV accessibility. For the California Avenue Garage, this means the number of required EV accessible charging spaces is calcu­lated based on the facility’s total number of charging stations rather than the total number of accessible spaces, increasing the number of accessible spaces re­quired. Providing the additional spaces and clearances to accommodate this can in turn affect the overall stall count and efficiency.

When the new California Avenue parking structure opens in 2020, 25 percent of the 630 parking spaces will be wired for EV charging, with 5 percent, or 32 spaces, accessible on its first day of operation. The remaining 125 spaces will have wiring in place so that charging stations can be installed in the future.

Looking Ahead
As demand for EV charging continues to increase, effi­cient utilization of charging infrastructure will become more and more important. Cars that monopolize spaces long after they are done charging mean less charging for others who need it. For example, when someone parks in an EV charging space on an office campus, that person isn’t likely to move his or her car when it is finished charging so someone else can use the space. That means a single space may only charge one car throughout the workday. To address this, some Palo Alto office campuses, such as Facebook, use EV valets who unplug a car once it is fully charged and move the cable to the next car.

Such adaptations are critical to the development of EV infrastructure and important to bear in mind when consider­ing the projected future of EVs in the United States. While EV sales currently make up only 2 percent of the national market share, by 2025 that number is expected to increase to 7 per­cent, with around 1.1 million EVs sold. Other automakers are also hopping on the EV bandwagon. According to Bloomberg, the number of EV models on the market is predicted to dou­ble by 2022. Palo Alto’s accomplishments and dedication to promoting EVs and providing EV infrastructure can help us better understand how to prepare for an electrified future.

Read the article here.

TAYLOR KIM, AIA, LEED AP, is a project manager at Watry Design and a member of IPMI’s Sustainability Committee.. She can be reached at tkim@watrydesign.com.


Tesla Parking Advances, Stirs Controversy

Tesla announced its cars’ popular “summon” feature, which lets them park in tight spots or shift between spaces without a driver behind the wheel, will be upgraded to let them navigate, read signs, and park on their own.

Company CEO Elon Musk said in a series of tweets that all Teslas made in the last two years will get the upgrade, enabling them to “follow you like a pet” if owners hold down the summon buttons on their remote keyfobs.

On the heels of that announcement came a news story that one enterprising Tesla owner was already using the feature to move his car between on-street spaces every two hours during the work day, avoiding parking citations without leaving his office.

Read about the summon-feature upgrade here and let us know in the comments: Is this the start of the autonomous revolution?