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The Week in Review: Smart Grid, Recycling, Hybrids & LEDs


9 April 2010 No Comment
Top News: This week, President Obama startled both his allies and critics with a plan to permit drilling for oil off the Southern Atlantic states and in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile the Secret Service, in a stroke of karmic justice, denied the president’s request for a hybrid limo. On Saturday, Apple’s long-awaited iPad emerged to great fanfare, and with it some schwag and a initial smattering of green apps. Wising Up to the Smart Grid: After years of talk and speculation, several big U.S. companies revealed that the smart grid lies at the center of their business plans. At the New York Auto Show, Ford and Microsoft announced energy-management software designed for the thousands of people who will plug in their electric cars or hybrids at home. Connecticut Light & Power applied for permission to scrap its flat-rate price structure in favor of one that penalizes customers for overloading the grid. Under the proposal, Connecticut electricity would be ten times cheaper at night than it would be in the middle of the day, when the A/C units are cranking. Also, Google spearheaded a lobbying effort, joined by Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Comcast and other firms poised to make a mint from the smart grid. In a letter to President Obama, they asked for the government to “democratize access to energy” by tilting regulations in favor of energy networking. Do the Right Thing: Starbucks, in an effort to make all of its cups recyclable or reusable by 2015, asked coffee-drinkers everywhere to crowdsource the solution. Target announced it would place recycling centers at the entrances to each of its 1,740 stores, and the board at Intel voted to make “corporate responsibility and sustainability performance” part of its corporate charter. Meanwhile, the foodmaking giant ConAgra, maker of Chef Boyardee and Orville Redenbacher and a longtime laggard in acknowledging global warming, promised to make big cuts to its carbon emissions, water use, solid waste and packaging by 2015. Traffic Jam in the Luxury Lane: So many carmakers are preparing high-end hybrids that dealerships in Palo Alto and Ann Arbor might get a little crowded. Hyundai said it would produce a six-speed, powerful Sonata Hybrid Bluedrive in 2011. Nissan’s luxe brand, Infiniti, announced the M35 Hybrid, while Mercedes hinted that its entire S class line of large sedans may go hybrid. Auto dealers reacted with dismay, worried that their customers would rather drive fast than save a few bucks on gas. Troubled Waters: China’s neighbors questioned if China’s dam-building binge might be contributing to the biggest drop in water levels on the Mekong River in decades. In the U.S., researchers discovered that waterways from the Colorado River to the Potomac are steadily getting warmer, especially near cities, with unknown impacts on river health. The Latest Inspiring Inventions: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory created an LED with a green tint — not the ethic, but the actual color — and opened up whole new uses for the brave little bulb. Marine scientists got a better look at tiny sea life with high-definition audio, and the propellerheads at MIT made a leap forward in lithium-air batteries. By David Ferris appearing courtesy Matter Network

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Triggered at line # 1566 FeedWordPress version: 2011.0211.2 WordPress version: 3.1 PHP version: 5.2.17 SyndicatedPost::insert_post::_wp_id: array(3) { ["$this->_wp_id"]=> int(0) ["$dbpost"]=> array(16) { ["post_title"]=> string(72) "Sunrun’s journey shows that there is rarely a straight line to success" ["post_content"]=> string(11227) "<img src=\"http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-van.jpg?fit=578,9999\" class=\"attachment-single-feed wp-post-image\" alt=\"A Sunrun employee installs a solar panel on the roof of a house.\" /><hr/><div class=\"post-boilerplate boilerplate-before\"><a href=\"http://venturebeat.com/venturebeat-newsletters/\"><img alt=\"Sign up for the weekly Dylan\'s Desk newsletters to get insights delivered right to your inbox.\" src=\"http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/dylansdesk-brief.jpg?resize=292,129\" class=\"alignnone\" data-recalc-dims=\"1\" /></a> <p>&#160;</p></div><p>With $2 billion worth of solar panels installed on 70,000 customers&#8217; homes across 12 states, <a href=\"http://www.sunrun.com/\">Sunrun</a> is well on the way to proving that its model for solar power generation can work.</p> <p>But it wasn&#8217;t always so clear. When the company started, in February 2007, cofounder and chief executive Lynn Jurich says she faced an enormous amount of skepticism.</p> <p>&#8220;It was a hard model,&#8221; she said. She had trouble convincing investors to back Sunrun because they were concerned about how capital-intensive the business would be. And a look at the <a href=\"http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Rest-in-Peace-The-List-of-Deceased-Solar-Companies\">string of solar company failures</a> over the past few years suggests that investors may have been right: Solar is a risky, capital-intensive business.</p> <p>Before you can start generating electricity from the sun, you need to install a lot of solar panels. A <a href=\"http://fortune.com/2014/01/10/the-homeowners-guide-to-solar-power/\">typical household rooftop solar system</a> costs at least $12,000, and often as much as $30,000. Jurich&#8217;s idea was that Sunrun would install these systems on houses, but retain ownership of them &#8212; and then make money by selling electricity, at below-market rates, to the owners of the houses.</p> <p>In effect, Sunrun is building a vast, distributed solar power generation plant by renting space on people&#8217;s rooftops. The &#8220;rent&#8221; it pays comes in the form of a discount on the electricity it sells. Win-win: Homeowners get to go green, they benefit from cheaper electricity, and they don&#8217;t have to give up anything other than roof space they weren&#8217;t using anyway; Sunrun gets cheap &#8220;land&#8221; and can profit from the difference between its costs and what it receives for selling that power.</p> <p>&#8220;The model on its face makes a ton of sense,&#8221; Jurich told me in a recent interview. &#8220;Homeowners already buy a ton of electricity as a service, and who wants to spend a ton of money to buy a solar system and maintain it themselves?&#8221;</p> <p>There&#8217;s an additional advantage: The federal government offers a tax credit for homeowners to install solar systems. By installing it for them, Sunrun gets to claim those tax credits, which it can then sell to banks or other companies.</p> <p>Long story short: This is a tricky financing play. By getting banks to front the money for solar panel installations, Sunrun can build those panels &#8212; then pay the banks back in tax credits and in the cash made by selling electricity.</p> <div id=\"attachment_1686336\" class=\"wp-caption alignright\" style=\"max-width:300px;\"><a href=\"http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-Lynn-Jurich-library.jpg\"><img class=\"size-medium wp-image-1686336\" src=\"http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-Lynn-Jurich-library.jpg?resize=300,200\" alt=\"Sunrun cofounder and CEO Lynn Jurich has found her happy place, it seems.\" data-recalc-dims=\"1\" /></a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Above: Sunrun cofounder and CEO Lynn Jurich eventually found her happy place, it seems.</p><div class=\"vb_image_source\"><em>Image Credit: Sunrun</em></div></div> <p>But before the economic engine could get humming, Sunrun had to prime it with a few customers. And it couldn&#8217;t get customers without having some money to build solar systems for them. So after closing its initial funding round of $12 million, Jurich and her partners funded the first crop of solar panels out of the company&#8217;s cash equity. It used that momentum to try and raise the debt financing it needed to continue growing.</p> <p>But it was a tough sell, because they were trying to raise that money in the teeth of the 2008 recession, from loan originators that were used to lending money for multibillion dollar power plants, not distributed networks of home solar panels. If you&#8217;re loaning somebody $2 billion to build a power plant, you know where the money is going, and it&#8217;s easy to evaluate if the business is doing well. $2 billion to build a bunch of solar panels is a whole different thing.</p> <p>Eventually, Jurich says Sunrun was able to close a first $40 million round of debt from U.S. Bank. And then, in late 2011, the federal government changed the solar panel subsidy, ending one of the company&#8217;s major selling points.</p> <p>&#8220;It changed the value proposition we were offering consumers, and our sales totally fell off the cliff,&#8221; Jurich says. It was, she says, really hard to get capital and customers in balance for the first few years of the company&#8217;s existence.</p> <p>&#8220;It was like, ok, we got the capital — but now, whoops, the value proposition changed and we don’t have the customers,&#8221; Jurich says.</p> <p>The situation was bad enough that Jurich and her cofounders contemplated winding the business down. Without the subsidy, it looked like the market opportunity might not exist any more.</p> <p>But Jurich says she stuck with it, partly because she was on the front lines of the business. She knew what customers wanted, and she had a sense that Sunrun could still make a compelling pitch to them. That gave her the confidence to continue pushing through, she says.</p> <p>Not every entrepreneur does that &#8212; many hire a sales executive, and then stop going on sales calls, so they lose touch with what customers really want.</p> <p>“Let’s say you’re a product girl, or you’re a technology girl, so that’s your comfort zone,&#8221; Jurich says. &#8220;Don’t overly rely on bringing in the sales person &#8212; you need to be in every one of those phone calls so that you’re able to tweak your business model and your product and make tough calls about the longevity of the market.&#8221;</p> <p>Ultimately, Sunrun tweaked its pricing, stayed in the market, and went on to raise $2.8 billion in debt financing, of which $2 billion has been deployed building homeowner solar systems.</p> <p>“And then Solarcity came along and copied us,&#8221; Jurich laughs.</p> <p>(She hastens to add: Solarcity is more of a frenemy than a direct competitor. While larger than Sunrun, it&#8217;s more focused on commercial installations &#8212; and the <a href=\"https://power2switch.com/blog/the-100-billion-market-you-didnt-know-exists/\">retail electricity market opportunity</a>, for now, is far bigger than both of them.)</p> <p>Much of this story is captured in a cute, animated video narrated by Jurich and produced by one of Sunrun&#8217;s backers, <a href=\"http://www.foundationcapital.com/\">Foundation Capital</a>. I&#8217;m embedding it here because it&#8217;s a rare look at the ups and downs of an entrepreneur&#8217;s journey. Too often we hear the sanitized, mythologized version of a founding story. And no doubt this story has been edited to remove the really gnarly parts too. But in general, it&#8217;s a refreshing look at how much of a nail-biter Sunrun&#8217;s early phase was.</p> <p>Many other companies can no doubt tell similar stories.</p> <p><span class=\'embed-youtube\' style=\'text-align:center; display: block;\'><iframe class=\'youtube-player\' type=\'text/html\' width=\'560\' height=\'341\' src=\'http://www.youtube.com/embed/p_UfDsXmipU?version=3&#038;rel=1&%23038;fs=1&%23038;showsearch=0&%23038;showinfo=1&%23038;iv_load_policy=1&%23038;wmode=transparent\' frameborder=\'0\' allowfullscreen=\'true\'></iframe></span></p> <p>&#160;</p> <h6 id=\"profile-cards-header\">More information:</h6> <div id=\"profile-cards\"> <div id=\"company-520a3288843bac14a0000282\"> <iframe width=\"560\" height=\"210\" scrolling=\"no\" frameborder=\"0\" style=\"padding:0; border:0; margin:0;\" src=\"http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/520a3288843bac14a0000282%20\"></iframe> </div> <div id=\"person-5309d57cf8b76e045300f630\"> <iframe width=\"560\" height=\"210\" scrolling=\"no\" frameborder=\"0\" style=\"padding:0; border:0; margin:0;\" src=\"http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/person/5309d57cf8b76e045300f630%20\"></iframe> </div> </div> <p id=\"profiles-powered-by\"> Powered by <a href=\"http://www.vbprofiles.com\">VBProfiles</a> </p> <div class=\"post-boilerplate boilerplate-after\"><hr /> VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. <a href=\"http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing\" >Chime in here, and we’ll share the results</a>.</div> <h6 id=\"profile-cards-header\">More information:</h6> <div id=\"profile-cards\"> <div id=\"company-520a3288843bac14a0000282\"> <iframe width=\"560\" height=\"210\" scrolling=\"no\" frameborder=\"0\" style=\"padding:0; border:0; margin:0;\" src=\"http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/520a3288843bac14a0000282%20\"></iframe> </div> <div id=\"person-5309d57cf8b76e045300f630\"> <iframe width=\"560\" height=\"210\" scrolling=\"no\" frameborder=\"0\" style=\"padding:0; border:0; margin:0;\" src=\"http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/person/5309d57cf8b76e045300f630%20\"></iframe> </div> </div> <p id=\"profiles-powered-by\"> Powered by <a href=\"http://www.vbprofiles.com\">VBProfiles</a> </p> <img width=\'1\' height=\'1\' src=\'http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/44d69f86/sc/15/mf.gif\' border=\'0\'/><br clear=\'all\'/><br/><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/1/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/1/rc.img\" border=\"0\"/></a><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/2/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/2/rc.img\" border=\"0\"/></a><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/3/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/3/rc.img\" border=\"0\"/></a><br/><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2.htm\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2.img\" border=\"0\"/></a><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2t.img\" border=\"0\"/><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~4/n4ySwBbrFRE\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\" alt=\"\"/>" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(1475) "<p>When Sunrun started, in February 2007, cofounder and chief executive Lynn Jurich says she faced an enormous amount of skepticism. At one point, she even considered shutting the company&#160;down. </p><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/44d69f86/sc/15/mf.gif\" border=\"0\" /><br clear=\'all\'/><br/><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/1/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/1/rc.img\" border=\"0\" /></a><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/2/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/2/rc.img\" border=\"0\" /></a><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/3/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/3/rc.img\" border=\"0\" /></a><br/><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2.htm\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2.img\" border=\"0\" /></a><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2t.img\" border=\"0\" />" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-03-26 21:45:27" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-03-26 15:45:27" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-03-26 21:45:27" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-03-26 15:45:27" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "pending" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["guid"]=> string(33) "http://venturebeat.com/?p=1685576" ["meta"]=> array(9) { ["enclosure"]=> array(1) { [0]=> string(105) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~5/TwwmKurT2z0/Sunrun-van.jpg 0 application/octet-stream" } ["syndication_source"]=> string(58) "VentureBeat » Green News | Green Technology | VentureBeat" ["syndication_source_uri"]=> string(22) "http://venturebeat.com" ["syndication_source_id"]=> string(56) "http://feeds.feedburner.com/Venturebeat_green?format=xml" ["rss:comments"]=> string(113) "http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/26/sunruns-journey-shows-that-there-is-rarely-a-straight-line-to-success/#comments" ["syndication_feed"]=> string(56) "http://feeds.feedburner.com/Venturebeat_green?format=xml" ["syndication_feed_id"]=> string(2) "13" ["syndication_permalink"]=> string(64) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~3/n4ySwBbrFRE/" ["syndication_item_hash"]=> string(32) "7b442e001482a6b45841134acce5aad8" } ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_author"]=> int(669) ["tax_input"]=> array(3) { ["category"]=> array(2) { [0]=> int(4) [1]=> int(1) } ["post_tag"]=> array(3) { [0]=> int(771) [1]=> int(2269) [2]=> int(2130) } ["post_format"]=> array(0) { } } ["post_pingback"]=> bool(false) } ["$this"]=> object(SyndicatedPost)#349 (15) { ["item"]=> array(68) { ["enclosure@url"]=> string(78) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~5/TwwmKurT2z0/Sunrun-van.jpg" ["enclosure@"]=> string(15) "url,length,type" ["enclosure@length"]=> string(1) "0" ["enclosure@type"]=> string(24) "application/octet-stream" ["guid@ispermalink"]=> string(5) "false" ["guid@"]=> string(11) "ispermalink" ["guid"]=> string(33) "http://venturebeat.com/?p=1685576" ["comments"]=> string(113) "http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/26/sunruns-journey-shows-that-there-is-rarely-a-straight-line-to-success/#comments" ["pubdate"]=> string(29) "Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:45:27 GMT" ["category#7@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category#7@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category#7"]=> string(8) "Business" ["category#6@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category#6@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category#6"]=> string(12) "Dylan's Desk" ["category#5@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category#5@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category#5"]=> string(5) "Green" ["category#4@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category#4@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category#4"]=> string(11) "Lynn Jurich" ["category#3@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category#3@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category#3"]=> string(12) "Entrepreneur" ["category#2@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category#2@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category#2"]=> string(11) "solar power" ["category@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category"]=> string(6) "Sunrun" ["description"]=> string(1421) "<p>When Sunrun started, in February 2007, cofounder and chief executive Lynn Jurich says she faced an enormous amount of skepticism. At one point, she even considered shutting the company&#160;down. </p><img width='1' height='1' src='http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/44d69f86/sc/15/mf.gif' border='0'/><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2.htm"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2.img" border="0"/></a><img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2t.img" border="0"/>" ["link"]=> string(64) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~3/n4ySwBbrFRE/" ["title"]=> string(72) "Sunrun’s journey shows that there is rarely a straight line to success" ["title#"]=> int(1) ["link#"]=> int(1) ["description#"]=> int(1) ["category#"]=> int(7) ["pubdate#"]=> int(1) ["comments#"]=> int(1) ["guid#"]=> int(1) ["enclosure#"]=> int(1) ["content"]=> array(2) { ["encoded"]=> string(11026) "<img src="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-van.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="A Sunrun employee installs a solar panel on the roof of a house." /><hr/><div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-before"><a href="http://venturebeat.com/venturebeat-newsletters/"><img alt="Sign up for the weekly Dylan's Desk newsletters to get insights delivered right to your inbox." src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/dylansdesk-brief.jpg?resize=292%2C129" class="alignnone" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a> <p>&#160;</p></div><p>With $2 billion worth of solar panels installed on 70,000 customers&#8217; homes across 12 states, <a href="http://www.sunrun.com/">Sunrun</a> is well on the way to proving that its model for solar power generation can work.</p> <p>But it wasn&#8217;t always so clear. When the company started, in February 2007, cofounder and chief executive Lynn Jurich says she faced an enormous amount of skepticism.</p> <p>&#8220;It was a hard model,&#8221; she said. She had trouble convincing investors to back Sunrun because they were concerned about how capital-intensive the business would be. And a look at the <a href="http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Rest-in-Peace-The-List-of-Deceased-Solar-Companies">string of solar company failures</a> over the past few years suggests that investors may have been right: Solar is a risky, capital-intensive business.</p> <p>Before you can start generating electricity from the sun, you need to install a lot of solar panels. A <a href="http://fortune.com/2014/01/10/the-homeowners-guide-to-solar-power/">typical household rooftop solar system</a> costs at least $12,000, and often as much as $30,000. Jurich&#8217;s idea was that Sunrun would install these systems on houses, but retain ownership of them &#8212; and then make money by selling electricity, at below-market rates, to the owners of the houses.</p> <p>In effect, Sunrun is building a vast, distributed solar power generation plant by renting space on people&#8217;s rooftops. The &#8220;rent&#8221; it pays comes in the form of a discount on the electricity it sells. Win-win: Homeowners get to go green, they benefit from cheaper electricity, and they don&#8217;t have to give up anything other than roof space they weren&#8217;t using anyway; Sunrun gets cheap &#8220;land&#8221; and can profit from the difference between its costs and what it receives for selling that power.</p> <p>&#8220;The model on its face makes a ton of sense,&#8221; Jurich told me in a recent interview. &#8220;Homeowners already buy a ton of electricity as a service, and who wants to spend a ton of money to buy a solar system and maintain it themselves?&#8221;</p> <p>There&#8217;s an additional advantage: The federal government offers a tax credit for homeowners to install solar systems. By installing it for them, Sunrun gets to claim those tax credits, which it can then sell to banks or other companies.</p> <p>Long story short: This is a tricky financing play. By getting banks to front the money for solar panel installations, Sunrun can build those panels &#8212; then pay the banks back in tax credits and in the cash made by selling electricity.</p> <div id="attachment_1686336" class="wp-caption alignright" style="max-width:300px;"><a href="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-Lynn-Jurich-library.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1686336" src="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-Lynn-Jurich-library.jpg?resize=300%2C200" alt="Sunrun cofounder and CEO Lynn Jurich has found her happy place, it seems." data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Sunrun cofounder and CEO Lynn Jurich eventually found her happy place, it seems.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Sunrun</em></div></div> <p>But before the economic engine could get humming, Sunrun had to prime it with a few customers. And it couldn&#8217;t get customers without having some money to build solar systems for them. So after closing its initial funding round of $12 million, Jurich and her partners funded the first crop of solar panels out of the company&#8217;s cash equity. It used that momentum to try and raise the debt financing it needed to continue growing.</p> <p>But it was a tough sell, because they were trying to raise that money in the teeth of the 2008 recession, from loan originators that were used to lending money for multibillion dollar power plants, not distributed networks of home solar panels. If you&#8217;re loaning somebody $2 billion to build a power plant, you know where the money is going, and it&#8217;s easy to evaluate if the business is doing well. $2 billion to build a bunch of solar panels is a whole different thing.</p> <p>Eventually, Jurich says Sunrun was able to close a first $40 million round of debt from U.S. Bank. And then, in late 2011, the federal government changed the solar panel subsidy, ending one of the company&#8217;s major selling points.</p> <p>&#8220;It changed the value proposition we were offering consumers, and our sales totally fell off the cliff,&#8221; Jurich says. It was, she says, really hard to get capital and customers in balance for the first few years of the company&#8217;s existence.</p> <p>&#8220;It was like, ok, we got the capital — but now, whoops, the value proposition changed and we don’t have the customers,&#8221; Jurich says.</p> <p>The situation was bad enough that Jurich and her cofounders contemplated winding the business down. Without the subsidy, it looked like the market opportunity might not exist any more.</p> <p>But Jurich says she stuck with it, partly because she was on the front lines of the business. She knew what customers wanted, and she had a sense that Sunrun could still make a compelling pitch to them. That gave her the confidence to continue pushing through, she says.</p> <p>Not every entrepreneur does that &#8212; many hire a sales executive, and then stop going on sales calls, so they lose touch with what customers really want.</p> <p>“Let’s say you’re a product girl, or you’re a technology girl, so that’s your comfort zone,&#8221; Jurich says. &#8220;Don’t overly rely on bringing in the sales person &#8212; you need to be in every one of those phone calls so that you’re able to tweak your business model and your product and make tough calls about the longevity of the market.&#8221;</p> <p>Ultimately, Sunrun tweaked its pricing, stayed in the market, and went on to raise $2.8 billion in debt financing, of which $2 billion has been deployed building homeowner solar systems.</p> <p>“And then Solarcity came along and copied us,&#8221; Jurich laughs.</p> <p>(She hastens to add: Solarcity is more of a frenemy than a direct competitor. While larger than Sunrun, it&#8217;s more focused on commercial installations &#8212; and the <a href="https://power2switch.com/blog/the-100-billion-market-you-didnt-know-exists/">retail electricity market opportunity</a>, for now, is far bigger than both of them.)</p> <p>Much of this story is captured in a cute, animated video narrated by Jurich and produced by one of Sunrun&#8217;s backers, <a href="http://www.foundationcapital.com/">Foundation Capital</a>. I&#8217;m embedding it here because it&#8217;s a rare look at the ups and downs of an entrepreneur&#8217;s journey. Too often we hear the sanitized, mythologized version of a founding story. And no doubt this story has been edited to remove the really gnarly parts too. But in general, it&#8217;s a refreshing look at how much of a nail-biter Sunrun&#8217;s early phase was.</p> <p>Many other companies can no doubt tell similar stories.</p> <p><span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='341' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/p_UfDsXmipU?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen='true'></iframe></span></p> <p>&#160;</p> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-520a3288843bac14a0000282"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/520a3288843bac14a0000282 "></iframe> </div> <div id="person-5309d57cf8b76e045300f630"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/person/5309d57cf8b76e045300f630 "></iframe> </div> </div> <p id="profiles-powered-by"> Powered by <a href="http://www.vbprofiles.com">VBProfiles</a> </p> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">Chime in here, and we’ll share the results</a>.</div> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-520a3288843bac14a0000282"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/520a3288843bac14a0000282 "></iframe> </div> <div id="person-5309d57cf8b76e045300f630"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/person/5309d57cf8b76e045300f630 "></iframe> </div> </div> <p id="profiles-powered-by"> Powered by <a href="http://www.vbprofiles.com">VBProfiles</a> </p> <img width='1' height='1' src='http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/44d69f86/sc/15/mf.gif' border='0'/><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2.htm"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2.img" border="0"/></a><img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/224850904586/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44d69f86/sc/15/a2t.img" border="0"/><img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~4/n4ySwBbrFRE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>" ["encoded#"]=> int(1) } ["slash"]=> array(2) { ["comments"]=> string(1) "0" ["comments#"]=> int(1) } ["wfw"]=> array(1) { ["commentrss#"]=> int(1) } ["dc"]=> array(10) { ["creator"]=> string(12) "Dylan Tweney" ["creator#"]=> int(1) ["subject#"]=> int(7) ["subject"]=> string(6) "Sunrun" ["subject#2"]=> string(11) "solar power" ["subject#3"]=> string(12) "Entrepreneur" ["subject#4"]=> string(11) "Lynn Jurich" ["subject#5"]=> string(5) "Green" ["subject#6"]=> string(12) "Dylan's Desk" ["subject#7"]=> string(8) "Business" } ["http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0"]=> array(4) { ["origenclosurelink"]=> string(91) "http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-van.jpg?resize=160%2C140" ["origlink"]=> string(104) "http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/26/sunruns-journey-shows-that-there-is-rarely-a-straight-line-to-success/" ["origlink#"]=> int(1) ["origenclosurelink#"]=> int(1) } ["summary#"]=> int(1) ["summary"]=> string(1421) "<p>When Sunrun started, in February 2007, cofounder and chief executive Lynn Jurich says she faced an enormous amount of skepticism. 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["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(11026) "<img src="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-van.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="A Sunrun employee installs a solar panel on the roof of a house." /><hr/><div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-before"><a href="http://venturebeat.com/venturebeat-newsletters/"><img alt="Sign up for the weekly Dylan's Desk newsletters to get insights delivered right to your inbox." src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/dylansdesk-brief.jpg?resize=292%2C129" class="alignnone" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a> <p>&#160;</p></div><p>With $2 billion worth of solar panels installed on 70,000 customers&#8217; homes across 12 states, <a href="http://www.sunrun.com/">Sunrun</a> is well on the way to proving that its model for solar power generation can work.</p> <p>But it wasn&#8217;t always so clear. When the company started, in February 2007, cofounder and chief executive Lynn Jurich says she faced an enormous amount of skepticism.</p> <p>&#8220;It was a hard model,&#8221; she said. She had trouble convincing investors to back Sunrun because they were concerned about how capital-intensive the business would be. And a look at the <a href="http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Rest-in-Peace-The-List-of-Deceased-Solar-Companies">string of solar company failures</a> over the past few years suggests that investors may have been right: Solar is a risky, capital-intensive business.</p> <p>Before you can start generating electricity from the sun, you need to install a lot of solar panels. A <a href="http://fortune.com/2014/01/10/the-homeowners-guide-to-solar-power/">typical household rooftop solar system</a> costs at least $12,000, and often as much as $30,000. Jurich&#8217;s idea was that Sunrun would install these systems on houses, but retain ownership of them &#8212; and then make money by selling electricity, at below-market rates, to the owners of the houses.</p> <p>In effect, Sunrun is building a vast, distributed solar power generation plant by renting space on people&#8217;s rooftops. The &#8220;rent&#8221; it pays comes in the form of a discount on the electricity it sells. Win-win: Homeowners get to go green, they benefit from cheaper electricity, and they don&#8217;t have to give up anything other than roof space they weren&#8217;t using anyway; Sunrun gets cheap &#8220;land&#8221; and can profit from the difference between its costs and what it receives for selling that power.</p> <p>&#8220;The model on its face makes a ton of sense,&#8221; Jurich told me in a recent interview. &#8220;Homeowners already buy a ton of electricity as a service, and who wants to spend a ton of money to buy a solar system and maintain it themselves?&#8221;</p> <p>There&#8217;s an additional advantage: The federal government offers a tax credit for homeowners to install solar systems. By installing it for them, Sunrun gets to claim those tax credits, which it can then sell to banks or other companies.</p> <p>Long story short: This is a tricky financing play. By getting banks to front the money for solar panel installations, Sunrun can build those panels &#8212; then pay the banks back in tax credits and in the cash made by selling electricity.</p> <div id="attachment_1686336" class="wp-caption alignright" style="max-width:300px;"><a href="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-Lynn-Jurich-library.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1686336" src="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sunrun-Lynn-Jurich-library.jpg?resize=300%2C200" alt="Sunrun cofounder and CEO Lynn Jurich has found her happy place, it seems." data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Sunrun cofounder and CEO Lynn Jurich eventually found her happy place, it seems.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Sunrun</em></div></div> <p>But before the economic engine could get humming, Sunrun had to prime it with a few customers. And it couldn&#8217;t get customers without having some money to build solar systems for them. So after closing its initial funding round of $12 million, Jurich and her partners funded the first crop of solar panels out of the company&#8217;s cash equity. It used that momentum to try and raise the debt financing it needed to continue growing.</p> <p>But it was a tough sell, because they were trying to raise that money in the teeth of the 2008 recession, from loan originators that were used to lending money for multibillion dollar power plants, not distributed networks of home solar panels. If you&#8217;re loaning somebody $2 billion to build a power plant, you know where the money is going, and it&#8217;s easy to evaluate if the business is doing well. $2 billion to build a bunch of solar panels is a whole different thing.</p> <p>Eventually, Jurich says Sunrun was able to close a first $40 million round of debt from U.S. Bank. And then, in late 2011, the federal government changed the solar panel subsidy, ending one of the company&#8217;s major selling points.</p> <p>&#8220;It changed the value proposition we were offering consumers, and our sales totally fell off the cliff,&#8221; Jurich says. It was, she says, really hard to get capital and customers in balance for the first few years of the company&#8217;s existence.</p> <p>&#8220;It was like, ok, we got the capital — but now, whoops, the value proposition changed and we don’t have the customers,&#8221; Jurich says.</p> <p>The situation was bad enough that Jurich and her cofounders contemplated winding the business down. Without the subsidy, it looked like the market opportunity might not exist any more.</p> <p>But Jurich says she stuck with it, partly because she was on the front lines of the business. She knew what customers wanted, and she had a sense that Sunrun could still make a compelling pitch to them. That gave her the confidence to continue pushing through, she says.</p> <p>Not every entrepreneur does that &#8212; many hire a sales executive, and then stop going on sales calls, so they lose touch with what customers really want.</p> <p>“Let’s say you’re a product girl, or you’re a technology girl, so that’s your comfort zone,&#8221; Jurich says. &#8220;Don’t overly rely on bringing in the sales person &#8212; you need to be in every one of those phone calls so that you’re able to tweak your business model and your product and make tough calls about the longevity of the market.&#8221;</p> <p>Ultimately, Sunrun tweaked its pricing, stayed in the market, and went on to raise $2.8 billion in debt financing, of which $2 billion has been deployed building homeowner solar systems.</p> <p>“And then Solarcity came along and copied us,&#8221; Jurich laughs.</p> <p>(She hastens to add: Solarcity is more of a frenemy than a direct competitor. While larger than Sunrun, it&#8217;s more focused on commercial installations &#8212; and the <a href="https://power2switch.com/blog/the-100-billion-market-you-didnt-know-exists/">retail electricity market opportunity</a>, for now, is far bigger than both of them.)</p> <p>Much of this story is captured in a cute, animated video narrated by Jurich and produced by one of Sunrun&#8217;s backers, <a href="http://www.foundationcapital.com/">Foundation Capital</a>. I&#8217;m embedding it here because it&#8217;s a rare look at the ups and downs of an entrepreneur&#8217;s journey. Too often we hear the sanitized, mythologized version of a founding story. And no doubt this story has been edited to remove the really gnarly parts too. But in general, it&#8217;s a refreshing look at how much of a nail-biter Sunrun&#8217;s early phase was.</p> <p>Many other companies can no doubt tell similar stories.</p> <p><span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='341' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/p_UfDsXmipU?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen='true'></iframe></span></p> <p>&#160;</p> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-520a3288843bac14a0000282"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/520a3288843bac14a0000282 "></iframe> </div> <div id="person-5309d57cf8b76e045300f630"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/person/5309d57cf8b76e045300f630 "></iframe> </div> </div> <p id="profiles-powered-by"> Powered by <a href="http://www.vbprofiles.com">VBProfiles</a> </p> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">Chime in here, and we’ll share the results</a>.</div> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-520a3288843bac14a0000282"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/520a3288843bac14a0000282 "></iframe> </div> <div id="person-5309d57cf8b76e045300f630"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/person/5309d57cf8b76e045300f630 "></iframe> </div> 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href="http://events.venturebeat.com/event/gamesbeatsummit2015/">GamesBeat Summit</a> is invite-only -- <a href="http://events.venturebeat.com/event/gamesbeatsummit2015/">apply here</a>. Ticket prices <strong>increase</strong> on April 3rd! <hr /></div><p><a href="http://www.zigzagzoom.com/">Zig Zag Zoom Games</a>, a Los Angeles game publisher, is unveiling a series of mobile games today, including one called Tree Story that has an interesting twist. Players can nurture seedlings in a kind of virtual gardening game. And when they&#8217;re done, real-world trees will be planted.</p> <p>The idea is to use the power and reach of a billion mobile gamers to do good. After all, Americans spend about 2 hours and 38 minutes a day on their phones, with 50 of those minutes dedicated to playing games, according to analytics firm Flurry. By creating a game that can support good causes on a smartphone, Zig Zag Zoom Games hopes to catch players on the platforms they use most often.</p> <p>The company has created a virtual tree game where players nurture seedlings into full-grown trees. When they send their pet trees off to virtual forests, then Zig Zag Zoom Games&#8217; partners will plant a real tree. The player will find out where that tree was planted. thanks to the partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Project Learning Tree, ACTrees, and the Arbor Day Foundation.</p> <p>The game and company are the brainchild of Tom Kang, who teamed up with former Disney Interactive chief John Pleasants (chairman) and David Moon, chief operating officer, to start the company. Zig Zag Zoom Games has created a platform, Mobiliz3, that makes it easier to create games with charitable hooks for mobile gamers. The platform awards players Mobiliz3 points while playing fun mobile games. The players direct those points to the causes of their choice through the Mobiliz3 platform. Those points fund real-world activity, Kang told GamesBeat at the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.</p> <p>&#8220;First and foremost, we’re an entertainment company, and our No. 1 priority is to launch great mobile games,&#8221; Kang said. &#8220;In addition, we want to harness the reach and engagement of mobile games by allowing players to use their playtime for good. The more you play, the more you contribute. Our games and our Mobiliz3 platform provide an easy way for players to contribute to causes they care about from their mobile apps.&#8221;</p> <p>For the Tree Story game, Zig Zag Zoom Games developed a partnership with Tree Planet, an award-winning game from South Korea that has resulted in the planting of more than 500,000 trees in 73 forests across 10 countries.</p> <p>Zig Zag Zoom Games received strategic investment from iDreamSky, the big independent game publisher in Shenzhen, China.</p> <p>“We have known Tom, John, and their team for years through our experiences working with them while they were at Disney,&#8221; said Jeff Lyndon, the president of iDreamsky. &#8220;They have proven that they can deliver high quality, globally appealing games. Their passion to use mobile games for positive impact is great, and we support their mission 100 percent.&#8221;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Tom Tidwell, the chief of the U.S. Forest Service, said in a statement, &#8220;Partnering with Zig Zag Zoom, an organization committed to positive social and environmental impact, will enable the Forest Service to increase awareness of the importance of our nation’s forests and develop the next generation of conservationists.&#8221;</p> <p>Zig Zag Zoom Games is also working on Towering Oceans, a 3D building game where players create eco-friendly towers on moving ships. As they sail around the world, they build, upgrade, and customize their vessels. In that game, Zig Zag Zoom is partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund.</p> <p>And the company is also working on an endless-runner title, Pop Runner, where pop stars run through a landscape with parkour abilities. Zig Zag Zoom Games is developing Pop Runner in partnership with Sticky Studios, which previously made a game based on the hit film <em>The Maze Runner</em>.</p> <p>Zig Zag Zoom is also developing Reel Quest is a non-cause game that combines slot machine reels and role-playing game mechanics. It will launch on Zig Zag Zoom&#8217;s Mobiliz3 platform and encourage players to do good by playing the other games.</p> <div id="attachment_1685867" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="max-width:800px;"><a href="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/tree-story-2.jpg"><img class="wp-image-1685867 size-large" src="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/tree-story-2.jpg?resize=800%2C533" alt="Tree Story creators. 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array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(0) "" ["attribs"]=> array(1) { [""]=> array(3) { ["url"]=> string(81) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~5/2CxMr5njfVY/tesla-model-s.jpg" ["length"]=> string(1) "0" ["type"]=> string(24) "application/octet-stream" } } ["xml_base"]=> string(0) "" ["xml_base_explicit"]=> bool(false) ["xml_lang"]=> string(0) "" ["xmlns"]=> array(11) { ["content"]=> string(40) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/" ["rdf"]=> string(43) "http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" ["wfw"]=> string(36) "http://wellformedweb.org/CommentAPI/" ["atom"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" ["taxo"]=> string(41) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(6234) "<img src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/tesla-model-s.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Tesla Model S" /><hr/><p>The low cost of electricity compared to gasoline or diesel means driving an electric car typically comes with significant savings per mile, even if not necessarily in purchase price.</p> <p>What could be better than dramatically reduced operating costs?</p> <p>Well, how about driving a sexy, glamorous, high-performance electric car&#8230;for free?</p> <p>That&#8217;s exactly what one Tesla Model S owner claims to have done.</p> <p>When accounting for money saved on fuel and maintenance, a poster on the Tesla Motors official forum claims to have effectively <a title="Free Tesla??" href="http://my.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/free-tesla" target="_blank">driven his car for free</a> for about 18 months.</p> <p>Here&#8217;s how the owner&#8211;username &#8220;LeonardV&#8221; in the post&#8211;determined that. The figures listed below are his own calculations.</p> <p>He purchased the car in California in September 2013 at a list price of $96,000, including the state sales tax.</p> <p>However, the Model S was eligible for both the $7,500 Federal tax credit and $2,500 California rebate for new electric cars, effectively reducing the price to $86,000.</p> <div id="attachment_1663674" class="wp-caption alignright" style="max-width:300px;"><a href="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2014-tesla-model-s-p85d-road-test-dec-2014-photo-david-noland_100494830_l.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1663674" src="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2014-tesla-model-s-p85d-road-test-dec-2014-photo-david-noland_100494830_l.jpg?resize=300%2C213" alt="Road test information for the 2014 Tesla Model S P85D in, December 2014." data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Road test information for the 2014 Tesla Model S P85D in, December 2014.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: David Noland/Green Car Reports</em></div></div> <p>The car now has 53,000 miles on it, and the owner believes he can sell it for $77,000&#8211;meaning it will have depreciated by $9,000 from the post-incentive price.</p> <p>In addition, the car&#8217;s loan includes interest at 2 percent APR, for an estimated $2,400 during the period of ownership.</p> <p>However, that&#8217;s where the costs stop, according to the owner.</p> <p>He claims not to have paid for any servicing, although the Model S has visited a Tesla service center for warranty repairs and free tire rotations.</p> <p>(Note that this regimen may not conform to Tesla&#8217;s own service recommendations, and may not be possible depending on how a given car is used.)</p> <p>This Model S owner didn&#8217;t have to pay for charging, either: The garage where he parked the car offered free charging, and he used Tesla&#8217;s free Supercharger DC fast-charging stations for longer trips.</p> <p>In contrast, the owner calculates he would have spent $9,300 on fuel and $2,200 on maintenance driving an internal-combustion car the same distance over the same period of time.</p> <p>That&#8217;s assuming an average 20 mpg&#8211;somewhat below average for a modern car&#8211;with gas priced at an average $3.50 per gallon.</p> <p>Those estimated savings add up to $11,400&#8211;equally the amount paid in interest and lost through depreciation.</p> <p>Hence: a &#8220;free&#8221; stretch of car ownership.</p> <p>Of course, there are many variables present when calculating cost of ownership for a given car.</p> <p>Not everyone can take advantage of the incentives and abundant charging infrastructure in electric-car friendly California, for example.</p> <p>Still, this example shows just how much owners can potentially save by going electric.</p> <p><em>[hat tip: Leonard Van Ryn]</em></p> <p>This story originally appeared on <a href="http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1097399_how-to-drive-a-tesla-model-s-electric-car-free-for-18-months">Green Car Reports</a>.</p> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-3e122f809e597c10035130d5"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/3e122f809e597c10035130d5 "></iframe> </div> </div> <p id="profiles-powered-by"> Powered by <a href="http://www.vbprofiles.com">VBProfiles</a> </p> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-3e122f809e597c10035130d5"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/3e122f809e597c10035130d5 "></iframe> </div> </div> <p id="profiles-powered-by"> Powered by <a href="http://www.vbprofiles.com">VBProfiles</a> </p> <img width='1' height='1' 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We&#8217;ve only used one of the photos on this article; hit the links for the rest of them.</p> <p>The site itself has lots of photos of the Model X, some staged, some possibly Photoshopped, as well as the spy shots.</p> <p>The fan site Teslarati also has a YouTube <a title="Tesla Model X Sightings and Spy Shots Gallery Read more at http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-x-sightings-and-spy-shots-gallery/" href="http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-x-sightings-and-spy-shots-gallery/" target="_blank">video of the Model X caught testing</a> near the company&#8217;s Palo Alto headquarters in its Sightings and Spy Shots gallery, with views very similar to those spy shots.</p> <p>All the links are worth a visit for Model X fans.</p> <p><span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='341' 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["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(5609) "<img src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/tesla-model-s.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Tesla Model S" /><hr/><p>Earlier this week,  Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased us Model S owners with a tweet promising to &#8220;end range anxiety.&#8221;</p> <p>In a press conference this morning, Musk revealed the goods: an over-the-air firmware update that, while not increasing the range of the car, will at least set the driver&#8217;s mind at ease about how far he can really go before the juice runs out.</p> <p>Firmware version 6.2 is now in beta testing and, according to Musk,  will be sent out to the Model S fleet at large in about ten days.</p> <h2><strong>Range Assurance</strong></h2> <p>The centerpiece of the upgrade is a Range Assurance app that will constantly assess whether the Model S has enough juice to 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If the app determines that range is insufficient to reach the destination, it will warn the driver well in advance.</p> <p>The app will make it &#8220;effectively impossible to run out of range unintentionally,&#8221; according to Musk.</p> <p>He described the app as &#8220;incredibly good,&#8221; and said that early testing has shown it to be accurate within less than one percent.</p> <p>Less than one percent? Wow.</p> <p>Frankly, I&#8217;ll believe that when I see it. (Guess I&#8217;ll see in about ten days.)</p> <h2><strong>Trip Planner</strong></h2> <p>A second app in 6.2 is a Trip Planner that selects the optimal route to a destination based on charger locations. The car will communicate with various Supercharger stations to determine which are operational and available, and select a route accordingly.</p> <p>The app will also take into account the much slower Tesla destination chargers now proliferating at hotels and restaurants around the country. It will give priority to the Superchargers, Musk said.</p> <p>The Trip Planner will also notify drivers when their cars are charged sufficiently to reach the next Supercharger.</p> <p>He described the trip planning app as &#8220;intelligent cars and intelligent charging stations communicating with each other in a big network.&#8221;</p> <p>In addition, the new firmware will upgrade the sound system and improve radio reception. A &#8220;valet mode&#8221; will limit power, speed, and screen displays.</p> <p>Finally, 6.2 will improve the &#8220;feel of the accelerator and brakes.&#8221; Musk did not elaborate on precisely what this meant.</p> <p>For sensor-equipped Model S&#8217;s built since last October, version 6.2 will also include some of the promised autopilot features, such as auto-emergency braking and blind-spot warning.</p> <p>Oh, one more thing:  If you have a P85D, your top speed is now 155 mph. Enjoy.</p> <h2><strong>More coming</strong></h2> <p>As is his wont, Musk also teased firmware version 7.0 for sensor-equipped cars, due out in about three months. It will include more of the long-promised auto-pilot functions, primarily an auto-steering mode for highway driving. According to Musk, the auto-steering has already been successfully tested on a San Francisco-to-Seattle run without the driver ever touching the wheel.</p> <p>7.0 will also include a Summon mode, in which the car will drive itself to or from a given location &#8212; garage to front step, for example. This feature can only be enabled on private property.</p> <h2><strong>Put to the test</strong></h2> <p>For me personally, the timing of update 6.2 and its Range Assurance app couldn&#8217;t be better. In 12 days, I&#8217;m scheduled to depart on a 2,700-mile cross-country drive from my winter retreat in Carpinteria, California back home to Mountainville, New York.</p> <p>Will the Range Assurance app really be accurate to within one or two miles out of 265?</p> <p>If so, it will be a huge step forward for Model S drivers on long trips. Range anxiety will indeed be a thing of the past.</p> <p>Stay tuned.</p> <p>This story originally appeared on <a href="http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1097336_elon-musk-tesla-model-s-ends-range-anxiety-with-smart-navigation-trip-planner">Green Car Reports</a>.</p><img width='1' height='1' src='http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/44a86694/sc/21/mf.gif' border='0'/><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224464805622/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44a86694/sc/21/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224464805622/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44a86694/sc/21/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224464805622/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44a86694/sc/21/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224464805622/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44a86694/sc/21/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224464805622/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44a86694/sc/21/rc/3/rc.htm" 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-- from 1972." /><hr/><p>Today&#8217;s BMW i3 may be the first electric car available to the public in large quantities from the Bavarian brand, but it&#8217;s certainly not BMW&#8217;s first-ever electric vehicle.</p> <p>Over the past four decades, BMW has built numerous concepts and prototypes to experiment with electric propulsion.</p> <p>And it all started with a boxy orange model, the 1602e developed 43 years ago, in 1972.</p> <p><span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='560' height='341' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/hbxI4rMY_wM?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&#038;showsearch=0&#038;showinfo=1&#038;iv_load_policy=1&#038;wmode=transparent' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen='true'></iframe></span></p> <p>While the i3 can be seen as a response to tightening global emissions standards and concerns over climate change, the 1602e was a response to the geopolitical issues of its own time.</p> <p>While the 1973 OPEC oil embargo hadn&#8217;t yet hit, continuing turmoil in the Middle East had already led to concern over the potential for shortages and disruptions in the supply of oil.</p> <p>Based on the now-classic &#8220;02&#8221;-series sedan, the 1602e featured a bank of lead-acid batteries under its hood, and a 32-kilowatt (42 horsepower) electric motor.</p> <div id="attachment_1683230" class="wp-caption alignright" style="max-width:320px;"><a href="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/1972-bmw-batteries.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-1683230" src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/1972-bmw-batteries.jpg?resize=320%2C213" alt="The battery compartment for the 1972 BMW electric car." data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: The battery compartment for the 1972 BMW electric car.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: BMW/Green Car Reports</em></div></div> <p>The batteries were essentially the same type used to power the 12-volt electrical system of a typical internal combustion car. They were grouped together as (very large) cells into one pack.</p> <p>This arrangement yielded just 37 miles of range, with a weight penalty of around 770 pounds.</p> <p>Only two examples of the 1602e were built, and they were both used at the 1972 Olympic Games in BMW&#8217;s in hometown of Munich.</p> <p>They were used to shuttle dignitaries, and to pace athletes in long-distance running events.</p> <p>The advantage of that, BMW notes in the above video, is that runners didn&#8217;t have to breath exhaust fumes while being paced by the cars.</p> <p>That&#8217;s an advantage shared by the Nissan Leaf when a prototype paced the world-famous New York City Marathon in November 2010, a month before the car went on sale to the public.</p> <p>Forty years later, BMW electric cars also performed supported duties at the 2012 London Olympics.</p> <p>In between, BMW built and tested several more electric prototypes&#8211;including the fleets of MINI E and Active E released to customers as test beds for the i3.</p> <p>In other words, you could say the i3 was four decades in the making.</p> <p>This story originally appeared on <a href="http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1097357_bmw-releases-new-video-on-first-electric-car-1972-bmw-1602e">Green Car Reports</a>.</p><div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> VentureBeat is <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">studying email marketing</a>. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">Chime in</a>, and we’ll share the data with you.</div><img width='1' height='1' src='http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/44a38d9c/sc/18/mf.gif' border='0'/><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224464408653/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44a38d9c/sc/18/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/224464408653/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/44a38d9c/sc/18/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a 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["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(9411) "<img src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/James-Dyson-Digital-Motors.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="James Dyson" /><hr/><p>Dyson may be more famous for vacuum cleaners, hand dryers, and bladeless fans, but the British electronics giant is spreading its wings with the news that it&#8217;s investing $15 million in Michigan-based solid-state battery company <a href="http://sakti3.com/" target="_blank">Sakti3</a>. Existing investors General Motors, Khosla Ventures, Beringea, and Itochu are also participating, taking the full value of the round to $20 million.</p> <p>A spinoff from the University of Michigan, Sakti3 has now garnered $50 million in funding to date, having <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2010/04/01/khosla-backed-sakti3-bags-7m-for-advanced-batteries/" target="_blank">taken on a little over $11 million</a> over <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2010/09/10/gm-itochu-charge-up-battery-maker-sakti3-with-4-2-million/" target="_blank">two rounds back in 2010</a>, in addition to a $2 million Series A in 2009, a previously unannounced $14 million Series B-1 in 2012, and a $3 million grant.</p> <p>For Dyson, this deal represents one of the first investments to emerge from the $2.3 billion fund it <a href="http://article.wn.com/view/2014/11/21/Dyson_sets_aside_156_billion_for_future_tech_innovations/" target="_blank">set aside last year</a> to plow into so-called &#8220;future technologies,&#8221; as it looks to bring 100 machines in four new portfolios to market in the next four years.</p> <div id="attachment_1678218" class="wp-caption alignright" style="max-width:300px;"><a href="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/James-Dyson-Airblade-Tap.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1678218" src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/James-Dyson-Airblade-Tap.jpg?resize=300%2C358" alt="James Dyson: Airblade Tap" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: James Dyson: Airblade Tap</p></div> <p>The deal makes a lot of sense, and digging a little deeper into the details of the funding reveals that a development agreement is also in place to help commercialize Sakti3’s batteries. In other words, Dyson wants to use Sakti3&#8217;s technology in future machines.</p> <p>&#8220;Sakti3 has achieved leaps in performance which current battery technology simply can’t,&#8221; explains James Dyson, founder and chief engineer at Dyson, in a press release. &#8220;It’s these fundamental technologies – batteries, motors – that allow machines to work properly.&#8221;</p> <p>This is similar to General Motors&#8217; previous investments in Sakti3, with the long-term plan very much to introduce solid-state batteries into its cars. Given Sakti3&#8217;s still in development mode, however, it could be a few years before we see the fruits of its labor out in the wild &#8212; Dyson will be the first company to take the battery technology to market, however.</p> <p>&#8220;It was quite an honor for us to be approached by Dyson, precisely because they wanted what we did – much, much better batteries,&#8221; says <a href="http://sakti3.com/?page_id=48" target="_blank">Ann Marie Sastry</a>, founder and CEO of Sakti3. &#8220;The truth is, there is a great deal of knowledge and passion on both sides, and Dyson&#8217;s engineering team has the capability and the track record to scale up new ideas and make them a commercial reality.&#8221;</p> <h2>(Solid) state of play</h2> <p>&#8220;Solid state&#8221; is perhaps better known from the storage realm, with the likes of USB flash drives using the technology to create faster, more reliable storage devices &#8212; they contain no mechanical or moving parts.</p> <p>Solid-state batteries, on the other hand, are still lithium-ion (li-ion) based (like traditional batteries) but contain solid lithium electrodes rather than flammable liquid. This allows them to retain more energy, and Sakti3 claims to offer the highest energy density to date. In other words, more power can be squeezed into a smaller space.</p> <p>Dyson already uses li-ion batteries in some of its contraptions, including its cordless vacuum cleaners. Now, it wants to help innovate on the batteries themselves, which could have ramifications for the portability of its products, as well as improving charge times and capacity.</p> <p>There has been a flurry of activity in the battery space in recent times, and it&#8217;s an area that could offer significant rewards for whoever can crack the nut and pack the biggest punch into as small a space as possible.</p> <p>A few months back, Samsung <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/09/samsung-drives-17m-investment-round-to-help-build-better-batteries-for-electric-cars/" target="_blank">led a $17 million investment round</a> into Seeo to help build better batteries for electric cars, and <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/23/samsung-acquires-battery-business-from-magna-international-to-boost-its-electric-vehicle-credentials/" target="_blank">shortly after acquired the battery business</a> from Canadian company Magna International. Elsewhere, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-04-02/bill-gates-invests-in-battery-maker-aquion-energy" target="_blank">invested in at least three energy storage companies</a>, while <a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/warren-buffetts-berkshire-to-buy-duracell-battery-from-procter-gamble/?_r=0" target="_blank">Warren Buffett acquired Duracell</a> in a $4.7 billion deal back in November.</p> <p>James Dyson made a household name of himself in Britain 22 years ago, after launching the world’s first mass-produced bagless vacuum cleaners. Today, his company claims 2,000 scientists and engineers working on future-gazing products in conjunction with universities, and it holds 3,000 patents covering 500 contraptions. In addition to its $2 billion-plus &#8220;future technologies&#8221; fund, Dyson has also put aside $408 million to grow its research and development (R&#38;D) site in England (below).</p> <div id="attachment_1678262" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="max-width:800px;"><a href="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Dyson-expansion-interior.jpg"><img class="size-large wp-image-1678262" src="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Dyson-expansion-interior.jpg?resize=800%2C450" alt="Dyson R&#38;D Expansion" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Dyson R&#38;D expansion</p></div> <p>Last February, Dyson made a <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/02/10/your-next-dyson-gadget-may-be-a-robot-that-can-do-the-wash/" target="_blank">$8.2 million investment</a> in a robotics lab with the Imperial College of London, to help develop robotic cleaners. The Dyson Robotics Laboratory is focusing on computer vision programs that help robots navigate in real-world conditions.</p> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-5506ef59aa8938dc5500234d"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/5506ef59aa8938dc5500234d "></iframe> </div> </div> <p id="profiles-powered-by"> Powered by <a href="http://www.vbprofiles.com">VBProfiles</a> </p> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">Chime in here, and we’ll share the results</a>.</div> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-5506ef59aa8938dc5500234d"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; 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than 1.5 billion &#8212; or about 1 in 3 &#8212; boarding passes will be displayed on mobile devices like phones or tablets by the end of 2019.</p> <p>That&#8217;s way up from just 745 million boarding passes that will be delivered on mobile devices this year, the firm estimates.</p> <p>The study shows that mobile boarding passes are increasingly used by frequent flyers. But, Juniper says, leisure passengers are less likely to use them, owing to the fact that they&#8217;re less familiar with the technology.</p> <p><a href="http://i2.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/google-now-boarding-pass-card.jpg"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-585098" src="http://i2.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/google-now-boarding-pass-card.jpg?resize=239%2C400" alt="google now boarding pass card" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>According to airline IT specialist SITA, 53 percent of airlines have already implemented mobile boarding passes via apps. This number, SITA believes, will rise to 91 percent by 2017.</p> <p>The study says app-based boarding pass adoption is happening fastest in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.</p> <p>But most of the airline apps are delivering boarding passes as bar codes. Using a near field communication chip in the phones to transmit the boarding data is the way of the future, but the transition to that technology is moving slowly, Juniper says.</p> <p>&#8220;The ultimate position that NFC can reach in the airline industry is ‘the extinction of the boarding pass’ whereby boarding pass, baggage tickets, and identity information can be stored on the phone and simply accessed using NFC readers,&#8221; says Juniper researcher Nitin Bhas. &#8220;However, this transition will not only be delayed by the success of bar code but, there is the need to gain agreement and investment from airlines and airports around the world.&#8221;</p> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">Chime in here, and we’ll share the results</a>.</div><img width='1' height='1' 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"http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" ["taxo"]=> string(41) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(4827) "<img src="http://i0.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/voltunpluggedsanfrangg01.jp_1-1024x656.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Image (1) VoltUnpluggedSanFranGG01.jp_1-1024x656.jpg for post 261451" /><hr/><p>The distinguishing feature of the Chevrolet Volt has always been that as long as it has charge left in its battery, it runs solely 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string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" ["taxo"]=> string(41) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(4487) "<img src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Tesla-Model-S-P85D.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="A Tesla Model S P85D." /><hr/><p>Tesla is ramping up production for its newest model, the dual-motor Model S P85D sedan.</p> <p>A report in the <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-posts-short-waiting-time-for-upscale-p85d-model-s-1426013218?mod=WSJ_TechWSJD_moreTopStories">Wall Street Journal</a> noted that the dual-motor, <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/26/is-tesla-model-s-p85d-the-worlds-fastest-sedan-yes-if/">super-fast Tesla</a> model is now available for delivery in just 20 days, in late March. By contrast, if you want an older Model S, you&#8217;ll have to wait until May.</p> <p>The P85D goes for $105,000 and up. The previous model costs $71,000 and up.</p> <p>This is a critical year for Tesla to ramp up production. The company predicts it will sell 55,000 cars worldwide this year, and hopes to sell 500,000 a year by 2020.</p> <p>It sold <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/11/teslas-china-syndrome-weak-far-east-sales-seen-as-key-factor-in-dissapointing-quarter/">just under 32,000 cars in 2014</a>.</p> <p>2020, perhaps coincidentally, is <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/19/apple-gunning-to-start-production-of-the-icar-in-2020-report/">when Apple will begin selling its &#8220;iCar,&#8221;</a> according to rumors.</p> <p>Apple chief executive Tim Cook, speaking to Apple shareholders earlier today, deflected the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla.</p> <p>Instead, <a href="http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2015/03/10/apple-aapl-rumors-apple-tesla-motors-acquisition-tsla/">Cook suggested</a>, Apple would really like Tesla to start using CarPlay, Apple&#8217;s in-dash technology, in its cars. <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/09/apples-carplay-will-be-in-more-than-40-different-car-models/">CarPlay is already in 40 different car models</a>, Cook said yesterday, so maybe that&#8217;s not too much to ask.</p> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div id="profile-cards"> <div id="company-3e122f809e597c10035130d5"> <iframe width="560" height="210" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="padding:0; border:0; margin:0;" src="http://www.vbprofiles.com/widget/company/3e122f809e597c10035130d5 "></iframe> </div> </div> <p id="profiles-powered-by"> Powered by <a href="http://www.vbprofiles.com">VBProfiles</a> </p> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> VentureBeat is <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">studying email marketing</a>. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">Chime in</a>, and we’ll share the data with you.</div> <h6 id="profile-cards-header">More information:</h6> <div 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That makes the growing network of sites a major part of Tesla&#8217;s ability to provide an electric car that can serve as a household&#8217;s only vehicle for all driving needs.</p> <p>That&#8217;s true across the world, as Tesla says it now has 396 Supercharger stations globally, with more than 2,150 individual chargers.</p> <p>For Tesla&#8217;s main market, the United States, the growth of these charging stations has been quite dramatic over the past 12 to 18 months.</p> <p>And the growth continues, to the point where this article had to be updated twice over the few days it was being edited.</p> <p>From January through April last year, Tesla opened 39 Supercharger sites with a total of 104 charging points. Then from May through August, it added another 20 sites with 122 charging cables. The pace ramped up from there, with another 37 sites with 265 total charging points being added from September through December.</p> <div id="attachment_1676190" class="wp-caption alignleft" style="max-width:433px;"><a href="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Screen-Shot-2015-03-09-at-8.10.38-PM.png"><img class="size-full wp-image-1676190" src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Screen-Shot-2015-03-09-at-8.10.38-PM.png?resize=433%2C375" alt="The benefits of a Supercharager station." data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: The benefits of a Supercharger station.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Tesla</em></div></div> <p>And through this weekend, 29 more were opened with more than 180 additional cables.</p> <p>Despite some early missed deadlines for getting Supercharger sites up and running, it seems clear that Tesla is following through on its promise to offer a national network of Superchargers.</p> <p>More accurately, it&#8217;s now a North American network: Canada too has seen the installation of 12 charging stations with a total of 62 chargers during this same time period.</p> <p>And many more are permitted or under construction throughout the United States and Canada.</p> <p>For the latest details on Supercharger sites, the Teslarati fan site maintains a summary of <a title="Interactive Tesla Supercharger Map" href="http://www.teslarati.com/interactive-tesla-supercharger-map/" target="_blank">Tesla charging stations</a>.</p> <p>The same information can also be found on Tesla&#8217;s own site.</p> <p>This story originally appeared on <a href="http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1097109_tesla-supercharger-network-growth-surges-over-last-14-months">Green Car Reports</a>.</p><div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/email-marketing" target="_blank">Chime in here, 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"http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" ["taxo"]=> string(41) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(4497) "<img src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Solar-Impulse.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Solar Impulse" /><hr/><p>A small piece of history is being attempted today, with <a href="https://twitter.com/andreborschberg" target="_blank">André Borschberg</a> taking off in his <a href="http://info.solarimpulse.com/" target="_blank">Solar Impulse</a> aircraft to try to make it <a href="http://info.solarimpulse.com/en/our-adventure/the-first-round-the-world-solar-flight/" target="_blank">all the way around the world</a> powered entirely by solar energy.</p> <p>It&#8217;s been six years since the <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2010/04/07/solar-plane-takes-to-the-skies-for-the-first-time/" target="_blank">first manned solar plane was unveiled</a>, with the <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2010/04/07/solar-plane-takes-to-the-skies-for-the-first-time/" target="_blank">first flight</a> taking place a year later. However, the Solar Impulse&#8217;s journey has been fraught with delays&#8211;we reported back in 2010 that the round-the-world attempt was originally scheduled to take place by 2012. The aircraft has managed to garner headlines for smaller-scale jaunts, however, including a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23195087" target="_blank">San Francisco-to-New York trip back in 2013</a> that took <a href="http://info.solarimpulse.com/en/across-america/" target="_blank">two months and several stopovers</a> to complete.</p> <p>Today&#8217;s flight took off from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), a little after 7 a.m. local time (7 p.m. PDT), and will head eastward through India, China, the U.S., Europe, and Africa before landing back in the UAE in August. Yes, commercial airlines can relax for now&#8211;the single-seater aircraft will take around five months to complete the circumnavigation, with a multitude of stopovers for rest and maintenance planned. This time will also be spent <a href="http://www.futureisclean.org/" target="_blank">campaigning on behalf of clean technologies</a>.</p> <p>Borschberg won&#8217;t undertake the full journey, however, as some stages will be piloted by record-breaking hot air ballooner <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Piccard" target="_blank">Bertrand Piccard</a>&#8211;someone with a big family tradition of record-setting feats. In 1960, Piccard&#8217;s father, Jacques, was one of the first people to reach the deepest place in the ocean, while in 1931 his grandfather, Auguste, was the first to reach the stratosphere in a balloon.</p> <p>The Solar Impulse team had to build a bigger version of the original Solar Impulse prototype, given that it will be required to be in the air for longer periods of time and thus will need to store more energy from the sun. 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class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Rock Band 4" /><hr/><div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-before"><strong>Gaming execs:</strong> <a href="http://events.venturebeat.com/event/gamesbeatsummit2015/">Join 180 select leaders</a> from King, Glu, Rovio, Unity, Facebook, and more to plan your path to global domination in 2015. <a href="http://events.venturebeat.com/event/gamesbeatsummit2015/">GamesBeat Summit</a> is invite-only -- <a href="http://events.venturebeat.com/event/gamesbeatsummit2015/">apply here</a>. Ticket prices <strong>increase</strong> on April 3rd! <hr /></div><p>Get ready to rock again later this year.</p> <p>Harmonix answers three years of fans requests with the announcement of Rock Band 4 today, slated to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year. The Boston, Mass.-based developer made good on their promise to <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2013/06/04/harmonixs-alex-rigopulos-on-why-musical-motion-creation-is-video-gamings-next-wave-exclusive-interview/">return to the franchise</a>, though it hasn&#8217;t said much about what to expect from the new music game. We do know that the gameplay will be similar to previous titles, but it will feature new team play concepts as well as features that will encourage creativity in players.</p> <p>Rock Band 4 product manager Daniel Sussman told GamesBeat in an interview that Harmonix is &#8220;not interested in a straight port of Rock Band 3,&#8221; as it wouldn&#8217;t be interesting to fans. The company wants to retain the core gameplay of previous titles, and says that it is &#8220;building on a foundation of very well-established gameplay that we think is really quality.”</p> <p>Harmonix hopes that fan input will help shape Rock Band 4. Through feature and content updates, it will expand the core Rock Band gameplay.</p> <p>&#8220;Our plan is to grow the game though a dialogue with our community and with our player base to figure out where they want to see it go,&#8221; Sussman said. &#8220;I think that there&#8217;s a real opportunity this time around through the technology and tools that we have at our disposal to be pretty reactive to the player community and to respond directly to what people are excited about.&#8221;</p> <p>There are a couple of areas of creative focus for the company for this new title, centering around player-to-player dynamics. Sussman says that Harmonix wants to improve the band simulation aspect so that a four-player session isn&#8217;t just four people playing a single-player experience together. He hints that new features will encourage interplay between instruments, so that, for example, a bassist and a drummer might do something together that is impactful.</p> <p>&#8220;It&#8217;s so much more fun to play music with people that you know are listening to you,&#8221; Sussman hints.</p> <p>He also hints that &#8220;a song doesn&#8217;t play the same way twice.&#8221; It seems that Harmonix is building in opportunities for self-expression, giving players an opportunity to feel a sense of ownership in the music that is coming out of the game.</p> <h3>The music plays on</h3> <p>Harmonix plans to honor fans&#8217; past purchases for previous series titles. This means that the company&#8217;s goal is for the entire Rock Band downloadable music library will work with Rock Band 4. Sussman says that the task has been complicated as the franchise&#8217;s library features thousands of songs. But he says that Harmonix respects fans&#8217; past purchases and it is currently working with Microsoft and Sony to make sure song purchases from previous games will work in the new title.</p> <p>&#8220;Our focus on the DLC back catalog and entitlements is a big thing,&#8221; he said. &#8220;We know that folks have spent a lot of scratch on [them] and we want to make sure that we respect that.&#8221;</p> <p>Sussman says that the time between the last game and now serves as an opportunity to look back at some of the last three or so years of music. He says that the team has been taking advantage of that.</p> <p>“We are committed to putting together a forward-looking DLC plan that continues the tradition of exposing people to both new music, and also cherrypicking some of the great stuff that’s out there.”</p> <div id="attachment_1673573" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="max-width:600px;"><a href="http://i2.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/RB4-guitar_blk.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-1673573" src="http://i2.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/RB4-guitar_blk.jpg?resize=600%2C600" alt="Rock Band 4's guitar controller." data-recalc-dims="1" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Rock Band 4&#8217;s guitar controller.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Harmonix</em></div></div> <p>&#160;</p> <h3>Don&#8217;t ditch that old axe</h3> <p>Harmonix also plans to make the musical controllers from previous games compatible with Rock Band 4, though Sussman admits that there are still some challenges that Harmonix has to overcome before launch.</p> <p>&#8220;Our intent is to support everything that is out there,&#8221; he said. &#8220;But there’s a big part of that that’s outside our control. On a hardware front, frankly, the first parties control the situation  — there is a lot of tech and policy that we’re working through.&#8221;</p> <p>He explained that some of the issue is connectivity. For example, the radio that has controllers wirelessly communicating with a game system are completely different in the newest generation of consoles. But Harmonix is doing its best to work it out.</p> <p>&#8220;We have a really active and constructive dialogue in play with Sony and Microsoft about how we might support last generation controllers on this generation,&#8221; he noted. &#8220;Those conversations are going really well.&#8221;</p> <h3>New controllers</h3> <p>Harmonix is working with Mad Catz once again to provide hardware for Rock Band 4. Sussman says that the hardware maker has a strong pedigree within the music game genre, so Harmonix has chosen the company as the exclusive hardware partner for its next game.</p> <p>A new suite of controllers will mirror the form and function of previous controllers. Because Harmonix is committed to legacy controllers, it didn’t want to incentivize a player to buy new hardware. The guitar will be a Fender Stratocaster replica with the same layout of buttons and controls. Other instruments should be similar to their predecessors, though the company is taking the opportunity to upgrade some of the components.</p> <h3>More to come at E3</h3> <p>Harmonix says that it is not ready to talk about pricing and SKU configurations just yet, let alone a solid launch date. 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["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } ["enclosure"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(0) "" ["attribs"]=> array(1) { [""]=> array(3) { ["url"]=> string(97) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~5/EWCb2QBlZTs/2012-fisker-karma_100479507_l.jpg" ["length"]=> string(1) "0" ["type"]=> string(24) "application/octet-stream" } } ["xml_base"]=> string(0) "" ["xml_base_explicit"]=> bool(false) ["xml_lang"]=> string(0) "" ["xmlns"]=> array(11) { ["content"]=> string(40) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/" ["rdf"]=> string(43) "http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" ["wfw"]=> string(36) "http://wellformedweb.org/CommentAPI/" ["atom"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" ["taxo"]=> string(41) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(5150) "<img src="http://i1.wp.com/venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2012-fisker-karma_100479507_l.jpg?fit=578%2C9999" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="2012 Fisker Karma + Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, Hollister Municipal Airport, CA" /><hr/><p>The Fisker Karma extended-range electric luxury sedan has been out of production since July 2012, but it&#8217;s hardly gone away.</p> <p>Chinese automotive supplier Wanxiang, which now owns the car company, hopes to restart sales of the low, sleek, striking four-seat sedan under the Elux name sometime next year.</p> <p>And owners continue to be stopped on the street and asked about the striking lines of their cars, almost three years after Karma assembly halted.</p> <p>While there remains a lot of uncertainty around Wanxiang&#8217;s plans for the former Fisker, there&#8217;s another option for anyone wanting a Karma.</p> <p>It turns out that a decent selection of used Karmas is currently for sale.</p> <p>A quick search of <a title="Fisker Karma | eBay" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/Cars-Trucks-/6001/i.html?&#38;makeval=Fisker&#38;modelval=Karma&#38;_nkw=Fisker%20Karma&#38;_trksid=p2050890.m1603" target="_blank">eBay Motors</a> pulled up 17 cars, with prices ranging from a low of $41,111 to a high of $76,500. Most seemed to fall within the $50-$60,000 range, though.</p> <p>All Karmas sold in the original production run were 2012 models, and the ones currently for sale generally seem to have low mileage.</p> <p>The highest-mileage example here had 38,000 miles, and there were a couple of cars showing less than 2,000 miles.</p> <p>Most of the cars for sale appear to be in stock condition, but some have custom wheels and other modifications.</p> <p>Searching <a title="Fisker Karma" href="http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/Fisker/Karma/New+York+NY-10017?endYear=2016&#38;makeCode1=FISK&#38;mmt=[FISK[KARMA[]][]]&#38;modelCode1=KARMA&#38;searchRadius=0&#38;showcaseListingId=0&#38;showcaseOwnerId=0&#38;startYear=1981&#38;Log=0" target="_blank">AutoTrader</a> yielded 70 results, with a similar average price of around $50,000 to $60,000 and all listings showing fairly low mileage.</p> <p>There were a few cars listed with less than 1,000 miles&#8211;nudging prices closer to $70,000&#8211;and at least two listed as &#8220;new,&#8221; with asking prices of more than $100,000.</p> <p>While the total number of used Karmas for sale isn&#8217;t terribly large, they represent a fairly significant proportion of the 2,600 or so cars cars built before Fisker&#8217;s bankruptcy.</p> <p>To put that in perspective, the Tesla Roadster was built in similar numbers, and there are hardly any used examples to be found.</p> <p>As it works to relaunch the Karma, new owner Wanxiang will reportedly keep most of the original design, but address &#8220;bugs&#8221; that afflicted the first run of cars.</p> <p>Early cars suffered from faulty electronics and lithium-ion battery cells, as well as the potential for cooling-fan fires&#8211;issues potential buyers should be aware of.</p> <p>All extant Karmas were assembled by Finnish contractor Valmet Automotive, but Wanxiang will reportedly move production elsewhere.</p> <p>Fisker still owns an ex-GM assembly plant in Delaware, which Wanxiang claimed it 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