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Auto & Traffic Safety Are The Focus Of 4 New US Senate Bills

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Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)  reintroduced a collection of 4 bills designed to improve automotive and traffic safety across the United States. The lawmakers — both of whom are members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee — say they are releasing the proposals for inclusion in the congressional debate on a comprehensive infrastructure package and the next surface transportation reauthorization legislation. The bills cover the speed of auto recalls, auto manufacturing reporting standards, distracted driving rules,  and a focus on seat back integrity.

All 4 bills have been endorsed by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, KidsAndCars.org, the National Consumers League, Consumer Reports, Safety Research and Strategies, Safe Roads Alliance, and EndDD.org. The PARTS Act and the SAFE Act have also been endorsed by the National Safety Council.

Markey stated that such legislation would make US road travel safer through upgrades to infrastructure.

“Every year on average, over 36,000 people are killed and nearly three million more are injured in motor vehicle crashes. These numbers reveal a public health crisis that we must not accept as inevitable. We can prevent these unnecessary tragedies with proven strategies and technologies. That’s why I am proud to reintroduce a robust legislative package that will address several of the most dangerous safety issues on our roads. As Congress debates infrastructure and surface transportation reauthorization in the weeks ahead, I will fight for these bills and ensure that safety is at the forefront of everything we do. Upgrading our roads and highways also means upgrading safety.”

The Auto & Traffic Safety Bills: A Summary

Promoting Auto Recalls Toward Safety (PARTS) Act

The first bill – the Promoting Auto Recalls Toward Safety (PARTS) Act – will increase the speed and effectiveness of motor vehicle recalls in the wake of lessons learned from the infamous Takata airbag recall. The PARTS Act will specifically authorize the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide grants to states for use in notifying registered motor vehicle owners about manufacturer-issued safety recalls, as well as require additional reporting and an annual scorecard on how effectively automakers are completing any recalls. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is also a cosponsor of this legislation.

Early Warning Reporting Systems Improvement Act

The second bill – the Early Warning Reporting Systems Improvement Act – will fill a safety gap created by the historically low number of defect investigations launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in recent years. The legislation ensures that auto manufacturers will provide more information about incidents involving fatalities and serious injuries directly to the public. It will also require NHTSA to make the information it receives publicly available in a user-friendly format, so that consumers and independent safety experts can evaluate potential safety defects themselves.

Stay Aware for Everyone (SAFE) Act

The third bill – the Stay Aware for Everyone (SAFE) Act – will tackle the threat of distracted driving, a problem that is only increasing with the proliferation of “driver assistance” technologies that can encourage complacency if misused on the road. The SAFE Act will specifically require the DOT to study how driver-monitoring systems can prevent driver distraction, driver disengagement, automation complacency, and the foreseeable misuse of advanced driver-assist systems. The legislation also requires a rulemaking to mandate the installation of driver-monitoring systems based on the results of this study, which shall incorporate appropriate privacy and data security safeguards. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is also a cosponsor of this legislation.

Modernizing Seat Back Safety Act

The fourth bill – the Modernizing Seat Back Safety Act – will address the thousands of preventable fatalities and life-threatening injuries that have occurred because of motor vehicle seat failure during a collision. The legislation will require NHTSA to update its standards for seat back integrity in new cars, an essential action that NHSTA has neglected to take for more than 50 years despite repeated tragedies.

What Implications Do These Bills Have for Electric Vehicles?

Consumers can rest assured that electric cars are as safe as their internal combustion engine counterparts thanks to “encouraging” results from a new series of crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently tested a range of new electric vehicles from manufacturers including Ford, Tesla, Volvo, and more — and awarded them with “safety pick” honors. Investigations showed that injury claims for electric vehicles were about 40% lower than accidents involving identical gas-powered models, according to data from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). Electric vehicle batteries weigh a lot, making the cars themselves heavier than traditional cars. The extra weight may also provide a safety boost, according to IIHS, as research shows that occupants in heavier vehicles experience less force in a crash, leading to fewer injuries.

Earlier this year, the all-electric Audi e-tron, Audi e-tron Sportback, and Tesla Model 3 qualified for 2021 TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards. The 2021 TOP SAFETY PICK award requires good ratings in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests — driver- and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Winners must also be available with good or acceptable headlights and a front crash prevention system that earns advanced or superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations. To qualify for the “plus,” vehicles must come with good or acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages.

Tesla picked up its first award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety with the 2019 Model 3.

Many people are under the impression that electric vehicle batteries pose a significant risk due to their flammability. Actually, when compared to the flammability of gasoline, Li-ion batteries pose a far lower risk of fire or explosions. In cases of vehicular fires that were the result of damaged Li-ion batteries, the fire was limited to the area where the batteries were contained before it could be extinguished. In cases of vehicle fires that were the result of spilled gasoline or damaged fuel-delivery components, the fire tended to spread to other parts of the vehicle before it could be contained, and those fires also required more effort from firefighters to extinguish.

Last week, the story of a fatal Tesla crash near Houston, TX made lots of news. When CEO Elon Musk said that the crash data indicated that Autopilot wasn’t engaged, speculation ran rampant, with many concluding that Autopilot must’ve been on if there wasn’t a driver in the driver’s seat.  There’s new evidence emerging that there was a driver in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash.

Like so many areas of the media today, scare tactics restrain some people from moving ahead with commitments to cleantech and renewables. Yes, there are EV recalls, but these don’t exceed or even come close to the recalls of ICE vehicles.

The Markey/ Blumenthal bills do merit our attention, and auto and traffic safety should always be an element of transportation regulations. With strong structures, extensive crumple zones, and multiple airbags, electric vehicle designers ensure that occupants are as well protected as possible in the event of an accident and are devoting appropriate attention to assure traffic safety.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/28/auto-traffic-safety-are-the-focus-of-4-new-us-senate-bills/

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Tesla Transitions To LFP Battery Cells For Megapack Installations

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Multiple news sources are reporting that Tesla has begun using lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells in its Megapack grid-scale storage systems. LFP has some advantage and disadvantages when compared to the traditional nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA) or nickel, manganese, cobalt (NMC) batteries typically used to power electric cars. The advantages include not using nickel or cobalt, both of which are going up in price as the demand for electric cars accelerates. In addition, mining cobalt has significant environmental and humanitarian issues. Leaving those elements out helps lower the cost of manufacturing battery cells.

The downside is that LFP batteries are less energy dense than traditional battery cells, which is why they are a perfect fit for the entry level Tesla Model 3 Standard Range + in China but not for the mighty Model S P100D with Plaid+ Mode. The change in battery chemistry was alluded to by Elon Musk in the most recent conference call with investors. “However, stationary storage, the energy density is not as important because it’s just staying on the ground, and so I think the vast majority of stationary storage will be iron-based lithium-ion cells with an iron phosphate cathode, technically. But the phosphate part is unnecessary. It’s really just the iron or nickel.”

Related: Tesla Megapack, Powerpack, & Powerwall Battery Storage Prices Per KWh — CleanTechnica Exclusive

Courtesy of Tesla

Teslarati is referencing a research note [pay wall] by Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer that says, “Tesla announced that Megapack will be using LFP cathode batteries, similar to the entry-level Made-in-China Model 3/Ys. This is significant, as Tesla ramps up their grid-scale energy storage product without drawing further on an already supply-constrained nickel-based battery production capacity used in 2170s.”

Each Megapack has a maximum energy capacity of 3 MWh, making it one of the largest energy storage systems on the market. With its shipping container size enclosure, it can be installed quickly and scaled easily to meet the needs of  individual customers. Tesla says the Megapack requires 40% less space and 10× fewer parts than storage battery systems available today from its competitors.

During that earnings call, Musk responded to a question from New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu about Tesla’s expectations for its energy business. “We’re aiming for comparable margins in storage as in vehicle. But it is important to bear in mind that vehicle is more mature than the storage. So, we already are at margins with the Powerwall. But some additional work is needed for the Megapack to achieve good margins. We have a clear runway for improving the cost per the megawatt-hour of the Megapack.”

LFP battery cells also require less complex cooling strategies than NCA and NMC batteries, lowering costs even more. As Teslarati’s Simon Alvarez notes, “A more affordable Megapack is a formidable product, as it would make it far more reasonable than less sustainable alternatives. It could effectively accelerate the inevitable obsolescence of dirty peaker plants.” That, of course, is the raison d’être for battery storage — to eliminate climate-killing emissions from coal- and gas-fired generating plants.

Lower battery storage prices will only move the renewable energy revolution forward faster, something that will be essential if we wish to keep the Earth suitable for human habitation. Free market types are always screaming about letting the market decide. Here’s a caveat for those people who are opponents of renewable energy: Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it!


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/11/tesla-transitions-to-lfp-battery-cells-for-megapack-installations/

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EV-Only Lease Firm WeVee Scaling Up Operations In The UK

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The UK plugin electric vehicle market share, at 13.25% in April 2021, was quite impressive again despite significant cuts in government incentives. Vehicles that qualify for the incentives have now also been restricted to vehicles that cost less than £35,000. There are, however, quite a number of other benefits still available for people and businesses looking to get into the age of electric mobility. These include a benefit in kind tax (BIK) and a Salary Sacrifice scheme.

Under the BIK, if one uses a company car privately, including for commuting, one has to pay tax on the value of the company car, which depends on how much it would cost to buy the car and the type of fuel it uses. The value of the car is reduced if one has the car on a part-time basis, pays something towards its cost, or it has low CO2 emissions. For EVs, this tax is actually 1% until April 2022 and then it’s increased to only 2%. Under the salary sacrifice scheme, an employee can pay for an electric car each month using their gross salary, before tax and other contributions are deducted.

In the UK, just like probably everywhere else, traditional automobile dealerships are still keen to push sales of ICE vehicles over EVs, so a lot of them don’t go out of their way to sell the benefits of EVs to prospective customers despite all the progress made over the last 10 years with regards to the number of EV models available on the market. The Nissan Leaf, alongside a few other models, was pretty much all that was available back then. Now in 2021 there are well over 70 models available and it is difficult to browse every EV available on the multiple OEM platforms and associated dealerships.

WeVee, a next-generation leasing broker focusing only on electric cars, wants to improve the customer experience for EV shoppers by proving a platform where one can see every electric car available in the UK in one place. This will allow consumers to make an informed decision backed by support from EV experts at the EV-only focused firm. WeVee says it wants its customers to get the perfect EV lease deal with the best prices, helping communities speed up the switch to zero-emission cars.

90% of new UK cars are financed, and WeVee is going to focus on 3 leasing verticals, Personal, BIK, and Salary Sacrifice leasing options to tailor the best value proposition to individuals and businesses looking to go EV. Business leases will be its anchor segment and WeVee will ride on the strong partnerships across the industry as a competitive advantage. WeVee has already helped over 800 people switch to electric and is now scaling up its platform and business to help more families and businesses make the switch.

All images courtesy of WeVee


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/11/ev-only-lease-firm-wevee-scaling-up-operations-in-the-uk/

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Subtracting Monomials and Polynomials

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Monomials and binomials are algebraic expressions with one and two terms. Monomials are polynomials with a single term, whereas binomials have two terms joined by an addition or subtraction operation. Monomials and binomials consist of variables, their exponents, coefficients, or constants. A coefficient is a number that appears on the left side of a variable and is connected through multiplication to the variable; for example, in the monomial 7x, “seven” is a coefficient. A constant is a number without an attached variable; for example, in the binomial x + 3, “three” is a constant.

Subtracting Two Monomials

To subtract two monomials, ensure that both the monomials are like or same– which means both the monomials should have the same exponents and variables. For example, 4x^3 and -9x^3 are monomials with like terms since they both have a similar variable and exponent, i.e., x^3. Whereas monomials 5x^2 and -2x are not like terms as their exponents are different, and 8x^2 and -9y^2 are also not like terms because their variables are different. Since only like terms can be subtracted, it is important to carefully compare the monomials for subtracting. Once the variables and exponents are the same, simply subtract the coefficients.

Subtracting One Monomial and One Binomial

To perform the subtraction of monomial and binomial, rearranging these polynomials is important. By rearranging the terms, we can recognize and place the like terms together for subtraction. For example, if we have to subtract the monomial 4x^2 from the binomial 7x^2 + 2x, the terms we will initially write will be 7x^2 + 2x – 4x^2. Here, 7x^2 and -4x^2 are like terms, so we have to write 7x^2 and -4x^2 next to each other to form the expression 7x^2 – 4x^2 + 2x. The next step is to perform the subtraction on the coefficients of the like terms which means subtract 7x^2 – 4x^2 to get 3x^2. Now write the resulting terms together and the solution to the example is 3x^2 + 2x.

Subtracting Two Binomials

Subtracting binomials also requires rearranging like terms and representing binomials in standard form along with applying distributive property to change subtraction to addition. The process of subtracting binomials includes the following steps:

  • The first step includes using the distributive property to change subtraction to addition when there are parentheses included. For example, in binomial subtraction, 5x^2 – 5 – (4x^2 – 3), distribute the minus sign before the parentheses to both terms inside it– so, the expression becomes 5x^2 – 5 – 4x^2 +3.
  • Rearrange the terms, so that like terms are grouped next to each other– so the above expression becomes 5x^2 – 4x^2 – 5 +3.
  • Now solve all like terms by adding or subtracting their coefficients as shown in the problem. To calculate 5x^2 – 4x^2 – 5 +3, solve like terms 5x^2 – 4x^2 to get x^2 and – 5 +3 to get – 2. The final solution of 5x^2 – 5 – (4x^2 – 3) = x^2 – 2.

Conclusion:

Learning the concept of polynomials subtraction is essential for studying algebra. Cuemath offers multiple learning resources for kids to understand the concept of monomials and polynomials subtraction with ease. The worksheets and games enable students to understand this concept quickly. To find some interactive resources based on monomials and binomials, visit www.cuemath.com.

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Source: https://usgreentechnology.com/subtracting-monomials-and-polynomials/

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Biden-Harris Admin Approves 1st Major Offshore Wind Project in U.S. Waters

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Originally published by U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo today announced approval of the construction and operation of the Vineyard Wind project — the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the United States. The Secretaries were joined in the announcement by labor leaders who have been working to ensure that the project is built and maintained by union labor.

The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind energy project will contribute to the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of generating 30 gigawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2030. The project will be located approximately 12 nautical miles offshore Martha’s Vineyard and 12 nautical miles offshore Nantucket in the northern portion of Vineyard Wind’s lease area. It will create 3,600 jobs and provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses.

“A clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States. The approval of this project is an important step toward advancing the Administration’s goals to create good-paying union jobs while combatting climate change and powering our nation,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Today is one of many actions we are determined to take to open the doors of economic opportunity to more Americans.”

“Today’s offshore wind project announcement demonstrates that we can fight the climate crisis, while creating high-paying jobs and strengthening our competitiveness at home and abroad,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This project is an example of the investments we need to achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious climate goals, and I’m proud to be part of the team leading the charge on offshore wind.”

In its first four months, the Biden-Harris administration has catalyzed the offshore wind industry by announcing the first ever national offshore wind energy mandate, creating a roadmap for the future of this innovative industry. Achieving the 30 gigawatt goal is anticipated to result in the creation of tens of thousands of living wage, family-supporting union jobs while positioning America to lead a clean energy revolution and tackle the climate crisis. Building the offshore wind supply chain can feed steel mills in West Virginia, support ship building in Texas, and wind turbine manufacturing in both inland areas and on the coasts.

Today’s Record of Decision (ROD) grants Vineyard Wind final federal approval to install 84 or fewer turbines off Massachusetts as part of an 800-megawatt offshore wind energy facility. The project is expected to create 3,600 area jobs and will power up to 400,000 homes. Turbines will be installed in an east-west orientation, and all the turbines will have a minimum spacing of 1 nautical mile between them in the north-south and east-west directions, consistent with the U.S. Coast Guard recommendations in the Final Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study.

The ROD adopts mitigation measures to help avoid, minimize, reduce, or eliminate adverse environmental effects that could result from the construction and operation of the proposed project. These mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements were developed through input, consultation, and coordination with stakeholders, Tribes, and federal and state agencies. For more information, please see appendix A of the ROD.

“This project represents the power of a government-wide approach to offshore wind permitting, taking stakeholder ideas and concerns into consideration every step of the way,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Amanda Lefton. “We will continue to advance new projects that will incorporate lessons learned from analyzing this project to ensure an efficient and predictable process for industry and stakeholders.”

The ROD is jointly signed by and addresses permitting decisions by BOEM, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Marine Fisheries Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Prior to construction, Vineyard Wind must submit a facility design report and a fabrication and installation report. These engineering and technical reports provide specific details for how the facility will be fabricated and installed in accordance with the approved Construction and Operations Plan.

In addition to today’s announcement, since January 20, the Department has initiated the environmental review of two other offshore wind projects, and pursued additional leasing opportunities in the New York Bight.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/11/biden-harris-admin-approves-1st-major-offshore-wind-project-in-u-s-waters/

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