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Line 3 Oil Spilled Into The Willow River — Indigenous Water Protectors Need Our Help

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In June I wrote about how the American government was violating its treaty with Native American tribes by allowing Enbridge to install Pipeline3 (Line 3) on their lands — without their consent. This is a clear violation of the Indigenous treaty rights, but politicians and corporations don’t really care — and they are continuing to colonize their lands. Yes, colonize. By the way, there’s already been a spill from Line 3.

This article has two parts. One is the news of the Line 3 spill, which isn’t widely reported on. I found out about it while researching info for the other part of this article — which is on how Indigenous water protectors needed our help.

Line 3 Oil Spill

The MinnPost reported that Enbridge’s spill of drilling fluid into the Willow River during Line 3 construction prove that the company shouldn’t be allowed to police itself. The article noted that hours after the spill had been reported, cleanup finally began. They waited hours and let the oil flow into the waterway before starting the cleanup. Yet, I haven’t seen any other media outlet reporting about the Line 3 oil spill into the Willow River.

The truth is that these corporations don’t care about our planet, nor does our nation care about the treaties it set up with the Indigenous People. Nor do they care about our drinking water. We will all end up choking on their greed.

Indigenous Americans Need Our Help

Indigenous TikTokers such as Modern Warrior, Quiiroi (pronounced Corey), and several others have posted videos about it and I stand with them. Modern Warrior often speaks out against the hate, discrimination, and bullying of Indigenous People that, sadly, continues to this day. He’s a popular influencer who is helping spread awareness about the protest against Line 3.

Quiiroi, Helix, & Lee

Modern Warrior explained that Quiiroi and her friends, Helix and Lee, went to Minnesota to support the area’s Indigenous tribe in protesting Line 3. However, they will have to leave — all of them — because the area will not be safe for them or for the tribes living there. Note: they will not be able to use the area of their own lands where the pipeline is being laid down. And when it spills again, their food and water supplies will be ruined. How is this not colonization?

“They are there now and are running into some issues,” Modern Warrior said in the video. “They need your support.”

Quiiroi, Helix, and Lee are at the Red Lake River, and Quiiroi explained that this will be their last few hours at the camp. “We’re having to move because of safety reasons.” In their video, they were asking for donations and Helix explained that they would buy solar panels and U-Haul trucks. Quiiroi explained that they need items such as solar panels, U-hauls, and even socks and underwear. Although she didn’t mention it, I’m sure they need food and other essentials as well.

Lee explained that the area they were in was not going to be safe and that they would have to leave. Please note, she did actually say name of the area it, but she spoke so fast that I couldn’t catch the name, so am referring to it as the area.

“The police are getting far too comfortable and we have to move closer to the reservation for safety. We believe the pipe may be laid anywhere between 48 to 72 hours. It’s a very very small window and we have a donation goal of $2,000,” Quiiroi said.

Now, before you think that, “well they shouldn’t be out there anyway — they should be at home or work,”‘ let me remind you that this land belongs to the Indigenous Peoples and that it is the USA and Enbridge who are violating their treaties. Imagine if the police came to your house and told you that you have to leave because this is their property now. Supposedly, we have Constitutional rights that protect us against that, but we can’t even honor our treaties with the Indigenous People who we stole land from (many were killed by colonization).

If you would like to donate to help Quiiroi and her friends, you can do so here. Quiiroi and her friends aren’t the only ones protesting Line 3 on TikTok. Modern Warrior shared a video by @Giiwedinindizhinikaaz or North Wind, whose primary focus is to stop Line 3.

North Wind

In one video, he woke up to Enbridge workers and their noise. “What I am looking at is a complete disregard for treaty rights. A foreign multinational oil company prepping to drill under one of the sacred rivers of the Anishinaabeg. The tar sands oil that’ll be shooting through this pipeline is being sent over to China for the foreign economy. So the U.S. is just assuming all of the risks. Minnesota and its people are assuming all of the risks.”

Native Americans’ lands are still being colonized to this day. This land belongs to them, yet the U.S. is using it to please some corporations. All the pleas to President Biden have fallen on deaf ears. In June, Nexus Media reported that the Biden administration sided with Enbridge when it filed a brief asking a federal court to throw out a legal challenge from the tribes and environmental groups over the construction of Line 3.

Minnesota Public Radio reported that Enbridge received an amended permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, allowing them to pump nearly 10 times as much water from the ground to build the pipeline. So, not only did the administration ignore the pleas of the people whose treaty the U.S. is violating (again), but pretty much said, “do even more.”

Not only is this a slap in the face of Native Americans, but it’s a violation of their lands, treaties, and basic human rights. Most of the land that Line 3 is being built on includes 200 waterways that provide water for their rice crops and for drinking. One of those waterways is the headwaters of the Mississippi River, which is a source of drinking water for over 18 million people — myself included.

The Worst Is Yet To Come

I’m going to be honest: I think the worst is yet to come. Considering that Native Americans are being ignored and are watching their lands being taken by the U.S. and given to foreign corporations, the inevitable will happen. Line 3 will be built and it will devastate the land. I mean, there’s already been a spill!

I think that we have to change our strategy. Yes, we need to support Indigenous Peoples especially when they need our help, but we need to prepare for what is coming as well. Disasters will happen — Enbridge already proved this. The media will most likely ignore them unless they benefit from it somehow. There needs to be some type of plan to help Native Americans who might be escaping their lands due to an oil spill.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/07/24/line-3-oil-spilled-into-the-willow-river-indigenous-water-protectors-need-our-help/

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Tesla Rolls Out “FSD Beta Button” & “Safety Score” To Countless Tesla Owners

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After a long — often impatient — wait, Tesla owners across the United States have nearly gotten access to the company’s “FSD Beta” driver-assist software for city streets. As one of those owners, I’m going to document below what exactly we got in the past 24 hours.

First of all, note that you had to buy the “Full Self-Driving” package in order to get this latest update. Back when I bought my Tesla Model 3 two years ago, this software package cost $6,000. It now costs $10,000. (One key reason I bought it is that I knew the price would go up and that this could eventually make my car an appreciating asset. At the least, it seemed clear that it would be an appreciating feature, and I’d say that a 67% increase in value over two years is pretty good.)

At the moment, people who bought the “Full Self-Driving” software package have a few notable but not life-changing things that Tesla owners who didn’t buy the package don’t have: the cars 1) can automatically change lanes when you turn on the turn signal, 2) can navigate around traffic on Interstate highways from off-ramp to on-ramp on their own (with supervision of course), and 3) can automatically stop at red lights & stop signs. However, the cars still can’t turn right or left on their own, avoid potholes on their own, go from your starting point to a designated destination autonomously, or go through roundabouts on their own. With the “FSD Beta” update, a Tesla can do those things (well, I’m not sure about avoiding potholes, but we’ll find out soon enough).

In the past 24 hours, Tesla has rolled out an update that is typically now referred to as “the button” in Tesla circles. I got the update and installed it this morning. Here’s how the process went:

Step 1 — Update Car

As with all Tesla over-the-air software updates, it first needed to be downloaded via WiFi (which can be done while driving or parked) and then installed (which typically takes ~25 minutes and must be done while parked since the car turns off and then back on during the process). In the first picture below, you can see a countdown clock till the installation begins. (There is always a 2 minute-countdown clock that begins as soon as you hit the button to install the new software, giving you some time to cancel/postpone the update in case you realized you don’t want to do it at that time.)

Step 2 — Check What Updates You Got

Typically, after a software update has been installed, when you return to the car, there’s a box showing on the screen to explain what you got with the update. If the update just involves bug fixes, the “release notes” won’t automatically be shown on the screen. Oddly, in this case, despite being a significant update, nothing showed on the screen. At any time, though, you can find the release notes by navigating there from the car icon on the bottom-left corner of the screen. Just click the car icon, then click “Software” on the bottom of the bottom of the menu on the left side, and then find the blue text/link “Release Notes” under some information about your car. When I navigated there this morning, I saw that I did indeed get the “Request Full Self-Driving Beta” update. It is written there how to go about requesting access, which is Step 3 below.

Step 3 — “REQUEST FULL SELF-DRIVING BETA”

At long last — a little more than two years after buying the car and slightly less than one year after expecting to get this exact update — I am on the verge of getting FSD Beta, which is basically door-to-door driving on city streets at this point (as long as the doors are on public streets). I clicked that button on the top of the Autopilot page on the Model 3 touchscreen and was on my way, getting to Step 4 below.

Step 4 — Give Access to Your Data, 1st Child, etc.

I had to check three boxes in order to be let in the door. They are faint in the picture below because I had already checked them and opted in by the time I took this photo, and I didn’t want to take any risk by trying to temporarily opt out. What you can see in the pic below, though, is that I consented to let them use my car’s driving data; I understood that I had to remain alert, with my hands on the wheel at all times, while FSD Beta was active; and I understood that FSD Beta could be revoked (taken away) at any time if Tesla felt I didn’t deserve it..

Step 5 — Watch Tesla Safety Score Obsessively

Something that came alongside “the button” is a new feature in the Tesla phone app — Safety Score Beta. Johnna already wrote about it, but I can provide a bit more insight from a user’s perspective.

Tesla is evaluating driver behavior in a handful of ways that the company feels are important to determining whether to give someone access to FSD Beta or not. Below is the snapshot result from the Tesla app on my phone after driving to a tennis tournament for my daughter, driving from there to the beach for a bit, and then driving home. Notably, I think I know exactly where I lost a point and a half for “hard braking.” I was on a fairly fast road and getting close to a light when the light turned yellow. I wasn’t close enough yet that I could comfortably just coast through the intersection, but I was too close to very gradually slow down. I had to decide whether to speed through the intersection possibly as the light was turning red or brake harder than I almost ever have to brake. I chose the latter and immediately complained that this might penalize me in this brand new Tesla Safety Score system. (I had just learned about this scoring system while editing & publishing Johnna’s article at the beach — yes, I even have to work at the beach, or think I do.) It seems that it did penalize me for that.

pic.twitter.com/stYxurzdCE

— charles (@heywhatsoup) September 25, 2021

There’s more about this system explained on the Tesla Safety Score Beta page, but here’s the summary explanation of the five safety factors Tesla is evaluating:

Forward Collision Warnings per 1,000 Miles
Forward Collision Warnings are audible and visual alerts provided to you, the driver, in events where a possible collision due to an object in front of the vehicle is considered likely without your intervention. Events are captured based on the ‘medium’ Forward Collision Warning sensitivity setting regardless of your user’s setting in the vehicle. Forward Collision Warnings are incorporated into the Safety Score formula at a rate per 1,000 miles.
Hard Braking
Hard braking is defined as backward acceleration, measured by your Tesla vehicle, in excess of 0.3g. This is the same as a decrease in the vehicle’s speed larger than 6.7 mph, in one second. Hard braking is introduced into the Safety Score formula as the proportion of time (expressed as a percentage) where the vehicle experiences backward acceleration greater than 0.3g relative to the proportion of time where the vehicle experiences backward acceleration greater than 0.1g (2.2 mph in one second).
Aggressive Turning
Aggressive turning is defined as left/right acceleration, measured by your Tesla vehicle, in excess of 0.4g. This is the same as an increase in the vehicles speed to the left/right larger than 8.9 mph, in one second. Aggressive turning is introduced into the Safety Score formula as the proportion of time (expressed as a percentage) where the vehicle experiences lateral acceleration greater than 0.4g, in either the left or right direction, relative to the proportion of time where the vehicle experiences acceleration greater than 0.2g (4.5 mph in one second), in either the left or right direction.
Unsafe Following
Your Tesla vehicle measures its own speed, the speed of the vehicle in front and the distance between the two vehicles. Based on these measurements, your vehicle calculates the number of seconds you would have to react and stop if the vehicle in front of you came to a sudden stop. This measurement is called headway. Unsafe following is the proportion of time where your vehicle’s headway is less than 1.0 seconds relative to the time that your vehicle’s headway is less than 3.0 seconds. Unsafe following is only measured when your vehicle is traveling at least 50 mph and is incorporated into the Safety Score formula as a percentage.
Forced Autopilot Disengagement
The Autopilot system disengages for the remainder of a trip after you, the driver, have received three audio and visual warnings. These warnings occur when your Tesla vehicle has determined that you have removed your hands from the steering wheel and have become inattentive. Forced Autopilot Disengagement is introduced into the Safety Score formula as a 1 or 0 indicator. The value is 1 if the Autopilot system is forcibly disengaged during a trip, and 0 otherwise.

Naturally, I will be monitoring my Safety Score obsessively in the coming week and hoping that it turns out good enough to get entry into the FSD Beta testing program. We don’t yet know what the cutoff score will be for inclusion, or if inclusion is more nuanced than that.

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/26/tesla-rolls-out-fsd-beta-button-safety-score-to-countless-tesla-owners/

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Talking with Tess (My Tesla)

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I learnt a new word today. I am sure it was an expletive. It is the sound my Tesla Model 3 makes when you are trying to merge lanes entering the freeway and the BMW next to you won’t let you in. Hard to describe – something like the sound that comes out of a frightened chicken on steroids. I am used to reading gauges and finding plenty of information on the screen, but now I am learning a whole new language of sounds — “Tesla speak,” perhaps.

It struck me that communicating with the Tesla goes two ways. It isn’t just me telling the car what to do — whether using voice commands or signals from my hands and feet — but also the car telling me how to be a better driver. There are some days when I feel like I am a learner again, as I am told what speed to drive, how to hold the steering wheel, and when to brake.

The metaphors are endless. Sometimes Tess is like a teenager — skittish and shy when the semi is coming towards me through a left hand turn (she thinks it is on my side of the road). Sometimes she (yes, I am going anthropomorphic) is like a 2 year old — you hear the sound but don’t quite know what it means. Sometimes she is fearful, on a narrow road with a van parked on the side. Sometimes just a nag.

Like a nanny, she bongs if you don’t put your seat belt on or leave the door open. Worse, if you put the groceries on the back seat and don’t do up that seat belt, she won’t leave you alone till you do. At end of the drive, she makes that “whoooosh” sound (like a jet engine powering down) as she relaxes in the garage. Her work is done, her parents/students/playmates are home safe.

I am sure that there are many sounds I haven’t yet heard, and probably don’t want to. Like the sounds she makes just before you crash?

Related Stories:

Tesla Applies A Gamification Strategy To Safe Driving

Tesla Rolls Out “FSD Beta Button” & “Safety Score” To Countless Tesla Owners

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/25/talking-with-tess-my-tesla/

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Progressive Caucus Presses for End to Fossil Fuel Subsidies

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Article courtesy of NRDC.
By Sujatha Bergen & Anne Hawke 

As Congress drafts reconciliation legislation, leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) pressed leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives for an end to major fossil fuel subsidies that fuel pollution in communities across the country.

The letter, signed by CPC Chair, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), CPC Deputy Whip, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), and other CPC leaders comes after more than 50 Members of Congress urged leadership to include the repeal of fossil fuel subsidies in the Build Back Better Act.

“Fossil fuel subsidies should be repealed because, instead of enhancing American energy independence or creating jobs, they simply enhance the profits of fossil fuel companies,” the members wrote.

It is hard to believe—inconceivable, really—that as the world burns and floods all around us in an unprecedented climate crisis, U.S. taxpayers are still subsidizing oil and gas companies to the tune of billions of dollars a year. Collectively, these giveaways amount to some $188 billion over ten years.

We are literally paying polluters to harm us.

The average taxpayer may not realize that this pattern, which dates back more than a century, of giving the industry a special boost, continues today, even as the industry poisons our communities and fuels harm all over the globe.

We can stop helping industry do harm.

The top 10 U.S. oil and gas companies are worth more than $700 billion. Despite their wealth, fossil fuel companies have long benefitted, at the taxpayer’s expense, from a host of special provisions in the U.S. tax code that lower the cost of doing business and raise their profits. Recognizing this unfair advantage, the U.S. Department of Treasury has said that these tax preferences ‘distort markets by encouraging more investment in the fossil fuel sector than would occur under a more-neutral tax system.’

Right now, Congress has a real opportunity to get rid of these handouts

A proposal in the House, as part of the reconciliation markup, would eliminate tax giveaways to a handful of oil and gas companies that are currently exempt from paying U.S. taxes on revenue earned abroad. The proposal would also close a loophole that allows the oil and gas industry to escape excise taxes that pay for hazardous waste cleanup.

But we can’t seriously transition to a clean future until Congress eliminates a raft of additional ‘fossil fuel freebies’ that fuel harmful pollution right here at home.

Eliminating just three subsidies — that allow oil and gas companies to deduct much of the cost of drilling a well in the U.S. and then recoup costs while pumping — would generate more than $27 billion over the next 10 years for critical public priorities.

Senator Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) Clean Energy for America Act would end the largest of these subsidies, and the U.S. Senate should make sure these proposals are included in its final reconciliation legislation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have also called for eliminating these handouts. [See Schumer video at 26:15]

How these subsidies work

Three of the biggies include:

The “Intangible Drilling Costs” Deduction — More than a hundred years ago, Congress gave oil and gas companies special tax treatment as an incentive to explore for and develop oil wells. It lets them immediately deduct the costs. Getting rid of this benefit would return nearly $10 billion dollars over the next ten years.

“Percentage Depletion” — This freebie basically means taxpayers are paying oil companies to drill. It lets oil, gas and coal companies deduct a flat percentage of the income they generate from a well (15 % of gross income from production) instead of deducting based on how much money they’ve invested in a well over its lifetime, or how much the well is worth. The more they drill, the more they can deduct. Again, this giveaway amounts to some $10 billion over 10 years.

“Enhanced Oil Recovery” — When oil prices are low, companies can receive a tax credit for pumping oil and gas that cannot be recovered by gravity or water. These ‘enhanced’ techniques are associated with pollution and will amount to $7.8 billion over the next ten years.

As climate change-fueled wildfires burn across the west and hurricanes flood the east, it is well past time for Congress to stop funneling taxpayer dollars to oil and gas companies and supporting the pollution that devastates our communities and jeopardizes our climate.

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/25/progressive-caucus-presses-for-end-to-fossil-fuel-subsidies/

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NIO’s Services & Community Benefits Could Conquer the World — Here’s Why

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What does the average person from a western country really know about NIO? What does an American or European who holds NIO stock actually know about the company? That is what I have been asking myself ever since I tried the European version of the NIO ES8 and met the NIO Norway team. I returned to the Netherlands and have not stopped learning since.

After some background about things most readers might already know about NIO and our experience with the team in Norway, I will get to what was discussed during our interview with the general manager of NIO Norway. Feel free to see our video of the interview and see for yourself his big smile and enthusiasm for the work NIO is doing. The third part of the article will go over some really wild and unique benefits NIO customers in China can use their NIO points for.

NIO Refresher Course

When it comes to NIO, what would people consider to be common knowledge? Some might remember their troubled balance sheet in the early years (that they have since resolved). Some might remember that they have the Chinese state’s seal of approval and are thus unlikely to fail because of it. They might know that NIO does not have its own factory yet, that it partnered with Intel Mobileye for autonomy, and that it successfully introduced battery swapping in China. But all in all, that barely scratches the surface of an inherently Chinese success story that has not yet been translated into English by the media.

In my previous article and video about the NIO ES8, I explained that I discovered that the company’s products are shockingly good — so good that they will give Tesla a run for its money and make the Tesla community envious at times. Also, as Elon has implied on Twitter, Chinese EVs are going to become Tesla’s biggest competitors, and the extent of that has not yet become apparent.

However, there is a human-centric story about the customer experience behind all of this incredible technology, and it’s a bigger part of NIO than you know.

NIO Norway, Our Experience

Later in this article, we will give some really cool examples about NIO in China, but first let’s start with what we were able to observe in person. When we were in Norway, to get to the site where NIO was showing off the ES8, there was an hour-long bus ride. Most of the journalists that day were Norwegian, and they chose to go there using their own cars, so the electric bus was fairly empty. The first thing I found interesting was that the NIO representative who was chosen to greet journalists and potential clients was not from the PR department. He was instead an employee from the service division, and on the way there we got to talk at length. He, in fact, used to work for Tesla. According to him, working for NIO was a lot more pleasant and more fun. It seemed like this employee and everyone else on the NIO team who I talked to felt free to give their honest opinions and were incredibly friendly, casual, and genuinely excited in their conversations with all the journalists and potential customers at the event.

In my line of work, I feel like I had never been treated better by a company than I was by NIO. Even though it was not part of NIO’s half-day program, we were allowed to stay longer and properly document the car, as can be seen in the review article and review video. NIO answered all of our technical questions and even shared some information they made us pinky swear not to share prematurely (slight exaggeration there). NIO’s actions enabled us to give you a better, more correct assessment of the vehicle and its capabilities, even if some details remain under wraps. I truly applaud NIO for the way it handled this.

As you will find out in the coming years, the customer service experience is extremely important to NIO, and I would be surprised if a few years from now, NIO’s community didn’t rival that of the various Tesla owners clubs — especially considering how NIO is actively fueling this in China. More about that after the interview.

The Interview

Here is the most important information that we learned from our interview with Marius Hayler, the general manager of NIO:

Could you maybe talk about the NIO house design we are currently sitting in?

NIO house is something new in the automotive industry, at least for Europe. In China, the whole market already has the NIO house, and we are going to open it in Oslo on September 30th. Here we are currently in a temporary experience center, so this is just a touch & feel preview of how it’s going to look like.

It is so refreshing how open and friendly you are to both the journalists and potential clients you have invited — something that was once the case with Tesla many years ago, but is a charm they have since lost. Could you tell us about this?

Thank you for appreciating that. We try to share as much as possible who we are. I think it is very important for journalists and especially the users so that they get to know us, the people around the brand, and also the brand itself. We have to open up to show what kind of service quality we would like to offer.

Could you also mention how this ties into your autonomy within NIO that you mentioned previously?

NIO Norway was established in March this year, so we are a pretty young company. Then, as for our autonomy, we and our European team have some autonomy from our friends and colleagues in China. We already have the best practices from China, which we are trying to adapt as much as possible into the Norwegian market. So, to answer your question, our autonomy within the company is what will let us make NIO a perfect fit for our users.

So, I am asking this assuming that other European countries will also get a chance to do this: a part of your autonomy from NIO is also allowing you to create the software and features that will make NIO fit well within Norway — like, I don’t know, using local weather apps, program road particularities, voice assistant functions. Can you tell us what you, NIO Norway, are doing to make the car ready for the Norwegian consumer?

For the product itself, we have been doing a pretty good job to make it in a way that will fit 100% for the Norwegian users. Why? Well, for example, NOMI — you could say that she is undergoing a language course right now, so when we launch the car, it is going to be fluent in Norwegian. Or, for example, as you also mentioned the traffic signs — it is very important that the car recognizes Norwegian traffic signs, so everything there is taken care of as well.

And do you think that this strategy will let NIO expand into Europe faster than your other non-European competitors that are trying to enter the market?

This of course we will see, but I think with the quality job that the team is doing and the lessons learned also from launching a new brand in Norway, will help our colleagues in the rest of Europe later on.

So, you already have a partnership with Tidal. I assume you guys are also working on Spotify and YouTube Music. What I was wondering is, will you also have something like YouTube/Netflix? A web browser? An app store?

We will, as you said, already have a pretty nice lineup with apps when we launch, and this is just a start. We will see what will come in the future, but we will not stop here. We will continue developing and new software will become available as over-the-air updates.

So, during your presentation, a journalist asked whether NIO would be willing to share its battery swapping technology with other automakers. Could you repeat your answer for us?

That was a good question and the answer is: yes, NIO is very open to sharing this fantastic battery swapping and battery swapping station technology with other carmakers. I think it’s smart because it could create a standard for the automotive industry, which is again good for the users.

You know when I heard that, I had to think back to a Tesla investor call some years ago, where Elon Musk made a very similar offer to share the Supercharger network so long as other automakers agreed to pay their fair share for the electricity and expansion of the network. Since then, none have taken him up on his offer and I always thought, “Why? It’s such a great offer.” However, now, in comparison, they really should not have accepted that offer — they should accept NIO’s offer because with battery swapping they could get so far ahead.

Haha, yes, you’re right.

But on a different topic, do you think that NIO will build a factory somewhere in Europe for the European consumers?

I don’t have the answer to that, but it might happen because we want to grow.

The Miracle of NIO in China

So, how did NIO build a community within China and how much of it will come to Norway and the rest of Europe? Thanks to our recent NIO coverage, some of our readers and viewers in China have come forth with some very interesting experiences they had with NIO in China, and have claimed that the service is just as excellent as the product.

First and foremost, the NIO app: The main screen isn’t even the car controls. Instead, the first thing you see is a pretty advanced social network of all the NIO users discussing the brand, their car, giving tips and tricks. In addition to giving a like if you found something useful, you can even give them a tip that gives the person NIO points, which we will get to in a minute. By “pretty advanced social network,” we mean that users can leave comments, add each other as friends, chat, create groups of people, and even create their own events.

Under a different tab, the company also shares news with its users. Then, under the next tab, you basically get a NIO guide for all things NIO that you can find or do in the current city you are in — from swapping stations, visiting NIO houses, and their latest new beverages, all the way to events NIO is hosting or sponsoring that you as part of the NIO community can attend.

Then NIO also has all kinds of promotions, whether its a discount on charging at a select location, or maybe a discount on some sort of specific product you could order through NIO, or even the hundreds of accessories you can buy for the car — from all-weather matts to a cute little winter hat or sombrero for the cute little NOMI assistant on the car’s dashboard. That doesn’t even touch the whole range of merchandise the company offers, from t-shirts to suitcases.

Then we get to the dozen services that NIO provides to people in China. The most obvious is the instant customer service in the form of an instant messaging chat where you can drop a message and get a response from NIO. Though, I think my favorite example is the designated driver service where, if your visit to the bar with friends resulted in more than the “only one beer” you said you would have, you can use your NIO points to have a person come to you and drive you home in your own car. If NIO is going to offer this kind of service outside China, I am certain it would be an enormous hit in many countries in Europe and especially in the US, where public transportation is underdeveloped. Tesla’s legal hands off self-driving functionality is still a few years off, yet NIO has found a very creative human-centric solution to part of this problem.

Then some of you might have already heard of NIO Power, a service where an electric van will come to you to charge your car wherever you are — like, for example, if you are stuck at work all day with a nearly depleted battery right before you go on a long trip. However, it now turns out that NIO has more services like this, from getting the car washed while you are away, to having the car picked up and a scratch on the door repainted in the service center before the car is returned to you, all in a day’s work when the car would have been sitting idle. There is even a service where you can easily park in an easy-to-access parking spot at the airport and have NIO repark your car in the more secure and cheaper long-term parking.

Then, whereas Tesla’s most reliable feedback system is Elon Musk occasionally responding to tweets he comes across, NIO has a feature for that in the app — because NIO is very feedback oriented, something we have already witnessed in Norway in-person. Though, this all does bring up an important question — how many of these services are actually viable outside of China where the minimum wage is significantly higher? Hopefully we will find out more on October 1st when NIO launches the car and the NIO House.

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/25/nios-services-community-benefits-could-conquer-the-world-heres-why/

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