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With a Two-Year Revenue Growth of 431 Percent, POWERHOME SOLAR Ranks…

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“We have an impressive team in a fast-growing industry, so we look forward to continued momentum and success,” said Jayson Waller, POWERHOME SOLAR CEO.

Inc. magazine today revealed that POWERHOME SOLAR is No. 23 on its 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals: Midwest list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Born of the annual Inc. 5000 franchise, this regional list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the Midwest economy’s most dynamic segment — its independent small businesses.

“We are proud and humbled of this accomplishment and to be recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies,” said Jayson Waller, POWERHOME SOLAR CEO. “We have an impressive team in a fast-growing industry, so we look forward to continued momentum and success.”

The companies on this list show stunning rates of growth across all industries in the 12 Midwest states. Between 2017 and 2019, these 250 private companies had an average growth rate of 199 percent and, in 2019 alone, they employed more than 43,000 people and added more than $11 billion to the Midwest economy. Companies based in the Chicago, Detroit, and Cincinnati areas brought in the highest revenue overall.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000 Regionals: Midwest, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, metro area, and other criteria, can be found at https://www.inc.com/inc5000/regionals/midwest starting March 16, 2021.

“This list proves the power of companies in Midwest states no matter the industry,” says Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. “The impressive revenues and growth rates prove the insight and diligence of CEOs and that these businesses are here to stay.”

POWERHOME SOLAR is an energy efficiency company that provides high-quality American-made solar panels as part of a complete energy-savings package for residential customers. The company launched in 2014 in Mooresville, N.C., and today has more than 1,700 employees, including a commercial division. Operating in 12 states, it is ranked No. 255 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America – the third time in four years that the company has made the top 300 of this prestigious list. For more information, visit http://www.powerhome.com.

More about Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Regionals

Methodology

The 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals are ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2017 and 2019. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2017. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent — not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies — as of December 31, 2019. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2017 is $100,000; the minimum for 2019 is $1 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons.

About Inc. Media

The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including websites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion in the 5000 gives the founders of the best businesses an opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and the credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit http://www.inc.com.

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Source: https://www.prweb.com/releases/with_a_two_year_revenue_growth_of_431_percent_powerhome_solar_ranks_no_23_on_inc_magazines_list_of_the_midwests_fastest_growing_private_companies/prweb17800055.htm

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Some Thoughts on the Tesla Crash In Texas & Comparison of Autopilot with 2020 Vehicle Crash Data

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Something horrible happened this weekend, Two men died as a result of someone misusing a Tesla. The Wall Street Journal reported that the authorities thought the vehicle was driving without anyone in the drivers seat. This led to a huge uproar and the resurfacing of old, baseless myths about Tesla Autopilot along with more general hatred of Elon Musk by some who are easily manipulated by political marketing tactics.

I wanted to share my thoughts on this topic along with some statistics of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle fires and compare them with Tesla’s updated Vehicle Safety Report that was recently released. The media, generally speaking here, often fuels the fire of any event when it rushes to sensationalize a story. Sadly, the families of those whose lives were lost will be forgotten when the next sensational headline appears, yet their loved ones’ loss will be as tragic as ever — pretty much for the rest of their own lives. With this in mind, I want to share my reflections in a manner that is as painless as possible for them while pointing out what I think is obvious but too often ignored.

In a response to the WSJ, Twitter user Ahmad A. Dalhat shared that this didn’t make sense. Ahmad pointed out that Tesla has safety measures in place that include a way to make sure the driver’s remain on the steering wheel (every 10 seconds, if not there, Autopilot will disengage). Autopilot also does not go over the speed limit (more than 5 mph). Tesla CEO Elon Musk replied with a few details about the incident as well.

Elon shared that data logs recovered so far show that Autopilot was not even enabled. And this particular customer didn’t purchase FSD. So neither Autopilot nor FSD were involved.

Elon also noted what many Tesla owners said, that standard Autopilot requires lane lines to turn on and this street didn’t have those. That aside, I want to get to the core issue here, which Twitter user @TeslaHunterX shared.

This is the double standard that is often most hyped up. While disregarding countless accidents involving drunk drivers, drivers asleep at the wheel, and drivers who are just not paying attention for whatever reason, critics zero in on Tesla. They disregard the thousands upon thousands of lives lost in these other non-Tesla accidents and focus on Tesla and “how bad it is.” And in their rush to report about what a horrible company Tesla is, they completely disregard the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics.

They don’t seek the truth to report it. Instead, they use the victims and half-truths to share why they think Tesla is bad. They don’t minimize harm, but instead use the pain of those whose lives are affected by these incidents to cash in on clickbait reporting.

Not all journalists and members of the media have hatred for Elon or Tesla or operate in this manner. There are many great ones out there who I admire and respect. But I feel that this needs to be addressed because this type of reporting is harmful. What if it wasn’t Tesla but something in regards to national security? What if a rumor got started that President Biden wanted to go to war with Russia and they all started reporting this without any evidence whatsoever? I don’t think that would happen, but if you apply the way reporting is done on Tesla to other areas, lives could be lost. Furthermore, lives can be lost with this obsession on Tesla.

Tesla’s Vehicle Safety Report: Tesla Accidents vs. ICE Vehicle Accidents

Tesla just released its accident data for Q1 2021. Below is a quick recap.

  • 1 accident for every 4.19 million miles driven with Autopilot engaged.
  • 1 accident for ever 2.05 million miles driven without Autopilot engaged but with Tesla’s active safety features.
  • 1 accident for every 978,000 miles driven without either Autopilot or Tesla’s active safety features.

Tesla noted that the NHTSA’s most recent data showed that in the U.S. there’s an accident every 484,000 miles.

Now let’s look at some facts concerning ICE vehicle accidents and accidents in general.

Just last month, NPR reported that although driving was down in 2020, traffic fatality rates surged.

The National Safety Council (NSC) said that deaths from motor vehicles rose 8% in 2020, with as many as 42,060 people dying in vehicle crashes. Compare those numbers with the number of miles driven, the rate of fatalities rose 24%, which is the highest spike in nearly a century. 

If you look over Tesla’s accident data over the course of 2020, you can see it’s pretty consistent until the final quarter, which includes the holiday traveling season as well as more ice and snow.

Tesla vehicles with Autopilot engaged are safer than vehicles without Autopilot. So rushing to blame Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD for something when you have no information at all shows a lack of ethics and dedication to truth, in my opinion.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/19/some-thoughts-on-the-tesla-crash-in-texas-comparison-of-autopilot-with-2020-vehicle-crash-data/

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Why Is Elon Musk Targeting 20 Million Tesla Sales A Year By 2030?

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We’ve been writing and talking a lot about Tesla’s sales goals and Tesla sales forecasts from people like Troy Teslike and me. We’ve also been covering in great depth the battery supply chain that is needed to make high-volume Tesla vehicle sales possible. In a recent conversation, it came to mind to highlight why Elon has a target of 20 million vehicle sales a year by the end of 2030. That’s something that’s so often glossed over that I think a lot of people (especially hardcore critics) aren’t even aware of it.

Elon talked about it in what seemed like a very honest — and a bit emotional — way during Tesla Battery Day. He brought up Tesla’s mission, which you’ll recall is to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy (including electric transport). One might think at that point that he’d boast and cheer that Tesla had already accomplished its core task. I’ve written a number of times that Tesla has achieved that goal. After all, I think anyone who follows this market knows Tesla has greatly accelerated the transition to zero-emissions electric vehicles. Instead, however, Elon pointed out that he and Tesla were still failing at that fundamental aim.

How is Tesla failing? Well, the underlying reason for accelerating the transition to sustainable energy is to help avert climate catastrophe. Although the transition has been accelerated, it has not been accelerated nearly enough to make a big dent in carbon emissions. In a somewhat sullen way, Elon emphasized this and explained that that’s the big reason why they are trying to go so big by 2030. He sees what Tesla has accomplished as inadequate on this core issue if Tesla can’t get to something like 20 million vehicles a year in 2030.

Yes, other things are needed too — more renewable energy (which Tesla also focuses on), less deforestation, more energy efficiency in buildings, more human-powered transport — but there is no denying that a critical element of solving the climate crisis is getting people out of fossil-powered vehicles and into electric vehicles. Additionally, current forecasts and automaker plans are too weak. Leaders like Tesla still have to push to make the transition happen faster. In fact, given that much of the bottleneck is likely to be on the battery side of the equation, Tesla dug deeper (no pun intended) and is also now focused on battery production and perhaps even lithium mining/extraction.

Some people may continue to think that Elon Musk is simply trying to get richer. Anyone who knows him well knows that makes no sense at all — it’s not what he cares about, and he wouldn’t be as rich as he is if that is what he cared about. Some may think it’s about ego. No doubt that comes into play. But what is fundamental to who Elon is is that he’s got a deep desire to help humanity as a whole. Also, he loves the hero narrative and fits the archetype well in many regards, and that is the identity he keeps trying to grow into. What does a person who has achieved so much in the business world want to do next? Well,  in the case of Elon, accomplishing his initial base mission would be a nice place to start, and he quite logically concludes he’s far from that and needs Tesla to be producing ~20 million vehicles a year.

A ton of Tesla fan hype is now focused on the stock. I am a small shareholder, but I honestly get quite irritated by the focus on the stock. It is not what truly matters. It is not the story that I think people should be focused on. Of course, the world is the world and it is what it is, but what is unique and wonderful about the Tesla story is that Elon and tens of thousands of other people are doing so much to solve the climate crisis, yet have such bigger hopes and dreams. What is exciting is that we are in a race against time, or against emissions (and it is indeed a stressful race) and we have this company so focused on helping — and doing so well at that. Some people forecast there will be 80 million vehicle sales a year in 2030. Some estimate 100 million. If we assume Tesla reaches 20 million sales that year and the global total is 80 million, that’s 25% of sales. Many more electric vehicle sales are still needed from other automakers. If we assume Tesla reaches 20 million sales that year and the global total is 100 million, that’s 20% of sales. The rest of the market has to pick up the slack even more. Getting other automakers to supply 20 million by 2030 seems daunting, but Elon determined that the best way to push other automakers and also do his own part is to aim for that bold, ambitious target, a number that doubles the annual output of recent global auto sales leaders like Toyota and Volkswagen Group.

What’s my point? Well, my point is that I think when we look at these grand Tesla goals and the progress being made toward them, we should recognize the core mission a bit more. The point isn’t the stock, making business history, who gets to claim they knew better, or Elon’s ego. The point is the mission.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/19/why-is-elon-musk-targeting-20-million-tesla-sales-a-year-by-2030/

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Houston Autopilot Crash: What We Know So Far (For One, Autopilot Wasn’t On)

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On Saturday night, a 2019 Tesla Model S crashed into a tree in a suburb of Houston, Texas. The crash was severe enough to compromise the battery pack, causing a fire that took hours and a call to Tesla to extinguish. Normally, a car crash, even one with a fire, wouldn’t be newsworthy because they happen all the time to vehicles of all types, but in this case, investigators said they were certain there was nobody in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash.

Harris County Constable for Precinct 4, Mark Herman, said that the vehicle was traveling fast and encountered a slight curve in the roadway, and failed to navigate it. Exiting the road, the vehicle struck a tree and caught fire. After contacting Tesla and getting more information, crews were able to successfully extinguish the fire.

Once the flames were put out and the vehicle was safe to approach, investigators found human remains in the passenger seat and in the back seat.

Herman told KHOU that their investigators “feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle.”

Many people on social media are raising other possibilities here, though. Could the person have been climbing into the back to escape fire, and then sat down as they were overcome? Or were they thrown during the collision (this would require the vehicle to be traveling the opposite direction, or spinning)? We are going to have to wait for further information from the investigators to know for sure.

CleanTechnica did put in a request for information to the investigators, and we will let you know what they respond with.

What Happened Here?

We don’t know what, exactly, the vehicle’s occupants did. Given that the vehicle burned for four hours and everyone who was there died in the crash or the fire, there’s nobody to ask and most of the evidence is gone. We may never know for sure what happened right before the crash.

If you look at the image, it’s pretty clear that we won’t be able to tell if the driver’s seatbelt was clicked with nobody sitting in the seat, whether there was an autopilot defeat weight on the steering wheel (exercise weight, “Autopilot Buddy”, orange, etc.), or much else. All of that evidence was burned. Data from the event data recorder (EDR) may have survived, but it seems unlikely. Data on any of the above seems unlikely to be recoverable after so much high heat.

The only thing we know from Tesla is that Elon Musk says Autopilot was not on at the time of the crash, and the vehicle didn’t have anything beyond standard Autopilot. It did not have the FSD Beta update that could have been engaged and driving the car on such a road.

Failed Attempt To Use Autopilot?

Given that Autopilot wasn’t on, one other possibility was that the men were trying to abuse Autopilot, but that it didn’t activate as planned.

The New York Times reports that the men were discussing Autopilot when they left the house, which lends some credibility to this accidental cruise control theory. Ultimately, though, we don’t know yet what happened and need more information (which we have requested from the investigators).

There Could Have Been A Driver

One other possibility is that someone was driving the vehicle, and that they managed to end up in another seat during the course of the wreck. People not used to driving fast and powerful vehicles don’t know that you have to ease into driving with that much power and get used to the vehicle’s handling characteristics if you want to avoid an accident.

While hitting a tree is very unlikely to put someone into the back seat, it’s possible that the vehicle spun and hit another tree before coming to a rest against the final tree. Given the extensive damage from the fire, the photos can’t tell us much about that.

Like the other questions, we’ve put in a request for more data on this to see if that’s a possibility.

FSD Beta? No

In this case, the car did not have FSD Beta, so there’s no chance it was at fault or relevant at all.

When crashes like this occur in the future, keep in mind that there are relatively few beta testers (1000–2000) compared to the overall population of Tesla owners. That alone makes it statistically unlikely that a person in an accident was an FSD Beta participant.

Even If Autopilot Had Been Abused, That’s Not Tesla’s Fault

It is possible to abuse Autopilot, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. Even if it was, I don’t think it’s ethical to try to blame Tesla for that. To explain further, let’s go through what it takes to hack Autopilot and make it run without a driver.

Here’s a video explaining how people abuse Autopilot:

To do this, one could buckle the seatbelt and sit on top of it, or use a fake buckle to fool the car into thinking the seatbelt is in use. The above YouTube video shows us that Autopilot will stay engaged if it’s activated with someone sitting on the seat and stay engaged if the person leaves the seat. Even if the sensor was to prevent that, just putting enough weight on the seat (with sandbags, exercise weights, etc.) would bypass that system, too. Or, if you’re more savvy, it’s a simple switch sensor and not variable like the passenger seat, so you could just short it and make the vehicle think there’s always someone sitting in the seat.

If you start the system and then climb out of the driver’s seat on the go, you wouldn’t need to use a stick to push the pedal like the guy in the video did (he was smart and didn’t test this on an actual road).

There are numerous videos on social media with people abusing Autopilot like this, so there’s really no room for debate at this point on whether such abuse of the system is possible. It definitely is possible, but didn’t happen in this case.

What we do know is that to abuse the system, one must bypass 2 or 3 safety features, and that really puts responsibility for anything bad that happens on the driver. You can’t put the work in to bypass multiple safety features and then claim you are a victim of Tesla. They tried to keep you away from danger, and you jumped multiple fences and put yourself there anyway.

Featured image by Tesla.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/19/houston-autopilot-crash-what-we-know-so-far-for-one-autopilot-wasnt-on/

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Toyota Introduces Beyond Zero Electric SUV At Shanghai Auto Show

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Car companies love to create new brands. The Japanese Big Three gave us Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura 30+ years ago when they wanted to go upmarket with high profit premium cars. People who would never consider dropping $30,000 on a Toyota were happy to spend double that on a Lexus. Such is the power of branding.

In the electric car era, several companies have have created new brands for their battery powered cars. Mercedes has its EQ division, Volkswagen its ID branded cars, BMW uses a simple “i,” while Hyundai is employing the Ioniq moniker for its battery electric cars. While all those companies have been ramping up EV offerings, Toyota has been largely content to hang out in the background and sell variations of its Synergy hybrid powertrain, cars it often misleadingly characterizes as “self charging electric cars.”

Toyota Beyond Zero Electric SUV

Toyota Beyond Zero Electric SUV, image courtesy of Toyota

But now the wheel has turned and Toyota must either join the EV revolution or risk being left behind by the likes of Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, Peugeot, FIAT, and even (gasp!) General Motors! Despite the protestations of Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder, who disparages electric cars every chance he gets, certain adults in the top management echelon of the company have been quietly developing a flexible, scalable electric car platform known as e-TNGA. along with Subaru. That platform can be used for front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive vehicles.

At the Shanghai Auto Show this week, Toyota introduced its new bZ brand, which stands for Beyond Zero. The first offering will be the bZ4X, an electric SUV about the size of the hot selling RAV4 which appeared in concept form at the Shanghai auto show this week. Toyota claims it will have 7 electric vehicles in its bZ lineup soon, along with 8 more BEV vehicles that will be sold under other brand names.

Toyota has every intention of continuing to bang the drum for its proprietary Synergy hybrid drivetrain it introduced in the Prius 30 years ago, which now accounts for a quarter of its passenger car sales. It also has 4 plug-in hybrid models like the Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime. It proudly proclaims that all its hybrid cars together have prevented 140 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. No doubt that is true, but think how much more could have been accomplished if the company had embraced battery electric cars sooner.

Toyota revealed almost no specifics about its forthcoming bZ4X, but Car and Driver suggests it will have to compete on size and price with the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4/ID.5 twins, and the Tesla Model Y. The car is about the same size as a current RAV4, but has a longer wheelbase and more interior space. Battery size, range, charging speed, price, and other specifics will have to wait for another day.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but for my tastes the bZ4X tries way too hard to look different from conventional cars. Some people like that; others don’t. Too me, it has angles and creases that don’t flow together. Instead, they collide with each other. The interior looks down right clunky in comparison to the competition. This is a concept car, so perhaps some smoothing of details will take place before production begins. Note to Toyota: Just because a car is electric doesn’t mean it has to be ugly.

When we know more, you’ll know more. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the photos of the (very gray) concept. Apparently Toyota couldn’t find anything brighter in the paint locker at Toyota City. It’s almost as if it deliberately choose a color that would allow the car to hide in plain sight, a curious characteristic for a show car.

Toyota is a very large corporation that does not change course easily. The bZ4X indicates the rudder on this colossus has moved ever so slightly toward the electric car future. With luck, the company will be able to chart a new course in time to avoid a slow slide into oblivion. For such a risk averse company, the future could be very challenging indeed.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/19/toyota-introduces-beyond-zero-electric-suv-at-shanghai-auto-show/

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