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Tesla Announces Electric Pick-Up Truck That Will Cost Under $50,000

Billionaire genius Elon Musk has caught the world’s attention yet again, with a new announcement from Tesla. The electric car company will soon be releasing an electric pickup truck. Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke about the forthcoming truck in a recent appearance for the “Ride the Lightning” Podcast.

“Will be a better truck than an F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality, and be a better sports car than a standard [Porsche] 911. That’s the aspiration,” Musk said.

The price is also far lower than what most people would expect from Tesla. Musk says that the starting price for the vehicle will be less than $50,000. The vehicle might even end up being cheaper than some F-150 models, considering that they can range anywhere from $28,000 to over $67,000.

Tesla’s new pick up truck will also be cheaper than the other electric truck that is set to appear on the market soon, the $69,000 pick up that is being released by Rivian next year.

“It just can’t be unaffordable,” Musk says.

According to Tesla, the new pickup truck will be similar to the Ford F-150, which is the country’s top rated truck and one of the best selling vehicles in the country for decades. As usual, Musk’s critics believe that he is trying to accomplish the impossible, and even supporters of Tesla are still skeptical.

Brett Smith, the director of propulsion technologies and energy infrastructure at the Center for Automotive Research, told CNBC that it “will be very challenging,” for Musk to meet all of his goals in this project.

“I have no doubt that they can build a pickup truck that has much better handling than the current F-150,” Smith says. However, he also cautions that “You’re never going to get a vehicle that can do everything well.”

Smith and other experts fear that the truck may fall short in its ability to handle off road driving and heavy cargo hauls as well as a traditional pick up truck would, especially with the high performance sports car capabilities of a Porsche 911.

“The physics don’t work there… But can it be a really great-performing, road-driving vehicle? Sure,” Smith said.

Tesla Announces Electric Pick-Up Truck That Will Cost Under $50,000 1

A rendering of the forthcoming Tesla pick up truck, which will reportedly cost less than $50,000. Photo Credit: Tesla

“Tesla has proven time and time again that they can do some really great things with products, and they’ve proven again that it can be hard to deliver on some things. So, I think what he said was a good benchmark to shoot for, [but] the reality is probably going to be much different,” he added.

Tesla also has a semi-truck on the way as well. The company expects that the truck will have a 500 mile (805 km) range on a full charge. These vehicles are expected to have a price range of anywhere between $150,000 and $180,000.

On March 7, 2018, Musk announced that the Semi was being tested with real cargo, hauling battery packs from Nevada to California.

The first pre-orders came in the day of the press conference and in the Tesla earnings call for the first quarter of 2018, Musk said that there were about 2,000 total pre-orders of the Semi.

Tesla Announces Electric Pick-Up Truck That Will Cost Under $50,000 2

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019. Photo Credit: Frederic J. Brown, AFP, Getty Images

As with the recent pick up truck reveal, critics of the semi truck argued that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible for an electric vehicle to handle the kind of long haling of heavy materials that traditional semi trucks can. However, Musk has surprised his critics before, and it seems like these products are very close to reaching the market.

Numerous other companies are also developing electric trucks that will be competing with Tesla for market share. These companies include BYD Company, Cummins, Daimler AG, Einride, Kenworth, Nikola Motor, Proterra, Inc., Xos Trucks, VDL, Daf trucks, Toyota, Uber, and Volkswagen.

Last year, Musk posted a series of Tweets pointing out how media organizations have an obvious incentive to give bad press to electric cars and alternative energy in general.

Musk was unforgiving towards the mainstream media in his epic Twitter rant, calling them hypocrites and saying that the public no longer trusts them. He said that he doesn’t advertise for Tesla, his electric car company, which means that he contributes no money to the media, who depend on advertising dollars to stay in business.

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Science & Technology

NTP nuclear rocket engine will take humans to Mars in just three months

Although the romance of the peaceful atom has subsided since the mid-1960s, the idea of ​​using nuclear reactors for “civilian” purposes is still regularly returned. The new nuclear rocket engine (NRM) will deliver a man to Mars much faster than is possible now.

The danger of cosmic radiation is much more serious than the risk of infection from an accident with such an engine. The most dangerous of all the constraining vectors for projects of sending people to other bodies in the solar system is cosmic radiation. Radiation from our star and galactic rays can seriously damage the health of the mission crew. Therefore, when planning flights to Mars, engineers and scientists try to reduce travel time as much as possible.

One promising way to get to the Red Planet in just three months could be a new NTP engine. Its concept was developed and submitted to NASA by Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies ( USNC-Tech ) from Seattle, USA. The name of the unit is simply deciphered – Nuclear Thermal Propulsion ( NTP ), that is, “thermal nuclear power plant”. The novelty differs from its previously created or invented counterparts in the most secure design.

A key component of USNC’s development is mid – grade uranium fuel “pellets”. They contain 5% to 20% of the highly reactive isotope U- 235 coated with zirconium carbide ceramics. This degree of enrichment lies roughly halfway between the “civilian” nuclear power plants and the military. The proprietary ceramic coating technology makes the tablets incredibly resistant to mechanical damage and extreme temperatures.

Schematic diagram of a thermal nuclear rocket engine / © Wikipedia |  Tokono
Schematic diagram of a thermal nuclear rocket engine / © Wikipedia | Tokono

The company promises that their fuel elements are significantly superior in these parameters to those currently used at nuclear power plants. As a result, the engine will have a higher specific impulse with a lower degree of uranium enrichment than in earlier versions of NRE. In addition to the flight to Mars, among the goals of the ambitious project are other missions within the solar system. The perspectives of the concept will soon be considered by specialists from NASA and the US Department of Defense ( DoD ). Perhaps departments will even allow its commercial use by private companies.

Theoretically, NRE based on modern technologies can have a specific impulse (SR) seven times higher than that of chemical jet engines. And this is one of the key performance parameters. At the same time, unlike electric and plasma ones, the ID of a nuclear rocket engine is combined with high thrust. One of the limiting factors in the use of NRE, in addition to safety issues, are extremely high temperatures in the reactor core.

The higher the temperature of the gases flowing out of the engine, the more energy they have. And accordingly, they create traction. However, mankind has not yet come up with relatively inexpensive and safe materials that can withstand more than three thousand degrees Celsius without destruction. The solution created by USNC will operate at the limit of modern materials science (3000 ° C) and have a specific impulse twice that of the best liquid-propellant engines.

Tests of the first nuclear jet engine in 1967 / © NASA
Tests of the first nuclear jet engine in 1967 / © NASA

The official press release does not specify which working body will be used in NTP . Usually, in all NRE projects, the reactor core heats hydrogen, less often ammonia. But, since we are talking about a long-term mission, the creators could have chosen some other gas. Keeping liquid hydrogen on board for three months is no easy task. But you still need to invent something for the way back.

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Science & Technology

Scientist Peter Scott-Morgan is set to become “the world’s first complete cyborg”

Scientist and roboticist Peter Scott Morgan, who is using an advanced version of Stephen Hawking's communication system, built by Intel. INTEL

Two years ago scientist Peter Scott-Morgan was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and today he is still fighting for a new life, not just for survival.

This October, Dr. Scott-Morgan is on track to become the world’s first full-fledged cyborg, potentially giving him more years of life.

The world’s first complete cyborg

It was in 2017 that Dr. Peter Scott-Morgan (a brilliant robotics writer, scientific writer, and talented speaker) was diagnosed with degenerative motor neuron disease that ultimately paralyzed his entire body except his eyes.

The diagnosis is understandably grim, especially considering that he has only two years to live, but he has not given up the fight.

Teaming up with world-class organizations with expertise in artificial intelligence, Dr. Scott-Morgan is transforming himself into what he calls “the world’s first fully fledged cyborg.”

“And when I say ‘Cyborg’, I mean not just that some kind of payment will be implanted in me, I mean that I will become the most advanced human cybernetic organism ever created on Earth for 13.8 billion years. My body and brain will be irreversibly changed, ”says Dr. Scott-Morgan.

What does it mean to be human

According to Dr. Scott-Morgan, he will become part robot and part living organism. Moreover, the change will not be one-time, but with subsequent updates.

“I have more updates in the process than Microsoft ,” says Dr. Scott-Morgan.

AI-powered creative expression

The cyborg artist is a great example of the power of human-AI collaboration. AI uses the data that make up Peter’s digital portrait ( articles, videos, images, and social media ) and is trained to recognize key ideas, experiences, and images.

Peter will introduce a theme, AI will suggest composition, and Peter will apply images to suggest style and mood. Peter will direct the AI ​​to render a new digital image that none of them could create alone.

A unique blend of AI and human, reflects Peter’s creative and emotional self – a critical aspect of what it means to be human.

Peter 2.0

This October, Dr. Scott-Morgan will undergo what he calls the latest procedure that will transform him into “Complete Cyborg”.

October 9 he tweeted a photo of himself, writing the following:

“This is my last post as Peter 1.0. Tomorrow I will trade my vote for potentially decades of life as we complete the last medical procedure for my transition to Full Cyborg, in the month that I was told statistically I would be dead. I am not dying, I am transforming. ! Oh, how I LOVE science !!! “.

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Science & Technology

Japan has developed an inflatable scooter that weighs practically nothing

The University of Tokyo engineers have developed the Poimo inflatable electric scooter, which is created individually for each owner. It is enough to send your photo to the manufacturers – and a personal optimized model will be assembled for you.

The scooter is designed with a special program for the body size of a particular user and his specific fit. Moreover, each owner is free to make any changes to this model. If he makes any changes to the drawing, the program will automatically redesign the electric bike to maintain its strength, stability and controllability. When the model is finished and approved, it is handed over to the manufacturer.

Scooter Poimo

The scooter consists of seven separate inflatable sections that are constructed from durable fabric and sewn with straight stitch. It remains to add electronic components – in particular, a brushless motor and a lithium-ion battery. 

The finished electric scooter weighs about 9 kg and can travel at speeds up to 6 km / h (that is, slightly faster than a pedestrian). It can work for an hour on one charge.

This is how the current version of Poimo looks like in action:

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