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Emerson Electric, Hank Green Join for I Love STEM Campaign

(Photo: Youtube, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Youtube, Creative Commons)

Global manufacturing company Emerson Electric is partnering up with popular YouTube star Hank Green in an initiative called I Love STEM, which aims to encourage more young people to choose STEM-related careers.

The I Love STEM campaign, which is estimated to be driven by between $ 15 million and $ 20 million, was launched last year by DDB Chicago.

Hank Green is the brother of bestselling author John Green. In 2007, they started a YouTube channel called Vlogbrothers, which became a global hit. One of their most popular series, called Sci Show, educates viewers about science and makes Hank, a self-professed “science nerd,” the perfect partner for Emerson’s project.

Emerson has donated more than $ 10 million towards STEM promotion and also started a program to give graduates with engineering degrees different positions around the world over the course of two years.

The company has also built the “Helix” center, a $ 35 million R&D facility aimed at creating innovative technology in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries. The building has simulated real-world environments like a working commercial kitchen, a two-story house, and a grocery store. The company plans to open another similar center at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Kate Maddox of Advertising Age quoted Emerson Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Button Bell, who said:

[STEM] is where the money is, it’s where the future is, and it’s one of the most interesting careers, with robotics and other new technologies. By nature, people tend to like science when they start out, so why do people quit? By shedding light on this, we can start to help solve the problem.

Green, who is already an outspoken proponent of science education, seems to be enthusiastically on board with the project. In an interview with Aliza Weinberger of Mashable, he argues that the complexities of the scientific process are often ignored in classrooms, leaving students out of an important aspect of the subjects and encouraging them to believe that they aren’t suited to participate in STEM. In particular, Hank criticizes the use of multiple choice tests to “simplify” the sciences. He said:

“You remove all of the subjective stuff, because it’s a lot easier to be objective with multiple choice. So then you lose the reality that this is part of a process. It frustrates me that you take a science class and there’s never any moment when the answer isn’t definitely known.”

Hank hopes that his videos and projects help teachers as well as students.

“Part of the reason why what I do is so rewarding is that teachers like to use it to help teach their students.

It helps [teachers] free up some of their time so they can do more of what [the videos] can’t do, like one-on-one work or more interesting interactive work.”

Green also spoke about the lack of hands-on experience that students are getting. He believes that as technology gets progressively more advanced, it becomes more challenging for hobbyists to take electronics apart and learn how they work, possibly preventing them from feeling like they have a place in STEM.

Many, including those within Obama administration, have acknowledged the dearth of qualified STEM professionals as a serious problem. According to a press release, Emerson’s research says that 42% of adults would have considered studying in the STEM fields if they had understood STEM careers better. One-third would have pursued a STEM career if it didn’t seem “too hard.” Women were found to report avoiding STEM careers because they were afraid of scholastic failure.

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Jace Harr

Jace Harr

The post Emerson Electric, Hank Green Join for I Love STEM Campaign appeared first on Education News.

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Tesla Model 3 preorders have likely doubled the electric cars sold by GM, Toyota, Ford, BMW, or VW in past 5 years

Tesla Model 3 silver

Three days ago, when Global Equities Research projected more than 300,000 reservations for the Tesla Model 3 electric car by the start of this week, that number seemed outlandish.

And yet, by the end of Saturday, the global total had reached 276,000, according to a tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

When the Model 3 was first unveiled in California on Thursday evening, the number of deposits that day alone had already crossed 100,000.

With an additional day and a half, Saturday’s total of 276,000 has likely crossed the magic 300,000 mark by now unless the pace has suddenly slowed to a crawl.

And that clearly caught even Tesla off guard, with Musk tweeting that the company would have to rethink its production plans for the 215-mile, $ 35,000 electric car that won’t hit the roads for almost two years under a best-case scenario.

Musk promised one more report on reservation totals, this one to come exactly a week after the Thursday evening introduction.
Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Not all of those reservations will convert to actual orders, of course. But even if only half of them do, 150,000 Model 3s would amount to more plug-in electric cars than General Motors, Toyota, Ford, BMW, or VW Group has sold in more than five years. Only Nissan has sold more (slightly over 200,000 as of last month).

The response over the weekend to the Model 3 totals was predictable but nevertheless fascinating to watch. Tesla fans and investors were ecstatic, proclaiming that the Model 3 was the breakthrough vehicle that electric cars had required to enter the mainstream market.

Some went as far as to suggest that the Tesla Model 3 of 2018 would be just as revolutionary as the first Ford Model T, introduced 110 years before in October 1908.

The Model T became the world’s highest-volume production car over the next 19 years, selling more than 15 million copies—a record that stood until 1972, when it was passed by the Volkswagen Beetle.

Many hurdles remain before the Model 3 can definitively be spoken of in the same light as the “car that put the world on wheels,” however.

Tesla must complete the Model 3 design, test and validate the car, get it certified by dozens of different regulators around the world, and tool up its factories for production levels 10 times as high as its best to date.
Tesla Model 3 design prototype - reveal event - March 2016

Tesla Model 3 design prototype – reveal event – March 2016

It must also bring its massive battery Gigafactory online not only to assemble battery packs from imported cells, as it does now, but to fabricate and produce the actual cells themselves in the highest-volume battery plant in the U.S.

And if the company is to meet its recently confirmed deadline of starting Model 3 production by the end of next year, it has to do all that in 18 months.

As is much noted by commentary, Tesla Motors has not yet met an announced deadline for starting production of any of its vehicles: not the Roadster, not the Model S, and not the Model X.

Finally, many financial analysts suggest that Tesla will have to raise additional capital, especially if it believes it needs to boost its Model 3 production volume beyond what it expected to build before the surge of post-debut orders.

It customarily costs $ 200 million to $ 500 million to equip a high-volume production line, one capable of building 150,000 cars a year.

Tesla has plenty of extra plant space in the Fremont, California, facility it bought from Toyota in 2009. But it will still need to tool up for higher-volume production.
Tesla Model 3 design prototype - reveal event - March 2016

Tesla Model 3 design prototype – reveal event – March 2016

And while 300,000 deposits of $ 1,000 apiece—funds that are not placed in escrow, by the way, but pooled with the rest of the company’s assets—amount to $ 300,000,000, some analysts have suggested Tesla Motors may need to raise another $ 1 billion or so to sustain itself until it begins to break even in 2020 or later.

Under generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, Tesla Motors has never turned a profit as a company. And CEO Musk said a couple of years ago he didn’t expect that to happen until the Model 3 was in volume production in 2020 or thereafter.

Thus far, however, the company has been remarkably successful at raising money—which it may have to do again sometime in the next two years.

So that’s where Tesla stands today: surprised at how many deposits have been put down for the Model 3, presumably recalculating its financial projections over the next five years—but likely basking in the glow of an exceptionally positive response from paying customers to its first real volume car.

And the rest of the industry?

It is almost surely hyperbole to proclaim, as one of last night’s headlines did, that the Tesla Model 3 poses an “existential crisis for the auto industry.”
2016 BMW i3

2016 BMW i3

Nissan, GM, BMW

But we still have to suspect that the product executives at Nissan, General Motors, BMW, and other global makers who see themselves on the forefront of electric-vehicle production are going to have to answer questions about what the deluge of Model 3 reservations means.

Could BMW, for example, with its reputation for sporty performance cars, have cashed in on those customers if its i3 had been a sexy, compact four-door sport sedan with a 200-mile range instead of a tall, slab-sided urban subcompact car with 80 miles of range?
Nissan Leaf 'Advanced R&D Electric Vehicle' shown at company annual meeting, Yokohama, Jun 2015

Nissan Leaf ‘Advanced R&D Electric Vehicle’ shown at company annual meeting, Yokohama, Jun 2015

 Is Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn wondering how his upcoming longer-range Leaf, presently the world’s best-selling electric car (with more than 200,000 sold since 2011), will fare in the eyes of buyers willing to put down cash years in advance for a Tesla?

At GM: How can Tesla get 300,000 people to put down $ 1,000 apiece for a car that won’t appear for two years when we still have to fight with our dealers to get them to understand, stock, and sell our well-reviewed Volt and the upcoming 200-mile, $ 37,500 Bolt EV hatchback that will beat the Model 3 to market by at least a year, perhaps two or three?

All of those companies, which often speak about the ultimate decision-making power of the market and providing the cars that buyers are willing to pay for, are likely to do some hard thinking about the mix of qualities that make the Model 3 and Tesla Motors attractive enough for that many people to risk a four-figure sum on faith in a car they don’t know that much about.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV pre-production vehicles at Orion Township Assembly Plant, March 2016

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV pre-production vehicles at Orion Township Assembly Plant, March 2016

Sexy, fast, affordable

Except, of course, for those carmakers, fewer and fewer in number, who continue to dismiss Tesla as an unsustainable and short-term phenomenon that will inevitably crash and burn.

But it seems a little clearer today that a reasonably priced battery-electric car, with 200 miles of range or more, can find buyers if it’s good-looking and performs well.

Perhaps the final piece of the puzzle is that the fast, good-looking, affordable 200-mile electric car is also accompanied by a free, fast-growing nationwide network of DC fast-charging sites.

Because today, that’s an asset that only Tesla can tout.
Tesla Motors Supercharger network in the U.S. - projected 2016 installations

Tesla Motors Supercharger network in the U.S. – projected 2016 installations

And fast charging too

Nissan’s efforts to spread CHAdeMO fast charging beyond its dealers into other public sites appear to have stalled, while GM has said specifically it will not fund any DC fast-charging capabilities.

So far, only Audi and Porsche among future electric-car entrants appear to have recognized the importance of a fast-charging capabilities modeled after the Supercharger network, and their cars won’t arrive for two or three more years.

It may be a week of pondering among the car companies of the world.

And we’re betting there are some quiet office pools being established on where that Thursday evening number to be tweeted by Musk will come in too.

This post first appeared on Green Car Reports.

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Who sold the most electric cars in 2015? (hint: it’s not Tesla)

tesla model x

Five years after the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt first went on sale, plug-in vehicles represent slightly less than 1 percent of U.S. new-car deliveries.

With about 200,000 sold, the Leaf is the world’s most popular electric car.

But which carmaker sold the most cars with plugs last year, worldwide? The answer may surprise you.

First, the known suspects: BMW, Ford, GM, Nissan, and Tesla.

BMW said it sold “around 30,000” of its i3 and i8 in 2015, globally. Ford’s plug-in hybrid Fusion and C-Max Energi models, and its Focus Electric battery hatchback, are largely confined to North America.

U.S. sales of those cars totaled 18,923; the company refuses to disclose how many were sold in Canada. Adding a handful sold in Europe, let’s say 20,000 all told for Ford.

BMW i3 and i8 preview, New York City, November 2011, photo by Tom Moloughney

General Motors sold 15,393 Volts and 2,629 Spark EVs in the U.S. last year, along with some in Canada and a few Spark EVs in South Korea. Let’s call that 20,000 too.

The Nissan Leaf had 17,269 deliveries in the U.S., but it’s sold in dozens of countries around the world–and Nissan also sells lower numbers of e-NV200 electric delivery vans.

As of October 2015, Nissan had delivered 39,000 Leafs–but global full-year figures for the Leaf and e-NV200 aren’t out yet. Let’s put Nissan at 50,000.

ALSO SEE: 2016 BYD Tang: Plug-In Hybrid SUV Is First Of Four To Come

Finally, Tesla says it delivered 50,557 vehicles globally last year. So who’s missing?

It’s BYD, the Chinese company that launched the world’s first production plug-in hybrid, the F3DM, in December 2008–exactly two years before the Chevrolet Volt.

The crude F3DM was far less refined than the Volt, but it nonetheless earned an historic first for BYD (in which fabled investor Warren Buffet has invested).

2016 BYD Tang plug-in hybrid SUV, made in China

BYD continues to make both battery-electric vehicles (including the E6 hatchbacks used as taxis) and a variety of plug-in hybrids, including the newer Qin compact sedan and Tang compact SUV.

According to year-end figures released by the company, it delivered 31,898 Qins and 18,375 Tangs, along with 7,029 of the older e6, during 2015.

Added to that are small numbers of the T3 small commercial van and e5 battery-electric compact sedan, along with 2,888 Denza compact hatchbacks built by its joint venture with Daimler.

Altogether, BYD sold a total of 61,722 vehicles with plugs last year–all but a tiny handful in China–more than Nissan or Tesla.

For the record, those are all highway-capable cars; the numbers don’t include what would be defined in North America as low-speed or neighborhood electric vehicles.

Those vehicles make up a significant portion of the Chinese electric-car sales statistics, but they make direct comparisons of the Chinese and U.S. markets tricky, since low-speed vehicles don’t count toward reported U.S. sales.

BYD Qin plug-in hybrid in showroom in Costa Rica

Aside from a tiny number of exports to minor markets like Costa Rica, the BYD passenger-vehicle sales are almost entirely in China.

The country working hard to boost sales of “New Energy Vehicles,” both battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles of all sorts, to address the toxic air pollution that blankets most of its cities.

MORE: BYD Qin Plug-In Hybrid Now On Sale In Costa Rica (Dec 2013)

Carrots at the city, state, and national level include financial incentives and easily available registration for new plug-in cars.

Sticks include very low numbers of permitted new registrations of conventional cars in some cities, and odd/even alternating driving permissions.

BYD K9 All-Electric Bus, as tested in Portland OR

China is expected to become the world’s largest market for electric cars, and its government-industrial complex has dominating that sector as an official goal.

Given the paucity of public charging networks and the large number of car owners who live in apartment buildings, however, it remains unclear how many of the country’s plug-in hybrids are ever actually plugged in.

BYD also produces electric buses–one with a battery pack of 549 kilowatt-hours–with which it has had some success entering the U.S. public-transport market.

This story originally appeared on Green Car Reports.