What Tesla is doing in America’s newest smokestacks-free…

What Tesla is doing in America’s newest smokestacks-free…

Jul 29, 2015

“What Tesla is doing in America’s newest smokestacks-free manufacturing city” By Bruce Katz and Kelly Kline, Fortune Fremont, California is reinventing what it means to live in a factory town, and the electric car giant has joined in what could be a new era of U.S. manufacturing. Manufacturing may conjure up images of smokestacks and smelters, but two former industrial towns are seeking to change what it means—and what it looks like—to make things. By locating large companies near small entrepreneurs, research scientists, and young apprentices, Fremont, Calif. and the Sheffield urban area in the U.K. are embracing the innovation district—new industrial neighborhoods that harness the latest ideas in technology and place-making. The result is smarter products for the global market and the ability to keep and grow manufacturing close to home. Innovation districts mix corporations, start-up ventures, and advanced research institutions in dense urban areas rich with housing, public transit, and amenities. Think Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., University City in Philadelphia, or the new urban vision for Research Triangle Park outside Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Innovation districts cater to high-value research as well as creative endeavors such as industrial design and architecture. Companies benefit from their close proximity to universities and the talented workers and research ideas these anchor institutions generate. But can these dynamics exist when overlaid on former industrial centers? Two mid-sized cities Fremont and Sheffield are in different parts of the world but share long legacies in manufacturing. In Fremont, a former General Motors plant is now home to electric car manufacturer Tesla  , a company that embodies the shift to advanced manufacturing processes and connections between hardware and software. The factory is steps away from a new Bay Area Rapid Transit station and hundreds of acres of land on which there are plans to develop a more urban, amenity-rich environment. In Sheffield’s neighboring town of Rotherham, a former coal mine now houses the Advanced Manufacturing Research Park, where the University of Sheffield collaborates with over 100 leading research and development (R&D) and production companies including Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Hitachi, and Tata. Sheffield and Rotherham show how R&D benefits from concentrated districts that take advantage of open, networked innovation. Fremont and Sheffield are...

Tesla’s New Battery Will Supply Energy for Your Home

Tesla’s New Battery Will Supply Energy for Your Home

Apr 30, 2015

By Chris Wiltz, Design News People have been waiting with baited breath all month since Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that a major new product announcement (“not a car”) was coming from the company on April 30th. Now, days ahead of the event, word is spreading that Tesla is unveiling a new battery — and this one is going to power your entire home. Bloomberg reported that an email sent to Tesla investors and analysts confirmed the forthcoming announcement. And back in February, during an earnings call, Musk said the company was actively working on a home battery. “We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon,” Musk said. As interest builds for renewable and alternative energy sources for the home builds, Tesla could be placing itself in a strong and unique position. A powerful, efficient battery for storing solar, wind, or even excess energy from your utility company for daily use or emergency situations could be key in convincing more homeowners to adopt green energy. The Washington Post has written that analysts believe there is huge demand for a product like a home battery. Morgan Stanley predicts that as more consumers move off the grid the rising price point for those that remain with standard electrical utilities will only tip the scales further toward alternative energy Tesla has already broken ground on a $5 billion “Gigafactory” in Nevada, slated to open in 2017, that will mass produce lithium-ion batteries. But one study says that Tesla’s efforts will only further flood an already overcrowded lithium-ion market. Perhaps the company is betting the Gigafactory will also churn out high numbers of its home battery in addition to automotive ones. Tesla has been a rumor mill darling this year. Aside from plans to release a $30K electric vehicle, the company was part of a swirl of rumors when several high-profile employees moved over to Apple, leading to speculation that Apple was making a play to buy Tesla or was working with the company on the Apple Car. Earlier this month news broke that a new book on Musk by Bloomberg tech reporter Ashlee Vance revealed that Tesla nearly...