Author: Kirsten Korosec

Watch how Tesla Model 3 earned NHTSA’s top safety rating

TECHCRUNCH The Tesla Model 3 has had its share of struggles from CEO Elon Musk’s well-documented production hell to more recent logistic “nightmares” that have slowed deliveries to customers. There’s one area where the Tesla shines: crash safety tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the Tesla Model 3 is no exception. Check out the videos below to watch the crash tests. The rear-wheel-drive version of the Tesla Model 3 earned an all-around five-star safety rating from NHTSA, the highest possible issued by the agency. These tests cover frontal, side and rollover crashes. The Model 3 received five stars in each category as well as sub categories such as side barrier and pole crashes. [embedded content] Tesla’s crash rating is buoyed by the absence of an internal combustion engine. For instance, without a motor in the hood, there’s more room for a forward crumple zone. Tesla vehicles also tend to be resistant to rollovers because the battery pack is located at the bottom of the vehicle, giving it a low center of gravity. The risk of a rollover in a Tesla Model 3 is 6.6%, according to NHTSA. Tesla Model 3 is not the only vehicle to earn the highest rating. There are other 2018 model year vehicles that have earned a five-star rating from NHTSA, including the Subaru Legacy and Toyota Camry four-door hybrid. It’s also worth noting, as...

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Amazon’s Alexa is coming to Sony smart TVs and Lenovo Smart Tabs

TECHCRUNCH Amazon wants Alexa to interact with as many people as possible, including the ability to show them things. And that means freeing the virtual assistant from the confines of Amazon’s screen-supporting smart speaker Echo Show or Fire TV, devices that give Alexa a face (and of course a voice). The company announced Thursday at its big hardware event that it’s releasing a “smart screen” software development kit, which will allow developers to bring Echo Show-like functionality to other non-Amazon pieces of hardware. That could mean integrating Alexa into a smart TV or even a refrigerator; as long as...

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Amazon’s Alexa will soon be able to act on ‘hunches’ about your behavior

TECHCRUNCH Amazon’s big hardware event isn’t all about hardware —although there are plenty of those too. Amazon also talked about how it’s making its virtual assistant Alexa smarter and more intuitive about human behavior, particularly when there are lots of connected smart home devices to tap into. Amazon announced at the event Thursday a feature called Alexa Hunches, a new feature that allows the virtual assistant to follow cues about a user’s behavior and make suggestions. This all starts with a deep neural network that allows Amazon to understand and learn behavior. For now, “Hunches” is focused on the...

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VW reimagines the microbus as an all-electric cargo hauler

TECHCRUNCH The slow roll towards electrified vehicles isn’t isolated to passenger cars and SUVs. Manufacturers are investing in commercial vehicles as well — everything from school buses and delivery vans to big commercial trucks. VW Group’s vision for an electrified commercial vehicle future also includes a microbus. The automaker’s commercial vehicles unit unveiled five zero-emission vehicles at the 69th IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover, Germany. Among them is an all-electric cargo van that’s meant to be the commercial equivalent of the I.D. Buzz microbus revealed in 2017. The others include a commercial-grade cargo e-bike, an electric concept van called...

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Daimler pours millions into electric bus company Proterra

TECHCRUNCH Proterra has raised $155 million in a funding round co-led by Daimler and Tao Capital Partner, a deal that could transform the school bus market in North America. Until now, Proterra has focused on producing electric buses for municipal, federal and commercial transit agencies. The company has developed a line of electric buses that can travel 350 miles on a single charge, enough range to last entire day. Proterra has sold hundreds of its all-electric buses as cities try to reduce tailpipe emissions. This latest investment comes with a catch: Proterra will work with Daimler to possibly electrify the company’s...

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Audi partners with Amazon and Electrify America to help kickstart its EV ecosystem

TECHCRUNCH Audi is partnering with e-commerce giant Amazon and VW Group unit Electrify America as the automaker prepares to deliver its first all-electric SUV to U.S. dealerships next year. The Audi e-tron, which was unveiled Monday night in San Francisco, kicks off the German automaker’s electric vehicle ambitions. The e-tron is the first of three battery-electric vehicles that Audi plans to debut by 2020. The e-tron SUV joins a growing list of luxury electric vehicles trying to take aim at Tesla. The partnerships with Amazon, Electrify America and utility service Arcadia Power are meant gird Audi’s bet on EVs....

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Meet Yusaku Maezawa, the first private passenger to take SpaceX’s BFR around the moon

TECHCRUNCH Japanese billionaire and entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa will be the first private citizen to take a flight around the moon in SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket, a 240,000-mile journey slated for as early as 2023. In an emotional and jubilant speech during a SpaceX event Monday at the company’s headquarters in near Los Angeles, Maezawa exclaimed “I choose to go to the moon!” Maezawa will be the first passenger to travel to the moon since the 1972 Apollo mission conducted by the United States. “This is my life long dream,” he said. “Ever since I was a kid I loved...

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Elon Musk extends Tesla’s free supercharging for life offer

TECHCRUNCH Tesla has been phasing out free unlimited access to its network of fast-chargers for a couple of years now. The last vestige of that program was a referral system that was supposed to expire at midnight Sunday. But it’s been given new life for at least one more day, and perhaps even longer to buyers in Europe. On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter that the referral program would be extended until Tuesday night after customers reported technical problems. The extension is just for new Model S, Model X and Model 3 Performance buyers who receive...

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