Two “dismayed” United States Lawmakers have penned a letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk questioning the company’s recent opening of a showroom in the Xinjiang region of China.
In early January, Tesla opened a showroom in Xinjiang, a controversial region of China that is often under intense scrutiny due to its human rights abuses. The area is currently the holding location of Uyghur Muslims, who are being held due to potential extremist and separatist ideas, according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
The opening of the showroom prompted a harsh warning to any U.S. entity that plans to open operations in the region from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who said that companies that fail to address forced human labor or human rights abuses could “face serious legal, reputational, and customer risk.”
Now, Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ 9th District) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3rd District) have written a letter to Musk, calling the company’s decision to open a showroom “misguided.” Additionally, Pascrell Jr. and Blumenauer have asked Musk questions regarding Tesla’s future in China.
“We are dismayed that Tesla has reportedly opened a showroom in the province that is at the heart of China’s Uyghur detainment in camps and forced labor in factories,” Pascrell Jr. and Blumenauer wrote. “As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) commits genocide against the Uyghur peoples and ramps up its hostility towards America and our allies, your misguided expansion into the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region sets a poor example and further empowers the CCP at a fraught moment.”
Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental, international organization that “defends the rights of people in 100 countries worldwide,” estimates that one million Uyghur Muslims are detained in the region.
“Evidence of the genocide in Xinjiang is well documented. From the farm to finished goods, forced labor in the region appears to be prevalent at all levels of the supply chain because of the CCP’s internment of more than one million Uyghurs, as well as forced labor by prisoners incarcerated in the Chinese government’s penal system,” the lawmakers wrote. “Numerous credible reports have detailed forced labor and other violations of fundamental human rights under the CCP’s rule. Weeks after CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping all but declared himself dictator for life and the CCP politburo standing committee tightened its totalitarian grip over virtually every sector, American business cannot further empower the gross human rights violations of the CCP.”
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast in its January Short-Term Energy Outlook that rising electricity generation from clean energy such as solar and wind will reduce generation from fossil fuel-fired power plants over the next two years.
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US electricity generation
The EIA is forecasting the share of generation for US clean energy, excluding hydropower, to grow from 13% in 2021 to 17% in 2023.
The amount of solar power generating capacity operated by the US electric power sector at the end of 2021 is 20 times more than it was at the end of 2011, and US wind power capacity is more than twice what it was 10 years ago.
Inversely, the EIA forecasts that the share of generation from natural gas will fall from 37% in 2021 to 34% by 2023.
Natural gas declined from 39% in 2020 to 37% in 2021. That’s because the cost of natural gas delivered to US electric generators in 2021 averaged $4.88 per million British thermal units – more than double the average cost in 2020.
Natural gas is expected to decline, but operating costs of renewable generators will continue to be generally lower than natural gas-fired units.
We estimate that the electric power sector had 63 gigawatts (GW) of existing solar power generating capacity operating at the end of 2021. We forecast solar capacity will grow by about 21 GW in 2022 and by 25 GW in 2023. We expect that 7 GW of wind generating capacity will be added in 2022 and another 4 GW in 2023. Operating wind capacity totaled 135 GW at the end of 2021.
This is not surprising news, yet it’s welcome news nonetheless. Will the renewable industry grow quickly enough to meet the Biden administration’s target of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030? Time will tell. That’s a big jump from 17% in just seven years, but the world can’t afford for this target to be missed.
It’s time for some drag racing of the newly launched Lucid Air Dream Edition – Performance version – which has a system output of about 1,111 hp (828 kW) and 1,025 lb-ft (1,390 Nm). Comparable to the Tesla Model S Plaid.
DragTimes recently had an opportunity to overview and test the car, which is actually one of the first independent tests of the Lucid Air.
“We head up to Hennessey Performance to review and test out the all new Lucid Air Dream Performance edition with John and Sanjay.”
According to the manufacturer, the car should achieve (on a prepared track surface) a 0-60 mph time in 2.42 seconds, while the quarter-mile time is 9.67 seconds @149.87 mph.
In the test, the results, measured by dragy, were slightly lower, but still amazing, as the car – in Sprint Mode and Launch Control – achieved 0-60 mph in 2.88 s and 1/4 mile in 10.04 s @ 142.59 mph. With a subtracted rollout it would probably be close to the manufacturer’s claim.
0-60 mph in 2.93 s
1/8 mile in 6.77 s @ 112.59 mph
60-130 mph in 5.62 s
1/4 mile in 10.21 s @ 143.37 mph
100-150 mph in 5.52 s
0-60 mph in 2.91 s
1/8 mile in 6.67 s @ 114.03 mph
60-130 mph in 5.46 s
1/4 mile in 10.09 s @ 142.92 mph
0-60 mph in 2.88 s
1/8 mile in 6.61 s @ 114.72 mph
60-130 mph in 5.50 s
1/4 mile in 10.04 s @ 142.59 mph
In the next episode, the Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance will race against a Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan.
Lucid Air Dream Edition specs:
118 kWh battery 22 modules 2170-type cylindrical cells (6,600) >900 V battery system
EPA range: Dream Edition Performance (19″) – 471 miles (758 km) Dream Edition Performance (21″) – 451 miles (726 km) Dream Edition Range (19″) – 520 miles (837 km) Dream Edition Range (21″) – 481 miles (774 km)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has rolled out to Kennedy Space Center Pad 39A ahead of the company’s third Falcon 9 launch this month as plans for another two missions – for a total of five – have crystallized.
A Spaceflight Now webcam captured the unknown flight-proven Falcon 9 booster leaving Pad 39A’s main integration hangar with a new upper stage and payload fairing filled with 49 satellites on January 16th. Weighing around 14.5 tons (~32,000 lb), those 49 spacecraft make up SpaceX’s Starlink 4-6 mission, which will continue the deployment of “Group 4” – the second of two shells of 1584 satellites that make up two-thirds of the initial 4408-satellite constellation. SpaceX remains on track to launch Starlink 4-6 no earlier than (NET) 7:26 pm EST or 9:24 pm EST on Monday, January 17th (00:26/02:24 UTC 18 Jan).
In fact, there’s a good chance that if SpaceX does manage five launches this month, it will have only been possible because two of those launches allowed Falcon 9 to perform a return-to-launch-site (RTLS) landing, foregoing the need for the simultaneous operation of both East Coast drone ships. The first, Transporter-3, was completed without issue on January 13th. After Starlink 4-6, SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Italian Space Agency’s CSG-2 Earth observation satellite NET ~6pm EST (23:00 UTC), January 27th. The spacecraft is light enough and headed to a low enough orbit to enable another RTLS Falcon 9 booster landing.
Thanks to the rare presence of two RTLS launches in one month, SpaceX should be able to turn drone ship ASOG around after Starlink 4-6 and attempt to launch another batch of Starlink satellites – Starlink 4-7 – NET January 29th. Barring delays, that means that SpaceX has a good chance of completing five launches in January 2022. SpaceX launched five Falcon rockets in one month for the first time ever in December 2021, so repeating that feat the very next month would be an impressive achievement and good reason to believe that SpaceX might actually be able to launch 40, 50, or even 60 times in 2022.
SpaceX firms up Falcon 9’s busy January launch plans
This week on the Electrek Podcast, we discuss the most popular news in the world of sustainable transport and energy, including Tesla’s heat pump failing problem coming back, new updated Model S design, Tesla FSD Beta scrutiny from DMV, and more.
The show is back live every Friday at 4 p.m. ET on Electrek’s YouTube channel. As a reminder, we’ll have an accompanying post, like this one, on the site with an embedded link to the live stream. Head to the YouTube channel to get your questions and comments in.
After the show ends at around 5 p.m. ET, the video will be archived on YouTube and the audio on all your favorite podcast apps:
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Here are a few of the articles that we will discuss during the podcast today:
Here’s the live stream for today’s episode starting at 4 p.m. ET (or the video after 5 p.m. ET):
BYD explains that the success of 2021 is a result of the core technologies including the BYD Blade Battery (LFP chemistry, cell-to-pack and structural element of the pack – see info here), DM-i (BYD’s latest plug-in hybrid system), as well as the all-new e-platform 3.0. On top of that comes the attractive design of new models.
The top-selling model in the BYD lineup was the plug-in hybrid Qin Plus DM with over 17,000 in December and over 113,000 in 2021.
The BYD Han EV is second for the year (over 87,000) and is selling at a record rate in recent months.
However, the third one – Song DM plug-in hybrid – with nearly 80,000 in 2021 was not far away and actually posted higher monthly results, including over 15,000 both in November and December. In other words, PHEVs are taking over the Han EV.
The BYD Dolphin (the first car based on the all-new e-platform 3.0 platform and the first of the Ocean series) recently crossed 10,000 units per month for the very first time.
Here is the rank of models year-to-date:
BYD Qin Plus DM (PHEV) – 17,286 (113,656 YTD)
BYD Han EV – 10,301 (87,189 YTD)
BYD Song DM (PHEV) – 15,120 (79,508 YTD)
BYD Qin Plus EV – 7,001 (56,151 YTD)
BYD Tang DM (PHEV) – 8,700 (48,152 YTD)
BYD Yuan EV – 8,577 (41,402 YTD)
BYD e2 – 3,500 (34,265 YTD)
BYD Han DM (PHEV) – 3,400 (30,476 YTD)
BYD Dolphin – 10,016 (29,598 YTD)
BYD Song EV – 4,052 (29,340 YTD)
BYD Qin EV + Qin Pro EV – 1,656 (19,779 YTD)
BYD D1 – 480 (10,176 YTD)
BYD Tang EV – 300 (5,062 YTD)
BYD e3 – 660 (3,842 YTD)
BYD E6 – 230 (2,219 YTD)
BYD E5 – 1,544 (1,544 YTD)
BYD Song MAX DM – 0 (733 YTD)
BYD Qin PHEV – 0 (410 YTD)
BYD e1 – 0 (243 YTD)
In 2022, the lineup will be reinforced by the all-new Yuan Plus EV (the second car based on the e-platform 3.0 platform), as well as other models.
According to the data (BYD and Moneyball), besides plug-in cars, BYD delivered last month also 1,122 commercial electric vehicles (buses and trucks). Year-to-date, sales of commercial electric vehicles amounted to 10,038.
In total, plug-in vehicle sales stood at 93,945 last month and 603,783 YTD (up 218%).