Will the Tesla Model 3 recharge the U.S. electric vehicle market? — David Keith

MIT Sloan Assistant Professor David Keith

MIT Sloan Assistant Professor David Keith

From The Conversation

Few product launches in recent memory have captured as much attention as last week’s unveiling of the Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle (EV), Tesla’s first vehicle pitched at the mass market.

Orders were flooding in even before Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the car to a giddy audience last Thursday evening, with prospective buyers queuing at Tesla stores throughout the day to place a deposit on a vehicle they might not even receive for two years or more.

Musk made the case for EVs being “really important for the future of the world,” combating rising greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

The Model 3 is really important for the future of Tesla and the future of EVs. It promises the sales growth that automotive wunderkind Tesla needs to survive and renews interest in a technology that is yet to have significant real-world impact. Yet even with the introduction of Tesla’s flashy new sedan, more pieces need to be in place before the EV market goes truly mainstream.

Battery prices dropping

When the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle hit U.S. showrooms in December 2010, the price of gasoline was rising, and so were expectations for the future of EVs.

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Tesla’s money problems are no surprise — David R. Keith

MIT Sloan Assistant Professor David Keith

MIT Sloan Assistant Professor David Keith

From MIT Technology Review

Such has been the remarkable success of Tesla Motors that news of its production and financing challenges came as a surprise for some. Tesla plans to raise an additional $640 million from capital markets, and downgraded its 2015 delivery forecast by up to 5,000 vehicles, citing potential complications with supplier qualification and the ramp up of manufacturing for the Model X SUV.

This news serves as a timely reminder of the enormity of the challenge that Tesla is pursuing in bringing its high-performance electric vehicles to market. Basically, building cars is a very expensive business. A new vehicle costs at least $1 billion in development and tooling, and Tesla is developing two new vehicles concurrently (the Model X SUV and the smaller Model 3).

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How tech can stop the looming food crisis — Jason Jay

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Jason Jay

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Jason Jay

From Fortune

The world’s population is expected to increase from 7 billion today to 9 or 10 billion by the end of the century, according to the United Nations. We also can expect more pressure on the food supply as people in the developing world adopt middle class lifestyles, which usually involve eating more meat. To satisfy global demand, we will need to roughly double today’s output, which means getting smarter about how we produce and manage food.

The good news is that innovation is coming to the farm. Advanced information technology, improved communications systems, robotics, drones, and other new technologies have the potential to boost agricultural yields and reduce waste while tempering environmental degradation.

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The future of energy in Latin America — Lee Ullmann

Lee Ullmann, Director of the MIT Sloan Latin America Office Office of International Programs

Lee Ullmann, Director of the MIT Sloan Latin America Office
Office of International Programs

Approximately 34 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean don’t have electricity in their homes and 75% of the regional energy matrix relies on nonrenewable sources of energy, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). However, increasing access to energy and increasing renewable energies and efficiency are critical for sustainable development. In recognition of this major need, the United Nations has made it a goal to make sustainable energy for everyone a reality by 2030 in its Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) global initiative. Read More »

Calories in, calories out – obesity and the energy imbalance gap — Hazhir Rahmandad

From The Conversation

The prevailing notion about obesity is that if we just work out harder and eat a little bit better, then perhaps the obesity trend will subside in a few years. However, the key to really making a difference is food – the number of calories we eat is the most important factor in obesity. But changing the way people eat will take a very long time.

Things like individual routines, menus, food access and affordability, and cultural practices all influence how we live and eat. All of these things can influence the energy imbalance gap (EIG). The EIG is essentially how many calories you consume versus how many calories you burn in a day. It controls the speed of change in body mass and is at the core of understanding obesity.

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