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Comment: Re:Bay Area (Score 3, Informative) 508

by AaronW (#48880813) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

The company I work for has fairly good diversity. The company is a chip company with a number of software teams for things like compilers, SDKs, drivers, the Linux kernel, bootloaders, etc. While it isn't 50:50 there are a lot of women developers and while the majority are indian there are a fair number of caucasian and other minorities as well. We hire what we can get. We have positions that have been open for months and the majority of those that we interview are of indian descent. We have a hard time finding good engineers, the key word being good. I have interviewed a lot of engineers of all nationalities who I do not consider competent. The competent ones usually have multiple offers.

The problem with the H1Bs are that they are abused by companies like Infosys and for less skilled engineers and IT people. Some companies also seem to have an inordinate number of H1Bs like Cisco. I'm of the firm belief that we need more good engineers and that we need a lot more people graduating from college with degrees in science and engineering.

Comment: Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (Score 1) 181

by AaronW (#48818133) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

I ran into that as well, though admittedly the original location had the turn indicator rather low compared to most other cars. They also had to make some changes for the new cruise control features. You still pretty much know what you are getting since they update the options on the web site. Usually the changes are more subtle or new options are added and sometimes removed.

Comment: Re:Not if gas stays under $2/gallon (Score 1) 181

by AaronW (#48817031) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

Most of the people who can afford a Tesla aren't really worried about the price of gas. Electricity is still a LOT cheaper. Also, don't expect those cheap gas prices to last forever. Saudi Arabia is basically using their cheap prices to punish Russia, Iran, Syria, etc. as well as more expensive oil in the US and elsewhere. They're sitting on a huge mountain of cash. Once they've killed the competition expect them to bump their prices back up.

Comment: Re:More EVs = More Infrastructure = More Sales (Score 1) 181

by AaronW (#48816995) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

Tesla outsold BMW, Mercedes and many other cars in its class. The total numbers for 2014 have not been announced yet. If you're comparing Tesla you need to compare BMW's 7 series, Mercedes S class, etc. GM's Cadillac ELR which was supposed to be the Tesla killer flopped big time. There's a two year supply sitting on the lot. Tesla sells more in a week than GM sold ELR's all year.

Comment: Re:More EVs = More Infrastructure = More Sales (Score 1) 181

by AaronW (#48816969) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

Sure they can. GM isn't planning on selling a lot of EVs. There's a big reason Tesla is building their gigafactory. It will dwarf LG's factory which GM uses. GM's $30K price point also likely includes selling them at a loss. They'll sell enough for the credits and that's it. GM may have said the price point, but they didn't say how many they plan to sell.

Comment: Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (Score 1) 181

by AaronW (#48816909) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

It's hard to haggle when each car is custom built to order. There is no inventory of cars. There are well over a dozen different options when you build your car. It's very up-front, showing you exactly how much each option cost and what the total price is. You can't haggle, "Well, I don't really want that option." or "This isn't my first choice for color." since you get exactly what you order.

When there's an inventory of cars it's a lot easier to haggle, especially if a car has been sitting on the lot a while.

Unlike dealerships, the people in the showrooms do not earn a commission on cars sold. Cars are sold online. When you are online you can go through and change options at will until shortly before they build you car. There is no haggling. There are no slimy tactics trying to get you to buy the car. There's no incentive for the salesperson to try and sell you blinker fluid and other crap. The only stuff they sell at the showrooms are accessories, things like floor mats, keychains, storage bags, shirts, jackets, etc. Everything they sell you can also buy online.

Comment: Re:Tell me it ain't so, Elon! (Score 1) 181

by AaronW (#48816829) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

With my Prius I had a couple of minor things related to the engine. One was an oil leak, something far less likely with an EV. I also had to replace a water pump several times and the belt. I also had to regularly change the oil, air filter and fuel filter. I also had to replace the radiator when it sprung a leak. With my Tesla my brakes are used quite a bit less than even with my Prius. There is basically no maintenance required for the drive train. The electric motor is lubricated for 12 years.

The only required maintenance is flushing the coolant every few years, rotating the tires, changing the cabin air filter, wiper blades, etc.

Things like A/C and power steering should also be more reliable than most cars since both are fully electric. The A/C doesn't have flexible hoses and the compressor should be far more reliable than a normal belt-driven one with a clutch. The 12v battery is the same though. I'm getting mine replaced tomorrow (under warranty). Unlike many cars though, it gives plenty of warning. It popped up a message on the dash and contacted Tesla.

Suspension is similar but even the electrical is simpler in many ways. All of those sensors and components needed for a gasoline engine are gone. The number of modules is quite a bit less. Sure, there's the inverters for charging and driving the motors, but many of the other ones are gone. Working on the car is also a lot easier. Where many things in an ICE car are blocked by the engine, they are quite easy to reach in my Tesla. If you remove the front panel under the car or the frunk insert you can reach just about everything.

Even the motor and inverters are very easy to reach. It takes under five minutes to install the entire drivetrain at the factory. The motor is tiny too. The induction motor in my Tesla is 416HP, 445ft-lbs of torque and the size of a large watermelon. There's no transmission, only a 9.73:1 gear reduction to the differential. The motor is smaller than the transmission on many cars.

Many of the failure points are gone. There's no transmission, ignition system, engine water pump, thermostat, belts, fuel pumps, smog stuff, catalytic converter or muffler.

Some problems can be addressed remotely. I have had issues fixed and even new features added from periodic software updates that are done over the air.

For an all-wheel drive EV it gets even better since there are is no drive shaft or transfer case between the front and rear wheels.

One other difference is that the mechanics seem to be quite a bit cleaner than the ones I see working on ICE cars.

My car has had more than average maintenance since mine is one of the early ones (low 5000s VIN). Virtually all of the issues I have run into were addressed in later versions of the car. Most of my issues were various rattles and noise related. When the 12v battery started to fail the car notified me before it happened and also contacted Tesla. Tesla called me about replacing it under warranty before I told them about the problem.

One difference between Tesla and other car manufacturers is that Tesla builds far more of their own stuff in-house. Most car companies farm a lot of stuff out. It makes it far more difficult to make changes. Tesla, on the other hand, can make changes almost immediately. They don't wait for mid-year or the next year to make changes. You can't say you have a 2012 or 2013 car since they make changes every few months, often adding new features.

Comment: Re:I'm shocked, SHOCKED! (Score 4, Informative) 190

by AaronW (#48790069) Attached to: Tesla vs. Car Dealers: the Lobbyist Went Down To Georgia

There is a lot less periodic maintenance required and maintenance is far easier. The recommended maintenance is every 12K miles. The maintenance includes a wheel alignment, changing the wiper blades, cabin air filter, tire rotation, inspections and any software updates (though the car periodically allows the user to install them when they're downloaded over the air). The electric motor is lubricated for 12 years, according to one of the techs I spoke with at the factory. Many of the items that need maintenance are just not there or need less periodic maintenance. Many things can be diagnosed remotely without even having to bring the car in. My car was one of the early ones that received a defective 12v battery because the battery manufacturer decided to subcontract it out to China who subcontracted it out to Viet Nam. Tesla contacted me about replacing the battery within a couple of days of a weak battery being detected.

Sure, you still have tires (which can be rotated or replaced just about anywhere), a cabin air filter, wiper blades, suspension, etc. but these are not the money makers. The number of moving parts is a fraction of what it is in an ICE car.On top of that, much of the maintenance is far easier since many parts are far more accessible without a big engine in the way. Even things like brake pads will last far longer on an EV. There are no spark plugs, no fuel filters, engine air filters, oil changes or belts to change. There's minimal chance of laking oil seals and no smog related work. There's no catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, fuel pumps, fuel injectors, etc to deal with. And if you do need to do something like pull the electric motor, it is a far easier process. They install the entire drive train in the Model S in under 4 minutes since it's all in a single module, including the motor, differential, inverter, rear axels, etc. Removing it is not the huge job it is in an ICE car.

Comment: Re:wrong answer (Score 1) 231

by AaronW (#48728833) Attached to: US Slaps Sanctions On North Korea After Sony Cyberattack

Except in this case the entire country is already censored, so blocking it won't be censoring anyone except those few who do have Internet access, like the despicable people in charge and the hackers. If it were just about any other country I'd agree with you.NK is second to last for the most censored country according to reporters without borders, second only to Eritrae.

Comment: Re:Doesn't matter (Score 1) 341

by AaronW (#48709105) Attached to: Pope Francis To Issue Encyclical On Global Warming

NREL disagrees with you on solar. The payback period is anywhere from 1-4 years with current technology.

As for wind turbines, often the payback period is even shorter.

Birds haven't been a huge problem except for Altamont Pass which is a major bird migratory area. The new larger turbines are also much less of a hazard for birds.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)