A Tesla in Every Garage? Not So Fast

Elon Musk’s sunny vision of the electric-car future sells well to the tech elite, but it won’t captivate the masses

15 min read
A Tesla in Every Garage? Not So Fast
Photo-illustration: Lincoln Agnew

Last summer, as I drove around the San Francisco Peninsula, I caught glimpses of a sea change in American automobile culture. Plug-in electric vehicles and charging stations seemed to be everywhere. Near the entrance to Stanford University, I witnessed a three-car fender bender involving only electric cars. And perhaps most remarkable: the prevalence of the Tesla Motors Model S, a luxury electric sedan that’s become the new status symbol among the tech-savvy. With more than 90,000 built to date, the Model S is now a common sight on Bay Area highways and byways.

The Model S and Tesla’s newer Model X sport-utility vehicle are unquestionably engineering marvels. And in the vision of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, they are nothing less than agents of change. Rivaling the best-performing internal-combustion automobiles, these green supercars are designed to reconcile comfort, power, and convenience with environmental sustainability, an ethos encapsulated in the current marketing slogan for the Model S: “Zero Emissions. Zero Compromises.”

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Nuclear Energy Brinkmanship in Ukraine

The Zaporizhzhia power plant is a strategically important prize, but war damage could be calamitous

6 min read
Barbed wire in the foreground frames a power plant in the distance across a wide river.

The Ukrainian-held city of Nikopol has been the target of frequent shelling by Russian invaders from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, seen here from Nikopol, across the Dnipro River. Much of the Zaporizhzhia Region has been occupied by Russia since early in the war.

Dmytro Smolyenko/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images

A battle of nerves and steel is raging at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which Russia captured in March. Russian forces use the Zaporizhzhia plant as a safe haven for troops and equipment, including artillery that is shelling Ukrainian-held territory directly across the Dnipro River. Ukraine is launching a counteroffensive to retake occupied territory, including Zaporizhzhia. And, all the while, each blames the other as explosions rock the nuclear site.

According to a Reuters report today, Russia’s Defense Department may order the plant to shut down, citing shelling damage to the plant’s “back-up support systems.” Yesterday most plant workers were allegedly told not to come to work tomorrow, according to Ukranian intelligence, which warns the Russians may be planning a dangerous “provocation.”

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Nvidia’s CTO on the Future of High-Performance Computing

The company’s Earth-2 supercomputer is taking on climate change

5 min read
portrait of Nvidia’s CTO, Michael Kagan on a gray background

Nvidia’s CTO Michael Kagan is an IEEE senior member.

Nvidia

In 2019 Michael Kagan was leading the development of accelerated networking technologies as chief technology officer at Mellanox Technologies, which he and eight colleagues had founded two decades earlier. Then in April 2020 Nvidia acquired the company for US $7 billion, and Kagan took over as CTO of that tech goliath—his dream job.

Nvidia is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., but Kagan works out of the company’s office in Israel.

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GPIOs: Critical IP for Functional Safety Applications

Understand the safety mechanisms in an automotive-ready GPIO IP library suite to detect the faults in GPIO cells

1 min read
GPIOs: Critical IP for Functional Safety Applications

The prevalence and complexity of electronics and software in automotive applications are increasing with every new generation of cars. The critical functions within the system on a chip (SoC) involve hardware and software that perform automotive-related signal communication at high data rates to and from the components off-chip. Every SoC includes general purpose IOs (GPIOs) on its periphery.

For automotive SoCs, GPIO IP is typically developed as Safety Element out of Context and delivered with a set of Assumptions of Use. It is important that the GPIO blocks are treated as a safety related logic. In this role, GPIOs need safety analysis to mitigate any faults occurring in them before the result of fault occurrence causes a system-wide failure.

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