Timesdelhi.com

July 16, 2018

Woman lawyer allegedly raped by senior advocate in South Delhi

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The victim, in her statement to the police, said the accused, who was in an inebriated condition, sexually assaulted her in his chamber.

Probe ordered into girl's 'suicide' at police station in Delhi

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A 17-year-old girl allegedly committed suicide inside a police station in west Delhi’s Tilak Vihar area on Sunday.

A list of ten things that billionaire owners of EV, clean energy and rocket companies should and should not tweet

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So… apparently there’s been another kerfuffle on the Twitter about some asinine things that a certain wealthy, rocket-building, payment-revolutionizing, electric vehicle company-creating entrepreneur has written in tweets to millions of followers.

This billionaire is, by all accounts, incredibly difficult to work for, very visionary and … a bit thin-skinned for someone with such a habit of courting press.

I’m not saying that’s his fault. He’s been shredded by hundreds of people in thousands of messages on a platform that’s given him millions of (fake and) real followers and a megaphone that would be powerful enough to change the world (or at least the world’s coverage of him) with a single bloviating bit of textual hot air.

And boy, as a billionaire entrepreneur, does this fella blow the hot air.

Wait… I am saying some of this is his fault.

That said, he’s done some truly amazing things for the world. AND IS A BILLIONAIRE.

With that in mind, here’re a few humble suggestions for him to keep in mind as he approaches the touchpad, keyboard, or any other tweet-enabling appliance as he looks to foray further into the wild feathered world of the Twitter-birds.

Image: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

THINGS THAT ARE OKAY TO TWEET

  1. Tweeting about offers to help people in dire need of help. Listen, I know you got a lot of heat for this one, and it was ultimately an unnecessary gesture that some folks chalked up to a cynical attempt to change the subject, but I believe that your heart was in the right place. People love John Henry stories — especially now when technology threatens to overwhelm all of us. So this bit of ingenuity that you and your team concocted wound up as an actual embodiment of an old folktale? So what? Humans can win without machines. This is a good thing. Embrace it. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have offered to help. Or that people should dismiss that offer as ridiculous.
  2. Tweeting about phenomenal things that your companies have managed to achieve in the world. It’s a jaded world, so people dismiss a lot of things that they shouldn’t, but landing parts of a rocket successfully for re-use is a goddamn miracle of science. It’s wonderful. Literally an achievement that has the potential to advance humanity… and even if a better solution comes along, you’ve proven naysayers wrong and pushed the bounds of the possible. Go you.
  3. Tweeting about political and social issues you feel passionate about. You’re a — fairly — beloved billionaire (which is kind of a weird thing to write) with a platform that has millions of followers. If you think a certain way about a certain thing it’s your right to express it and your privilege to do so on a platform where people care what you have to say.
  4. Challenging the substance of arguments and criticisms that are leveled against you and your initiatives by people. t’s a marketplace of ideas and you’ve been able to buy a lot of privilege and respect because you have BILLIONS OF DOLLARS and millions of people in our country and world respect the bank account. But it’s still a marketplace of ideas where you are more than capable of competing without having to rely on knee-jerk responses from [real or imagined] followers or ad hominem attacks on the folks who disagree with you.
  5. Tweeting in support of punching nazis. Legit always cool. Maybe just do it once a day to see how people respond? It’s always okay to punch nazis.

THINGS THAT ARE NOT OKAY TO TWEET

  1. Ad hominem attacks against people who criticize, disagree or denigrate you. (You legit called someone who just helped save 12 boys in one of the most awesome examples of human endurance and resilience a pedophile… and then doubled down on it. That’s just fucked up. Maybe time to rethink how you’re using the Twitter.)
  2. Ad hominem attacks against reporters who write negative (and seemingly factually correct) articles about your companies. Going after journalists — especially women journalists — with a rabid following of tech fan boys who have no problem doxxing, verbally assaulting, or threatening people on Twitter seems a bit irresponsible. You know your power… and you’re a nerd… so you should know with great power comes great responsibility — and not just in a messianic, cynical I’m going to save humanity from itself Harry Seldon kind of way.
  3. Ad hominem attacks against company executives that you’re competing against. Okay… sometimes this is great. And you’re really funny, so that works for you. And to be honest, at least you’re not punching down. But maybe there’s enough toxicity in the world already that we can actually just start championing folks who’re trying to do radical things… technologically feasible, provable and disclosable radical things. Ain’t nobody want to cheer on Theranos.
  4. Lying or obfuscating when you’re caught out for things you’ve actually done. Own up to it and explain it.
  5. Rick rolls and the word “lit”. This should go without saying.

Fella, you’re an incredibly powerful person with a significant, and rabid, following on a platform that isn’t known for rewarding perspicacity and reason (maybe using your platform you can change that?).

Typically, these days, you’ve been uniting more people in anger than you have behind your good intentions. As a public figure with an aggressive following, maybe work on increasing the peace?

There’s already one bloviating, egomaniacal, too-powerful, sycophant-encouraging, id and idiocy-inducing jerkface on Twitter. Let them keep that particular throne and maybe keep you keep the toxicity to yourself?

News Source = techcrunch.com

EV startups Alta, Energica, and Zero could reboot the motorcycle industry

Three e-mobility startups are accelerating into the U.S. motorcycle market.

Italy’s Energica and California based Alta Motors and Zero Motorcycles have revved up promotion, distribution, and sales.

You may see their machines zip by on American roads before the big two-wheel gas powered companies get EVs to showroom floors.

These startups could reboot U.S. motorcycle sales while shifting the global motorcycle industry toward electric.

The market

Since the recession, America’s motorcycle sector has been in the doldrums. New bike sales have dropped roughly 50 percent since 2008—with sharp declines in ownership by everyone under 40. [Chart: MOTOSALES] Most of the market is now aging baby-boomers, whose “Live to Ride” days are winding down.

Two bright spots in the space are women and resales. Females are one of the few growing U.S. ownership market segments. And per an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, total motorcycles on the road actually increased from 2008 to 2017, though nearly 75 percent of registrations are for bikes over 7 years old.

So Americans are buying motorcycles, but for some reason not choosing new ones.

On the e-moto front, two-wheel gas manufacturers have mostly stagnated around EV concepts. None of the big names—Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW—offer a production electric street motorcycle in the U.S.

Harley Davidson jolted the industry in February by committing to produce an EV for sale by August 2019.

On U.S. e-motorcycle sales, Global Market Insights (GMI) recently tallied 2017 combined American e-scooter and moto sales at 245K units worth $155M. Following worldwide trends, GMI projects that to grow to 598K and $304M by 2024, with the share of U.S. e-motorcycles to scooters increasing.

The startups and motorcycles

Alta, Energica, and Zero have niche markets for their unique tech and design.

Italy’s Energica is targeting the high performance, higher priced superbike segment. On disrupting existing market leaders such as Ducati or Kawasaki, “Of course we want to do that,” CEO Livia Cevolini told me.

Energica offers three models in the U.S.: the EVA ($26,240), EVA ESSEESSE9 ($24,940) and top line 145 horsepower, 150mph EGO ($26,460).

All three share innovative features, including a patented cooling system to optimize performance of their motors and high energy lithium polymer batteries.

08-01-2017 Torino, calcio campionato serie a Tim, gara Juventus-Bologna, nella foto: .photo damiano fiorntini

Energica’s proprietary Vehicle Control Unit syncs to a digital dash and MYEnergica app. The VCU regulates everything from power output and preset riding modes to ABS and regenerative braking.

As a member of the ChargePoint EV network, Energica integrates the group’s 20 minute DC Fast Charging tech “because if want to ride Saturday with your sport bike friends nobody is going to wait 2 hours for you to charge,” said U.S. CEO Stefano Benatti.

He explained the company is expanding its American dealer network from San Francisco, to Chicago, Florida, and New York. Energica is also entering racing. Its EGO motorcycle was named the class bike for FIM’s 2019 Moto-e World Cup.

Brisbane, California based Alta Motors focuses primarily on producing electric powered off-road machines. Four of Alta’s five models—including the three that are street legal—are specialized for dirt riding. The MX and Redshift MXR motorcycles are full on motocross racers.

The startup has raised $45M and counts Tesla co-founders Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard among its investors.

From a design perspective Alta’s two-wheelers are distinctly minimalist and produce significant power to weight. “We pioneered a new approach to building 18650 based packs,” Chief Product Officer Marc Fenigstein told TechCrunch—referring to the lithium-ion battery cells used by Tesla.

Alta recently launched its second generation—waterproof, 350 volt, 66 pound—battery. “That pack gives us unique…range per pound­­ for a battery pack and unique economics, not just for the world of electric motorcycles…but pretty much everything smaller than a passenger car,” he said.

Fenigstein estimated “the premium off-road motorcycle market is bigger than people think, at [roughly] $2BN.” He would not divulge Alta Motors revenue or sales figures.

Shortly after their EV commitment, Harley Davidson took an (undisclosed) equity stake in Alta, along with a board seat, and entered into a co-development partnership.

Alta’s CEO revealed Harley’s recent EV announcement “isn’t the program we’re working on”, but confirmed the Alta-HD partnership “should result in a motorcycle.”

Of the three startups, Scotts Valley, California based Zero Motorcycles has the widest market and model breadth. The company has six base models, three with dual sport capabilities, distribution in 30 countries, and had sales of $90M in 2017 (according to GMI—Zero wouldn’t confirm revenue data).

“We’re the number one full sized electric motorcycle manufacturer in the world. We sell more every year than all our competitors combined,” CEO Sam Pascheltold TechCrunch—though Zero did not provide exact figures.

Like Alta, Zero manufactures its EVs in the USA. The startup’s ZForce battery connects to an internal magnet driven motor. Both are governed by a proprietary Main Bike Board (MBB) processor “the brain…that houses all of our algorithms,” said Zero’s VP for Product Development Brian Wisman.

“The specific energy that’s achieved on Zero’s lithium ion batteries is far greater than anything achieved by automotive EVs right now,” he said.

Zero motorcycles connect via Bluetooth to an app that allows riders to monitor and adjust performance from devices. The company’s EV’s can be fast charged from charging stations or by plugging into the same home outlet that powers your toaster.

In addition to citizen motorcyclists, Zero has started specialized fleet sales to the U.S. military and police departments.

The ride

I got a chance to test models from all three companies. The most significant distinctions between their e-motos and gas two-wheelers are power delivery and no shifting.

Zero, Alta, and Energica’s machines are fully automatic—no clutch or gears.

Simply flick the on switch and twist the throttle to go. When you do an immediate and uninterrupted stream of voltage powered torque launches you forward. The wind is louder than the motor—though each e-motorcycle has a distinct sound—and when you stop there’s silence.

Energica’s big battery acceleration is akin to striking a lightning bolt to the pavement. Alta’s lightweight RedShift MXR is quick, nimble, and flight capable on a motocross track. And Zero’s SR feels distinctly balanced across power, performance, and rideability. I didn’t find myself misting gas motorcycles at any point of the tests.

The biz play

Energica, Alta, and Zero face their own steep climbs to profitability—and the e-moto space has already seen two flops in Mission Motorcycles’ collapse and Brammo sputtering out.

“We do have a burn rate. Like any sub-scale EV manufacturer such as Tesla, we are pre-profit,” said Zero CEO Sam Paschel. “The way to win is scale.”

And while these electric startups probably can’t revive new U.S. motorcycles sales to seven-figures annually—that would take 12 years of five percent growth—they could play a role in transforming the global motorcycle industry.

As their models close gaps on price, performance, weight, recharge times, and ride distance—Zero, Alta, and Energica could shift the market from gas to electric.

Their tech appeal and simplicity to ride could bring more first-time and younger riders into motorcycling, including women.

This — and Harley’s EV production commitment — could pressure the likes of Honda, Yamaha, and Ducati to produce electric motorcycles sooner.

These factors (and regulatory tailwinds) could thrust Alta, Zero, and Energica into an active space for partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions. Their compact, lightweight technology has application for other non-auto, non-motorcycle e-mobility solutions.

Growing competitive pressure and a shift in two-wheel consumer preferences could also make Energica, Zero, and Alta acquisition targets for mainline motorcycle manufacturers.

That’s a lot of speculation, but the big gas manufacturers are apparently watching. “Since Harley’s EV announcement, three of the big motorcycle companies bought one of our bikes,” an exec from one of the startups told me on background.

“We’d like to think they’re just curious to ride our e-motos, but more than likely it’s to break them down and study the tech,” the exec said.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Why BMW needs to own its customer experience from start to finish

For the last few years now, BMW has wrestled with the question of what it’ll mean to be a luxury car manufacturer in the age of electric cars, autonomous driving and rapidly changing — and increasing — customer expectations. What, after all, makes something the “ultimate driving machine” when the driver eventually stops driving?

For BMW, the answer is a renewed focus on technology and the in-car experience it enables, without forgetting its heritage in performance cars. To discuss the state of the company’s transformation, not just in terms of its cars but also its business model, I sat down with BMW’s outspoken VP of Digital Products and Services Dieter May shortly after the company unveiled the latest version of its in-car operating system.

“We build digital products and services that are meant to help us differentiate our core product, the car and generate revenue,” May said. “But these digital services also provide us with channels and touch points that allow us to now have a direct relationship with the customer on the sales side and talk to the customer directly.”

In the car industry, however, the sales channel has traditionally been the dealership. That’s where you buy the car and that’s where you get it serviced. It’s the dealer who knows (ideally) who you are and what you want. The manufacturer’s role in this model is to build the car, maybe build a bit of a central online presence with a configurator so customers can get some idea of the car’s price — and get out of the way.

That’s not the future that May envisions, though. And neither is it one where the big tech companies like Apple and Google own the driver and the user experience.

“As we’re building the digital products in the car, we are also building out the car as a channel and touchpoint at the same time,” May noted. “We’ll have our app, a personal assistant etc. and with that, we can create a user profile and provide that to our sales teams. Today, virtually every car manufacturer can’t talk directly to the customers because the customer belongs to the dealer, and because the different business units, like after sales, financial services, etc., aren’t unified and all try to talk to the customer separately.”

So for BMW, digital experiences in the car are one thing — and you can expect to hear a bit more about this in the coming weeks and months — but the company is looking beyond this and how it can use this transformation to also create new business opportunities that go beyond maybe selling an in-car Spotify subscription for a few dollars. But what gets May most excited about this is the prospect of being able to talk to the customer throughout the ownership lifecycle. “That’s the cool part, because it allows me to keep the product ‘car’ fresh throughout the lifecycle and manage it like a device,” he said.

The move that May is hinting at here means that BMW wants to not just focus on selling cars but to create a model where it can extract some revenue from users throughout the car’s life. As an example, May noted that BMW may sell you a Mini with a charging package and, in addition, it’ll sell you a flat-rate subscription to charge it. “There are so many opportunities here, but you have to play it smart, both before somebody buys the car and after the sale.

If BMW wants to own the customer, though, that means dealerships have to change. “The dealers will have to grow into a different role over time,” May acknowledged. “We expect and hope that just as we will share data with the dealer, the dealers will share their data with us. A small piece of a larger cake is still better than nothing.”

Customers will still come to the dealer for their service needs, so BMW isn’t cutting them out completely, but the company definitely wants to own a larger part of the relationship with the customer. And at the end of the day, it’s the dealer who represents the manufacturer, whether that’s taking somebody on a test drive or helping the customer take delivery of a car.

“What’s most important for us — and everybody is talking about autonomous driving and electric vehicles and so on — but if we don’t become a customer-centric company, then we are destined to fail. The number of digital elements in our customers’ lives and in the car continues to increase, and if we don’t understand that, we’ve got a problem.”

As for its current in-car systems, May told me that BMW now has more than three million registered users for its ConnectedDrive system, but what’s maybe more important is that the number of user interactions is increasing significantly faster than that. What’s interesting to hear is that the way BMW thinks about these users is pretty much in line with any consumer internet company. The team tracks monthly, weekly and daily active users, for example, and is working to increase those engagement numbers with every update.

One problem car manufacturers have long suffered from is that cars stick around far longer than smartphones, and that the in-car technology can quickly seem out of date. Because it is betting on a connected car that is always connected to the cloud, BMW (and, to be fair, many of its competitors) is now able to update the in-car software. That’s true for new head units, but not necessarily for older ones, and fragmentation remains an issue — though with a standardized model for both BMW and its Mini brand, that’ll likely be less of a problem for newer cars than for those that launched two or three years ago.

“In the car industry, a lot of people think that everything has to be backward-compatible reaching back 20 years, but my take is that we have to be more like smartphone vendors,” said May.

Taking a page from the software industry, the BMW team often launches new features that are akin to minimal viable products. That’s not necessarily something the luxury car buyer is used to, of course, but it does allow the company to test new features and expand on them as they gain traction.

The next concrete step for BMW in this journey is to feature an interactive personal assistant in the car that knows about the customer. May believes this will drive a lot of usage. Although the exact details remain to be seen, the BMW team hinted that we’ll learn more in the fall.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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