Tech Tip: Deciding to Rent or Buy Your Office

You can get Microsoft Office on an annual subscription plan that keeps you up to date with new features or buy it outright with far fewer updates.


May 14, 2018

Sources: New York Times

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  • You're cleaning your kitchen wrong

    You're cleaning your kitchen wrong

    dirtiest, germiest room in your home. Sure, you can bleach your countertops and wash the floors—but what about your appliances? </p><p>They&#39;re probably gross, and you need to work on that.</p><p>I always dread cleaning my appliances, but I also really hate the idea that they’re filthy. You probably feel the same way. So, it’s time to clean them. Here&#39;s a step-by-step guide. Grab your rubber gloves, and always check your user manual and follow whatever it says about cleaning.</p><p>I kind of feel bad for my toaster, because I rarely think about cleaning it. But the other day, I accidentally moved the toaster, and I was shocked to see the trail of crumbs that followed. I knew I had to clean it, and I figured it would be simple. Here’s are the steps.</p><p>Another case of something I thought was already clean, but it wasn’t. If your dishwasher has a sanitize cycle, follow the directions and use it. Otherwise, use one of these methods.</p><p>Oven cleaning is a task I’m so averse to, I always put it off way too long. There’s no easy, low effort way to do it (unless you have a steam-cleaning oven), so just pick a method that you can deal with. Oh, and if you have an oven thermometer. a broiler pan, or a pizza stone in there, take it out before you start.</p><p>If you don&#39;t mind using chemicals, this method will get your oven clean. Try to find a brand without fumes.</p><p>No matter what they tell you, these are not so easy to keep clean. But you can&#39;t delay, because that makes it much harder. I&#39;ve enjoyed using the little scraper that came with the stove, especially when there&#39;s a burned-on spot. If you use it very carefully, it quickly becomes your best stovetop spot cleaning buddy. But you need more than that to get the stovetop clean.</p><p>Do this before you go grocery shopping, or even before you go on vacation—anytime the fridge is relatively empty. You can unplug the fridge, if you’re ambitious. I just work fast, closing the door when I can. </p><p>The laundry room is probably not as clean as it needs to be, considering that I wash clothes, towels, and bedsheets there. I always clean the lint filter in my dryer, but that is not nearly enough. I have to clean our washing machine, too.</p><p>Don’t plan to clean all of your appliances in one day, even if you have help. But when it&#39;s done, you’ll still feel a sense of accomplishment when you&#39;ve completed the dreaded appliance cleaning chores. Maybe it will feel so good, you’ll clean them more often.</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • Google employees resign in protest over controversial Pentagon AI project, report says

    Google employees resign in protest over controversial Pentagon AI project, report says

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p>A look at why Google employees are resigning in protest over a contract with the Pentagon</p><p>Project Maven, which harnesses AI to improve drone targeting, has been a source of concern for a number of Google employees. Last month, over 3,100 Google workers signed a letter to the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai asking him to pull the tech giant out of the project.</p><p>Announced last year, Project Maven is designed to swiftly pull important data from vast quantities of imagery.</p><p>The resigning employees’ concerns ranges from ethical worries about the use of AI in drone warfare to qualms about Google’s political decisions and a potential erosion of user trust, according to Gizmodo.</p><p>The tech news website cites an internal Google document containing written accounts from many of the employees that details their decisions to leave. Multiple sources have reportedly shared the document’s contents with Gizmodo.</p><p>The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm is said to be using machine learning to help the Department of Defense classify images captured by drones.</p><p>The Department of Defense has said that its workforce is overwhelmed by incoming data, particularly video imagery.</p><p>Google has not yet responded to a request for comment on this story from Fox News.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • This pillow connects to your phone&mdash;have we taken &apos;smart&apos; products too far?

    This pillow connects to your phone&mdash;have we taken &apos;smart&apos; products too far?

    ng, and admittedly I own a large amount of these gadgets.</p><p>A few years ago, I started looking into smart sleep trackers because I am a data hog and love to look over stupid data sets on the train into work. And I also tend to sleep like crap and want to change that. After looking around for a bit, I gave up—straps across my chest and headbands are just not my thing. </p><p>The pillow itself is pretty large compared to a standard pillow, but being able to remove or add the filling should let you be able to adjust its fullness to what you prefer. That being said, smaller pillow cases won’t fit if they’re not stretchy like Jersey cotton. However, the Zeeq comes in its own case made with a hypoallergenic material called Tencel Lyocell, which looks and feels pretty nice. It will also limit bacteria growth and help keep the pillow at a decent temperature. </p><p>When you fire up the app for bedtime, it will ask you some simple questions about your day, e.g. activity level, diet, and stress. I am not sure what this information ties into, exactly, but you can skip it if you want. However, this leads to another problem I have. Once you fill out that info and select your optional music that&#39;s it, the pillow will register that you are asleep. </p><p>Another nice feature is the anti-snore, which uses a mic built into the pillow to listen for a user-generated sound above a set volume (which you can customize). It then uses a gentle vibration motor to vibrate till you turn over and, hopefully, stop snoring. I can’t really vouch for the success of this, but my partner has said my snoring hasn’t woken her up as much lately. </p><p>The vibration motors will also kick into high gear if you use the app to set a wake alarm, which will let you pick the strength of the vibration. Kudos to the way they explain decibels in the app for those of us who aren’t audiophiles. By using little icons of things like a drill, a motorcycle, and so on to compare decibel number to a relatable noise volume, it’s a lot easier to understand the information. I can see how that could potentially be confusing since not every drill, motorcycle or TV sounds the same, but at least it’s a good ballpark.</p><p>All I really wanted was a simple tracker that works for me and lets me keep an eye on what my weekly sleep is like. The Zeeq gets really darn close to this, but it still feels like it’s a first generation or beta phase. For the $200 price point, I think it&#39;s definitely on the expensive side, but adding “smart” to anything always adds 10 percent of the base cost too. </p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • Who’s next? As it snubs R. Kelly, Spotify opens a moral can of worms

    Who’s next? As it snubs R. Kelly, Spotify opens a moral can of worms

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p> File photo: U.S. vocalist, songwriter and producer R. Kelly performs on the final day of the St Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival at Pigeon Island National Landmark, May 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Andrea De Silva) </p><p>While Spotify’s decision to remove Kelly and XXXTentacion’s (birth name: Jahseh Onfroy) music from all Spotify playlists — this includes algorithmic playlists like Discover Weekly in addition to curated playlists — is reasonably justifiable from a moral standpoint, it raises a new set of questions surrounding the role of streaming platforms in the public consumption of music, questions which could conceivably apply elsewhere in the entertainment world.</p><p>Onfroy’s fame, as with many of his contemporaries, derives somewhat from a perception of honesty, even if that honesty depicts actions typically considered immoral. The removal of his music from Spotify playlists begs questions of subjectivity; after all, rappers (and musicians in general) aren’t necessarily known as paragons of virtue. Other young stars, like 6ix9ine (sometimes stylized as Tekashi69) — who pled guilty to&nbsp;one felony count of Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance in 2015 and later admitted it was “for [the benefit of his] image” — and Bobby Shmurda, currently serving 7 years in prison for conspiracy to murder, have seen no such sanctions from Spotify.</p><p>Who decides which artists (and which songs) are in violation of Spotify’s new policy? At risk of sounding dramatic, there’s no rubric for morality. You can’t say “Song X has Y curse words in it, this is where we draw the line” without upsetting certain listeners, whose outrage might well be justified. Is it even Spotify’s right to make these decisions? Last year, Spotify removed entirely a number of musical groups promoting white supremacy — a choice few would argue, I’m sure — in addition to some metal bands with offensive names (like Infant Annihilator). Yet those decisions came before the official policy’s implementation, and further, some bands with equally offensive names (see: Anal Cunt, Dying Fetus) went unscathed. What gives? Some have speculated that those bands’ associations with major labels tied Spotify’s hands.</p><p>Perhaps more interesting is the potential for Spotify’s policy to promote similar changes within the entertainment industry. Imagine if Netflix decided to remove all films produced by the Weinstein Company or all of Louis C.K.’s comedy shows from its library.</p><p>I can’t stand XXXTentacion, or 6ix9ine. They strike me as immature attention hogs, lazy lyricists, and generally reprehensible human beings. Similarly, I don’t foresee myself getting down to R. Kelly tunes anytime soon, which saddens me, because I did like some of his stuff. That said, I’m not sure how I feel about Spotify’s actions.</p><p>Do I think the removal of these artists from certain playlists will impact their bottom lines? Not particularly. In fact, the extra publicity might be a boon for younger artists who clearly subscribe to the “any press is good press” school of thought. Still, the possibility remains for abuse of such policies, both by Spotify and by any other company that follows suit. I encourage listeners to consider the ethical impact of their fandom and to ignore crappy “artists” like 6ix9ine altogether, but far be it from me to decide who you can or can’t listen to.</p><p>Spotify built a platform which has become a premier destination for music discovery, but to borrow the words of one Uncle Ben: With great power comes great responsibility. Use it wisely.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • iPhone SE 2 faces major delay, report says

    iPhone SE 2 faces major delay, report says

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p> File photo: Apple Vice President Greg Joswiak introduces the iPhone SE during an event at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, March 21, 2016. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam) </p><p>It looks like the new low-cost iPhone SE model from Apple won't hit store shelves as soon as expected.</p><p>According to that report, Apple has some decisions to make before the iPhone SE 2 can enter production. The tech giant has reportedly &quot;not yet made a final decision&quot; on the iPhone SE 2's design and is currently testing several prototypes to arrive at a choice. Those prototypes run the gamut from an iPhone SE-lookalike to a device that features a big, 6-inch screen, according to the report.</p><p>The report added that all of the prototypes Apple is testing for the iPhone SE 2 to come with a notch like the one you'd find in the iPhone X. The prototypes also reportedly support Apple's 3D face scanner Face ID.</p><p>The addition of Face ID and the notch suggests Apple is considering a major revision to the iPhone SE 2's design. And if the company moves to a 6-inch model, it's entirely possible that the iPhone SE 2 could come with a much higher price.</p><p>But alas, this is all just speculation. And like every Apple rumor, it should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt until we know more.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • President Trump trying to bring ZTE back to life

    President Trump trying to bring ZTE back to life

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p> President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd's applause during a Republican campaign rally Thursday, May 10, 2018, in Elkhart, Ind. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) &nbsp;(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.) </p><p>It looks like ZTE was just thrown a lifeline by President Trump.</p><p>ZTE has more than 75,000 employees and is the fourth largest phone maker in the U.S.</p><p>&quot;The US Congress Dept opened itself up to an appeal so there was always hope that a deal could be worked out,&quot; said Avi Greengart, research director of consumer platforms and devices at GlobalData. &quot;I fully expected China to apply political pressure to get the denial order lifted. What I don't think anybody expected was for Donald Trump to personally step in and stump for the Chinese worker.&quot;</p><p>The message from President Trump comes after ZTE faced several other obstacles, including having the heads of the FBI and CIA warning against buying phones from either ZTE or Huawei.</p><p>&quot;China and the United States are working well together on trade, but past negotiations have been so one sided in favor of China, for so many years, that it is hard for them to make a deal that benefits both countries,&quot; wrote Trump. &quot;But be cool, it will all work out!&quot;</p><p>However, Trump's involvement doesn't necessarily guarantee that ZTE is out of the woods.</p><p>&quot;There are plenty of routes that the Commerce Department can take to lift the Denial Order, so this could have a happy ending for ZTE and its US suppliers,&quot; said Greengart. &quot;However, other branches of the US government are still claiming that ZTE is a security risk, so ZTE's phone business in the US may still be in jeopardy, even if ZTE is allowed to buy us technology and resume selling infrastructure and devices in other markets.&quot;</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • iPhone battery dead again? 7 surprising ways you're draining power

    iPhone battery dead again? 7 surprising ways you're draining power

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p>CEO Tim Cook says an update to the iOS operating system will give users more information on the health of their smartphone&#x27;s battery and also let people turn off any software slowdowns. </p><p>So, before you panic about finding available outlets or stocking up on portable power banks, take a look at this list and see if you're really the cause of your iPhone battery woes.</p><p>Here are seven ways you're destroying your smartphone's battery life.</p><p>Have you ever noticed your iPhone dies quicker in the winter and summer? You're not alone. That's because using your phone operates best at&nbsp;62&deg; to 72&deg; F. If your device is stored in temperatures 95&deg; F or higher, then your battery could be permanently damaged.</p><p>If your battery is stored in temperatures below 32&deg; F, you'll also notice a decrease in battery life. However, this condition is only temporary and the percentage of battery life will rise when it returns within normal temperature range.</p><p>You may turn to your computer to plug in your iPhone. That's fine&nbsp;— just make sure the device is awake. In fact, it's even better if the computer is plugged in and active when charging your phone.</p><p>When you exit an app, you probably think it's no longer using your phone's energy&nbsp;— but it is. Even though you close an app on your phone, that doesn't mean it's not still running in the background. To avoid this, turn off the refresh option by going to Settings, General and then switch off Background App Refresh.</p><p>Going wireless is great for you, but it takes a toll on your battery. If you're not on an important phone call or listening to music, switch Bluetooth off.&nbsp;Go to Settings, Bluetooth and switch it off.</p><p>Be picky with the apps that track your every move. To customize which apps store your location, head to Settings,&nbsp;Privacy, and Location Services and restrict apps from finding you&nbsp;— or even better, turn it off altogether.</p><p>Dim your iPhone screen when your power is running low. If you don't want to navigate your phone in the dark, however, you can turn on Auto-Brightness, which allows your screen to adjust to the lighting automatically. Go to Settings, General, Accessibility, Display Acommodations and turn Auto-Brightness on. You can also adjust it yourself by swiping up on your phone and choosing your own brightness by moving the sun icon.</p><p>Well, then you may want to schedule an appointment with your local Apple store.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • Tech Tip: Deciding to Rent or Buy Your Office

    Tech Tip: Deciding to Rent or Buy Your Office

    an that keeps you up to date with new features or buy it outright with far fewer updates.</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • Navy to explode bombs near new USS Ford carrier and finalize weapons

    Navy to explode bombs near new USS Ford carrier and finalize weapons

    or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p><p> File photo: (April 14, 2017) The aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk for the first time. (U.S. Navy photo by Matt Hildreth courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries/Released)  (©Newport News Shipbuilding 2017) &nbsp;(©Newport News Shipbuilding 2017) </p><p>The U.S. Navy is planning to finalize weapons integration on its new USS Ford carrier and explode bombs in various sea conditions near the ship to prepare for major combat on the open seas, service officials said.</p><p>Service weapons testers will detonate a wide range of bombs, to include a variety of underwater sea mines to assess the carrier’s ability to withstand enemy attacks “Shock Trials,” as they are called, are typically one of the final stages in the Navy process designed to bring warships from .development to operational deployment.</p><p>“The USS Gerald R. Ford will conduct further trails and testing, culminating in full-ship shock trials. The ship will then work up for deployment in parallel with its initial operational testing and evaluation,” William Couch, an official with Naval Sea Systems Command, told Warrior Maven.</p><p>Testing how the carrier can hold up to massive nearby explosions will follow what’s called a Post Shakedown Availability involving a final integration of various combat systems.</p><p>“The Post Shakedown Availability is planned for 12 months, with the critical path being Advanced Weapons Elevator construction and Advanced Arresting Gear water twister upgrades,” Couch added.</p><p>The Navy’s decision to have shock trials for its first Ford-Class carrier, scheduled for deployment in 2022, seems to be of particular relevance in today’s modern threat environment. In a manner far more threatening than most previously known threats to Navy aircraft carriers, potential adversaries have in recent years been designing and testing weapons specifically engineered to destroy US carriers.</p><p>One such threat is the Chinese built DF-21D “carrier killer” anti-ship missile. This weapon, now actively being developed and tested by the Chinese military, can reportedly hit moving carriers at ranges up to 900 nautical miles.</p><p>Accordingly, unlike the last 15 years of major US military counterinsurgency operations where carriers operated largely uncontested, potential future conflict will likely require much more advanced carrier defenses, service developers have explained.</p><p>A 2007 Department of Defense-directed Shock Trials analysis by the non-profit MITRE corporation explains that many of the expected or most probable threats to warships come from “non-contact explosions where a high-pressure wave is launched toward the ship.”</p><p>MITRE’s report, interestingly, also identifies the inspiration for Shock Trials as one originating from World War II.</p><p>“During World War II, it was discovered that although such “near miss” explosions do not cause serious hull or superstructure damage, the shock and vibrations associated with the blast nonetheless incapacitate the ship, by knocking out critical components and systems,” the MITRE assessment, called “Navy Ship Underwater Shock Prediction and Testing Capability Study” states.</p><p>The MITRE analysis further specifies that, following a nearby explosion, the bulkhead of a ship can oscillate, causing the ship to move upward.</p><p>“Strong localized deformations are seen in the deck modes, which different parts of the decks moving at different frequencies from each other,” MITRE writes.</p><p>The existence and timing of USS Ford Shock Trials has been the focus of much consideration. Given that post Shock Trial evaluations and damage assessments can result in a need to make modifications to the ship, some Navy developers wanted to save Shock Trials for the second Ford-class carrier, the USS Kennedy. The rationale, according to multiple reports, was to ensure the anticipated USS Ford deployment time frame was not delayed.</p><p>However, a directive from Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shannahan, following input from the Senate Armed Services Committee, ensured that shock trials will occur on schedule for the USS Ford.</p><p>Data analysis following shock trials has, over the years, shown that even small ship component failures can have large consequences.</p><p>“A component shock-qualification procedure which ensures the survivability of 99% of the critical components still is not good enough to ensure a ship’s continued operational capability in the aftermath of a nearby underwater explosion,” MITRE writes.</p><p>Also, given that the USS Ford is introducing a range of as-of-yet unprecedented carrier-technologies, testing the impact of nearby attacks on the ship may be of greater significance than previous shock trials conducted for other ships.</p><p>For instance, Ford-class carriers are built with a larger flight deck able to increase the sortie-generation rate by 33-percent, an electromagnetic catapult to replace the current steam system and much greater levels of automation or computer controls throughout the ship. The ship is also engineered to accommodate new sensors, software, weapons and combat systems as they emerge, Navy officials have said.</p><p>The USS Ford is built with four 26-megawatt generators, bringing a total of 104 megawatts to the ship. This helps support the ship's developing systems such as its Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, and provides power for future systems such as lasers and rail-guns, many Navy senior leaders have explained.</p><p>In addition, stealth fighter jets, carrier-launched drones, V-22 Ospreys, submarine-detecting helicopters, laser weapons and electronic jamming are all deemed indispensable to the Navy’s now unfolding future vision of carrier-based air power, senior service leaders said.</p><p>Several years ago, the Navy announced that the V-22 Osprey will be taking on the Carrier On-Board Delivery mission wherein it will carry forces and equipment on and off carriers while at sea.</p><p>However, despite the emergence of weapons such as DF-21D, senior Navy leaders and some analysts have questioned the ability of the weapon like this to actually hit and destroy carriers on the move at 30-knots from 1,000 miles away.</p><p>Targeting, guidance on the move, fire control, ISR and other assets are necessary for these kinds of weapons to function as advertised. GPS, inertial measurement units, advanced sensors and dual-mode seekers are part of a handful of fast-developing technologies able to address some of these challenges, yet it does not seem clear that long-range anti-ship missiles such as the DF-21D will actually be able to destroy carriers on the move at the described distances.</p><p>Furthermore, the Navy is rapidly advancing ship-based defensive weapons, electronic warfare applications, lasers and technologies able to identify and destroy approaching anti-ship cruise missile from ranges beyond the horizon. One such example of this includes the now-deployed Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air system, or NIFC-CA. This technology, which travels in carrier-strike groups, combines ship-based radar and fire control systems with an aerial sensor and dual-mode SM-6 missile to track and destroy approaching threats from beyond-the-horizon.</p><p>The Navy is also developing a new carrier-launched tanker, called the MQ-25A Stingray, to extend the combat range of key carrier air-wing assets such as F/A-18 Super Hornets and F-35C Joint Strike Fighters. The range or combat radius of carrier-based fighter jets, therefore, is fundamental to this equation. If an F-35C or F/A-18 can, for instance, only travel roughly 500 or 600 miles to attack an inland enemy target such as air-defenses, installations and infrastructure – how can it effectively project power if threats force it to operate 1,000-miles off shore?</p><p>Therein lies the challenge and the requisite need for a drone tanker able to refuel these carrier-launched aircraft mid-flight, giving them endurance sufficient to attack from longer distances.</p><p>As for a maiden deployment of the USS Ford slated for 2022, Navy officials tell Warrior Maven the ship will likely be sent to wherever it may most be in need, such as the Middle East or Pacific.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. &copy;2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  •  Race is on to set up Europe's electric car charging network

    Race is on to set up Europe's electric car charging network

    se in uncertainty — hunting for that one lonely station at the back of a rest-area parking lot and hoping it's working.</p><p> In Europe, some of the biggest automakers are out to remove the anxiety from the electric car consumer experience and encourage sales of electric vehicles by building a highway network of fast charging stations. The idea is to let drivers plug in, charge in minutes instead of hours, and speed off on their way — from Norway to southern Italy and Portugal to Poland.</p><p> Much is at stake for the automakers, which include Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler and Ford. Their joint venture, Munich-based Ionity, is pushing to roll out its network in time to service the next generation of battery-only cars coming on the market starting next year. They're aiming to win back some of the market share for electric luxury car sales lost to Tesla, which has its own, proprietary fast-charging network.</p><p> Despite a slower than expected start, Ionity CEO Michael Hajesch told The Associated Press in an interview he's "confident" the company will reach its goal of 400 ultra-fast charging stations averaging six charging places each by 2020.</p><p> The idea is "to be able to drive long distances with battery electric vehicles, across Europe and to have the same experience at each station, meaning a very easy and comfortable customer journey," Hajesch said during a conversation at the company's Munich headquarters near the 1972 Olympic stadium.</p><p> The idea is to break electric cars out of the early adopter niche, in which they are charged slowly overnight at home and used for short commutes.</p><p> "The sites we are looking for are really the A-sites," he said, "directly at the autobahn. Not down the road, not driving five kilometers into the next industrial area and finding a charging station somewhere, without light, or any amenities around, but right at the autobahn."</p><p> "If you're going from Hamburg to Munich, because it's a weekend trip to friends, typically you do not have much time," he said. So what counts will be "the speed of recharging your vehicles, and at the same time finding maybe some amenities: maybe a coffee, getting a newspaper or whatever."</p><p> Ionity opened its first station April 17 at a rest stop off the A61 highway near the small town of Niederzissen, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Bonn in western Germany. The six high-speed chargers are operating in "welcome mode," meaning they're free until May 31. After that, Ionity plans to charge for the power, which it seeks to obtain from renewable sources. Ionity has agreements for some 300 sites, working with fueling station and rest stop landlords.</p><p> More charging availability is what it will take to get an environmentally aware car buyer like Rainer Hoedt to choose a battery-only vehicle. The 58-year-old Berlin geography teacher is a proud owner of a Mitsubishi Outlander, a plug-in hybrid that combines internal combustion with a battery he can charge overnight. The battery-only range of 50 kilometers (30 miles) lets him drive emissions free for daily trips at home.</p><p> Hoedt had to drive on internal combustion before finding a lone charging station as he approached his destination, using the website. "It was right next to the highway, there was one charging station and we were lucky that it was free," he said. But he couldn't find a charging station he could use by the seashore. On the way back, he was able to charge at a rest stop, but only by asking a non-electric car owner to move his vehicle away from the lone charging pole. A battery-only car would have never made it home.</p><p> And he couldn't use one to visit his cousin 650 kilometers (400 miles) away in Rosenheim.</p><p> "I looked at the option... The infrastructure is still so bad, I just don't want to risk that I get stranded," he said. "Once the infrastructure gets better, that might be my next car."</p><p> In both the U.S. and Europe, the situation is roughly similar: More chargers available in jurisdictions where government strongly backs electric vehicles, such as California, Norway or the Netherlands. Elsewhere, chargers get can harder to find for long stretches along rural highways.</p><p> Volkswagen, which agreed to invest in low-emission driving to settle charges it cheated on diesel emissions, is building 300 highway charging sites in the U.S. by June 2019 through its Electrify America unit. Japan has 40,000 charging points, exceeding its 34,000 gas stations, according to Nissan — but many of those are private garages.</p><p> Ionity is counting on the large 350-kilowatt capacity of its publicly available chargers — almost three times the 120 kilowatts per vehicle of Tesla's Superchargers. No car currently on the market can make full use of 350 kilowatt charging capacity. But they're coming: in 2019 Porsche plans to introduce the Mission E. Porsche says that the sleek, low-slung sports car will take 15 minutes to charge for 400 kilometers (250 miles) more driving.</p><p> The automakers "are late, but it's better than it was... it remains the case that without Elon Musk the carmakers would not have realized this."</p>

    1 May 14, 2018


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