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Elon Musk reveals revolutionary Tesla production line – latest updates

Tesla is “trying to make full-size cars in the same way toy cars are made”, boss Elon Musk has said, as the electric car company provided a glimpse into how its tabless batteries are being made.

The “tabless” cells are being developed to allow for significantly more power to be held in them, allowing cars running on them to have 16pc more range than those using traditional batteries.

Mr Musk said battery cell production was the “fundamental rate-limiter slowing down a sustainable energy future”, sharing a short video from Tesla’s Twitter feed which invited applications from those looking to work on battery production in its Giga sites.

“With our giant casing machines, we are literally trying to make full-size cars in the same way toy cars are made,” Mr Musk said.

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10:05AM

Electric car prices ‘must drop below £20,000 to win over drivers’

Tesla’s work to make batteries with a longer range may not be enough in itself to tempt some to opt for electric cars, though, new research has shown. 

As Industry Editor Alan Tovey reports:

“Electric cars need to drop in price by at least a fifth – about £5,000 – to spark sufficient interest from motorists, according to new research.

“The cost of a new zero-emissions car will need to fall below the £20,000 barrier, according to Deloitte, which found that such prices would cause the largest number of drivers to consider buying one of the environmentally-friendly vehicles.

“Some 29pc of drivers said they would splash out on an electric car if it was priced below £20,000, while a more frugal 13pc said they would wait until they dropped to £10,000 or less.”

Read the piece in full here.

9:39AM

Blue skies funding agency ‘could come as soon as summer’

Dominic Cummings

Dominic Cummings

Credit:
HANNAH MCKAY/Reuters

Britain’s “blue skies” research agency could launch before the summer, according to reports, following claims the project had been set back by the departure of Dominic Cummings from Downing Street. 

The agency, which will be modelled on the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is currently in the process of being created.

New Scientist said the Government was keen to have it be split out from the current UKRI organisation, which has been responsible for managing government research funding. It said the Government was planning a recruitment campaign for its first director to happen before summer. 

Sources had previously told the Telegraph that a lot of policy work was still ongoing.

Doubt had been cast over the agency, given it had been the brainchild of Dominic Cummings, who left his Downing Street post last year.

Ian Campbell, the former head of UKRI’s Innovate UK agency, had said: “His leaving may reduce government interest and spend in this area, which would be hugely negative.”

However, insiders had argued that the money was there to set it up. Funding was confirmed in the Spending Review. A spokesman for BEIS said: “The UK’s new blue-skies research agency will have the independence to experiment with new funding models to back cutting-edge, high-risk, high-reward science here in the UK.

“The Government continues to progress plans to establish the agency as soon as possible, backed with at least £800m in funding.”

9:06AM

European data fines spike by 40pc

European data protection fines came in almost 40pc higher last year as regulators took a hard line on breaches. 

Figures out from DLA Piper this morning showed around £245m of fines were imposed for infringements of European data protection laws over 2020, up 39pc on the previous  20-month period since the application of GDPR. 

GDPR laws apply across the European Union, as well as in the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and give more power to consumers over who holds their data and how it is used.

In the UK, for example, British Airways was fined after hundreds of thousands of customers’ financial and personal details were stolen during a cyber attack in 2018.

However, the size of the fine was significantly smaller than had initially been planned. The UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, had laid out plans to fine the airline a record £183.3m – but in October, said BA would now be fined just £20m after speaking to the airline about “the economic impact of Covid-19 on their business before setting a final penalty”.

Ewa Kurowska-Tober, from DLA Piper, said: “Regulators have been testing the limits of their powers this year issuing fines for a wide variety of infringements of Europe’s tough data protection laws.

“But they certainly haven’t had things all their own way with some notable successful appeals and large reductions in proposed fines. Given the large sums involved and the risk of follow-on claims for compensation we expect to see the trend of more appeals and more robust defences of enforcement action continue.” 

8:29AM

Parler re-emerged with help from Russian-owned tech firm

Russian-owned technology company DDoS-Guard helped bring “free speech social network” Parler back online, reports have claimed.

Parler was taken down earlier this month after Amazon said it would no longer be hosting the site following concerns over its content in the wake of the Capitol riots. 

Its app was also removed off Apple and Google stores. Downloads had surged in the wake of the attacks. 

However, the site re-emerged in recent days, with Parler CEO John Matze posting a message saying: “Hello world, is this thing on?”

Parler’s app remained unavailable.

Reuters said the internet protocol address the site used was owned by DDos-Guard, an organisation which offers protection from hackers and is owned by two Russian men.

 DDoS-Guard and Parler did not reply to requests for comment on the report. 

8:04AM

Tesla boss Elon Musk unveils battery production line

Tesla has offered a glimpse into its battery production factories with a short video that boss Elon Musk says shows how the company is “literally trying to make full-size cars in the same way toy cars are made”. 

Tesla’s video showed production lines at its Giga factories, where it is working on battery technology that can power its electric cars.

The “tabless cells” that Tesla is developing are expected to hold significantly more charge and have around 16pc extra range. 

Altogether, Tesla is hoping to increase vehicle range by 54pc, with each kilowatt hour costing about 56pc less.  

The concept behind the cells was first unveiled at Tesla’s “Battery Day” last year, although at the time no batteries were shown. 

Mr Musk said battery cell production was the “fundamental ratelimiter slowing down a sustainable energy future”. 

7:31AM

Five things to start your day 

1) Social media giants criticised for ‘double standards’ after failing to ban populists overseas​  The sites have been accused of inconsistent moderation over which profiles they take down. 

2) The high-stakes race to create the ultimate quantum computer Quantum computing stands to leap forward this year, with US and China leading the race.

3) New electric car battery can charge in 10 minutes and keep going for 250 miles, scientists say​ The new lithium ion phosphate batteries can quickly heat up and cool down – which is the key to rapid charging and long life.

4) CPS writes official guide to online dating for prosecutors​ A raft of jargon is explained in a new official guide to online dating for prosecutors to help them relate to sexual assault victims.

5) Epik: The domain registrar keeping extremist websites online De-platformed sites are finding safe harbour with a Washington based web hosting company.

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