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Rivian aims to attract customers who own gas-powered Ford and Toyota trucks and SUVs by offering a $5,000 discount on an electric upgrade

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Rivian is providing incentives of up to $5,000 on its electric vehicles (EVs) and a complimentary year of charging to clients who are prepared to exchange their conventional pickups and SUVs.

The agreement, which commenced on April 22, specifically targets the top-selling and widely available gasoline-powered trucks and SUVs now available in the market, such as the Ford F-150, Toyota Tacoma, and Jeep Wrangler. Rivian is actively targeting German automakers Audi and BMW. The price reduction ranges from $1,000 to $5,000, contingent upon the specific model. Rivian is providing price reductions on three variations of the R1T pickup vehicle and one variant of the R1S SUV.

The company advertised the “electric upgrade offer” on Monday through an email sent to potential clients as well as through advertisements on social media. Automakers such as Ford, Lucid, and Tesla have lowered pricing for premium and luxury electric vehicles (EVs) due to a decrease in demand within the sector. In response to unpredictable demand, numerous traditional automakers have also reduced their intentions to transition their product offerings exclusively to battery-electric vehicles. Gasoline-powered automobiles and hybrid cars are currently popular again due to their consistent sales and profitable profit margins.

Rivian’s projected production of around 57,000 electric vehicles in 2024 will not surpass the sales of the current top-selling trucks in the market. However, this strategy has the potential to attract a new group of customers.

Only individuals who possess particular gasoline-fueled vehicles will qualify for the trade-in. The vehicles encompassed in this category are Ford F-150 trucks from the year 2018 or later, Ford Explorer, Ford Expedition, and Bronco, excluding the Bronco Sport model. Additional qualifying trade-ins include the Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Highlander, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, and Jeep Gladiator manufactured in 2018 or later. The Audi Q5, Q7, and Q8, as well as the BMW X3, X5, and X7, are also eligible.

The offer is applicable to consumers interested in either leasing or purchasing a vehicle, with the condition that they must have the vehicle by June 30th. Rivian is also including a complimentary year of charging at any Rivian-owned charger in the United States as an additional incentive. The availability of Rivian fast-chargers, known as the Rivian Adventure Network, is significantly lower compared to the extensive Tesla Supercharging network. The company has implemented 433 rapid-charging stations at 71 locations, spanning across Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and the East Coast. Rivian has deployed 482 Level 2 chargers, known as Waypoints, at 180 locations around the United States.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

Technology

A first-of-its-kind model suggests that warp drives might be possible using real physics

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A team of researchers has put forth the argument that it may not be necessary to surpass the boundaries of physics in order to achieve warp speed. In the past, all methods for achieving this incredibly fast propulsion have relied on unconventional energy sources that go against the laws of physics. However, a recent study suggests that it might be feasible to construct a warp drive that operates without relying on imaginary fuel.

Within the realm of science fiction, warp drives allow spacecraft to travel at the speed of light by manipulating spacetime, compressing it ahead of the ship and expanding it behind, resulting in the creation of a warp bubble. Commonly linked with Star Trek, this technology has enabled the inclusion of numerous intergalactic adventures within a single episode and has motivated many physicists to develop their own practical designs.

In 1994, the renowned Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre came up with the groundbreaking Alcubierre Drive. One limitation of this model, though, is that it relies on the use of a hypothetical concept known as “negative energy,”  which has yet to be detected in the actual universe.

According to a new study, the authors assert that they have mathematical proof that warp drives can be constructed without the use of “exotic” fuels, thus overcoming this minor inconvenience. Based on their calculations, it is possible to construct the interplanetary transport system using a combination of conventional and innovative gravitational methods. This would involve creating a warp bubble that can efficiently transport objects at high speeds, all within the limits of our current understanding of physics.

“The researchers state that the solution requires the combination of a stable matter shell with a shift vector distribution that closely resembles established warp drive solutions like the Alcubierre metric,” the researchers explain. Dr. Jared Fuchs, the study author, has expressed the groundbreaking nature of these findings. According to him, the research demonstrates that warp drives may no longer be confined to the realm of science fiction.

Regrettably, according to the experts in the field, the warp drive they have developed may not have the capability to achieve light speed. However, it does have the potential to come remarkably close. Essentially, the plan revolves around developing warp drives that can behave like regular matter, thereby eliminating the need for the hypothetical dark energy.

“Even though this design would still need a significant amount of energy, it shows that warp effects can be achieved without the need for unusual types of matter,” stated Dr. Christopher Helmerich, one of the authors of the study. “These findings open up possibilities for future advancements in reducing energy requirements for warp drives,” he said.

The study has been published in the prestigious journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.

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Engineering

Emerging seabed batteries offer a more cost-effective solution for energy storage

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BaroMar, an energy storage company, is getting ready to conduct tests on a unique form of grid-level energy storage that utilizes water as its primary component. If it proves effective, this method could offer a more cost-effective solution for maintaining stability in renewable energy sources over extended durations.

The world is making progress towards zero-carbon energy options, but the path ahead is far from simple. In order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the majority of the world’s electricity, approximately 80 percent, will need to be generated from sources such as solar and wind power.

Some countries, such as Portugal, Denmark, and Namibia, have already made significant progress towards achieving zero-carbon grids, which may seem impossible to some. Yet, in order to be universally useful, there is a need for advancements in energy storage and release methods to meet the growing demand caused by these emerging technologies. These demands will differ based on location. Some locations may require a consistent supply, even on overcast days, while others may have fluctuating demand throughout the day.

During the winter or other seasonal low points, it is important to store energy for times when wind power cannot compensate for the decrease in solar power.

This is where BaroMar’s innovative compressed air energy storage (CAES) alternative could prove to be extremely useful.

The technology for CAES has been available for approximately four decades and is widely recognized as a cost-effective method for energy storage, contributing to grid stability. In the conventional approach, the procedure entails the compression and storage of surrounding air in subterranean reservoirs, such as caves or abandoned salt mines. When energy is required, it can be harnessed by utilizing turbines that power a generator to reclaim it.

BaroMar is confident that their innovative approach can surpass the effectiveness of the traditional method and efficiently store energy for extended periods using simple equipment.

Water is the solution. The company intends to establish plants in coastal areas that have access to deep water. The pressure generated from this water will be utilized to replace the high-pressure tanks typically used in conventional CAES systems. This method is significantly more cost-effective.

Instead of envisioning sleek and advanced tanks of pressurized air, picture massive concrete and steel tanks anchored by cages filled with rocks. These would be placed underwater at depths ranging from 200 to 700 meters (650 to 2,300 feet).

Every tank is equipped with water-permeable valves that initially fill them with seawater. Then, during the storage process, the compressor and generator located on land transfer air into the tanks through a hose at varying pressures, typically ranging from 20 to 70 bar (290 to 1,015 psi), depending on the depth. As the air enters the tanks, it expels water.

Then, when energy needs to be extracted, the air is directed back up the hose to power a thermal recovery system and a turbo expander, which in turn drives a generator.

At the sea floor, the tanks are refilled with water and patiently await future utilization.

This system, particularly the tanks, is reported to be much more cost-effective to manufacture due to the stabilizing effect of the pressure from the seawater.

“The tanks are engineered to withstand the various forces exerted by the marine environment, including compressed air and hydrostatic water pressure, during installation and operation,” a representative from Jacobs, in collaboration with BaroMar, clarified to CleanTechnica.

Jacobs is working on a pilot project for the new system to be installed in Cyprus. The goal is to achieve a round-trip efficiency of approximately 70 percent, which refers to the combined loss of energy when adding and withdrawing from an energy store. If accomplished, this would be comparable in efficiency to the world’s largest conventional CAES station in China.

Unfortunately, this water-based pilot project will fall short of matching the energy storage capabilities of the Chinese plants. It will have an initial storage capacity of approximately 4 MWh, which is significantly smaller than the 100-MW, 400 MW/h capacity in Zhangjiakou, China.

Even though it has a lot of potential, there will be problems. These are for things that are meant to stay underwater for decades. To make sure the tanks can be built and work at great depths, they need to go through a lot of geophysical research, feasibility studies, and geotechnological and bathymetric surveys.

However, if BaroMar is right, this new system would be very appealing to many cities around the world. It could also be a much cheaper and easier-to-expand solution. Let us see how things go.

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Space Exploration

What caused the aurorae to be visible at such distant locations from the poles over the weekend?

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Mid-latitude stargazers had a delightful weekend. The recent period of heightened solar activity reached its peak with an extraordinary auroral phenomenon, visible even at latitudes where such a spectacle is typically not observed. Social media was abundantly filled with pictures, likely due to the weekend. Many individuals expressed curiosity about the occurrence and its frequency.

According to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, the Earth recently encountered a severe geomagnetic storm in the G5 category, which was the most intense event since Halloween 2003. Previously, the event was sufficiently intense to result in generator malfunctions in both Sweden and South Africa. Typically, there are four occurrences of these events during each solar cycle.

There are 11 years in a solar cycle. The Sun’s activity has a high point called the maximum and a low point called the minimum. We are getting close to Cycle 25’s peak (or we are already there). In every case, the peak is seen after the event. If you’re good at math, you might have noticed that 2003 was more than 11 years ago. But Solar Cycle 24 was very different and not very strong, so it didn’t cause any G5 or G4 storms, even though each cycle usually brings 100 G4 storms.

As the Sun’s activity rises, sunspot regions appear that are a little cooler than the rest of the surface. They have very strong magnetic fields, and how these magnetic fields behave is what causes the major space weather events. A sunspot called AR3664, which is 16 times as wide as Earth, is what caused the aurora this weekend.

“One of the most basic things about magnetic field lines is that they usually can’t cross each other.” Thus, as they twist and knot, they store energy like a spring that is wound up. “Magnetic reconnection” means that these fields loosen up quickly, which can send explosive energy into space.” In a statement, the scientist in charge of space weather, Dr. John Morgan,.

Sunspots can be the cause of solar flares, which are powerful light flashes. They reach Earth eight minutes later and ionize atoms in the upper atmosphere, making it puff up. They block radio signals, mess up GPS, and put stress on satellites. AR3664 sent out an X5.8 flare, which was the second strongest of this cycle so far.

But it’s not just flares from the sun. Space weather also includes coronal mass ejections (CMEs). These are bursts of plasma moving very quickly from the Sun. At the moment, charged particles are hitting Earth, but CMEs have a lot more power. It takes a very long time for these particles to move at this speed. When they get to Earth, they follow the lines of the magnetic field and crash into the atmosphere near the poles.

Most of the time,. Northern Lights were seen in mainland Australia, Tuscany, Italy, and Southern California, which are all very far from the poles. They could be seen even in places with a lot of light pollution. That’s because a lot of plasma came in. Earth was in the right spot at the right time for several CMEs to happen at the same time. Three of them came together to form a “cannibal CME” because the last one the Sun sent out was faster than the other two and ate them up.

Some of that plasma made it to Earth and hit the atmosphere at lower latitudes more often. This meant that aurorae could be seen from many places that don’t normally see them. A lot of people also want to know if it will happen again.

“No one knows for sure.” He said, “The last few days seem to have been some of the most important events of the smartphone era.” “It’s possible that we’ve just seen the most active aurora for this solar cycle.” But history shows that big events can happen even many years after the solar cycle’s peak. For those who missed it, there’s a good chance that something similar will happen in the next few years.

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