Los Angeles Times: Fatal Crash of Tesla Model S in Autopilot Mode Leads to Investigation by Federal Officials

Federal regulators opened a preliminary probe into the autopilot feature on a Tesla Model S electric car after a fatal crash involving the technology, Tesla said Thursday.

The fatality -- thought to be the first in the auto industry related to an autopilot feature -- sparked questions about the limitations of the technology and its place in what is seen as an inevitable march toward self-driving vehicles. It followed other recent incidents in which drivers reported collisions while using such technology.

The male driver died in a May 7 crash in Williston, Fla., when a big rig made a left turn in front of his Tesla.

Tesla Blog: A Tragic Loss

We learned yesterday evening that [the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] is opening a preliminary evaluation into the performance of Autopilot during a recent fatal crash that occurred in a Model S. This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the U.S., there is a fatality every 94 million miles. Worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles. It is important to emphasize that the NHTSA action is simply a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the system worked according to expectations.

Following our standard practice, Tesla informed NHTSA about the incident immediately after it occurred. What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S.

Associated Press: Tesla Starts Tapping Into Tax Credits for Battery Factory

Electric carmaker Tesla has received and sold about $20 million in transferrable tax credits from the state, marking some of the company's first moves to tap into a $1.3 billion incentive package that lured a massive battery factory to northern Nevada.

Tesla confirmed this week that it sold the credits to casino company MGM in an arrangement first reported by the online news source This is Reno. State officials grant the tax abatements in phases as Tesla shows it meets construction and employment benchmarks at its Gigafactory in Storey County, east of Reno.

Christian Science Monitor: Why Exxon Is Now Lobbying for a Carbon Tax

In an attempt to combat climate change, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company is asking to be taxed.

Exxon Mobil is lobbying the rest of the American industry, as well as Capitol Hill, for a revenue-neutral carbon tax, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Exxon has welcomed a tax on carbon emissions since 2009. But December's Paris Agreement, aimed specifically at keeping most fossil fuel reserves in the ground, has prompted the company to increase its efforts over the past six months to convince the rest of the industry to get on board.

Forbes: Xcel Tames Variability Of Wind Power

At midnight on Christmas Day in 2007, Xcel Energy had just upgraded a nascent wind generating capability on its Colorado electrical system. When a huge winter storm pushed through the area and delivered three-fourths of its entire capacity in little more than an hour, it was a literal shock to the system.

“We call it the Santa Claus ramp,” said Drake Bartlett, Renewable Energy Analyst for Xcel Energy, the Minneapolis-based utility (a ‘load ramp’ is a measure of how quickly generating capacity can be dialed up or down).

The company had been basing its load (or demand) requirements on weather forecasting “forever,” according to Bartlett, determining power needs dictated by temperature and time on a day-ahead basis with an hourly average error rate of 1% to 2%.