A new, Tesla-approved drone video shows the progress of the Gigafactory. Recently, a video surfaced showing what Elon Musk said was just the "pilot plant," which is only a quarter of the size of the final planned Gigafactory. This new video not only shows the structure, but also the site surrounding it. We see more steel beams waiting to be erected, suggesting that the footprint of the finished building will be even more massive than that of the current standing structure. And if what Musk says is accurate, we've got a lot more to look forward to. Have a look in the video above, and read more at Teslarati.

Tesla is paying hackers to find bugs in its website and products. In a posting on Bugcrowd, the electric automaker calls on "security researchers" to find vulnerabilities in the site itself, any domains owned by Tesla, any Tesla apps as well as Tesla hardware owned by the hacker like a Model S or the Powerwall. In exchange for the hackers' service, Tesla is offering rewards ranging from $25 to $1,000 for reported vulnerabilities. Tesla also promises not to sic the law enforcement on hackers who step forward to help, as long as they follow the rules. Read more at Teslarati.

Daimler and Bosch are working on automated parking for Mercedes-Benz. In a properly equipped parking garage, the car would find an empty space and park by itself, and return to the driver when called upon. The groups are starting a pilot project for the autonomous valet feature with carsharing service Car2go, where it works the other way around. Customers will be able to call a car to a pick-up zone using a mobile app. When finished, the customer leaves the car in the drop-off zone, and the car takes care of the rest on its own. "Fully automated parking will be ready for mass-production before fully automated driving," says Bosch's Dr. Dirk Hoheisel. "Low driving speeds and the information from the car park infrastructure enable a fast implementation." Read more in the press release from Daimler.

Volta has raised $7.5 million in funding to expand its free EV charging network. To offer free charging, Volta's chargers essentially perform double duty as billboards for what Volta calls "companies with a vested interest in the community." "Early Internet pioneers like Google became industry titans by first offering free consumer services online paid for by companies that advertised on their platforms," says Volta CEO Scott Mercer. "With Volta, we're applying a similar business model to infrastructure to align social good and community services with like-minded brands and retail partners that want deeper engagement with the communities that they operate in." Volta currently operates over 100 free chargers in Hawaii, California and Arizona. Read more in the press release below.

Show full PR text
Volta Debuts New Community Engagement Model for Free Electric Car Charging

Company Closes $7.5M of New Financing to Expand Operations

SAN FRANCISCO, June 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Volta Industries today officially debuted a new community engagement model anchored by a network of more than 100 stations across five cities for free electric car charging service underwritten by socially responsible brands.

Volta also announced that the company has closed a $4.5 million Series A equity capital round led by Three Bridges Ventures and a $3 million project financing facility provided by SQN Capital.

"Our goal is to re-invent the model for community engagement by matching their needs for services like free electric car charging with brands and retail locations that believe in sustainability, for example," said Scott Mercer, Co-founder and CEO of Volta. "We're driving the price of both the service and the infrastructure to zero as we tap major brands to join our community engagement model. We've seen early success with companies like Macy's, Whole Foods Market, and Sungevity, and we expect that list to expand as we grow."

"As a leading solar service provider and social enterprise power company, Sungevity's values align well with Volta's vision, making it an easy choice that allows us to promote a sustainable lifestyle while also connecting with consumers," said Liz Ludwig, senior vice-president of marketing at Sungevity. "We believe in Volta's mission to make living sustainably easier, and are proud to be a part of the shift to increase EV adoption."

Founded in 2010 by Mercer and CTO Michael Menendez, Volta is re-engineering the way communities rally around social causes. Volta first began in Honolulu by offering free electric car charging services underwritten by local brands to the nation's highest per capita population of electric car drivers.

Since then, Volta has deployed initial charging infrastructure in high-volume, retail locations in five major cities, including the San Francisco Bay Area, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, San Diego, Phoenix, and Honolulu.

The early results have enabled Volta to secure relationships with 7 of the top 10 national real estate investment trusts to provide premium retail locations for the deployment of additional infrastructure.

"Early Internet pioneers like Google became industry titans by first offering free consumer services online paid for by companies that advertised on their platforms," Mercer said. "With Volta, we're applying a similar business model to infrastructure to align social good and community services with like-minded brands and retail partners that want deeper engagement with the communities that they operate in."

With $7.5M of new financing, Volta is set to expand its network of more than 100 outdoor stations into more communities with the goal of positioning brands as enablers of the future.

To date, Volta has secured a total of $12.5 million of equity and project financing. In addition to Three Bridges Ventures, Riverwood Capital and existing seed investors 500 Startups and Epic Ventures also joined in the Series A round.

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