Recharge Wrap-up: Musk sees solar future, Uber sued for tips

Bike Lanes Could Help Traffic Flow; Who Rides Public Transit?

Elon Musk and his cousin, Lyndon Rive, spoke about their ideas for solar power and energy storage at a private conference in New York. Musk, the Tesla CEO and Rive, CEO of SolarCity, said that within 10 years, every solar system SolarCity sells will come with battery storage, and that it will be cheaper than getting energy from a utility company. Tesla, which provides battery packs for SolarCity, will set aside a portion of its Gigafactory's production capacity for grid-scale energy storage. Rive says his company will be able to produce the most efficient solar panels available, while Tesla has plans for in-home energy storage that not only saves power for nighttime and cloudy days, but also looks good. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and head over to Treehugger for more commentary.

Proper deployment of bike lanes could help improve the flow of traffic while making cycling safer in urban settings. In New York City, adding bike lanes improved automotive traffic according to a study. What seems to work well is putting the bike lane closest to the curb on the left side of a one-way street, with a small buffer zone and a parking lane separating it from car traffic. The addition of turning lanes, with their own traffic signals for vehicles turning left, also allows car and bike traffic to continue smoothly. Read more at Core77.

Uber is facing a lawsuit over its included gratuity. The ride-hailing app charges a 20 percent tip, included in the price of the ride. The Illinois plaintiff claims, however, that Uber keeps "a substantial portion" of that gratuity for itself, rather than paying it out to the driver. The lawsuit, which is seeking group status, looks to make Uber give up any of the gratuity funds it has kept. The plaintiff is also seeking an unspecified amount of cash in damages. Read more at Bloomberg .

A new study breaks down the demographics of the users of public transit. The study, called " Who's On Board 2014," Finds that ridership is mostly inverse from income, with people making over $150,000 per year bucking the trend by riding as much as those in lower brackets. Regardless of region, younger people are more likely to use public transportation, while older people prefer to drive more. African Americans are more likely to ride, with 39 percent using public transit once a week, and 22 percent commuting by transit. Whites use public transit less, with only 10 percent riding once a week, and just five percent using public transit to commute. The study also breaks down actual use and ideal use by neighborhood, and examines other ridership demographics. Read more at Treehugger.

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