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Tesla robots, courtesy of Tesla.

Tesla factory robots, courtesy of Tesla.

Electric car maker Tesla Motors has temporarily idled production at its factory in Fremont, California, reports the San Jose Mercury News. It will use the almost two week downtime to increase production of its Model S sedan car, and to make way for manufacturing of its upcoming Model X, crossover SUV, minivan. Tesla plans to deliver 35,000 Model S cars this year, with a goal of 1,000 per week and the first Model X cars will  be delivered in early 2015. Production will resume on August 4.

In Brief

Airbnb was founded and is run by designers. That makes them hyper vigilant of the company’s brand and overall design, and now the company is getting a visual upgrade. On Wednesday Airbnb revealed a new symbol that it says represents Airbnb’s maturation and growth: they’re calling it the Bélo, “the universal symbol of belonging.” What do you think of it? Valleywag has its own hilarious take. And some peeps on Twitter pointed out it looks a bit like this logo.

Airbnb logo

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Turns out I’m not the only hater in town when it comes to the “solar freakin’ roadways” project. Since I wrote that “we don’t need solar roadways, we need to unleash current solar panels,” back in May the solar roadway’s Indiegogo project raised $2.2 million, over double their goal of $1 million. But Scientific American just published a well researched take down of the hard road ahead that such a technology would face — the article looks into the technical and cost hurdles. Check it out here if you’ve been following this project.

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After a short 24-hour delay, NASA launched a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Wednesday morning, which contains a satellite and a spectrometer that will monitor carbon emissions from on high. The tool measures the colors of sunlight that bounce off of the earth — the intensity of the colors indicates how much carbon dioxide there as the light passes through the atmosphere. Check out this article for more on how cutting-edge tech in the skies is seeking answers to the world’s changing climate.

In Brief

One of Kior's facilities. Image courtesy of Kior.

One of Kior’s facilities. Image courtesy of Kior.

Local media around Columbus, Mississippi are reporting that biofuel company Kior has started laying off workers at its Columbus-based plant, which hasn’t been in operation for more than six months. The company has close to $300 million in debt (more than $69 million to the Mississippi Development Authority) and has estimated that it has until the end of August to find new financing to help restart the plant before potentially facing bankruptcy. The stock was down to $0.36 cents per share on Friday afternoon. For the full story on Kior check out my reporting from March.

In Brief

The patent wall in Tesla, following Tesla's move to embrace an open source philosophy for its patents. Image courtesy of Tesla.

The patent wall in Tesla, following Tesla’s move to embrace an open source philosophy for its patents. Image courtesy of Tesla.

Last week Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla planned to embrace an open source philosophy for its patents and had removed the patent wall in its headquarters. A week later, this is what the wall where the patents were looks like. For more on what Musk did — and did NOT do — with the patent news check out Jeff Roberts’s analysis.

In Brief

Electric car battery from Boston Power, image courtesy of Boston Power.

Electric car battery from Boston-Power, image courtesy of Boston Power.

Battery maker Boston-Power is closing on a round of $250 million from investors in China and elsewhere, reports the Wall Street Journal’s Venture Capital Dispatch blog. The company, founded in 2005 in Massachusetts, originally made lithium ion batteries for consumer electronics, but in 2011 launched its electric car lithium ion battery tech. Shortly after that, Boston-Power moved the bulk of its operations to China and raised a round led by China-based investor GSR Ventures. The WSJ report says Boston-Power has battery factory capacity for 300 megawatt-hours of batteries (with annual sales of $100 million) and next year plans to more than triple that factory capacity. The company is providing batteries for electric cars made by Beijing Electric Vehicle Company.

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