Pedestrians take to the streets of Paris to celebrate the city’s seventh annual ‘day without cars’

A couple kiss on the Champs Elysees Avenue, Paris, during the "day without cars", with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.
A couple kiss on the Champs Elysees Avenue, Paris, during the “day without cars”, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. It is the seventh year the city has held a car free day in an attempt to reduce traffic and ease air pollution.

  • Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced Paris’ first “day without cars” in 2015.
  • Events included a rollerskating marathon, bicycle fair, and techno parade.
  • Hidalgo is working on a plan to drastically reduce car traffic in the heart of Paris next year, France 24 reported.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On Sunday, Paris turned over its streets to pedestrians so that citizens and visitors could enjoy its seventh annual “day without cars.”

Announced by socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo in 2015, the city received enthusiastic support from both ordinary Parisians and unlikely parties including the head of a French drivers’ association, USA Today reported.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., cars, motorcycles, and scooters are banned throughout Paris, and any offenders face a fine of 135 euros, according to the Paris Without A Car website.

Certain vehicles like buses, emergency vehicles, taxis, and private drivers are allowed to circulate, although their speed is limited to 20-30 kilometers per hour (12-19 miles per hour) in certain areas, according to the event page and map of closures and restriction.

“Many people in Paris, especially on the Champs-Élysées, for the #JournéeParisRespire! Thank you to all those who made this 7th edition a success!” Hidalgo tweeted Sunday.

Events at this year’s “day without cars” included a techno parade, picnic, bicycle fair, rollerblading marathon, and street art exhibitions, according to the event website.

“Make it an outing with family or friends: put on your roller skates, hop on your bicycle or get on your walking shoes, and set off to take in the sights of Paris. You’ll find the capital has never been this quiet!” the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau website said.

People walk along the Champs Elysees Avenue, Paris, during the "day without cars", with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.
People walk along the Champs Elysees Avenue, Paris, during the “day without cars”, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. It is the seventh year the city has held a car free day in an attempt to reduce traffic and ease air pollution.

Hidalgo, who is eyeing a bid for the French presidency next year, is working on a plan to drastically reduce car traffic in Paris, France 24 reported.

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6 buggy examples of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software that show why drivers have to be ready to take over on a second’s notice

The interior of a Tesla driving down the highway
  • Tesla rolled out version 10 of its Full Self-Driving software earlier this month.
  • Since, videos of the FSD update have shown several instances when the car has acted wonky.
  • Elon Musk said on Friday the company has received positive feedback on the update.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Since Tesla rolled out version 10 of its “Full Self-Driving” software earlier this month, beta testers have taken to the internet to point out issues they’ve noticed.

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the update will “blow your mind,” some drivers are less convinced than others. From turning into oncoming traffic to attempting to drive into pedestrians and bikers, some beta testers showed Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software has a ways to go before it’s ready to operate without the guidance of a licensed driver.

The software appears to struggle with accommodating light rails

In a video that has since been taken down, a beta tester known on YouTube as HyperChange tested out the update. While he said his experience was overall positive, in the video that was designed to test FSD’s ability to navigate around Seattle’s Monorail the Tesla at one point nearly turned right into a group of pedestrians crossing the street.

Another driver had a similar experience when he tested the FSD near the San Jose Light Rail. In AI Addict’s video, the Tesla attempted to turn right and completely skidded over a curb. The driver pointed out that the software turned right without taking the light rail into consideration, as the rail took up the right side of the street and forced the car further left in its turn.

There were multiple examples of the car turning into oncoming traffic

In a video from a YouTuber known as Frenchie, the autonomous software put the car into the wrong lane, facing oncoming traffic during a bidirectional left turn.

Another beta tester Kim Paquette saw similar issues with version 10. During two separate drives, her Tesla tried to drive into oncoming traffic at intersections and during turns. At each instance, Paquette was forced to disengage the software and stop the car from rolling into oncoming traffic.

“It is failing at tasks it was able to do previously, like sharing [the] road for oncoming traffic on narrow streets, unprotected lefts with diagonal cross traffic,” Paquette wrote on YouTube.

FSD becomes “jerky” when the car is “unsure”

Frenchie pointed out several instances during his drive when the car acted erratically when it entered situations involving roadblocks, pedestrians, or car’s hanging too far out of their lane.

“This is what I want to avoid,” he said in the video. “This kind of jerkiness when it’s unsure.”

Paquette’s video also showed a moment when the car starts diving back and forth in its lane when it encountered people on bicycles.

“It’s like it’s trying to get away from them to give the bikers space, but then also trying to dart back in between them,” Paquette said in the video.

Version 10 was pushed out to beta testers earlier this month and is not yet available for regular drivers. Though, Musk said on Friday that new beta testers could sign up through a beta button. He also said the company has received positive feedback on the update and is rolling out version 10.0.1.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on the bug reports.

Despite the bugs, many Tesla beta testers are reporting that the system is getting better, especially when it comes to decision making. The update also spawned compliments over updated self-driving graphics.

Earlier this year, Insider’s Tim Levin reported that Tesla’s earlier FSD software was confusing burger king signs and even the moon with stop signs and stop lights.

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GM tells some Chevrolet Bolt EV owners to park 50 feet away from other cars in case the battery catches fire

A man charges his white Chevrolet Bolt EV on a sunny day in a pharmacy parking lot.
GM has warned owners of its Chevrolet Bolt EV to park it 50 feet away from other cars.

  • GM told some Chevrolet Bolt EV owners to park 50 feet away from other cars, Bloomberg first reported.
  • The precaution would reduce the risk of a battery fire spreading to cars nearby, GM said.
  • GM has recalled a total of 142,000 Bolt EVs due to the potential risk of batteries catching fire.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

General Motors (GM) has told some Chevrolet Bolt EV owners to park at least 50 feet away from other cars in garages and lots to reduce the risk of a potential fire spreading to other vehicles, Bloomberg first reported.

GM has also told some customers to park on the top floor in parking lots, or on open levels, for the same reason, Reuters reported.

The new parking advice would “reduce potential damage to structures and nearby vehicles in the rare event of a potential fire,” a company spokesman told Reuters in an email.

GM sent the advice to customers who had asked about parking their Bolt electric vehicles, the spokesman said.

The company confirmed to Reuters in August that there had been 10 fires with Bolt electric vehicles.

Insider asked General Motors for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

In August, GM expanded a recall of Bolt electric vehicles to around 142,000 cars sold worldwide since 2016, due to the risk of batteries catching fire. The company also said at the time that the cost of the recall was about $1 billion, and that it wanted to recoup some costs from battery supplier LG.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement in August that the affected cars’ battery cell packs underneath the backseat’s bottom cushion had the “potential to smoke and ignite internally,” which could then “spread to the rest of the vehicle.”

GM advised some Bolt customers in July to park their electric vehicles outside immediately after charging them, and to avoid charging overnight after reports that two caught fire.

GM initially recalled 69,000 Chevrolet Bolts EVs in November 2020, including 51,000 in the US, following concerns that the vehicles’ high-voltage batteries posed a fire risk.

At the time, it told owners to park their cars outside and away from their homes until their vehicle was repaired.

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EV start-up Rivian has beaten other industry giants to become the first automaker to produce an electric pickup

Rivian R1T.
Rivian’s R1T has an estimated range of 314 miles.

  • Rivian produced its first electric pickup Tuesday – becoming the first automaker to do so.
  • A Rivian spokesperson said its vehicles were “ready for sale in all 50 states.”
  • The R1T has an estimated range of 314 miles and prices start at $67,500.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

California-based electric vehicle startup Rivian has become the first automaker to produce an electric pickup truck.

“After months of building pre-production vehicles, this morning our first customer vehicle drove off our production line in Normal [Illinois],” CEO RJ Scaringe tweeted on Tuesday.

A Rivian spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company’s vehicles were “ready for sale in all 50 states” after receiving full certifications from three regulators – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resource Board.

Deliveries of the R1T, Rivian’s electric pickup, are set to begin in January 2022, according to its website, after an initial delay earlier this summer. It has an estimated range of 314 miles, and comes with an air compressor, a built-in cooler under the bed, and a tailgate you can control through an app.

Rivian R1T pickup truck
Rivian R1T.

Rivian’s completion of the R1T beat out the release of several highly-anticipated electric pickup trucks from established manufacturers by substantial margins. Production of Tesla’s Cybertruck was pushed back to 2022 alongside Ford’s F-150, which is eyeing a spring 2022 production start date. GM’s Hummer EV is expected to go into production sometime this fall.

Prices start at $67,500, and customers are able to pay a $1,000 deposit on its website.

Rivian is also working on the R1S, an electric SUV.

Rivian is poised to rival the likes of Tesla in the EV market. The company, which is backed by Amazon, has raised more money than any other EV startup that hasn’t gone public, Insider previously reported. Amazon also ordered a fleet of 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles from Rivian earlier this year.

Bloomberg reported in August that Rivian was aiming for IPO later this year with a valuation of around $80 billion.

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Tesla’s Model S Plaid can still beat most super cars even with 20% battery life, new video shows

Tesla Model S Plaid sedan
Tesla Model S Plaid.

  • DragTimes posted a video of the Tesla Model S Plaid racing on 20% battery life.
  • In the video, Brooks Weisblat said the Tesla could take down most super cars, even on a low battery.
  • The Tesla finished a quarter mile loop in about 9.94 seconds on its 41st run around the track.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Tesla Model S Plaid is one of the fastest production cars ever made even on a low battery, according to a new demo video.

While previous Tesla models have demonstrated lower performance levels as their battery life decreases, the electric carmaker’s latest model was able to maintain high speeds even at 20% battery life in a video posted by DragTimes.

The host of DragTimes, Brooks Weisblat, said he was testing the vehicle for its longevity. The test took place after the Model S Plaid had already performed 40 quarter-mile runs around a track at its top speed – attempts that consumed about 2% of the Plaid’s battery for each run around the track, Weisblat said.

With only 20% battery life, Weisblat said he was shocked by the Tesla’s performance. On its 41st run around the track, the car was able to complete the quarter-mile in about 9.94 seconds and went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 2.33 seconds.

“That’s enough to take down most super cars,” Weisblat said.

In June, MotorTrend tested out the electric car and said the Model S Plaid hit the fastest 0 to 60 acceleration speed they’d ever seen in a production car. But, they warned most drivers might not be able to hit 0 to 60 miles per hour in the car’s record 1.98 seconds. At the time, Tesla required the publication to test the car on a professional track. MotorTrend also pointed out the car required a 10 to 15 minute set-up process called “Drag Strip Mode,” a setting that puts the battery and the car’s electric motors at an optimal temperature.

But, earlier this month, Weisblat found that the Model S Plaid can beat out most super cars even without entering “Drag Strip Mode.”

He raced the Model S Plaid against the Porsche Taycan Turbo S – a vehicle that had MotorTrend named one of the fastest production cars in the world in February. Over the course of three races, the Tesla left the Porsche in the dust at every turn and was about 0.8 seconds faster.

Several sports-car enthusiasts have taken the new Tesla out to race. In June, Jay Leno took the Tesla out for a spin to test its acceleration speed.

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How a car covered in mold gets professionally deep cleaned and restored

  • AMMO NYC is a car detailing service that makes car cleaning products.
  • Owner Larry Kosilla, shares his technique for cleaning a Subaru Forester infested with mice and covered in mildew.
  • His process goes beyond cleaning to include the restoration of the headlights, buffing the paint, and fixing issues that caused a moisture leak.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Larry Kosilla: Hey, I’m Larry Kosilla from We manufacture car-cleaning supplies. Today, I’m gonna show you the step-by-step process for cleaning one of the most disgusting cars I’ve ever worked on.

Right off the bat, I’m saying there’s a water leak somewhere. There’s obviously mice. This particular case, it smelled so bad. There’s urine from mice in there. This is kind of the next level, where you’re cleaning it just to make it so that you can safely operate the vehicle.

On cases like this, when there’s lots of mold, lots of junk, I increase the water temperature as much as the power washer can handle, and that’ll increase the cleaning ability. When you hit it with water, it’s gonna indicate where there might be a leak. There’s seals, what they call rails or rain guards or rain rails. If those get packed or compacted with, you can see in the door jams, muck and gunk and grime and leaves, it actually backs up and overflows and then flows into the vehicle. The debris in the door jams were 100% the cause for the water. Basically the water pools on the bottom, underneath the carpet. I use a tiny little brush to kinda get in there. The idea is to lift a lot of the door seals and get underneath the door seals, because if they’re not perfectly flush, again, that whole rain issue as the door closes. And if there’s leaves and junk in there, it just won’t seal properly.

So, in terms of buffing or restoring the paint, this mission was to use a microfiber cutting pad. I used a compound. And what that microfiber pad does is it kind of tickles the surface of the paint, so to speak. And it removes a lot of the stuff that just didn’t come out with a wash. And if it’s embedded in the pores of the paint, just like a blackhead, so to speak, I have to go in there and just remove all of that, exfoliate it. As the vibration, or what we call oscillation of the machine, “zzz,” as it’s buzzing, it’s actually vibrating a lot of the dirt that’s behind the headlights and the taillights and all these little pieces. So, in this case, I washed the car for a second time after I buffed it, then, afterwards, you wanna protect it again. So, in this case, we use a product called AMMO Reflex Pro, which is a type of coating. It’s an antimicrobial, which is perfect for this car, because obviously there’s mold and bacteria all over the place.

When it comes to headlights, as the sun is penetrating the headlight, it’s just chewing up all the UV protection it has. And over time, it sort of just decays, right? It becomes dead skin on top. So what we need to do is remove that dead skin. Then you can go in just like the paint, with a microfiber cutting pad, an abrasive, like a compound, use your pad, polish it up. And you can see within a minute or two, it’ll rejuvenate that. Now you have to put the suntan lotion on. And in this case, you wanna re-clear-coat it.

With respect to windows, the best way that I’ve found over the years, and this is an evolving process, is, first, use a little bit of window cleaner. You spray it down. First thing is use a scrub pad. That scrub pad is gonna lift a lot of the oils and junk that are stuck to the glass over time. And so as you do that, it’s still gonna be wet and kinda gross. You take what we call towel No. 1, and you scoop up all of that oily residue. It’s not gonna look pretty at this point, and that’s totally fine. So, once it’s kind of dry, then you go back in, lubricate again with a glass cleaner, and then use a squeegee, working top to bottom for obvious reasons. And then you go in with a separate towel called No. 2 towel, and you can wipe it down. And sometimes they call them glass towels. Then you can really go in and buff the edges. So it’s this constant running after smears.

When we’re vacuuming the inside of a car, first thing you wanna look at is the size of the debris that you’re trying to vacuum up. And then first thing is sort of vacuum up the big parts. Then I put in what’s called a crevice tool. A crevice tool sort of looks like your hand. It’s very narrow. You remove a lot more debris that way, because the orifice is much smaller, thus the lifting power is much better. With respect to shampooing, you can use a scrub, a red-handle scrub brush, they’re $2 or whatever. They’re everywhere. In this case, we used AMMO Shag, which is a cleaner just for fibers, carpets, Alcantara, seats, that kinda thing. And then the goal is to agitate the junk to the surface and then wet vac it out. I thought I had already sucked up a lot of the poo and all that stuff, but as I was shampooing, you could actually see little bits of mouse poo in the shampoo machine, which is insane. That means mouse poo was not only on top of the surface, but underneath. So, when you remove certain parts of the vehicle, like carpets or the rear trunks, you can pull that out and shampoo it. That’s way better, because there’s just compressed water shooting out all the junk. It’s way better than just sitting there and going back and forth. But it makes sense, you can’t do that to, let’s say, the carpets underneath the seats, you’re not gonna do that.

OK, so to clean the interior, we use a couple of different tools. We use AMMO Lather. That is designed for plastic, leather, and vinyl. And then we use an interior scrub brush. It’s really good for buttons and things. And then we use a scrub pad. Now, the scrub pad basically takes that top layer of junk off before you come in with a microfiber towel. Then, once you’re all done in your scrubbing, ’cause what you’re doing is you’re agitating the dirt, it comes to the surface, what we call a lather, and then you scoop away that junk. Once everything is done, you take compressed air, blow them out, and as the lather sort of squeaks out from underneath and the sides, just scoop it up with a microfiber towel. Let it dry, assess the situation, then you can go back in any spots you’ve missed.

The separation between a regular detail and an amazing detail is usually the last, like, 3, 4, 5%. So, you have silver from the car, and then you have this kind of faded, whitish, gross material or trim, you wanna brighten that up. So, I took the pad and applied mud. And, again, it’s to draw this contrast.

Even if you’re not a car person, even if you’re not excited about washing your car, there is a level of cleanliness that actually translates into dollars, into saving your investment in this case. You have to keep those seals clean at the very minimum, especially if you park outside.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in November 2020.

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Elon Musk unveils ‘Tesla bot,’ a humanoid robot that would be made from Tesla’s self-driving AI

Tesla AI day
  • Elon Musk said Tesla plans to build a humanoid robot during the company’s AI Day.
  • The CEO said the company hopes to develop a prototype for the robot by sometime next year.
  • The “Tesla Bot” will use the same AI systems that help power the company’s Full Self-Driving system.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the carmaker would be branching out into humanoid robots during the company’s AI event on Thursday.

Musk unveiled the “Tesla Bot,” a 5 ft. 8 in., 125-pound robot, at the event. He said the bot would have a screen where its face should be that will present information. According to the CEO, the humanoid robot will also be capable of dead-lifting 150 pounds and carrying about 45 pounds. Though, the bot will only travel about 5 miles per hour.

“We’re setting it such that it is at a mechanical level, at a physical level, that you can run away from it and most likely overpower it,” Musk quipped.

The bot will use Tesla’s Autopilot software, according to Musk. It will be equipped with eight cameras to feed into the neural network that Tesla has developed for its FSD software.

The neural network emulates the functions of the human brain inasmuch as it allows the vehicle to analyze its surroundings via cameras and determine what it needs to do when it encounters obstacles by identifying and labeling different routes and images.

Tesla ai day
Behold, Elon Musk’s Tesla Bot prototype.

“Our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels,” Musk said. “It kind of makes sense to put that [the software] on to a human-like [form] as well.”

Musk said businesses would ideally use the bot to perform repetitive and dangerous tasks. He added the real test would be how the robot can navigate through the world without being explicitly told what to do.

“There will be profound applications for the economy. In the future, physical work will be a choice,” Musk said.

The CEO offered a visual representation of what he wants the robot to look like, but Tesla has yet to build a functioning bot. He said the company plans to have a prototype developed by sometime next year.

Musk said the robot fits seamlessly into Tesla’s mission and will be built with many of the same materials the company uses for its cars.

“We’re making the pieces that would be useful for [building] a humanoid robot, so we should probably make it. If we don’t, someone else will – and we want to make sure it’s safe,” Musk said.

While the Tesla founder did not give a specific deadline for the prototype’s release, Musk is known for making big promises about future builds. At Tesla’s last “Autonomous Day” Musk said Tesla would have “one million robotaxis on the road” by the end of 2020. However, the company has yet to release a fully autonomous car, as its current FSD software still requires a licensed operator to monitor the vehicle.

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How a Vietnamese woodworker built a drivable wooden Bugatti

  • Vietnamese woodworker Truong Van Dao built a fully drivable wooden Bugatti.
  • It’s smaller than an actual car, but a near replica of the $8.9 million Centodieci hypercar.
  • Built as a toy for his young son, the entire project took just 40 days to build.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: This is a fully-drivable all wooden Bugatti. About one third the size of an actual car, Built by Vietnamese woodworker Truong Van Dao, it’s a nearly perfect replica of Bugatti’s $8.9 million Centodieci hypercar. And he built it in just 40 days.

Truong Van Dao: As a carpenter, I often make little toys for my son to play with. I bought some small car models for him to play with. He loved playing with these cars, especially this particular Bugatti.

To make this car, I had to prepare for a long time, like going online to find the pictures to draw it. Besides referring to photos, I looked for the exact parameters of this car, then I scaled it down.

Narrator: Dao started with the vehicle’s undercarriage and chassis. Without any pictures to go by, he used his best judgement based on similar car projects he’d done before, like this Ferrari.

Dao: It took about a week to finish the bottom. I used machines like chainsaws, wood planers and a few hand tools.

I use oak as the main material for most of my products because oak is quite durable, cheap and legal in Vietnam. I have tried other woods before, but I feel oak is good because it is light, which makes the car not too heavy. Second, oak is tough so it is pretty easy for me to chisel close to it.

Narrator: Dao relied on the local marketplace and e-commerce sites to collect parts for the car’s drivetrain, which includes a small electric motor, front and rear axles, and small gears to get the wheels rolling.

Dao: The car is powered by a rear axle motor, which means I have a engine installed to allow it to move the rear axle. I failed in the previous model which was a Ferrari. At first the car couldn’t even start and move. When it came to this next car, I succeeded on my first try.

I used a filter to make the wheels round, then I used small chisels to sculpt. I carved small parts so that they had grooves. For the wheels, I divided them into three parts: the tire, the brake disc and rim. I used a special type of glue for wood to attach them together.

Narrator: The most complex part of the project was the car’s body. This includes the hood, fenders, bumpers, and rear, all of which Dao carved most of using just a chainsaw.

Dao: Using a chainsaw really just depends on your skill as a woodworker. Once we get used to the chainsaw, we can move it to wherever we want. The chainsaw helped me to carve the car faster. It especially made it easier for me to build the frame of the car. After that, I used small hand tools that allow me to sculpt faster. But the chainsaw is really a very useful and necessary tool.

I use two different types of glue, one of which is for attaching the parts which need more cohesion. But its limitation is that it takes two days to dry. There is another type of glue which sticks right after pouring but it is not sturdy so I only used it for small details.

Narrator: To accurately recreate the body, Dao scanned online pictures of the Centodieci’s different sections onto paperboard. He then traced those scanned images onto the actual wood. The smallest details he drew manually himself.

Dao: I think the doors of the car take the most time because it will require being able to be opened, sturdy and fit the body. After using the chainsaw, I had to use about five more tools. First, I used a scrubbing machine to flatten it. After that, I used the wood planer to make it smoother. Then I used sandpaper to make it even smoother. In addition, for any details that the chainsaw cannot do, I use chisels to finish them.

Narrator: Those details include the grille, exhaust pipes, sideview mirrors and even a wing almost identical to those found on the Bugatti Centodieci.

After carving out the interior, Dao then added the steering wheel, which even features an almost identical Bugatti logo. Once the wheel was screwed into the car’s wooden steering column, it was then time for the finishing touches.

Dao: The windshield glass I bought at a general store. Then I used a machine to cut it so that it fits the car. Finally, I installed it and screwed it in. On the car there are lights, which I made using plastic. I used transparent epoxy to make molds, to make sure the lights fit the vehicle.

The car can probably run at about 20km/h but I slowed it down to about 10 km/h. I slowed it down to make the car run more safely. Because the car uses wooden wheels, if it goes too fast, it will not be safe.

Narrator: So far Dao’s Bugatti, as well as his other cars, have gained loads of attention online. But despite the requests from collectors, for now, he seems to be happy with them at home in his garage.

Dao: For these cars, apart from giving them to my children to play with, I want to keep them as souvenirs. If I meet someone who really loves this car or has a special connection with it, maybe I will give it to that person. Or I may sell it to someone to get some money for my next car project.

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Pro driver explains high-threat driving techniques used by military personnel

  • Tactical driving gives military personnel an edge in high-threat situations.
  • Keith Watts has been teaching tactical driving to military personnel for 15 years.
  • He breaks down some common maneuvers used in the field to get out of various scenarios.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Keith Watts: High-threat driving is used for transporting goods, a dignitary, or a principal through a very threatening environment. My name is Keith Watts, and I am a professional driving and racing coach as well as a military-driver trainer, and I am going to break down three driving techniques that can be used to safely flee or respond to a high-threat situation.

A J-turn is a very useful technique when you have a full front block but you do have the space to do the J-turn behind you. To do a J-turn properly, you first need to come to a full and complete stop, get into reverse, back up at a moderate rate of speed, find the correct lane that you want to do the maneuver, flick the wheel, grab drive, and off you go in the opposite direction.

If you can’t perform a J-turn because of traffic or you’re in too tight of a confined space or a busy area, a high-speed reverse would be the next best thing. Backing a vehicle at high speed has to be done very smoothly. Vehicles also don’t brake as well going in reverse, but they want to turn extremely well, so it’s very important that the driver maintain a very smooth and controlled grip on the steering wheel.

A swerve maneuver would be useful if something fell off the back of a truck on the interstate, for example, but in the high-threat environment, it would be more along the lines with somebody pulling out in front of you to try to execute a front block. A swerve maneuver is mostly about steering and avoiding the accident and less about actually slowing down or accelerating. A driver should always avoid jerking the steering wheel or slamming the brakes or going to full throttle, for example. One of the biggest misconceptions that I get after a student has actually performed the swerve maneuver is, “Wow, the cars really handle well,” when in fact it’s the technique that’s working.

A barricade breach would be a scenario where you don’t have the time to back up or you can’t back up, you might even have multiple threats behind you, but you’re already traveling in the forward direction and you make the choice and the decision to ram through, or barricade breach, the vehicle that’s blocking your lane. Barricade breach starts with making the decision that you’re going forward and you’re not stopping. The second would be to find the appropriate speed. Speed has to be lower than, say, 40 miles an hour, otherwise it’s just going to be a big car crash. Once that decision’s been made, the speed has been set, you get the alignment, your frame rail to their back wheel, and you step on that gas hard as you can, and you knock that vehicle right out of the way.

These are just a few of the maneuvers military personnel could use in a high-threat situation. Some of the best advice that I ever got was, just have situational awareness. There’s a lot of little pre-attack indicators that happen. The flow of traffic, people around you, watching the people on the side of the street, what are their reactions? So the more you can keep your head on a swivel will really set yourself up for success.

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Firefighters tackling a Tesla blaze in Austin said they had to use 40 times more water than for a regular vehicle fire because of the car’s lithium battery cells

Tesla Model X sport utility vehicle at a new Tesla showroom in Shanghai, China May 8, 2020..JPG
Tesla Model X at a new Tesla showroom in Shanghai in May.

  • Firefighters used 40 times more water to contain a Tesla fire than for a regular car fire, they said.
  • They struggled because of the lithium battery cells powering the Tesla Model X, they said.
  • Tesla maintains that its electric cars are the “safest in the world.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Firefighters had to use 40 times more water to contain a Tesla electric vehicle (EV) blaze in Austin than they would normally use for a mainstream gas-powered car that was on fire, emergency responders said.

They struggled to contain the blaze on Thursday because of the lithium battery cells that power the Tesla Model X, which can lead to fires breaking out hours after a crash, according to the firefighters.

The driver of the EV, which starts at about $80,000, slammed into a set of gas tanks, according to Fox 7 Austin, which obtained footage of the incident.

“Normally a car fire you can put out with 500 to 1,000 gallons of water,” Austin Fire Department Division Chief Thayer Smith said, per The Independent, “but Tesla’s may take up to 30,000-40,000 gallons of water, maybe even more, to extinguish the battery pack once it starts burning and that was the case here.”

He added that “there is not any, at this point, any easily obtainable extinguishing agent on the market to deal with these [EV] fires.”

Tesla maintains that its EVs are the “safest cars in the world” on the safety section of its site.

It also states that “from 2012 – 2020, there has been approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 205 million miles traveled. By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation shows that in the United States there is a vehicle fire for every 19 million miles traveled.”

Austin Fire Department Division Chief Eddie Martinez told Fox 7 this was the first Tesla fire incident that he knew of in the city, but that his team were prepared following reports of similar Tesla fires elsewhere that took more water and time than normal to control.

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