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Telstra bringing eSIM functionality to Windows 10 devices

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Credit: Microsoft

Starting Thursday next week, users of certain Windows 10 hardware with eSIM functionality will be able to use and purchase mobile plans from Telstra.

Australia’s incumbent telco said from March 7, people with Surface Pro 4G LTE or HP Spectre devices will be able to use the Windows 10 Mobile Plans app to begin the process of getting connected, before being shot over to Telstra’s website to purchase a plan.

“eSIM makes it possible to connect your compatible Windows 10 Modern PC to the internet, without having to go to a store or collect a SIM,” Telstra consumer segment executive Kevin Teoh said. “It will be easier than ever before to connect on the go.”

In a bid to lure people into eSIM usage, Telstra is offering customers a free 30-day trial with 30GB of data included. Once the trial is over, customers will need to use a prepaid or postpaid account to maintain connectivity.

In September 2017, Telstra launched its wearable eSIM product dubbed Telstra One Number, that allows users to share the same phone number across their wearables as they use on their smartphones, sharing data, call, and text inclusions from their mobile plan.

Apple announced support for eSIMs in its latest refresh of the iPhone line, while Google has had eSIM support since the Pixel 2.

Meanwhile in China, the GSM Association was unsurprisingly bullish on the potential of its eSIM standard, even though the Middle Kingdom does not have a high uptake of eSIM smartwatches.

“Despite creating smartphones for the global market, the Chinese domestic market has not formally adopted eSIM technology which will require appropriate regulation and new manufacturing, logistical and supply chain processes,” GSMA said.

“Globally, over fifty mobile operators already support eSIM functionality in smartphones.”

The GSMA said the availability of eSIM services in China varies wildly on operator and city.

“In June 2018, China Mobile announced the launch of an eSIM-enabled smartwatch (Huawei Watch 2) in Tianjin, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Chengdu,” it said.

“Since October 2018, China Telecom has supported eSIM functionality for the Apple Watch, providing limited eSIM service for locally registered phone numbers in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Nanjing.

“As of November 2018, China Unicom provides eSIM services in seven cities: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Changsha, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan and Zhengzhou.”

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Ford reveals the Mustang Mach-E EV for police testing

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Ford has been building cars used by police departments and other law-enforcement agencies around the country for many years. In the past, its Mustang with the 5.0 liter V-8 and the Crown Victoria, among other Ford vehicles, were widely used as police cars. Many police agencies are pushing towards automobiles that get better fuel economy and pollute less.

To meet the demand for zero-emissions police vehicles, Ford has submitted the all-electric Mustang Mach-E for testing with the Michigan State Police. Ford is exploring fully electric vehicles built specifically for police as part of its $30 billion investment in electrification through the year 2025.

Ford is aiming to demonstrate that its electric vehicle can deliver impressive performance and operate on demanding police duty cycles. The all-electric police vehicle is based on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E. It will be part of the 2022 model year Police Evaluation performed by the Michigan State Police on September 18 and 20th.

Ford says that the pilot program is going to be used as a testing benchmark as it explores purpose-built electric police vehicles for the future. The automaker expects that demand for green zero missions police will continue to grow. Previously Ford revealed a Mach-E police car for the United Kingdom.

As regulations tighten for emissions around the world, many police departments and law-enforcement agencies will be forced to seek green patrol vehicles. One potential downside to an electric vehicle for police work is long charge times and short driving ranges in pursuit situations. However, despite its drawbacks, electric vehicles offer impressive performance. It would be no surprise to see the Mach-E police car record the best performance of all vehicles in the test.

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The NTSB is probing another fatal Tesla crash

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Over the years, there have been multiple accidents involving Tesla vehicles that were allegedly operating on Autopilot at the time. Autopilot is Tesla’s semi-autonomous driver assistance tech. To use Autopilot, drivers are supposed to keep their hands on the wheel, but some owners have found ways to defeat that system.

Recently police in Coral Gables, Florida, were called to the scene of an accident involving a Tesla Model 3. The accident occurred on Monday evening of this week and happened in a residential area. According to police, the vehicle was using the Autopilot system at the time of the accident.

After the Model 3 crashed, its battery packs caught fire, and the two deceased occupants were badly burned. The bodies were damaged enough that they haven’t been positively identified at this time. The fatal accident occurred when the Model 3 impacted a tree. After that impact, there was a fire.

The NTSB has confirmed that it has sent three investigators to the area to look into the cause of the fire. This accident isn’t the first allegedly involving Tesla’s Autopilot system that NTSB has investigated. Previously, the NTSB also investigated an accident involving a Tesla that happened in Texas in April.

In that particular accident, police believe no one was in the driver’s seat. Some Tesla owners have discovered how to activate autopilot without being in the driver’s seat. In August, the NHTSA opened a formal probe into Tesla automobiles and its Autopilot driver assistance system after 11 crashes involving Autopilot-equipped vehicles and police and fire vehicles. There have been 11 crashes involving Tesla’s that have led to the death of occupants since 2016. Whether or not autopilot is at fault is unknown.

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Chevrolet Bolt production stoppage extended until mid-October

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GM has announced that it will extend its production stoppage for the Bolt electric vehicle through at least mid-October. The announcement marks an extension of its production stoppage announced in late August due to a massive battery recall for the electric vehicle. The defective battery packs have caused 12 fires.

Most recently, a Bolt caught fire in the owner’s garage, destroying the vehicle, damaging the home, and causing damage to another vehicle stored in the garage at the time. GM has confirmed that Bolt production at the Orion Assembly plant will not commence until at least October 15. The massive battery recall has already cost around $2 billion, and GM says it will recover most of that money from battery supplier LG.

Chevrolet’s latest production stoppage for the Bolt comes in the middle of a massive chip shortage that has forced production on other vehicle assembly lines to stop. Sales and production of the Bolt won’t begin until the automaker has a confirmed fix for the battery issues.

An investigation laid the blame on misaligned robots at the battery assembly factory. According to that report, the misaligned robots caused a torn anode tab placing it closer to the cathode leading to short-circuiting and fires. After another fire that happened this month, GM issued a new warning to owners of the small electric vehicle.

The new warning tells Bolt owners to keep their vehicles at least 50 feet away from homes, offices, and other vehicles. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that any owner who heeds the warning and parks 50 feet away from homes or offices would be able to charge their vehicle, essentially making them useless until a fix is available. Defective battery packs have led to three injuries and multiple fires.

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