Tag Archives: Texas

Tesla Motors: Attacked by Dealers on Multiple Fronts

by Katie Fink –

While Tesla Motors is not the only electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, the company may be the most effective in terms of gaining publicity for itself as it attempts to transform an industry.

The Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S
Credit: Tesla Motors

Named after Nikola Tesla, the father of alternating current, Tesla Motors launched in July of 2003 and has since delivered over 15,000 electric vehicles to eager customers in over 31 countries. Its initial model, the Roadster, was released in 2008 and was the first litium-ion battery-powered, highway-capable all-electric vehicle in mass production in the United States. Production of Tesla’s second model, the Model S, began in June of 2012 as a more accessible full-sized sedan and alternative to the Roadster.

Exceptional Quality

Tesla made a splash in the EV market not only because its CEO, Elon Musk, is a founder of famous entrepreneurial ventures including PayPal, Space X and Solar City, but also because of the high quality standards and innovative business model Tesla has established.

Consumer Reports recently rated the Tesla Model S a 99 out of 100 in innovation, performance, and attention to detail (a 99 is the highest score available for a car). Indeed, the Model S easily topped direct luxury competitors such as the Porche Panamera and the Fisker Karma, another luxury electric vehicle.

The Model S is also noted by Consumer Reports as the most practical electric car on the market with its 85-kWh lithium-ion battery that is capable of taking the car 200 miles before needing a charge. Its closest competitors in terms of range are the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf, which require more frequent charges with ranges between 75 and 80 miles, respectively.

Even with the longest range of any other electric vehicle, Tesla recognized the need for charging infrastructure for long distance driving. To solve this problem, the company has installed 21 Supercharging stations, some incorporating solar photovoltaics, between cities along well-traveled highways.

Charging stations are clustered in 6 groups, in the following cities and towns:

  • Northwest: Centralia, WA; Burlington, WA; and Woodburn, OR, all on I-5
  • California: I-15, I-105, I-5, US Route 50, Fremont Blvd, and 101 in Barstow, Los Angeles, Tejon Ranch, Buellton, Atascadero, Harris Ranch, Gilroy, Fremont, and Folsom
  • Texas: Waco and San Marcos are connected by I-35
  • Midwest: Rockford, IL and Normal, IL
  • Florida: Port St. Lucie and Fort Myers
  • Northeast: Milford, CT; Darien, CT; and Newark, DE are all along i-95.

While it is technically possible to recharge a Tesla at any charging station, regardless of brand, it is currently impossible to drive from coast to coast using only Tesla Supercharging Stations. Tesla anticipates that by 2015 every Supercharging Station will be within driving range of another for more, near seamless recharging. A map indicates current and planned charging stations.

These stations can provide half a charge in 20 minutes and are free for all equipped Model S vehicles for the lifetime of the car.

Attacks from Conventional Dealers

Tesla has come under attack by conventional auto dealers and dealer organizations for everything from misleading advertising to accusations of breaking the law.

Specifically, Tesla has drawn dealers’ ire as it has refused to adopt the traditional automobile franchise route, choosing instead to sell direct to consumer, just as Apple has done, and succeeded, in the consumer technology market with its retail stores.

Tesla claims it must do this because car buyers are uncomfortable with pushy salesmen, and dealers tend to be prejudiced against electric cars due to the longer sale cycle and education required with each customer. However, many dealers see this direct-to-consumer approach as a direct threat to their existence.

lndeed, through what are known as franchise laws, many states have rules forbidding carmakers from selling their cars directly to buyers. Instead, all vehicle sales must go through a licensed dealership franchise. Originally these laws were developed because of the capital-intensive nature of storing, marketing, and servicing cars and to address dealer concerns about foreign manufacturers overtaking American brands. However, Tesla points out, because of the franchise system, distribution makes up about 30% of a car’s final price, making car buying more expensive for consumers than buying direct from the factory.

Illegal in Texas

State laws that protect dealerships from competing with manufacturers have challenged Tesla’s expansion and car dealership associations in New York and Massachusetts have threatened to sue Tesla for selling their wares directly to the customer. Because of these policies, anti-Tesla legislation is pending in North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia. In the State of Texas, the sale of Tesla vehicles has been outlawed completely under the Texas Occupations Code (TEX OC. CODE ANN. § 2301.476).

To overcome this law, Tesla is proposing a bill in Texas, SB 1659/HB 3351, aimed at creating a loophole to the franchise laws allowing all-electric or battery-powered vehicles to be sold directly to Texas consumers.

However, automobile dealers have no intention of allowing a loophole to be created. According to Bill Wolters, the president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, “If we made an exception for everybody that showed up in the legislature, before long the integrity of the entire franchise system is in peril.”

Accusations of Misleading or Deceptive Advertising

In August, Tesla’s Model S achieved the best safety rating of any car ever tested after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The organization awarded the car a 5-star rating not only in overall safety, but also in every subcategory. One reason the Model S is considered so safe is because it lacks a gasoline engine block. The space that would normally hold the engine is used as a second trunk, providing a longer “crumple zone,” to better absorb high-speed impacts from the front. Among other safety features, a double bumper in the rear of the car helps prevent permanently disabling injuries and protects third row passengers.

While only 1% of cars earn an overall rating of 5-stars for safety, Tesla reported that the Model S’s Vehicle Safety Score achieved better than perfect score of 5.4 stars, a new record for the NHTSA. The NHTSA has said it does not rate automobiles with ratings above a 5 and automobile industry observers have called Teslas claims misleading.

Other car dealers are crying foul about the company’s money saving claims. California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) is recently claimed that Tesla’s advertising makes misleading statements about the money savings potential of owning an electric car. The CNCDA is petitioning the California DMV to investigate Tesla’s practices and states that Tesla makes sweeping claims about tax credits and other benefits that do not apply to many people.

Regardless of the complaints from insiders, as Tesla prepares to release its Model X, the company’s answer to the SUV, in 2014 the company is setting the bar high for car manufacturers and has many people rooting for it.

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‘Jetson’-Age Tools Click with Big-Event Planners Trade Shows Expert Shares 3 Cutting-Edge New Technologies

jane-jetsonMost of us think about technology on a mostly two-dimensional plane as we flick our way from screen to screen on touch glass. But today’s tech includes applications that are far from flat, says major-events expert Ann Windham.

“What if you could control all primary aspects of major events like trade shows, big weddings and awards ceremonies through your iPad or smartphone; imagine shutting everything down at the end of a long and exhausting night by pushing one button on your phone – that’s just some of what’s possible with today’s software,” says Ann Windham, president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc. (

Lights, climate control, projectors and monitors, curtains, fountains and much more can be controlled with an app, and the data that you take away from trade shows can be used to quickly follow up on sales leads, says Windham, who will be showcasing this cutting-edge technology July 9 at Trade Show Technology Summit 2013, to be held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

The summit will show attendees how to manage technology such as QR codes, mobile apps, virtual trade shows, social media, on-line asset management, interactive media and live stream video on electronic devices as simple as a mobile phone, she says.

“We’ll show planners the newest event management tools for efficiency and streamlining tasks before, during and after their event. We’ll also have hands-on, educational workshops to show them how to use management,” she says.

Windham shares three of her favorite new technologies:

• Pre-show – Event Management Software: This one-stop source for managing every detail about your event – from Fed Ex tracking numbers to vendor contact information to photos from the show – even allows you to manage multiple events from any location. “In the past, we carried all the details for each show in one huge binder. If you were at a show in Texas and someone called with a question about the show in Oregon, you wouldn’t have that information handy,” Windham says. Event management software relies on cloud storage, so members of your team can access it from their smart phone or iPad no matter where they are. Another benefit: You’ve got just one place to input all that data.

• During the show – Remote Sensors: Sensors built into the walls of an exhibit allow you to control all of the electronics from your smart phone or iPad. Not only does it save time, it’s an easy way to add valuable theatrics during a demonstration. “Say you’re standing at the back of the room and you realize the speaker can’t be heard, you just turn up the volume on his mic, right from your your iPad,” Windham says. “Or, if you want to create special effects using lighting and room temperature, you can dim the lighting and drop the temperature.” Her favorite feature? At the end of a long day, rather than walking from one device to the next, shutting off each, you press just one button and turn everything off while walking out the door.

• Post-show – Sales Leads Follow-up: Seventy percent of percent of exhibitors who capture sales leads at trade shows don’t collect qualifying information, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).Scanners collect only the most basic data from visitors to each booth – there’s no way of knowing whether they were a “hot” lead ready to buy, or someone who stopped by for the free T-shirt, Windham says. Now, however, event management software allows exhibitors to include qualifying information every time a visitor’s badge is scanned. “At the end of the event, you can quickly see who your hottest leads were and send them an email or postcard before you’ve even left the event,” Windham says.

For planners who’ve been hamstrung by personnel cutbacks in recent years, these new tools are lifesavers, she says.

“The days of ‘The Jetsons’ has arrived.”

About Ann Windham

Ann Windham is the president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc., a full-service trade show marketing company that offers custom design exhibits using modular components. Windham’s company offers customers more than 50 percent savings on operating expenses; expert face-to-face marketing consultants that will work to increase ROI with four-step marketing; quarterly seminars offering continuous education by certified trainers; in-house design services for custom structures, graphic design and brand development; turn-key services and exhibit management program for all logistical needs; and a one-stop shop for meeting planning, promotional products, collateral web-site and more.



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Silicon Stetsons?

7067809213_2597fe6d3aWhen it comes to the high tech, high fashion companies in the USA, there is no denying that California is home to some of the biggest brands in the world. Companies like Google, Adobe, Hewlett-Packard and Apple all grew up in the area known as Silicon Valley, close to San Francisco. It’s the spiritual centre of the world’s computer industry, but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that other parts of the United States are home to equally innovative businesses. One of these places is Dallas in Texas, a location more associated with oil barons, ten gallon Stetson hats and cowboys than with high-tech industries.

Telecom Corridor

As well as being home to JR, Bobby, Sue Ellen and the rest of the Ewing clan, Dallas is home to the University of Texas, a high prestige university with a great reputation for training scientists and technological innovators. So many businesses working in the telecoms and computer sectors have sprung up in the area surrounding the university campus that it has become known as the Telecom Corridor. Over 600 high tech companies have made the Telecom Corridor their home. At the centre of the corridor is the small town of Richardson, which has been rated as one of the 20 best places to live in America, according to Money magazine.

Major Employers

As the name Telecom Corridor suggests, this small corner of Texas is home to more than its fair share of telecommunications companies. Names such as AT&T (originally the American Telephone and Telegraph company), Verizon and MetroPCS are not particularly well known in Europe, but are household names across North America as providers of landline telephones, mobile phones and internet services. They have chosen to locate in Telecom Corridor due to the local expertise and access to skilled staff.


There is a huge crossover between telecommunications and other sorts of technology, so it’s no surprise that other companies such as Ericsson, Cisco Systems, Samsung and Fujitsu have chosen to make their North American bases in Texas too. Other companies which are longer established in the Richardson or Dallas area include Texas Instruments, well known for their semiconductors and calculators, and Fossil, an accessories manufacturer which produces high-tech watches like their ladies Fossil ceramic watch and fashion items such as handbags or shoes. Fossil and Texas Instruments continue to innovate with new products, and products like the Texas Instruments’ TMS320 semiconductors and the ladies Fossil ceramic watch are just the last in a long line of innovations.

Working in America

Although there are many job opportunities in the Dallas area for innovators and technology experts, working in Telecom Corridor is not as simple as booking a one way flight to Dallas and handing out CVs. In order to work for one of these companies you’ll have to secure a job first, and they will have to prove you have skills that they can’t get from Americans for you to qualify for a working visa. It’s not impossible, but it is a lengthy and expensive business.

Morag P writes for a large range of websites on a variety of subjects including technology, finance and music.



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Forget Washington — Cities Will Win or Lose America

by Jim Clifton

Throughout this year’s long election season, I was often asked: “Who will be better for jobs and the economy, President Obama or Governor Romney?” My reply most surely disappointed partisans from both sides: The president of the United States doesn’t make as much difference in terms of creating economic energy as you’d think, according to Gallup data.

In fact, if the president mattered that much, why is it that cities and states have such extreme variation in their local GDP and job growth? Shouldn’t they all go up or down together with each president?

Instead, Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn., are booming, while Albany, N.Y., and Stockton, Calif., are failing. Texas is prospering while California is almost surely going broke. Austin’s jobless rate is around 5%, while the unemployment rate in Stockton is above 13%.

The reality is, when it comes to creating economic growth and good jobs, local leadership trumps national leadership. For instance, Austin and Albany are both capital cities in big American states. Neither city is located by a port or a natural tourist attraction with beaches or mountains. They’re pretty much alike, except that Austin wins big and Albany loses big.

The difference, in my view, is that Austin has deeply caring, highly engaged business, political, and philanthropic leaders with principles, policies, beliefs, and values about human nature that work. They understand how to build a thriving, growing economy — one that welcomes business and entrepreneurship. Albany has the opposite, as I see it: Leaders with principles, policies, values, and beliefs that discourage business and entrepreneurship, if not outright scaring them away.

Cities across the country with great leadership are filled with booming startup companies, and those cities have thriving economies that create authentic, organically grown good jobs. These cities are saving America, while the others are letting the country down.

Great city leadership has never been so needed. Nationally, business startups are currently growing at under 400,000 annually. If this rate doesn’t double soon, in my view, absolutely nothing will fix our current nightmare of joblessness.

And this just isn’t a problem that Washington can fix, regardless of who is president. Of course good policy for small businesses is better than bad policy, but in my opinion, the estimated 10,000 business, political, and philanthropic leaders of all shapes and sizes who drive the performance of America’s top 100 cities are the most important people in our country right now. Nothing can be more important to these essential American leaders than turning their towns into roaring economic engines that encourage entrepreneurs to thrive. When it comes to building and sustaining economic energy, frankly, they matter more than the president.

The United States is at a critical juncture in its economic history. Whether the country makes a historic comeback or slowly goes broke, it will do so one city at a time.


Jim Clifton is Chairman and CEO of Gallup. He is author of The Coming Jobs War (Gallup Press, 2011).



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How to Tell if Your Business Needs a Virtual Assistant

A lot of business owners operate under the conviction that they don’t actually need any help with the normal, day to day maintenance of their business, and in some cases, they are absolutely correct. To people like this, it’s okay to hire out specialized workers because those are tasks that they cannot complete on their own. The problem is figuring out how much you can actually handle by yourself before it all becomes too much, and that is where virtual assistants can come in.Virtual assistants handle various administrative, clerical, or copywriting tasks for a business, and they can actually do even more, depending on their own unique skill set and the needs of the business owner. Virtual assistants are versatile, flexible distance workers who usually have no trouble adapting to their workload.

Why would you want to hire a virtual assistant?

Why would you want to hire a virtual assistant? In the long run there are plenty of reasons why you might want a qualified VA on your staff, but let’s take a look at the short term right now to see what the immediate benefits of hiring a virtual assistant might be. Most business owners like to micromanage, especially in the early stages of the business when anything can, and usually does, go wrong. By having their hands in every little inner working that goes on with the company, they can quickly identify and correct problems with the business, and from there they can figure out viable solutions.

Managing Workload

Depending on the size of your business, this can be a truly daunting task, and it can keep you busy from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. On the other hand, if you have a virtual assistant working with you to manage some of the workload, the tasks won’t seem nearly as difficult, and you may even be able to pay more attention to individual tasks that you would otherwise rush over in your haste to get everything completed for the day.When you are thinking about whether or not you need a virtual assistant for your business, consider several important factors before coming to a conclusive decision.

Scheduling Tasks

First of all, and in the same vein as the previous paragraph, could you use an extra set of hands around during the day? Most people could use this, although some business owners might not want to readily admit it. There are always going to be tasks that you don’t have to personally see to, and in these instances there is nothing wrong with delegating them off to someone else who is qualified to handle them.

Introducing Ideas

Second of all, do you think your business would ultimately improve if you had someone around to bounce ideas off of? You may not want to admit it, but not all of your ideas are going to be sure fire winners, and sometimes it’s invaluable to have somebody around who can tell you to get back on track. All of these are reasons why you might want a virtual assistant.

Patty Thompson is a well known blogger on virtual assistant topics.She has an experience of more than 7years in this field.If you are interested in Patty’s virtual assistant services or if you want to know more about virtual assistants please visit her website.


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Going Fully Mobile As A Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants have the luxury of having plenty of options when it comes to their careers. A virtual assistant can work from anywhere in the world provided they have the right set up, and that’s something that not a lot of professions can boast. At the same time, it’s possible to work completely from home, which can be a huge benefit for stay at home moms and anybody who just wants to get away from the corporate rat race.This range of options that comes with being a virtual assistant is both freeing and slightly overwhelming at times. With so many choices you might be at a loss for which direction you want to take with your business. It may also be a little frightening, that feeling of having the whole world spread out in front of you for the taking. The best way to get past that feeling is to take a deep breath and think about all the benefits that really come from being a full time virtual assistant. You can literally work anywhere in the world. It’s not surprising that many virtual assistants take advantage of this and make the decision to take their business fully mobile.

Being a mobile virtual assistant means working without strings. Each client that you work for is on a contract basis, which means you are not tied down or obligated to stick with any employer if it doesn’t meet your schedule. You have the freedom to pick and choose whoever you want to work with, and if you’ve ever been an employee in a normal company with co-workers that you can’t stand, you know how important that really is.

Going mobile is a huge step, so don’t make that your first plan of action if you are first starting out, espeically if you have never been self employed before. The best way to handle it is to set yourself up in your regular home first and get a feel for the ropes. Traveling by itself can be hectic and stressful, and the last thing you want is the burdens of a full business hanging over your head when you don’t even understand the business yet in the first place.

Most virtual assistants like to wait a year or two before taking steps to go fully mobile and travel around the world, and that can be a very smart move. Doing this allows you to get a firm grasp on what kind of deadlines and work pressures are going to be given to you, and it allows you to build a relatively stable income before leaping off head first into the unknown.

The worst thing you can do is start your virtual assistant business and then buy a plane ticket to some new country the very same day. Take everything in its proper order and you’ll have a lot more success as a virtual freelancer. Once you have a firm grip on the business, then you should start looking for more variety.

Elisa Brent is an eminent blogger and she runs a virtual assistant business. she provides support to various virtual assistant companies. If you would like to know about Elisa’s assistants or assistant, please log on to her website


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Texas Supplies Its Own Power

As one of the most rebellious states in the Union, Texas has always walked to the beat of its own drum. Boasting a larger-than-life attitude has given them a reputation for greatness, which was born out of self-reliance when the state became official in 1845. And when they say “Don’t Mess with Texas”, they mean don’t mess with their power supply. Why is that? Because Texas has its own power grid!

It’s amazing to think that an entire state is powered by its own power grid, but even more shocking to know that there are only two other power grids within the whole continental US. The other two are divided into the Eastern Interconnection and Western Interconnection and lace power to several states across the nation. So why is it that Texas got its own grid – and how?

Texas Has the Power
A feature of success for any great business venture has always been “location, location, location”, which contributes heavily in allowing Texas to go off the grid and create its own electricity. Taking this into account, having the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in your backyard is definitely a plus. The majority of residents live within the same region as the ERCOT.  Literally a power house in the state of Texas, the location generates enough juice to supply its own power, leaving the Eastern and Western Connections in the dust.

But the location of the power plant doesn’t weigh as heavy as the history behind the placement of ERCOT. That goes back to World War II when all the factories in Texas were churning out planes and ammunition for the war efforts. At that time, the Texas Interconnected System was created as a reliable way to keep assembly lines in full throttle without depending on distant states. The fact that Texas is rich in natural resources, including coal and gas, also helped to sway the decision even more resolutely.

As a self-contained state of power, Texas has decided not to break down its power supply to interstate customers, which keeps the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at bay. The Lone Star State’s residents are therefore exempt from government regulations on transmission standards and kilowatt prices.  But are they really better off on their own?

Green Energy
For as long as Texas has drawn from its own power, the state is not without turmoil over the decision. The historical event coined “Midnight Connection” occurred in 1976 when a Texas utility plant briefly sent power to Oklahoma. Just recently ERCOT imported power from Mexico in which it has three ties to the country.

With the push for green energy, ERCOT may be under fire with the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution violations. Because ERCOT in its present state was formed in 1970 many of the plants are subject to updates which means they’ll have to go offline during the process. This jolt in distribution could have adverse effects on the state of the grid and force it to rely on ties to the other two grids.
Being self-reliant has its perks and certainly suits the way Texas gets things done. But the future of the grid may be in the balance with the transition to greener energy and cleaner fuel sources.

Syd Martin writes for Premiere Tree Services and enjoys writing articles on green living, environmental issues and nature.


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You just don’t boo the starting line-up

This is the greatest moment in “America’s game” and one that you haven’t been even involved in since 2002.  The last time you won one was about the year I was born, and I’m considered a fossil by most.  The fact that you lost more games than you won throughout the entire month of August and it took a total melt-down by San Diego for you to get into the playoffs…

The first thing the fans do is Boo the entire starting lineup of Texas, with the exception of Benji Molina – the only one on Texas who has ever “done anything wrong”  to our team (and not intentionally – HE PLAYED HIS HEART OUT FOR US).


Have you not heard Josh Hamilton’s story and cried?  I did when he had to pawn his wife’s wedding ring for coke, and then later came back clean and sober.   There are 24 other stories on that team, probably better than the average schlep in the stands that has the audacity to boo them.

We are lucky to be alive, let alone in a world series.  They are also blessed to be our competitors.  For (whatever you consider to be your comfortable equivalent of God)’s sake.  Thank you lucky stars you can afford tickets and give your opponent some respect.  Just like Philly, he may be “better than you” but we could still win.   I think it might take all the Karma we can produce to effect that.  Wishing you opponent ill is NOT GOOD KARMA!!!

Those ignorant little so and so’s with their 3 martini lunches at ‘MoMo’s” could cost us a very humbling gut shot.  I don’t think we can count on 6 more 18 run games.   I will certainly understand it if Texas wins.  I humbly apologize for our disrespect.


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