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Power Transportation Technology

Porsche Builds Photovoltaic Pylon, Offsetting Luddite Position On Self-Drive (thestack.com) 213

An anonymous reader writes: Porsche has just completed an impressive 25-meter high photovoltaic pylon. The construction, lonely in its current position and strongly resembling the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, comprises 7,776 solar cells and is capable of generating up to 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. From 2017 it will power the elite car manufacturer's new Berlin-Adlershof Porsche center. Porsche is keen to show a progressive stance on its new range of electric vehicles, considering that it has no intention of joining the movement towards self-driving.
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Porsche Builds Photovoltaic Pylon, Offsetting Luddite Position On Self-Drive

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  • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @09:40PM (#51443307)

    Why would any poor benighted fool pay money for a Porsche that didn't need to be driven? The entire point of their ridiculously inflated price tags is they're a joy to drive.

    • by SNRatio ( 4430571 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:15AM (#51443987)

      Why would any poor benighted fool pay money for a Porsche that didn't need to be driven? The entire point of their ridiculously inflated price tags is they're a joy to drive.

      er, no. The point for most buyers is to own it, talk about owning it, talk about how much better it is than brand-X, and be seen in it. The actual driving is done in stop and go urban traffic where the only joy would be a self-driving car.

      • You are kidding right? If you buy a porsche you have decided to buy a drivers car over countless other more comfortable, more relaxed just as prestiges cars. If it is a case of wanting the brag factor and self drive you would buy a tourer shaped car like an Aston Martin Volante or an S series Mercedes.

        If you stick self drive in a porsche you have pretty much lost 99% of its bragging rights.

        • If you stick self drive in a porsche you have pretty much lost 99% of its bragging rights.

          Umm, you are aware that having self drive in a car and actually driving it yourself are not mutually exclusive options, right? You can put self drive technology on a car intended to be primarily driven by a human.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:41AM (#51444069)

        Although I once thought as you did, this is untrue. Strangely, Porsche has few posers among their owners. Sure, there are some, but they really are few and far between. Most Porsche models don't actually cost enough to be "in" with the true poser crowd. Rather, they are usually owned by people who love to drive and love to drive a good car. My daily-driver Porsche just turned 40 and has well of 220k on it. It is used in amateur motorsports and as my daily 4-season driver. It drives better than any brand-new car I've ever driven from other manufactures. It is rattle-free after all this time and all this use. I agree, occasionally you do indeed find a prick driving a Porsche. When I bought mine I fully expected to meet a lot of jerks. But I was pleasantly surprised that most Porsche owners are simply people who love motorsports and genuinely love driving a proper driver's car. Live and learn I guess.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I actually agree. I drive a 20 year old pickup, and porche drivers seem interested in talking about my truck because they love cars. It's the opposite of most sports cars. Now, I'm not at all sure about the porche SUV thing ... never talked to anyone driving one of those, but they seem to be all middle aged women.

        • That's because posers that buy a proper 911 crash it, because they don't understand how a rear-engine car drives.

          It turns out having the engine's weight hanging past the rear axle really matters, and Porsche has spent the last 30 years being stubborn and making tiny design improvements to counteract this effect, rather than what the Italians did - move the engine forward to the middle.

        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          Porsche Posers are so 80's that it's cheesy.

        • Or maybe you're just one of those pricks driving Porsche, and you don't notice that all Porsche owners you know also are pricks. ;)

        • And masochists love being whipped by their partners until they are blue on their asses.

          I don't understand your reasoning, but being defensive is understandable because the GP's comment was out of line. There are plenty of people who buy Porsches for the joy of driving and not all people are posers. That said anyone who defends a sports car as a joy in a daily inner city commute is pushing it. Now that said not everyone's commute is the inner city. Some people drive to work on long stretches of road without

        • Strangely, Porsche has few posers among their owners. Sure, there are some, but they really are few and far between. Most Porsche models don't actually cost enough to be "in" with the true poser crowd. Rather, they are usually owned by people who love to drive and love to drive a good car.

          Well, Porsche also make a dumbass SUV-like vehicle, which is only going to drive as well as an SUV. I believe these types of vehicle are a legal alternative for warning other drivers for when you don't want a bumber sticke

      • The actual driving is done in stop and go urban traffic where the only joy would be a self-driving car.
        In the US perhaps ... however if you have not realized it yet: the world is bigger than the US, much bigger in fact.

      • by nyet ( 19118 )

        Almost every single friend of mine that owns a Porsche tracks it.

        You must have crappy friends... or none that own Porsches.

        • Almost every single friend of mine that owns a Porsche tracks it.

          Cool story, but hardly indicative of all Porsche owners globally...

      • Why would any poor benighted fool pay money for a Porsche that didn't need to be driven? The entire point of their ridiculously inflated price tags is they're a joy to drive.

        er, no. The point for most buyers is to own it, talk about owning it, talk about how much better it is than brand-X, and be seen in it. The actual driving is done in stop and go urban traffic where the only joy would be a self-driving car.

        And if you make it self-drive you lose prestige because you no longer get to talk about how great your driver's car is. You might as well be in a Lexus or BMW.

        Don't get me wrong here, in the unlikely event I start to drive I'll strongly prefer a self-driver (long stretches of road tend to put me to sleep after about an hour-and-a-half, which is bad at 80 MPH), but I'm not the target market.

    • by Guillermito ( 187510 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:50AM (#51444087) Homepage
      Even if you enjoy driving most of the time, there are moments in which driving can be a hassle and self driving capabilities still make sense, even for a Porsche. For example: you might want to have an enjoyable ride driving your Porsche to your destination's door, and then let the car self drive to a parking spot and pick you up afterwards when you're done. Or perhaps you enjoy driving your Porsche on a rural winding road with no traffic, but you'd rather be working or reading when stuck in city traffic.
      • by nyet ( 19118 )

        And it would make a terrible driver's car because all of those things that make a car autonomous have severe engineering drawbacks (weight, complexity, reliability at the edge of the performance envelope, etc.) for track use.

        • by johanw ( 1001493 )

          And not to forget you need an automatic transmission for that. Real drivers use manual transmission. Does Porsche even deliver automatic transmissions (outside the US, where most "drivers" don't know how to use a manual transmission)?

          • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

            What's a real driver? Any Porsche that is being raced will have a "flappy paddle" gearbox, because otherwise you will be left for dead. Sure there is crowd of Luddite Porsche owners that want a full manual gearbox. However I would be surprised if "flappy paddle" gearboxes where not at least an option on every current Porsche model.

          • And not to forget you need an automatic transmission for that. Real drivers use manual transmission. Does Porsche even deliver automatic transmissions (outside the US, where most "drivers" don't know how to use a manual transmission)?

            You are completely ass-backwards. First, only Americans actually give a shit about manual shift any more. Several cars are now getting a manual only for the US market. Second, manual shift is slow as fuck by modern standards. NOBODY can do it faster than a dual-clutch gearbox, but NOBODY. Not even with a dogbox. A well-programmed dual clutch, like Porsche's PDK, won't even upset the car if you shift mid-turn. Even a good slush box is better at shifting than you are. My 1997 Audi's five-speed ZF5HP42 dual-en

          • And not to forget you need an automatic transmission for that.

            Not necessarily. BMW makes a dual clutch manual transmission with an automatic clutch. You can use the paddles, you can use the bump shifter. It has no torque convertor. It WILL roll backwards on a steep hill.
            I would have rather had a full manual with stick shift, but we are a two car family and we occasionally have to swap cars. My wife will not learn standard. Sigh.

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @02:22AM (#51444249) Journal
      Even if Porsche invested a lot of money in self-driving research, they probably wouldn't get it first, or best. They would end up licensing the technology from Google or others.
      So might as well save their money and instead focus on their core competency, and if demand for a self-driving Porsche ever arises, license the technology.
      • Most modern electronics in a Porsche regarding safety (lane detection, sign detection, speed control, automatic breaking, distance detection, rear and side radar, pedestrian detection etc.) is already bought from third party companies. If they make a few cars self driving, like their SUVs e.g. they simply will buy the remaining technology needed. I doubt there is any real licensing involved. Companies like Continental or Bosch sell "all in solutions" for driver assistance and soon self driving.

        I for my part

        • Most modern electronics in a Porsche regarding safety (lane detection, sign detection, speed control, automatic breaking, distance detection, rear and side radar, pedestrian detection etc.) is already bought from third party companies.

          The truth is that virtually all electronics in virtually all cars are already bought from third party suppliers. Automakers actually make almost nothing beyond stamping sheet and casting lumps of metal. Everything else is contracted out, even if they designed it.

    • by mrvan ( 973822 )

      They might be a joy to drive in the countryside, and they might be a joy to drive in a busy city (Paris/Barcelona busy, not LA busy) if that's your thing, but nothing can be a joy to drive on the 1000 km highway between them...

    • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
      Why would any poor benighted fool pay money for a Porsche that didn't need to be driven?

      Because that means he could more easily show that he has ten Porsches and therefore is clearly superior to the guy with only one.

      Also, the computer could take over some of the less enjoyable parts of driving, like parking.

    • Exactly. The submitter is obviously politically biased with the use of the term 'Luddite.' If I buy an expense sports car I plan on actually driving it myself.

      • by msauve ( 701917 )

        The submitter is obviously politically biased with the use of the term 'Luddite.'

        The submitter is being dishonest and misleading.

        The Luddites actively and physically fought against advancements in technology. Porsche has simply chosen not to adopt some, they're not trying to stop anyone else from creating a self-driving car. Big difference.

    • Why would any poor benighted fool pay money for a Porsche that didn't need to be driven?

      Self driving technology is orthogonal to whether or not the car has controls for a humans to use. You can have a car that is primarily driven by a human with self driving tech available OR you can have a car that is primarily self driven with controls for human override OR you can have a vehicle without human controls at all. For a Porsche I would see the first option being used. The car is primarily human driven but self driving tech is there to keep the human out of trouble and (someday) to be availabl

    • The sadness of driving my Carrera GT is that I keep asking myself, "what other dumb things these damn Porsche engineers did to hide their fundamental stupidity for emission requirements?" It's not exactly a surprise that the mandates had over 5 year heads up notice.
    • Why would any poor benighted fool pay money for a Porsche that didn't need to be driven? The entire point of their ridiculously inflated price tags is they're a joy to drive.

      This was my immediate thought. Of course Porsche isn't interested in self-driving cars. The whole point of a Porsche is driving it. Though I cannot afford a Porsche, I drive fun, sporty cars and hence have no interest in a self-driving car either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2016 @09:41PM (#51443315)

    Just because many think self driving cars are a good idea, doesn't mean there are not valid reasons for not wanting to be a part of it.

    • Hear hear!

      Don't get me wrong, I'm all for self-driving cars. Personally, I want one. But I also enjoy my little roadster with the manual transmission. I'd love to get a Tesla Roadster (0-60 4 seconds solo in the carpool lane? W00t!). And I'd want a switch that would turn self-driving on and off.

      So when I'm going to work, yeah, I'd probably turn on self-drive and read a book. But if I was going out to visit my sister in Colorado? Yeah, there are some stretches of road that are fun to drive and I'd wa

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's not being a luddite to enjoy driving a car. And guess what Porsche's pride themselves of being?

    (Hint : DRIVERS CARS)

  • by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:35AM (#51444045)

    Porsche's photovoltaic pylon discovered to be consuming megawatts of electricity from the grid when nobody is looking, and spewing large amounts of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.

  • Units (Score:4, Informative)

    by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:37AM (#51444055)

    "capable of generating up to 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year"

    This is an average power of 3.42 kW for those who hate people who twist units to create big, impressive sounding metrics.

    • Re:Units (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:47AM (#51444083)

      And 3.42 kW is 4.58 horsepower, so you won't be doing any meaningful car charging without a lot of these things.

      This sounds more like solar power just for the building. Somebody saw "Porsche solar" and "Porsche electric car" and assumed one must be connected to the other without checking the math.

    • by hvdh ( 1447205 )

      On the photo, you can see that a big Porsche company logo covers around 20% of the solar cell area. Did they account for that in this number?

    • Most people get a photovoltaic installation because it generates money, not because it delivers clean(-ish) decentralized electricity to the grid.
      And you get paid a given amount of c€ per kWh for this electricity.
      The average power output is interesting though, because it shows that it's not even enough to power 1% of a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S (521 PS = 383 kW).
      What a load of greenwashing bullshit.

    • Average power doesn't make much sense for a solar system - they work during the day in a sort of parabolic curve (for a cool graph see the last image here [ecuadors.net] where a partial solar eclipse "eats away" part of that curve). The PV system that produced the graph in that image I linked to, is at my vacation home in Greece and at 10kW nominal power it produces about 15MWh per year, or half the amount of this Porche pylon (which does not look like the Monolith to me). Given that Berlin is not as sunny as Greece, it w

    • "capable of generating up to 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year"

      This is an average power of 3.42 kW for those who hate people who twist units to create big, impressive sounding metrics.

      Or closer to 9kW per 8 hour day.

  • by sittingnut ( 88521 ) <sittingnut AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:48AM (#51444085) Homepage

    how is choosing one technology over another 'luddite'?
    did they threaten to destroy self driving cars? if not, they are not luddites.
    another example of typical overpriced 'education' is usa, resulting in careless ignorant exaggerated use of words, from people, journalist and editors, whose job is to use words.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:53AM (#51444091) Homepage

      Haven't you heard? Failure to champion any and all new technologies as being cool and useful makes you a luddite these days.

      That or the poster is a childish ass who felt a random need to inject a stupid opinion in the title, and Timothy went along with it.

      Tough call.

    • It's spectacularly ignorant anyway since Porsche's top-end car is a hybrid. Listening to anything Porsche says about whether they will bring out EVs is spectacularly retarded, and I use that particular word deliberately here. If you think that anything a corporate PR flack says is meaningful, your development was obviously indaequate.

  • by JoshWurzel ( 320371 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @12:53AM (#51444093) Homepage

    You must construct additional pylons.

  • >"Porsche Builds Photovoltaic Pylon, Offsetting Luddite Position On Self-Drive "

    Luddite Position? Whose stupid-ass opinion is THAT and why it is in the title? Quite a few people have *NO* interest in self-driving cars, and that is especially true in the higher-end sports-cars markets. It wouldn't make any economic sense for Porsche to pursue a path that doesn't intersect with their goals and customer wishes.

    What next? A comment about how Kawasaki has a Luddite Position on not pursing research on self

    • I would have gone with the self driving golf club. Why miss out on a good pun when talking about English workers being destructive?

    • Especially as the cross-section between people that want a self-driving car, and people who want a Porsche is so close to zero that the Theory of Limits applies.

      If people want to show off, they buy a Lambo. If they want a car that can drive quickly around a race track, they get a Porsche.

    • It wouldn't make any economic sense for Porsche to pursue a path that doesn't intersect with their goals and customer wishes.

      Just remember Henry Ford saying. "If I asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse". You can't ignore your customers but customers are in many cases demonstrably poor at figuring out what they really want particularly when we are talking about new technology. Porsche customers might say they want a driver's car but NOBODY really knows what self driving tech will bring to the party so in truth they really don't know if they want it or not. It might be that some of the tech wil

  • People are getting so distracted by the word "luddite" that they've neglected to ask the important question: to what extent does having all of the solar panels mounted vertically affect their efficiency?

    Granted, it looks cool, but I presume that most solar arrays are mounted horizontally (or at an angle determined by their location's latitude) so that they are as close to perpendicular as possible to the sun. Unless this installation is *really* far from the equator, it seems like they will be generating

    • : to what extent does having all of the solar panels mounted vertically affect their efficiency?

      Granted, it looks cool,

      I think you've answered your own question.
      Porsche is clearly going for form over function.

  • That's a rather bold description over such a stupid issue. Do you think that ship builders who aren't starting to build their hulls out of titanium screen doors are also luddites?

  • If you actually think that Porsches' position on so-called 'self-driving' cars is a Luddite attitude, then you don't at all get what Porsche is all about in the first place. It's a driver's car, not just transportation. If you don't understand that, then you've either never driven one, or, like someone with no sense of taste being handed a glass of truly fine wine or well-aged single-malt whiskey, you just aren't capable of 'getting it'. For some people an automobile is just transportation; enjoy your Fords
    • I agree with what you said pretty much.

      I don't like driving at all and if someone gave me a Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini etc I would sell it and if I could get a self driving car I would otherwise I would just save the money for now. I look at cars as a way to get from point A to point B and I don't want to be bothered in any way by them.

      What I want is a safe self-driving electric car that can take itself to the repair shop or call for help when needed and arrange a replacement so I can worry about other t

    • If you actually think that Porsches' position on so-called 'self-driving' cars is a Luddite attitude, then you don't at all get what Porsche is all about in the first place. It's a driver's car, not just transportation.

      Being a driver's car doesn't mean self driving tech would be useless. So instead of actually steering the car you have the self driving tech as a sort of careful watcher to help insure the driver doesn't crash the car. Think of it like stability control or traction control or ABS on steroids. Hell, Porsche developed a rear drive sports car which is a ridiculous thing to do and they put all kinds of electronic driving aids to keep the car pointed in the right direction. What would be bad about self drivi

      • ell, Porsche developed a rear drive sports car which is a ridiculous thing to do

        What? Who told you that? Rear wheel drive is still best for sports cars. [youtube.com] AWD is awesome, I love it, my latest ride is an Audi with old-school Quattro, meaning it has a Torsen center diff and open diffs front and rear with EBD for low speed anti-slip. But nothing beats a well set-up RWD car for tossability. I've owned a 240SX and an Impreza, and flogged them both hard over the twistiest canyon roads available, you know the kind that just look more and more squiggly as you zoom in? The two cars weighed the sa

    • If you actually think that Porsches' position on so-called 'self-driving' cars is a Luddite attitude, then you don't at all get what Porsche is all about in the first place. It's a driver's car, not just transportation.

      If all Porsches were "driver's cars" then they wouldn't offer them with all the fruity amenities. There would be no interior option beyond alcantara (it's easier to clean than real leather and it's grippy so you don't slide around on it) and you could have it with or without air con, and that's it. The truth is that Porsche makes relatively light little runabouts and they also make massive land barge SUVs. To suggest that they won't make those SUVs self-driving is ridiculous. To believe the suggestion is ev

  • New Porche cars must be warped in next to this pylon, right?
  • up to 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

    Enough of this science jibber-jabber. What's that in homes?

  • You a certainly reducing the land footprint if you build a solar installation as a single tall tower, instead of an array of smaller panels covering a field.

    However the pylon is going to create a large shadow. If a company minimizes land costs by buying a small plot of land and building a tall photovoltaic tower on it, then they are capturing sunlight that would otherwise fall on their neighbours' land. If the neighbours needed the sunlight for growing crops or for their own solar power installation, then
  • Doing the maths, that works out at a continuous average of 3.4KW, which is slightly more than a single 13A socket in the UK. If we multiply by 3 (an overcompensation) assuming that those 30,000 KWh are collected during 8 hours of each day, that is still only enough to simultaneously run 3 kettles.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @09:39AM (#51445445)

    ...capable of generating up to 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

    Gee - is that in everyday use, or only when it knows it's hooked up to a test station in a garage?

  • They build high performance cars that just so happen to be street legal, who the fuck wants a self driving race car? Does that not defeat the entire purpose of owning a high performance machine? The one point that makes auto racing a sport is the skill of the driver. If you remove the driver, you remove the sport.
  • Some of Porche's current offerings I could see getting the self drive treatment. Like the Panamera and whatever the heck they call their SUV/XUV/whatever they are called this week. I could see people who want the Porsche label for name only, but want a sedan or minivan totally picking the self drive option. They could rebadge these models as the Porsche PINO edition and all the hipsters would fall over themselves to get one. At least until they find out it means Porsche In Name Only.

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