Tesla vandal turns himself in after keying news editor’s Model 3: ‘I wasn’t thinking’

A Tesla vandal recently turned himself in to authorities after a video depicting his actions was recorded by a parked Model 3’s Sentry Mode. The vandal is currently facing one count of mischief and will be paying for the damage to the vehicle that resulted from his actions. 

A video of the incident quickly spread among the electric car community after it showed a truck driver deliberately getting out of his vehicle to key the Model 3. The truck driver could even be seen in the footage looking back at his handiwork, before returning to his vehicle and driving away. 

The incident caught the attention of local media outlets, some of whom reported on the event. In a rather fateful twist, the black Tesla Model 3 on the receiving end of the keying incident turned out to be owned by Godwin Leung, an editor of Global News, the news and current affairs division of the Canadian Global Television Network. 

Austin Grabas, a 20-year-old resident of Edmonton, eventually saw his actions against the parked electric car being reported by the media. In a statement to Global News, Grabas stated that he was overcome with embarrassment and disappointment. The vandal opted to turn himself in to authorities on Thursday. 

“I wasn’t thinking. It was a stupid, stupid mistake,” he said. 

Grabas added that he keyed the parked Tesla Model 3 because he was cut off by a black sedan on Saturday. Seeing the black Model 3, Grabas thought it was the same vehicle. He then decided to key the car, though he maintained that he does not have anything against Teslas

That being said, the Edmonton man stated that his actions do not “justify what (he) did.” “Immediately, I regretted it. I’m just disappointed in myself right now,” he said, adding that he immediately became scared of the consequences of his actions.

Together with his mischief charge, Grabas has also reached out to the Tesla Model 3 owner so that he could pay for the damages to the car, which is estimated to cost about $1,600. “I have to be accountable for my actions,” he added.

Sentry Mode taps into the video feed from a Tesla’s suite of cameras to capture footage around the vehicle. The built-in security system activates when it detects movement nearby, followed by a warning on the vehicle’s center touchscreen informing would-be thieves or vandals that video is being recorded. 

Tesla’s Sentry Mode has helped solve several vandalism incidents in the past. Unfortunately, it appears that the feature is still relatively unknown among the general public. This has encouraged the Tesla community to share some fan-made public service announcements about the feature, including one from Trevor Page of Tesla Owners Online.  

Watch the Sentry Mode footage that solved the case of a keyed Model 3 in the video below. 

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Tesla vandal turns himself in after keying news editor’s Model 3: ‘I wasn’t thinking’

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1992 Acura Legend: 100 Cars That Matter

Honda blazed a trail in 1986 with its Acura luxury brand that Nissan and Toyota soon followed with Infiniti and Lexus, respectively.

Although the Legend and Integra went on sale in the mid-1980s with the brand’s genesis (no pun intended), it wasn’t until the 1990s that both took off and established their respective claims on luxury lore.

The original Legend shared its architecture with the Rover 800, which was also sold in the U.S. as the Sterling 825, but for the second generation, Acura went its own way.

ALSO SEE: Acura files trademark for Legend, suggesting beloved nameplate may return

Acura Legend

Acura Legend

A new Honda-developed platform let designers reshape the Legend into an elongated car with rear-wheel-drive proportions. Under the hood, a 3.2-liter V-6 engine sat longitudinally, which helped create the look designers no doubt strived for.

The curvy and elegant Legend contrasted with American luxury brands that were stuck in the past: think Cadillac’s boxy sedans, and Lincoln’s bar-soap shaped four-doors—we’d rather forget Buicks altogether.

The Acura Legend, in contrast, was sexy and sleek, and it packed an interior design that never tried to recall the past or look too far into the future. It was simple, comfortable, and packed to the gills with luxuries that only today have become more or less standard on the average vehicle. Drivers were treated to speed-sensitive steering, automatic climate control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, heated leather seats, and even electronically controlled soft-close doors on coupe models.

READ: Acura reportedly readying flagship sedan based on 2016’s Precision concept

Acura Legend

Acura Legend

Cadillac sold its Coupe de Ville on heritage and name; Acura worked to convince American luxury car buyers this was not only the present but also the future.

Customers responded, catapulting Acura to further success in the United States. The Legend name wouldn’t stick around long, however. Acura rebranded its flagship the RL in North America, and later the RLX, while the Legend nameplate lives on in Japan.

Today, Acura finds itself in something of a transitory moment. After years of forgettable machines, the NSX is back in its showrooms and rumors of another Legend have been whispered by auto executives for a while.

The name for Acura’s full-size sedan was no doubt a lofty aspiration, but it was one that eventually came true and helped launch a now-established luxury brand in the U.S.

Note to readers: Motor Authority has compiled 100 cars that have forever changed enthusiasts. From supercars and sedans to SUVs and muscle cars, these are the cars that have sparked our love for cars. Think we’ve missed something? Leave a comment below or contact us here.

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Tesla patents custom cooling system for longer-lasting energy storage devices

A significant part of Tesla’s business relies heavily on the durability and longevity of its battery packs, and in the spirit of disruptive innovation, the Silicon Valley-based company has continued to make improvements to its battery technology to make them more durable and more efficient. Tesla was able to achieve this through several ways, one of which was discussed in a recently published patent application. 

It is pertinent for battery packs, particularly those that are used for energy storage, to be robust enough that they last for a very long time. To accomplish this, battery packs must be able to handle multiple charge and discharge cycles on a regular basis. They must also be able to weather faults in the system, including those that may cause damage to the actual cells in the pack itself.

Such a system was outlined by Tesla in a patent simply titled “Energy Storage System.” Explaining its rationale, the Silicon Valley-based company stated that “cells and other components in a pack generate heat during operation, both during the charging process to store the energy and during the discharge process when energy is consumed.” Tesla further explains that “when the cells fail, they typically release hot gases. These gases may impact the integrity of other cells in the pack and may cause substantial damage to the functional cells which have not failed.” 

An illustration of cooling elements within an energy storage system according to certain embodiments of the invention. (Credit: US Patent Office)

With this in mind, Tesla maintains that there is a need to develop an “improved energy storage system” that will be capable of reducing or removing “one or more of the issues mentioned.” Tesla’s patent describes two strategies that could improve its battery packs. One of these involves the use of a novel system that utilizes a cold plate, which could help remove heat generated by the battery pack during use. Heat pipes may also be used together with a cold plate to achieve this purpose. 

“In certain embodiments, a cold plate (which provides liquid cooling) may be in thermal connection with the battery cells 100 to further remove heat generated during system use. The cold plate may be in direct thermal contact with the battery cells 100 or, alternatively, one or more layers and/or features may be between the cold plate and the battery cells 100. In certain embodiments, the battery cells 100 are in contact with one or more heat pipes to remove excess heat disposed under the battery cells. A cold plate is disposed below the heat pipe or pipes (on the side of the heat pipe away from the battery cells 100) that helps dissipate the heat contained in the heat pipe.”

“In certain embodiments, the cold plate may be in thermal contact with one side of the cells without any heat pipes disposed between the cells. The cold plate may physically consist of a single plate or multiple plates that are thermally connected to the cells and/or one another. In other embodiments, one or more heat pipes are disposed between the battery cells 100 and a cold plate is disposed below the battery cells 100. The heat pipes and the cold plate may be in thermal connection with one another.”

An illustration of a cold plate within an energy storage system according to certain embodiments of the invention. (Credit: US Patent Office)

Apart from the use of cold plates, Tesla also described a battery pack with regions that are designed to give way when mechanical failures happen. By using such a system, the majority of the cells in a battery pack become protected even if some cells were to fail. 

“The top plate includes one or more weak areas above the one or more battery cell. The weak areas are regions that have less integrity and thus, where mechanical failure is more likely to occur if a battery cell releases gas. These regions may be physically weaker areas compared to the surrounding areas and may rupture when pressure builds up due to a failed cell. Alternatively, the weak areas may be chemically weaker and preferentially rupture when exposed to the caustic gases released by a failed battery cell. The weak areas may also fail due to a combination of physical and chemical weakening.”

The full text of Tesla’s Energy Storage System patent could be accessed here.

Tesla’s focus on battery integrity in its recently published patent application suggests that the Silicon Valley-based company is looking to develop packs that are capable of lasting a very long time. Such improvements have been teased before, especially in a paper released by Tesla lead battery researcher Jeff Dahn and members of the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Dalhousie University. The cells described in the paper are capable of lasting over 1 million miles on the road, or 20 years if used in grid energy storage. 

Looking at these initiatives, as well as the battery pack contingencies outlined in the recently released patent, it appears that Tesla is building up towards creating an ecosystem of products that are capable of lasting decades. This, of course, plays a huge part in pushing Tesla’s overall goal of accelerating the advent of sustainable energy. 

Tesla patents custom cooling system for longer-lasting energy storage devices

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