Are Elon Musk’s new Roadster and Semi a distraction or perhaps a masterstroke in the arrange for electric vehicles?

Tesla’s Elon Musk makes big promises, that they generally keeps – eventually.

The millionaire founding father of the electrical vehicle and solar power company yesterday unveiled the “Semi” – his undertake the way forward for trucking. 

Staged in Hawthorne, California, the big event – filled with rock music, smoke, lights, high fives and pauses therefore the audience could cheer each point – was initially designed to have happened on October 26.

Still, it had been worth awaiting. “It could be economic suicide,” stated Mr Musk, to utilize a diesel truck over his battery-powered the one that promises an optimum gross weight of 80,000lb (36 tons), a -60mph speed of 5 seconds and 500-mile range when fully loaded. 

He guaranteed the Semi, that is operated by four electric motors, wouldn’t break lower for any million miles, and price $1.26 per mile to operate in contrast to $1.51 for conventional vehicles. Running the trucks – which include millions of mile no-breakdown guarantee – in convoys would cut back costs much more, which makes them less expensive than rail freight. 

Elon Musk introduces the Semi trucks he states will revolutionise the Credit: Tesla

“You’re wondering just how much this will cost, because Tesla stuff is costly,” the entrepreneur told everyone else between their whoops. “But we realized the financial aspects of trucking matter tremendously. When the cost per mile is simply too high you cannot have great results.

“But for everything into consideration, the lease, insurance, maintenance cost, the real price of utilizing a diesel truck is going to be 20pc more costly per mile. From the first day our truck will beat a diesel – and that’s at worst situation, at max gross weight, 60mph, with $2.50 per gallon gas. They are real figures also it only will get better.”

Tesla Model 3 in pictures

No cost was pointed out, though this type of massive battery could be needed to power the Semi that this component might cost $100,000 alone, pushing the “sticker cost” of the truck past $250,000, double a diesel. 

“Production starts in 2019, you can find now,” stated Mr Musk – but he wasn’t quite finished. 

“Turns available was some cargo within the back,” he added before moving out a brand new sports vehicle, an upgraded version of Tesla’s first vehicle, the Roadster. “That baby got us going, it had been the building blocks of the organization.”

The brand new vehicle – again met by cheering – may have blistering performance. “It’s the fastest production vehicle ever,” stated Mr Musk, promising -60mph in 1.9 seconds along with a top speed of 250mph-plus, plus a record-breaking selection of 620 miles. “And this is simply the base model.”

Needless to state everyone else went wild at Tesla producing this $200,000 hypercar.

The launch from the new vehicles met with rapturous applause and cheers in the audience  Credit: Reuters

But the amount of case hype to hide Tesla’s bigger problems? Mr Musk has spoken about finding yourself in “production hell” using the previous vehicle Tesla launched, the Model 3.

Meant to bring electric motoring towards the masses, the Model 3’s cost-tag of $35,000 meant the organization was swamped with almost 500, 000 orders. However reality hit. Hopes of building 10,000 Model 3s per week by early 2018 happen to be “basically abandoned”. Issues with automation processes around the battery production line are behind the delays and also at the finish from the third quarter Tesla stated it’d delivered just 222 Model 3s.

Getting into trucks and cars Mr Musk admits are “beyond ludicrous” when it comes to speed when Tesla can’t hit production targets on which ought to be the simple Model 3, might be a mistake. Building cars at rates are tough, and Tesla’s finances show it.

Tesla is not capable of meeting production targets because of its budget Model 3 vehicle Credit: Tesla

Tesla’s last questionnaire demonstrated a internet lack of $619.4m, from the profit of $21.9m last year, despite revenue rising 30pc to $2.98bn.

“Besides the Model 3 miss undermine the credibility of future Model 3 targets, however it boosts the near-term risks,” UBS analyst Colin Langan stated. “The marketplace shouldn’t ignore fundamental challenges that persist in relation to Tesla’s Model 3 profitability. We feel Tesla will ultimately need additional outdoors funding.”

The analyst also cautioned that as lengthy-established automotive giants meet up with groundbreaker Tesla, the organization will face “increased pressure when needed as luxury automakers launch competing products”.

Shares in Tesla, which peaked at greater than $380 in June, valuing the organization at $61bn, have since dipped to about $310. The highs meant Tesla was temporarily worth more than BMW, despite the fact that Mr Musk’s business created less than 100,000 cars this past year, in contrast to the German manufacturer’s 2.4m.

That insufficient scale and experience might be making up ground around the millionaire, particularly if he again disappoints with deliveries.

Good reputation for Tesla

However, Jefferies analysts suggest as opposed to a stunt to draw attention away from from Tesla’s woes, the brand new Roadster might be a smart financial play that could ease their expected cash shortage.

Analyst Philippe Houchois requested if this type of headline grabbing vehicle could “help raise working capital”. “Mr Musk designed a surprise announcement of the new Roadster in 2020. More interestingly, the sale to market upfront 1,000 limited-edition models could raise $250m, additionally to $50,000 deposits on reservations.”

Getting announced the Semi in the “Masterplan Part Deux” most likely the new Roadster may be the next phase that will allow Mr Musk’s to place his feet lower on developing the following type of transport.

Tesla unveils electric truck it states can travel 500 miles per charge

Tesla leader Elon Musk unveiled a brand new electric semi-truck that may apparently withstand a nuclear explosion and move from to 60 miles per hour in five seconds. (Tesla)

Tesla finally required the wraps off its lengthy-anticipated electric semi-truck late Thursday, a truck that Elon Musk stated would blow people’s minds into an “alternate dimension.”

The issue now, analysts say, is whether or not Elon Musk’s ambition to change the commercial trucking market is achievable.

After acknowledging his company’s struggles to create the Tesla 3, its first mass-market electric sedan, and with allegations of unfair workplace conditions, Musk was to doing the main one factor he is doing much better than possibly other people in Plastic Valley: making big, dreamy, promotion-filled promises which have a means of getting his dynamic vision for the future to existence.

“What will it seem like they are driving this truck?” Musk requested the crowd, soon after his latest creations folded to the stage. “It’s amazing! It’s smooth, much like driving a Tesla.”

“It’s unlike any truck that you’ve ever driven,” he added, noting that Tesla’s 18 wheeler puts the motive force in the center from the vehicle just like a race vehicle, but encircled with touchscreen displays like individuals based in the Model 3. “I can drive this factor and that i do not know how you can drive a semi.”

Musk also frequently noted that his company’s trucks produce zero emissions.

Range anxiety happens to be a vital concern for anybody who’s weighing purchasing an electrical vehicle. Musk searched for to reassure potential customers the company’s big rigs can match — and exceed — the performance of the diesel engine, that they known as “economic suicide.”

Musk didn’t reveal the truck’s exact cost, but contended that the diesel truck could be 20 cents more costly per mile than Tesla’s electric counterpart, which is available to buy in 2019.

A completely loaded Tesla truck moving 60 miles per hour can travel 500 miles on one battery charge, Musk stated. Most truck routes are under 250 miles, he stated. The18 wheeler includes four independent motors, Musk stated, and it has no gears or transmission, meaning that it’ll require significantly less maintenance. He guaranteed the18 wheeler won’t break lower for a million miles.

Every truck “has Autopilot like a standard” which Musk claimed will be safety.

The trucking market is near an electrical revolution, analysts say, one driven with a desire to have greater safety, lower fuel costs and cleaner energy. Freight movement – a category which includes trucks, trains, ships, and planes that carry goods – makes up about 16 percent of corporate green house gas emissions, which constitutes a massive carbon footprint, based on the Ecological Defense Fund. Around the issue of safety, greater than 4,000 everyone was wiped out and the other 116,000 hurt in accidents involving large trucks in 2015, the newest year statistics were available, based on National Highway Traffic safety Administration.

Sandeep Kar, chief strategy officer of Toronto-based Fleet Complete, which tracks truck movement, told Reuters that about 30 % of U.S. trucking journeys are regional, between 100 to 200 miles. Individuals regional journeys present a distinctive niche for Tesla if transportation firms conclude that the organization can provide them a method to reduce operating costs and emissions.

Musk also stated it won’t take lengthy for that trucks to charge.

“While you’re unloading your cargo, you are able to charge,” he stated, quarrelling that motorists need to take a 30-minute break red carpet or seven hrs of driving, providing them with an opportunity to charge the18 wheeler. “By time you’re completed with your break, the18 wheeler you will need to go. You won’t be awaiting your truck.”

Within hrs from the unveiling, Wal-Mart – the world’s largest store having a number of about 6,000 trucks – announced that the organization has purchased five Tesla units in Walmart U.S. and 10 units in Walmart Canada.

Meijer Corporation., a Michigan-based grocery chain and J.B. Search Transport Services Corporation., an Arkansas logistics company, also have reserved multiple trucks, having to pay a $5,000 deposit per vehicle, based on Bloomberg.

Although not everybody was offered on Musk’s pitch.

Some analysts stated these were surprised that Tesla would attempt a brand new vehicle as the organization struggles to unveil their Model 3 sedan, that has been beset by production issues.

Unlike the adoring fans that coughed up a $1,000 deposit for that Model 3, truck buyers will appraise Tesla’s latest vehicle differently, based on Rebecca Lindland, a professional analyst at Prizes.

“The greatest challenge Tesla faces using its semi is customers,” she stated. “These are business owners not fans, plus they will have to be believing that this truck is much better for his or her balance sheet than existing technology. It most likely is, in line with the specs provided, however this isn’t always a slam dunk.”

Akshay Anand, a senior analyst at Prizes, noted that regardless of the truck’s “fantastic” specs, Tesla is entering a crowded space with lots of “longstanding competition.” The issue for Anand along with other analysts is whether or not that competition will diminish Tesla’s capability to deliver around the Model 3.

After cheating on U.S. emissions tests because of its diesel cars, Volkswagen has made the decision to invest heavily in new electric vehicles, including an electrical truck. The Swedish company Einride has unveiled an cabin-free, electric transport vehicle known as the “T-Pod.” The organization claims the driverless vehicle can transport as much as 20 tons and travel 12 miles on one charge.

After joining forces using the Bay Area-based startup Otto, Uber has additionally launched a self-driving truck campaign too. Uber stated its initial milestone was using getting their truck they are driving 120 miles to provide a trailer of Budweiser in Colorado this past year, the world’s “first shipment by self-driving truck.”

“Competition is certainly not new for Tesla, but they have to ensure they’re not spread too thin because they still launch the Model 3, perhaps their most significant vehicle within their short history,” Anand stated.

Close to the finish of Thursday’s event, Musk surprised the guests by revealing the most recent iteration from the Roadster, that will incorporate a 200-kilowatt-hour battery power and travel 620 miles on one charge, Musk stated. Tesla created the Roadster from 2008 to 2012, and also the new edition is going to be open to consumers in 2020.

“The point of using this method would be to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” Musk stated. “Driving a gasoline sports vehicle will seem like a steam engine having a side of quiche.”

Tesla reports big loss as Model 3 production struggles continue

For $200,000, Tesla will sell the ‘world’s fastest’ consumer vehicle

Tesla’s latest creation: An electrical 18 wheeler that may travel 500 miles on one charge]

But while Musk and the audience were characteristically gleeful, investors and some auto analysts were skeptical concerning the company’s prospects. Tesla’s stock fell nearly 4 % in mid-day buying and selling Friday. Some industry observers pointed towards the company’s production delays in the mass-market Model 3. Erectile dysfunction Hellwig, a senior editor at auto research website Edmunds.com, described the Roadster like a “very unnecessary distraction” whose reintroduction was likely designed to divert attention from Tesla’s business struggles.

The organization reported a internet loss of $619 million, or about $2.92 per share, in its newest earnings report, compared with a internet earnings of $21 million along with a gain of 71 cents per share throughout the same period this past year. Tesla also stated lately it had fired hundreds of employees after annual performance reviews. And it is unclear, even while the organization faces production bottlenecks, in which the new Roadster is going to be manufactured.

Analysts stated that it is too soon to inform when the Roadster will help lift Tesla to profitability, however the sports vehicle provides the company’s image a lift. “You can tell several things about Tesla, only one factor it’s done is made an excellent brand,” stated Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader.

The initial Roadster, released nearly about ten years ago, was  Tesla’s the first step in a multistage tactic to lure the general public using its promising technology and finally offer all-electric vehicles towards the masses. The organization demonstrated that electric vehicles could preform equally well, and possibly better still, than cars operated by fossil fuel. Its limited run, in Tesla’s view, was area of the plan.

“We began Tesla having a sports vehicle, the Tesla Roadster. That baby got us going. It had been the building blocks from the whole company,” Musk stated. “People have requested us for any lengthy time, ‘When will you create a new roadster?’ We’re which makes it now.”

The successor, such as the original, was designed to create a splash. The disclosing itself would be a surprise, coming after Musk demonstrated off Tesla’s long-anticipated semi-truck. But beyond Musk’s flair for showmanship, experts stated the brand new Roadster gives Tesla a prestige product to showcase and contend with.

“It’s got lots of sizzle. It labored before, why is this so,Inches stated Krebs. “If they have it on the highway it will likely be something which goes mind-to-mind with Porsches and Ferraris and all sorts of exotic vehicles.”

Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Bernstein Research, described the Roadster like a “brand enhancing” vehicle inside a note to investors Friday. But also, he stated he sees it as being a minimal-volume product. He cautioned that Tesla should concentrate on building and selling the economy-class Model 3, instead of broadening its initiatives with new vehicles and projects.

While experts didn’t go to date regarding describe the Roadster like a game-changer, they stated it’ll allow Tesla to challenge automakers of high-finish sports cars who’ve been nudged — usually by Tesla — to create high-powered electric vehicles that belongs to them. Musk made that argument in more colorful language. “The point of using this method would be to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” he stated. “Driving a gasoline sports vehicle will seem like a steam engine having a side of quiche.”

Tesla states the vehicle includes a 200-kilowatt-hour battery, passing on a variety of 620 miles at highway speeds with no need to recharge. Compared, the present 75-kilowatt-hour battery within the Model S provides the sedan a 250-mile range. To place the Roadster’s battery endurance into perspective, Musk stated a person could travel from La to Bay Area and again on one charge.

As much as four people can easily fit in the Roadster with “plenty of storage,” Musk stated. But he was quick to include that you simply can’t put “giant” individuals the rear seat. The vehicle will feature all-wheel drive and can have three motors.

The very first customers from the new Roadster will need to wait a couple of years before they can climb in and allow the top down, however. Musk stated the vehicle won’t be available until 2020. The “Founders Series” goes for $250,000, nevertheless its specifications will not be shared until a minimum of the coming year, Musk stated.

Elon Musk unveils Tesla electric truck – along with a surprise new sports vehicle

Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s first electric semi-truck on Thursday evening in an event in La which incorporated the surprise reveal of the new Tesla sports vehicle.

The brand new Roadster, that has exactly the same name because the first electric vehicle created by Tesla from 2008 to 2012, emerged from the rear of among the trucks in the finish of the presentation that focused largely around the economic and gratifaction requirements of truck motorists.

the18 wheeler to truck motorists – customers with completely different concerns compared to average Tesla owner.

In typical Musk style, the Chief executive officer had hyped the18 wheeler on Twitter through the week. On Sunday, he guaranteed it “will take your breath away obvious from your skull and into another dimension”, during Wednesday he teased the truck “can transform right into a robot, fight aliens making one hell of the latte”.

There wasn’t any espresso maker to appear, but Musk did promise a laundry listing of features he claimed would ensure the total cost of possession is going to be 20% less per mile in contrast to diesel trucks. Included in this: faster acceleration, better uphill performance, a 500-mile (805km) range at maximum weight at highway speed, and “thermonuclear explosion-proof glass” within the car windows.

Security features include enhanced autopilot, lane-keeping technology, along with a design which makes jackknifing “impossible”, Musk stated.

The presentation included the surprise reveal of a new Tesla sports car. The presentation incorporated the surprise reveal of the new Tesla sports vehicle. Photograph: Alexandria Sage/Reuters

The organization intends to develop a network of “Megachargers” (instead of the “Superchargers” utilized by other Tesla vehicles) that can create a 400-mile charge in half an hour.

Musk claimed it might be “economic suicide” to carry on using diesel trucks, saying the Tesla version, if driven in convoy, could be less expensive than shipping goods by rail.

The CEO’s promises for that new Roadster weren’t any less ambitious. Musk stated the car’s acceleration from to 60 miles per hour and to 100 miles per hour, along with its quarter-mile speed, counseled me “world records” for production cars.

He stated production around the trucks would come from 2019 and also the sports cars could be obtainable in 2020.

Regardless of the confidence exuded by Musk, questions will unquestionably arise concerning the company’s ability to manufacture the brand new vehicles.

Tesla debuted its first mass-market sedan, the Model 3, to much fanfare in This summer, once the waitlist for that vehicle already numbered greater than 500,000. Since that time, production hasn’t gone easily.

Within the third quarter of 2017, the organization created just 260 Model 3s – well underneath the 1,500 it’d guaranteed in August. Tesla blamed “production bottlenecks” for that delays. The Wall Street Journal reported that as lately as September, the cars remained as being built by hands, instead of with an automated set up line.

trying to unionise using the U . s . Auto Workers inside a campaign that chiefly cites the factory’s above-average injuries rates. The organization has additionally been hit with numerous complaints and lawsuits by employees and contractors alleging gender and bigotry.

On Tuesday, the organization hit back at attention from the complaints, and contended the attorney representing some plaintiffs has an eye on “extorting money for meritless claims”.

“At Tesla, we’d rather pay 10 occasions the settlement demand in legal charges and battle to the ends of the world than surrender to extortion and permit this abuse from the legislation,Inches the organization stated inside a blog publish.

Competition within the electric truck market continues to be warming up. In September, Daimler AG announced the delivery of their first electric trucks towards the U . s . Parcel Service (UPS). Others focusing on electric trucks include Volkswagen, Cummins and Nikola.

Driverless cars on British roads as Jaguar Land Rover moves ahead in race for autonomy

Jaguar Land Rover has silently began testing driverless cars on British roads which are concurrently getting used by everyone, inside a obvious indication that Britain’s greatest manufacturer is decided the nation will have a number one role within the race to build up autonomous vehicles.

Coventry-based JLR continues to be putting its computer-controlled vehicles through their paces around the roads of their hometown for many days.

This is actually the very first time a United kingdom-based manufacturer has unleashed such technology on the road. Driverless cars have formerly been limited to closed roads and tracks or only utilized on open roads for brief demonstration periods.

Ralf Speth, leader of JLR, stated: “We get up on the edge of the mobility revolution. The outcome from the changes we’re going to embrace is going to be huge across all sectors from the United kingdom economy.

“The possibilities are wonderful: this mobility revolution can change lives profoundly.”

As area of the United kingdom Autodrive consortium, JLR cars are driving a frightening half-mile route on Coventry’s roads inside a “mixed use” area. Although a security driver is aboard to consider over in desperate situations, the cars depend by themselves sensors to respond to traffic, pedestrians and signals, using the driver not touching the controls inside a “hands-off, ft-off” scenario.

The tests are made to help future autonomous vehicles replicate human conduct and reactions when driving.

Britain going for a lead in driverless technology could generate a massive boost towards the country’s economy. The world worth of autonomous systems continues to be believed at £900bn by 2025.

Research through the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the trade body, has calculated that 320,000 British jobs might be produced by 2030 when the United kingdom establishes itself like a leader within the field. The Federal Government announced policies in last year’s Queen’s Speech which were targeted at minimising bureaucracy for self-driving cars.

Britain already includes a headstart over many nations in autonomous vehicles since the United kingdom never ratified the Vienna Convention. This legislation mandates that “every driver shall whatsoever occasions have the ability to control his vehicle”. The United kingdom therefore doesn’t have to rewrite what the law states to be able to test self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Look, no hands: A security driver is aboard but computers seize control from the vehicle Credit: PA

As area of the United kingdom Autodrive group, JLR is focusing on self-driving systems and Ford is developing technology that will permit cars to talk with each other. This means that, if a person vehicle slams around the brakes, its computers will warn the vehicles behind it concerning the danger.

In Feb and March, Nissan showcased certainly one of its autonomous electric Leaf cars on roads around London’s Stand out center. It had been japan company’s first European test from the technology.

Google’s Waymo includes a number of self-driving minivans being tested in Arizona

Specially designed “pods” are also tested on United kingdom roads, however the JLR tests – which are scheduled to operate into 2018 – are the very first time a conventional vehicle built with a United kingdom manufacturer has hit the general public highway.

A week ago Google’s Waymo unleashed its first autonomous cars with no back-up driver in the wheel. The tests in Arizona involved Waymo employees relaxing in the trunk seats without any accessibility controls or pedals, but within achieve of the emergency stop button.

Such developments underline the race to master self-driving technology. Mike Hawes, the main executive from the SMMT, stated: “Britain is fast creating itself like a center of excellence with this new technology. Industry and government investment is delivering public trials of self-driving vehicles on United kingdom roads and, although fully self-driving cars continue to be a way off, fraxel treatments represents an enormous chance for that United kingdom.”

Key Questions Driverless cars

News that driverless cars are regularly travelling on United kingdom roads may come as Volkswagen revealed it’s investing €10bn (£8.9bn) with local partners to build up electric vehicles in China.

The move follows similar investments by Ford, Nissan-Renault and Tesla. The Beijing government needs to inspire vehicle companies to purchase battery vehicles there, with the hope that China, the world’s largest vehicle market, will end up a center for that emerging technology.

Tesla pushes back production targets for Model 3

Tesla has pressed back production targets for its Model 3 electric cars up to three several weeks, because it ongoing to become hampered by manufacturing issues.

The United States vehicle maker stated it had been making process in fixing the development “bottlenecks”, so it had first known earlier this year, but stated it had been “hard to predict just how lengthy it will require for those bottlenecks to become removed or when brand new ones can lookInch.

The primary production constraint Tesla had faced was at battery module set up line, where it stated it’d redesigned a few of the automated processes and was now wishing throughput could increase. 

With all this, Tesla stated it had been now targetting manufacture of 5,000 Model 3 cars per week through the finish of March, rather of through the finish of the year.

It’d also formerly stated it looking to be producing 10,000 cars per week through the finish of 2018, however in its letter to shareholders on Wednesday stated, regarding timing with this, “it happens to be our intention to apply that capacity addition as we have achieved a 5,000 each week run rate”.

Tesla Model 3 in pictures

In the 3rd quarter ended Sep 30, Tesla delivered 222 Model 3 vehicles, over a production target of 1,500. However, it did deliver 18pc more Model X and S cars when compared to second quarter.

It stated both Model S and X cars were on the right track to internet 100,000 deliveries this season, though added that it expects to produce 10pc less of these two cars to concentrate production around the Model 3 within the 4th quarter of the year. 

Shares in Tesla fell 4.7pc in after hrs buying and selling, among investor concern over exactly what the longer ramp-up period for production method for the business’s cash burn. 

Capital expenditure rose within the third quarter, to $1.1bn (£830m) from $959m within the three several weeks to June, meaning it’s now spent around $2.6bn this season alone. Tesla stated this high spend came from the development capacity increases.

However, this meant it published a internet loss of $619.4m for that period, from the profit of $21.9m last year, despite revenue rising 30pc to $2.98bn. 

The Transit Connect: A great way for Ford to hold itself towards the future

The car industry faces the long run carefully.

The vehicle companies must amorously pursue tomorrow, however they can’t be reckless for the reason that pursuit.

They have to remain worried about and aware of the present needs, wants, biases and favored fantasies of the customers.

It’s a tense dance by which each step can result in failure or success. It’s made harder with a singular reality: There aren’t any more “home” markets, not necessarily.

Making the wrong decision in one location might spell disaster for any product elsewhere on the planet and result in the lack of billions within the regional currency. Setting it up right, possibly with simply a couple of modifications for global production and purchasers, will spell success.

Witness the 2017 Ford Transit van, both full-size cargo model and also the compact Connect Titanium Wagon passenger model, the second driven with this column.

They’re European concepts — engineered and offered in great britan within the 1960s after which taken by Ford to Asia and europe. They’re very European in attitude — “full size” yet compact in presentation, deliberately multipurpose, made to be driven on congested roads and parked in small garages.

For a long time, I saw Transits on European roads, utilized as commercial vans to see relatives companies along with other businesses. These were the very best-selling light commercial vans in Europe for 40 years.

Ford introduced the Transit to The United States, mainly the U . s . States, as 2016 models. Here, within the Land of Minivans and SUVs, they went through more changes. Small companies, obviously, loved our prime roof and overhead stowage shelves from the bigger models, features thankfully retained around the Connect Wagon passenger types.

But individuals small-business proprietors also had families and social lives. Ford offered them the Transit Connect Wagon XLT (also marketed because the Titanium Lengthy Wheelbase in certain regions).

It’s smaller sized compared to bigger Transit van but still can easily seat as many as seven people. It features a smaller sized engine — a couple.5-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline model (169 horsepower, 171 pound-ft of torque) versus. the conventional 3.7-liter V-6 (275 horsepower, 260 pound-ft of torque) within the bigger van. It’s also less costly, by about $10,000.

But hints for the future exist within the Transit Connect Titanium wagon — Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system having a 6.5-inch screen, advanced electronic safety systems (with products for example blind-side monitoring and lane-departure alerts).

Ford needs to check out Tesla and have a hint to improve the Transit Connect’s electronics and provide a bigger screen. What’s offered listed here are small steps toward tomorrow, however the Transit Connect Wagon with Titanium trim certainly advances the idea of “minivan.” I anticipate seeing much more of them around American roads, possibly even while gas-electric or all-electric models.

Nuts & Bolts
Ford Transit Connect Wagon/Titanium

Main point here: The Transit Connect Wagon is a great, economical vehicle for families and family enterprises and excellent for small companies in congested areas.

Ride, acceleration and handling: C’mon. The majority of us would like to reach where you want to go and haul what we have to haul — and park without incurring fines. The Connect Wagon does that very well.

Mind-turning quotients: It is ugly, or cute, based on who’s searching, or their mood.

Body style/layout: The Connect Wagon is really a smaller sized form of the Ford Transit van. It’s front-engine, front-wheel-drive. You will find three trim levels, X, XL and Titanium (marketed by Ford as “wagon only”).

Engines/Transmissions: The Transit Connect Wagon has a 2.5-liter, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing (169 horsepower, 171 pound-ft of torque). The engine is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission that is also operated by hand.

Capacities: It can seat as many as seven individuals passenger mode or perhaps be reduced to some two-seater for any small commercial hauler. Passenger cargo capacity with all of seats up is 15.7 cubic ft. Total cargo capacity is 128.6 cubic ft.

Mileage: I averaged 26 mpg on the road with one passenger with no cargo. Regular-grade gasoline is ok.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and back ventilated disc brakes four-wheel anti-lock brake protection emergency braking assistance stability and traction control electronic anti-thievery protection and side and mind air bags.

Prices: The base cost for that Transit Connect Wagon is $30,325. The cost as driven is $34,105, including $2,785 for options along with a $995 factory-to-dealer shipment charge.

Tesla workers claim anti-Gay and lesbian threats, taunts, and racial abuse in lawsuits

Right after he began focusing on the set up line at Tesla, Jorge Ferro stated he was taunted to be gay and threatened with violence. “Watch the back,Inches a supervisor cautioned after mocking his clothes to be “gay tight”, Ferro stated.

The harassment didn’t stop after he reported it to some manager, and days after he earned another complaint, Ferro was punished, based on his account. An HR representative required away Ferro’s badge, claiming he had an “injury” that avoided him from working and saying there’s “no spot for handicapped people at Tesla”, he alleged.

Tesla frequently unsuccessful to prevent the anti-gay harassment and fired Ferro in retaliation for seeking protection, based on a wrongful termination suit, the most recent discrimination scandal to roil Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company.

“It’s revolting in my experience,Inches stated Chris Dolan, Ferro’s attorney. “This is classic ‘blame the victim’.”

sexual harassment scandal at Uber launched an avalanche of complaints from women within the male-dominated industry about abuse, undesirable advances, assault and pay disparities.

Tesla – world-renowned for its battery-powered vehicles and Musk’s vision of self-driving technology – has additionally faced accusations of sexual harassment and underpaying women. A lady engineer who filed a suit and spoke towards the Protector about her encounters was right after fired, drawing allegations of “clear retaliation”. Tesla has denied the claims.

Additionally to Ferro’s complaint, first as reported by the Protector, three black men that labored at Tesla also have filed a current suit alleging racist abuse and harassment, including attacks while using N-word and statements like “Go to Africa”.

Tesla didn’t address specific allegations, however in a number of statements known as the claims “unmeritorious” and contended it had become wasn’t responsible because the workers are contractors.

‘I needed to stand up’

Ferro, 35, started being an set up line production worker in April 2016 in the Tesla manufacturing facility in Fremont, California. Right after he began, a supervisor who trained him, Jamar Taylor, started harassing him and mocking his sexuality, based on a suit. Taylor allegedly told Ferro his clothes were “too tight – gay tight”, frequently taunted him about his outfits and then stated he wasn’t “welcome” while he is gay. Taylor also “went onto claim that [Ferro] had lots of opponents because ‘everyone suspects that [he’s] gay’”, the suit stated.

Ferro grew to become fearful once the taunts escalated to threats of violence, including “be careful” along with a warning that “something can happen to his car”, based on the complaint. Ferro told plant manager Dave Rebagliati he was gay and it was facing harassment, and HR later removed Taylor from Ferro’s set up line, the suit stated.

The harassment didn’t stop, he stated. Taylor allegedly started outing Ferro with other co-workers and ongoing to approach Ferro within the factory, at some point saying a brand new worker shouldn’t learn everything from “someone like” Ferro.

The Tesla factory in Fremont, California. The Tesla factory in Fremont, California. Photograph: Josh Edelson for that Protector

After his second complaint to Rebagliati, on 2 August 2016, the manager made the decision to transfer Ferro to a different set up line row, based on the complaint.

“The steps taken by the organization were woefully insufficient,” stated Dolan, quarrelling it had been wrong to maneuver Ferro after he complained. “It’s perceived by many people to become retaliatory. It transmits a note with other employees when you complain, you’re the main one who’s likely to have your work altered. Essentially, you’re penalizing the party who’s making the complaint.” I understood that I needed to make certain this didn’t occur to other people

Jorge Ferro

While practicing his job, Rebagliati observed a scar on Ferro’s wrist from your injuries 16 years back, and even though Ferro stated it’d no impact on his job, the manager sent him home without pay, saying he needed a doctor’s note before coming back to operate, the complaint alleged. An HR official who required away his badge stated he was “handicapped” which no accommodations might be made, and 72 hours later, before Ferro will have a doctor’s appointment, he was formally ended, based on the suit.

A physician later confirmed he could perform his responsibilities. Regardless, it had been illegal for Tesla to fireplace Ferro for any perceived disability, based on Dolan. “This only agreed to be a BS need to kick him from the workplace.”

Ferro declined a job interview request, but stated inside a statement towards the Protector now, “I understood that I needed to endure make certain this didn’t occur to other people.”

Rebagliati and Taylor couldn’t be arrived at for comment.

As a result of an in depth review of Ferro’s allegations, Tesla spokesman Dave Arnold sent a extended statement that didn’t address specific claims. The organization noticed that Taylor and Ferro were both contractors, adding, “Tesla still walked in to try and keep these people aside from each other and also to ensure a great working atmosphere.”

arbitration contracts, meaning employees have to independently resolve their discrimination complaints. The spokesman declined to state if Tesla has ever permitted a discrimination claim that they can go before the court or jury.

‘I just couldn’t go any more’

Owen Diaz, 49, told the Protector he also introduced a suit hoping protecting other black employees at Tesla from abuse. He and the boy Demetric, 22, both faced racial harassment and violent threats while employed in the Tesla factory, based on a discrimination complaint they filed having a third former worker on Monday.

Owen Diaz and his son Demetric.

Owen Diaz and the boy Demetric. Photograph: Thanks to the California Civil Legal rights Law Group

The daddy and boy both began employed by Tesla in 2015 and were susceptible to daily racial epithets, including “boy”, the N-word and statements like “All you fucking niggers – I can’t stand you motherfuckers” and “Nigger, hurry up”, the suit stated. Employees also allegedly came racist and derogatory caricatures of black children.

Owen stated within an interview he was most troubled hearing his son’s supervisor, who had been white-colored, calling him the N-word: “That was most likely among the cheapest points within my existence.” Eventually, he stated, “I just couldn’t go anymore.Inches

Based on the suit, supervisors dismissed their complaints, with one telling Demetric, “If you do not like how you’re treated, your time and effort here will finish,” and the other telling Owen, “Why would you people start out so difficult?Inches

The dismissals were hurtful, stated Owen. “You may as well just slap me and spit within my face.”

Both stated the abuse they faced escalated once they spoke as much as supervisors. Demetric was fired per week determination complaint, allegedly for implementing his phone around the production line – a guide breach that didn’t lead anybody else to become ended, the complaint stated. Owen was threatened having a demotion and finally quit because of the ongoing abuse, based on the suit, which noted they both had good performance records.

“It was disrespectful and humiliating,” stated Owen. “It only agreed to be a sense that nobody should ever need to go through.”

sued Tesla captured in another bigotry situation, stated the conduct at the organization made an appearance to become more egregious than similar cases he introduced from the former vehicle plant within the same facility. Dolan also stated his firm was through an “unusually high” quantity of calls from Tesla employees with an array of discrimination complaints.

Given Musk’s ambitious statements about solving a few of the world’s finest problems, he will be able to give a safe work atmosphere, Organ added.

“He’s an excellent visionary. You believe if he put his mind for this issue, it might be solved.”

Tesla’s reaction to the Diaz suit incorporated an in depth attack around the attorney, saying his original suit was “timed to coincide having a well planned media blitz so that they can produce a disingenuous narrative which was at odds using the facts” which the “timing of those new claims and the way they’re being publicized is notable, particularly from the same attorney”.

Demetric Di-az.

Demetric Diaz. Photograph: Thanks to the California Civil Legal rights Law Group

The statement further stated the 3 employees labored at Tesla for “a small amount of time and also have been gone for more than a year” and noticed that they’re contractors. The spokesman stated Tesla was not aware of the complaints until reporters arrived at out now. (The 3rd-party staffing agencies – West Valley, Chartwell and Citistaff – didn’t react to demands for comment).

Concerning the attacks against him, Organ noted the plaintiffs had arrived at to him, adding, “They wish to frame this as though it’s the greedy lawyer. Really, what it’s really about may be the racist conduct.”

Owen stated he was keen on Musk’s vision and wanted the organization was answering the lawsuits with offers to change: “Don’t sweep it underneath the rug and send your PR to do damage control. Step to the plate.”

For those who have tales to talk about about Tesla or discrimination in Plastic Valley, contact [email protected]

Polestar 1: Norway&aposs Volvo and China&aposs Geely unveil new electric sports vehicle

The Swedish vehicle firm Volvo and it is Chinese parent company Geely have unveiled a bold attempt to obtain a jump within the electric vehicles manufacturing race using the launch of the new store bought hybrid electric sports vehicle.

The 600 horse-power Polestar 1, referred to as “an electric vehicle based on a conventional car engine”, was unveiled on Shanghai on Tuesday.

The vehicle was created in Norway and can be built-in Chengdu, western China, from the coming year and it is expected to be the roads by mid-2019.

Zhejiang Geely acquired the stumbling Volvo from Ford for $1.5bn ($1.13bn) this year, within the first takeover of the premium Western vehicle brand with a Chinese company.

They intend to make Polestar, presently the Volvo’s performance range, a individually-branded electric performance vehicle brand.

The 2 companies also say future Polestars is going to be fully electric, instead of hybrids.

polestarpic2.jpg

Probably the most high-profile competitor towards the Polestar within the mass electric performance market right now is Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3, which already has 500,000 pre-orders.

The Tesla 3 includes a beginning cost close to $35,000 ($26,400). No Polestar cost has yet been released, but it’s expected to stay in a similar ballpark. 

Volvo announced in This summer that its new cars launched from 2019 onwards could be entirely electric or hybrids, becoming the very first major manufacturer to announce it might be shedding car engine only vehicles.

Major European carmakers, including BMW, Renault-Nissan and VW, also have outlined intends to increase their planet production. National governments, worried about carbon emissions and public health, will also be encouraging the electrical transition through grants and regulation.

polestarpic3.jpg

The look from the car engine vehicles among everyone has additionally been seriously broken through the VW diesel emissions test cheating scandal.

The Polestar 1, a left-hands drive two-door coupe, can travel as much as 150km on electrical power alone and may deliver 600hp of torque.

The organization expects to create no more than 500 Polestar 1s annually in Chengdu, but to scale-up for future all-electric models. “Our vision [is] to be the brand new standalone electric performance brand,” stated Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar leader.

When Li Shufu’s Geely, that also owns United kingdom black cab maker Manganese Bronze, acquired Volvo its goals would make use of the Swedish group’s technology, dealership network and global brand to push Geely outdoors China while doubling Volvo’s sales in China.

The organization also hopes the Polestar will prove famous China.

Its manufacturers are intending to sell the automobile under a cutting-edge new ‘subscription’ payment method, in which a 2 to 3 year payment per month provides the customer not just using the vehicle but various maintenance and insurance services.

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An Alternate Universe of Shopping, in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was a scorching day outside, hot even for late summer in Ohio, and yet I was freezing. I had stepped inside the EB Ice Box, a meat-locker-like display at the Eddie Bauer store here that was cooled to 13 degrees Fahrenheit. The metal-sheathed room looked out onto the promenade of an upscale shopping mall, and featured a large block of ice for a bench. Even though I was wearing a down jacket (the room is meant to be a place where customers can test Eddie Bauer wear), the frigid air had gotten under my skin.

The ice box was a gambit designed to attract the one thing so many stores like Eddie Bauer seem to be missing these days — customers.

For shoppers, this city of 860,000 smack in the middle of a swing state, can feel like an alternate reality, a place where up is down and down is up. Frumpy department stores feature personal shopping services and boutique wellness amenities. Workaday grocery stores like Kroger offer exotic fruits and freshly baked artisan breads.

Even the fast-food business is living in the future. McDonald’s is offering table service from friendly waiters. Robots are taking orders at Wendy’s. Chipotle started a chain that serves hamburgers.

That kind of experimentation has long been a feature of the Columbus shopping scene, but these days it stems as much from desperation as from innovation. The physical retail market, crumbling in the face of competition from e-commerce sites, is in the midst of a transformation as fundamental as the one that shifted consumers to suburban shopping malls — and away from Main Street — half a century ago.

Upstart brands powered by social media are stealing customers from established companies, and the carnage is widespread. More than a dozen major retailers, from Toys “R” Us to Payless ShoeSource, have sought bankruptcy protection this year. Thousands of stores have closed.

Now, as brick-and-mortal retailers around the country stumble, the experimentation has taken on new urgency. Stores are trying out all manner of gimmickry — anything, really — to win back shoppers. And when brands want to try out new concepts, they often come to Columbus.

“We are Test Market, U.S.A.,” said Irene Alvarez, director of marketing and communications for Columbus 2020, a trade group that promotes the region. “We decide the fate of cheeseburgers and presidents here in Columbus.”

A combination of demographics, geography and luck turned Columbus into the nation’s consumer laboratory. This Rust Belt city has historically been a microcosm of the national population’s age and ethnicity, ranking fourth among metropolitan areas in its resemblance to the United States over all, according to data compiled by WalletHub.

“It’s a perfect melting pot for folks like us to test new concepts,” said Roger Rawlins, chief executive of DSW, the shoe retailer, which is based in Columbus.

Ohio State University’s 65,000 students mean young shoppers are always on hand. Columbus is within a day’s drive of nearly half of the United States population, making it a convenient hub for distribution. The city’s relatively small size and contained media market make it affordable for companies to run advertising campaigns and measure their effectiveness. And its relatively low profile allows brands to try something and fail — without the scrutiny they would draw in New York or Los Angeles.

Perhaps most important, a robust network of retailers and service providers — from big brands like Abercrombie & Fitch to small design firms that focus on store layouts — has taken root in Columbus. Today there are more fashion designers in Columbus than in any other American city besides New York and Los Angeles.

But despite the central role that Columbus plays in the retail industry, there are no clear signs that all this experimentation will be able to save the hometown brands. Half a dozen major retailers — from Abercrombie & Fitch to the parent company of Victoria’s Secret — have their headquarters in Columbus. Just about all of them have suffered significant declines in their market value over the past year. Retail employment is falling.

Local boosters put an optimistic Midwestern spin on the situation. “A lot of the challenges that retailers are grappling with, there’s a whole ecosystem of companies here who are working on fixing that,” Ms. Alvarez said. And in Columbus and beyond, there is much about the retail business that needs fixing.

‘America Overbuilt’

Shoppers in Columbus once flocked to two malls, Eastland and Westland. Two decades ago, both were thriving retail temples, anchored by department stores, stuffed with windowless shops and served by mediocre food courts.

Today Westland is a “zombie mall,” abandoned by companies and consumers alike. Its final tenant, Sears, moved out this year, part of the iconic American retailer’s long, painful demise. That left the complex vacant, little more than a subject for photographers who find apocalyptic beauty in the desolation.

On the other side of town, Eastland is not faring much better. Most of the big brands have moved out, leaving just a collection of eyebrow salons, discount retailers and off-brand fast-food providers.

The demise of Eastland and Westland is part of a broader story of American retail in decline. In Columbus, retail vacancy rates are on the rise, up to 6.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Rents are soft, too, down to their lowest levels since 2012. And the same story is playing out across the country, as the malls that defined how Americans shopped for much of the last 50 years shut down.

“There are a lot of zombie malls out there,” said Steve Morris, a co-founder of the Asset Strategies Group, a Columbus firms that helps companies manage their real estate holdings. “We’re just over-retailed in the U.S.”

Yaromir Steiner, a real estate developer, concurred “We’ve been building malls like there’s no tomorrow,” said Mr. Steiner, chief executive of Steiner & Associates. “America overbuilt.”

Yet Mr. Steiner, it could be argued, is partly responsible for the slow demise of centers like Eastland and Westland. He is a disrupter in the mall industry, and his most successful development, Easton Town Center, on the northeast edge of the city, serves a vital role in the test market ecosystem.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Steiner, a Turkish immigrant, was an aspiring developer in Miami. Asked to help develop a shopping center in the upscale Coconut Grove neighborhood, he took a cue from the bustling open-air commercial districts of Istanbul. Instead of building a big box and stuffing stores inside, he proposed turning the mall inside out, placing shops along tree-lined pathways and bringing in upscale restaurants with outdoor seating.

The result was CocoWalk, a shopping center that, improbably, was a pleasant place to spend time. Industry insiders took note, and before long Mr. Steiner was approached to develop a larger project in Columbus.

Working with some of the most influential retail forces in Columbus, Mr. Steiner designed and now manages Easton Town Center, a development that is less a mall than a small city. In addition to hundreds of stores, there are millions of square feet of office space, restaurants, apartments and hotel rooms.

It was hardly a guaranteed success. “A guy with an accent comes from Miami and says we’ll do an open-air project in a place that gets 40 inches of snow?” Mr. Steiner said. “I didn’t stand the chance of a snowball in hell.”

But more than two decades after it opened, Easton Town Center has helped create a new template for American shopping. There is a Tesla dealership, an Apple store and dozens of luxury shops, many of them doing brisk business.

Easton Town Center is also where many retailers do their experimenting. The Eddie Bauer store is there. Nearby, an explosion of neon lighting and skimpy lingerie signals the presence of a La Senza store, a Canadian brand that is just being introduced to the United States. And around the corner, Lane Bryant, the plus-size women’s clothing company, has introduced LaneStyle Studio, a personal shopping program that offers customers one-on-one appointments.

The test market activity continues up the road at Polaris Fashion Place, another high-end mall. There, Lane Bryant is replicating its personal shopping experiments, and Abercrombie & Fitch debuted its first new store design in 15 years in February, replacing its traditional shadowy décor with warmer, better-lit displays.

Also at Polaris, Mr. Rawlins, the chief executive of DSW, is tinkering with his own business model. At a location he calls “the lab store,” Mr. Rawlins is testing new offerings including shoe rental, shoe storage and cobbler services, even a nail salon.

“We’re looking for other ways to retain our customers,” he said.

A Retail Silicon Valley

Les Wexner, a Columbus native, remembers that when he attended Ohio State University in the late 1950s, his professors told him an unusual fact: Columbus was a major test market for consumer goods companies. When corporations wanted to see if a new soap or detergent would have broad appeal, they came to Columbus.

A few years later, Mr. Wexner opened his first women’s clothing store in town, calling it The Limited. As the company expanded, he took his education to heart, trying out new styles and store designs in his hometown before rolling them out to new markets.

“Before I even started the business, Columbus was a great test market,” Mr. Wexner said in an interview. “The customers here were average, and the thinking was that things they liked or rejected would be predictive for the rest of the country.”

The strategy worked. The Limited grew into a retail behemoth. Over the years, Mr. Wexner acquired some brands and introduced others, and at one time or another owned Lane Bryant, Abercrombie & Fitch and Express under the umbrella of his company, L Brands. All along the way, he tested new ideas.

“Les was never satisfied,” said Denny Gerdeman, who once designed stores for Mr. Wexner and is now a co-founder of the Columbus design firm Chute Gerdeman. “Every six months we had to redesign the stores.”

Mr. Wexner, the longest-serving chief executive of a major American company and a billionaire many times over, is not particularly modest about his accomplishments.

“Walt Disney invented characters, and I invent businesses,” Mr. Wexner said. “We’re constantly inventing, reinventing and spinning off businesses.”

To be sure, Mr. Wexner made his fortune with a preternatural ability to see retail’s future. He anticipated the rise of casual attire, spotted underappreciated brands and knew when to sell them off before they lost their luster.

Mr. Wexner’s penchant for experimentation extended beyond his stores, too. It was he, along with a developer called the Georgetown Company, who called up Mr. Steiner in Miami and helped develop Easton Town Center.

Over the years, Mr. Wexner spun off most of the brands he had acquired, seeding Columbus with a new crop of independent companies that in turn tossed off their own spinoffs and imitators. And over the years, an industry emerged. In same way that Hewlett-Packard gave birth to Silicon Valley’s technology sector, Mr. Wexner’s relentless deal making has spawned a network of companies that now shapes people’s tastes from coast to coast.

Today the L Brands headquarters share a campus with Express, which is now a public company of its own. The Abercrombie & Fitch headquarters are a short drive away.

“It all stems from Les Wexner,” said Steve Zawada, chief operating officer at Eloquii, a plus-size women’s clothing company based in Columbus.

But with few exceptions, the industry that Columbus helped create is now under threat. After years of job gains, retail employment in Franklin County, which includes Columbus, has decreased over the last year, according to the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Today, retailers employ some 68,000 people, down from more than 93,000 in 2001.

Shares of Express are down about 45 percent this year. Ascena, the Columbus company that now owns Lane Bryant, has seen its stock plummet by 69 percent over the same time. And Abercrombie & Fitch and DSW have also fallen over the last full year.

Even Mr. Wexner’s company, after decades of success, appears to be in decline. Shares of L Brands, which today includes Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel and La Senza, have fallen by 42 percent over the past year. Sales at Victoria’s Secret were down 12 percent from last year through September, as women buy their lingerie elsewhere.

“I’m perfectly willing to accept that women may never wear bras,” Mr. Wexner said, tossing aside the notion that his products might one day be obsolete. “But probably women will still wear bras. The categories we are in we think have futures.”

Empty Stores

Columbus isn’t the only place where retailers are trying out new concepts, of course. In New York, Saks Fifth Avenue is offering salt room therapies and workouts led by ex-cons. Climbing walls and trampoline parks are filling the spaces once occupied by department stores. And in Columbus, there are some unlikely new success stories.

Brian Kellett and Emily Brown, both recent graduates of the Columbus College of Art and Design, founded Stump, a chain of stores selling houseplants to a mostly millennial clientele. While name-brand clothing stores have a hard time moving merchandise, Stump has no such problems. On a recent Thursday morning, dozens of new plants wrapped in brown butcher paper were being delivered to one of the stores, which was restocking after most of the week’s inventory had sold out.

Older brands can only hope for such happy problems, and instead are left trying to innovate their way back to relevance.

Near Ohio State University, Wendy’s has unveiled a revamped restaurant that features a raft of changes. Designed by Chute Gerdeman, the location features paper menus instead of the traditional menu board. There are digital ordering kiosks, in place of cashiers. Once customers have placed their order, they wait at a table for a server to deliver their meal.

Smaller details are being tinkered with, too. The trays have higher edges to reduce spills. Fries are served in cups instead of sleeves. Through a partnership with the digital music service Pandora, Wendy’s curates the restaurant’s playlist based on what people in a five-mile radius are listening to. There is even counter seating that looks into the Wendy’s kitchen, where line cooks are preparing salads made to order — a first for the chain.

“Customers have a certain idea about what they think fast-food restaurants are,” said Abigail Pringle, chief development officer at Wendy’s, which is based in the Columbus region. “We’re trying to shake that up.”

Then there is the EB Ice Box. Colin Berg, Eddie Bauer’s brand historian, said the idea was actually an old one. In the 1950s, Eddie Bauer himself would instruct employees to spend time in cold storage lockers and make sure the company’s parkas kept them warm.

But the company may have to do more than install a nifty in-store display to ensure a successful future. Mr. Berg said “anecdotal evidence” suggested that the EB Ice Box had been a hit with customers, who enjoy popping in for a blast of arctic air. Yet on a series of recent afternoons, the EB Ice Box, along with the Eddie Bauer store itself, was mostly empty.