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The Best Electric Cars For Every Kind Of Drive

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Electric cars have come a long way in under a decade, and by 2021 analysts predict we’ll reach a tipping point that sees them take over as the mainstream choice. This year sees several carmakers’ first forays into the plug-in market – notably Audi and Mercedes-Benz – and in Tesla, we have a brand that does as much to propel us into the future as it does to entertain us along the way.

The switch to electricity is about more than ditching fossil fuels – it has the potential to revolutionise car design all over again, as we abandon a basic engineering structure that has been used for more than a century. And it gives drivers a suite of new advantages and concerns; quiet cruising and swift, torque-heavy acceleration must be weighed against range anxiety, slow charging times and developing infrastructure.

But whatever your personal pros and cons, the smug satisfaction of potentially never visiting a petrol station again holds a strong lure. They look the business, too. From executive saloons and SUVs to family runabouts and city superminis, with one bona fide hypercar sneaking into the list, here is our rundown of the best electric cars on the market right now.

Tesla Model S
Best for: Executives
From £73,500
It’s the car that did more than any other to change the public’s mind about electric cars. Say what you like about Tesla, or its real-life-Bond-Villain CEO Elon Musk, but the Model S is a game-changer. It brought a 1990s nerd mentality to performance motoring with ‘easter eggs’ like Ludicrous mode, which will take the P100D from 0-60 in a Ferrari-humbling 2.3 seconds, but remains a family car at heart. Now in its seventh year of production, it is being caught up by other manufacturers, but improvements to its charging system, headlights and air conditioning in 2016, plus regular over-the-air software updates, have kept it fresh.

Jaguar I-Pace
Best for: Adventure
From £63,925
Jaguar was the first traditional manufacturer to get a premium all-electric SUV to market; some say it doesn’t look sufficiently like a Jag, but the emergence of the E-Pace and F-Pace have shown that Jaguar’s image is evolving rapidly. Head designer Ian Callum’s I-Pace looks sharper than either of them, with a distinctive snub-nosed body shape that hints at how cars can be designed when you aren’t hamstrung by the engine and powertrain placement. It’ll do just under 250 miles on a charge and, with a 100kw charger, can be 80 per cent recharged in 45 minutes.

HyperFocal: 0

Renault Zoe
Best for: First-timers
From £21,200
The Zoe manages something few cars in any category can: pairing good looks and a low price tag. As with all electric cars, it does command a premium over its combustible equivalents but the little Renault starts from just £18,170 after the UK government’s EV grant, and as with all the cars on this list, the money you claw back in petrol savings makes it an even better deal. Renault claims a range of 250 miles, and although it’s not exactly nippy, it is rewarding to drive – a benefit of having been designed from the ground up as an EV rather than adapted from an existing petrol or diesel model.

BMW i3
Best for: Design addicts
From £34,445
BMW’s “i” cars tick all the boxes you’d expect from the brand: premium tech on the options list, striking looks both inside and out and excellent build quality. While it’s the i8 that really turns heads, the i3 is arguably ageing better, balancing avant-garde details with elements that will feel familiar to anyone who’s driven a 3-series. From 2019, the i3 is only available as a pure EV, and the range has been upped by around 30 per cent to 153 miles. Carbon fibre elements in its construction and minimal overhangs at front and rear make it extremely nimble around town.

Tesla Model X
Best for: Over-achievers
From £80,500
Building on the success of the Model S, Tesla’s second model improves on practicality – seating seven with luggage – while retaining the same range of engines as its saloon sibling, and adds some new gimmicks in the form of gullwing doors (good for tight car parks but overengineered in most situations) and an enormous panoramic windscreen. You can add a tow bar and bicycle mounts, and even with a 1,000kg load behind it the 100D will retain 70 per cent of its 295 mile range. Assuming, that is, you ignore the fact that this family wagon will still out-drag most sports cars to 60mph.

Hyundai Kona Electric
Best for: Families
From £35,706
The battery-powered version of the Kona – named after a Hawaiian island – launched in 2018 with two choices of power pack. The larger will do 258 miles on a full charge (186 for the base model) which befits its go-anywhere image. In truth it’s more middle-of-the-road than off-road, but it will do 0-60 in a surprisingly brisk 7.6 seconds. The sales pitch focuses more on safety, with lane assist, driver attention monitors, automatic emergency braking and pedestrian alerts among the features on offer. And it’s big enough to swallow your family’s luggage with ease.

Volkswagen e-Up
Best for: City living
From £22,960
Hold the Yorkshire jokes. VW’s Up is a brilliant budget option in any of its guises, and the e-Up is no exception. With an electric powertrain, however, it is pricier than the Renault Zoe – but it’s livelier at low speeds (4.9 seconds to 30mph won’t trouble any hot hatches but you’ll nip through traffic nicely). It’s also faster to charge – 30 minutes will see it 80 per cent full at a fast-charging point. Of course, that goes hand-in-hand with a shorter range than most – just 99 miles – but if most of your daily driving is local and urban, that won’t be an issue.

Nissan Leaf
Best for: The school run
From £29,635
Is the Nissan Leaf going to fill you with excitement? Probably not more than an actual leaf. But it is the world’s all-time best-selling electric car for a reason. It’s well-priced (starts at around £26,000), practical, efficient and reliable. A new generation has just hit the roads that now looks a lot more dynamic than version one, and there have been technological upgrades as well, including increased range (226 miles) and Tesla-like software updates. Spec the top-level trim options and you’ll get Nissan’s Propilot lane assist and self-parking technology, too.

Volkswagen e-Golf
Best for: Everyday use
From £32,550
If all the futuristic stylings of the i3, I-Pace or Leaf leave you cold, VW’s e-Golf is there, waiting like the automotive equivalent of a favourite pair of trainers. There’s nothing edgy or weird about it; the appeal of a Golf has always been as the ultimate every-car, and VW doesn’t want that to change just because it’s lopped off the exhaust pipe. Inside it’s trimmed out similarly to top-end fossil fuel Golfs, and gets VW’s deluxe infotainment system as standard. Range was increased in 2017 (to 186 miles) and the car has been set up to drive with more eager responsiveness than some EVs.

NIO EP9
Best for: YouTube drag racing
From $1.5m approx
And finally, the one that isn’t like the others. Chinese manufacturer NIO was only founded five years ago, but its flagship supercar has set lap records at some of the world’s toughest circuits, including the Nurburgring. It boasts a whopping 1,341 horsepower – a megawatt, in terms more suited to an EV – spread over four motors, one at each wheel. The car weighs 1,735kg, generates as much downforce as a Formula 1 car, and has a top speed of 194mph. With all that, you’d expect the batteries to run down in minutes, but NIO claims a 265 mile range and a recharge time of 45 minutes. Just sixteen cars have been made, each costing $1.2m.

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Facebook’s Data-sharing Deals With 150 Companies Reportedly Under Criminal Probe After Users’ Data Was Shared Without Their Consent

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Facebook is being investigated for allegedly sharing its users' data with dozens of tech companies without their knowledge.

Prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals struck by the social media giant with some of the world’s largest technology companies amid intense scrutiny of the firm in recent years.

A New York grand jury has subpoenaed records from two smartphone makers involved in the partnerships, anonymous sources told The New York Times.

It is understood that data shared without users' knowledge included friends' names, genders and birth dates.

Facebook claimed in June that it provided dozens of tech companies with special access to user data after publicly saying it restricted such access in 2015.

The New York Times reported that Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, cut data sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform.

However, Facebook continued sharing information with 61 hardware and software makers after it said it discontinued the practice in May 2015.

The agreements let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent.

Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years.

A spokesman for the social network said: 'We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously.

'We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.'

It is not known when the grand jury inquiry, overseen by prosecutors with the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, began or exactly what it is focusing on.

Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over its privacy practices, including ongoing investigations by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and two state agencies in New York.

In addition to looking at the data deals, the probes focus on disclosures that the company shared the user data of 87 million people with Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm that worked with U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign.

Since then, Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg has testified in front of Congress and the European Parliament to answer questions about Facebook's handling of user data.

In April Zuckerberg took questions for nearly five hours in a Senate hearing without making any further promises to support new legislation or change how the social network does business, foiling attempts by senators to pin him down.

Zuckerberg faced broad concerns from members of Congress about how Facebook shares user data.

'How can consumers have control over their data when Facebook does not have control over the data?' asked Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce committee.

The latest estimate of affected users is up to 87 million.

Patience with the social network had already worn thin among users, advertisers and investors after the company said last year that Russia used Facebook for years to try to sway U.S. politics, an allegation Moscow denies.

Lawmakers have sought assurances that Facebook can effectively police itself, and few came away from the hearing expressing confidence in the social network.

'I don't want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but by God, I will,' Republican Senator John Kennedy told Zuckerberg on Tuesday. 'A lot of that depends on you.'

Zuckerberg deflected requests to support specific legislation. Pressed repeatedly last year by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey to endorse a proposed law that would require companies to get people's permission before sharing personal information, Zuckerberg agreed to further talks.

'In principle, I think that makes sense, and the details matter, and I look forward to having our team work with you on fleshing that out,' Zuckerberg said.

Facebook has defended the data-sharing deals, first reported in December, saying none of the partnerships gave companies access to information without people's permission.

A spokesman for the United States attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York, which The New York Times reported is overseeing the inquiry, said he could not confirm or deny the probe.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has taken hits to her reputation as she continues to be the frontwoman for Facebook's excuses over its privacy shortfalls.

It emerged last month that the company took advantage of Apple's enterprise developer certificate, which enables companies to distribute apps internally, to create an app that paid users as young as 13 to share their phone activity with Facebook.

Among the data collected from teens by the app was all of their phone and web activity, information on apps they installed, when they used them and what they did on them.

'I want to be clear what this is. This is a Facebook research app,' Sandberg told CNBC.

'It's completely opt-in. There is a rigorous consent flow and people are compensated.

'The important thing is that people involved in that research project knew they were involved and consented.'

Source: Daily Mail.

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Twitter’s Updated Camera Looks A Lot Like Instagram.

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Twitter today introduced a revamped version of its camera that’s designed to promote more sharing of photos and videos on the text-centric network. Swipe left on the timeline in the updated app to see the camera, which allows you to snap a photo or take a looping video of up to two minutes by tapping or holding a circular capture button. You can also tap a “live” button to begin broadcasting a stream to your followers directly from Twitter.

The new camera does not include an option to upload photos or videos that you’ve already taken, although you can still do that from the regular tweet composer. Keith Coleman, Twitter’s vice president of product, told reporters this week that the company wants to encourage people to capture more visual moments from the world around them directly from the app.

It also promotes live-streaming using a foundation built by Periscope, the live-streaming app that Twitter acquired in 2015 and is increasingly integrating into its flagship app. No Periscope branding appears on the camera’s new live-streaming feature, which lets you broadcast either via video or audio-only feeds.

Photos and videos captured using the new camera will get special visual treatment inside Twitter. Once you’ve snapped your image, a colorful chyron appears on top, ready to add an optional location and caption. You can change the chyron from the default blue to one of five other colors.

Twitter will also search the area around you for events where you might be tweeting, such as this week’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, where Coleman demonstrated the new features. Walking around Austin this week, Twitter suggested I add #SXSW to my tweets — and if I did, the tweets would be added automatically to the event carousel for SXSW that appears in search.

By giving the images captured inside the app a more colorful visual treatment, Twitter might encourage more people to use its long-neglected camera. While the company has dabbled in adding more creation features to the camera, most notably stickers, it has long been an afterthought for the company’s notoriously lethargic product division.

In part, that reflects a belief at the company that the timeline would always be primarily text-based, as it had already lost the image-sharing game to Instagram and others. At the same time, viral images have been essential to Twitter almost since the beginning. One of the company’s breakout moments came a decade ago when a user snapped a photo of a US Airways plane crash-landing in the Hudson River. (At the time, Twitter didn’t even host photos natively, forcing the user to post a link to a now-dead service called TwitPic.)

When I’ve asked current and former employees about the Twitter camera in the past, they’ve told me that the company has not prioritized its development because very few people use it. Of course, the reverse is also true: very few people use it because Twitter so obviously does not prioritize it. Coleman told reporters that the company plans to increase the pace of development on camera features in coming months. If so, it will be both welcome and long overdue.

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Spotify Files Antitrust Complaint Over ‘Apple Tax’

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Spotify announced this morning that it’s filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Union, alleging that the iPhone maker is harming consumer choice and stifling innovation via the rules it enforces on the App Store.

As Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek outlined in a blog post, the company is particularly annoyed about the 30 percent cut Apple takes from subscriptions made via the App Store. This “tax,” suggests Ek, seems designed to harm streaming services that compete with Apple’s own.

Ek says that if Spotify pays this cut it has to “artificially inflate” its prices “well above the price of Apple Music.” But if it doesn’t pay, Apple applies “a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions” that make Spotify an inferior experience. Ek also notes that Apple “routinely blocks our experience-enhancing upgrades,” including locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services like Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch.

As well as filing a complaint with the European Commission, the EU body that handles antitrust issues, Spotify has launched a press campaign, including a website dedicated to Apple’s unfair behavior and a YouTube video explaining the company’s grievances.

https://youtu.be/l8SShgWqJvg

Interestingly, Spotify’s complaint echoes recent comments made by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Warren said last week that if elected president in 2020 she would break up big tech companies. She criticized these firms for the same reason that Spotify is now criticizing Apple: they operate marketplaces in which they also compete against rivals, allowing them to set the rules in a way that benefits them at the expense of others.

Warren singled out Amazon, Google, and Facebook — but not Apple — as targets to be broken up. “Companies would be prohibited from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform,” she said.

Spotify’s filing is the first time an antitrust complaint against the App Store has been publicly registered with the EU. However, companies have long criticized the so-called Apple tax since it was introduce not long after the App Store’s launch in 2011.

Although it’s not clear how far Spotify’s complaint against Apple will go, the EU has been on something of an antitrust tear in recent years. In 2017, Google was fined €2.4 billion complaints related to its shopping business, and in 2018, it was fine €4.3 billion for complaints about stifling competition in Android.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told The Wall Street Journal that it had received Spotify’s complaint and was “assessing [it] under our standard procedures.” At the time of publication Apple had not responded to a request for comment.

Source: The Verge

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Donald Trump Called Apple’s CEO ‘Tim Apple’ By Mistake.

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The president has to remember a lot of names! Some he remembers, some he forgets. But we will never forget today in the Year of Our Lord 2019 when President Trump called Apple CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple.”

Maybe we’re just losing our minds waiting for a good meme, but there’s something relentlessly good and pure about calling the executive formerly known as Tim Cook “Tim Apple.” Tim Cook: Great guy, great phones. Tim Apple though? Man, where do we start!

In the video from Cook’s appearance with the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, Trump invents Tim Apple at 1:03 before launching into a tirade on unspecified murders in Mexico.

“You’ve really put a great investment in our country. We really appreciate it very much, Tim Apple,” Trump said.

As the Verge pointed out, Trump once called Lockheed Martin’s CEO “Marillyn Lockheed,” which is fine, but not good and pure like Tim Apple.

For evidence that Trump in fact knows the “true” identity of Tim Apple, you can rewind to 40:43 when he calls the Apple chief executive “Tim Cook” (his old name). Usually it’s cheap to give someone a hard time for forgetting a name or making a minor mistake in extemporaneous speech. But Tim Apple is so much more than a mistake.

If you’d prefer, watch the clip over and over again. We can’t recommend it enough.

Source: TechCrunch.com

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