Toyota’s First Natural Gas Power Plant in the Port of Long Beach
Toyota Motor North America, Inc. recently announced formal plans to build their first large-scale natural gas-powered plant to help support operations at the Port of Long Beach, the nation’s largest and busiest. Announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Tri-Gen facility will be housed at Toyota’s existing distribution center on Port of Long Beach property, where it will use natural gas to produce hydrogen, water, and electricity, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Part of the auto manufacturers’ efforts to achieve zero emissions from its logistics operations by 2050, the plant projects enough power to serve the equivalent of 2,350 homes and the daily driving needs of 1,500 vehicles. Toyota projects the plant to open by 2020.
The Final SpaceX Launch of 2017 Lights Up the LA Sky
In December 2017, as most Angelenos and their out-of-town guests were preparing for the Christmas weekend, SpaceX, Elon Musk’s advanced rockets and spacecraft company, launched their final Falcon 9 of 2017, leaving the Southern California sky shining and sparkling. The Falcon 9 booster lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base, carrying the latest batch of satellites for Iridium Communications. In June SpaceX made a similar trip, landing the Falcon 9 on a platform in the Pacific Ocean. This launch marked the end of 2017 for SpaceX, which has contracted to replace Iridium’s system with 75 new satellites.
UberAir Coming to Los Angeles by 2020
Uber CPO Jeff Holden went on Bloomberg in November, announcing the company’s partnership with NASA on flying taxis, noting that Los Angeles will be one of the first testing grounds for the service. UberAir – taking off in 2020 – will be comprised of short flights of around 25 miles, transporting passengers in as-yet unbuilt electric aircrafts that will travel up to 200 mph. Holden noted that UberAir will be unlike Uber’s exclusive helicopter service, offering comparably affordable fares and rates while not directly competing with LA’s miserable traffic. By the Summer Olympics in 2028, Uber hopes to see “tens of thousands” of daily flights in Los Angeles, according to Curbed LA.
Virgin Hyperloop One Secures $50M in Funding and a Title Sponsor
Formerly known as Hyperloop One, the DTLA-based rapid transit company bringing Elon Musk’s vision of a tube-based transportation system to life, the company helmed by CEO Rob Lloyd added Virgin to the beginning of their name in October, securing Richard Branson as their chairman. Two months later, on December 18, the company secured $50M in funding from Russia’s Caspian Venture Capital and DP World, a large port operator in Dubai. When ready, Russia and the Middle East are two of the leading geographical centers for the first commercial application. This $50M in funding comes on the heels of the company nearly running out of money, according to a CNBC report, and will likely result in some organizational restructuring.
Silicon Valley Healthcare Startup, Forward, Debuts in Los Angeles
San Francisco-based healthcare startup Forward has expanded to Los Angeles, opening its first LA location in the Westfield Century City mall. Founded by former Google exec Adrian Aoun, Forward combines healthcare trends, proprietary and purpose-built medical devices, and Silicon Valley algorithms. The skinny: A $149 monthly fee affords you unlimited access to their medical staff, baseline screening, blood and gene testing, wellness and nutrition counseling, and ongoing monitoring via wearable sensors.