This Swedish electric car comes with 5 years of free electricity

December 5, 2017 by  
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Uniti is on a mission to create an intelligent, small electric car designed for easy urban transportation . And they just partnered with energy company E.ON to ensure the source of electricity is clean, offering Swedish customers five years of free solar energy for charging . Uniti is just a couple days away from their worldwide debut of the vehicle. Sustainability drives Uniti, and they wanted to go a step further than manufacturing an electric car, considering that vehicle’s source of electricity as well. Uniti says on their website they aim to consider “the entire value chain and the entire life cycle of the vehicle.” Their partnership with E.ON means E.ON customers who buy a Uniti car in Sweden get a sweet perk: five years of free power guaranteed to be sourced via solar energy. Related: Uniti Sweden unveils super high-tech tiny EV for urbanites Uniti’s Innovation Manager Tobias Ekman said in a statement, “This is also a new approach. We know that most of the charging, especially for these types of cars, will take place at home. These kinds of solution are therefore particularly sustainable.” Uniti’s electric car is comprised of a recyclable carbon fiber body, with an organic composite interior. The company has worked to digitize the driving experience in many ways, describing their vehicle as the smartphone car. Inside there’s a heads-up display with navigation and safety features, and human drivers interact with the car more like they would with their phones using digitized interaction points. Electronic steering is designed to make driving more fun while increasing safety. The company plans to sell the car somewhat like a smartphone might be sold as well: either directly online for delivery to a customer’s home, or in consumer electronics retail environments. The worldwide debut will be December 7 in Landskrona, Sweden, and Uniti will be live streaming here . They’ve already received almost 1,000 pre-orders, and are still taking orders on their website . They expect to deliver in 2019. + Uniti Images courtesy of Uniti

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This Swedish electric car comes with 5 years of free electricity

World’s first zero-emissions fossil-fuel plant expected to go live in 2018

December 5, 2017 by  
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North Carolina-based NET Power is pioneering a novel approach to capturing carbon dioxide in its reportedly zero-emissions natural-gas pilot power plant in Houston, Texas . The company is investing $150 million in its innovative design, which is centered around turbine technology that is mostly unchanged since its invention over 150 years ago. The key difference is that NET Power’s turbine uses carbon dioxide , rather than a mixture of hot gases, to transfer heat, which is then converted into mechanical energy and, ultimately, electricity. NET Power hopes that its plant design will prove efficient enough to be mass marketed and installed at natural gas power plants around the world. The turbine technology used in NET Power’s demonstration plant is based on the Allam cycle , named after its creator Rodney Allam, who developed the system in collaboration with colleagues at 8 Rivers , an investment firm focused on innovative technology . “He did it old-school style—with just pen, paper, and a four-function calculator,” said Walker Dimmig, a principal at 8Rivers, according to Quartz . “We had to hire an engineering firm to redraw Rodney’s drawings on the computer, and verify whether what he claimed would be feasible.” The Allam cycle exploits the unusual qualities of carbon dioxide, which, under high pressure and temperature, becomes a “supercritical fluid,” a state of matter that shares characteristics of a liquid and a solid. In its supercritical fluid form, carbon dioxide has proven to be an efficient extractor of heat energy in a turbine . Related: World’s first ‘negative emissions’ power plant opens in Iceland In collaboration with Toshiba, NET Power modified turbines to be compatible with the Allam cycle. Because of their highly efficient design, NET Power’s turbines are one-tenth the size of normal turbines. After some final tests are conducted and minor problems are fixed, NET Power expects its plant to begin its operation in 2018. At full capacity, it will produce enough electricity to power 40,000 homes. NET Power plans to license its technology, rather than building its own plants, a practical move in response to a challenging market. However, if the natural gas boom is here to stay, NET Power hopes that its carbon capture technology may prove useful and popular as the world shifts towards a cleaner energy economy. Via Quartz Images via Depositphotos , NET Power via NPR , and NET Power

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World’s first zero-emissions fossil-fuel plant expected to go live in 2018

Electric cars are already less expensive to own and operate than gas-guzzling vehicles, according to study

December 4, 2017 by  
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Exciting news for electric car fans: a new study shows that EVs already cost less over four years than diesel or gasoline-fueled cars in Japan, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States. Four researchers at the University of Leeds came up with the discovery after scrutinizing the total price tag of ownership including insurance, fuel , maintenance, taxation, purchase price and depreciation. And although the low cost is aided by government support right now, in a few years EVs are expected to be the least expensive option without subsidies. EVs are already cheaper to operate and own in the markets the researchers looked at: California, Texas, Japan, and the UK. They said this lower expense is an important factor propelling the surge in EV sales. Electricity is less expensive than diesel or petrol, and maintenance costs are lower, as pure electric cars have simpler engines. Related: Stanford study says fossil-fueled cars will vanish in 8 years as ‘big oil’ collapses Study co-author James Tate of the University of Leeds told The Guardian , “We were surprised and encouraged because, as we scale up production, [pure] electric vehicles are going to be becoming cheaper and we expect battery costs are going to fall.” Hybrid cars tend to be slightly more expensive than gas-fueled cars, as they tend to draw lower subsidies. The researchers said people are basically forking out money for two engines in one car. Japan is one exception, as it provides higher subsidies for plug-in hybrids. In Japan and the UK, pure electric cars get a sales subsidy of around $6,729. In the US, the subsidy is around $8,748. Tate told The Guardian an EV like the Nissan Leaf could be as cheap to operate and own as a petrol car sans subsidy by 2025. The journal Applied Energy published the study online in November. + Applied Energy Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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Electric cars are already less expensive to own and operate than gas-guzzling vehicles, according to study

Nissan debuts IMx electric SUV concept with 373-mile driving range

October 26, 2017 by  
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Nissan is getting ready to expand the number of electric vehicles it offers — and the next model will be a Leaf-based electric SUV. Earlier this year Nissan confirmed that an electric SUV is in the works and now we’re seeing our first preview with the debut of the Nissan IMx concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. The IMx concept features a bold exterior that borrows a few styling details from the new 2018 Nissan Leaf, but its suicide doors are purely concept. The IMx concept is based on Nissan’s new EV platform and it has two electric motors , one at the front and one at the rear to give it all-wheel drive capability. While the Nissan Leaf only has a modest 147 horsepower, the IMx concept has 430 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque on tap from its two motors. Related: 2018 Nissan Leaf debuts with 150 mile driving range for just 30k Nissan hasn’t revealed the size of the IMx’s battery pack , but it does have a driving range of over 373 miles, which is pretty much the same driving range you’d get with a typical gasoline powered SUV. Besides the new electric powertrain , the IMx also features a future version of Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous technology. Nissan’s ProPilot system is already arriving on its 2018 models, but the future version in the IMx concept can fully take over control of the vehicle. When ProPilot drive mode is selected, the system stows the steering wheel inside the dashboard and reclines all seats, giving the driver more space and allowing the vehicle’s occupants to relax. When Manual drive mode is selected, the vehicle returns the steering wheel and seats to their original position. The autonomous technology also gives the IMx concept the ability to drive on its own without the driver in the vehicle. The perfect situation? The IMx concept can drop the driver off at a desired destination and then park itself in a nearby parking spot. When the driver is ready to leave, the IMx concept will pick them up. Nissan hasn’t announced when its new electric SUV will be introduced. Images @Nissan + Nissan

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Nissan debuts IMx electric SUV concept with 373-mile driving range

Brand new "mega-carnivore" dinosaur discovered in Africa

October 26, 2017 by  
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Paleontologists have discovered fossil remains of what may have been the largest predator to ever hunt on the African savanna. The fossilized footprints were found in Lesotho, and they belong to a previously unknown “mega-carnivore” dating back to the early Jurassic Period, 200 million years ago. Although its size and demeanor was likely on par with well-known species such as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Allosaurus, the carbon dating of the fossil remains suggests this new dinosaur may have existed far earlier than its “mega-carnivore” comrades. At 22-inches-long and 20-inches-wide, the three-toed footprints are the largest of their kind ever found in Africa . The fossilized theropod (suborder of large, carnivorous dinosaur ) footprints were discovered by an international team of scientists from the University of Manchester, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. The new species, which has been named  Kayentapus ambrokholohali , would have been 10-feet-tall at the hip and 30-feet-long, almost twice the size of the average early Jurassic theropod. “The latest discovery is very exciting and sheds new light on the kind of carnivore that roamed what is now southern Africa ,” said Fabien Knoll, co-author of the study recently published in the journal PLOS ONE . “That’s because it is the first evidence of an extremely large meat-eating animal roaming a landscape otherwise dominated by a variety of herbivorous, omnivorous and much smaller carnivorous dinosaurs. It really would have been top of the food chain.” Related: Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil The fossilized footprints are surrounded by current-ripple marks and cracks, which indicate that the animal likely died near a watering hole or river bank , where prey is often located. Although later predators such as T Rex were larger than Kayentapus ambrokholohali, the new theropod’s early existence is notable. “This discovery marks the first occurrence of very large carnivorous dinosaurs in the Early Jurassic of Gondwana – the prehistoric continent which would later break up and become Africa and other landmasses,” said Lara Sciscio, co-author of the study. “This makes it a significant find. Globally, these large tracks are very rare. There is only one other known site similar in age and sized tracks, which is in Poland.” Via New Atlas Images via University of Manchester

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Brand new "mega-carnivore" dinosaur discovered in Africa

Tesla-powered trolley spotted charging in Minnesota

October 26, 2017 by  
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Tesla vehicles are the only ones that can charge via a Supercharger , at least at this time. So the sight of what looked like a custom-built orange electric bus charging up at the Oakdale Supercharger station in Minnesota raised a few eyebrows. A battery monitor seemed to show the electric bus actually charging up. Tesla reportedly has talked with other carmakers about utilizing their charging network, but as of this point non-Teslas can’t partake of electricity at Supercharger stations. So the sight of an orange bus charging naturally drew interest. The bus had a Tesla logo on the front, and was equipped with a battery monitor that showed the vehicle drawing power from the Supercharger. Related: Tesla announces plan for world domination: includes trucks, buses, and solar power Electrek said the bus could be equipped with a Tesla powertrain. Internet user Ingineer commented on the Electrek article, saying they did electronics and integration for the bus. Ingineer said the bus is a 1968 Westcoaster “originally built as an EV, but with a 15 mph top speed and lead-acid batteries.” They said now the bus is equipped with a “Tesla pack and drive unit, and a 15,000BTU heat pump.” They said the bus belongs to Minneapolis craft brewery tour company Hoppy Trolley , which shared a picture of the orange bus on their Twitter and Facebook accounts a couple days ago, with the caption, “Teslafied trolley supercharged!” Ingineer said in a comment the orange bus won’t typically utilize Superchargers, and the pictures captured a test. In another comment, they said, “The drive mechanical was done by Concept Motorsports in Grass Valley, California. Tesla component installation, electrical, and software was done in at Ingineerix in Berkeley, California. The final mechanical and Tesla pack installation are being finished by PZ Global Auto in Lino Lakes.” They said the plan was for a large rooftop solar array to generate electricity to help power the trolley. Via Electrek Images via Hoppy Trolley on Twitter and screenshot

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Dunkirk, France offers free public transit to all

October 26, 2017 by  
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The small coastal city of Dunkirk in northern France is perhaps most famous, at the moment, for its portrayal in Christopher Nolan’s eponymous 2017 film, but it also deserves special attention for its decision to offer free public transit to all. In a move designed to reinforce economic fairness and establish Dunkirk as a sustainable, low-carbon community, Mayor Patrice Vergriete established the city’s inclusive transit policy, which will expand free public transit service to seven days a week starting in September 2018. The policy change, paid for with money that was originally allocated for the construction of a sports stadium, has been successful in increasing and diversifying ridership and could prove to be a powerful model for other cities looking to improve their quality of life and decrease their carbon footprint. When Vergriete first ran for mayor in 2014, he articulated his vision of a diverse, inclusive city that welcomes young people and families, supports the mobility of the elderly, and empowers people with limited economic means , according to CityLab . “I wanted to give back purchasing power to the families,” explained Vergriete on his initial motive. After launching free weekend services, ridership soared, up 30 percent on Saturday and 80 percent on Sunday. When free public transit is fully expanding to an all-week schedule, Dunkirk will be the largest city in France, though not the first, to offer this service. Related: Singapore is banning all new private vehicles from its roads Although the public transit services in Dunkirk may be free to riders, it is not a free ride for the local government, which must fund the service . Vergriete has observed that some are skeptical of the city’s ability to deliver these services without burdening taxpayers. “They think it’s like magic,” said Vergriete. “They think it’s not possible, that you are a liar. You cannot pay the salaries of the drivers, for the buses, with free transport.” In fact, only 10 percent of the public transit’s funding in Dunkirk was paid for with fares, a model that is similarly used in cities around the world , writes CityLab. Since rider fares are already such a small slice of the pie, “mayors should think about making it free,” said Vergriete. “It’s really a choice that we are making to charge.” In addition to support from the regional government’s general budget, the free transit service is primarily funded by a special transit tax on businesses, which was originally raised by Vergriete’s predecessor to pay for an expansion to a local sports arena. “It is a question of political priority ,” said Vergriete, whose administration chose to use that money set aside for a stadium to fund inclusive public transit instead. Via CityLab Images via  Vincent Desjardins/Flickr , Marco Chiesa/Flickr and Depositphotos

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Dunkirk, France offers free public transit to all

Dutch team Nuon wins world solar car challenge – again

October 13, 2017 by  
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The Dutch have done it once again. Nuon, the superstar team from the Netherlands , won its third straight championship in the World Solar Challenge, a 1,860-mile (3,000k) solar car race across Australia’s outback. Since 1987, the World Solar Challenge has driven the conversation about solar energy and its potential. In 2017, the race began in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, with its final destination in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia and the fifth largest city on the continent . At race’s end, a strong Dutch crowd, chanting “Nuna! Nuna!”, turned out to support the Nuna9 as it cruised to victory. The University Team came in second, followed by Belgium’s Punch Powertrain. The World Solar Challenge is one of the world’s most-watched innovation-based challenges. Past participants in the race include Google co-founder Larry Page and Tesla co-founder JB Straubel. Every vehicle in the race is powered by the sun, and most are funded by corporations or universities. With teams from the United States to Malaysia, from India to South Africa, the World challenge is truly a global affair. Related: How termites draw on solar power for climate control 2017 is the seventh win for Nuon, with a winning time of 37 hours, 10 minutes and 41 seconds. Although the Dutch team prevailed this year, its time fell from 2015, when the team completed the challenge in 33.03 hours. This year’s winning strategy involved a change in driving style to adjust for the weather conditions, which included strong winds. The solar car was setup in such a way as to take advantage of the wind like a sailing ship, which gave it a boost over the other contenders. “It’s such a weird feeling,” said Nuon Solar Team member Sarah Bennink Bolt, “we’ve doing this thing for one-and-a-half years, and all of a sudden it’s ending… you have to have a bit of luck [to win].” Via Phys.org Images via Phys.org

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Dutch team Nuon wins world solar car challenge – again

Why these cities are accelerating their autonomous vehicle initiatives

October 13, 2017 by  
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Equity, safety concerns emerge as common threads in urban mobility discussions.

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Nissan’s new EV ecosystem could give free power to EV owners

October 5, 2017 by  
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The future looks bright for electric vehicle (EV) owners. Nissan recently unveiled plans for the four pillars of their EV ecosystem, including a commitment to expand what they called the biggest fast charger network in Europe by 20 percent. They also aim to offer free power for EV owners who have a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, which feeds power from a car’s battery pack to the grid or a home. Nissan sketched plans for the future recently at the Nissan Futures 3.0 event in Norway. They showed off the new Nissan Leaf , which they said can travel 378 kilometers, or around 235 miles, on one charge. They also announced a longer-range all-electric e-NV200 van, which has a 280-kilometer, or 174-mile, range. Related: People in Denmark are earning up to $1,530 just by parking their EVs The second pillar of their plan is their commitment to infrastructure . During the upcoming 18 months, they plan to increase the number of fast chargers in Europe from 4,600 to 5,600. Their third pillar is new home and business chargers; their double-speed seven kilowatt (kW) home charger can recharge a vehicle in five and a half hours. Meanwhile, their 22 kW charger, targeted at businesses, can charge an EV in two hours. They also showcased the xStorage , their home energy storage system. And they have a scheme to get owners free power. xStorage is bidirectional, which means with it EV owners can send power to the grid from a car battery pack. They have been testing the free energy idea in Denmark. Nissan explained in a press release, “Using Nissan bidirectional charging, customers can draw energy from the grid to power their car or van and then ‘sell’ back to the grid for others to use. This means, once a nominal charge has been paid by the business for the installation of a V2G charger there are no fuel or energy costs – just free power for your EV.” They announced a United Kingdom collaboration with OVO allowing owners to buy xStorage at a discounted price, enabling them to charge an EV or start selling power to the grid. Nissan said these owners could make around £350, or around $461, a year. They hope to explore the idea of free power for EV owners in other regions of Europe. Via Nissan and Electrek Images via Nissan

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