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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Why these cities are accelerating their autonomous vehicle initiatives

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

Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future

October 2, 2017 by  
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What will the electric car of the future look like? Renault has given us a sneak peek with the Trezor – a futuristic self-driving car powered by a 350 horsepower electric powertrain that can go from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. To enter the vehicle, the entire hood, windshield and side windows lift up – but you still have to jump over the side of the vehicle to get in, since it does without conventional doors. The vehicle also uses a rechargeable energy storage system to recover energy during braking and there are two batteries – one at the front and one at the back. The Trezor is a concept car , but it does explore the potential styling and technology that could debut on future electric cars. Its sleek, long profile is an artist’s dream. The interior feature a red wooden dashboard that incorporates the luggage compartment. The tailor-made trunks are held in place with leather straps in front of the driver and passenger. Although the wooden dashboard and red leather seats appear to be inspired by sports cars from the past, the Trezor features the latest technology with a L-shaped touchscreen that’s connected to a large dashboard screen in front of the driver. The curved OLED touchscreen is protected by a layer of Gorilla glass . The rectangular steering wheel features touchscreens that replace the traditional buttons on today’s steering wheels. The touchscreens provide access to the car’s three drive modes: neutral, sport and self-drive. In the self-driving mode, the exterior lighting changes to let other drivers know that the car is in autonomous mode. The steering wheel also comes apart and stretches out lengthwise to give a better view of the dashboard, so that the driver can watch a film or just look at the scenery. Renault’s Trezor was recently showcased at Designjunction during the London Design Festival . Renault and Nissan have announced plans to introduce several new fully-electric cars in the near future, so keep your fingers crossed that at least some of the technology in the Trezor concept will be offered in a production car. + Renault + London Design Festival Coverage on Inhabitat Photos by Renault and Mike Chino

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Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future

Dyson the famous vacuum maker is building an electric car

September 27, 2017 by  
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Dyson is famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners and other unique household appliances, but founder and chief engineer James Dyson has some bigger plans for the company. James Dyson sent out an email yesterday to the company announcing his ambitions to introduce an electric car by 2020. With an investment of at least $2.7 billion and a staff of 400 people, Dyson is hopeful that it can get an electric car to market in the next three years. Dyson has already started hiring engineers from automotive companies to help launch the vehicle. Related: James Dyson on using his famous vacuum technology to suck garbage from rivers In his email, Dyson outlined how in 1988 a study from the the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that linked the exhaust from diesel engines to premature death in laboratory mice and rats, put the company on a path to improve air quality. Two years later, in March 1990, the Dyson team began work on a cyclonic filter that could be fitted on a vehicle’s exhaust system to trap particulates. Sadly, even though the prototypes were developed, automakers weren’t too interested. Now Dyson will do away with the need to reduce particulates by creating a zero emissions electric car. James Dyson hasn’t gone too far into the details, since competition in the electric car segment is incredibly strong right now. Several other startups are racing to bring their cars to market, like Lucid and Fisker, so it makes sense that Dyson would try to keep details about its technology under wraps. + Dyson Images @Dyson

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Dubai has officially started testing flying taxis

September 26, 2017 by  
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Dubai is now one step closer to launching the world’s first flying taxi service. On Monday, Volocopter successfully tested its two-seater Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT), which hovered for about five minutes approximately 200 meters off the ground. The vehicle resembles a small helicopter topped with 18 propellers, and it’s powered entirely by electricity. Volocopter ‘s AAT prototype is remarkably quiet, and it has a cruise speed of 50 km/h and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h. In total, the drone taxi measures two meters in height and it has a diameter (including propellers) of just over seven meters. When it’s officially launched, the AAT will be able to fly without remote control guidance and take trips up to 30 minutes at a time. In case of trouble, there are a number of fail-safes – including backup batteries, rotors, and even built-in parachutes. “Implementation would see you using your smartphone , having an app, and ordering a Volocopter to the next voloport near you. The volocopter would come and autonomously pick you up and take you to your destination,” said CEO of Volocopter, Florian Reuter. “It already is capable of flying based on GPS tracks today, and we will implement full sense capability, also dealing with unknown obstacles on the way.” Related: Lilium’s all-electric flying taxi could travel from Manhattan to JFK in 5 minutes Venture Beat reports that the test flight occurred during a ceremony arranged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. “Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contributes not only to the country‘s development but also builds bridges into the future,” said Sheikh Hamdan said in a statement. “This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society.” Volocopter plans to launch a flying taxi service in Dubai within five years. Time is ticking, as more than a dozen, well-funded firms in the U.S. and Europe are developing their own high-tech flying vehicles. + Volocopter Via Venture Beat, The National Images via Dubai Media Office

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Dubai has officially started testing flying taxis

Futuristic floating bubble car wins London design competition

September 21, 2017 by  
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Renault and Central Saint Martins – UAL have teamed up to develop the car of the future. Part of a design competition, students of the school’s MA Industrial Design program have been challenged to think about the future of autonomous, modular cars, along with the infrastructure and services that might support them. The winning design, The Float, envisions futuristic bubble cars that use magnetic levitation technology to get around. The competition started with 15 students with three semi-finalists left standing – Stephanie Chang Liu for her ‘Flo’ design, with three different sized vehicles, Tuna Yenici for his emotive vehicle named ‘Vue’ and Yuchen Cai for her vision of vehicles moving around using Maglev technology, called ‘The Float’. Yuchen Cai was announced as the winner at the opening of Designjunction 2017. The Float connects people in a new way, demonstrating how autonomy will help drivers become more open and social with the outside world. With the appearance of a bubble that moves without conventional wheels, it uses magnetic levitation technology that gives it the ability to move in any direction without the need to turn around. Related: Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt The exterior is covered in transparent glass, while passengers sit in silver seats. The large swathes of glass will provide a new way for people to connect through tessellation. Users can also use a smartphone app to rent a Float, just like how a user would request an Uber or Lyft ride. The concepts have been unveiled in London at Designjunction 2017, which runs from September 21-24. Renault is a partner in the competition, since it is eager to develop the technologies of the future with an emphasis on electric power, autonomous driving and connected technologies. Renault’s ultimate goal is to have autonomous electric vehicles on the road by the early 2020s. + Renault Images @Renault

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Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

September 15, 2017 by  
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Audi is working hard on future self-driving cars that will forever change your daily commute. This week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the automaker unveiled two new concept cars that feature Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving technology. Hit the jump for a closer look. The first concept, the Aicon, is a futuristic looking four-door electric vehicle with a 500-mile driving range. The Aicon is a large concept vehicle at almost 18-feet-long. Audi says its design is a preview of what cars will look like in the future; with pushed-out wheels and without the need for an engine, the overall layout maximizes the space between the wheels for more interior volume. Related: Audi’s new solar-roofed car expected by the end of 2017 One cool feature is that the Aicon’s exterior surfaces can display information to warn pedestrians or cyclists of dangerous situations. Plus, horizontal stripes of light move from the bottom up when the car accelerates and in the opposite direction when braking. Their speed increases or decreases in sync with that of the car. The interior features two individual front seats that can move back and forth up to 19 inches and even swivel up to 15 degrees. There’s room for two additional passengers that sit on an integrated rear bench seat. Audi’s Aicon is powered by four electric motors that generate a total 349 horsepower. It can also travel up to 500 miles on a single charge and be recharged up to 80 percent in a short 30 minutes. The second concept, the Audi Elaine, looks familiar since it debuted as the E-Tron Sportback concept a few months ago. On the outside, not much has changed from the original concept, but Audi is using the Elaine concept to showcase its Level 4 autonomous driving technology with a new highway pilot autonomous system. The highway pilot system can control the vehicle between 37 to 80 mph. Audi hasn’t announced any production plans for the Audi Aicon concept, but the production version of the Elaine/ E-Tron Sportback will arrive in 2019. + Audi Images @Audi

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Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

China announces plan to ban sales of fossil fuel cars and shift focus to EVs

September 11, 2017 by  
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China has announced a plan to ban the sales of fossil fuel -burning vehicles. They don’t have a date set yet – vice minister of industry and information technology Xin Guobin said regulators and the government are working on a timetable. A ban would be a boon for China’s electric car industry, and could have a huge impact on the country’s notoriously awful air quality . Xin spoke about China’s plan to stop sales and production of the polluting vehicles at an automobile forum over the weekend in Tianjin. He said such a step would impact both the environment , and the growth of the country’s electric car industry. Bloomberg noted China would be the largest market to end sales of fossil fuel-powered cars should they go through with the plan. Related: Scotland to phase out new gas and diesel cars by 2032 Liu Zhijia, assistant general manager at China’s largest passenger car exporter Chery Automobile Company, said, “The implementation of the ban for such a big market like China can be later than 2040. That will leave plenty of time for everyone to prepare.” Chery recently unveiled battery-powered and hybrid vehicle models at a Frankfurt motor show. China has the second largest economy in the world, and have said they’ll cap carbon emissions by 2030. Their impending fossil fuel vehicle sales ban could encourage automakers to focus on emissions-free electric cars instead. Large car maker GAC Motor broke ground on a $6.5 billion electric vehicle park earlier this year. BYD , China’s biggest electric vehicle manufacturer, counts actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio as brand ambassador , and have already delivered 46,855 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles this year. They’re also backed by Warren Buffett. Bloomberg noted government subsidies have helped local car manufacturers find success in the electric vehicle market, even as United States companies like Tesla , Nissan, and General Motors are hustling to claim a piece of the market. Via The Verge and Bloomberg Lead image via Depositphotos , others via Redd Angelo on Unsplash and Vivian Chen on Unsplash

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2018 Nissan Leaf debuts with 150 mile driving range for just 30k

September 6, 2017 by  
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After teasing us for weeks, Nissan has finally unveiled the second-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf. The new Leaf is completely new inside and out, with single-pedal driving, automation, more power, and most importantly, its driving range has been increased to a more usable 150 miles. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been seven years since the first Nissan Leaf arrived in 2010. Now seven years later the Leaf is facing much stiffer competition than it originally did. As a result, the new Leaf has been amped up to tackle the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3. Related: BMW releases a sportier i3 electric car For starters, Nissan fixed the main concern electric car buyers had with the last generation: its driving range. With a max 107 mile driving range, the current generation Leaf has been overshadowed by the Bolt, Model 3 and even slightly squeezed out by the BMW i3 and 2017 VW e-Golf. With the 2018 Nissan Leaf being able to now travel 150 miles on a single charge, that means the Leaf is now closer to the top of the segment, only to be out done by Tesla and the Chevy Bolt . Under the hood, there’s also a new electric powertrain that now generates 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of torque. If you want a more powerful Nissan Leaf with a longer driving range, Nissan has confirmed that another more expensive version of the Leaf is coming for 2019. Besides the new electric powertrain, the 2018 Leaf also features new driving technologies. The ProPILOT Assist driver assistance technology allows for semi-autonomous driving on single-lane highways. The 2018 Leaf also comes with Nissan’s new e-Pedal technology, that perfects one-pedal driving. It lets drivers start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by using only the accelerator. Inside the 2018 Leaf’s seats are covered in seats with vibrant blue stitching and a new 7-inch touchscreen sits in the center console. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have also been added. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. and Europe in early 2018. Pricing for the 2018 Leaf in the U.S. will start at $29,990. Images @Nissan + Nissan

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