Electric city: Volvo unveils vision for clean cars, buses and more

May 22, 2017 by  
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Swedish vehicle manufacturer focuses on air quality as it unveils a host of new green bus, truck and construction machinery prototypes.

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Electric city: Volvo unveils vision for clean cars, buses and more

Top grocery stores lag on antibiotic-free food

May 22, 2017 by  
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As restaurant chains rush to cut antibiotic-raised chicken, a new report by the Natural Resource Defense Council argues that Costco, Walmart and others aren’t doing enough.

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Top grocery stores lag on antibiotic-free food

Nissan is working on a new 340-mile-range electric car

May 5, 2017 by  
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Nissan basically put the electric car on the map when it introduced the Nissan Leaf, but in the last few years the Leaf has been overshadowed by the arrival of newer electric cars, like the Tesla Model S and most recently, the Chevy Bolt. The good news is that Nissan is close to releasing an all-new Nissan Leaf, which will be followed by another electric car with a driving range of around 340 miles. According to Japan’s Nikkei Automotive , the next Leaf will get a 43-percent better driving range, which will put it around 150 miles per charge. If that figure holds, the new Leaf will be able to drive further on one charge than the updated VW e-Golf, the BMW i3 and the Focus Electric. Unfortunately that driving range won’t match the Chevy Bolt or the upcoming Tesla Model 3, but Nissan has something else in the works. Related: The new Nissan Leaf will be able to drive autonomously on the highway The automaker is reportedly working on a different electric car, which will be able to travel over 340 miles on a single charge. The new electric car will arrive by 2020 and will borrow styling cues from the IDS concept picture here. The new EV’s cargo capacity and exterior dimensions will also be close to the Leaf. + Nissan Via Nikkei Automotive Images @Nissan

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Nissan is working on a new 340-mile-range electric car

Wind and solar-powered eco community to house 4,000 members of the Oglala Lakota Nation

May 5, 2017 by  
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The Thunder Valley Regenerative Community masterplan provides housing for some 4,000 people in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community in South Dakota . This eco-friendly, climate-adaptable community was designed from the ground up with local culture and values in mind, using sustainable technologies for solar , wind and geothermal energy. The Thunder Valley Regenerative Community is currently underway on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which is home to the Oglala Lakota Nation. The project brought together the local community and several organizations and design studios around the idea of creating a visionary community design. Local community members worked together with the Oglala Lakota nonprofit organization Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) , and architecture firms BNIM and Pyatt Studio , with support from KLJ Engineering and Studio NYL . Related: 8 ways to help the water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation As the lead planner for the project masterplan, architecture firm BNIM designed the multifamily and mixed-used buildings and created a high-performance water collection and reuse system, wastewater treatment systems, and on-site solar, wind and geothermal energy generators. Related: Brad Pitt’s Make it Right delivers first 3 LEED Platinum homes The architects completed the first two buildings – the Thunder Valley Community Center and Guest House – both of which function as community gathering spaces . The first phase of the single family homes—by Pyatt Studio—is scheduled for completion this year. + BNIM + Pyatt Studio + KLJ Engineering + Studio NYL + Thunder Valley CDC

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Wind and solar-powered eco community to house 4,000 members of the Oglala Lakota Nation

Cadillac unveils their new CT6 Plug-in Hybrid – a large, green luxury sedan

May 3, 2017 by  
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Cadillac is pushing a new green car strategy they hope will make a bigger impact than their ELR plug-in hybrid – a low-performing vehicle in terms of sales success. Rather than produce a standalone plug-in hybrid , like the ELR, Cadillac will release plug-in hybrid versions of its regular lineup, starting with the new 2017 CT6 Plug-in Hybrid. The 2017 CT6 plug-in hybrid is just now reaching showrooms, giving Cadillac a rival to other luxury sedan plug-ins, like the Mercedes-Benz S 550e, BMW 740e and Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. The CT6 plug-in hybrid can travel up to 31 miles in electric mode, which is better than the embarrassing 12 mile EV range that the S550e manages to squeeze out of its battery. If you open the hood, you won’t see a V6 or large V8 engine, like many Cadillac loyalists are used to. Instead, the CT6 plug-in hybrid is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine and two-motor electric variable transmission. A large lithium-ion battery powers the electric part of the system from behind the backseat and takes up to 4.5 hours to fully recharge on a 240-volt outlet. Related: Honda steps up with new green car strategy In total, the system generates 335 horsepower and 432 lb-ft. of torque, which puts it directly in the middle of the CT6 lineup, with only the twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 beating it. The CT6 plug-in hybrid can reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and has a 62 combined MPGe rating. Plus the 31-mile driving range is longer than almost every other plug-in hybrid on the market, with the exception of the Chevy Volt and BMW i3, but neither of those models are as luxurious or comfortable. On the road the CT6 tries to find the perfect balance between performance and efficiency. You can select between three driving modes: Tour, Sport and Hold. Tour is the standard setting, but if you want a more exciting driving experience, there’s the Sport mode with its more aggressive pedal mapping and steering response. The Hold mode allows the driver to save the EV range for later use, maybe in a city center, for example. There are also four selectable battery regen modes to recuperate as much energy as you want. The strongest setting almost allows for one pedal driving, which is something that makes the i3 so great to drive in traffic. What’s it like to drive the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid? Driving around Los Angeles in the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid, it’s easy to forget you’re driving an electrified Cadillac. The instantaneous torque makes acceleration a breeze and the 31-mile EV range is enough for short errands around town. With a 0-60 mph time of only 5.2 seconds, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid can speed past many sports cars. Although it is fast, it’s still not a true sports sedan. If you’re looking for a sportier driving experience, you’ll probably want to check out the Panamera instead, but if you’re in the market for a large, luxurious sedan, without the fuel economy penalty, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid is hard to beat. Pricing for the 2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-in hybrid starts at $75,095. It only comes in one trim with standard features like, a head-up display, panoramic sunroof, rear seat infotainment system and the Enhanced Vision package. Images @Inhabitat and Cadillac + Cadillac

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Cadillac unveils their new CT6 Plug-in Hybrid – a large, green luxury sedan

The Biggest Pros and Cons of Electric Vehicles

May 3, 2017 by  
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Electric vehicles (EVs) have made huge technological strides since they were first introduced, and they’re more popular than ever before. Yet some drivers are still hesitant to make the switch from traditional gas-powered cars, in large part…

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The Biggest Pros and Cons of Electric Vehicles

Volkswagen previews I.D. Crozz, its 2020 electric SUV

May 2, 2017 by  
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Volkswagen is on a roll lately with its electric car ambitions. Last fall the automaker unveiled the I.D. hatchback concept and earlier this year it followed it up with the Microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz concept. Now Volkswagen has unveiled its third model from the electric I.D. family – the I.D. Crozz. As its name suggests, the I.D. Crozz concept is a sleek electric crossover that previews an all-electric crossover that will be introduced in 2020. The concept is based on the same MEB platform as the original two concepts, which means that it can also travel over 300 miles on the European Cycle. But under the skin, the I.D. Crozz features two electric motors to give it all-wheel drive capability. Related: VW’s new electric car goes further and costs less than the Tesla 3 or Chevy Bolt The system features a 101-hp electric motor at the front and a 201-hp electric motor at the rear. Under normal driving conditions, the rear electric motor is the main power source, but if the conditions worsen and all-wheel drive is needed, the front motor is powered up instantaneously. Drivers also have the ability to lock it into all-wheel drive if needed. With a total 302 horsepower and an estimated driving range of 311 miles, the I.D. Crozz concept will easily be one of the most efficient SUVs you can buy. VW also estimates that it can be recharged using a 150 kW charger up to 80 percent in a mere 30 minutes. By 2020 autonomous driving technology will be available in many models and VW expects to have its own technology ready by 2025. The I.D. Crozz previews VW’s new I.D. Pilot autonomous driving technology , in which the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard and fuses with the digital instruments. In both automatic and manual modes the driver also receives speed and navigation information via a new head-up display. “By 2025, we want to have sales of pure electric vehicles up to one million units a year,” stated Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Brand. “The I.D. Crozz will play a key role in that. Production will start in 2020.” + Volkswagen Images @Volkswagen

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Volkswagen previews I.D. Crozz, its 2020 electric SUV

Elon Musk’s Boring Company video envisions underground LA as a crazy slot car race

May 1, 2017 by  
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Boldness has never been a problem for Elon Musk , who decided to improve the experience of driving through Los Angeles – while the rest of us just honk our horns. After tweeting in December that the city’s notorious traffic was driving him nuts, he immediately set up The Boring Company to dig underground tunnels for relief from the congestion above ground. Now the company has released a YouTube video envisioning exactly what that system might look like. Check it out after the jump. Forget freeway on-ramps. In the future imagined by The Boring Company, cars simply drive onto a sled-like device on a city street that lowers them into the tunnel network. The sleds then connect to a track and shoot the cars under Los Angeles at speeds of 124 miles per hour, according to the video. A supercomputer could direct car movement to potentially eliminate accidents. Related: Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month There’s no mention of what travel times could look like via the futuristic underground tunnels in the video, but a Gizmodo article threw out the estimate of Compton to Malibu in a few minutes; right now that journey takes around an hour, at best. Musk recently spoke more about The Boring Company at TED2017, in addition to Tesla and SpaceX . The interviewer, TED Head Curator Chris Anderson, asked how much of the entrepreneur’s time the project takes up, and Musk estimated just two or three percent. “This is basically interns and people doing it part time…we bought some secondhand machinery…it’s kind of puttering along but it’s making good progress,” he said in the talk. Anderson joked The Boring Company is “what an Elon Musk hobby looks like.” One can imagine all sorts of regulatory hurdles his hobby company would have to jump before they could build the vast tunnel network envisioned in the video, but if anyone can do it, it’s probably Musk. If you want to learn more, settle in over a lunch break; Musk’s TED talk is 40 minutes long and can be watched here . + The Boring Company Via Gizmodo Images via screenshot

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company video envisions underground LA as a crazy slot car race

Apple self-driving car spotted in California

May 1, 2017 by  
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Apple is full of surprises. Just last fall sources told Bloomberg the technology giant wasn’t going to build a self-driving car anymore. They may have scrapped plans to construct their own car, but it appears they didn’t abandon autonomous vehicles altogether. People in California recently spotted a white Lexus RX450h SUV with self-driving apparatus drive out of an Apple Silicon Valley facility. Bloomberg obtained images of the sneaky self-driving car, glimpsed around two weeks after the company got a permit to test autonomous cars. The Lexus SUV was reportedly decked out with Velodyne Lidar Inc’s 64-channel lidar, as well as an array of other sensors. An industry expert said the equipment looked like it was purchased off the shelf, not custom-built. An Apple spokesperson would not give Bloomberg a comment on that. Related: Apple announces goal to make products from 100% recycled materials Here's the vehicle Apple's using to test autonomous driving https://t.co/prbKCuJBq6 pic.twitter.com/8oUvrXv7qC — Bloomberg (@business) April 28, 2017 Apple is known for building their own software and hardware, as opposed to companies like Microsoft that focus on software usable on other companies’ hardware. But it appears they may be going a different direction with their self-driving cars, pursued under the name Project Titan . Last fall Bloomberg said the tech company would focus on software to be used in existing cars, which could help them get their product to market faster. They’re already up against tough competition: big players like Tesla , Uber , and Waymo, which began as Google’s self-driving project, have all made strides on their technology. Project Titan has gone through its ups and downs. When Apple decided to zero in on software, they reassigned or laid off hundreds of engineers. Leadership changed around a year ago, with veteran executive Bob Mansfield taking over, and he’s scaled back ambitions. So far California has given out permits to test self-driving vehicles to 30 companies, including startups, tech companies, and automakers. According to California’s DMV, Waymo and startup Zoox Inc. are also testing their technology with Lexus RX450 models. Via Inc. and Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons and Paul Miller on Flickr

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Apple self-driving car spotted in California

Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve

May 1, 2017 by  
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Although Airbnb is chock full of luxury beach condos, it’s rare to find an eco-friendly retreat tucked into a secluded beach. Ría Luz is a wind-powered sustainable home carefully designed to coexist with its pristine surroundings – and it’s one of the only structures located in the Yucatan’s Ria Lagartos biosphere. Ria Luz is the perfect spot for a secluded getaway. Visitors to this beautiful beach retreat will have access to spectacular wildlife found along the shoreline, which is almost completely devoid of tourists. The home is made up of two white blocks connected by a wooden viewing platform with multiple points of beach access. The main building houses the kitchen, living room and master bedroom, while the second building has additional bedrooms and an outdoor shower with a deck. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small Sliding glass doors and multiple windows provide the interior with optimal natural light and incredible views. Guests can also enjoy a rooftop terrace with a comfy open-air bed for sleeping under the stars. As one of the only buildings located in the protected biosphere, the beach cottage was built to be ecologically friendly and it operates solely on wind-generated electricity . Wildlife tours are provided by local experts, and those who visit in summertime can see the hundreds of turtles who come to nest in an adjacent beach. + Ria Luz Airbnb Images via Ria Luz

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Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve

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