Hyundai’s first long-range EV arrives next year

August 23, 2017 by  
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Hyundai has been pretty quiet on its electric car plans, with the exception of its recently introduced Ioniq models. But now the automaker has confirmed it will introduce new extended-range electric cars within the next few years. The first will be a 242-mile-range SUV, followed by a sedan with a 310-mile-range. It had already been rumored that the new Hyundai Kona SUV would get a fully electric version, but now Hyundai has confirmed it. The small Kona SUV will get an electric version sometime next year, with a driving range of around 242 miles. That means it will have the longest driving range of any electrified SUV, with the exception of the Tesla Model X . Of course, that title could change, since Audi is also close to introducing its new 300-mile-range SUV. After the new Kona SUV is introduced, Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis will release its own electric car by 2021. The new luxury electric car will have a driving range around 310 miles, making it a direct rival to the Tesla Model S . Hyundai hasn’t got any plans for a long-range Kia EV, but both the Hyundai and Kia brands are slated to get a range of new electrified models. The company plans to releae 31 eco-friendly models by 2020. With the new focus on electric cars, Hyundai isn’t giving up on fuel cell vehicles . They recently unveiled the next fuel cell SUV as a thinly disguised concept that will be powered by a fourth-generation hydrogen fuel cell system that is not only more powerful, but has a longer driving range than the current Tucson Fuel Cell SUV. + Hyundai Via VentureBeat Images @Hyundai

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Hyundai’s first long-range EV arrives next year

From Tesla to Mercedes-Benz, automakers become energy companies

August 21, 2017 by  
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New battery offerings and alliances with renewable energy providers are catalyzing a shift with big implications for the power grid.

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From Tesla to Mercedes-Benz, automakers become energy companies

‘Micropower’ proves its economic mettle

August 21, 2017 by  
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RMI data shows ‘micropower’ disrupts fossil-fuel markets, forcing oil companies to change their business model or face a ‘nasty, brutish and short’ future.

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‘Micropower’ proves its economic mettle

Business and the Sustainable Development Goals: What now?

August 21, 2017 by  
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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals could be a game changer for issues such as forestry and agriculture, although challenges remain.

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Business and the Sustainable Development Goals: What now?

Prototype 9 is a retro electric roadster with the Nissan Leaf’s heart

August 17, 2017 by  
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Infiniti is bringing us back to the 1940s with its Prototype 9 roadster, which is set to debut this month at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. On the outside the Prototype 9 is a sexy retro concept – but under the skin it’s all about the future, since it’s powered by the next-generation Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain. “Prototype 9 celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan Motor Corporation, on whose shoulders we stand today,” stated Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design. “It started as a discussion: What if Infiniti had created a race car in the 1940s? If one were to imagine an open-wheeled Infiniti racer on the famous circuits of the era, such as Japan’s Tamagawa Speedway, what would that look like?” Related: Why the new Nissan Leaf won’t need a brake pedal The Prototype 9 is powered by Nissan’s new EV powertrain, which mates a 30 kWh battery with a prototype electric motor. The electric motor generates 148 hp and drives the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The Prototype 9 has a top speed of 105.6 mph, and reaches 62 mph in 5.5 seconds. It also has a maximum EV range of 20 minutes if you drive it really hard on a track. While the Prototype 9 is going to debut later this month, we won’t have to wait too long to see the next-generation Nissan Leaf. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is scheduled to debut on September 5. Images @Infiniti + Infiniti

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Prototype 9 is a retro electric roadster with the Nissan Leaf’s heart

New lithium-ion battery from Japan could double electric vehicle range

August 10, 2017 by  
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Most electric vehicles can’t yet travel as far as gas-fueled vehicles on one battery charge, but they could edge much closer thanks to a new lithium-ion battery from Japan . The battery technology company GS Yuasa claims their potentially game-changing battery could double the driving range of small EVs, and the company plans to start mass producing them in around three years. Asian publication Nikkei reported the lithium-ion battery will be developed through a joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Motors under the name Lithium Energy Japan. The batteries could give electric cars the ability to drive further on one charge; for example, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV subcompact can currently travel around 170 kilometers, or around 105 miles, per charge, but with the new battery could drive for 340 kilometers, or around 211 miles. The companies also intend to offer the new battery at prices comparable to those of today’s batteries. Related: Hyundai reportedly working on next-gen solid-state batteries for electric vehicles According to Nikkei, GS Yuasa is the fourth largest supplier of automotive lithium-ion batteries in the world. Nikkei said Japanese companies such as Panasonic have thus far led the field in terms of quality and performance, but need to keep innovating if they want to stay ahead of Chinese and South Korean firms trailing closely behind. Reuters said the announcement of the new battery prompted GS Yuasa’s shares to spike by as much as 15 percent during early trade. The lithium-ion batteries will be manufactured at Mitsubishi Motors’ Shiga Prefecture plant for carmakers in the country and in Europe. GS Yuasa could begin mass producing the battery as soon as 2020. With batteries offering a longer range, electric car owners wouldn’t need to worry quite as much about the current lack of charging infrastructure in many areas of the world. Via Nikkei Asian Review and Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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New lithium-ion battery from Japan could double electric vehicle range

UK’s first self-driving grocery delivery van hits the streets of Greenwich

August 9, 2017 by  
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Food delivery has taken an interesting new turn. Residents of Greenwich, UK now have access to the country’s first self-driving grocery delivery service thanks to the electric-powered CargoPod. Developed by autonomous systems startup Oxbotica , the trial service is collaborating with online supermarket Ocado to deliver fresh groceries to customers at just a click of a button. The trial service is part of the GATEway ( Greenwich Automated Transport Environment ) program and will operate in the Woolwich area of Greenwich. Once customers place an order at Ocado, the CargoPod collects it and sets out on a number of set trajectories around the neighborhood. Each order has its own GPS coordinates, and once the van has reached its programmed destination, customers can collect their order from one of the eight compartments. The van can hold up to 128kg (282 pounds) of groceries at a time. Related: The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai The electric CargoPod is a street-legal vehicle equipped with multiple sensors and cameras placed around the vehicle’s body to navigate safely through the streets. The van is able to self drive thanks to an InterlCore i7 computer, which integrates all of the sensor data, including Oxbotica’s own Selenium autonomous driving software . For safety reasons, it does, however, come with a steering wheel, pedals, and a big red emergency stop button that allow a safety driver – who is on board during the trial period – to take control in emergencies. + Oxbotica Via Ars Technica UK Photography by Sebastian Anthony , Nick Summers and Oxbotica

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UK’s first self-driving grocery delivery van hits the streets of Greenwich

Four Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting the nearest sun-like star

August 9, 2017 by  
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We may be one step closer to finding a “second home” for humans, thanks to research conducted by an international team of astronomers. By observing wobbles in Tau Ceti, a sun-like star 12 light years away, scientists discovered that four Earth-sized stars are orbiting it. Two of the planets have masses as low as 1.7 Earth mass (which is rare), while the other two are super-Earths — meaning they could potentially support life. To monitor the wobbles of the sun-like star, the team employed techniques sensitive enough to detect variations as small as 30 centimeters per second. “Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for Earth analogs and the understanding of the Earth’s habitability through comparison with these analogs,” said lead author Fabo Feng, from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. “We have introduced new methods to remove the noise in the data in order to reveal the weak planetary signals.” While the outer two planets around tau Ceti are the right size to be habitable worlds, massive amounts of debris around the star likely reduce their habitability due to the intense bombardment of comets and asteroids . Nonetheless, the discovery is an exciting one. “We are now finally crossing a threshold where, through very sophisticated modeling of large combined data sets from multiple independent observers, we can disentangle the noise due to stellar surface activity from the very tiny signals generated by the gravitational tugs from Earth-sized orbiting planets,” said co-author Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. Mikko Tuomi, from the University of Hertfordshire, added, “We are slowly learning to tell the difference between wobbles caused by planets and those caused by stellar active surface. This enabled us to essentially verify the existence of the two outer, potentially habitable planets in the system.” Related: Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon The team wrote that sun-like stars are believed to be the best targets for finding habitable Earth -like planets. Tau Ceti is, indeed, very similar to our solar system’s Sun in both its brightness and size. Additionally, both stars host multi-planet systems. The research was published in the Astrophysical Journal and is available online. + Astrophysical Journal Via Phys.org Images via Colourbrand, Pixabay and J. Pinfield/RoPACS/University of Hertfordshire

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Four Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting the nearest sun-like star

Dutch students ‘grow’ a biodegradable car made of beet sugar and flax

August 8, 2017 by  
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Are biodegradable cars the next step in environmentally-friendly motoring? A team of students at the Eindhoven University of Technology just unveiled a biodegradable car made out of beet sugar and flax. Weighing just 684 pounds, the lightweight, eco-friendly vehicle can travel up to 50 miles per hour. According to Reuters , the only components not made of bio-based materials are the wheels and suspension system. The car is named Lina, and its lightweight frame has a similar strength-weight ratio to fiberglass. The beet sugar plastic is crafted into a honeycomb-shaped core and then placed between two flax composite sheets. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, Lina has a power output of 8kW using 2 DC-motors. While the biodegradable car is an applaudable invention, there are challenges with using materials intended to break down. Noud van de Gevel, the team’s leader, commented that the prototype has not yet passed crash tests as the material “will not bend like metal, but break.” Related: Biodegradable PawPods: a better way to bury your pet The TU/Ecomotive team intends to test drive the car once it receives the green light from the Netherlands Vehicle Authority. + TU/Ecomotive Via Reuters

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Dutch students ‘grow’ a biodegradable car made of beet sugar and flax

Tesla Model S reaches record 670 miles on a single charge

August 8, 2017 by  
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The Tesla Model S has set a new record in Italy! The Tesla Owners Italia club recently traveled 669.83 miles in a Model S 100D on a single charge with a team of five drivers. The team was careful to use as little energy as possible to beat a previous record set in Belgium last June. The team drove across southern Italy at an average speed of 25 mph without the air conditioning on. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently estimated that the Model S would be able to drive at least 621 miles with low rolling-resistance tires. The team not only used the more efficient tires, but also used “hypermilling” techniques to squeeze out as much driving range as they could. Related: Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018 “To complete the 1,078km record distance, we used 98.4 kW/h of electricity, which is equivalent to eight liters of gas,” said Luca Del Bo, president of the club. Upon announcing the news, Elon Musk congratulated the club for their new record. Rosario Pingaro, one of the five drivers, added: “The driving was made simply by the semi-autonomous driving system, which helped us to keep a constant speed in the middle of the lane.” + Tesla Owners Italia Via The Guardian Images @Tesla Owners Italia

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Tesla Model S reaches record 670 miles on a single charge

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