Sono Motors self-charging solar electric car will feature an air-purifying moss interior

September 19, 2019 by  
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German mobility startup Sono Motors recently unveiled the first interior renderings for the Sion, a fully electric vehicle with full-surface solar integration that will feature a strip of air-purifying moss inside. Designed for autonomous charging using solar power, the Sion will be integrated with a smart system to monitor the vehicle’s solar range and energy consumption. Series production is set to begin in the second half of next year with a total of 260,000 vehicles produced for the European market with an expected cost of 25,500 euros ($28,077 USD). Billed as a Solar Electric Vehicle (SEV), the Sion is defined by its full-surface integration of solar panels that are visually blended into the hood, fenders, sides, roof and rear of the vehicle. The solar panels are protected with a scratch-resistant polymer and the energy collected is used to charge the 45 kWh lithium-ion battery to help extend the range of the vehicle, expected to clock in at 255 kilometers for everyday use. The solar cells are estimated to provide additional range of up to 5,800 kilometers per year. Related: Meet ‘Blade’, the world’s first 3D-printed hypercar “With solar cells seamlessly integrated into the entire body, the Sion can easily charge its battery through the sun,” said the company in a press release. “Thus, under ideal conditions, up to 34 kilometers of additional range per day can be achieved with pure solar energy — CO2-neutral and completely free of charge. This means full self-sufficiency on short distances. For solar integration, we use monocrystalline silicon cells that produce energy even under cloudy skies or in the shade. At peak performance, the integrated cells can generate up to 1.2 kilowatts.” The Sion will also be equipped with bidirectional charging for drawing and storing energy and sharing energy to power all common electronic devices as well as other electric cars. The interior of each car will be fitted with island moss as a natural air filter system. Electrostatic attraction will also filter up to 20 percent of particulate matter from the air. Sono Motors has thus far accepted over 10,000 pre-orders and counting. + Sono Motors Images via Sono Motors

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Sono Motors self-charging solar electric car will feature an air-purifying moss interior

New York allows students to miss class for the climate strike

September 19, 2019 by  
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Tomorrow, on September 20, a global climate strike is scheduled to bring awareness about the need for transformative action against the growing climate crisis . The strike will take place three days before the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. Unlike other strikes, this one invites New York City minors to participate, thanks to the event coinciding with efforts already begun by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg. In support of Thunberg’s efforts, the New York City Department of Education recently announced via Twitter that it will excuse any of the city’s 1.1 million students who are interested in attending the scheduled September 20 climate strike . But they must provide parental consent, per their school’s attendance protocols, to be formally excused from class. Related: Can’t make the climate strikes? Here are a few tips on how students can live sustainably New York Mayor Bill de Blasio similarly tweeted his stamp of approval, saying, “We have 10 years to save the planet. TEN YEARS. Today’s leaders are making decisions for our environment that our kids will have to live with. New York City stands with our young people. They’re our conscience. We support the 9/20 #ClimateStrike.” Thunberg will be speaking at the NYC event, as will climate activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. The event is supported by organizations such as Fridays for Future, National Children’s Campaign, OneMillionOfUs, 350.org, Zero Hour and many more. Participants in the New York City climate strike are asked to assemble on Foley Square at noon Eastern Time, then head southward toward Battery Park, where the rally is to take place between 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. local time. Meanwhile, students and adults alike will be striking around the world, with strikes taking place in cities from September 20 to September 27. You can join in by using this map to find an event near you. + Global Climate Strike Via CNN Image via Jasmin Sessler

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New York allows students to miss class for the climate strike

Spectacular rammed-earth dome home is tucked deep into a Costa Rican jungle

September 19, 2019 by  
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Costa Rica has long been renowned for its commitment to protecting its natural environment, but one home nestled into 2.5 acres of a permaculture farm is really setting an example for green building. Located in the idyllic area of Diamante Valley, the House Without Shoes is an incredible rammed-earth complex made up of three interconnected domes, which are joined by an open-air deck that looks out over the stunning valley and ocean views. Measuring a total of 2,000 square feet, the House Without Shoes is comprised of three domes that were constructed with bags of rammed earth. All of the domes feature custom-made arched windows and wood frames with screens. They also have skylights that allow natural light to flood the interior spaces. Related: Biophilic dome homes produce more energy than they consume The main dome , which is approximately 22-feet high, houses the primary living area as well as the dining room and kitchen. A beautiful spiral staircase leads up to the second floor, which has enough space for a large office as well as an open-air, 600-square-foot deck that provides spectacular views of the valley leading out to the ocean. The two smaller domes, which house the bedrooms, are separated by the main dome by an outdoor platform. The rammed-earth construction of the structures keeps the interior spaces naturally cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In addition to its tight thermal mass, the home operates on a number of passive and active design principles. The home’s water supply comes from multiple springs found in the valley. Gray water from the sinks and shower are funneled into a collection system that is used for irrigation. At the moment, the house runs on the town’s local grid but has its own self-sustaining system set up. The domes are set in a remote area, tucked into the highest point of a 60-acre organic, permaculture farm in the Diamante Valley. Not only is the house surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and abundant wildlife, but it also enjoys the benefits of organic gardening. The vast site is separated into three garden areas that are planted with everything from yucca and mango to coco palms and perennial greens, not to mention oodles of fresh herbs. + SuperAdobe Dome Home Images via Makenzie Gardner

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Spectacular rammed-earth dome home is tucked deep into a Costa Rican jungle

Fiat Chrysler pays millions to settle emissions charges

January 14, 2019 by  
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Fiat Chrysler has reached a settlement with the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the owners of about 100,000 of their diesel-powered Jeep SUV’s and Ram pickups. After facing charges that the company had sold diesel vehicles in the United States that had improper software — allowing it to violate emissions rules —  Fiat Chrysler has agreed to pay $800 million to settle the matter. The automaker will pay different state and federal agencies approximately $400 million in fines, plus $280 million to the car owners — which is up to $2,800 per vehicle. The additional $120 million will go to various efforts to curb emissions and future warranty costs. Fiat Chrysler will need to get at least 85 percent of affected vehicles repaired or risk facing additional fines. The vehicles involved in the settlement are Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks that have a 3-liter diesel engine. To receive a settlement payment, car owners will first need to have their vehicle repaired. “Today’s settlement sends a clear and strong signal to manufacturers and consumers that the Trump administration will vigorously enforce the nation’s laws designed to protect the environment and public health,” said Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. He added that Fiat Chrysler , aside from breaking the law, also made the efforts to hide their conduct. However, the deal did not include any admission of guilt or wrongdoing by the company. The settlement is only a fraction of what Volkswagen was forced to pay in 2016 when the company was fined for installing emission deceiving software into a half-million diesel cars. As a result, Volkswagen paid $14.7 billion and the company admitted that they improperly installed the software to vehicles. Fiat Chrysler has continued to maintain that they did nothing wrong, and their software for their diesel engines was a legitimate way to meet emission standards. Via CNN Image via Shutterstock

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Fiat Chrysler pays millions to settle emissions charges

Dangerous jellyfish have invaded Australian beaches

January 14, 2019 by  
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Bluebottle jellyfish have invaded Australia’s Gold and Sunshine Coasts. This past weekend, the jellyfish (also known as the Portuguese man-of-war) stung more than 5,000 people, and many of the victims weren’t even in the water. Just walking on one bluebottle jellyfish on the beach can bring intense pain, and because of strong north-easterly swell conditions, the jellyfish have been pushed to shore. Meanwhile, the deadly Irukandji jellyfish are bombarding the eastern coasts because of warming waters. “I have never seen anything like this — ever. Not everyone reacts the same way, but there have been very serious reactions,” said Jeremy Sturges, Surf Life Saving duty officer. The bluebottle jellyfish species travels in groups. Lifeguards have now closed several beaches, because during the month of December and the first week of January, more than 22,000 people have sought treatment for bluebottle jellyfish stings. Related: Invasive longhorned tick could spread disease across the US According to Queensland Ambulance, people that are stung should “pick off the tentacles with a towel or other object, rinse the area with seawater, place the affected area in warm water and, if needed, apply ice packs.” Luckily, there have not been any fatalities as a result of the bluebottle jellyfish stings. But on Australia’s east coast, experts say that deadly Irukandji jellyfish are spreading, and their stings are so severe they can cause brain hemorrhages and an intense feeling of impending doom, a condition known as Irukandji syndrome. These stings are the most concerning, especially near Queensland’s Fraser Island, because the sting rate has been growing steadily as the waters get warmer . This jellyfish likes to live in higher water temperatures and are normally found in the northern tropics. Recently, there have been two confirmed deaths in Australia due to the Irukandji, and the mysterious deaths of three other tourists have also been linked to the jellyfish. If waters continue to warm, the Irukandji will inevitably move farther south. In three years, they could hit the Gold Coast. “In Queensland alone, we put more people in hospital due to Irukandji stings than shark attacks, crocodile attacks and snake bites combined,” said Jamie Seymore, a professor at James Cook University. “This is something that we need to address now. I can see a time when we have to shut major beaches on the Sunshine Coast. It is going to happen.” Via Matador Network and The Guardian Image via GondwanaGirl

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Dangerous jellyfish have invaded Australian beaches

GM’s plans for "all-electric-future" spell doom for fossil fuel industry

October 3, 2017 by  
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General Motors , a symbol of 20th century automotive domination, has decided to embrace the “all-electric future” of the 21st century and beyond, declaring that someday in the near future, it will produce and sell only electric cars . “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s chief of global product development. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.” To accelerate into this future, GM announced two new electric car models, scheduled to be released next year, followed by an additional 18 all-electric models by 2023. General Motors is riding high as it shifts gear into electric; the car company was the third-largest in the world in 2016. Because of its immense size, the company would not yet commit to a specific year in which it would make the transition away from combustion engine cars. However, its recent actions speak as loud as its words. At a press event on Monday, GM revealed several concept designs for upcoming electric vehicles, including an SUV, a crossover, a non-traditional model which resembled a small, boxy bus, and Surus, a heavy-duty truck with two electric motors, powered by fuel cells. Related: Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future Though renowned already as a pioneer in the field, thanks in part to its Chevy Bolt, GM will face heavy traffic on the road ahead. Tesla , Volvo, Nissan, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover have all made various moves into the electric car industry, with more expected in the future. Ford, a fellow Big Three American automaker, announced on Monday, the same day as GM’s press event, that it will form an “Edison Group,” focused on the development of electric cars. “We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles,” said Sherif Marakby, head of electrification and autonomous vehicles at Ford. “We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.” Via Washington Post Images via Car and Driver  and Wikipedia

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GM’s plans for "all-electric-future" spell doom for fossil fuel industry

Nigerian man invents cool jet car that operates on land and water

April 14, 2017 by  
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If you’re ever in Lagos, Nigeria , watch for a quirky aero-amphibious jet car roaming the streets. Self-taught inventor Kehinde Durojaiye transformed a bunch of junk he found into a vehicle capable of operating on land or in water. Durojaiye hopes his invention will one day be a common sight across the country. Durojaiye’s jet car is made with discarded materials, like an old keyboard, an office chair, and a tricycle steering wheel. He also repurposed plastic , wood, and Styrofoam. He said he’s traveled as far away as Ibadan in his vehicle, which is about 84 miles away from Lagos , and that the jet car can reach speeds of around 75 miles per hour on land and six knots at sea. Related: Disabled refugee inventor builds an electric bike to get around camp Durojaiye told CNN, “We want the whole world to know it is possible to have a kind of machine that can move on land, on sea, and fly, and perhaps move under the sea. That’s my ultimate goal.” He invents out of a workshop near a Lagos lagoon dump site, and has already built four prototypes of his car. He also works on other devices like a remote-controlled drone , and has been inventing since childhood. Now married and the father of four children, Durojaiye continues to tinker with his jet car, hoping to make it fly. The jet car has already attracted attention in Lagos; the city is filled with Hyundais and Toyotas so Durojaiye’s vehicle really stands out. He says when he drives people often want to stop and snap pictures of the car on their phones, and have been surprised the vehicle can travel on both land and sea. Lagos is notorious for its congestion, and CNN speculated a flying car like Durojaiye’s could ease traffic. Via CNN Images via screenshot

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Tesla is so confident in their vehicles they’re offering lifetime insurance

February 27, 2017 by  
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Once again Tesla is shaking up the automotive industry, this time through insurance for life. The company has started offering a lifetime maintenance and insurance package for some customers, meaning monthly car insurance bills could soon be a budget item of the past. Tesla President of Global Sales and Service Jonathan McNeill said, “It’s our vision in the future that we’ll be able to offer a single price for the car, maintenance, and insurance in a really compelling offering for the consumer. And we’re currently doing that today.” Assured of the features incorporated in a Tesla that purportedly make the vehicle safer than a typical car, such as Autopilot, Tesla has begun including lifetime insurance and maintenance package right in the initial price of their cars . The new package reflects the idea that their safety features could reduce the price of maintenance and insurance. Related: Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car In an earnings call, McNeill said, “We’ve been doing it quietly, but in Asia in particular where we started this, now the majority of Tesla cars are sold with an insurance product that is customized to Tesla, that takes into account not only the Autopilot safety features but also the maintenance costs of the car.” Such a package could allow consumers to know exactly how much a Tesla car will cost them over the long term, rather than facing unforeseen repair costs or rising insurance costs. Elon Musk made it clear Tesla is willing to offer the package if insurance companies aren’t on board, even though he said his company isn’t trying to disrupt the insurance market. He said of the insurance plan, “If we need to we’ll insource it, but I think we’ll find that insurance partners do adjust rates proportionate to the risk of a Tesla.” Via Mashable Images via Tesla Facebook and Wikimedia Commons

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Tesla is so confident in their vehicles they’re offering lifetime insurance

Chilean home’s folding timber flap gives owners optimum temperature control

February 27, 2017 by  
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Designed by Santiago-based B+V Architects , the Folding House in Las Cabras, Chile was strategically wrapped with a wooden “flap” to give the owners optimal temperature control. The unique feature prevents excessive solar radiation during the searing hot summer months while inviting the heat in winter. In addition to providing year-round temperature control, the responsive design element pulls double duty as a sun-streaming cover for the rooftop deck, which offers spectacular lake side views. The stunning 900-square-meter home was tucked into a steep incline, exposing it to the area’s high temperatures. To create a responsive design that wouldn’t sacrifice aesthetics, the architects added the double-ventilated wooden façade as an attractive and protective element. The feature allows the homeowners to enjoy the amazing lake views year-round from the comfort of the outdoor deck, without overheating in the summer months. Related: Eco friendly origami house unfolds on Brazilian beach The double ventilated wooden flap facade shades the home’s exterior walls and roof. In summer, the wooden facade acts as an eave that protects the home from excessive solar radiation . During winter, on the other hand, the wooden envelope allows heat to enter the interior, which is stabilized by high-quality insulation , as well as elimination of all thermal bridges. For additional heating on cloudy days, a small wood-burning stove can be fired up. On the interior, large floor-to-ceiling windows flood the home with natural light and also enhance cross ventilation when opened. A large open courtyard sits in the center of the interior, seamlessly connecting the exterior with the interior. + B+V Architects Via FlipBoard Photography by Rodolfo Lagos Berardi Images via B+V Architects

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Chilean home’s folding timber flap gives owners optimum temperature control

Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car

January 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla just made electric vehicle (EV) history, but you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know. With nary an announcement or social media post, the company surreptitiously introduced the Model S 100D, which boasts an impressive, record-breaking EPA-estimated range of 335 miles. Like the S 90D, the S 100D has a top speed of 155 miles per hour, and can reach 60 miles per hour from zero in a mere 2.4 seconds. If you’re looking for an EV that can prowl the roads for a long time on a single charge, the Tesla Model S 100D is now the car to beat. Compared against the Model S P100D, the S 100D can drive 20 miles further on one charge, and while it takes longer to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour (the S P100D can accomplish the feat in 2.5 seconds), the S 100D costs around $30,000 less than the P100D and includes the same 100 kWh battery pack . Related: Check out this adorable $500 electric Tesla Model S just for kids (sorry adults) Surprisingly, Tesla rolled out the exciting new option with little pomp, instead quietly adding an update to their online design studio . The new S 100D starts at $95,000, which is only about $3,000 more than the 90D. Given its extra range of 41 miles more than the 90D, some people may think an extra $3,000 is quite a bargain. Aside from the different battery packs – the 90D has the 90 kWh battery pack – both cars have identical standard equipment. As of December 2016, such equipment includes “collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking,” according to the design studio website. Electrek points out the carmaker has never before offered as many options as they provide now. With the affordable new S 100D, Tesla could see a boost in sales, as many new buyers may opt for the longest range they can get. Via Autoblog and Electrek Images via Tesla and Tesla Facebook

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Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car

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