18 states representing 140 million people sue the Trump administration to defend clean car rules

May 2, 2018 by  
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California is leading a coalition of states representing around 43 percent of the car market in the United States to sue Donald Trump’s administration . The 18 states say the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in attempts to weaken Barack Obama-era car emissions rules. California governor Jerry Brown said in a news conference, “This is about health, it’s about life and death. I’m going to fight it with everything I can.” The states joining today’s lawsuit represent 140 million people who simply want cleaner and more efficient cars. This phalanx of states will defend the nation’s clean car standards to boost gas mileage and curb toxic air pollution. ? https://t.co/6t4sHygNT5 — Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) May 1, 2018 New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, and the District of Columbia join California in suing the EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt . The states seek to “set aside and hold unlawful” the EPA’s attempts to weaken fuel economy standards adopted in 2012 that take effect in 2022. They say the EPA violated the Clean Air Act and didn’t follow its own regulations. Related: EPA set to repeal Obama-era rules for cleaner cars “The federal standard the states are suing to protect is estimated to reduce carbon pollution equivalent to 134 coal power plants burning for a year, and save drivers $1,650 per vehicle,” the states said. The Trump administration said the standards were too stringent, according to The New York Times , and moved forward legally with the aim of reopening them. The EPA hasn’t offered proposed new standards but has drafted new regulations that would weaken the rules post-2020. The publication also said after executives from the Big Three — General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler — visited the White House to request emissions rules that were more lenient, Trump’s administration began to try and roll back the standards. Safe Climate Campaign director Dan Becker told The New York Times, “This is California saying: You really want war? We’ll give you war. It’s a signal to the administration that they’re not going to get away with anything in this space.” + Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Via The New York Times Images via Depositphotos and Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

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18 states representing 140 million people sue the Trump administration to defend clean car rules

Tipoon’s tiny home on wheels triples in size with the push of a button

May 2, 2018 by  
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Travel campers : they’re here to stay, and they’re becoming better than ever. Case in point? French startup Tipoon’s new mobile and modular camper pod triples its size with the push of a button. The startup says the easy-to-tow, lightweight, and expandable Tipoon Travel Machine can switch between three modes—closed, half open, and fully open—in mere seconds. Designed to sit atop a utility trailer , the Tipoon Travel Machine measures approximately 5.5 feet in height and 5.5 feet in width when closed for transport. When switched to the ‘open’ mode, both sides expand to increase the width to 10.5 feet and the height to 8.4 feet. The half-open position is designed for temporary stopovers. This remote-controlled expansion also comes with a manual crank backup. Tippon Travel Machine is crafted with an insulated poly-composite mono bloc shell with a galvanized subframe. It’s designed as a standalone pod that can be removed from the trailer and stored in a garage when not in use. The unit itself is between 13.5 and 14.8 feet in length. Related: Airstream launches its first-ever fiberglass camper for under $50K The interior is available in four configurations: single sleeper, two-bed sleeper, king-size sleeper, and dining area, as well as a bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet. Transforming and space-saving furniture make the most of the small footprint, as seen beneath the fixed bed, where a dining table, benches, and even storage slide out. With deliveries planned for this year, the company estimates a base price starting at €24,000 (approximately $30,000). Tipoon is finalizing its pricing and equipment lists and is accepting pre-launch reservations now. + Tipoon Via New Atlas

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Tipoon’s tiny home on wheels triples in size with the push of a button

Twisting infinity-loop roof tops this prefab bamboo pavilion

May 2, 2018 by  
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Archi-Union Architects combined traditional Chinese construction techniques with prefabrication technology in ‘In Bamboo,’ a pavilion located in Sichuan’s Daoming Town. Created as a multi-functional rural community cultural center, the project celebrates the town’s renowned bamboo weaving craftsmanship with a material palette mainly comprising bamboo and tile. An eye-catching Mobius-shaped roof tops the building and is finished with traditional ceramic tiles. The nearly 20,000-square-foot In Bamboo building is located on two adjacent plots of land of unequal size. The architects drew two circles—one large, one small—on each parcel and joined them together to form the beginnings of the infinity loop -shaped building. “These two circles came together determining the large contour for our building while still preserving the surrounding bamboo forest and trees,” wrote the architects. “Within this new boundary we sought to maximize the continuity, horizontality and ductility of the space.” Related: Robots construct an art gallery in Shanghai from recycled gray bricks An unexpectedly rushed timeline meant that the architecture, landscaping, and interior were completed in just 52 days. Thankfully, the use of a 70% light prefabricated steel frame and other prefabricated timber construction—completed previously in the span of a month—helped increase the speed of installation. Traditional bamboo weaving was used in the facades. The speedy and relatively low-waste project has encouraged Archi-Union Architects to promote prefabrication in more rural construction projects in China . + Archi-Union Architects Images ©??

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Twisting infinity-loop roof tops this prefab bamboo pavilion

EPA set to repeal Obama-era rules for cleaner cars

April 2, 2018 by  
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The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to undo Obama -era greenhouse gas emission regulations and fuel economy standards that were designed to encourage the development of cleaner, more efficient vehicles. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt will likely describe the move as a necessary lifting of burdensome regulations on automakers and to support the production of cheaper vehicles, but it doesn’t account for the costs of increased air pollution and continued climate change. Left in place, the rules would have reduced oil consumption by about 12 billion barrels while reducing carbon dioxide pollution by about six billion tons over the lifetime of vehicles produced under the regulations. The rules that are set to be rolled back under the Trump Administration were created in 2012 as one of President Obama’s major initiatives to combat climate change . If allowed to be fully implemented, the rules would have required automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Some worry that the United States ‘s decision to step away from stricter emissions standards could set a dangerous precedent around the world. “The concern is that automakers will go around the world basically trying to lobby regulators, saying, look, because the United States has reduced the pace, everywhere else should too,” Anup Bandivadekar, a researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation, told the New York Times . Related: Congress rejects Trump’s renewable energy budget cuts While American automakers had initially lobbied the Trump Administration for more relaxed standards, they did not expect to see a complete repeal of the rules. “We didn’t ask for that,” claimed Robert Bienenfeld , assistant vice president for environment and energy strategy at American Honda Motor. “The position we outlined was sensible.” In a blog post, Ford Motor Company chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Hackett wrote that “we support increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback.” The relaxed standards proposed by automakers were viewed as less likely to cause a showdown with California and the dozen other states that follow its lead on strict environmental standards. Now, California is preparing for battle. “We’re going to defend first and foremost existing federal greenhouse gas standards,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told the New York Times . “We’re defending them because they’re good for the entire nation. No one should think it’s easy to undo something that’s been not just good for the country, but good for the planet .” Via the New York Times Images via Depositphotos  and the White House

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EPA set to repeal Obama-era rules for cleaner cars

Waymo adds 20,000 Jaguar electric SUVs to its self-driving car service

March 27, 2018 by  
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Waymo, an autonomous vehicle company owned by Google ‘s parent company Alphabet, will add 20,000 all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUVs to its self-driving car fleet over the next two years. The stylish I-PACE SUV will be one of several vehicles available for use in the company’s self-driving car service set to open in 2018. “This year in 2018, starting in Phoenix, Arizona — members of the public will be able to take these fully self-driving cars anywhere within our service area,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said . “To work, to school, to the grocery store. Anywhere they’d go with a typical car.” Waymo’s Arizona debut comes amid the recent news that an Arizona woman was struck and killed by a self-driving car operated by Waymo’s rival Uber. Waymo recently reached a $245 million settlement with Uber over allegations that Uber had stolen trade secrets regarding Waymo’s LIDAR system. The Arizona Department of Transportation has suspended Uber from testing its autonomous vehicles in the state, while Waymo remains on the road. Uber has also shut-down similar autonomous vehicle programs in Toronto, San Francisco and Pittsburgh while investigations into the crash continue. Related: Poor urban design could be at fault for Uber driverless car crash The 20,000 Waymo I-PACE SUVs would be capable of servicing up to one million rides per day. In expanding its operations, Waymo emphasizes its safety record. “We’ve created 20,000 individual test scenarios for our cars to test on,” said Krafcik. The announcement of a substantial vehicle fleet for the Phoenix roll-out demonstrates that Waymo has taken a significant step forward in the race to pioneer the world of self-driving cars . The upcoming trials should demonstrate the challenges and opportunities of autonomous vehicles in greater detail. Via Mashable Images via Waymo

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Scientists create ‘umbrella’ spray to protect coral reefs from sun damage

March 27, 2018 by  
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Researchers have crafted a new liquid substance that can be sprayed onto the surface of the water above vulnerable coral reefs , shielding them from intense UV and visible light beaming down from the Sun . In doing so, the spray may help to defend reefs from extreme bleaching events. 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, the biodegradable spray is made from a natural lipid and calcium carbonate, a key component of coral reefs. “It is white so it reflects and scatters all the light which hits the ocean surface,” study researcher Andrew Negri told the Sydney Morning Herald . Laboratory tests revealed that the spray was capable of reducing the amount of light reaching underwater coral by 20 percent. “In the laboratory, it actually stays on the surface for several weeks, but in the ocean it could be broken up by wave action and moved around by the currents,” explained Negri. The spray will quickly biodegrade after it is broken up. Trials in a real-world environment will begin soon to refine the spray and make it more resilient to sometimes turbulent waters . Related: Spraying spiders with graphene helps them spin webs 6 times stronger than normal Conservationists are enthused about the idea of using the spray to protect acute vulnerabilities in coral reefs. “The idea being that you could in the future, knowing there is going to be hot days ahead… spray this film on top of key reefs… and this will act as a bit of a shield… almost like an umbrella, to protect these reefs underneath and the animals underneath,” Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden told the Sydney Morning Herald . “It’s important to note that this is not intended to be a solution that can be applied over the whole 348,000 square kilometres of Great Barrier Reef ,” Marsden noted. “That would never be practical, but it could be deployed on a smaller, local level to protect high value or high-risk areas of reef.” Via The Sydney Morning Herald Images via Depositphotos (2 , 3 )

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Scientists create ‘umbrella’ spray to protect coral reefs from sun damage

Most active volcano in Europe ‘sliding into the sea’

March 27, 2018 by  
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Volcanic eruptions or lava flows you’ve heard of, but what about a volcano sliding into the sea? Scientists say that’s exactly what’s happening to Mount Etna, which The Open University described as the most active volcano in Europe. It’s the first time scientists have directly observed anything like it, and it could have disturbing consequences in the future. “Constant movement could contribute to a major landslide along Etna’s coast, causing devastating tsunamis to surrounding areas.” Mount Etna in Italy is headed towards the Mediterranean Sea. Researchers have observed parts of volcanoes move, but according to the BBC , these scientists think this is the first time anyone has directly observed basement sliding of a whole active volcano. They drew on 11 years of GPS measurements all over Etna to make the discovery. Related: Mount Etna eruption creates a display of fire, ash, and lightning over Sicily The Open University ‘s John Murray, lead author of the study on the work, said Mount Etna is moving 14 millimeters (mm) a year toward the Mediterranean. “While 14 mm might not seem much, previous studies of long-extinct volcanoes found those sliding downslope in a similar way have resulted in catastrophic landslides later in their history,” Murray said in the university’s statement. Should we be worried? Etna might not slide into the sea in our lifetimes, so local residents needn’t be afraid, but “continued sliding for hundreds or thousands of years could cause it to become dangerously unstable,” Murray said. He told the BBC scientists should monitor the motion to see if it accelerates. Mount Etna’s movement may impact research today, however; Murray said it could interfere with signals that clue scientists into where magma is. It could be trickier to monitor the likelihood of an eruption. The Bulletin of Volcanology published the research online late last week; scientists from Université Clermont Auvergne in France and Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom contributed. + The Open University + Bulletin of Volcanology Via the BBC Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Honda’s tiny urban EV could be available to order next year

March 12, 2018 by  
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Honda recently announced that the Urban EV Concept they unveiled last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show could be ready to order by 2019. The Verge described this little vehicle with a retro feel as a “Japanese plush toy made real.” The Urban EV “previews Honda’s first mass-produced battery electric vehicle sold in Europe,” according to the company. At a 2018 Geneva Motor Show press conference, Honda Motor Europe senior vice president Philip Ross confirmed the company anticipates opening order banks for the car early next year, with a production version coming to Europe later in 2019. Related: Uniti officially unveils its electric city car — and it will sell for under $18K The Honda Urban EV’s retro vibe is accompanied by utterly modern features like a wrap-around panoramic screen. Four people can go for a spin in the car, sitting on two bench seats. The design is intended to call to mind the “ambiance of a lounge,” according to Honda. The dashboard display offers vehicle information, with the screens on the doors acting as side mirrors via digital camera displays. The Verge said there aren’t many switches or buttons in the car, although they pointed out such minimalism isn’t rare in concept car design. Another futuristic feature is the Honda Automated Network Assistant, which “learns from the driver by detecting emotions behind their judgments” to offer recommendations. Honda has not yet divulged the range of the Urban EV. When they debuted the vehicle in 2017, they mentioned their Electric Vision strategy launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show; development of “a dedicated electric vehicle platform, featuring fully-electric powertrain technology” is part of that vision. The automaker said, “Key parts of that powertrain development will include a high-density, lightweight battery pack, integrated heat management and the evolution of energy transfer functions — both to and from the vehicle.” + Honda Urban EV Concept Order Books + Honda 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show Via The Verge Images via Honda

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Affordable new all-electric SUV from Byton boasts a 323-mile range

January 8, 2018 by  
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New electric car brand Byton doesn’t want you to think of their product as a car, but as a smart device. They recently unveiled their first concept , an SUV, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this weekend, and while outside it may not look all that different from a regular SUV, inside a sprawling display screen replacing the center console and controlled with hand gestures is the first hint Byton aims to make the car of the future. “The future of design is digital,” Byton says on their website. Their electric SUV reflects that idea: it’s equipped with multiple screens allowing a driver to interact with the car. There’s an eight-inch tablet in the steering wheel and a 49 by 9.8 inch Shared Experience Display allowing for navigation, communication with others, or entertainment. Related: Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future Voice recognition, biometric identification, and touch control also allow a driver to interact with the car. Byton’s Life Cloud Platform connects devices, apps, and data so drivers can work or be entertained during a trip. It’s a key-less vehicle – a facial recognition camera allows or denies access. Rotating front seats can turn inward 12 degrees. That’s not to mention the car won’t be powered by polluting fuels. Instead, it can be equipped with a 95 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack that will allow drivers to travel 323 miles on one charge. The base version beginning at $45,000 will have a 71 kWh battery pack offering a range of 248.5 miles. The company says users can charge a battery pack up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Byton, which is the international brand of China-based Future Mobility Corporation, plans to bring the car to China in 2019 and the United States and Europe in 2020. Executives from Tesla , BMW, and Nissan started the company. Time will tell if the company will be able to bring their futuristic concept to production. + Byton Via Electrek and The Verge Images via Byton Facebook and website

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Affordable new all-electric SUV from Byton boasts a 323-mile range

Two men set new Tesla Model 3 record for $101

January 4, 2018 by  
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Two men reportedly set a new record driving across the United States in a Tesla Model 3. Alex Roy and Daniel Zorrilla traveled from Redondo Beach, California to New York City in 50 hours, 16 minutes, and 32 seconds, setting the new electric Cannonball run record. And they made the trip pretty inexpensively, paying just $100.95 for charging . A Tesla Model 3 can get you across America in a little over two days, it turns out. Roy and Zorrilla drove from the Portofino Inn to the Red Ball garage, racking up a total mileage of 2,860 miles, in just over 50 hours. The prior electric car cross-country record was 55 hours, in a Tesla Model S, set by Roy and two other men in 2016. Related: The Tesla Model 3 is now on the road! Here’s everything we know The duo didn’t exactly make the trip at the easiest time of year in the United States. They left on December 28 and encountered low temperatures throughout the drive – and running the heater would have impacted the electric car’s range and their trip time. Roy tweeted extreme cold negatively impacts the car, and shared pictures of charging the car with snow on the ground. The Drive, which shared news of the run on January 2, said a detailed article would follow shortly. The Verge pointed out the run acted as a quality test, since there have been concerns over early Model 3s, but the car still made it to New York in the cold. Tesla produced 2,425 Model 3s in the 2017 fourth quarter. They’re not quite where they want to be; The Mercury News reported the company wouldn’t reach the target Elon Musk set in November of 5,000 Model 3s a week by the end of March. They’ll now aim for 2,500 of the cars a week, and might hit that 5,000 target by the end of June. Via The Drive , The Mercury News , and The Verge Images via Tesla and Alex Roy on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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Two men set new Tesla Model 3 record for $101

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