A couple turns a Mercedes Sprinter into a solar-powered home on wheels

July 9, 2018 by  
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Traveling road warriors Andre and Marissa converted a 2017 Mercedes Sprinter van into a beautiful, chic home on wheels  named the Bluebird for their on-the-go adventures. The solar-powered van’s interior was revamped with reclaimed wood and is now equipped with all of the comforts of home including a queen-sized bed, kitchenette, ample seating space and plenty of storage. The High Top Mercedes Sprinter was strategically retrofitted into an efficient tiny home on wheels. The couple made a space-efficient kitchenette using refurbished wood for cabinets and added a touch of color with a fun mosaic backsplash. The kitchen comes with running water, a propane stove and a 45-quart refrigerator. For extra seating and dining space, the front driver and passenger seats swivel around from the driver’s area. A queen-sized bed is located in the back of the van and surrounded by storage. Related: San Francisco is too expensive – so this couple hit the road in an amazing renovated van Best of all, the Bluebird is outfitted to go off the grid . The couple installed two solar panels that are connected to a Yeti 1250 generator. The van runs almost entirely on solar energy . The tiny home’s energy use is also reduced thanks to LED lights and a set of Thinsulate curtains that help maintain a warm, toasty interior on colder days. In addition to creating an off-grid residence, the couple focused on designing the ultimate adventure home on wheels. The “garage” area under the bed is 36 inches high, so it fits quite a bit of gear for kayaking, rafting, skiing and climbing — there is even a bay for bike storage. There are also various cabinets and cubbies for small equipment like climbing ropes, helmets and shoes. After exploring in the van for a while, Andre and Marissa are now selling their beloved Bluebird for $108k in order to start a new transformation project. + Joyful Vans Via Tiny House Talk Images via Joyful Vans

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A couple turns a Mercedes Sprinter into a solar-powered home on wheels

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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Trips to Mars coming as soon as next year, says Elon Musk

March 12, 2018 by  
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Elon Musk has predicted that his company SpaceX will be capable of facilitating a successful mission to Mars, from launch to landing and back again, as soon as 2019. “I think we’ll be able to do short flights, up and down flights, some time in the first half of next year,” said Musk at the South by South West (SXSW) festival in Austin , Texas. While Musk’s deadline may seem a bit optimistic, his urgency seems to be guided by pessimism regarding Earth’s future. “There’s likely to be another dark ages… particularly if there’s a third world war,” said Musk, who has made the case that Mars must be colonized to inoculate humanity from destroying itself completely on Earth. “Sometimes my timelines are a little… y’know,” said Musk at SXSW, recognizing that a 2019 departure for a mission to Mars may not be doable. That doesn’t mean that SpaceX won’t try. In the meantime, Musk shared his ideas on how a Mars colony would be organized. “I think most likely the form of government on Mars would be a direct democracy, where people vote directly on issues,” he said. “Everyone votes on every issue and that’s how it goes.” Related: Scientist warns Elon Musk’s Starman could be a bio-threat to Mars Musk also spoke about his concerns regarding artificial intelligence . “AI is far more dangerous than nukes ,” he said. “This is a situation where you have a very serious danger to the public. There needs to be a public body that has insight and oversight so that everyone is delivering AI safely. This is extremely important. Nobody would suggest that we allow anyone to just build nuclear warheads if they want, that would be insane. My point was AI is far more dangerous than nukes. So why do we have no regulatory oversight? It’s insane.” While Musk is concerned with World War III or an AI apocalypse, he is equally energized by the commercial opportunities presented by a Mars colony. Pizza places will be in need on Mars, he said, as will Mars bars. Via MSN Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Trips to Mars coming as soon as next year, says Elon Musk

VW unveils fully electric six-seater specifically for ridesharing

December 4, 2017 by  
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Uber , get ready for more competition. Volkswagen’s mobility startup Moia just introduced a fully electric vehicle optimized for ridesharing . Unveiled at TechCrunch in Berlin, the concept also includes an app so customers can book and pay for rides easily. The startup plans to roll out the six-seaterout on the streets of Hamburg, Germany next year, with an overall goal of removing one million cars from roads. Moia could offer travelers an easy, eco-friendly new way to get around cities. The startup, which began just a year ago at TechCrunch in London, aims to get cars off the streets to ensure cleaner air and reduced traffic . Six people can ride inside the vehicle, which features standalone seats with USB ports and dimmable reading lights so everyone’s comfortable. Passengers can check their emails or surf the Internet with WiFi. There’s also a storage area next to the driver for luggage or bags. Moia’s range is 300 kilometers, or over 186 miles, and can be charged to 80 percent in around 30 minutes. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Osnabrück designed and built it in a record 10 months. Related: Volkswagen confirms when the Microbus is coming back as an EV With the app, users can see available cars and ride costs before booking. The startup said they’ll employ a pooling algorithm to put riders with similar destinations in the same car to avoid detours and have as many people riding in one car as possible. Since October of this year, Moia has been testing their service in Hannover. They’ll debut the concept in Hamburg, with more locations to follow. CEO Ole Harms said in a statement, “In 2018, we’ll be ready to launch our ride pooling concept internationally and take the first steps toward our goal of reducing the number of cars in major cities by one million in Europe and the USA by 2025.” + Moia Via Moia Images via Moia

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VW unveils fully electric six-seater specifically for ridesharing

Revolutionary Tesla Semi Truck arrives with a whopping 500 mile driving range

November 17, 2017 by  
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It’s here: the semi truck that we’ve all been waiting for.  Tesla just unveiled its new electric 500-mile-range Semi Truck, which could revolutionize the transportation world. Semi trailer trucks move goods all over the country, and without them we’d never get our stuff as fast as we do now, but they come with one big disadvantage – emissions. Today’s trucks are powered by dirty diesel engines that emit a large portion of the harmful pollutants in our air, but that could soon change. Not only does the Tesla Semi have a driving range of 500 miles, but it can also reach 60 mph in five seconds without a trailer, which is a fraction of the time that it takes for a comparable diesel truck . With an 80,000 pound load, Tesla estimates that the truck will reach 60 mph in 20 seconds, which normally takes a diesel truck about a minute. The Tesla Semi requires no shifting or clutching for smooth acceleration and deceleration, and its regenerative braking recovers 98% of kinetic energy to the battery, giving it a basically infinite brake life. Even with a 500 mile driving range, drivers will need to find a place to recharge their Tesla Semi, so Tesla has announced new Megachargers that will add about 400 miles in 30 minutes. Inside the Tesla Semi’s cabin is designed specifically around the driver, with full standing room inside, and a centered driver position for better visibility. The driver also has two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides that provide access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and electronic data logging. The Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi, making it even easier for the driver to travel long distances. Related: Cummins beats Tesla with a fully-electric semi truck The truck is also much safer than traditional semi trucks. According to Elon Musk, jackknifing is impossible thanks to independent motors on each will that can adjust torque as needed, and the roll risk is greatly reduced. It can even function of two of the motors fail for some reason. They are also more reliable, because Tesla guarantees them for a million miles, and the brake pads don’t need replacing. There is also no transmission to worry about. Best of all, according to Musk, is his favorite feature: thermonuclear explosion-proof glass. Tesla changed the auto industry when it debuted the Model S, but can it do the same thing with its Semi Truck? When the Model S debuted, Tesla didn’t really have any big rivals, but the Tesla Semi Truck already has a growing list of competitors, including Bosch, Cummins , and Daimler. There are even a few start ups that are trying to get into the segment. At the event, Musk also revealed that Tesla is releasing an updated Roadster. It will be the fastest production car ever made and will have a top speed of 250 miles per hour with a range of 620 miles. You can reserve the Tesla Semi for $5,000 and production is expected to start in 2019. Images @Tesla + Tesla

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Revolutionary Tesla Semi Truck arrives with a whopping 500 mile driving range

Nissan debuts IMx electric SUV concept with 373-mile driving range

October 26, 2017 by  
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Nissan is getting ready to expand the number of electric vehicles it offers — and the next model will be a Leaf-based electric SUV. Earlier this year Nissan confirmed that an electric SUV is in the works and now we’re seeing our first preview with the debut of the Nissan IMx concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. The IMx concept features a bold exterior that borrows a few styling details from the new 2018 Nissan Leaf, but its suicide doors are purely concept. The IMx concept is based on Nissan’s new EV platform and it has two electric motors , one at the front and one at the rear to give it all-wheel drive capability. While the Nissan Leaf only has a modest 147 horsepower, the IMx concept has 430 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque on tap from its two motors. Related: 2018 Nissan Leaf debuts with 150 mile driving range for just 30k Nissan hasn’t revealed the size of the IMx’s battery pack , but it does have a driving range of over 373 miles, which is pretty much the same driving range you’d get with a typical gasoline powered SUV. Besides the new electric powertrain , the IMx also features a future version of Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous technology. Nissan’s ProPilot system is already arriving on its 2018 models, but the future version in the IMx concept can fully take over control of the vehicle. When ProPilot drive mode is selected, the system stows the steering wheel inside the dashboard and reclines all seats, giving the driver more space and allowing the vehicle’s occupants to relax. When Manual drive mode is selected, the vehicle returns the steering wheel and seats to their original position. The autonomous technology also gives the IMx concept the ability to drive on its own without the driver in the vehicle. The perfect situation? The IMx concept can drop the driver off at a desired destination and then park itself in a nearby parking spot. When the driver is ready to leave, the IMx concept will pick them up. Nissan hasn’t announced when its new electric SUV will be introduced. Images @Nissan + Nissan

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Brand new "mega-carnivore" dinosaur discovered in Africa

October 26, 2017 by  
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Paleontologists have discovered fossil remains of what may have been the largest predator to ever hunt on the African savanna. The fossilized footprints were found in Lesotho, and they belong to a previously unknown “mega-carnivore” dating back to the early Jurassic Period, 200 million years ago. Although its size and demeanor was likely on par with well-known species such as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Allosaurus, the carbon dating of the fossil remains suggests this new dinosaur may have existed far earlier than its “mega-carnivore” comrades. At 22-inches-long and 20-inches-wide, the three-toed footprints are the largest of their kind ever found in Africa . The fossilized theropod (suborder of large, carnivorous dinosaur ) footprints were discovered by an international team of scientists from the University of Manchester, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. The new species, which has been named  Kayentapus ambrokholohali , would have been 10-feet-tall at the hip and 30-feet-long, almost twice the size of the average early Jurassic theropod. “The latest discovery is very exciting and sheds new light on the kind of carnivore that roamed what is now southern Africa ,” said Fabien Knoll, co-author of the study recently published in the journal PLOS ONE . “That’s because it is the first evidence of an extremely large meat-eating animal roaming a landscape otherwise dominated by a variety of herbivorous, omnivorous and much smaller carnivorous dinosaurs. It really would have been top of the food chain.” Related: Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil The fossilized footprints are surrounded by current-ripple marks and cracks, which indicate that the animal likely died near a watering hole or river bank , where prey is often located. Although later predators such as T Rex were larger than Kayentapus ambrokholohali, the new theropod’s early existence is notable. “This discovery marks the first occurrence of very large carnivorous dinosaurs in the Early Jurassic of Gondwana – the prehistoric continent which would later break up and become Africa and other landmasses,” said Lara Sciscio, co-author of the study. “This makes it a significant find. Globally, these large tracks are very rare. There is only one other known site similar in age and sized tracks, which is in Poland.” Via New Atlas Images via University of Manchester

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Brand new "mega-carnivore" dinosaur discovered in Africa

Tesla-powered trolley spotted charging in Minnesota

October 26, 2017 by  
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Tesla vehicles are the only ones that can charge via a Supercharger , at least at this time. So the sight of what looked like a custom-built orange electric bus charging up at the Oakdale Supercharger station in Minnesota raised a few eyebrows. A battery monitor seemed to show the electric bus actually charging up. Tesla reportedly has talked with other carmakers about utilizing their charging network, but as of this point non-Teslas can’t partake of electricity at Supercharger stations. So the sight of an orange bus charging naturally drew interest. The bus had a Tesla logo on the front, and was equipped with a battery monitor that showed the vehicle drawing power from the Supercharger. Related: Tesla announces plan for world domination: includes trucks, buses, and solar power Electrek said the bus could be equipped with a Tesla powertrain. Internet user Ingineer commented on the Electrek article, saying they did electronics and integration for the bus. Ingineer said the bus is a 1968 Westcoaster “originally built as an EV, but with a 15 mph top speed and lead-acid batteries.” They said now the bus is equipped with a “Tesla pack and drive unit, and a 15,000BTU heat pump.” They said the bus belongs to Minneapolis craft brewery tour company Hoppy Trolley , which shared a picture of the orange bus on their Twitter and Facebook accounts a couple days ago, with the caption, “Teslafied trolley supercharged!” Ingineer said in a comment the orange bus won’t typically utilize Superchargers, and the pictures captured a test. In another comment, they said, “The drive mechanical was done by Concept Motorsports in Grass Valley, California. Tesla component installation, electrical, and software was done in at Ingineerix in Berkeley, California. The final mechanical and Tesla pack installation are being finished by PZ Global Auto in Lino Lakes.” They said the plan was for a large rooftop solar array to generate electricity to help power the trolley. Via Electrek Images via Hoppy Trolley on Twitter and screenshot

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Continental presents concept tire that adjusts to road conditions

September 13, 2017 by  
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When was the last time you checked the air pressure in your car tires ? Most of us don’t pay as much attention to our tires as we should, but Continental recently unveiled two technologies that could pay attention for us. One technology alerts drivers should a tire become damaged, and another could actually change the rim width and tire pressure for better driving on slippery or uneven roads. Continental is showing off their tire technologies, ContiSense and ContiAdapt, at the Frankfurt Motor Show . With the help of sensors embedded in the tire, ContiSense measures temperature and tread depth and then sends that data to a driver over Bluetooth to a smartphone or to a car receiver, with the help of electrically-conductive rubber . If a nail or something else punctures the tire, ContiSense is able to alert the driver far faster than other systems. Related: Continental Tire looks to dandelions for a more sustainable tire ContiAdapt takes a more active role in tire functionality. Micro-compressors in the wheel can adjust the tire pressure on their own, and the system can modify how large the contact patch is to optimize the tire for varying street conditions. There are four combinations so a tire can cruise easily in wet, slippery, uneven, or normal conditions. Continental says the system also allows for very low tire pressure when, for example, a car is navigating deep snow or black ice. Continental also has a concept tire featuring both technologies. This tire design boasts three different tread zones ideal for driving on surfaces that are wet, slippery, or dry. The tread zones are activated depending on the rim width and tire pressure chosen by ContiAdapt. New Atlas said the two technologies will soon be added to Continental’s portfolio, which includes ContiSeal, allowing for automatic sealing of holes, and ContiSilent, which reduces tire and road noise. Via New Atlas and Continental Images via Continental

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Continental presents concept tire that adjusts to road conditions

The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger

September 13, 2017 by  
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The Free Store, a non-profit organization and grocery store based in Wellington, New Zealand, is serving food for free and aiding in the fight against food waste . Originally started as a two-week-long art project by artist Kim Paton in 2010, the store has now grown into a more permanent institution, stocking its shelves with surplus food from bakeries and supermarkets. In redistributing free food that would otherwise have gone to waste, the Free Store has proven to be a valuable community space. “There are no conditions on who can come to The Free Store,” said co-founder and director Benjamin Johnson. “There are no criteria. Anybody can come for whatever reason and take whatever they want.” Food waste is a major social problem in New Zealand , as it is in much of the industrialized world. Kiwis, or residents of New Zealand, dispose of approximately $625 million worth of food (120,000 tons) each year. Globally, it is estimated that total food waste weighs up to 1.3 billion tons. Meanwhile, people still go hungry. “We saw the potential in an untapped food supply. You had food that was perfectly good to eat, and then you had people that were hungry . We could facilitate a connection between the two,” said Johnson. Related: Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods The Free Store is made possible through support from volunteers , donors, and around 65 suppliers, located around Wellington city center eager to put their surplus food to good use. According to Johnson, the Free Store distributes between 800 to 1,500 food items each weeknight between 6 PM and 7 PM, averaging about 250,000 food items; that amounts to $1 million worth of food saved per year. Since its establishment, the Free Store has spread to four locations throughout New Zealand, adapting their model and funding structure to fit each area. “All you need is a space to operate from, surplus food, people who need the food and will come and take it, volunteers, and a committed group of people who can actually do it,” said Johnson. “There has to be local ownership. In every area where there’s a Free Store, there needs to be a deeply rooted community of people.” + The Free Store Via EcoWatch Images via The Free Store

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