VIDEO: Self-flying electric car successfully takes its maiden voyage

April 21, 2017 by  
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Forget the flying cars you’ve seen in sci-fi movies because the air transportation of the future is going to be way better than we imagined – at least, if Lilium Aviation has anything to do with it. The aviation company recently unveiled their all-electric, self-flying car. And while there are quite a few flying car prototypes driving, er, flying around right now, Lilium sets itself apart with its electric engine and vertical takeoff, which the company successfully tested for the first time this week. The vehicle is powered by 36 electric jet engines. Electric powered-flight is just developing, but Lilium has figured out how to make it work in its prototype. “It’s the same battery that you can find in any Tesla,” co-founder Patrick Nathen told The Verge . The battery consumes 90 percent less than current drone aircraft. The craft has a flight speed of 186 mph with a range of 186 miles per charge. Related: AeroMobil is launching a flying car that you can actually buy this year Lilium’s prototype is a two-seater, but the company plans to eventually make a 5-seat vehicle that can be used as an air taxi. For the maiden voyage, the craft was remotely piloted from the ground, but the company is shooting for manned flight night. The final version will be piloted autonomously and you will be able to book a flight using your smartphone, just like a Lyft in the sky. Via The Verge

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VIDEO: Self-flying electric car successfully takes its maiden voyage

This electric car charging tower can power up a fleet of EVs at the same time

April 17, 2017 by  
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One of the biggest hassles of owning an electric car is finding a charger when you’re on the go. Looking to address this issue on an urban scale, Ennead Lab just unveiled an EV charging tower that can simultaneously store and power up a fleet of electric cars at the same time. The project, which is slated for a new urban development in Shanghai, takes the form of a stacked parking garage with transparent walls and a supercharger on the ground floor for drivers in a hurry. Ennead Lab’s tower seeks to provide a simple solution for electric car drivers who need to recharge away from home. The Car Charging Tower provides EV owners with two options: a super charge (which typically takes 25 minutes), or a place to park and charge while they go out and enjoy the city around them. Related: Quebec may require EV charging stations for all homes The charging tower would accommodate multiple sized cars and use a standard charging system to maximize the number of cars being charged simultaneously while parked. For those in a hurry, various super charger stations would be located on the ground floor underneath a lightweight canopy. The tower itself would be clad in a reflective perforated metal – a feature that pays homage to the “chrome-filled aesthetic history of the automobile.” + Ennead Lab Images via Ennead Lab

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This electric car charging tower can power up a fleet of EVs at the same time

Solar-powered drone Skystation sits atop Trump World Tower in New York

April 17, 2017 by  
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Kayak architects  wants to change the way we get around urban environments, so they’ve envisioned an innovative way to integrate air transport with existing urban environments. The project would turn skyscraper rooftops into solar-powered drone stations called Skystations. To illustrate how it would work, the designers put a drone skystation on Trump World Tower in New York City. The Skystation project aims to convert skyscraper rooftops into air transport hubs with a low ecological footprint . This futuristic transportation network should reduce pollution by eliminating rush-hour traffic and decreasing number of land vehicles, enabling us to turn unused roads into walkable, green spaces. Related: Dubai plans to launch autonomous flying drone taxis by mid-2017 Drone robots programmed or operated by humans would build these lightweight structures out of prefabricated and 3d-printed elements, using materials and components produced by local companies. A layer of sprayed Perovskite Solar Cells covers the outer shell, providing clean energy for the entire station. Related: Titan Aerospace Developing World’s First Solar-Powered Atmospheric Satellite Drones Arched roofs are meant to allow easier and more convenient landing for drones, simultaneously creating distinct architecture that dominates the city skyline. An existing art gallery, located underneath the drone platform, is transformed and integrated with the new lobby to give users the opportunity to experience art while waiting for the transport. This space can also function as a restaurant, entertainment area or lounge. Kayak Architects designed the project as a proposal for the Lafarge Holcim Competition. + kayak architects Images by ELEMENT

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Solar-powered drone Skystation sits atop Trump World Tower in New York

Swinging robot inspired by sloths could help future farmers

April 17, 2017 by  
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Over 7 billion people live on Earth, which means feeding our growing population will require us to produce food more efficiently than we are now. Could Robots could help us ramp up food production? Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) scientists believe so. They designed Tarzan, a robot inspired by swinging sloths, that could help future farmers more effectively monitor their crops . Take a look at the video below to see Tarzan in action. Tarzan is a two-armed robot that would hang suspended above a field on a wire, and move back and forth by swinging – like the mammal infamous for being lazy. But robot Tarzan is anything but lazy; it could snap images of plants and send them back to the farmer so either a human or an algorithm could analyze crop growth. Georgia Tech mechanical engineering assistant professor Jonathan Rogers said in a video, “What that’s going to allow people to do is essentially have an automated way to analyze how their crops are doing and what their crops need in real time, and maybe even providing that to their crops without them having to go walk the field themselves.” Related: World’s first robot-run farm to churn out 11 million heads of lettuce per year Georgia Tech researchers will take Tarzan to the field this summer at a four acre test field growing soybeans near Athens, Georgia . Plant geneticists from the University of Georgia used to have to walk the fields taking notes on crop growth there in the hot July sun, but Tarzan could help them analyze the crops more efficiently. According to the university, “With Georgia Tech robots dangling over the field, UGA researchers will be able to get more frequent measurements and to avoid some laborious field work. Someday, they may be able to stay at their laptops miles away, in the air conditioning, scanning a steady stream of images and data sent back from the robots.” As sloths are energy efficient , the team is working on making their robot sloth energy efficient and envision it powered by the sun one day. Via Georgia Tech and Wired Images via Georgia Tech and Eric Kilby on Flickr

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Swinging robot inspired by sloths could help future farmers

Honda steps up with new green car strategy

April 13, 2017 by  
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Honda’s green car strategy has taken criticism over the past few years for its inability to keep up with the venerable Toyota Prius . Well, the automaker is stepping up with their introduction of the new Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in hybrid recently – at the New York Auto Show. The new Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in hybrid will be sold alongside the Clarity Fuel Cell , which is already on sale. With all three models, Honda hopes to be able to sell at least 75,000 Clarity vehicles in the first four model years. The Clarity will also help Honda reach its goal of having two-thirds of its vehicles electrified by 2030. Related: 2017 Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle is ready for the mainstream The Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will have a 42-mile electric driving range, which is still shy of the Chevy Volt, but longer than the Toyota Prius Prime . Once the battery is depleted, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid uses a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine to give it an overall driving range rating of over 330 miles. The Clarity Plug-in hybrid’s electric motor generates 181-horsepower electric motor with 232 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery. It will only take 2.5 hours to fully recharge it using a 240 volt outlet. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will have EPA fuel economy rating of 105 MPGe. The Honda Clarity Electric is powered by a 161-horsepower electric motor with 221 lb.-ft. of torque that is mated to a 25.5-kWh battery pack. The Clarity Electric will only have a driving range of around 80 miles, but it can by fully charged in just over three hours at 240 volts or up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes using a DC fast charger . The Clarity Electric will have a 111 combined MPGe rating. The Clarity Electric’s driving range is a bit disappointing, since we now have other electric cars with a much longer driving range. Still, Honda expects the Clarity Plug-in hybrid to be the sales volume leader out of the three Clarity models. Images @Honda + Honda

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Honda steps up with new green car strategy

Hyundai reportedly working on next-gen solid-state batteries for electric vehicles

April 6, 2017 by  
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Major car companies like Hyundai have toyed with both hydrogen and electricity for clean fuel sources, but now it seems the Seoul, South Korea -based manufacturer may be taking a major step towards improving technology for their electric cars with solid-state batteries . An April 5 report from The Korea Herald says the car company has pilot-scale battery production facilities in which they’re developing the battery technology that could store more energy  and be a game changer for the industry. Hyundai may be working on solid-state batteries in their facilities they own, according to information obtained by The Korea Herald from who they described as sources close to the matter. They quoted this source as saying, “Hyundai is developing solid-state batteries through its Namyang R&D Center’s battery precedence development team and it has secured a certain level of technology.” Related: 2017 Hyundai IONIQ will be offered in EV, plug-in hybrid and hybrid versions Hyundai is apparently developing the technology without help from Korean battery manufacturers like LG Chem or Samsung SDI . The source compared Hyundai’s approach to Toyota’s – they also own production facilities according to the source. Industry sources told The Korea Herald Hyundai might be able to mass produce solid-state batteries around 2025. LG Economic Research Institute analyst Choi Jung-deok told The Korea Herald “…if automakers are able to succeed the mass production of next-generation batteries, the paradigm of batteries in the future may be shifted.” As solid-state batteries carry less risk of explosion they are considered safer than conventional batteries. According to Electrek, no company has yet been able to produce solid-state batteries at a large scale and at a price competitive with lithium-ion batteries. Along with Toyota, Ford has dabbled in the technology as well. Companies like Bosch and Dyson have also invested in the technology; the latter acquired a solid-state battery startup in 2015 for $90 million with plans to construct a $1 billion factory. Via The Korea Herald and Electrek Images via Jakob Härter on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Hyundai reportedly working on next-gen solid-state batteries for electric vehicles

Electra Meccanica reveals the all-electric 250-mile-range Tofino roadster

March 30, 2017 by  
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If you’ve never heard of the Canadian Electra Meccanica , hold on for an exciting ride. It appears the Vancouver-based automaker may finally get the attention it deserves with the debut of a new electric roadster, the Tofino. Electra Meccanica, the electric division of Intermeccanica, has turned the firm’s conventional roadster into an affordable two-seater all-electric sports car . On the outside, the Tofino looks like a retro two-seater roadster, but underneath the powertrain is anything but retro. The chassis and body are made of a lightweight aerospace-grade composite and the Tofino is capable of traveling up to 250 miles on a full charge. The Tofino’s electric motor packs enough punch to give it a top speed of 125 mph and a 0-60 time under 7 seconds. Related: Meet SOLO, an affordable electric three-wheeled commuter vehicle for one The roadster will be available in five colors including Titanium Silver, Electric Red, Raven Black, Arctic White, and Bionic Bronze with a price starting at $50,000 Canadian (~$37,000 USD). Deliveries are expected to start in 2019. While we will have to wait at least two years until the Tofino arrives, Electra Meccanica is getting ready to start deliveries of its single-seater 100-mile range SOLO electric car . To raise hype for the SOLO, Electra Meccanica has revealed a high-performance version of the SOLO, called the SOLO R. + Electra Meccanica All images @Electra Meccanica

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Electra Meccanica reveals the all-electric 250-mile-range Tofino roadster

Lucid releases details about new electric car – including $60,000 price tag

March 17, 2017 by  
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Lucid has released new details about its much-anticipated electric car , including an extremely affordable starting price tag for a fully featured luxury electric car. Unveiled at a recent VIP event in California, the Lucid Air comes in at just $60,000 for a base model—a figure that drops to a very-palatable $52,00 after the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs gets factored in. And while we’re talking about a base model here, the performance and features boasted by the Air are far from Spartan. The car has a 240-mile range powered by a 400-horsepower, rear-wheel electric motor—along with equipment for autonomous driving, 12-way power front seats, four interactive touch screens, and more. You can get even more if you get in on the ground floor, as the first 255 Lucid Airs manufactured will be special Launch Editions priced at above $100,000 with a unique trim, 21” wheels, boosted audio, and up to 315 miles-worth of range at 1,000 horsepower. The company will also offer other configurations and options that include a battery with up to 400 miles of range, a twin-motor configuration with all-wheel drive, a glass canopy roof, rear executive seats that recline up to 55 degrees, 22-way power front seats; a 29-speaker audio system, and more. Related: New York will give you a $2,000 discount to buy an electric car According to TechCrunch , the company recently released its pricing information in an effort to quell speculation that its vehicles would start at more than $100,000. Now they’ve revealed that you can not only get a luxury electric car for less than $60,000, but also one that’s high performance with great equipment; it’s getting harder and harder not to dump the gas guzzler and switch to electric. If you’re raring to get one of the first Airs off the line, you can reserve yours here –with a $2,500 deposit. Via Lucid and TechCrunch Images via Lucid

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China to replace Beijing’s 67,000 gas-powered taxis with electric cars

March 2, 2017 by  
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Beijing ‘s air pollution was so bad last December that hundreds of flights were canceled at the city’s international airport due to poor visibility. In an effort to clean up the capital’s notorious smog, China just announced a plan to replace the city’s 67,000 gas-powered taxis with electric cars – and it will require all new taxis to be electric. The gas-to-electric cab conversion project is expected to cost taxi operators $1.3 billion (9 billion yuan). Electric vehicles in China currently cost around $20,000, which is twice as much as conventional cars. Besides the high price tag for EVs, another challenge for taxi companies looking to electrify their fleets is the lack of charging stations in Beijing. When the city added 200 electric taxis to its fleet in 2014, drivers reportedly were waiting in lines of up to six hours at charging stations. Related: China plans its first “Forest City” to fight air pollution While China made improvements to air quality in 2014 with its “war on pollution,” smog is on the rise again because of increased industrial production in China’s steelmaking heartland south of Beijing, according to Greenpeace. Shifting wind patterns have blown air pollution north, with heavy smog settling into the Jingjinji national capital region (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei). China also recently announced that its domestic railway will expand by nearly 19,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) before 2020, with one-third of the increased mileage to be high-speed rail. According to China’s Economic Daily newspaper, “by 2020, China will have built a comprehensive modern transportation system that is safe, convenient, efficient and green.” Via CleanTechnica Images via Flickr and Wikimedia

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China to replace Beijing’s 67,000 gas-powered taxis with electric cars

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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