Zero Labs handcrafts electric version of the classic Ford Bronco

March 24, 2020 by  
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Sometimes what’s old is new again — only better. According to those who have personally ridden in and driven the world’s first 100% Electric Classic Ford Bronco, this seems to be the case. Reimagined by Adam Roe, CEO and founder of Zero Labs, the electric Ford Bronco appears to be art, luxury and performance all wrapped up into one green package . Combining the spirit of the past with a focus on a cleaner future, there will be a limited initial run of around 150 vehicles produced. Related: Goodyear reCharge tire concept targets sustainability Produced is an ill-fitting word, because these vehicles aren’t pumped out on an assembly line; instead, each electric vehicle is handcrafted. At first glance, the body design recalls a different time, with each project starting with an original 1966-77 First Generation Ford Bronco. However, the goal isn’t to simply pop an electric system into an old vehicle. Instead, the focus is on creating an experience that provides a sustainable four-wheel drive vehicle that embraces the passion for the classic Ford Bronco design. This achievement doesn’t leave performance at the curb though. Perhaps the new electric Broncos are out of the running for a speed competition or distance award, but few people will be able to say they’ve been four-wheeling in a Bronco that barely makes a sound and uses no fuel. In addition, a high-quality 2.0 chassis with independent front and rear suspension creates a comfortable ride. Features include an integrated roll-cage and modern conveniences that are endlessly customizable, from vegan leather seats to walnut or bamboo dash inserts. The manual transmission is more for the fun of driving than performance, because the clutch can shift gears but isn’t necessary for the electric vehicle to come to a stop. Owners can expect a range of around 190 miles from a full 70 kWh battery pack. Optional dual motors offer up to 600HP. Handcrafted in a warehouse in Hawthorne, California , the electric Ford Broncos are already in “production” with anticipated delivery dates at the end of 2020. They are available in two versions from stock factory steel to carbon fiber that is lighter and faster with increased range. Prices for the luxury experience range from $185,000 to $240,000. + Zero Labs Images via Zero Labs

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Zero Labs handcrafts electric version of the classic Ford Bronco

3-wheeled electric truck doubles as a sweet tiny camper

February 17, 2020 by  
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The worlds of electric vehicles and tiny campers have collided to bring us the Elektro Frosch — a tiny, three-wheeled electric pickup truck that has a fold-out camper. The cute little “Electric Frog” campers have everything you need to enjoy a minimalist outdoor excursion, including a camper that sleeps two and a large tarp that pulls out from the vehicle to cover the cooking and dining space. Designed by the German company Elektro Frosch, the electric truck comes in two sizes: the Big and the Pro. Although the designs are slightly different, each three-wheeled, fire-engine red vehicle is equipped with 2,500 watts of energy that enable the electric truck to travel up to 37 miles on one charge. Granted, that’s not much power, but for a quick weekend in the wilderness, it should do the trick. Related: Tiny TigerMoth Camper generates power while being towed The electric trucks come with custom camping modules that fit snugly in the flatbed area but can also be easily removed. Completely street-legal, these tiny trucks are incredibly lightweight at just 529 pounds, yet they are strong enough to hold up to 1,157 pounds. The camping setup has everything needed for an off-grid adventure. The bright orange tent, which sleeps two, folds up and out and is accessible by a ladder. The functional electric vehicle also includes a pull-out tarp that can be staked into the landscape for support. This space can be used as a covered kitchen and dining area or just general lounge space with some protection from the elements. The dining table comes with plenty of storage and a slide-out shelf that can be used for extra preparation space. The tiny camper also comes with several fold-out stools, creating the perfect setting for owners to enjoy the fresh air. The entire set-up, electric truck and all, is 4,900 euros (about $5,300). + Elektro Frosch Via Treehugger Images via Elektro Frosh

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3-wheeled electric truck doubles as a sweet tiny camper

A long weekend in nature at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

February 17, 2020 by  
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Twenty-five people walk through the hemlock forest on snowshoes. We’re close together, but move quietly in a line, going fast enough that we’re sweating on a 32-degree January morning. Eventually, we come to a brook, and Katie Hagel, an outdoor leader for the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, tells us to find our own quiet contemplation spot. We disperse, leaning against trees, sitting on logs or sprawling in patches of snow, snowshoes splayed at ungainly angles. We breathe the cold air and listen to water moving beneath the brook’s layer of ice. After a few minutes, Hagel gently hoots like an owl to let us know it’s time to reassemble. Our mindful time in nature is part of a snowshoeing and yoga program at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Kripalu sits on ancestral Stockbridge Munsee Mohican land overlooking Lake Mahkeenac, with views stretching across the southern Berkshires. Black bears, eastern coyotes, fishers, deer, porcupines, bobcats and bald eagles all call this land home. Related: Truly get away from it all at this gorgeous eco-resort and yoga retreat In 1893, banker Anson Phelps Stokes built Shadowbrook, his 100-room mansion, on this land. Later, it was home to a Jesuit monastery. But in 1983, the property’s purpose turned to yoga . Devotees of Swami Kripalu, an Indian yoga master who spent the last years of his life in the U.S., bought the property as an ashram. Since then, it’s evolved into one of the country’s largest yoga centers, with more than 40,000 guests per year and nearly 500 workers on staff. People come for professional training in yoga and Ayurveda as well as for short programs, like my snowshoeing and yoga weekend, and personal retreats. A weekend at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health When I arrived at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health at 10 p.m. on a Friday, I wasn’t expecting to have to wait in line to check into my room. But such is people’s desire for retreat from big city life. Many of the folks I met were from New York City , although some came as far as Texas or Arizona and others lived within 50 miles of the property. Many were repeat visitors seeking a tranquil getaway. Despite there being so many people onsite, Kripalu does a good job of letting people be sociable or quiet, as needed. The meals are all served buffet-style in the enormous dining room. Breakfast is a silent meal, but lunch and dinner can get raucous. Fortunately, a separate, small, silent dining room provides refuge for those seeking quiet. While Kripalu’s rooms are comfortable, this is not a luxury resort. My top-of-the-line private room included two single beds, good reading lights and a lovely bathtub. It was overwhelmingly plain; only two pillows decorated with hot pink flowers perked up the interior. No art on the wall underlined the contemplation-over-decoration philosophy. My room was in the Annex , an award-winning green building designed by Peter Rose + Partners. The Annex features hydronic radiant heating and cooling, a green roof and an overall smaller footprint due to clever design. Kripalu helps people take a break from technology by banning electronics in most areas. There’s an area for silent use and a Wi-Fi Lounge for those talking on the phone or otherwise making noise. You can also use electronics in your room — but only if you have a private room. Many people of all ages take advantage of the more affordable option of sharing a dorm. Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health connects nature and wellness Kripalu makes the most of its location by offering programs that combine yoga with hiking, kayaking , snowshoeing and wilderness survival. A yoga summer camp for adults includes paddling, hiking, nature observation and art. Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership In 2018, Kripalu founded the School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership to train guides to incorporate mindfulness techniques into outdoor activities. People who want to become mindful outdoor leaders can take two nine-day training modules combining yoga, Ayurveda, forest bathing , outdoor skills and the study of nature’s benefits for health. Level one focuses on basics, including leading a storytelling and sharing circle called Council. Level two delves deeper into survival skills, building fires and studying geology, flora, fauna and navigation with Mass Audubon. Participants also forage for wild teas. Related: Doctor’s orders — 2 hours in nature boosts mental health, study says As my snowshoeing leader Hagel explained, “Students in the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership spend the entirety of the training immersed in nature, deepening their connection with land, place and the more-than-human world. My hope is that graduates of this program will return home with a personal practice of deep nature connection and the skills necessary to safely guide others to get outside, receive the many healing benefits of nature and support the health of the planet through mindful engagement with the living earth.” If people feel more connected to nature, she said, they are likelier to act as caretakers of the Earth. Guides learn to share the natural world with guests while inviting group reflection and participation through open-ended questions. “An effective mindful outdoor guide is someone who has a practice of paying close attention to their surroundings and is able to share their own curiosity and passion for life with others,” said Micah Mortali , founder of Kripalu’s outdoor leadership program and author of Rewilding: Meditations, Practices and Skills for Awakening in Nature.  “This means that while remaining present, they are able to manage time, safety and group process while out in the field.” During my visit, we had a snowstorm and below-freezing temperatures. So we bundled up when leaving the building but practiced yoga inside. In warmer months, leaders like to take yoga outside. “Yoga was traditionally an outdoor activity,” Mortali said. “It is only in recent decades that yoga has become an indoor pursuit. Like most aspects of modern society, yoga has migrated indoors as modern people have become divorced from the life forces moving on their local lands.” He pointed out that yoga shapes depict animal forms, trees and mountains, things we see in nature. “The Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership seeks to find the source of yoga, the place where the original inspiration came from, and we have found that to be out there.” + Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health Photography by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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A long weekend in nature at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

November 11, 2019 by  
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Between Norway and the North Pole is Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago and one of the most rugged and northern inhabited areas. With an average January high of 9 degrees and 24 hours of darkness, you might not expect this to be a tourist hot-spot. But the northern lights are drawing bigger and bigger crowds through Svalbard’s dark winter. The trick is making sure that the roughly 75,000 annual visitors don’t overwhelm the environment and culture of the archipelago’s 2,583 year-round residents. One strategy has been to spread tourism out over the entire year, and a new tactic is using electric snowmobiles to explore the area in a more sustainable way. Off the Map Travel, based in England, specializes in Northern Lights travel. Its “Truly Green Aurora Holiday” package has developed the lowest impact Arctic northern lights adventure yet. The team has harnessed Arctic winds to power e-snowmobiles. Off the Map Travel offers the new activity out of Longyearbyen, the Svalbard town where the majority of the population lives. The company recommends this activity from November to January, when the skies over the islands are almost permanently black. Related: Sleep beneath the northern lights in this unique Iceland bubble “Although the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and are never guaranteed, you need clear, dark skies to optimize your chances to see them,” noted Jonny Cooper, Arctic travel expert and founder of Off the Map Travel. “Svalbard’s dark skies and extended aurora viewing are due to the sun’s being at least six degrees below the horizon. This means it can be dark all day, so the northern lights can appear at any time. In effect, the sun never rises.” In addition to the more eco-friendly nature of the e-snowmobiles, they are also much quieter. Unlike the roar of an average snowmobile , the electric variety allows visitors a peaceful and silent experience. “The quiet engine allows for gentle searching of the northern lights, reindeer , ptarmigans and polar foxes,” Cooper said. “Exploring some of the most uncharted areas of our planet has never been more eco-friendly.” + Off the Map Travel Image via Off the Map Travel

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New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

August 7, 2019 by  
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The new generation of electric cars is on its way with the Lightyear One, a vehicle capable of using solar energy to charge while on the road. Currently in the prototype phase, the solar panel-covered vehicle is due to hit the streets in 2021. The Lightyear One was developed by a group of designers deeply entrenched in the field of solar vehicles. The prior University of Eindhoven students won the World Solar Challenge race three times with their “Stella” solar cars before focusing on a retail, road-worthy version. Related: Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power The sleek Italian design is sure to draw attention, especially with the 5 square meters of solar panels mounted to the roof and hood, an addition that draws enough power for 12kmh per hour, or about 7.5 miles per hour of additional charge. It doesn’t sound like much, and in travel terms, it’s not, but it’s a step toward a completely solar car. In reality, the solar panel boost isn’t going to be the main source of power, so it can be charged like a regular electric car, except a lot faster. The Lightyear One can handle 60kW of fast charging, providing it 507 km or 315 miles of charge per hour. Perhaps the area where the Lightyear One is really making headlines is the total range of around 450 miles without recharging. That well exceeds Tesla’s current record of around 370 miles with the Model S. Like the Tesla, the Lightyear One hopes to appeal to the sports car enthusiast with a lightweight and sleek design. Then, there’s the fact that it jumps from 0 to 60 in around 10 seconds. The high-performance and efficient qualities mean that any charging station can provide a faster charge in less time compared to the competition. Unlike Tesla and other electric car manufacturers, the price for the Lightyear One is out of reach for many consumers. The initial models are available for pre-sale now at a cost of around $135,000. If you’re not ready to commit, you can expect a $170,000 price tag when it hits the mainstream retail market. + Lightyear One Via The Verge Images via Lightyear One

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The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

August 7, 2019 by  
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The new generation of electric cars is on its way with the Lightyear One, a vehicle capable of using solar energy to charge while on the road. Currently in the prototype phase, the solar panel-covered vehicle is due to hit the streets in 2021. The Lightyear One was developed by a group of designers deeply entrenched in the field of solar vehicles. The prior University of Eindhoven students won the World Solar Challenge race three times with their “Stella” solar cars before focusing on a retail, road-worthy version. Related: Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power The sleek Italian design is sure to draw attention, especially with the 5 square meters of solar panels mounted to the roof and hood, an addition that draws enough power for 12kmh per hour, or about 7.5 miles per hour of additional charge. It doesn’t sound like much, and in travel terms, it’s not, but it’s a step toward a completely solar car. In reality, the solar panel boost isn’t going to be the main source of power, so it can be charged like a regular electric car, except a lot faster. The Lightyear One can handle 60kW of fast charging, providing it 507 km or 315 miles of charge per hour. Perhaps the area where the Lightyear One is really making headlines is the total range of around 450 miles without recharging. That well exceeds Tesla’s current record of around 370 miles with the Model S. Like the Tesla, the Lightyear One hopes to appeal to the sports car enthusiast with a lightweight and sleek design. Then, there’s the fact that it jumps from 0 to 60 in around 10 seconds. The high-performance and efficient qualities mean that any charging station can provide a faster charge in less time compared to the competition. Unlike Tesla and other electric car manufacturers, the price for the Lightyear One is out of reach for many consumers. The initial models are available for pre-sale now at a cost of around $135,000. If you’re not ready to commit, you can expect a $170,000 price tag when it hits the mainstream retail market. + Lightyear One Via The Verge Images via Lightyear One

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The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

Big automakers are grudgingly buying into EVs — but oil majors still lag behind

May 28, 2019 by  
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Small, nimble startups are leading the shift to electric cars, while big U.S. automakers and oil majors are struggling to keep up.

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Big automakers are grudgingly buying into EVs — but oil majors still lag behind

Volvo creates the living seawall in Sydney to help with plastic pollution

January 25, 2019 by  
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With ocean habitats being degraded by plastic pollution and replaced with seawalls, more than half of the shoreline in Sydney, Australia , is now artificial. Scientists say that the amount of plastic waste in the ocean is so massive, removing it all simply isn’t possible. So, instead of hosting more beach clean-ups or tearing down seawalls, Volvo is taking a more modern, creative approach to the problem — a Living Seawall. Volvo has teamed up with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create the Living Seawall. The Living Seawall is designed to recreate the structure of native mangrove trees and provide a habitat for marine life , according to the company’s website. The automaker also claims that Living Seawall will aid biodiversity and keep the water clean by attracting filter-feeding organisms that can absorb and filter out pollutants such as heavy metals. Related: Nestle ditching plastic straws, water bottles to reduce plastic waste Volvo’s commitment to sustainability goes far beyond the Living Seawall and Volvo Ocean Race, a beach clean-up initiative, as the company is also in the process of removing all single-use plastics from offices, cafeterias and events and replacing them with sustainable, eco-friendly options by the end of the year. It also has the goal of “putting 1 million electric cars on the road by 2025” and wants its manufacturing operations to be carbon neutral.  Volvo says that when it designs its cars, reduction of environmental impact is a top priority. The sales revenue from the Volvo V90 Cross Country is what funds the Volvo Ocean Race and Science Program, which measures ocean microplastics levels with sensors on boats. Volvo said it will continue to support research and thrive with its “radical and divergent style of thinking” that isn’t just what the company focuses on, but rather what defines it. + Volvo Images via Volvo

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Volvo creates the living seawall in Sydney to help with plastic pollution

6 positive advancements against climate change to lead us into 2019

December 31, 2018 by  
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Global carbon emissions may be on the rise and poised to reach an all-time high this year , but that doesn’t mean there isn’t positive climate news to talk about. If you are looking for some uplifting stories about the environment as we close out 2018 and head into the new year, here are six reasons to be hopeful in spite of  climate change . Plant-based meat The carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels is still the main greenhouse gas , but methane and nitrous oxide are more potent, and the levels are rising. Livestock farming is the main source of methane and nitrous oxide, and because the world loves meat and dairy, these gases are a huge factor in the battle against climate change. Simply put, if we don’t radically curb our meat consumption, we can’t beat global warming . Related: Look out meat industry — flexitarianism is on the rise People all over the world are switching to vegetarian, vegan  and flexitarian diets, and that is a step in the right direction. Bill Gates has invested in two plant-based burger companies that make food from plants that looks and tastes like meat. Major companies like Tyson, Danone and Nestle are also investing in plant-based products that have a tiny carbon footprint, so the market will continue to grow and offer a wide variety of plant-based foods. The renewable energy revolution Renewable energy is quickly becoming the new normal. Thanks to the cost of solar panels and wind turbines plummeting over the last decade, renewables are now cheaper than coal. There are already systems in place to shift from gas and oil to renewables. Companies all over the world are committing to renewable energy, and now more than half of the new capacity for generating electricity is renewable. Many parts of the world are already installing the cheapest electricity available. Last year, there was so much wind power in Germany that customers got free electricity . Even in the U.S., despite President Trump’s rollback of key climate legislation, there has been $30 billion invested in renewable energy sources. “We Are Still In” movement As a response to President Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Agreement, thousands of America’s CEOs, college presidents and politicians have declared that the U.S. is “still in” the climate change fight with the We Are Still In movement. Over 2,600 leaders from across the country are standing together and committed to delivering the goals from the Paris Agreement. They also want to make sure that the U.S. continues to be a world leader in reducing emissions. More than 1,800 businesses and investors, 18 states and tribes and 335 of America’s colleges and universities are also part of the movement. More than half of the country’s Fortune 500 companies have the goal of cutting pollution . The death of coal Production of fossil fuels seems to have peaked in 2013, and since then, the demise has been shocking. Five years ago, the IEA anticipated a 40 percent growth in coal burning by 2040. But now, it only expects 1 percent growth. Bankruptcies are taking over the coal industry, and plans for many new coal plants are now dead and buried. China has halted plans for 151 coal plants, and in the U.K., coal has plummeted from 40 percent of the power supply to just 2 percent. This is all happening because solar and wind are now cheaper, but there is still more that can be done. When it becomes cheaper to build renewable energy sources compared to running existing coal plants, there will be zero reasons to keep digging coal out of the ground. Electric cars Oil is responsible for providing one-third of the world’s energy, so figuring out how to reduce this usage is a big challenge. One of the most promising options for reducing oil usage is battery-powered cars. They are starting to make a dent in the market, and China is leading the way by selling more electric cars every month than the U.S. and Europe combined. Just about every car manufacturer has  plans to go electric , and some will be doing it sooner rather than later. Both Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover have announced plans to end production of pure fossil-fueled cars by 2021, and Tesla has already rolled out its Model 3. If current growth rates continue, EV-volumes.com analyst Viktor Irle said  that 80 percent of new cars will be electric by 2030. Batteries A big piece of the renewable puzzle is batteries. The big issue is how to deliver solar power when it’s cloudy or how to provide wind power on a calm day. New battery technology is now making it possible to continuously store renewable power, even when the sun is behind the clouds and the wind stops blowing. With battery technology improving so fast, the price of battery storage is expected to drop in half by 2030. The price of lithium-ion batteries has already dropped by 75 percent over the last six years. The latest battery technology is also contributing to the rising demand for electric cars. Via Grist , The Guardian and WWF Images via Appolinary Kalashnikova , KMW737 , Andreas160578 , Jon Tyson , Benita Welter , Stefan Schweihofer and  Sabine van Erp

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6 positive advancements against climate change to lead us into 2019

Biomega unveils an affordable, lightweight electric car inspired by minimalism

December 5, 2018 by  
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Known for its electric bike designs , Danish firm Biomega is now branching out into the electric car sector. The company has just unveiled its first electric car , called the SIN. Designed for urban environments, the SIN is a low-cost, lightweight electric car that runs on a 14kWh battery pack and is estimated to go up to 100 miles on a single charge. The SIN’s minimalist appearance was inspired by Scandinavian design principles of creating more with less. The body of the  electric car is comprised of modular carbon fiber to reduce its weight and enable optimal battery consumption. Stripped back to provide more space, the interior is made up of perforated mesh seats and an aluminum crossbeam that supports the steering wheel, which is connected to the car’s “info-tainment” tablet. An extra-wide windshield that extends over the roof of the car and transparent side doors were designed specifically to maximize the road views. Related: Biomega’s Boston folding bike: world’s first theft-proof bicycle? As far as power goes, the car runs on four independent engines powered by the main 14kWh battery , which is located under the floor. According to Biomega, the SIN can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in approximately 13 seconds and can reach a top speed of 80 miles per hour. More importantly for drivers, the battery is estimated to let the car run up to 100 miles on a single charge. Biomega founder Jens Martin Skibsted explained that after years of designing high-tech electric bikes, an electric car was the logical next step for the company. “We’ve been focused on urban mobility since the 1990s,” Skibsted said. “Biomega has always been about creating a paradigm shift in the way society imagines transportation . We feel that we are in an extremely strong position to design an electric vehicle (EV) that represents the frontier of the new mobility.” Recently unveiled at the Shanghai CIEE trade fair, the SIN, which is expected to come with a $20,000 price tag, is due to hit the market sometime between 2021-2023. + Biomega Via Dezeen Images via Biomega

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