Nico Nevolo quit his job at Tesla to live in his Model X – and he’s loving it

May 16, 2018 by  
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Van life can be a creative way to lessen one’s impact on the planet, but many van dwellers are still riding in gas-guzzling vehicles. Nico Nevolo, however, has broken away from that trend and become one of the pioneers of a new paradigm: EV van life. A former Tesla employee, Nevolo quit his job in March of this year to share his experiences living in his Tesla Model X under the name TeslaVanLife , and so far he says it’s been the best decision of his life. Inhabitat caught up with Nevolo to hear more about his journey and vision for TeslaVanLife. Nevolo worked at Tesla for just over three years, beginning in customer service and then moving to headquarters, where he worked as an analyst. He started living in his Model X last October, but the infamously expensive Bay Area rents were only one factor in his decision to live in his car. “It’s experiencing life in a different capacity, and a capacity at which I think is bringing me more happiness as I’ve grown older and seen how I want to live my own life,” Nevolo told Inhabitat. Related: Living out of a van has never looked this good He quit his job to take his Tesla love on the road. “I did love working behind a computer for Tesla, I really did love it, but there was something missing,” Nevolo said. “I hadn’t really seen anyone living in an electric vehicle , let alone a Tesla, and I recognized I had a very interesting experience…I’ve seen the electric vehicle industry grow before my eyes, so I wanted to tell that story.” In his Model X, he can store things in the front trunk and a rear compartment beneath his bed. He didn’t want the inside of his van home to look cluttered, so he doesn’t store anything on his bed. During the day, he folds up his bed and puts his seats up. Nevolo said people always expect him to say one of the hardest things about van life is bathing, but he’s found that facilities are readily available. What is tricky is food. He can keep food cold in an ice chest for around a week, but keeping it at a temperature where it won’t spoil is only possible for about two days. “Managing long term meals is definitely the most difficult thing I’ve encountered,” he said. “Something I’m really going to start experimenting with — and I used to do it even when I lived in an apartment — is buying food and cooking for a day or two. I would just buy enough food for a day or two, which unfortunately doesn’t save you the most money, but you’re getting fresh food.” Battery charging can be another consideration for EV van living, but Nevolo hasn’t found it to be too difficult in California , where he’s spent a large amount of his van life. Supercharging his Model X is free, and he said the Supercharger network is growing exponentially. Also, with the exception of some desolate areas, he found the network connected across the United States on a cross-country road trip to surprise his grandfather in New Jersey with a Tesla Model 3 . The flexibility of van living has opened up new possibilities for Nevolo. “The best thing is honestly being able to say yes to absolutely anything,” he said. “There is no one way of living.” Nevolo took his time taking the Model 3 to his grandfather and traveled around the country for about a month, so he could compare the experiences of living in a Model X versus a Model 3. “The technology in the Model 3: mindblowing,” he said. The Model 3 can charge more quickly because of advanced battery technology . But for long-term van life, the Model X seems to beat out the Model 3. “In the Model 3, you have to bend over like a normal car, it’s very low, and you’re like kinking your back,” Nevolo said. “With the X, I almost have a faux sense of being able to stand up in my home because the door opens up above my head and I actually have two inches of clearance when the door’s all the way up, and I’m six foot one. It feels like I’m in a bedroom.” You can stay tuned for his Tesla adventures by subscribing to TeslaVanLife . Nevolo said, “I want to shed light and entertainment and insight on a whole bunch of communities I’m very interested in, like van life, Tesla, or even music festival communities.” + TeslaVanLife YouTube + TeslaVanLife Patreon + TeslaVanLife Instagram Images courtesy of Nico Nevolo

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Nico Nevolo quit his job at Tesla to live in his Model X – and he’s loving it

World’s fastest electric car charger offers 120-mile range in 8 minutes

April 27, 2018 by  
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Electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment is surging forward — maybe faster than the cars it’s supposed to fill up. ABB recently launched their Terra High Power (HP) charger , which provides a stunning 120 miles in eight minutes, but New Atlas pointed out many EVs can’t yet handle the 350 kilowatts at which this fast charger operates. The Terra HP DC charger can fill cars up at a rate nearly three times that of Tesla Superchargers . ABB said the charger is “the first 350 kW product on the market,” and that gas stations or highway rest stops are ideal for the fast charger. CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer said in a statement , “This high-power fast charger provides electric vehicles with up to seven times more range in the same charging time than previous models.” Related: Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station Sounds impressive, but is ABB ahead of its time? New Atlas said there is nothing on the market able to handle 350 kW. Many vehicles are limited to 50 kW; preserving battery life is the reason. Charging batteries up super fast can be damaging to battery life. There are cars that can handle more; the 2018 Nissan Leaf is one such example, able to handle 100 kW. But enabling batteries to handle such rapid charging is just one more task on the list of things battery researchers need to tackle, New Atlas said, alongside thermal stability, energy density, and more. Of course, to compete with gasoline-fueled cars at long ranges better, EVs will need to be able to handle super fast charging. Filling up a fossil fuel car at the gas station usually takes just a few minutes right now. New Atlas said the Terra HP units will probably only get close to their charging capability when several cars are plugged in simultaneously — at least for now. + ABB ( 1 , 2 , 3 ) Via New Atlas Images via ABB ( 1 , 2 )

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World’s fastest electric car charger offers 120-mile range in 8 minutes

This charming old-fashioned caravan tiny house is 100% self sustaining

April 27, 2018 by  
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This caravan tiny house is a blast from the past. Designed and constructed by father-and-son builders Nick and Aaron Troisi ( The Unknown Craftsmen ), the tiny home on wheels is 100 percent self-sufficient. The wandering caravan includes a curved roof, custom woodwork and round windows. The home also has LED lighting, and it’s designed to operate completely off-grid . The home’s exterior is clad in pine panels painted red. A deck, built with raw-cut wooden logs, leads to the charming curved door. The father-son duo strategically designed a double-height roof to create a sleeping loft. The curved roof greatly enhances the tiny home’s interior and has three circular windows to bring in natural light . Related: Steve Areen’s incredible DIY wagon home built with mostly recycled materials Inside, the home resembles a hobbit-esque cavern. Lined with wooden beams, the high ceiling allowed the builders to add a quaint sleeping loft, accessible by stairs. The living area includes a curved reading nook with a small sofa, bright throw pillows and a cute window that lets in light. The designers incorporated a number of repurposed items into the home, including a brass bucket used as the kitchen sink. The round windows are actually repurposed theater light lenses — a feature that pays homage to the owner’s long career in the performing arts. Custom woodwork abounds — from the panels on the walls to the kitchen counter top, which was made from an apricot tree. The home was crafted with several types of wood cut from the owner’s own yard: pine, apricot, cherry and more. Aaron Troisi explained that the inspiration behind the wood-heavy design came from a desire to “explore the natural beauty of the organic world.” + The Unknown Craftsmen Via Tiny Living Images via The Unknown Craftsmen

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This charming old-fashioned caravan tiny house is 100% self sustaining

Tesla voluntarily makes their biggest recall ever for 123,000 Model S vehicles

March 30, 2018 by  
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Tesla just issued their biggest ever recall  involving over 123,000 Model S cars. The automaker said they noticed excessive corrosion in power steering bolts, The Verge and Agence France Presse reported. They’re voluntarily recalling the cars and will retrofit impacted cars with a new part that will resolve the issue. Tesla recalled thousands of Model S cars built before April 2016. There haven’t been any crashes or injuries reported connected to the issue — in an email sent to customers, the automaker said this is a proactive move. According to Agence France Presse, the problem has only been observed in locations where salt is used on winter roads to melt ice or snow, but Tesla will retrofit all Model S cars containing the part. No other models are involved in this recall. Related: The Tesla Semi just made its first cargo trip transporting battery packs Tesla’s email said, “If the bolts fail, the driver is still able to steer the car, increased force is required due to loss or reduction of power assist. This primarily makes the car harder to drive at low speeds and for parallel parking, but does not materially affect control at high speed, where only small steering wheel force is needed.” The company said if an owner hasn’t experienced issues, they don’t have to cease driving the cars, and that they would let owners know when retrofits, estimated to take around one hour, were available in their area. The Verge said this is Tesla’s largest recall; in 2015 they recalled 90,000 Model S cars due to a faulty seat belt, and in 2017 they recalled 53,000 Model X and Model S vehicles because of a parking brake issue. The publication also noted the recall comes right as the company is getting ready to report quarterly deliveries — people will be watching to see how many Model 3 cars Tesla has delivered to customers this year. Via The Verge and Agence France Presse Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Tesla voluntarily makes their biggest recall ever for 123,000 Model S vehicles

Leaked memo shows that EPA staffers were told to downplay the reliability of climate science

March 30, 2018 by  
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees received talking points that appear to fit right in with Administrator Scott Pruitt’s skepticism of humanity’s role in climate change . Meant to develop “consistent messages about EPA’s climate adaptation efforts,” the talking points — obtained by HuffPost — emphasized the uncertainties in what we know about climate change and concluded with, “Administrator Pruitt encourages an open, transparent debate on climate science .” EPA employees got eight talking points from career staffer Joel Scheraga, who worked under President Barack Obama, on how to talk about climate adaptation. The first said the agency “recognizes the challenges that communities face in adapting to a changing climate.” The next three talked about promoting science and working with local and tribal governments on improving infrastructure. Related: Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans The final four took a detour into the realm of uncertainties. Talking points five and six read, “Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue. While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.” EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman told HuffPost, “This is not an official memo; this is simply an email among colleagues, based on information developed by someone in our office…implying we are telling people to downplay climate change is a gross over misrepresentation of the facts.” The Washington Post said the email had been written based on scientifically unsound, controversial statements from Pruitt. HuffPost said Pruitt personally oversaw moves to remove climate change from agency websites, and has defended President Donald Trump’s decision to yank America out of the Paris Agreement . The Union of Concerned Scientists ‘ Center for Science and Democracy deputy director Michael Halpern told The Washington Post, “The EPA administrator should not be in the business of telling scientists what they should say publicly about basic scientific information. The implication is that EPA wants a political filter on all scientific information emerging from the government , especially if it has to do with climate change.” Via HuffPost and The Washington Post Images via The White House on Flickr and Depositphotos

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Leaked memo shows that EPA staffers were told to downplay the reliability of climate science

This tiny house on wheels can expand to meet the owner’s needs

March 30, 2018 by  
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Owning a house no longer means you have to stay in place. This tiny house on wheels, built to withstand extreme climates, can both change locations at a moment’s notice and expand in order to adjust to specific user needs. The Tiny House Company’s newest design, named Swallowtail, can be used as a primary home, weekender, studio, extended living space, or anything in between. Post-war homes inspired the tiny house’s design – it features a butterfly roof , timber screen, plywood cladding and corrugated sheeting. The butterfly roof has an integrated box gutter and downpipe for easy connection and rainwater collection , all hidden from view beside a paulownia timber screen. Related: This huge ‘tiny house’ on wheels can fit a family of five! The location of the doors and windows maximizes  cross-ventilation , and the walls and roof are well insulated. Durable and low-maintenance cladding and flashing ensure that the house retains a watertight seal at all times. The minimal floor plan keeps the interior looking uncluttered and clean, accommodating a range of optional extras and different furniture arrangements. Owners can add storage, shelving, optional window/door upgrades and additions, awnings, a planter box, higher-end fixtures, and additional cabinetry. Basic models of the home start at around $62,500. + The Tiny House Company Via Apartment Therapy

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This tiny house on wheels can expand to meet the owner’s needs

MINI just unveiled an amazing all-electric model of their iconic car

March 28, 2018 by  
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MINI just unveiled a blast from the past with a modern twist: the classic MINI Electric. This unique all-electric car signals their commitment to zero emissions technology. In a statement , MINI said, “The spontaneous power of its electric motor provides a new dimension to the unmistakable go-kart feeling that helped propel the British small car in its original form to worldwide popularity.” The one-off classic MINI Electric hearkens back to the brand’s historic car – and it’s drumming up excitement for a fully electric production vehicle set to debut next year. The vehicle is a bright red “carefully restored example of the classic MINI Cooper ,” enhanced with yellow MINI Electric logos and a contrasting white roof. Technical specifications are scant – but the vehicle is equipped with a single electric motor, according to Carscoops . Related: MINI re-envisions the Cooper hatchback as an EV “The classic MINI Electric is the result of an imaginary journey through time, where the story of the classic model is extended by a consecutive chapter,” the company said. “The original from the second half of the 20th century becomes a sympathetic ambassador for environmental awareness and a form of sustainable mobility whose future has just begun.” Electrek pointed out that MINI has unveiled three working electric concepts without bringing one to production and it’s about time they did so — they’ve been laboring on EV MINIs for around 10 years now. They produced around 600 examples of 2008’s MINI E, which helped pave the way for the BMW i3 . The company’s production EV is being developed right now, MINI said, and is “based on the MINI 3 Door.” It will go into production in 2019 at their Oxford plant. The unveiling will coincide with the 60th anniversary of their classic car. + MINI Via Carscoops and Electrek Images via MINI

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MINI just unveiled an amazing all-electric model of their iconic car

Shell oil just unveiled a plan to move the world away from fossil fuels

March 27, 2018 by  
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Royal Dutch Shell just laid out a proposal to move us away from its own product. The company’s Sky Scenario is a plan to help the world meet the goals set forth in the Paris climate agreement . The plan would shift people away from oil and towards hydrogen and electric transportation in order to keep global warming under the 2 degree limit that most scientists think is the tipping point for climate change . As weird as it is for an oil company to suggest moving away from fossil fuels, Shell is putting its money where its mouth is. Last October, the company purchased an electric car charging company, a major natural gas company, and it’s working on carbon capture and storage technology through its Quest and Gorgon projects. Related: BP and Shell prepare for catastrophic climate change Shell’s Sky scenario details a way in which the world can shift from oil to other technologies by 2070. The proposal suggests addressing growing global energy needs by moving to clean electricity like solar and wind, replacing gas guzzlers with electric vehicles – particularly semi-trucks – and focusing on fuels like biofuel and hydrogen. “The relevant transformations in the energy and natural systems require concurrent climate policy action and the deployment of disruptive new technologies at mass scale within government policy environments that strongly incentivize investment and innovation,” the company said. Via The Washington Post Images via Shell and Deposit Photos

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Shell oil just unveiled a plan to move the world away from fossil fuels

These electric Porsche 911s can go 250 miles on a single charge

March 15, 2018 by  
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Who says classic cars are meant to be collector’s items rotting away in a garage? Dutch company Voitures Extravert is on a mission to turn vintage cars into electric vehicles revamped for today’s world. Using state-of-the-art fast-charging technology, the company is breathing new life into Porsche 911s from the ’70s and ’80s. Renamed as the Quintessenza, the electric version of the iconic sports car will cost about $370,000 – and it has a top speed of 124 mph and a range of 250 miles. Pledging to retain the iconic car’s signature style in order to appease the critical eyes of classic car enthusiasts, the team at Voitures Extravert will produce only five revamped models per year. The company is offering two versions of the electric classic: the Quintessenza SE, which has been remodeled to look like a 1960s 911, and the Quintessenza TE, which is reminiscent of the later 1980s models. Related: Over a third of all cars were electric a century ago Both of the models are equipped with a 60-kilowatt-hour pack that lets the electric cars go from zero to 62 mph in just six seconds, provides a range of 250 miles, and allows a top speed of 124 mph. Interestingly, the battery cells are spaced throughout the car, which gives the old classic a better weight distribution. The cars have also been upgraded with a better braking system, adjustable dampers, power steering, and air conditioning. According to Voitures Extravert, their mission reflects their belief that classic cars should be more than just nostalgic ornaments. With the Quintessenza project, they aim “to color the streets again with iconic classics, based on technology of our future, 100% rebuilt, true to its origin, powerful and silent, all electric.” + Voitures Extravert Via Acquire Mag Images via Voitures Extravert

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These electric Porsche 911s can go 250 miles on a single charge

6 cool cave homes that stay comfortable in summer and warm in winter

March 15, 2018 by  
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Cave homes have come a long way since prehistoric times. Far from primitive, many modern cave dwellings are surprisingly luxurious, comfortable, and beautiful places to call home. In addition to their head-turning location, cave homes tend to be naturally energy efficient thanks to their insulating earth walls that keep the inside air at comfortable temperatures year-round without heating or cooling. We’ve rounded up six such abodes that could make you want a cave home of your own. Rockhouse Retreat The Rockhouse Retreat is the luxury dream home located in a 700-year-old cave. Hand-carved from 250-million-year-old Triassic sandstone, this cave dwelling was fully restored and renovated by Worcestershire native Angelo Mastropietro who has transformed the space into “Britain’s first luxury cave house” with all the creature comforts of home—it even has WiFi—and made the home available for rent on AirBnB . Cuevas del Pino UMMO Estudio carefully slotted the modern Cuevas del Pino homes into calcarenite stone caves near Córdoba, Spain. The layout of the home was created in harmony with the existing rock wall formations. Natural materials like stone and timber complement the cave surroundings. Yaodong Renovation The Loess Plateau in China is home to many cave dwellers who live in very primitive conditions. Architect Shi Yang of hyperSity Architects renovated one of the caves into an extraordinary dream home that’s modern, aesthetically-pleasing, and full of natural light and ventilation. New Mexico Sandstone Homes Part art and part abode, artist Ra Paulette’s hand-carved sandstone homes are truly sculptural masterpieces. The inspiring artist meticulously turns sandstone into intricately detailed cave homes in New Mexico . He has since completed at least 12 caves over 12 years that include full power, wood flooring, and running water. Chez Hélène-Amboise Troglodyte A young French man named Alexis Lamoureux transformed a run-down cave home he purchased for just one euro into a gorgeous new abode with beautiful detailing. The original shelter lacked plumbing, sewage pipes, and electricity, so Lamoureux invested 35,000 euros and a lot of elbow grease to realize his chic new home. Luque Earth Homes BAUEN Architects tucked two homes into a sloped site in Luque, Paraguay. The green-roofed homes blend into the rolling hills and feature double-height windows that let plenty of light into the partially underground homes.

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6 cool cave homes that stay comfortable in summer and warm in winter

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