Adventurer plans to drive EV from South Pole to North Pole

April 9, 2021 by  
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When people think of the world’s toughest vehicles, an electric car doesn’t spring to mind. But rugged U.K. adventurer Chris Ramsey is planning to cover 17,000 miles from the South Pole to the magnetic North Pole in electric vehicles . Ramsey has been planning his upcoming journey for four years. The route will take him across 14 countries and three continents, in temperatures expected to range from -30°C to 28°C (-22°F to 82°F). The trip will take an estimated 120 days to complete and will save 29 metric tons of CO2 compared to making this same jaunt in a car with an internal combustion engine. If all goes well, Ramsey will take off on his Pole to Pole adventure in late 2022. Related: Tidal turbines power electric vehicles on Scotland’s Yell Island “Our mission is to show that electric vehicles can tackle the harshest of environments — from the colds of the Poles to the hot and humid jungles of South America,” Ramsey said. “This is the ultimate test of range and durability, and by overcoming these obstacles we aim to prove that EV adoption is a possibility for everyone, while also raising awareness of sustainable lifestyles, conservation projects, and renewable energy innovation along our route.” Ramsey is no newcomer to the EV lifestyle. In 2017, he and his wife Julie were the first people to complete the 10,000-mile Mongol Rally in an electric vehicle. It took them 56 days to drive from the UK to Siberia, passing through 20 countries. Ramsey made the Guinness Book of World Records for greatest distance traveled on an e-bike in 12 hours by peddling 177.81 miles in 2018. Polar specialist Arctic Trucks is preparing the electric expedition vehicles, planning the Arctic and Antarctic routes and providing logistical support. “We acknowledge that battery -based electric vehicles have important hurdles to overcome for use in the extreme cold, a challenge for which we are excited to be a part of developing solutions,” said Arctic Truck chairman Emil Grimsson. “The Polar Regions are very important to us all for a variety of reasons and operations there will only increase. This project will give us important information about how we develop our future vehicles. We’re very excited to be working alongside Chris and his team to offer our support to this timely and unique adventure.” Via The Herald and Clean Technica Image via Matthias

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Adventurer plans to drive EV from South Pole to North Pole

Sea level rise creates "ghost forests" along the Atlantic coast

April 9, 2021 by  
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Sea level rise is killing forests in protected areas on the eastern U.S. coast, according to a  recent report . The research, carried out by PhD candidate Emily Ury of Duke University in collaboration with eight other universities, has revealed that large chunks of forests have been destroyed by the effects of rising sea levels along the Atlantic coast and other parts of the world. The damage is so extensive that it can be seen from space. The study involved physical observations of forested regions close to the shorelines in North Carolina as well as analysis of satellite images and wetland water samples. Ury has found permanent flooding to be common in the low-lying areas of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Related: Indigenous Amazon communities use tech to protect the forest In analyzing satellite images, Ury said that her team found huge parts of wetlands that had been lost to seawater over the past 35 years. “The results were shocking,” Ury said. “We found that more than 10% of forested wetland within the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge was lost over the past 35 years. This is federally protected land, with no other human activity that could be killing off the forest .” Flooding into these forested areas means that the salty water leads to the death of indigenous trees. When the native trees die, shrubs and other salt-tolerant plants crop up in the same place. Unfortunately, the plants that take over do not have the same ecological value in this location as those that died. A separate  study  co-authored by Ury and her colleagues reveals that tree deaths due to sea level rise have been happening more dramatically in recent years. The study indicates that despite protections for a large part of the North Carolina shoreline, the land cover has changed by 32% over a period of 35 years. The change is largely attributed to climate change and sea level rise. The paper identifies the grave effects of rising sea levels and the loss of forests. Many tree species have already been lost, taking away vital habitats for wildlife. Among the affected species are the endangered red wolf and the red-cockaded woodpecker. Ury is also concerned that the loss of forests contributes further to climate change, as these lost trees were sequestering carbon. + The Conversation Image via Emily Ury

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Sea level rise creates "ghost forests" along the Atlantic coast

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

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