India to only sell electric cars by 2030

June 5, 2017 by  
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India is taking huge strides to escape its dubious distinction as one of the most polluted countries on Earth. The government is taking dramatic measures to clean the country’s air – including the switch to sell solely electric cars in just 13 years. If the amount of diesel and petrol cars dwindles on the streets of India, the country could lower the dangerous levels of air pollution that have led to the deaths of 1.2 million people annually. Energy minister Piyush Goyal said India would financially back the move for the first two to three years; then electric vehicle production will be “driven by demand and not subsidy.” Related: New Delhi has the worst air pollution of any city on earth The move has been praised by environmentalists and, naturally, worried the oil industry. India is the third biggest oil importer in the world – each year they spend $150 billion on oil. Moving to electric cars could save the country $60 billion in energy expenses. Indian car owners would also save money by switching to electric vehicles . Goyal, who presented the government’s plan at the Confederation of Indian Industry Annual Session 2017 in New Delhi, said the government would invest in charging infrastructure, beginning in big urban areas like Delhi. He also said they were considering methods like swapping batteries “so cars don’t have to wait for batteries to be charged,” saying, “Electric cars can then move to petrol pumps, swap their batteries, and drive out, just like they do now. And it will take less time than what it takes to put petrol in your car, like in Formula 1 races!” The transition to electric cars would also help the country slash greenhouse gas emissions. Calculations indicate India’s carbon emissions could decrease 37 percent by 2030 with the move to electric vehicles. Via World Economic Forum and International Business Times Images via Mahindra Electric Facebook

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India to only sell electric cars by 2030

It took more than 25 years to build this incredible walkable world map

June 5, 2017 by  
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You’d need around 11 years to walk around the globe – if you can walk on water. But a world map in Denmark makes the feat possible in a few minutes. Verdenskortet , or world map , is a walkable map , made of soil and stone, built on top of a pond. It took Søren Poulsen more than two decades to complete this extraordinary project, and it was worth the wait. Poulsen, who was born in 1888 in Denmark, realized a stone on his land was shaped similar to the Jutland Peninsula. That stone launched the idea to create a world map, and Poulsen started the project in 1944. He continued working on the map, located at his childhood home at Klejtrup Lake, until he died in 1969. Today the map comprises the center of a park offering outdoor activities and event space. Around 35,000 people visit every single year. Related: Our World: A Giant Pixelated LEGO Map Built from 1 Million Bricks! Poulson made the map out of rocks and dirt, using just hand tools, a pushcart, and a wheelbarrow. The Verdenskortet Facebook page explains the stones comprising the world map were moved onto the ice during winter, and then in spring the stones could be moved into place. Flags mark each country, and there’s even yellow bricks dividing America up into states. Red poles indicate where the equator lies. The world map is 300 feet by 150 feet, and every 10 inches represents around 69 miles in the real world. Today the park offers guided tours of Verdenskortet, paired with coffee and cake. People can play miniature golf on the grass, or take a class field trip to the map. Visitors can take a boat trip around the mini Pacific Ocean , and on land go on pony rides, play old Viking games, or jump on a trampoline. Park entry is inexpensive; around $12 for adults and $8 for kids. + Verdenskortet Via GOOD Images via Verdenskortet Facebook

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It took more than 25 years to build this incredible walkable world map

What’s next for the Paris Accord

June 5, 2017 by  
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What happens to the Paris Climate Agreement now that the leader of the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions has signaled his intent to withdraw from the landmark accord? We take a closer look at the consequences of Donald Trump’s decision to rescind US efforts to limit global warming in accordance with the 2015 agreement. President Donald Trump is a showman and his press conference was political theater for the 61 million Americans who voted him into office last November. The reality is that the withdrawal process could take up to four years to complete and Trump could be exiting the White House before he exits the Paris Accord if he doesn’t win reelection. The other reality is that, thanks to Senate Republicans who would never ratify the Paris Accord as a treaty, in order to push it past the finish line with the US onboard, the deal had to be “non-binding,” meaning all actions are voluntary. Related: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement By declaring its intent to withdraw from the Paris Accord, the US joins Syria and Nicaragua in refusing the deal. It should be noted that Nicaragua didn’t join the agreement because it didn’t go far enough in emissions reductions for the Central American nation. Minus the US, a total of  194 countries have signed and 147 parties have ratified the accord , representing 66 percent of global emissions. The accord entered into force on November 4, 2016 — 30 days after at least 55 parties representing at least 55 percent of global emissions joined. While it certainly could be argued that Trump has damaged America’s standing in the international community, it is not so clear that Trump has actually hurt the Paris Accord, Actually, there are indications that Trump’s announcement is having the opposite effect, with countries, cities and corporations redoubling their commitments to the Paris Accord and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Many experts believe that since Trump was never serious about committing the US to climate action, that his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord could actually free up other world leaders to draft an even stronger agreement with enforcement mechanisms not possible with a Republican-ruled Senate in the US. Australian climate scientist Luke Kemp told The New York Times, “I worry that letting the United States just stay in the agreement and do whatever it wants could show how weak Paris is. It sends the message that the agreement is more about symbolism than action.” CHINA AND EU TAKING THE LEAD With Trump ceding US leadership on climate, China and the European Union are stepping in to fill the power vacuum. In a joint statement following Trump’s announcement, China and the EU — backed by all 28 EU member states — reaffirmed their commitment to full implementation of the Paris climate deal. The statement, the first between the EU and China, commited to cutting back on fossil fuels and increasing development of green technologies. Related: China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump “The EU and China consider climate action and the clean energy transition an imperative more important than ever,” the statement reads. “The increasing impacts of climate change require a decisive response.” CITIES, STATES AND BUSINESSES STEPPING UP A group that so far includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses is negotiating with the United Nations to have their climate contributions accepted alongside other nations who have signed onto the accord. The Democratic governors of California, Washington and New York formed the US Climate Alliance to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Accord after Trump’s announcement. It isn’t only Democrats defying Trump — Charlie Baker, the popular Republican governor of Massachusetts, said on Friday that he was joining the US Climate Alliance . Related: US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump “As the commonwealth reiterates its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, today we join the U.S. Climate Alliance to expand our efforts while partnering with other states to combat climate change,” Baker said in a statement, adding that the initiative aims “to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation.” Also after Trump’s announcement, 187 mayors representing more than 52 million Americans and some of the largest US cities, stated their intention to individually join the Paris Accord and work together on stronger climate change mitigation measures and transitioning to the 21st century clean energy economy. Cities around the world protested Trump pulling out of the Paris accord, including Tel Aviv, which lit up city hall in green lights . “We need to take responsibility for the next generation,” Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement posted to Facebook. “That means, among other things, continuing to research, learn and act on the quality of the environment and the climate.” Major corporations are also on board with the Paris Accord — 95 of the world’s largest companies have commited to 100 percent renewables, including Google, Walmart and Nike. GREEN TECHNOLOGIES GETTING CHEAPER The price of solar, wind, batteries and other green technologies are dropping fast, leading to increased integration into the electricity grid. In 2016, the amount of new solar power coming online nearly doubled from the previous year — enough to power 2 million homes. Related: The sweet moment California got a record 50% of its electricity from solar Republican-ruled states are leading the renewables revolution. Kansas tripled its wind power production between 2011 and 2015. Wyoming leads the nation with 1,600 watts of new renewable energy capacity per capita being built. Nevada leads the nation in new solar power jobs while North Dakota leads in new wind power jobs. The conservative town of Georgetown, Texas is on track to be 100 percent renewable energy this year, becoming the largest US city to achieve the clean energy goal. Dale Ross, the mayor of Georgetown, admits “it’s the reddest of cities, in the reddest of states…but we put national politics aside to do our best for the people we’re elected to serve.” Images via Wikipedia 1 , 2 , 3 , 4  and White House Archives

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What’s next for the Paris Accord

We test drove the new Chevrolet Bolt and heres the scoop

April 11, 2017 by  
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When we were invited to test-drive the brand new Chevy Bolt electric vehicle, we naturally jumped on the opportunity. The new Chevrolet Bolt is Chevy’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle, designed for those who want to go further than a hybrid plugin electric like the Chevy Volt . With a range of 238 miles per charge (better than the Nissan Leaf and comparable to the much higher priced Tesla Model S ), for a price tag of around the 30K (after the tax rebates), many have high hopes for the Chevy Bolt as the first true “electric vehicle for the masses”. We were curious to see how this car would fare in real life, and were excited to check it out. Hailed by automotive enthusiasts as the “Tesla Killer,” the Bolt has been a frontrunner in the competition against Tesla’s more affordable electric car, the Model 3 , and now enjoys an entire year’s head start to market. Will the Bolt bring a new wave of adoption for electric vehicles? Read on for our thoughts: We set out in our burnt orange Bolt EV just an hour south of San Francisco, along the picturesque, tree-lined roads of Portola Valley. From the minute we hit our first hill-hugging turn, we knew that we were in for a smooth experience. The car carries the bulk of its weight in its floor-mounted lithium-ion battery pack, which translates to a lower center of gravity, better structural integrity, and ultimately a more enjoyable ride than most gas cars. Naturally of course, the car is extremely quiet as well, without any vroom vroom of an engine. The unique placement of the battery also allows for a flatter floor, making the Bolt noticeably roomier then the Volt and many of its electric vehicle competitors. With AeroVironment’s Level 2 charging station the battery can be recharged to full in only eight hours, making charging as simple and intuitive as plugging in before going to bed. On straighter stretches we were able to zip from 0-60mph in an impressive 6.5 seconds. Drivers can choose between “Drive” and “Low” modes, and while Low mode permits speeds as highs as those in Drive mode, its “regenerative” braking system cleverly funnels braking friction back into the battery the moment the driver lifts their foot from the pedal. A paddle behind the left side of the steering wheel can be used to the same effect or to increase brake regeneration, so much so that the car can come to a complete stop without hitting the brakes. It’s ideal for stop-and-go traffic and even better for conserving energy. Drivers can visualize the energy captured on the car’s 10.2-inch touch screen display. With an impressive 238-mile range per charge, Bay Area owners can make a complete one-way trip to Tahoe without having to refuel, making the Bolt far more suitable for weekend trips than many of its EV competitors, such as the Nissan Leaf . The car’s official MSRP is $37,495 but a federal tax credit of $7500 puts it firmly in the under $30,000 range. All in all, it is easy to see why the Bolt EV might be a tempting choice for those in the market for an electric vehicle. With exceptional range, groundbreaking technology, and roomy interior, we’re convinced the Bolt delivers on everything it promised. Chevy Bolts officially went on sale at dealerships across the West Coast this past December and will be reaching excited customers across the nation by mid 2017. + Chevrolet Bolt

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We test drove the new Chevrolet Bolt and heres the scoop

Tesla to start test-building the Model 3 this month

February 9, 2017 by  
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Now that the Chevy Bolt has officially arrived, the attention is now on Tesla to see if it can meet its production deadlines for the Model 3. According to Reuters, Elon Musk’s company is now one step closer to the start of the official production as the automaker plans to test-build the Model 3 later this month. Tesla hasn’t confirmed how many Model 3 vehicles will be produced this month, but it will likely be a small number. In part this will allow the automaker test the existing assembly system, and quality test the Model 3 . It’s rumored that the pilot production will kick off on February 20, which will also give Tesla the ability to share the news and potentially reveal pre-production models two days later when it shares its four-quarter 2016 results on February 22. Related: Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car Tesla is expected to shut down production at its California plant for a week later this month to prepare for the high-volume Model 3. The brief shutdown will enable Tesla to make some necessary changes to the paint shop and other maintenance upgrades, both prerequisites for kicking off production of the Model 3 later this year. If all goes as planned, this should happen in July, and Tesla hopes to ramp up production significantly by 2018. + Tesla Via Reuters All images © Tesla

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Tesla to start test-building the Model 3 this month

Family renovates century-old barn into stunning modern home in Washington state

February 9, 2017 by  
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If barn living never appealed to you before, this renovated farmhouse in Washington may be what it takes to change your mind. Seattle-based MW Works transformed an early-20th-century barn into a stunning family home with interiors that beautifully blend modern design with rustic elements. The 3,875-square-foot repurposed barn, known as Canyon Barn, is outfitted with salvaged materials from the original structure and nearby buildings. Located in the East Cascades, the three-bedroom Canyon Barn is a timber structure with a sharply pitched roof . The architects strived to preserve as much of the barn’s original form, character, and history as possible, while creating a comfortable and well-insulated home. The most eye-catching addition is the new glazed window at the entrance that stretches the full height of the gable wall, exposing a cozy warm-toned interior that contrasts with the dark weathered siding. The ground floor features a large double-height living area as well as a storage space, utilities area, and two small bedrooms. A timber and metal staircase provides access to the second-floor dining room and kitchen, secondary living room, master bedroom, and play area. Large lights hang from the exposed trusses of the wooden roof. The panel wall of apple crates and a large custom light fixture that hangs over the dining table were made from salvaged materials found around the barn. Related: Architects transform 18th century barn with seamless contemporary extension “New interventions were carefully considered to have a modern aesthetic while at the same time working within this raw palette,” wrote the architects. “A blend of preservation and intervention, the project updates an aging barn without losing sight of its history.” The renovation won a 2013 Merit Award in the AIA Honor Awards for Washington. + MW Works Images by Tim Bies

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Family renovates century-old barn into stunning modern home in Washington state

Chinese company LeEco begins building $3 billion electric car factory

December 30, 2016 by  
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Chinese technology company LeEco just commenced construction of a $3 billion electric car factory. The facility could start churning out the company’s LeSee sedan in a few years, producing a staggering 400,000 vehicles by 2018. Roughly 90 percent of the futuristic factory’s work may be completed by robots . LeEco, which currently makes products like televisions, was in trouble. In a November letter to staff, founder Jia Yueting said the company expanded too fast and was struggling, and then cut his own income down to 15 cents. But about two weeks after the letter, the company reported they’d raised $600 million from unidentified investors but proceeded to lay off around 60 Hong Kong employees anyway. Then LeEco received another $1.44 billion investment this past Wednesday, again from an unidentified investor, and broke ground on the factory the same day. It is unclear whether those employees will be re-instated, or of their jobs will be replaced by robots. Related: Elon Musk just confirmed plans for a new Tesla Roadster According to Car News China , LeEco hasn’t yet obtained a government license to produce their LeSee cars at the factory. The outlet even said there’s a “real possibility” the government will refuse LeEco a license, as the CEO isn’t currently popular in Beijing. However, according to the South China Morning Post, a mayor of a city close to the factory said the local government will support the project. Should LeEco obtain permission, the factory is slated to produce the company’s first concept car, the LeSee. Zhang Hailiang, chief executive of LeEco’s car unit LeSupercar, said the factory will be automated completely, as robots do the bulk of the work. The electric vehicle would be equipped to operate autonomously . Fancy features include five in-car screens, smart seating, and the ability to recharge via magnetic charging stations. LeEco said Earth’s topography inspired the LeSee’s design, with the interior influenced by geological and biological patterns. Vegan materials and neutral colors add to the vehicle’s natural feel. According to the company , the form and function of the car “address future needs of our society and showcase a symbiosis between human, machine, and nature.” Via Carscoops and South China Morning Post Images via LeEco

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NASA envisions ice dome home for future Mars dwellers

December 30, 2016 by  
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Future Mars dwellers face a tricky architectural challenge: how will structures protect them from radiation in an extreme environment? Experts from NASA’s Langley Research Center , Clouds Architecture Office , and Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch) found a creative answer in ice . They designed Mars Ice Home , an inflatable shelter enveloped in a water ice shell that provides protections and views of the scenery on Mars, and it could be partly repurposed for rocket fuel. The lightweight torus-shaped Mars Ice Home could offer a sustainable, safe home for astronauts on the red planet. With its ubiquitous hydrogen presence, water is especially well-suited to protect humans from galactic cosmic rays – one of the largest risks astronauts face by staying on Mars for an extended time period, according to NASA . The high-energy radiation can damage human DNA and cells, putting astronauts at risk for cancer or acute radiation sickness. Related: Foster + Partners unveils 3D-printed Mars settlement built by robots for NASA competition Water is even easily obtainable on the red planet, giving new meaning to the idea of locally-sourced. Recent NASA research revealed a Mars water ice deposit holds a similar amount of water as Lake Superior . The dwelling could be set up via robotics before astronauts arrive, which is helpful because with the current design, it would take around 400 days to fill the home with water. When it’s time to leave, water from Mars Ice Home could possibly be converted into rocket fuel usable by the Mars Ascent Vehicle. NASA says the home could double as a refillable storage tank as different astronaut groups travel to and off Mars. In the past many researchers pointed to underground dwellings as a solution to architectural challenges on Mars, but the new NASA design eschews that idea in favor of a light-filled residence. Researcher Kevin Kempton said in a statement, “All of the materials we’ve selected are translucent, so some outside daylight can pass through and make it feel like you’re in a home and not a cave…After months of travel in space , when you first arrive at Mars and your new home is ready for you to move in, it will be a great day.” Via NASA Images via NASA/Clouds AO/SEArch and courtesy of Kevin Kempton

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NASA envisions ice dome home for future Mars dwellers

Nissans e-NV200 van is transformed into the worlds first all-electric mobile workspace

November 4, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGESYkvDN-w&feature=youtu.be The e-NV200 WORKSPACe concept meets all the needs of the worker who hates to be stuck in the office. LED lights controlled by your smartphone, wireless phone charging capabilities, and a touchscreen computer make the tiny space incredibly user-friendly, while a mount for a foldable Brompton Bike allows gives workers the option to hit the trail during breaks. Related: The 10 best electric vehicles for every buyer Daylight pours into the workspace through a panoramic glass roof, illuminating the bright color scheme inside. The space is equipped to handle one person or two co-workers on laptops with mounts for two desk chairs. Alternatively, sitting outside on the pull-out floating desk gives more room and a front row seat to the natural surroundings. A central console contains a drawer-system mini-fridge and wireless smartphone charging dock and the fold-down desk reveals a touchscreen computer, wireless mouse and keyboard, and plenty of storage for office supplies. Nissan ’s electric van combines the best from its Leaf and NV200 models into a vehicle which can run on just £2 per 100 miles. The e-NV200 WORKSPACe technology and design can be seen as an attempt to keep up with the amount of co-working and hot-desking spaces around the globe, which grew 36 percent in 2015 . A few years from now, we could see several electric, mobile workspaces popping up closer to home. + Nissan + Studio Hardie Via Design Taxi Images via Studio Hardie

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Nissans e-NV200 van is transformed into the worlds first all-electric mobile workspace

LA architecture students design innovative houses for the homeless

November 4, 2016 by  
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Like many major cities, Los Angeles is currently in the middle of a housing crisis. Homeless populations are exploding, with encampments appearing on sidewalks, in parks, near overpasses, and along bridges through the city. While city officials are working on a ballot initiative to build 8,000 to 10,000 units to bring the homeless in off the streets, it could take years for those units to become available even if the measure passes. In response to the situation, students from University of Southern California’s School of Architecture have stepped up to create innovative new structures to shelter the homeless. The project is called the Homeless Studio , and it’s made up of 11 fourth year architecture students. Their solutions run the gamut from temporary shelters to expandable modular buildings. When the structures are complete, the students will deliver them to homeless people around the city, and an agency that supports the homeless in the San Fernando Valley will use their final project as a prototype shelter. Related: Brilliant sleeping bag transforms into a tent to provide shelter for homeless Rather than simply attending lectures by experts, the students have also done some intense on the ground research by meeting and talking to homeless people throughout the city. Organizations like Midnight Mission and Skid Row Housing Trust helped connect the students to real people, so they could better understand the day-to-day challenges their shelters would have to overcome. Some of the students used solutions they saw in practice on the streets – using reclaimed materials to create temporary shelters. Students Alexxa Soloman, Maria Ceja, and Belinda Park used scavenged shipping palettes, Ikea shelves, and pieces of plywood in their construction. Their classmates Jeremy Carman and Jayson Champlain took a different approach, creating a blue, rectangular box coated in fiberglass that expands outward to create sleeping and storage space. The designs are more than just a way for their occupants to stay warm and dry: they’re also a way to restore dignity to a population that too often has gone without it. Related: Homeless folks help feed their entire shelter with this flourishing rooftop garden For their final, the students are collaborating on the design for a temporary housing development for Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission . The agency plans to take the class’s plans, renderings, and full-scale prototype to help fundraise the final project. While a site hasn’t yet been selected, the plan complies with requirements for any commercial or industrial zoning. + The Homeless Studio Via Wired  

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LA architecture students design innovative houses for the homeless

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