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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Chinese company LeEco begins building $3 billion electric car factory

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

Mercedes-Benz unveils latest Tesla Model X rival – the Generation EQ

September 30, 2016 by  
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It’s no secret that Mercedes-Benz is planning on expanding its electric car lineup beyond the current B-Class and Smart ForTwo. This week the automaker is giving the world a preview of its next-generation of electric cars with the debut of the Generation EQ concept at the Paris Motor Show . Just like BMW, Mercedes-Benz is going to create a sub-brand for its electric cars, which will be called “EQ,” which stands for “Electric Intelligence.” The Generation EQ concept previews an electric SUV that will go head-to-head with models like the Tesla Model X and upcoming Audi Q6 e-tron. It will then be followed by a range of electric cars that will all feature the EQ name with a third letter to signify its positioning in the lineup, like EQS and EQC. Even though there will be several new electric models, they will be based on the same modular platform that places the battery in the floor of the vehicle and an electric motor at one or both of the axles. Related: VW’s new electric car goes further and costs less than the Tesla 3 or Chevy Bolt The Generation EQ concept is powered by two electric motors that deliver a combined output of around 400 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Since there are two motors, the concept is essentially an all-wheel drive electric vehicle and Mercedes-Benz expects a 0-60 mph time of less than 5.0 seconds. The concept’s large 70 kWh lithium-ion battery will give it a driving range around 300 miles on a single charge. Beyond the electric powertrain , the Generation EQ concept also previews new technology on the inside that we may see in the not too distant future, like OLED displays in the steering wheel and a 24-inch high-definition wide-screen display that presents relevant information, such as speed, range, driving data or navigation and map details. The driver and passengers will also enjoy the four individual seats that provide a feeling of floating in space. The avant-garde seat upholstery features side bolsters that are covered in light-white leather, while perforations with a pixel rain look reveal a view of particles in rose gold. Speakers are also integrated into the head restraints, and TFT monitors for rear-seat entertainment are integrated into the front backrests. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t announced when the first EQ models will be introduced, but the first models are expected by the end of the decade. + Mercedes-Benz All images @ Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz unveils latest Tesla Model X rival – the Generation EQ

Meet SOLO, an affordable electric three-wheeled commuter vehicle for one

September 9, 2016 by  
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Called the SOLO for short, this little electric car is downright amazing. It has three wheels—two in the front and one in the rear. The body looks a lot like every other car out there, except that its triangular shape makes it appear as though it’s been smooshed in on itself a bit. The body is built largely from carbon fiber for a durable but lightweight ride, which aids in energy efficiency as well. Related: The 10 best electric vehicles for every buyer The SOLO may be small (and a little weird looking), but that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. It boasts 140 ft-lbs of torque with an engine output up to 82 hp that can rev from 0 to 60 miles an hour in 8 seconds. With a top speed of 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), the SOLO is right at home on interstates and city freeways, turning an ordinary commute into an emission-free breeze. The SOLO also features all-wheel disc brakes and sporty 15” aluminum alloy wheels make it easy to stop on a dime. Electra Meccanica recognizes that range anxiety can be a big turn-off for prospective EV buyers, so the SOLO was built with a 16.1 kWh Lithium Ion battery capable of providing up to six hours of run time and maximum range of 100 miles on a single charge. The average American commutes around 26 miles each way, so the SOLO provides more than enough coverage for a daily trek between the home and the office, with a few side trips thrown in for good measure. (That’s right. The SOLO may be tiny and only seat one person, but it still has room for groceries.) Electra Meccanica found that some 80 percent of commuters travel alone, so a single-seater commuter vehicle that happens to be better for the environment is so many “wins” we can’t keep track. Did we mention this cute little commuter is affordable, to boot? With a starting price of just $15,400 ($19,888 CAD), the SOLO fits comfortably into a wide range of car-buying budgets . Electra Meccanica is accepting pre-orders with a small refundable deposit for a very limited time. “The entire team here at Electra Meccanica is excited to unveil the SOLO at the Luxury and Supercar show,” said CEO Jerry Kroll. “Most people had a good idea of what the SOLO would become, but they will be impressed by its clever design and meticulous attention to detail. It far exceeded our expectations.” Same here, Jerry. Same here. + 2017 Electra Meccanica SOLO Images via Electra Meccanica

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Meet SOLO, an affordable electric three-wheeled commuter vehicle for one

Foldable bike scooter combo runs entirely on electricity

August 1, 2016 by  
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Seen On Screen TV (SONT) is crowdfunding on Indiegogo right now for their ScootMatic : a foldable scooter and bicycle combination that’s powered completely by electricity . SONT describes the ScootMatic as the lightest “bike/scooter” in the world. The ScootMatic can travel 28 miles on one charge and recharges in three to five hours. SONT’s vision was to design a “unique, innovative, and smooth” vehicle. They came up with the ScootMatic, a hybrid that blends the functionality of a scooter with a look similar to a bicycle . Another goal was to create an environmentally friendly vehicle, so SONT gave the ScootMatic a Samsung lithium battery allowing it to run on electricity. The vehicle also features an LED headlight and LED display. Related: Movpak hybrid backpack and electric skateboard is a commuter’s dream The ScootMatic can reach speeds of 16 miles per hour, and SONT says it navigates up hills with ease. They recommend the ScootMatic for those looking for a fun alternative to cars or public transportation in cities and suburbs. The scooter bike combo is light and easy to transport: it weighs about 39 pounds, and when it is folded, it has a length of 48 inches, height of 22 inches, and width of 9.5 inches. SONT says the ScootMatic folds up in just one second. The scooter bike sports other fun features like a leather seat, remote control starter, and Bluetooth speakers. It’s made of “aviation aluminum” and includes a “car-like alarm system.” According to SONT, the team has been working on the ScootMatic for more than a year, and as opposed to other tech products that can be found on Indiegogo, “…the SONT INC team has the experience of bringing many projects to life.” There’s just under one week left to go in the campaign; you can check the ScootMatic out on Indiegogo here . After the campaign, the ScootMatic will cost $1,799; an early bird special offers the scooter bike for just $799. + ScootMatic + Seen On Screen TV Images via Seen On Screen TV

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Foldable bike scooter combo runs entirely on electricity

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