3 ways EVs could sideswipe the ‘rules’ of urban living

July 20, 2017 by  
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Or, what I learned by attending the inaugural Formula-E championship race in New York.

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3 ways EVs could sideswipe the ‘rules’ of urban living

Teslas Model 3 electric car to finally go on sale this Friday

July 3, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s highly-anticipated Model 3 electric car will officially hit the market this Friday, according to an early-morning tweet by CEO Elon Musk . Estimated to sell for approximately $27,500 with a federal tax credit, the five-seater will be able to travel 215 miles on a single charge and it’s capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. According to Musk, production for the Model 3 was supposed to start in July, but the company has faced numerous delays. The Palo Alto , California-based company is seeking to churn out 5,000 Model 3 sedans each week by the end of 2017, and 10,000 per week in 2018. As Phys.org reports, the speed at which Tesla can meet its production goals is questionable because last year, the company only produced 84,000 cars. In comparison, competitors such as General Motors, Volkswagen, and Toyota sell 10 million vehicles per year. Related: Chevy unveils first pre-production Bolt EV ahead of Tesla’s Model 3 debut An additional concern is how Tesla will meet all the servicing needs for all Model 3 vehicles, as Model S and Model X owners will have to share the company-owned charging stations with an influx of new cars. One way Tesla intends to assist consumers who are far away from charging stations is to deploy a fleet of mobile service trucks who are on-hand and ready to help. The company also seeks to double its high-speed charging points to 10,000 by the end of 2017. Tesla’s Model 3 will face stiff competition, however – the Chevrolet Bolt costs $36,000 and can travel 238 miles per charge, and the next-gen Nissan Leaf is expected to have autonomous driving technology and a range close to 300 miles. + Tesla Via Phys.org Images via Autoblog , Wikimedia

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Teslas Model 3 electric car to finally go on sale this Friday

Dwell Development’s net-zero home in Seattle is packed with sustainable goodness

June 29, 2017 by  
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This 5-Star Built Green home in Mount Baker, Seattle is packed with sustainable elements – including locally and sustainably-sourced materials and net-zero building strategies. The house was designed by JT Architecture for Dwell Development , and it’s perched on a peaceful hilltop in one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods with expansive views of the city. The design of the Mount Baker house is in line with the philosophy of Dwell Development and its net zero strategy rooted in the idea of remaining local. Each home by the firm occupies an urban site in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, where homeowners can live within blocks of all essential services and social activities. This new home was built on an urban infill lot steps away from Hunter Boulevard which includes an Olmsted designed center median park and dense retail and commercial areas on Rainier and McClellan. Related: Dwell Development’s outstanding zero-energy Emerald Star home in Seattle is almost entirely reclaimed The floors throughout the building are covered in sustainably harvested walnut from Montana, while the exterior polished concrete pavers were sourced locally. The exterior facade of the house is clad with reclaimed barn wood and reclaimed standing seam metal sourced from Oregon, while the interior features posts wrapped in over 100-year-old hand-hewn beam skins from Montana. The house is prepped for solar panels and electric vehicle charging, uses 100% LED lighting and is 100% electric. An exterior barrier system and a heat recover ventilation system regulate indoor temperatures 24/7. + JT Architecture + Dwell Development Photos by Tucker English

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Dwell Development’s net-zero home in Seattle is packed with sustainable goodness

INTERVIEW: Meet Eric Lundgren, who broke the world record for EV range with a car made from trash

June 22, 2017 by  
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Eric Lundgren, the founder and CEO of e-waste recycling company ITAP , recently beat the electric vehicle driving range of a Tesla with a car made from trash and powered by repurposed Nintendo batteries. (Well, technically not just Nintendo batteries but Lenovo laptop and Time Warner cable box batteries too.) But how did he accomplish the seemingly impossible? Read on for our exclusive interview. “It’s not magic. We just put a larger battery in a lighter frame. It’s that simple,” Lundgren explained in a recent interview with Inhabitat. “We basically put a 130 kilowatt hours battery pack in a car that weighs a little bit less than a Tesla.” Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars Lundgren is a pioneer in hybrid recycling — reusing the components in broken electronics or outdated electronics so that they don’t end up in toxic landfills. His trash car — the Phoenix — broke the world record for longest EV range last month, outlasting a Tesla Model S P100D on a round-trip from L.A. to San Diego. His team had already set the EV range record but Guinness didn’t accept the results because of missing film footage of the event so they gave it another go with cameras on for the entire race. They built the Phoenix in 35 days at a cost of $13,000 using 88 percent consumer waste. The $150,000 Tesla died at 318 miles while the trash car set the new world record — 382.3 miles on a single charge. Related: Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year In our interview (edited for clarity), Lundgren talks about how despite his success with electric vehicle range, his passion lies in making hybrid recycling widely accepted in society. Inhabitat: What motivated you to build the Phoenix and beat the EV world range record? Eric Lundgren: I’m all about hybrid recycling. The Phoenix was a way to demonstrate hybrid recycling. That was the purpose. I don’t want to become a car manufacturer. I want to do hybrid recycling and the Phoenix was a great demonstration. Inhabitat: What materials did you use to build the Phoenix? Lundgren: It is the most environmental car ever built with the lowest carbon footprint. The chassis of the car came from a scrap yard. It was about to get crushed and we dragged it out of the scrap yard. It didn’t even have wheels on it. We put wheels on it. We took out everything. Converted it to an EV. And we put used batteries – basically trash batteries – in it. The controller came off of a forklift. The blinker came off of a bicycle. The car itself is two 1997 BMW 528is that we frankensteined together to make one car. Inhabitat: What is the connection to hybrid recycling? Lundgren: We used garbage. We used all garbage, all old technology. All things that our consumer world said were trash and have zero value. And we built something that is the most valuable because it just beat a world record. So we’re demonstrating the value in garbage and trying to educate the public and corporations to start practicing hybrid recycling, which is a way of saving that value rather than destroying it. Inhabitat: It is amazing how badly you beat the Tesla. Lundgren: We took 35 days to build it. Tesla took a year-and-a-half to build their car. Tesla’s research and development cost was $1.4 billion. Our R&D cost: I paid my engineers in Keystone Light beer. Our car has one-tenth the carbon footprint ratio of a Tesla. Inhabitat: The number one issue with EVs is range anxiety. You would think that Tesla would want to increase their range. Lundgren: If Tesla increased their range, are you willing to pay an extra $30,000 for an extra hundred miles? My guess is they did some sort of marketing survey and realized that at 300 miles people are not willing to pay more money for longer range so they stopped there and the world says ‘oh, they must have stopped there because that’s the best that a car can do.’ Well I just proved that that’s not true. I just proved that cars can do more. Inhabitat: What are your objectives regarding the EV industry and hybrid recycling? Lundgren: My goal is to push the EV industry to produce cars that people want to buy so that we can get off of fossil fuel. My other goal is to demonstrate hybrid recycling so that companies like Tesla send dead battery packs to a hybrid recycler that can actually salvage the good parts out of them to build something new – rather than what they currently do, which is send them to a company in Canada, which smelts the battery pack for its commodity value. That’s bringing all the value in a pack down to its lowest common denominator. Inhabitat: What are you working on next? Lundgren: We’re going to build the largest repurposed battery pack for my facilities. All the power from my recycling is going to come from solar panels that go to a giant solar power array that runs my entire factory that produces batteries from trash. So in other words, my processing facility is going to be run from the sun to garbage batteries. That’s what is going to power my entire processing facility within the next six weeks. Inhabitat: You are building an electric semi truck to compete with Elon Musk’s Tesla Semi? Lundgren: In September Elon Musk releases his electric semi . In November, I’m releasing an electric semi that costs a fraction of the price of his, goes 55 miles further and is built from basically consumer waste. I don’t know what his semi is going to cost. My guess is it is going to cost around $300,000 or $400,000. My semi is going to cost $60,000 – and it will go farther than his. Inhabitat: Any thoughts on the era of affordable electric vehicles about to begin with the upcoming release of the Tesla Model 3 ? Lundgren: I truly believe that the world is going to go EV . I truly believe that the world is going to utilize lithium to get away from burning coal and to get away from all of these other primitive ways that we produce and use power, and transport ourselves today. We need to evolve as a society – and electric vehicles are a way to do that – but the recycling of those vehicles is just as important as the manufacturing. It doesn’t get enough attention. People don’t realize what happens to things when they just discard them. We need to start worrying about efficiency on the back end so we can become more efficient on the front end. Inhabitat: And where do you see hybrid recycling going? Lundgren: In the future, electronics of any type – whether it be an electric car or a laptop or tablet or cell phone or server router, you name it – all of that product is going to be reused very similar to how a chop shop in the auto industry works. If your car has a flat tire, you don’t throw away your car. And if you do, then they salvage every other working part. Let’s say you blow an engine — the chop shop salvages the catalytic converter and the exhaust and the windshield and the transmission and all the other parts. But in electronics today we throw it all away. We’re at a point where hybrid recycling is going to kick off. It’s going to become huge. Nobody understands it, so this car [the Phoenix] is a great demonstration for it. + ITAP Images via Jehu Garcia [Editor’s note: Lundgren was sentenced after we completed this interview to serve 15 months in federal prison for distributing free software (computer restore Freeware) in order to divert computers from landfills and empower consumers to fix their property. He is currently appealing the sentence.]

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INTERVIEW: Meet Eric Lundgren, who broke the world record for EV range with a car made from trash

BMW gears up for electric buses with Proterra investment

June 13, 2017 by  
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The North American company has sold at least 400 buses to Seattle, Dallas, Nashville and several dozen other U.S. cities.

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BMW gears up for electric buses with Proterra investment

Dear Shannon: Coaching can catapult your career

June 13, 2017 by  
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Shannon counsels a jaded employee who is struggling to progress his leadership in sustainability skills.

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Dear Shannon: Coaching can catapult your career

Why sustainability teams should engage CFOs much earlier

June 13, 2017 by  
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At many companies, sustainable business initiatives still lie outside the core business plan. That’s a mistake that could hinder progress.

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Why sustainability teams should engage CFOs much earlier

‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars

June 7, 2017 by  
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Charging an electric car remains an obstacle for some people, especially in areas lacking charging infrastructure. But new battery technology developed by researchers at Purdue University could change that completely. They’ve designed an instantly rechargeable battery that could allow electric vehicles to be charged in roughly the same amount of time it takes to fill up a car with gasoline today. The researchers designed a flow battery system, which in itself isn’t unique, but the Purdue scientists removed battery membranes, something they say no one else has done. Membranes in batteries break down over time, so the new battery technology allows for a longer lifespan and cuts costs. This rechargeable battery could be a game changer for electric cars. Related: New battery concept could give electric vehicles a 621-mile range Drawing on the Purdue energy storage technology, electric car owners would pull up to a station and fill up their cars with not gas, but fluid electrolytes. The spent battery fluids could be gathered and recharged at a solar or wind farm . Earth, atmospheric, and planetary science professor John Cushman said in a statement, “Instead of refining petroleum, the refiners would reprocess spent electrolytes and instead of dispensing gas, the fueling stations would dispense a water and ethanol or methanol solution as fluid electrolytes to power vehicles…It is believed that our technology could be nearly ‘drop-in’ ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries.” They say their instantly rechargeable method is affordable, safe, and environmentally friendly. Cushman recently presented their findings at the International Society for Porous Media 9th International Conference in the Netherlands. With two other Purdue researchers, he started a company, IFBattery, to commercialize their technology. Cushman said they are seeking financing to develop large-scale prototypes, and from there they’ll look for manufacturing partners. Via Purdue University Images via Purdue University and Håkan Dahlström on Flickr

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‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars

Fisker is back with the $130,000 400-mile range EMotion

June 7, 2017 by  
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Designer Henrik Fisker is getting ready to jump back into the EV segment with a new electric car called the EMotion. Now that Fisker’s former EV, the Karma has been reborn under new ownership, Fisker is ready to move beyond the capabilities of the old Karma with the entirely new 400-mile range 2019 EMotion. Fisker Inc has released a set of teaser photos of the new EMotion, which is going to debut later this month on June 30. The EMotion’s design has been toned down a bit from the EMotion prototype and renderings that we’ve seen over the past year. The big changes, include a revised grille, more production friendly headlights and toned down fenders. Related: Fisker’s EMotion has the Tesla Model S in its sights Even though the overall design has been toned down, the exterior does conceal some new tech features, like an integrated LIDAR system behind a tinted screen to provide autonomous driving capability. The side mirrors conceal two cameras, which enable panoramic, 360-degree views to the driver. Fisker also says that the carbon fiber and aluminum structure exceeds current safety standards, while its light carbon fiber and aluminum wheels reduce rotational mass by 40 percent. Fisker hasn’t revealed the full specs for the 2019 EMotion, but it will have a driving range over 400 miles and new proprietary UltraCharger technology can add over 100 miles to the large battery in nine minutes. The EMotion will also have a top speed of 161 mph. The big news is that the pricing for the EMotion has also been released, starting at $129,900. Fisker is going to reveal the EMotion on June 30 and will also begin taking reservations on the same day. + Fisker Images @Fisker

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Fisker is back with the $130,000 400-mile range EMotion

First estimate of plastic entering oceans from rivers yields shocking results

June 7, 2017 by  
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How much plastic do rivers dump into the world’s oceans ? The Ocean Cleanup decided to find out. They conducted what they say is the “first-ever estimate of plastic emissions from rivers” and the results are shocking, as in, between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons annually shocking. They say knowing the trash’s origins will help them better deploy their plastic-scooping cleanup arrays. Scientists have known for a long time rivers deposit plastic into oceans, but before this study no one had ever quantified just how much plastic is flowing from rivers, or how much each river contributes, according to The Ocean Cleanup . To answer such questions, researcher Laurent Lebreton of The Ocean Cleanup designed a model drawing from data on waste management , population density, dam locations, hydrography, and topography. Related: Redesigned Ocean Cleanup arrays to start scooping up Pacific garbage patch within a year The researchers found out of 40,760 rivers, a mere 20 contribute two thirds of the plastic input. The plastic also enters oceans more heavily between May and October: three quarters of plastic released makes its way into ocean waters then. The Ocean Cleanup created an interactive map to help visualize the issue. The map tells a user how many kilograms of plastic have entered the oceans just since they started viewing it. You can check it out here . The Ocean Cleanup founder and CEO Boyan Slat said in a statement, “We’re pleased to see how many initiatives have been taken in the past few years to raise awareness of the ocean pollution problem. However, for our work in the deep ocean to succeed in the long run, it’s crucial that governments and other organizations speed up their efforts to mitigate the sources of the problem we aim to resolve. The results of this latest study can assist with those efforts.” The journal Nature Communications published the study online today . Four Ocean Cleanup researchers were joined by one scientist from North Carolina State University and an expert from HKV Consultants in the Netherlands . + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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First estimate of plastic entering oceans from rivers yields shocking results

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