Toyota’s ultra customizable self-driving vehicle can transport people, goods, or services

January 8, 2018 by  
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Toyota is unveiling its vision of future mobility with the introduction of the innovative e-Palette concept. The e-Palette is a fully autonomous electric bus that can be customized for different uses within urban environments. To help bring the idea to life, Toyota is working along with innovative companies like Amazon, Mazda and Uber. The auto industry continues to change, especially in urban environments that are seeking new, more efficient ways to keep people moving. Toyota’s e-Palette concept is essentially an autonomous, electric bus that can be customized for different needs besides just moving passengers from one destination to the next. By teaming up with Amazon, DiDi, Mazda , Pizza Hut and Uber, Toyota is looking at ways that a single vehicle design can be adapted for many different uses. Related: All of Toyota’s cars will be either hybrid or fully electric by 2025 The e-Palette concept is designed to be scalable and customizable for a range of mobility options. Its open interior design layout can easily be outfitted with purpose-built interiors to serve different needs, like parcel delivery, ride sharing, or on-the-road e-commerce. Toyota envisions that the e-Palette Concept will be made available in three sizes, allowing not just need-specific applications, but also right-sized and right-place mobile solutions. Businesses will also be able to incorporate their own technology in the concept with an open control interface and a set of software tools to allow partner companies to mount their own automated driving system. Toyota hasn’t announced when the e-Palette concept will become a reality, but it plans to start testing it in the early 2020s. They revealed the concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas + Toyota All images © Toyota

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Toyota’s ultra customizable self-driving vehicle can transport people, goods, or services

Uniti officially unveils its electric city car – and it will sell for under $18K

December 8, 2017 by  
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Uniti from Sweden has officially unveiled its first electric car , the Uniti One. The company took the covers off their new electric city car at an event in Sweden, where they announced a price as low as €14,900 ($17,483 US) when it goes on sale in 2019. Even with its low price tag, the Uniti One can drive up to 186 miles via a small 22 kWh battery. The Uniti One will also feature DC fast charging capability that will add about 124 miles of range in only 30 minutes. Uniti also plans to offer a line of two, four and five-seat vehicle models, with the most expensive versions listing for €19,900 ($23,415 US). Besides the futuristic tiny exterior, the coolest feature by far is the center pivot joystick control system that replaces a traditional steering wheel. Related: This Swedish electric car comes with 5 years of free electricity “We are pleased to share our progress and demonstrate our vision for future mobility as we move towards mass production,” stated Lewis Horne, CEO of Uniti. As Tesla is realizing with the Model 3 , getting a vehicle into production is quite a feat. To demonstrate the emphasis that Uniti is placing on getting the Uniti One into production, the company invited representatives from its 24 key partners, like Nvidia and Siemens to the debut. Buyers can reserve the Uniti One with a €149 deposit and Uniti says that it has already received over 1,000 orders. Uniti All images ©Uniti

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Uniti officially unveils its electric city car – and it will sell for under $18K

All electric UTV from Nikola Motor is a beast with more energy capacity than a Tesla

November 24, 2017 by  
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While Tesla currently leads the EV segment, no one is likely to take their Model S or Model X off-roading. That’s where the Nikola Zero electric UTV comes in. It has room for four passengers and an insane 555 horsepower that’s enough power to tackle even the toughest terrain — and according to electrek , it is surprisingly comfortable. The Nikola Zero is an electric UTV that has some impressive specs. It not only has more horsepower than most sports cars, but it also has an impressive 4,900 lb-ft. of torque. Four independent electric motors power the UTV. The Nikola Zero can reach 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds and has a driving range up to 200 miles. Its battery pack also beats the current Tesla Model S P100D with its 125 kWh of energy capacity. Related: Bollinger Motors unveils new 4-door electric sport utility truck 32-inch tires and beadlock wheels are ready to jump over any rocks in your way, while its electric powertrain is completely waterproof, just in case you decide to cross a river. Inside there’s not only room for four passengers, but a 10-inch infotainment screen that looks like it came straight out of a Model S. Pricing for the Nikola Zero starts at $35,000 and there will be three different battery options to choose from: 75kWh, 100kWh and 125kWh. Production is expected to start in 2018 and you can reserve one now for only $750. + Nikola Motor All images ©Nikola Motor Company

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All electric UTV from Nikola Motor is a beast with more energy capacity than a Tesla

MIT and Lamborghini designed an electric supercar – and it’s incredible

November 14, 2017 by  
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Looking for the car of your dreams? We’ve found it. Lamborghini recently partnered with MIT to produce a futuristic, semi-autonomous car that’s as sexy as it is eco-friendly. As you might expect, the Terzo Millennio looks like a Lamborghini supercar. But its sleek, sharp angles aren’t its most impressive feature. The vehicle’s carbon fiber body actually stores energy – and it’s able to heal itself. Lamborghini and MIT sought to develop a supercar for the generation after the next that focuses on five distinct areas: energy, materials, storage, propulsion, design, and emotion. The Terzo Millennio has four electric motors — one in each wheel. This allows for more freedom in the design, as all the motor-related parts are hidden in the wheel wells. Rather than relying on standard batteries, the vehicle is powered by supercapacitors. CNET reports that supercapacitors “accept and deliver charge faster than batteries can, while withstanding numerous charge cycles and featuring storage capacities much higher than standard capacitators.” Related: MIT students find a way to make stronger concrete with plastic bottles New technology can monitor the car’s carbon fiber structure. This prevents a small crack (for example) from growing and altering the charge of the vehicle. The MIT researchers refer to this as a “self-repairing” process. The Terzo Millennio is also designed to be semi-autonomous . This means it will work with the driver to help them become more proficient at handling the vehicle and navigating roads. Technically, it could ferry around a passenger, but the vehicle treats autonomy as a means to an end instead of the end itself. + Lamborghini Via CNET Images via Lamborghini

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MIT and Lamborghini designed an electric supercar – and it’s incredible

Smart living wall monitored by artificial intelligence purifies indoor air

November 14, 2017 by  
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We spend around 22 hours per day inside, often exposed to more pollutants than we are outside. In an effort to improve indoor air quality and reconnect humans with nature , Finland -based health technology company Naava has designed a smart green wall monitored by sensors and artificial intelligence . They describe their product as a “fully automated air purifier, humidifier, and living plant wall all in one,” and even boast a scientific study to support the claim that their wall sucks pollutants out of the air. The philosophy behind Naava’s green wall is fairly simple: plants absorb air, the microbes of their roots purify that air, and then fans send the purified air back into the room. Plants grow in a soiless growth medium on the vertical garden , which can be attached to a wall or act as a space divider. It can even be set up on a wheelbase to move freely around a room. The green wall is equipped with an integrated water tank, and doesn’t require natural light as it has a lamp. Related: Nearly 10,000 plants grow on NYC’s largest public indoor green wall Naava co-founder and chief technology officer Niko Järvinen said in a statement , “Every American inhales as much as 3,000 gallons of contaminated indoor air every day…Humans are not at their most efficient and healthiest in an artificial indoor environment. Naava wants to change that and create human-friendly and health-enhancing indoors spaces with the help of the world’s only smart green wall.” The green walls naturalize 650 square feet of air, according to the company. They say their product reduces harmful chemicals in the air, and a study released online late October in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health seems to back that up. Seven researchers from institutions in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom tested Naava’s green wall and found a high level of volatile organic compound removal efficiency, according to the study. The Naava service team maintains the green walls every four to six weeks, and charges $249 a month for their Nature as a Service solution. The team boasts more than 1,000 smart green wall installations, and recently introduced their green wall to the United States at this year’s Greenbuild . They also recently opened a New Jersey production facility. + Naava Images courtesy of Naava

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Smart living wall monitored by artificial intelligence purifies indoor air

Nissan debuts IMx electric SUV concept with 373-mile driving range

October 26, 2017 by  
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Nissan is getting ready to expand the number of electric vehicles it offers — and the next model will be a Leaf-based electric SUV. Earlier this year Nissan confirmed that an electric SUV is in the works and now we’re seeing our first preview with the debut of the Nissan IMx concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. The IMx concept features a bold exterior that borrows a few styling details from the new 2018 Nissan Leaf, but its suicide doors are purely concept. The IMx concept is based on Nissan’s new EV platform and it has two electric motors , one at the front and one at the rear to give it all-wheel drive capability. While the Nissan Leaf only has a modest 147 horsepower, the IMx concept has 430 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque on tap from its two motors. Related: 2018 Nissan Leaf debuts with 150 mile driving range for just 30k Nissan hasn’t revealed the size of the IMx’s battery pack , but it does have a driving range of over 373 miles, which is pretty much the same driving range you’d get with a typical gasoline powered SUV. Besides the new electric powertrain , the IMx also features a future version of Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous technology. Nissan’s ProPilot system is already arriving on its 2018 models, but the future version in the IMx concept can fully take over control of the vehicle. When ProPilot drive mode is selected, the system stows the steering wheel inside the dashboard and reclines all seats, giving the driver more space and allowing the vehicle’s occupants to relax. When Manual drive mode is selected, the vehicle returns the steering wheel and seats to their original position. The autonomous technology also gives the IMx concept the ability to drive on its own without the driver in the vehicle. The perfect situation? The IMx concept can drop the driver off at a desired destination and then park itself in a nearby parking spot. When the driver is ready to leave, the IMx concept will pick them up. Nissan hasn’t announced when its new electric SUV will be introduced. Images @Nissan + Nissan

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Nissan debuts IMx electric SUV concept with 373-mile driving range

Toyota and Mazda establish a new company for electric cars

October 18, 2017 by  
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Toyota , Mazda and Denso have signed a new partnership through which they will jointly establish a new company for the development of electric cars. Neither Toyota nor Mazda offer any fully electric vehicles in their lineup yet, so the new partnership will give both automakers the basic structural components for EVs. For automakers to survive the changing automotive industry, they need to be able to produce several types of powertrains, including electric and fuel cell vehicles . Toyota, Mazda and Denso have decided to team up for better capability of developing electric technology that can be applied to a variety of vehicles, improving their response time to the changing market trends. Related: New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy The new company, called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co Ltd. will leverage Mazda’s product planning and computer modeling-based development, Denso’s electronics technologies, and the Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The TNGA platform is already used by models like the 2018 Toyota Camry and the latest-generation Prius . Toyota will own 90 percent of the company, while Mazda and Denso will each have a 5 percent share. The new agreement covers a diverse range of models, from mini vehicles to passenger vehicles, SUVs, and light trucks. Toyota and Mazda are both behind most other automakers, since neither of them have focused on fully-electric vehicles. Toyota has focused its energies on hybrid powertrains, while Mazda continues to focus on improving the internal combustion engine . With countries now mandating zero-emissions vehicles, the partnership will not only help both automakers catch up to their competitors, but also bring new electric cars to market sooner. Mazda has already announced that it will introduce electrified powertrains as early as 2019. + Toyota All images ©Toyota

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Toyota and Mazda establish a new company for electric cars

BMW’s new wireless pad recharges EV batteries like a Sonicare toothbrush

September 28, 2017 by  
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Several automakers have teased the idea of a wireless charging pad that would make it easier to charge electric cars without a pesky cable, but BMW is ahead of the game. The automaker has announced it is ready to offer a wireless charging pad for the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid that recharges the battery just like a Sonicare toothbrush. With the new charging pad, 530e owners simply park over the pad , which is connected to a 220-volt outlet, and it will recharge – without having to connect any wires. Special sensors on the car help guide drivers over the charging pad; once parked, the 530e can be completely recharged in around 3.5 hours. Related: BMW unveils dynamic new rival to the Tesla Model S The technology is ready for public consumption, but it’s not known when it will be available in the U.S. since it hasn’t been approved. Outside the U.S., buyers will be able to purchase the wireless charging technology early next year, but it will only be available for the 530e iPerformance vehicle. A wireless charging system for models like the i3 and i8 will reportedly be made available at a later date. We also don’t know how much the wireless charging system will cost, but by the time it does arrive in the U.S. hopefully it will be compatible with the rest of BMW’s lineup. + BMW Images @BMW

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BMW’s new wireless pad recharges EV batteries like a Sonicare toothbrush

Dyson the famous vacuum maker is building an electric car

September 27, 2017 by  
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Dyson is famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners and other unique household appliances, but founder and chief engineer James Dyson has some bigger plans for the company. James Dyson sent out an email yesterday to the company announcing his ambitions to introduce an electric car by 2020. With an investment of at least $2.7 billion and a staff of 400 people, Dyson is hopeful that it can get an electric car to market in the next three years. Dyson has already started hiring engineers from automotive companies to help launch the vehicle. Related: James Dyson on using his famous vacuum technology to suck garbage from rivers In his email, Dyson outlined how in 1988 a study from the the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that linked the exhaust from diesel engines to premature death in laboratory mice and rats, put the company on a path to improve air quality. Two years later, in March 1990, the Dyson team began work on a cyclonic filter that could be fitted on a vehicle’s exhaust system to trap particulates. Sadly, even though the prototypes were developed, automakers weren’t too interested. Now Dyson will do away with the need to reduce particulates by creating a zero emissions electric car. James Dyson hasn’t gone too far into the details, since competition in the electric car segment is incredibly strong right now. Several other startups are racing to bring their cars to market, like Lucid and Fisker, so it makes sense that Dyson would try to keep details about its technology under wraps. + Dyson Images @Dyson

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Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

September 20, 2017 by  
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In the not-so-far future when  electric vehicles (EV) rule the road, don’t expect to sit around in line waiting for your battery to charge. That’s because electric automaker Tesla recently filed a patent for a mobile battery swapping technology that could replace a depleted battery in under 15 minutes. In 2013, the company toyed with the idea of building stationary rigs that can replace a car’s battery pack. However, that idea never took off. Now, the EV maker is improving on the concept and has filed a patent application for a more compact, mobile version that would be placed in strategic locations where Superchargers aren’t always available. As Elektrek reports, Tesla’s original system was designed to be autonomous, while the newer one can be operated by technicians. Additionally, the original battery swap service claimed a 90-second swap, whereas the new one says “less than fifteen minutes” is more plausible. Says the patent application, “In some implementations, the battery swap system is configured for use by one or more technicians, who will monitor certain aspects of the system’s operation and make necessary inputs when appropriate. For example, the battery -swapping system can be installed at a remote location (e.g., along a highway between two cities) and one or more technicians can be stationed at the location for operating the system. This can reduce or eliminate the need for the system to have vision components, which may otherwise be needed to align the battery pack or other components. Using techniques described herein it may be possible to exchange the battery pack of a vehicle in less than fifteen minutes.” As can be seen from the application figures, the patent application references swapping Model S and Model X battery packs. Both vehicles’ battery packs have been designed to be easily swappable. Model 3’s battery pack is not, on the other hand. Because the company aims to expedite the process in 15 minutes or less, it is unlikely the system will apply to more complicated swaps. Related: Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018 When Tesla CEO Elon Musk last mentioned the battery swap system, he said it would likely be developed to support commercial fleets — if pursued at all. Now that plans for Tesla’ all- electric Semi-Truck have been shared, Musk’s vision is coming into focus. + Tesla Via Elektrek Images via Tesla , Pixabay

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Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

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