Hyperloop desert campus imagines futuristic solar-powered oasis

February 22, 2021 by  
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Begum Aydinoglu of  Pada Labs , Mariana Custodio Dos Santos and Juan Carlos Naranjo have been recognized among the 30 finalist teams for their Hyperloop Desert Campus design, a competition entry for a futuristic  Hyperloop  test center in last summer’s Young Architects Competitions (YAC). The competition brief challenged designers to create an eye-catching building in the Mojave Desert in Nevada that would not only help advance one of the most futuristic means of transit but also serve as a “sanctuary of science.” In response, the trio of designers created a visually striking proposal that focuses on resilience in terms of environmental sustainability, future-proofing and knowledge sharing.  In their Hyperloop Desert Campus proposal, the trio reimagined a seemingly inhospitable stretch of the Mojave Desert — North America’s driest  desert  that stretches across four states — into an oasis. Their curvaceous Hyperloop test center design is centered on four courtyards with water elements that support the growth of tall palm trees and other greenery.  “The symbiosis between the rough landscape and the iconic technology, helps The Hyperloop Desert Campus find its form,” the design team explained. “The building was designed to seamlessly rise from the desert ground of Nevada …the building’s design spirals up – inspired by the speed of traveling – large corridors loop around these Oasis, crossing and interchanging levels, resembling complex interchange high-ways in form and function.” Related: First passengers make history on BIG-designed Hyperloop Pegasus pod At the heart of the design is the concept of resilience. The looping building proposal is flanked by solar panel farms that generate renewable energy while the courtyards are engineered for rainwater collection and graywater recycling. The landscaped courtyards would also help promote airflow for natural cooling. Resiliency is further explored through inclusive knowledge sharing with educational tours, multiple technical cores that establish a fail-safe emergency system, and built-in expandability with adaptable interiors to allow for flexible future growth.  + PadaLabs Images via PadaLabs

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Hyperloop desert campus imagines futuristic solar-powered oasis

Solar-powered Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal celebrates native culture

February 19, 2021 by  
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Late last year, the state of Washington welcomed its first new ferry terminal in 40 years — the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal, a contemporary transit building that pays homage to the environment and the region’s Coast Salish tribes. Seattle-based LMN Architects and KPFF Consulting Engineering designed the two-story, solar-powered terminal building, with input from local tribes, to replace the existing terminal built in 1957. In addition to improving regional mobility to the West Coast’s busiest ferry route for vehicles, the terminal enhances connections to the waterfront with a new waiting room featuring stunning landscape views and a promenade that connects downtown Mukilteo through the terminal and to the beach. Commissioned as part of a $187 million replacement project to improve regional mobility, the Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal serves the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry route, a major transportation corridor linking Whidbey Island to the Seattle-Everett metropolitan area. Construction of the ferry building began with the repurposing of a waterfront brownfield site — once used for a U.S. Air Force Cold War fuel depot and pier — and eliminating approximately 10% of the Puget Sound’s remaining toxic creosote piles. Related: Spectacular green roof tops Vancouver’s double LEED Platinum convention center The Coast Salish tribes’ longhouses were the inspiration behind the ferry terminal, which is interwoven with tribal cultural motifs and artwork by local Native American artists James Madison and Joe Gobin. “The Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal is the result of an intensive collaboration between the design, engineering, and contracting teams,” said Howard Fitzpatrick, principal of LMN Architects. “But it would not have been possible without the inspiration and sense of mission that the team drew from our tribal partners. The historic significance of the site to the tribes, combined with its incredible natural beauty, inspired the team to produce a project that is imbued with a deep sense of history, while at the same time recognizing the vitality and forward-looking orientation of the area’s original inhabitants.” In addition to a full array of rooftop solar panels, the Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal features sustainably harvested and locally sourced cross-laminated timber materials, energy-efficient electric heat pumps that heat and cool the concrete-slab main floors, a smart window system that regulates airflow and comfort as well as a pervious outdoor concrete and filtration system that captures and treats stormwater runoff. + LMN Architects Photography by Benjamin Benschneider via LMN Architects

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Solar-powered Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal celebrates native culture

First passengers make history on BIG-designed Hyperloop Pegasus pod

December 10, 2020 by  
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In November 2020, Virgin Hyperloop’s Pegasus pod made history when its first passengers successfully completed a trial run at the 500-meter-long DevLoop test site in Las Vegas. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Kilo Design, Virgin Hyperloop’s Pegasus, or ‘XP-2’, is an autonomous transportation system created for hyperloop travel at speeds of over 1,000 kilometers per hour — the fastest land-based means of travel yet. The Pegasus pod prototype was only created to seat two; however, the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers. Launched after more than a year of close collaboration, the Virgin Hyperloop’s successful first passenger trial follows 400-plus tests in unoccupied pods. The industry-recognized Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) Certifier oversaw Pegasus’ historic demonstration as it works to become the first manned and fully functional Hyperloop system. The successful trial comes shortly after Virgin Hyperloop’s announcement to make West Virginia the location for the Hyperloop Certification Center (HCC), which will also be designed by BIG. Related: Virgin Hyperloop One unveils its first commuter pod for Dubai BIG and Kilo Design were brought on to not only design the two-seat Pegasus pod but to also define the design language for all future Virgin Hyperloop vehicles. Because Hyperloop travel is conducted in a near-vacuum environment, the designers crafted Pegasus as a sleek pressurized vessel that, instead of emphasizing aerodynamic features, placed a greater focus on occupant safety and comfort within its custom, 6-square-meter interior. Safety equipment, controls and lighting are seamlessly integrated into the seating elements, which can also be quickly assembled and disassembled as needed. “The design focuses on unifying and covering both the pressure vessel and sled, creating a seamless appearance that combines both performance and human-centered characteristics,” BIG explained. “This environment makes the transportation system much more energy efficient than traditional rail transit. It’s engineered with magnetic levitation and avoids the drag of wheels, allowing for the maximum amount of speed to move the maximum number of passengers or cargo.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Images via Virgin Hyperloop

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First passengers make history on BIG-designed Hyperloop Pegasus pod

Polar bears get a big win as court dismisses Arctic oil drilling project

December 10, 2020 by  
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Animal rights defenders and other advocacy groups found a reason to celebrate on Monday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the Trump administration’s Liberty Project approval. The Liberty Project is a proposal to drill for offshore oil in Arctic waters. In opposition to the proposed project, several climate advocacy groups joined hands in a court battle to have the project rejected. Speaking on Monday, Kristen Monsell, the legal director at The Center for Biological Diversity, said that the court’s ruling has averted a disaster. Related: Oil companies use cooling technology to continue Arctic drilling “This is a huge victory for polar bears and our climate,” Monsell said. “This project was a disaster waiting to happen that should never have been approved. I’m thrilled the court saw through the Trump administration’s attempt to push this project through without carefully studying its risks.” Marcie Keever, the legal director of Friends of the Earth, one of the advocacy groups involved in the case, also applauded the ruling. “Thankfully, the court put the health of our children and our planet over oil company profits,” Keever said. The court cited various discrepancies with the proposed project. The court pointed out that the project had not considered the impact of the oil drilling activities on the local climate . In addition, the court also found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to consider how the Liberty Project would affect polar bears before issuing the approval. This means that the Trump administration has been found in direct contravention of the Endangered Species Act, a law that the government should defend and protect. Despite the momentary win for polar bears in the Liberty Project case, the animals are still at great risk due to the continuing efforts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas companies. Research has shown that the Arctic is warming up at a much faster rate than other areas of the planet. Further exploration of this natural environment continues to have devastating consequences for the local communities, animals and climate. Via EcoWatch Image via Hans-Jurgen Mager

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Polar bears get a big win as court dismisses Arctic oil drilling project

Mercedes-Benz releases lightweight yet powerful eScooter

November 3, 2020 by  
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Mercedes-Benz has long been a top name when it comes to innovation. Most recently, this is evidenced by the newly released eScooter, a zero-emissions scooter that is light, foldable and portable to help cover the miles between the parking garage or bus stop and the final destination without contributing to air pollution . With an electric motor providing 500W power, the eScooter is powerful enough to climb grades, yet convenient enough to keep in the trunk of a car. It can get you where you need to go with a quick acceleration of up to 20km/h, which is the top limit allowed in Germany, where the eScooter was born. It may not go as fast as a car, but the 7.8 Ah battery offers an impressive range of up to 25 kilometers without a recharge. Related: Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car Both front and rear suspension and wide rubber tires allow the electric scooter greater traction and stability over uneven cobblestones or on smooth pavement. For added comfort and security, the kickboard is wide enough for both feet and comes with a non-slip coating. The handlebars are also road-ready with an easily adjustable height, right-handed acceleration and left-handed breaking. In addition, there is a foot break, front and rear lighting and side reflectors for safety. There’s even a classic bell to warn of your arrival around a corner or intersection. Plus, because you wouldn’t expect any less from Mercedes-Benz, there is a centrally mounted display, which makes it easy to monitor speed, battery level and riding mode at a glance. With the quick release of a foot lever, the eScooter folds in half for garage or trunk storage. You can also easily take it on public transportation for a convenient way to move between the station and the office. The Mercedes-Benz eScooter is part of a growing line of vehicles the company is scheduled to release over the next two years in an effort to provide Mercedes-Benz quality with more sustainable designs and less emissions. + Mercedes-Benz Images via Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz releases lightweight yet powerful eScooter

The CrossWater is a solar-powered mode of public water transportation

August 27, 2020 by  
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You know those chugging, air-polluting boats that take an hour to load, an hour to make their way across the river and another 45 minutes just to unload? Forget them. The CrossWater is here, and it could revolutionize the way people travel on the water. This is an invention you have to see to believe. And once you do see it, you’re going to be looking for it to come to a waterway near you. The makers of CrossWater hope to make water transportation cheap, accessible, fast and safe for everyone. That includes making water travel safer for the environment, too. After all, that’s something that is truly shared by everyone. Related: Cool retro boats restored with electric motors Think of the CrossWater like a horizontal elevator, moving side to side instead of up and down. Specifically, the CrossWater is made to… cross water. It floats, glides and skims right across water , moving rapidly to get users where they need to be as quickly as possible. The CrossWater is fully self-driving and all-electric . Forget about harmful fumes that you have to breathe in while you travel on the water with a motorized boat. The CrossWater is carbon-neutral and extremely simple. In fact, you don’t have to do anything at all. There are no oars to move and no sails to turn. You just step inside and let the CrossWater quickly carry you exactly where you need to go. Each CrossWater vessel holds 15 people at a time and is programmed to travel between platforms quickly. The interior includes a 32- or 49-inch touchscreen with a selection of apps including YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Netflix and Google Maps. The sound system has 19 speakers, and each CrossWater is fully climate controlled. Not a bad way to get across the water, right? The CrossWater has been designed to work effortlessly on lakes, canals and rivers. Water vehicles like this can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road. CrossWater hopes to get 1 million vehicles on the waterways by 2025. Soon, it may start replacing ferry services around the world. + CrossWater Images via CrossWater

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The CrossWater is a solar-powered mode of public water transportation

Arrivals zero-emissions buses are designed for social distancing

June 23, 2020 by  
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U.K. startup Arrival has unveiled the Arrival Bus, an eye-catching electric bus crafted to not only improve public perception of public transportation but to also respond to health concerns in the coronavirus era. Engineered for flexibility and worldwide adoption, the Arrival Bus features wraparound digital screens for easy identification and flexible seating so that passenger capacity can be controlled to follow social distancing rules. The sleek design concept also allows for the installation of plexiglass dividers between passengers and no-touch stop requests via a smartphone app. Founded in 2015, Arrival champions itself as a producer of electric commercial vehicles designed to help cities meet their net-zero emissions targets worldwide. In addition to the new Arrival Bus design, the startup recently unveiled designs for its electric delivery vans. Although there are no Arrival products currently on the road yet, the company plans to deploy 1,000 Microfactories — low-footprint automotive production facilities with Arrival assembly technology — around the world by 2026 to build all of the electric vehicles in its portfolio.  Related: Designers propose sustainable housing in response to COVID-19 lifestyle changes “We are very excited to bring the Arrival Bus to markets around the world and make the passenger experience of bus travel a positive one,” said Ben Jardine, chief of product for Arrival Bus. “By working in partnership with businesses to develop the entire ecosystem around our vehicles, we are supporting their goals of making public transport appealing whilst achieving carbon neutrality.” Arrival plans to create an integrated public transportation ecosystem that not only includes buses but also cars for sharing, taxis, delivery robots and charging infrastructure. Arrival expects to deploy the Arrival Bus in upcoming months. The electric vehicles will be built in local Microfactories using modular construction for flexibility. The use of an aluminum chassis with integrated mechanical parts will also streamline the production process, while the minimalist interior design will make the vehicle easy to clean. + Arrival Images via Arrival

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Arrivals zero-emissions buses are designed for social distancing

NBBJ to design Tencents futuristic Net City in Shenzhen

June 17, 2020 by  
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Global design firm NBBJ has won an international competition to design Net City, a 2-million-square-meter masterplanned Shenzhen district for Tencent, China’s largest internet company. Envisioned as a “city of the future,” Net City will prioritize “human-centric” and sustainable design through the inclusion of an extensive public transit network, a green corridor and energy-generating systems. The abundance of greenery will also help the project meet the goals of China’s Sponge City Initiative so that stormwater runoff is collected and managed throughout the campus. Developed for the 320-acre peninsula along Shenzhen’s Dachanwan, Net City was created to meet Tencent’s growing office needs in the upcoming years. The mixed-use masterplan covers roughly the same size and shape of Midtown Manhattan and will be centered on a new Tencent building that is surrounded by a living quarter with schools and an assortment of retail spaces and other amenities. The buildings will range in height from single-story structures to three-story towers as part of an overarching design vision for differentiated spaces with strong sight lines to nature. Related: MVRDV designs a sustainable “urban living room” for Shenzhen “A typical city calls for simplistic and efficient zoning to keep everything under strict control and facilitate the flow of goods, cars and people,” said Jonathan Ward, design partner at NBBJ. “This principle was driven by a love for the industrial age machine. In today’s computer-driven world, we are free to imagine a highly integrated city that brings ‘work, live, play’ closer together to foster more synergy between people. This fits in perfectly with the collegial, collaborative culture of Tencent.” A public transit network with a subway, bus and shuttle system as well as a folding green corridor for pedestrians, bicycles and autonomous vehicles will shape a pedestrian-friendly environment. General vehicles will be diverted underground. In addition to an abundance of green space ranging from recreational parks to wetlands, Net City will also include rooftop solar panels, green roofs and environmental performance trackers to reduce the district’s overall environmental footprint. + NBBJ Images via NBBJ

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NBBJ to design Tencents futuristic Net City in Shenzhen

Blix Packa, the electric bike that wants to replace your car

March 12, 2020 by  
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Beautiful, modular and impressively high-performance, the  Blix Packa  is a full-feature cargo electric bicycle that’s designed to be “a natural car-replacer.” Engineered to tackle the steepest of hills, Packa boasts a range of up to 70 miles per charge and top speeds of 20 miles per hour. Packa also features a loading capacity of 400 pounds thanks to its unique multi- modular racking system that also makes it easy to bring your little ones along for the ride. Launched after a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, the Packa joins Blix’s growing line-up of  electric bicycles , which also includes a Vika+ folding bike, Aveny city bike and Sol cruiser bike. Notable for its compact design, the Packa has a total length of only 81 inches, making it only slightly longer than a regular bicycle. Its dual 24-inch wheels provide a low center of gravity for easy handling, while its low step-through frame of just 21 inches makes it accessible to most riders.  Fully electric, the Packa comes with a powerful rear motor that boasts 750W of raw power that can be easily tapped into with the throttle and two high-capacity 35E Samsung cell batteries totaling 1,175Wh to ensure a range of 70 miles per charge and 25,000 miles of battery lifetime. The e-bike also comes with a seven-speed gear shifter, integrated  LED  brake light, disc brakes, a smart bell, USB charging, and puncture-resistant tires.  Related: Bamboo electric bike is designed for Kathmandu locals and tourists Also key to the design of the Packa is the integration of Blix’s modular rack system that hooks up to smart mounting points at the front and rear of the bicycle to allow the user to carry up to 200 pounds in 200 different configurations. The Blix Packa is available in either Electric Blue or Bright White at the recently reduced price of $1,599.  + Blix Electric Bikes Images via Blix

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Blix Packa, the electric bike that wants to replace your car

NAWA reveals hybrid electric motorcycle at CES 2020

January 20, 2020 by  
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It’s not the first electric motorcycle on the market, but the NAWA Racer is currently the most talked about after a big reveal at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The new tech kid on the block, a French firm called NAWA, has developed a prototype with a body style based on London’s speedy cafe motorcycles from the 1960s. While the sleek design is eye-catching, the innovation hidden within the outer appearance is what makes this motorcycle so unique. Where most electric vehicles rely on lithium-ion for power, NAWA has developed an ultracapacitor that improves performance on nearly every level. For starters, the ultracapacitor can charge and discharge quickly, endless times over. This propels the bike from 0 mph to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. While the ultracapacitor provides stellar power, it works in conjunction with conventional lithium-ion batteries and allows a 93-mile ride per charge. Related: Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle debuts at CES The hybrid ultracapacitor system can reduce the size of the lithium-ion battery by up to half or extend the range by up to double. This is exciting for city riding, which is where the NAWA Racer really excels in efficiency. With the ability to recharge in seconds by recycling energy from the stop-and-go braking of driving in traffic, the energy can last up to 186 miles without recharging. Regenerative braking produces a lot of energy, up to 80% of which is reused for power. The ultracapacitor also provides a fast recharge, allowing the bike to reach 80% of full charge within an hour from a home supply outlet. NAWA fully intends to scale the hybrid technology to other vehicles in the near future. “The NAWA Racer is our vision for the electric motorbike of tomorrow — a retro-inspired machine but one that is thoroughly modern,” said Ulrik Grape, CEO of NAWA Technologies. “It is lightweight, fast and fun, perfect for an emission-free city commute that will put a smile on your face. But it also lays down a blueprint for the future. NAWA Technologies’ next-gen ultracapacitors have unleashed the potential of the hybrid battery system — and this design of powertrain is fully scaleable. There is no reason why this cannot be applied to a larger motorbike or car or other electric vehicle. What is more, this technology could go into production in the very near future.” + NAWA Images via NAWA

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NAWA reveals hybrid electric motorcycle at CES 2020

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