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

California bill could ban all new fossil-fueled cars by 2040

January 4, 2018 by  
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California could ban all new fossil fuel cars from 2040 under a bill introduced this week by Assemblymember Phil Ting , a Democrat of San Francisco. If it passes, the Clean Cars 2040 act would require all new cars sold in the state to be zero emissions vehicles. Ting said in a statement , “We’re at an inflection point: we’ve got to address the harmful emissions that cause climate change .” AB 1745, or the Clean Cars 2040 Act, would require every passenger vehicle sold in California to be zero emissions after January 1, 2040. Ting said fossil fuel vehicles are responsible for almost 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, so “achieving the goal of electrification of transportation is crucial for the health of our people and the planet.” NextGen America president Tom Steyer said polluting cars are California’s biggest source of carbon emissions . The bill would not apply to commercial vehicles greater than 10,000 pounds, just passenger cars. It also wouldn’t apply to cars owned by people in other states moving to California. Related: Scotland to phase out new gas and diesel cars by 2032 California hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent under 1990 levels by 2030. Governor Jerry Brown aims to have 1.5 million zero emission cars on the streets by 2025, and there are almost 300,000 EVs registered in CA already. But the state still has a ways to go: the San Francisco Chronicle said in 2016 that while 2.1 million new cars were sold, only 1.9 percent of those were zero emissions. The bill already has support from some environmental groups. Earthjustice staff attorney Adrian Martinez said in Ting’s statement, “Reducing fossil fuels emissions should be California’s highest priority. With this legislation, California will be taking combustion polluting vehicles off the road…helping us to finally address air pollution and better equipping us to combat climate change. I urge our state’s leaders to pass this important legislation.” Via Assemblymember Phil Ting , the San Francisco Chronicle , and Engadget Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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California bill could ban all new fossil-fueled cars by 2040

2017: the year climate change spiraled out of control

January 4, 2018 by  
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With its extreme weather and unraveling public policy, 2017 provided the world with a glimpse of its climate-chaotic future if changes are not made immediately. Ferocious wildfires burned across California, back-to-back major hurricanes devastated coastal and even inland areas, and the Arctic continued to melt. All the while, Washington DC took action to halt the marginal but meaningful progress made under the Obama Administration by withdrawing from the Paris agreement and stacking the Environmental Protection Agency with those who would serve the interests of industry first. In what is yet another warning sign in a long line of alarm bells ringing, 2017 served as a reminder that the disruptive power of climate change is real and that our failure to act will cost us dearly, today and tomorrow. Although global emissions had remained flat for three years prior, 2017 marked a return to form, with greenhouse gas emissions rising by two percent. While the United States , despite its change in leadership, maintained a slight decline in emissions, this was more than offset by increases in China and India. This continued rise means that in order to meet the emissions goals to avoid catastrophic climate change, substantial cuts will need to be made quickly over the next few decades. Meanwhile, the worst-case climate-change scenarios predicted by scientists seem to be increasingly likely, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature . Related: Climate change is squishing the Earth and making oceans heavier If the numbers aren’t convincing, the visceral experience of 2017 should make clear the dangers of climate change. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated the United States and the Caribbean, leaving much of Puerto Rico still without power and over $200 billion in damages during what was the costliest hurricane season in history. On the other side of North America, wildfires raged in what was also the costliest wildfire season on record. While climate change doesn’t cause wildfires or hurricanes, it creates the conditions that facilitate extreme weather. Meanwhile, the Arctic continues to melt as scientists declare that the region is no longer reliably frozen due to a downward spiral of warming temperatures. The world is not doomed to this climate catastrophe. However, time is rapidly running out. Via MIT Technology Review Images via Depositphotos (1)

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2017: the year climate change spiraled out of control

Oiio Oto transportation pods that climb buildings – the solution to LA traffic?

December 21, 2017 by  
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Oiio’s ingenous Oto pods are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The bubble-like cabins sit on a swappable wheelbase that can follow roads or climb up buildings to help people get around Los Angeles . The see-through autonomous pods could someday be part of the solution to addressing the city’s notorious congestion and air pollution.   The idea behind the pod is that traditional cars take up too many resources for transporting one or two people. Unless your car is packed full, you are driving around with a trunk, excess engine capacity and rear seats that you don’t need. The Oto pod is bare bones transportation that eliminates the waste. The concept was conceived for the Automobility Designer/Developer Challenge at the LA Auto Show this year. The challenge asks designers to create concepts for the future of transportation. Each Oto pod is broken down into three components: a cabin, wheel base and shuttle. An individual could own the cabin, but the wheel base and shuttle would be shared and are interchangeable. The pods could affix to a track system that runs along roads or up walls. Related: Petal-shaped stations and rapid transport pods are an elegant green mobility solution for Dubai “It is possible that, in the future, LA people would be able to own only the cabin and, through AI centrally controlled circulation, they could create a temporary assembly-unit, an ephemeral design, which would serve their ‘exact’ needs on demand,” said Oiio. + Oiio Via Dezeen

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Oiio Oto transportation pods that climb buildings – the solution to LA traffic?

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

VW unveils fully electric six-seater specifically for ridesharing

December 4, 2017 by  
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Uber , get ready for more competition. Volkswagen’s mobility startup Moia just introduced a fully electric vehicle optimized for ridesharing . Unveiled at TechCrunch in Berlin, the concept also includes an app so customers can book and pay for rides easily. The startup plans to roll out the six-seaterout on the streets of Hamburg, Germany next year, with an overall goal of removing one million cars from roads. Moia could offer travelers an easy, eco-friendly new way to get around cities. The startup, which began just a year ago at TechCrunch in London, aims to get cars off the streets to ensure cleaner air and reduced traffic . Six people can ride inside the vehicle, which features standalone seats with USB ports and dimmable reading lights so everyone’s comfortable. Passengers can check their emails or surf the Internet with WiFi. There’s also a storage area next to the driver for luggage or bags. Moia’s range is 300 kilometers, or over 186 miles, and can be charged to 80 percent in around 30 minutes. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Osnabrück designed and built it in a record 10 months. Related: Volkswagen confirms when the Microbus is coming back as an EV With the app, users can see available cars and ride costs before booking. The startup said they’ll employ a pooling algorithm to put riders with similar destinations in the same car to avoid detours and have as many people riding in one car as possible. Since October of this year, Moia has been testing their service in Hannover. They’ll debut the concept in Hamburg, with more locations to follow. CEO Ole Harms said in a statement, “In 2018, we’ll be ready to launch our ride pooling concept internationally and take the first steps toward our goal of reducing the number of cars in major cities by one million in Europe and the USA by 2025.” + Moia Via Moia Images via Moia

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VW unveils fully electric six-seater specifically for ridesharing

Affordable new device uses solar energy to produce hydrogen and electricity

November 27, 2017 by  
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Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have advanced the field of hydrogen power by creating a hybrid device that uses solar energy to produce hydrogen and electricity in a cost-effective manner. “People need fuel to run their vehicles and electricity to run their devices,” said Richard Kaner, lead author of the study and a UCLA distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “Now you can make both fuel and electricity with a single device.” The new invention is a significant step forward in the quest to harness the power of hydrogen as a fuel source, particularly in transportation. “Hydrogen is a great fuel for vehicles: It is the cleanest fuel known, it’s cheap and it puts no pollutants into the air — just water ,” said Kaner, “and this could dramatically lower the cost of hydrogen cars.” In addition to positive and negative electrodes typically found in battery systems, the UCLA device includes an electrode with the ability to either store electrical energy or use it as a catalyst for water electrolysis, the process by which hydrogen and oxygen atoms are split from a water compound. To increase the device’s efficiency, the researcher team maximized the surface area upon which water makes contact. This additional surface area then allows greater production of hydrogen as well as increased energy storage. Related: New nanomaterial pulls hydrogen from seawater to power fuel cells Although commercial production of hydrogen has often proven to be costly and carbon intensive , the usage of ever-cheaper and clean solar power could change the game. The materials used in the UCLA device to create hydrogen, such as nickel, iron, and cobalt, are also significantly cheaper and more abundant than precious metals like platinum typically used in the process. Finally, the device, powered by the sun, is designed to be accessible even in isolated areas, thus increasing the viability of hydrogen as a fuel source for vehicles on long trips. Although the current model can be held in the palm of one’s hand, the principles behind the device may be applied at a greater scale. Via New Atlas / UCLA Images via Reed Hutchinson/UCLA

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Affordable new device uses solar energy to produce hydrogen and electricity

Stunning multi-level bamboo home stands deep in the mountains of Bali

November 27, 2017 by  
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We’ve always loved IBUKU’s beautiful bamboo structures , but their latest project, the Ananda House, is simply stunning. The private home, located in Sibang Gede, Bali, is made up of three multi-level bamboo towers embedded into Bali’s lush green vegetation. The bamboo buildings are designed to exist in harmony with the heavily-forested landscape – and they protect the surrounding vegetation as much as possible. While constructing the homes’ many balconies, IBUKU cut holes into the roofs’ overhangs in order to make way for the surrounding trees to grow. Related: Explore This Incredible Green Village in Bali Made Entirely From Bamboo A winding stone path bordered by terraced gardens leads to the entrance of each structure. The pavilion to the right houses the family room, which is a large space with an open-air terrace. At the heart of the living area is the kitchen, complete with a curving countertop made from slabs of locally-sourced river stone . The bedrooms are perched over the living space and designed to take advantage of natural light and ventilation. Each room has an east-facing private balcony that provides incredible views over the valley. To the back of the main building is a grotto pool whose design mimics the natural landscape, creating a fun, indoor-outdoor space. The master bedroom is located at the highest point of the structure. It’s a stunningly romantic space with a lookout tower at the top. The sleeping area is located on the first level, and an attached outdoor bathroom , complete with a monolithic bathtub, looks out over the valley. + IBUKU Via Archdaily

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Stunning multi-level bamboo home stands deep in the mountains of Bali

BMW reveals bike ‘Hyperloop’ with elevated climate-controlled tubes

November 27, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever tried to commute via bike, you know it can be fraught with danger: doors opening into the bike lane, pedestrians that jump out of nowhere, smog in your face and rain-slick streets. Now picture an elevated tube that lets cyclists move around the city in a safe, climate-controlled, enclosed bicycle superhighway . BMW wants to make it happen. Called the Vision E3 Way and designed in collaboration with Shanghai’s Tongji University , the idea is to create elevated tubes that connect to traffic hubs, shopping areas and underground stations, accessed by a ramp with barriers to control the amount of traffic in the tubes. Any zero-emissions, two-wheeled vehicle is welcome, and the climate would be controlled so you could comfortably commute all year-round. Related: Berlin plans at least 12 new bike superhighways Lighting and climate control would be powered by a rooftop array of solar panels . To encourage car owners to bike, rental stations would be placed throughout the network. The system could not only improve travel for cyclists, but the reduction in traffic congestion and air pollution could make life better for everyone. ‘It’s our Hyperloop ,’ said Markus Seidel, head of the BMW Technology Office China. Via Digital Trends

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BMW reveals bike ‘Hyperloop’ with elevated climate-controlled tubes

Revolutionary Tesla Semi Truck arrives with a whopping 500 mile driving range

November 17, 2017 by  
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It’s here: the semi truck that we’ve all been waiting for.  Tesla just unveiled its new electric 500-mile-range Semi Truck, which could revolutionize the transportation world. Semi trailer trucks move goods all over the country, and without them we’d never get our stuff as fast as we do now, but they come with one big disadvantage – emissions. Today’s trucks are powered by dirty diesel engines that emit a large portion of the harmful pollutants in our air, but that could soon change. Not only does the Tesla Semi have a driving range of 500 miles, but it can also reach 60 mph in five seconds without a trailer, which is a fraction of the time that it takes for a comparable diesel truck . With an 80,000 pound load, Tesla estimates that the truck will reach 60 mph in 20 seconds, which normally takes a diesel truck about a minute. The Tesla Semi requires no shifting or clutching for smooth acceleration and deceleration, and its regenerative braking recovers 98% of kinetic energy to the battery, giving it a basically infinite brake life. Even with a 500 mile driving range, drivers will need to find a place to recharge their Tesla Semi, so Tesla has announced new Megachargers that will add about 400 miles in 30 minutes. Inside the Tesla Semi’s cabin is designed specifically around the driver, with full standing room inside, and a centered driver position for better visibility. The driver also has two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides that provide access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and electronic data logging. The Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi, making it even easier for the driver to travel long distances. Related: Cummins beats Tesla with a fully-electric semi truck The truck is also much safer than traditional semi trucks. According to Elon Musk, jackknifing is impossible thanks to independent motors on each will that can adjust torque as needed, and the roll risk is greatly reduced. It can even function of two of the motors fail for some reason. They are also more reliable, because Tesla guarantees them for a million miles, and the brake pads don’t need replacing. There is also no transmission to worry about. Best of all, according to Musk, is his favorite feature: thermonuclear explosion-proof glass. Tesla changed the auto industry when it debuted the Model S, but can it do the same thing with its Semi Truck? When the Model S debuted, Tesla didn’t really have any big rivals, but the Tesla Semi Truck already has a growing list of competitors, including Bosch, Cummins , and Daimler. There are even a few start ups that are trying to get into the segment. At the event, Musk also revealed that Tesla is releasing an updated Roadster. It will be the fastest production car ever made and will have a top speed of 250 miles per hour with a range of 620 miles. You can reserve the Tesla Semi for $5,000 and production is expected to start in 2019. Images @Tesla + Tesla

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Revolutionary Tesla Semi Truck arrives with a whopping 500 mile driving range

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