San Francisco is too expensive – so this couple hit the road in an amazing renovated van

June 14, 2017 by  
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After just four months of dating, San Francisco residents Juliana and Richmond grew weary of the city’s shockingly high real estate scene. So they decided to convert a 15-year-old Sprinter Van into 50 square feet of custom-built living space, with a recessing mechanical bed, hidden storage and a stowable tabletop. The couple spent months creating their home on wheels – lovingly called Home Sweet Van – and then they set off to explore the world. After buying the old van, the couple went to work by gutting the interior before adding new wood paneling, seating with hidden storage, and even a mechanical bed that rises on rails to the ceiling height, providing more space when not in use. Related: Living out of a van has never looked this good The traveling duo parks the converted van in various places while on the road such as local campgrounds, national forest lands, and, of course, the always popular Walmart parking lots. Although the Home Sweet Van unfortunately does not have a bathroom or shower, the couple has learned to plan their day accordingly, “You get used to planning your day around, ‘where am I going to go [to the bathroom] in the morning and where am I going to go at night,’” Richmond explained. The couple recently returned from exploring North America, but once again, have found it difficult to park in peace in their hometown of San Francisco. Now, they’re living in Oregon. If you are interested in building your own van, the couple has a digital book packed full of tips. + Home Sweet Van Via Business Insider

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San Francisco is too expensive – so this couple hit the road in an amazing renovated van

New self-driving electric RoboBuses are launching in Finland this year

June 14, 2017 by  
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The world is becoming increasingly automated, and a new self-driving bus in Finland is evidence of this. Beginning in the fall of 2017, the Finnish capital will launch a new autonomous electric “RoboBusLine.” According to the City of Helsinki the line “represents a shift from an experimental phase to regular, scheduled public transit service with self-driving buses.” Not only will the self-driving vehicles reduce the costs of transportation and improve access to public transit – they will also reduce the amount of cars that are on the road and slash emissions. In August of 2016, the Sohjoa project (an EU-financed initiative by the six largest cities in Finland, Finnish universities and transportation authorities) launched two EasyMile EZ10 electric minibuses in Helsinki. Reportedly, the initiative is part of the EU-financed mySMARTLife program, in which European cities are encouraged to develop energy-efficient mobility to reduce energy consumption in cities by 10-15 percent. So far, the electric minibuses have been tested in real traffic conditions – and they will continue to be monitored in urban areas until August 2017. Each bus has an operator on board in case of an emergency and travels at about 7 mph (11 km per hour), learning the route and accruing knowledge as it transits . Said Sohjoa project manager, Oscar Nissin of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, “We focus on a number of aspects including sensor technology, user experience, and how to complement overall public transit services with self-driving buses.” Once the self-driving trials are complete, the Finnish cities of Espoo and Tampere will launch the buses to shuttle passengers from Helsinki’s Mustikkamaa recreational Island to Helsinki Zoo. Project leader and Metropolia’s smart mobility program director, Harri Santamala, explained that the “RoboBus will allow us to test operation in everyday public transit conditions. It will be used to study the long-term operability of self-driving buses and customer behavior. Related: The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai Finland is an ideal location for a self-driving bus to launch, as the country’s law does not state that a vehicle has to have a driver. Additionally, autonomous buses could offer a solution to a persistent problem in Helsinki: transporting riders from a regular public transit stop to their homes. A press release says, “Automated, remote-controlled bus service could markedly reduce the costs of the last-mile service and improve access to public transit . The ultimate goal is to increase public transit use and so to reduce cars and needs to drive in the city.” Because the electric minus is in a competitive bid process, the route, its launch date, and schedule will be announced at a later time. + Helsinkin RoboBusLine Image via Helsinkin RoboBusLine

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New self-driving electric RoboBuses are launching in Finland this year

Oakland fire-damaged home transformed into a magnificent naturally-cooled residence

June 14, 2017 by  
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California-based Terry & Terry Architecture rebuilt an existing home damaged in a 1991 Oakland fire as a beautiful residence offering staggering views of San Francisco Bay. The architects designed Skyline House for a young family who wanted an open-plan home with ample ventilation to provide natural cooling. The house sits on a property dominated by large redwood trees, which inspired the use of timber cladding and other natural materials. The designers started off by working with the existing floor plan. They transformed the kitchen area to open out and lead to the front yard garden with an outdoor dining area. Related: Beautiful cliffside home ‘split in half’ by landslide rebuilt with wooden pods The home is situated to take advantage of the bay breezes and the interior roofline flows to both convey the breezes through the home and to recreate the appearance of undulating fog. A wooden tube-like envelope hugs the open common space and visually connects the garden to the front viewing deck at the rear. This form takes advantage of the winds to facilitate natural ventilation , with the main living space acting as a connection between two contrasting outdoor spaces. + Terry & Terry Architecture Via v2com Photos by Bruce Damonte Photography

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Oakland fire-damaged home transformed into a magnificent naturally-cooled residence

The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai

June 13, 2017 by  
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The world’s first self-driving supermarket just landed on the streets of Shanghai – and it could be coming to your neck of the woods in the near future. Developed by the folks behind the Wheelys bike cafe , the Moby is a solar-powered market on wheels that actually helps the environment by filtering smoggy air. It’s also packed with artificial intelligence, it features drone delivery, and it’s open round-the-clock without staffing. Wheely’s Moby Store is the future of shopping. Instead of driving to the store and waiting in line, the store will come to you – and you can check an app to see if a Moby is nearby. The Moby is powered by the sun and is able to run autonomously – although stores will be controlled by remote or human drivers until self-driving vehicles are legalized. Related: New Wheelys 4 bike café cleans smoggy air and turns coffee grounds into fertilizer Shopping at Moby couldn’t be easier: you just step in, take what you need and head out. All purchases are automatically tallied without the need for a checkout counter. Or you can order a drone delivery – each store has 4 drone pads for quick delivery. Moby keeps track of what is purchased and uses artificial intelligence to restock inventory. When the store needs to be restocked, it will drive itself to the warehouse and fill up. The Moby Store can also operate as a mini pharmacy and coffee shop, features first aid devices (like a defibrillator), and provides an ATM in addition to the usual grocery fare. Lest you miss the interaction with a clerk, shoppers will be greeted and helped by the holographic store assistant, Hol. If the store doesn’t have what you need – or if you have a special order – you can just tell Hol and it will be ready for you next time you drop by. The Moby store was developed in cooperation with Himalayafy and Hefei University and it’s currently in beta testing in Shanghai. + Wheelys

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The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai

Tesla to power ‘almost all’ Superchargers with solar after disconnecting them from the grid

June 9, 2017 by  
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Tesla wants the world to switch to renewable energy – and the company is leading by example by taking “almost all” of its Superchargers off the grid. The stations have been criticized in the past because they rely on dirty fossil fuels to power up electric vehicles. In response, Tesla founder Elon Musk announced that “almost all” Superchargers will be disconnected from the grid as solar and battery arrays are installed at the company’s 800 stations. Since the Superchargers were unveiled in 2012, Musk has been talking about adding on solar arrays. Now, he’s preparing to launch ‘Version 3’ of the Supercharger while deploying even more battery and solar systems – and he wants to take them off the grid. In response to a negative comment on Twitter, Musk said, “All Superchargers are being converted to solar/battery power. Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid.” All Superchargers are being converted to solar/battery power. Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 9, 2017 As Elektrek reports , a recent study concluded that the average electric car in the United States now gets the same efficiency as a (non-existent) 73 mpg gas-powered vehicle . In retrospect, Musk could have made this point and ended the argument. However, he went one step further by unveiling the company’s ambition to take Tesla’s Supercharger network off-grid. Related: Tesla is doubling its Supercharger network by the end of the year to 10,000 chargers The logistics still need to be worked out, as Tesla would need solar arrays as large as football fields at some stations. However, the intention has been set, and if Elon Musk has proven anything, it’s that he’s an innovative leader who consistently takes action. Expect to see improved Supercharger stations that are disconnected from the electric grid in the future. Via Elektrek Images via Tesla , Inside EVs

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Tesla to power ‘almost all’ Superchargers with solar after disconnecting them from the grid

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

Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year

June 5, 2017 by  
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Are you eager to get your hands on a new electric vehicle,  but the price is too steep? You’re in luck – electric cars will likely reach cost parity with vehicles that have internal combustion engines by next year, and electric vehicles could be cheaper that gas by as soon as 2025, according to a new report by USB . The report makes it clear that while electric vehicles will still cost more than ICE cars, owning a new EV will be comparable to owning a gas or diesel car in the long-term. Analysts took into consideration the fuel costs, maintenance costs and other related expenditures related to owning all vehicles and used the information to determine that over time, the cost of owning a green vehicle is comparable to owning a conventional one. As Green Car Reports  reports , it is becoming more affordable to own an EV due to breakthroughs in battery capacity, charge times and a growing demand for environmentally-friendly technology. Part of the analysis required UBS to break down a $37,000 Chevrolet Bolt in order to estimate how much the vehicle cost to build. It was discovered that “the EV powertrain is $4,600 cheaper to produce than we thought and there is more cost reduction potential left.” Analysts continued that the 238-mile range Bolt costs around $28,700 to build and that GM is only expected to produce 30,000 Bolts in 2018. Therefore, there won’t be a huge incentive for it to be profitable. Related: UK solar smashes record, supplying 25% of electricity demand On the other hand, the Tesla Model 3 is expected to be produced in numbers as high as 500,000 by 2018. When extras are added on to the base price of the Model 3 at $35,000, the company is expected to break even. UBS declared that electric vehicles are the “most disruptive car category since the Model T Ford” and that though total sales for electric cars is still relatively small, global EV sales will reach 14% by 2025 (4.2 million vehicles). Europe is expected to take the lead in this department, selling 30% of the world’s electric cars within eight years. Now that EVs will soon cost the same to own as a car or truck with an ICE, a massive shift is expected to take place within the auto industry . + UBS Via  Green Car Reports

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Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year

Watch Toyota’s flying car take its first test flight

June 5, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to ride in a flying car? In just a few years, you might soon be able to! Several companies are working on developing this technology, and Toyota-backed Cartivator recently made progress on this goal by taking its flying car for a tentative test flight. Though the vehicle still needs a lot of work, the Japanese-based startup company is certain the car will be ready to fly in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The test flight can be seen in the Associated Press video below. Because the early prototype of the car is little more than structural scaffolding, batteries, and rotors, it doesn’t look like much. However, it is able to get about head height before returning to the ground. Unfortunately, the trial had to be called off after the propellers were damaged several attempts later. CNet reports that Cartivator Resource Management, a small tech company, received nearly $400,000 in investment from Toyota to bring the flying car concept to life. This isn’t the only futuristic technology Toyota is seeking to develop. After ending a partnership with Tesla , the company seeks to become a global leader in electric automobiles. When the Toyota-backed vehicle is completed, it should be able to take off from public roads and travel at speeds up to 100 kmph (62 mph) when flown at approximately 10 meters. At present, the team’s goal is to complete the flying car by the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo so it can light the flame. Related: Uber inks deal to demonstrate on-demand flying taxis at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai The race is on to develop the first functional flying car . Airbus announced plans to test autonomous flying vehicles by the end of 2017 and Uber is collaborating with Singapore’s Ministry of Transport to develop flying taxis as an attempt to ease congestion on urban roads. + Cartivator Via CNet Images via Cartivator

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Watch Toyota’s flying car take its first test flight

Hyundai’s new emissions-free bus travels 180 miles on just one hour of charging

June 2, 2017 by  
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It isn’t just passenger vehicles  going green  these days – mass transit is jumping on the zero-emissions bandwagon. Hyundai just unveiled its first mass-produced electric bus called the Elec City . After one hour of charging, the bus can travel 180 miles thanks to a 256kWh battery pack. Best of all, the company’s first emissions-free vehicle will be available for order in 2018. According to a report from Yonhap news agency , the company has embraced green innovation “to diversify its lineup with environmentally friendly vehicles and enhance its brand image in global markets where clean modes of transportation have emerged a key point in auto manufacturing.” Hyundai launched the bus at the Truck & Bus Mega Fair, a local commercial vehicle exhibition. Tak Yeong-duck, senior vice president of Hyundai’s Commercial Vehicle R&D Division, admits that the Elec Bus has its flaws, but says it will undoubtedly become more efficient as  electric vehicle technology is improved upon. He said, “There still remain things to be improved in terms of the charging infrastructure for pure electric vehicles. But we have decided to launch the Elec City next year as the government plans to increase the number of charging stations in the coming years.” Related: The world’s fastest charging electric bus powers up in 10 seconds flat The sleek electric bus is estimated to cost more than 200 million won ($179,000 USD), and that price does not factor in the central government’s subsidy worth 100 million won. It has not been confirmed, either, if the company will sell the Elec City (which took eight years to develop) in the United States. If Hyundai does make the emission-free bus available in the U.S., it will face some fierce competition. Chinese manufacturer BYD has sold electric buses in California , as has the Canadian company GreenPower . Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also considered developing an electric bus and knowing his ambition, it might just happen. Now that Hyundai has unveiled its first emissions-free vehicle, it has a new goal of improving the fuel efficiency of its commercial vehicles up to 30 percent by 2020. Additionally, the company aims to sell 105,000 commercial vehicles in global markets, up from 102,000 units sold in 2016. According to recent reports, Hyundai may even release a long-range electric vehicle in 2018 – keep an eye out for that. + Elec City Via Yonhap News Agency Images via Elec City

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Hyundai’s new emissions-free bus travels 180 miles on just one hour of charging

Leaked Tesla document confirms Model 3 with 215+ mile range

May 30, 2017 by  
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Tesla hasn’t released all the official performance specs for the upcoming Model 3 sedan, but a leaked dealer document just gave away a lot of the juicy details. A member of the Tesla Model 3 Owners Club recently came across a dealer product sheet that compares the specs for the Model S to the Model 3 – effectively revealing the Model 3’s driving range and other performance specs. Rather than promote the Model 3, the leaked document looks more like a way to educate Tesla’s sales staff about ways to sell the Model S over the Model 3. It points out many of the Model 3’s shortcomings compared to the flagship Model S, but either way, we now know that the Model 3 will have a 215+ mile driving range. That driving range puts it just a tad below the Chevy Bolt, but miles ahead of any other electric car in its price range. Related: Tesla is taking some major risks by accelerating production of Model 3 The leaked document also reveals that the Model 3 will be able to reach 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, which is definitely slower than the Model S P100D Ludicrous, but still faster than some sports cars. The Model 3 will also have a modestly sized front and rear trunk space with 14 cubic feet of cargo space, about half the space that the Model S has. Lastly, while the Model S has over 1,500 configurations, the Model 3 will only have about 100 and many of the premium features, like a Smart Air Suspension or HEPA filter won’t even be available on the Model 3. The Model 3 will also not have free access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, like the Model S and instead it will be “pay per use.” If you were to put a deposit down on a Model 3 today, you will have to wait more than a year before production even starts, which means meaning you won’t get your Model 3 until mid-2018. + Tesla Via Model 3 Owners Club and Inside EVs Images @Tesla

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Leaked Tesla document confirms Model 3 with 215+ mile range

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