Tridika is a self-driving maglev vehicle that would double as a portable living room

September 1, 2016 by  
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Hold onto your seats, folks—especially if you’re sitting on your living room couch. This wild self-driving living room concept lends a whole new perspective to the idea of private transportation . Charles Bombardier, a mechanical engineer from Canada with an unbridled imagination, worked with vehicle designer Ashish Thulkar to develop Tridika, the pod-like living room that doubles as a mag-lev vehicle. After all, Bombardier wrote for Wired, “Why shouldn’t people use their vehicles for purposes other than transport?” Bombardier has a history of wild and crazy ideas, over 200 of which have been chronicled on the blog he’s kept since 2013. Tridika is the latest, inspired by Thyssenkrupp’s Willy Wonka-style elevator (and probably in part by science fiction films, too), and the concept is essentially a driverless vehicle that operates on a magnetic levitation (maglev) track which, when not carting its owner around town, would be parked next to a home or apartment and used as additional living space. Another option, Bombardier explains, would be to configure the pod as a portable office capable of seating up to six people—perfect for the perennial workaholic. Related: Could maglev hovering homes be the answer to rising sea levels?  Considering how much time the average car is parked, doing basically nothing but waiting for the next commute or shopping trip , Bombardier’s impetus for the Tridika seems like a common sense approach. He argues the concept may be a great way to maximize limited space in crowded urban environments, simultaneously solving parking issues while expanding the usable area of your home. Because maglev technology powers vehicles with electricity drawn from the tracks, it could also be a cleaner alternative to fossil fuel-based cars. But what about the technology? Is a self-driving living room even possible? Well, sure. Since the concept is based on existing maglev technology, it seems as though creating the box-shaped pods might not be such a challenge. Of course, then you’d have to find a developer who wants to outfit their buildings with maglev tracks and take on the challenge of selling driverless pod living rooms to residents. But, if the price is right and the benefits are clear, the trend could eventually catch on. Via Wired Images via Ashish Thulkar/Tridika

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Tridika is a self-driving maglev vehicle that would double as a portable living room

Hybrid Airship Being Readied for Flight

March 8, 2016 by  
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The “world’s largest aircraft,” the Airlander 10, is being readied for flights to begin later this year . The Airlander 10 is a massive hybrid aircraft that combines helium lift, aerodynamic lift, and direct thrust for flight. As we’ve noted before, we are big fans of airships (and even if there are tradeoffs in time and energy costs , we think that there is definitely a place for them in certain niches of air transport), so this is exciting news. Company information from Hybrid Air Vehicles cites a number of reasons for finding this airship so appealing to EcoGeeks: “The revolutionary Airlander 10 combines lighter-than-air technology with the best of aeroplanes and helicopters to bring brand new capabilities to aircraft. We produce less noise, less pollution, have a lower carbon footprint, longer endurance (remains airborne for up to three weeks) and better cargo-carrying capacity than virtually any other flying vehicle, with the ability to land and take-off from any surface, including ice, desert and even water.” At over 300 feet (92 m) long, the Airlander 10 [pdf] is roughly the length of an American football field, and its total envelope is 1.34 million cubic feet (38,000 cubic meters). But the aircraft itself weighs only about 20 tons (20,000 kg). It is the latest in a series of hybrid airship concepts that have been in development over the past several years, and the Airlander itself is the continuation of the now-cancelled US Army LEMV airship . We are certainly glad to see that the civilian uses of this technology continue to be pursued. It’s also good to see the apparent improvements in the technical performance of the craft. When we covered this in 2012, it had a cargo capacity of 7 tons, while the current payload is up to 10 tons. The Airlander 10 has an endurance of 5 days for manned flights and a cruise speed of 80 knots (148 km/hr). via: @hottopicnz

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Hybrid Airship Being Readied for Flight

Riversimple launches a 250 mpg hydrogen-powered car

February 17, 2016 by  
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Riversimple launches a 250 mpg hydrogen-powered car

Still Plugging Electric Cars at NAIAS 2016

January 13, 2016 by  
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Nobody is trying to save the planet with green cars anymore. The days of green cars being featured at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) seem to be over.  Gone are the days of rainforest themes and bamboo floors and ostentatiously placed recycling bins.  But we’ve been reporting that for the past few years . We’ve continued to note the decrease in emphasis on the importance of fuel economy, resource conservation, emissions reduction, and similar features that make a car “green.”  Green is now passe.  Or green has become mainstream.  It’s probably a bit of both. This is not to say that everything has gone back to the way it was.  Regulations for fuel economy have pushed things to where a small, chunky SUV had the kind of unheralded fuel efficiency that would’ve been one of the selling points for a small sedan a few years earlier.  So, in that sense, the entire industry has gotten greener.  But it’s gotten rolled into the ordinary business of selling cars. The one thing which is a green car element that was repeated across many manufacturers’ displays this year was the electric vehicle charging station.  Rather than being surrounded by a special display drawing attention to the “green” car, in most instances, the rechargeable vehicles were identified primarily by having that company’s power unit standing beside it (often with the unit plugged in to show the connection).  Audi, BMW, Nissan, and Porsche are among those with this kind of display.  Having a matching branded charging station in one’s own garage is one thing, but the interoperability of different chargers needs to be assured for the uptake of electric vehicles to continue to grow. Instead of everyone trying to establish their green credibility, this year the feature that most manufacturers seem to want you to covet is having the ability to connect your phone and your car.  Rather than embedding complicated systems into the vehicle itself, they are instead taking advantage of the nimbler technology of the smartphone, and making it easier to pair that with your new vehicle. The other thing that was striking to a long-time auto show attendee was the number of shifts in space between different manufacturers.  While some companies’ presence was in the same part of Cobo Hall where they have been in previous years, there were moves among several companies major companies with their displays in very different places from where they had been for the last few years.  Does being in a different place mean anything significant?  Maybe not.  But at the same time, it seems emblematic of a shift in the landscape. Tesla, which had been the brash upstart at the show a few years ago and maintained a presence for several years, was not a part of this year’s show at all.  More surprisingly, Toyota’s presence was reduced to a small counter with just two people standing behind it, although sub-brands Scion and Lexus had a presence, and they evidently had a bit more to reveal during the continuation of the show on Tuesday. Luxury brands seemed to be a bigger presence than in the past.  Both Cadillac and Lincoln displays were disconnected from the rest of their respective parent companies, and were across from one another in about the space around where Tesla had been in past years.  A “luxury lifestyle” magazine (with a handful of high-end cars in their display) had a space easily as large as some of the less mainstream exhibits from previous years, such as VIA, or BYD, or last year’s car printing 3D printer.  There seemed to be a new emphasis on exclusivity, while also an overall reduction in the size of the footprint than in previous shows.  While last year there were many technological displays on the lower level, this year it was just the US Army (also present on the lower level last year) and the automotive design program of Lawrence Technological University. But the number of companies with more than one electric or hybrid vehicle seems like this year’s notable trend.  BMW, for one example, has three different vehicles (i8, i3, and 330e), all for different market segments, with plug-in capability.  That, as much as anything, seems to be the green trend to watch for the next couple of years.

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Still Plugging Electric Cars at NAIAS 2016

Infographic: 6 problems self-driving cars will have to overcome

June 25, 2015 by  
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Self-driving cars will make stressful commutes a thing of the past, allowing passengers to relax or even take a nap on the way to work. But if the technology already exists then why are they taking so long to hit the road? The following infographic from Click Mechanic and Neomam Studios lists 6 hurdles facing autonomous vehicles that we will have to overcome before we can realize an autonomous future. Read the rest of Infographic: 6 problems self-driving cars will have to overcome Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous car problems , autonomous cars , driverless , driverless car problems , driverless cars , google self-driving car , green transportation , green vehicles , infographics , NeoMam Studios , reader submissions , self driving cars , self-driving

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Infographic: 6 problems self-driving cars will have to overcome

The Bolt is the smallest and lightest electric skateboard in the world

April 8, 2015 by  
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When it comes to commuting , bikes can be too bulky, cars are a pain, and walking can be time consuming. So when robotic engineering student Lorenzo Cella wanted to find a way to speed up his commute,  he created the Bolt – “the world’s smallest and lightest electric skateboard.” The Bolt is compact enough to carry anywhere at just 9 pounds and 23-inches. It is also speedy, reaching 13 mph with a range of 6 miles. On top of that, there’s even a USB port, so you can charge your devices while you are traveling. You can support the project on Indiegogo to help make the Bolt a reality. + The Bolt on Indiegogo Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bolt skateboard , Electric Skateboard , electronic skateboard , electronic vehicles , green commute , green transportation , green travel , IndieGoGo , The Bolt , The Bolt skateboard

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The Bolt is the smallest and lightest electric skateboard in the world

Green Car Reports: Tesla home batteries, the mysterious electric Fiat and the battle between hydrogen fuel-cell and battery-electric cars

March 3, 2015 by  
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What defines a “ green car ” can be the source of much discussion among environmentalists, advocates, and actual buyers. Every week,  Green Car Reports shines a light on the industry with coverage of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles , conventional hybrids, high-efficiency clean diesels, and smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in general. Here’s a selection of their stories from this month. Read the rest of Green Car Reports: Tesla home batteries, the mysterious electric Fiat and the battle between hydrogen fuel-cell and battery-electric cars Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric cars , electric vehicles , Green Automobiles , green car news , Green Car Reports , green cars , green transportation , green vehicles , hybrid cars

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Green Car Reports: Tesla home batteries, the mysterious electric Fiat and the battle between hydrogen fuel-cell and battery-electric cars

Green Car Reports: Tesla’s first battery swap station, Toyota Mirai test drive, and the world’s best-selling electric car

December 23, 2014 by  
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What defines a “ green car ” can be the source of much discussion among environmentalists, advocates, and actual buyers. Every week Green Car Reports shines a light on the industry with coverage of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles , conventional hybrids, high-efficiency clean diesels, and smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in general. Here’s a selection of their stories from last week. Read the rest of Green Car Reports: Tesla’s first battery swap station, Toyota Mirai test drive, and the world’s best-selling electric car Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric cars , electric vehicles , Green Automobiles , green car news , Green Car Reports , green cars , green transportation , green vehicles , hybrid cars

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Green Car Reports: Tesla’s first battery swap station, Toyota Mirai test drive, and the world’s best-selling electric car

Congress is letting tax credits for hydrogen-fuelled cars expire at the end of 2014

December 23, 2014 by  
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If you’re planning on buying a hydrogen car – you should do it quickly. That’s because the federal tax credit worth up to $8,000 for fuel cell vehicle purchasers expires on Dec. 31, 2014 due to the fact that Congress didn’t renew it before their holiday break. According to Autoblog , this isn’t the first tax credit for greener vehicles to suffer from the 113th Congress’ lack of action. The electronic motorcycle credit was killed as Congress was getting ready to close down for the season but a house bill managed to extend the Alternative Fuels Excise Tax Credits for liquefied hydrogen and other alternative fuels. Read the rest of Congress is letting tax credits for hydrogen-fuelled cars expire at the end of 2014 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative fuel vehicles , alternative fuels , car , cell , credit , fuel , green , green cars , green transportation , green vehicles , hydrogen , hydrogen cars , incentive , low carbon , Mirai , tax , Toyota , vehicle

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Congress is letting tax credits for hydrogen-fuelled cars expire at the end of 2014

Rayton’s new super-efficient, affordable solar panels could trump fossil fuels

December 23, 2014 by  
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Striking another blow to the oil and gas industries, an American solar company has developed technology that can produce super-efficient solar power that’s cheaper than fossil fuels. Rayton Solar ’s new solar panel manufacturing technology that uses 50 to 100 times less silicon than other technologies, cutting out large amounts of the most costly component of solar panels. The company says its patent-pending process uses just four microns worth of silicon, leaving no waste – while boosting efficiency to 24 percent. That’s 25 percent higher than industry standard efficiency , according to the company Read the rest of Rayton’s new super-efficient, affordable solar panels could trump fossil fuels Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: efficient , green , photovoltaic , power , rayton , renewable , renewable energy , silicon , solar , Technology , Waste

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Rayton’s new super-efficient, affordable solar panels could trump fossil fuels

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