Minnesota to implement low- and zero-emission clean vehicle standards

September 27, 2019 by  
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In a move that would make both hybrid and electric car manufacturers see dollar signs, Minnesota announced a new proposal that will require auto manufacturers that sell within the state to deliver more hybrid cars and electric vehicles (EVs) to comply with its new low- and zero-emission initiative. The measure places the Gopher State alongside 13 other states that have implemented clean vehicle emissions standards. The standards will take a minimum of 18 months for roll-out, due to the rule-making process set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).  Thus, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” is expected to see more hybrid and electric cars in sales lots starting around the 2023 model year. This roll-out will also allow time for the state to beef up its investments in more public electric-charging stations, while similarly brokering anticipated alternative energy deals with the likes of none other than Tesla, as the latter ramps up its nationwide plant acquisition plans. Related: This calculator tracks the carbon emissions of your travels Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety currently reports that residents of Minnesota, on average, prefer large pickup trucks, followed by SUVs. Broad capacity recreational vehicles ( RVs ) are also a Minnesota favorite. Minnesotan loyalty to pickup trucks, SUVs and RVs could make the shift to relatively compact EVs challenging. However, the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy does offer EV tax credits and incentives that Minnesotans and other U.S. denizens can take advantage of. For instance, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives a tax credit “for $2,500 to $7,500 per new EV purchased for use in the U.S.” The tax credit varies depending on the vehicle and its battery capacity, but the incentive is a way to shift more consumers to EVs. The tax credit is “available until 200,000 qualified EVs have been sold in the United States by each manufacturer, at which point the credit begins to phase out for that manufacturer. Currently, no manufacturers have been phased out yet.” You can learn more about the tax credit here . Via Consumer Reports Image via MN Administration

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Repurposed coffee grounds provide sustainable clothing pigment alternative

September 27, 2019 by  
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Scientists from Iowa State University (ISU) recently unveiled a natural alternative to synthetic clothing pigment. This natural alternative is sourced from brewed coffee grounds. The research team , spearheaded by ISU Assistant Professor Chunhui Xiang and graduate student Changhyun “Lyon” Nam, found a possible alternative via repurposed coffee grounds. Rather than adding to landfill density and single-use waste, brewed coffee grounds can instead be transformed into another high-value resource. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Brewed coffee grounds are feasible because 100 million Americans drink coffee daily, meaning there is an adequate supply of coffee grounds that can be upcycled and diverted away from landfills. Shades of brown can be extracted from the coffee grounds, then bound to various textiles and fabrics. Of course, there remain the quandaries of fading and of replicating consistent hues. While the use of pigment fixative helps to bind the color to the fabric and reduce fading, producing consistent hues that can match a template proves to be more complex. More research is required before repurposed coffee grounds can be ready for mass-production of pigments.  “One disadvantage is that it’s hard to measure the quantity needed to get the same color,” Xiang explained. “There may be a difference in the type of beans, or maybe the coffee was brewed twice. Creating an exact match is a challenge, especially for manufacturers.” However, Xiang asserted that hue consistency can be overcome by changing consumer attitudes. If consumers are able to reframe their interests so that they accept the uniqueness of colors rather than demand their consistency, then repurposed coffee grounds, as a sustainable source, can be a worthwhile commercial venture. Historically, textile hues were originally sourced from plants and minerals.  But industrialization forced the textile sector to turn to synthetics, because laboratories could produce them at cheaper cost. Over time, these synthetics have become less and less environmentally friendly. Because the textile industry utilizes upward of 2 million tons of chemicals for its synthetic pigments, there has been a growing movement in today’s society to find more sustainable sources, such as repurposed coffee grounds. + Taylor and Francis Online Via Phys.org Image via Couleur

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MVRDV unveils pro-bono vision to reopen the lost canals of The Hague

September 27, 2019 by  
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In a bid to restore a lost part of nature to The Hague, MVRDV has unveiled a proposal to reopen the city’s 17th-century canals that were filled in between 1910 and 1970. Created in partnership with the local community, the “Grachten Open” (Canals Open) initiative would restore access to the waterways and would revitalize a run-down part of the historic center by introducing new programming from swimming canals to a gastronomy route with a new market hall. The urban revitalization project would also bring ecological benefits by bringing natural habitat back into the city center. As the seat of government for the Netherlands, The Hague has placed less emphasis on its canal system compared to other Dutch cities historically more reliant on trade. While many of the canals have been drained and filled in, a local grassroots movement to preserve the canal area in the historic city center began to take root in the late 20th century. In recent years, the movement has seen greater community action for revitalizing the area and reopening the lost canals. One of the most notable contributors to the cause is local resident Shireen Poyck, who co-founded the ‘Grachten Open’ and, in 2018, invited her neighbor, MVRDV partner Jan Knikker, to participate. Related: Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagen’s harbor Working together with local neighborhood organizations, MVRDV recently presented a plan to reopen the canals to the city of The Hague. The design proposes restoring the main canals and creating plans for the minor canals, which can be remade into “urban activators” and used as swimming canals, koi carp canals or even surf canals. The main canals would be defined by themed “routes,” that include a green route, creative route, shopping route, culinary route and sport route. “All over the world, neighborhoods like the old center of The Hague form the backbone of tourism and provide an identity to a city, but in The Hague, somehow this ancient and incredibly charming area was forgotten,” said Winy Maas, architect and co-founder of MVRDV. “The area offers the unique chance for an urban regeneration that will improve the local economy and make a leap forward in the city’s energy transition.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV unveils pro-bono vision to reopen the lost canals of The Hague

Toyota Prius has the best gas mileage of any car Consumer Reports has ever tested

May 27, 2016 by  
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While the green car industry has been obsessed with the latest electric cars  ( Tesla Model 3 , anyone?) some mainstays like the Toyota Prius hybrid continue to shine outside of the limelight. Case in point:  Consumer Reports  just revealed that the all-new 2016 Prius recorded the best gas mileage of any car in the publication’s history! With a combined 52 mpg rating, the Prius outperforms any other hybrid on the market without a plug. Last year, Consumer Reports recorded a combined rating of 44 mpg with the last generation Prius, so an 8 mpg improvement is significant. Thanks to its more aerodynamic body and more powerful battery, the all-new Prius also achieved a 59 mpg rating in a 65 mph test. Of course the 59 mpg rating is nothing compared to the MPGe rating that some electric cars and plug-in hybrids get, but the Prius is still the best conventional hybrid you can buy if you’re not quite ready to make the switch to a vehicle with a plug. Related: Toyota’s new Prius Prime has the world’s highest MPGe for a plug-in hybrid If you are ready to switch to a plug-in hybrid, Toyota recently revealed the 2017 Prius Prime , which can now travel up to 22 miles in fully electric mode. Toyota also announced that the Prius Prime will have the highest MPGe rating of any plug-in hybrid with an estimated 120 MPGe rating. + Consumer Reports

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A new study says electric cars will cost the same as gas-powered cars by 2025

March 3, 2016 by  
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In addition to range anxiety issues, another reason car buyers haven’t fully completely fallen in love with electric cars is because of the extra price premium. Today electric cars and hybrids cost more than their gas-powered counterparts, but that will reportedly change as soon as 2025, according to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance . The study claims that by 2025 the cost of batteries will drop so much, that buyers won’t have to pay more to buy an electrified car. Read the rest of A new study says electric cars will cost the same as gas-powered cars by 2025

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The Koenigsegg Regera is a crazy 1,500 horsepower plug-in hybrid

March 2, 2016 by  
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On the outside, the Koenigsegg Regera may look just like any other supercar, but under the skin, the Swedish automaker has created what is probably one of the fastest plug-in hybrids to date. With over 1,500 horsepower and a 0-62 mph time of only 2.8 seconds, the Regera isn’t your typical hybrid . Read the rest of The Koenigsegg Regera is a crazy 1,500 horsepower plug-in hybrid

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7 hot new green cars just unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

January 12, 2016 by  
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The 2016 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is faster, more powerful, and more efficient than its non-hybrid counterpart

November 20, 2015 by  
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Think hybrid cars compromise on performance? Think again – Toyota’s new 2016 Rav4 Hybrid is better than its non-hybrid counterpart in every way. It’s faster, more powerful, and it has the best fuel economy in its class. And here’s the real kicker: the 2016 Rav4 Limited Hybrid only costs $700 more than the non-hybrid model. Read the rest of The 2016 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is faster, more powerful, and more efficient than its non-hybrid counterpart

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2016 Green Car of the Year finalists announced ahead of the LA Auto Show

October 15, 2015 by  
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The 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show is just about a month away and the crowning of the “Green Car of the Year” award is one of the exciting parts of the event. Green Car Journal has announced the finalists for this year’s award, including the 2016 Audi A3 e-tron, Chevy Volt , Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Prius . Read the rest of 2016 Green Car of the Year finalists announced ahead of the LA Auto Show

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Mercedes-Benz just unveiled a hybrid car that can transform at high speeds

September 15, 2015 by  
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