Volkswagen reveals plans for mobile electric car charging robot

January 27, 2020 by  
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As the number of electric cars continues to increase, the need for charging stations increases with it. Often, finding a charging station not only involves planning to be at the location before the car runs out of battery power, but also being able to pull into one of the (typically shared) spots to complete the actual charge. Volkswagen is developing a mobile robot that eliminates the need to plug into a charging port, bringing the charge directly to your vehicle regardless of which parking space you choose.  Using an app or V2X communication, the owner simply lets the portable charger know the car is ready for a boost. The robot, equipped with cameras, laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors maneuvers through the parking garage, dodging obstacles until it locates the vehicle. The robot pulls a trailer that holds a mobile energy storage device. Once delivered to the vehicle, the robot autonomously attaches the charging unit to the car, initiating the charge. At that point, the robot is free to deliver charging devices to other cars. When the car is sufficiently charged, the robot comes back to disconnect the charging station and return it to its charging dock.  Related: Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car The system is currently in prototype form, and a manufacturing date has not been set. However, Volkswagen has a history of electric car innovation that leads us to believe it’s only a matter of time before the charging station comes to the car rather than the car having to track down a plugin. “The mobile charging robot will spark a revolution when it comes to charging in different parking facilities such as multi-storey car parks, parking spaces and underground car parks because we bring the charging infrastructure to the car and not the other way around. With this, we are making almost every car park electric, without any complex individual infrastructural measures,” Mark Möller, Head of Development at Volkswagen Group Components, said. + Volkswagen Images via Volkswagen

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Volkswagen reveals plans for mobile electric car charging robot

No more heavy metals? New IBM battery chemistry research could address mineral sourcing concerns

December 30, 2019 by  
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The design is free of cobalt, an increasingly controversial material. Plus, Mercedes-Benz is involved in the next phase of testing.

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No more heavy metals? New IBM battery chemistry research could address mineral sourcing concerns

No more heavy metals? New IBM battery chemistry research could address mineral sourcing concerns

December 30, 2019 by  
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The design is free of cobalt, an increasingly controversial material. Plus, Mercedes-Benz is involved in the next phase of testing.

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No more heavy metals? New IBM battery chemistry research could address mineral sourcing concerns

Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car

November 15, 2019 by  
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Mercedes-Benz is an easily identifiable name that has always equated to superior design elements and an opulent driving experience. Those phrases aren’t typically associated with words like sustainability and electric car , but Mercedes-Benz recently revealed the Vision EQS concept car as an example of how luxury and sustainability can intertwine. The sleek, futuristic design of the Vision EQS show car had everyone talking at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt and the Tokyo Motor Show this year. The dazzling and innovative light systems, from the front bumper to the back, inside and out, highlight the attention to detail and Hollywood-esque glam. Inside, an ultra-streamlined design curves around the occupants from the dashboard to the trunk. Related: A couple turns a Mercedes Sprinter into a solar-powered home on wheels Integrated into the undeniable luxury and function are some nods toward a future of sustainable car engineering. For example, the crystal white DINAMICA microfiber interior is made from recycled PET bottles . The elegant design is trimmed out with native maple accents. Additionally, the roof liner comes from a high-quality textile created by mixing in recycled “ocean waste” plastic . Of course, material sourcing is only part of the sustainability equation. In the world of electric cars , companies seem to excel at efficiency, but lack in sports car performance and luxury. Mercedes-Benz is skewing that assumption with the Vision EQS, capable of 469 hp output and 0-60 acceleration in under 4.5 seconds. In addition to a sporty design, opulent touches and the driving experience one would expect from Mercedes-Benz, the Vision EQS show car offers an impressive range of up to 435 miles without a recharge. Assuming a charging performance of 350 kW, the show car recharges the battery to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes. Mercedes-Benz achieves this efficiency with systematic weight distribution. The balanced, sporty driving experience is powered with electric motors at the front and rear axles, but the battery is integrated into the center of the vehicle floor. Mercedes-Benz has a goal to provide a new, carbon-neutral car fleet in 20 years. In car manufacturing terms, that means a dramatic change in about three design cycles. The company believes that the need for transportation and the desire for the exceptional are timeless concepts that will launch the Vision EQS show car and other models into an era of climate-neutral mobility and emissions-free driving. While holding to the company values of producing a superior consumer experience, Mercedes-Benz hopes to awaken the sustainable focus in its customers by offering them an electric car they can drive with pride and without sacrifice. + Mercedes-Benz Images via Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes Benz presents a luxury electric car

This concept camper van brings luxury to off-roading #vanlife

October 8, 2019 by  
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Camper vans have been around for generations, but after 5 minutes of watching traffic in any national park, you’ll see that they have come a long way since the Volkswagen version that was once ubiquitous along surfing coastlines. Sprinter vans, common in today’s #vanlife era, are a model of van produced by Mercedes-Benz. Other manufacturers are pumping out similar designs to keep up with the trend, and each company has its own spin on the concept with an optimized combination of minimization, comfort and maneuverability. Hymer, a German company, has recently revealed its vision of a luxury camper van for 2025 and beyond — the VisionVenture. Imagine a sleek apartment compressed into an off-road vehicle, and you have the basis for the VisionVenture. Equipped for comfort, it offers sleeping areas, a sleek bathroom and plenty of seating alongside 4×4 capabilities that allow you to escape the crowds. Related: This camper van features not just one, but two sleeping pods in its cozy interior The concept car starts with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van grille, doors and lights and adapts the rest of the front end for additional space by pushing out the windshield and redesigning the canopy and engine hood. This change creates better flow and a more open feel between the cab and the center of the van . The kitchen is anchored around a central stairway with built-in storage that leads to a pop-up bedding solution with upper insulation and quick-respond temperature control. The main living area welcomes in natural light through large side windows and a rear door, which opens to create a covered terrace complete with a pull-out barbecue station. There’s even space for a full-capacity bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink that can be collapsed against the wall for more space. Lush interior decor adds to the feeling of home with spacious couches that can be converted into additional bedding, wall decor, shelving, lighting and accessories for all your digital needs. While the idea is comfort coupled with the ability to go remote, the designers included some sustainable technology into the project as well with wheel arch fairings and other body parts manufactured by 3D printers. The system also includes photovoltaic components for low-impact, off-grid power production. + Hymer Via Geek.com Images via Hymer

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This concept camper van brings luxury to off-roading #vanlife

Mercedes-Benz unveils stunning art deco-inspired electric car

August 21, 2017 by  
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Mercedes-Benz decided to go back to the 1930s for its latest concept car, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet concept. With its imposing grille and long, sensuous curves, this stunning car may be inspired by the art deco movement dating back to France before World War I, but it has a 21st century powertrain with four electric motors. At 20-feet-long, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet is over five feet longer than the Nissan Leaf . At the front there’s a grille that’s inspired by a pinstripe suit, while as you move back, the extremely long hood and flowing lines are definitive of the art deco era. At the rear, Mercedes-Benz drew inspiration from a luxury yacht for the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet’s round “boat tail.” Related: Mercedes-Benz unveils latest Tesla Model X rival – the Generation EQ “The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet takes modern luxury into the realms of the ultimate in luxury, and is the perfect embodiment of our design strategy,” explains Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. He adds, “Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious “haute couture” interior help to create the ultimate experience.” Inside, there’s only room for two passengers, but the yacht theme continues with an open-pore wood floor with inlaid aluminum. The spacious interior features a flowing aesthetic that brings exterior and interior together, a holistic design that highlights a floating, transparent center tunnel visualizing the drive system’s electrical energy flow with blue fiber optics. While the design of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet concept may recall the best of the art deco era, its powertrain looks to the future. The concept is powered by four electric motors that generate a total 750 horsepower. With that much power, it could reach 60 mph in four seconds, and it has a driving range over 200 miles. Images @Mercedes-Benz + Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz unveils stunning art deco-inspired electric car

Oldest ice core ever dated reveals hidden clues to ancient Earth’s atmosphere

August 21, 2017 by  
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Ice cores hold secrets of what our planet was like millions of years ago, in bubbles preserving greenhouse gases from that time. A Princeton University -led team just revealed the date of ice from the oldest ice core we’ve ever dated, and it’s 2.7 million years old. Breaking the previous record by around 1.7 million years, the ice core could potentially help scientists determine what set off the ice ages . The ice core could help scientists understand more about our planet’s atmosphere millions of years ago. University of California, Berkeley geochemist David Shuster, who wasn’t part of the research, told Science Magazine, “This is the only sample of ancient Earth’s atmosphere that we have access to.” And the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the planet’s atmosphere, according to research on the ice core, may surprise some: they didn’t exceed 300 parts per million. Related: Why scientists are transporting ice from a mountain in Bolivia to Antarctica There are models of our planet’s ancient climate which hinted there would need to be low levels of CO2 to trigger ice ages. But according to Science Magazine, proxies that came from the fossils of animals who dwelt in shallow oceans had hinted at higher CO2 levels. The proxies may need to be re-calibrated if the new ice core dating holds up. Researchers unearthed the ice core from what’s called blue ice in East Antarctica. Science Magazine explained that in blue ice areas, glacial flow has allowed some ancient ice to come up to the surface. As a result, scientists don’t need to drill as deep to obtain old ice core samples in blue ice. The Princeton team hopes to extract still more ice cores from there and geochemist Ed Brook of Oregon State University , who was part of the team, said they could potentially find ice that dates back five million years. Princeton University graduate student Yuzhen Yan presented the research at the Goldschmidt Conference in Paris earlier this month. Scientists from institutions in California and Maine also made contributions. Via Science Magazine Images via Yuzhen Yan, Department of Geosciences

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Oldest ice core ever dated reveals hidden clues to ancient Earth’s atmosphere

Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living

June 20, 2017 by  
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Although the mahogany cladding on the Tonke Woodline Camper may seem like a blast from the past, this camper is designed for the modern road warrior. The camper is entirely powered by solar energy , and it comes with a large battery bank and water tank for those looking to go completely off-grid . Hand built in the Netherlands, the camper offers a compact, but comfortable living space. The interior comes with all of the basic necessities – a spacious sleeping area, kitchenette with a large, double-door fridge, and small latrine. Strategic storage throughout the interior helps keep the space clutter free. The dining table with ample seating backs up to the rear doors, which open to provide stellar views. The camper also has a number of windows, which flood the interior with natural light , making the living space light and airy. Related: Solar-powered EarthCruiser camper expands at the push of a button Designed to be used as a sturdy ride for on-the-go travel or just a simple home addition, the camper van’s Mercedes Sprinter base comes installed with four remote-controlled electrical jacks that can lift the camper off its base in order to use the truck’s cargo bed. This feature, along with its compact size, makes the Tonke Camper convenient to ship virtually anywhere in the world. + Tonke Woodline Camper Via Uncrate

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Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living

Cadillac unveils their new CT6 Plug-in Hybrid – a large, green luxury sedan

May 3, 2017 by  
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Cadillac is pushing a new green car strategy they hope will make a bigger impact than their ELR plug-in hybrid – a low-performing vehicle in terms of sales success. Rather than produce a standalone plug-in hybrid , like the ELR, Cadillac will release plug-in hybrid versions of its regular lineup, starting with the new 2017 CT6 Plug-in Hybrid. The 2017 CT6 plug-in hybrid is just now reaching showrooms, giving Cadillac a rival to other luxury sedan plug-ins, like the Mercedes-Benz S 550e, BMW 740e and Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. The CT6 plug-in hybrid can travel up to 31 miles in electric mode, which is better than the embarrassing 12 mile EV range that the S550e manages to squeeze out of its battery. If you open the hood, you won’t see a V6 or large V8 engine, like many Cadillac loyalists are used to. Instead, the CT6 plug-in hybrid is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine and two-motor electric variable transmission. A large lithium-ion battery powers the electric part of the system from behind the backseat and takes up to 4.5 hours to fully recharge on a 240-volt outlet. Related: Honda steps up with new green car strategy In total, the system generates 335 horsepower and 432 lb-ft. of torque, which puts it directly in the middle of the CT6 lineup, with only the twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 beating it. The CT6 plug-in hybrid can reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and has a 62 combined MPGe rating. Plus the 31-mile driving range is longer than almost every other plug-in hybrid on the market, with the exception of the Chevy Volt and BMW i3, but neither of those models are as luxurious or comfortable. On the road the CT6 tries to find the perfect balance between performance and efficiency. You can select between three driving modes: Tour, Sport and Hold. Tour is the standard setting, but if you want a more exciting driving experience, there’s the Sport mode with its more aggressive pedal mapping and steering response. The Hold mode allows the driver to save the EV range for later use, maybe in a city center, for example. There are also four selectable battery regen modes to recuperate as much energy as you want. The strongest setting almost allows for one pedal driving, which is something that makes the i3 so great to drive in traffic. What’s it like to drive the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid? Driving around Los Angeles in the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid, it’s easy to forget you’re driving an electrified Cadillac. The instantaneous torque makes acceleration a breeze and the 31-mile EV range is enough for short errands around town. With a 0-60 mph time of only 5.2 seconds, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid can speed past many sports cars. Although it is fast, it’s still not a true sports sedan. If you’re looking for a sportier driving experience, you’ll probably want to check out the Panamera instead, but if you’re in the market for a large, luxurious sedan, without the fuel economy penalty, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid is hard to beat. Pricing for the 2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-in hybrid starts at $75,095. It only comes in one trim with standard features like, a head-up display, panoramic sunroof, rear seat infotainment system and the Enhanced Vision package. Images @Inhabitat and Cadillac + Cadillac

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Cadillac unveils their new CT6 Plug-in Hybrid – a large, green luxury sedan

Mercedes takes on the Tesla Powerwall with a new battery for buildings

April 25, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s Powerwall has reigned supreme in home energy storage , but now they’ve got some competition from Mercedes-Benz . Last year, Daimler , parent company of Mercedes-Benz, announced that they had started developing their own brand of home energy storage units. Now the company confirmed they are beginning to deliver the units to businesses and homes in Germany . Mercedes incorporated the same lithium-ion battery technology from their hybrid cars in the new home energy storage units. Each unit has an energy content of 2.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh), and a system can be scaled up to include eight modules for a total of 20 kWh. The units come with a 10-year warranty , the same as the Tesla Powerwall , though Powerwalls come with the option to store more energy with a capacity of 13.5 kWh. Related: BMW, Daimler, Ford, and VW are planning an electric vehicle superhighway in Europe Similar to a Powerwall, Mercedes’ battery storage units store excess energy gathered by solar panels for use during peak hours or at night. According to Daimler , homeowners using their system can increase renewable energy use by as much as 65 percent. Daimler aims to expand throughout Europe and start selling the units in the United States this year. Mercedes is already developing three industrial-scale projects to provide reliability to the grid in Germany; one project includes 29 megawatt-hours of storage capacity. Mercedes is also offering a package for homeowners that comes with the battery storage unit, solar panels, an inverter, and an energy management system. The whole package, including installation, costs around $10,000. One 14 kWh Tesla Powerwall costs $5,500 ; with supporting hardware the total estimate is $6,200. Installation costs between $800 and $2,000. That doesn’t include a solar power system. Head of Development Electrics/Electronics and E-Drive for Mercedes-Benz Harald Kröger said in a statement, “We are convinced we can offer our customers an attractive product at a competitive price.” Via Treehugger Images via Mercedes-Benz and Daimler

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Mercedes takes on the Tesla Powerwall with a new battery for buildings

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