The Tesla Model S just got a tiny bit more affordable

April 18, 2017 by  
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Shortly after announcing that Tesla plans to cut its relatively more affordable Model S 60 and 60D from its lineup, the company revealed that it will also reduce the price of its new entry-level models, the 75 and 75D, by $5,000 to make up the price difference. It’s still $1,500 more than the previous model, but given that it retails for almost $70,000, that might not be a major issue for potential buyers. Those aren’t the only Model S variants to receive a price cut. The 90D’s base price is being cut from $89,500 to $87,500. If you want a car packed with more features, however, there’s bad news: the 100D and P100D are seeing a several thousand dollar price hike, as are Model X variants. There are also certain upgrades which are no longer available for the “entry level” cars, including smart air suspension on the 75 and 75D. And anyone interested in a high-amperage charger will have to shell out for the 100 or 100D. Related: Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving It may seem strange for the company to make such dramatic changes to its lineup, but it makes sense when you consider the launch of the $35,000 Model 3 later this year. The company is cutting out the products that will overlap with the Model 3’s functionality – the new car’s battery capacity stops at 75kWh, so anyone who wants a more powerful vehicle will have an incentive to upgrade. The higher prices at the top of Tesla’s range will help make up for the low cost of the Model 3, allowing the company’s average prices to remain the same. While this might be a bit frustrating for anyone interested in a 100D, overall it will help make electric cars more affordable for the average consumer. Hopefully this will result in more Tesla vehicles on the street overall. Via Engadget Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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The Tesla Model S just got a tiny bit more affordable

This playful Airbnb treehouse near San Francisco lets you sleep in a 150-year-old oak tree

April 18, 2017 by  
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This amazing treehouse near San Francisco is built around a 150-year-old live oak tree. Linda and Doug Studebaker built the Bay area’s only Airbnb treehouse as a cozy overnight rental in the backyard of their hillside property in Burlingame, California , and furnished it with furniture that gives it an old-fashioned feel. Offering scenic views of the San Francisco Bay, Doug and Linda’s Treehouse is a private refuge nestled among the treetops of a quiet forested canyon, about a twenty-minute drive away from the city. Located 30ft in the air, with a wooden staircase leading up to the main space, the treehouse is not for the faint of heart. Related: Gorgeous Robin’s Nest Treehouse Hotel immerses you in nature Visitors can enjoy the sunset or sunrise with a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay from the wrap-around deck. The interior features a comfy queen size bed, table, and a lower level chaise/reading nook. A private kitchenette and bathroom are located in the lower level of the owners’ log home, just 30 feet from the base of the treehouse. You can rent the house, ideal for two people, for $275 per night. + Doug and Linda’s Treehouse on Airbnb Photos via Airbnb

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This playful Airbnb treehouse near San Francisco lets you sleep in a 150-year-old oak tree

San Diego’s spectacular new Aquatic Center is a beacon to sailors entering the bay

April 18, 2017 by  
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Sailors cruising into San Diego Bay will now be met by the sophisticated new National City Aquatic Center . Designed by Safdie Rabines Architects , the elongated building sits embedded in the rocky coastline. The building will serve as a recreational and educational center for the community, as well as a luminous beacon for those entering the Sweetwater River Channel. Located on the southernmost edge of the Sweetwater River Channel, adjacent to Pepper Park and Pier 32 Marina, the 5,500 square foot structure replaces a makeshift facility that was previously housed in trailers. An extended wood-paneled roof looms over large glass panels , offering spectacular views of the surrounding wetlands and San Diego Bay from the interior. Related: Design Flaw Restricts View at Zaha Hadid’s Olympic Aquatic Center Visitors enter the building through a large lobby and activity space , which sits just under the extended angled roof. The rest of the complex stretches towards the back, and includes flexible multi-purpose classrooms, office space and a storage area that houses boat equipment, rest rooms, and locker facilities. There is also allotted space for public art exhibitions . + National City Aquatic Center + Safdie Rabines Architects Via Archinect

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San Diego’s spectacular new Aquatic Center is a beacon to sailors entering the bay

6 naturally-insulated cave homes that stay cool in summer and warm in winter

April 18, 2017 by  
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Cave homes have come a long way since prehistoric times. Far from primitive, many modern cave dwellings are surprisingly luxurious, comfortable, and beautiful places to call home. In addition to their head-turning location, cave homes tend to be naturally energy efficient thanks to their insulating earth walls that keep the inside air at comfortable temperatures year-round without heating or cooling. We’ve rounded up six such abodes that could make you want a cave home of your own. Rockhouse Retreat The Rockhouse Retreat is the luxury dream home located in a 700-year-old cave. Hand-carved from 250-million-year-old Triassic sandstone, this cave dwelling was fully restored and renovated by Worcestershire native Angelo Mastropietro who has transformed the space into “Britain’s first luxury cave house” with all the creature comforts of home—it even has WiFi—and made the home available for rent on AirBnB . Cuevas del Pino UMMO Estudio carefully slotted the modern Cuevas del Pino homes into calcarenite stone caves near Córdoba, Spain. The layout of the home was created in harmony with the existing rock wall formations. Natural materials like stone and timber complement the cave surroundings. Yaodong Renovation The Loess Plateau in China is home to many cave dwellers who live in very primitive conditions. Architect Shi Yang of hyperSity Architects renovated one of the caves into an extraordinary dream home that’s modern, aesthetically-pleasing, and full of natural light and ventilation. New Mexico Sandstone Homes Part art and part abode, artist Ra Paulette’s hand-carved sandstone homes are truly sculptural masterpieces. The inspiring artist meticulously turns sandstone into intricately detailed cave homes in New Mexico . He has since completed at least 12 caves over 12 years that include full power, wood flooring, and running water. Chez Hélène-Amboise Troglodyte A young French man named Alexis Lamoureux transformed a run-down cave home he purchased for just one euro into a gorgeous new abode with beautiful detailing. The original shelter lacked plumbing, sewage pipes, and electricity, so Lamoureux invested 35,000 euros and a lot of elbow grease to realize his chic new home. Luque Earth Homes BAUEN Architects tucked two homes into a sloped site in Luque, Paraguay. The green-roofed homes blend into the rolling hills and feature double-height windows that let plenty of light into the partially underground homes.

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6 naturally-insulated cave homes that stay cool in summer and warm in winter

Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car

January 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla just made electric vehicle (EV) history, but you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know. With nary an announcement or social media post, the company surreptitiously introduced the Model S 100D, which boasts an impressive, record-breaking EPA-estimated range of 335 miles. Like the S 90D, the S 100D has a top speed of 155 miles per hour, and can reach 60 miles per hour from zero in a mere 2.4 seconds. If you’re looking for an EV that can prowl the roads for a long time on a single charge, the Tesla Model S 100D is now the car to beat. Compared against the Model S P100D, the S 100D can drive 20 miles further on one charge, and while it takes longer to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour (the S P100D can accomplish the feat in 2.5 seconds), the S 100D costs around $30,000 less than the P100D and includes the same 100 kWh battery pack . Related: Check out this adorable $500 electric Tesla Model S just for kids (sorry adults) Surprisingly, Tesla rolled out the exciting new option with little pomp, instead quietly adding an update to their online design studio . The new S 100D starts at $95,000, which is only about $3,000 more than the 90D. Given its extra range of 41 miles more than the 90D, some people may think an extra $3,000 is quite a bargain. Aside from the different battery packs – the 90D has the 90 kWh battery pack – both cars have identical standard equipment. As of December 2016, such equipment includes “collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking,” according to the design studio website. Electrek points out the carmaker has never before offered as many options as they provide now. With the affordable new S 100D, Tesla could see a boost in sales, as many new buyers may opt for the longest range they can get. Via Autoblog and Electrek Images via Tesla and Tesla Facebook

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Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car

Moscows Urban Farm teaches kids how to grow their own food

January 23, 2017 by  
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City living often removes people from nature and from where their food comes from, but an initiative in Moscow proves that doesn’t need to be the norm. Russian architecture firm Wowhaus recently completed Urban Farm, a development in Moscow’s VDNKh park that reconnects children with nature by teaching them how to grow their own food and how to cook meals. The farm in the city is the first of its kind in Moscow and covers a variety of agricultural activities from raising livestock to tending vegetable gardens. Located next to the Kamenskiye Ponds, the three-hectare Urban Farm comprises a series of open-air and covered areas built mainly of timber based on wooden house archetypes such as double-pitched roofs. The development is made up of three main educational areas: the livestock zone that includes a barn with chicken coops and pasture for the nearly 60 animals on site including goats, sheep, cows, and more; the workshops zone; and the crop zone that includes greenhouses , orchard, and vegetable garden. The Urban Farm is also home to a restaurant that includes a small cooking school for kids, a kiosk and picnic area, a library, children’s play area, and children’s fishing zone. Children are not only allowed to interact with animals, but are also encouraged to take care of them by preparing their food or directly feeding them. Staff teach children how to further care for the livestock and the economics and management of farming such as balancing a farm budget and making financial decisions. An on-site veterinarian makes sure all animals are well taken care of. Workshops housed in the beautiful arched buildings offer classes on pottery, woodworking, and other artistic pursuits. The greenhouses, clad in a pineapple-like facade, include hydroponic farming for herbs and vegetables, soil-based farming for flowers, and a nursery for more exotic plants. Related: Studio Gang’s Chicago farm school will teach kids how to grow their own organic food “The main objective of the project is to educate,” says a statement on VDNHk’s website . “Live exhibition is aimed primarily at children, but, as the experience shows not only kids, but also adults are happy to come here. All year round there will be held master classes, lectures, thematic presentations of plants and animals, as well as different recreational activities.” + Wowhaus Images via Wowhaus , VDNH

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Moscows Urban Farm teaches kids how to grow their own food

Tesla just kicked off battery production at its massive Nevada Gigafactory

January 5, 2017 by  
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Tesla just took a big step towards realizing CEO Elon Musk’s vision of a sustainable energy future by kicking off the mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at its Gigafactory near Sparks, Nevada. Tesla has set an ambitious target of eventually producing 150 GWh of lithium-ion battery cells annually – enough batteries to support up to 1.5 million electric vehicles. Tesla also plans on manufacturing as many as 500,000 cars per year before 2020. There are more than 400,000 pre-orders for the Model 3 so the demand is certainly there. The electric vehicle maker and clean energy storage company partnered with Panasonic to design, engineer and manufacture the “2170 battery cell” (21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters in length). The 2170 cells that began production Wednesday will be used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy products. The batteries for the Model 3 — the company’s first affordable EV, which is priced at $35,000 and expected to hit the assembly line this year — are set to start production in the second quarter. Tesla said that by 2018 the Gigafactory will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, “nearly as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.” The Gigafactory is being built in phases, with nearly 30 percent completed — a footprint of 1.9 million square feet. When the 10 million square foot structure is completed, Tesla expects it to be the biggest building in the world. A second Gigafactory is planned for Europe, with the location yet to be announced. Related: Panasonic investing $256M in Tesla’s Buffalo solar manufacturing plant While Musk has discussed how increasing automation will likely lead to a universal basic income for displaced workers, he is doing his part to create jobs. Tesla and Panasonic said they will hire several thousand employees this year and at peak production, the Gigafactory will employ 6,500 people and indirectly create another 20,000 to 30,000 jobs in the surrounding area. + Tesla + Panasonic Via Greentech Media Images via Tesla 1 , 2

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Tesla just kicked off battery production at its massive Nevada Gigafactory

Upcycling studio in Tel Aviv gives former prostitutes a second chance at life

January 5, 2017 by  
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Modern slavery is all around us—even if we don’t always see it. Human trafficking for the sex industry is one of the most insidious crimes, but one group in Tel Aviv is fighting against it to save lives and the environment. A.I.R.—which stands for “Act, Inspire, Restore”—is an international social enterprise that combines social purpose with an eco-friendly upcycling business to spread awareness about the black market activity and to give former prostitutes the skills and supportive community they need for a second chance at life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyT7BS9V5Vs Founded by Swiss couple Tabea and Matthias Oppliger, A.I.R. turns reclaimed materials like pallets into custom wood furniture and other upcycled products. The social impact business is a branch of glowbalact , a Switzerland-based NGO aimed at ending modern-day slavery, particularly sex trafficking, in Switzerland and abroad. Tabea, a trained massage therapist, first got involved by offering free massages in Zurich brothels for three years to learn about the women working there, earn their trust, and give them a therapeutic experience. Her and her husband’s knowledge of the industry and desire to spread awareness eventually brought them to Tel Aviv, where an unexpected encounter with a woman who Tabea previously massaged in Zurich cemented their decision to start a social enterprise in Israel. Despite Israel’s mostly young and well-educated populace, the country is home to 12,000 women, men, and children who identify as sex workers. Over three-quarters of women surveyed by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice shared their desire to leave the sex industry but say they can’t due to lack of employable skills, financial debt, or coercion by pimps or former employees. The Oppligers founded A.I.R. two years ago and successfully launched their first workspace seven months ago in the city’s gritty but up-and-coming Florentine neighborhood. There, the couple is joined with a staff of social workers and business managers, and they currently work together with eight former sex workers who have signed on for a one-year training program to help them reintegrate into society. Related: Thailand’s $7.8 billion seafood industry is built on human trafficking and slave labor Created with the mission to restore people and materials, A.I.R. works primarily with turning discarded shipping pallets into stylish furniture, a process that Tabea says is very therapeutic. The Swiss-Israeli social enterprise creates custom furniture designs to generate a stable economic base and pays the women an hourly rate. Thus far, A.I.R. has installed their upcycled works in a variety of locations across the city including the rooftop patio of Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv, and recently won a contract to outfit the interior of a new coffee shop. The foam cushions are covered with recycled billboard canvas, which is sturdy, waterproof, and often colorful. Since the upcycled pallet furniture is heavy and is only sold in Israel, A.I.R. was asked by supporters to produce a second upcycled product that could be easily shipped abroad. Thus, the team has recently started collecting discarded kites donated by kite surfers. The reclaimed materials are repurposed into waterproof bags and bibs under the label Kite Pride. “We’re trying to make art not waste,” said Tabea to Inhabitat. “We love the idea of upcycling and recycling. It has to be unique and this very colorful stuff is very therapeutic for the girls. One of the girls said ‘I’m just happy looking at the colors.’ Our constant battle is between being socially minded and the pressure of trying to get a business up and running. It’s very challenging. We offer social impact holidays to Germans and Americans and other young business people so that they can come for two and three weeks here and help out at A.I.R. Our goal is to be a jumping board for the career these girls have always wanted. We just give them stability and a protected environment and teach them a few things.” A.I.R.’s Kite Pride products will soon be available for purchase on their website and their upcycled pallet furniture is available for purchase and commission in Israel. The sale of these products helps spread awareness and will produce more jobs around the country. To learn more about human trafficking, you can watch a new sex trafficking movie “She Has A Name,” proceeds of which help support glowbalact. + glowbalact + Vibe Israel Tour courtesy of Vibe Israel Images © Lucy Wang , image of Oppligers © Amit Shemesh

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Upcycling studio in Tel Aviv gives former prostitutes a second chance at life

Elon Musk just confirmed plans for a new Tesla Roadster

December 30, 2016 by  
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Get excited, electric car fans – the Tesla Roadster is coming back. Elon Musk just announced plans to bring the zero emissions sports car back from the electric vehicle graveyard where it was buried at the end of 2012 after selling nearly 2,500 units during its brief four-year life. When a Twitter user asked if there will be a new Roadster , Musk replied that a new version is “some years away, but yes.” The CEO of the California-based electric vehicle maker actually said in a conference call last year that the next-generation Roadster will debut in 2019 so the tweet is further confirmation that a new Roadster is indeed being developed. The Roadster was a two-seater with an open top and a chassis based on the Lotus Elise. The EV was notable for being the first street legal electric car to use lithium ion battery cells and the first electric car to travel more than 200 miles per charge. Related: Tesla’s next Supercharger could charge electric cars in mere seconds Tesla has come a long way since the Roadster, producing the Model S and Model X and soon the Model 3 — the company’s first affordable EV. The automaker is expanding into energy storage and solar panels and most recently solar shingles . But the future wasn’t always so bright for Musk, who earlier this year during a shareholder meeting admitted that the Roadster’s rollout was anything but smooth. Musk said that when he took Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin for a test ride, the Roadster only reached 10 mph. The early Roadster “was completely unsafe,” it “broke down all the time,” and it “didn’t really work,” said Musk. While there are no details about what the second-generation Roadster will look like, there has been speculation that the name could change from Roadster to Model R so as to align with the automaker’s other models. + Tesla Via Auto Evolution Images via Wikipedia 1 , 2 and Tesla

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Elon Musk just confirmed plans for a new Tesla Roadster

The Tesla Model 3 could feature an ice-melting solar roof

November 3, 2016 by  
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Elon Musk just announced that the already amazing and affordable Tesla Model 3 will feature the same photovoltaic glass technology used in the company’s recently unveiled solar roof system . According to Musk, the technology could be used to create a car roof that defosts ice and melts snow while continuously generating energy from the sun. The CEO dropped some huge hints during a conference call regarding Tesla’s merger with SolarCity, where he also described the creation of a special Tesla glass division. The Model 3 , expected to be released in 2017, is already making waves as the company’s first affordable electric vehicle . The surprising price of $35,000 (before tax incentives) and the estimated 215 mile driving range are enough to consider trading in your gas-guzzler, but the addition of a solar roof is the cherry on top. While Musk did not come right out and say how the new technology would be integrated in the Model 3, his tweets seem to paint a pretty clear picture: “Solar glass tiles can also incorporate heating elements, like rear defroster on a car, to clear roof of snow and keep generating energy.” Related: Tesla, Solar City launch groundbreaking new solar roof product Referring to the ability to incorporate heating elements directly into the glass solar panels, Musk all but gives away the plans for a paneled roof and windshield that can defrost and melt snow efficiently. He also gave reassurance that the system is “strongly net positive ,” so melting away frost consume a minimal amount of energy. The merger between Tesla and SolarCity will not only benefit customers set on powering their homes with renewable energy, but also the everyday driver who wants to cruise around in an affordable, solar-topped EV. + Tesla Via Futurism Images via Tesla

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The Tesla Model 3 could feature an ice-melting solar roof

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