Nissan’s new EV ecosystem could give free power to EV owners

October 5, 2017 by  
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The future looks bright for electric vehicle (EV) owners. Nissan recently unveiled plans for the four pillars of their EV ecosystem, including a commitment to expand what they called the biggest fast charger network in Europe by 20 percent. They also aim to offer free power for EV owners who have a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, which feeds power from a car’s battery pack to the grid or a home. Nissan sketched plans for the future recently at the Nissan Futures 3.0 event in Norway. They showed off the new Nissan Leaf , which they said can travel 378 kilometers, or around 235 miles, on one charge. They also announced a longer-range all-electric e-NV200 van, which has a 280-kilometer, or 174-mile, range. Related: People in Denmark are earning up to $1,530 just by parking their EVs The second pillar of their plan is their commitment to infrastructure . During the upcoming 18 months, they plan to increase the number of fast chargers in Europe from 4,600 to 5,600. Their third pillar is new home and business chargers; their double-speed seven kilowatt (kW) home charger can recharge a vehicle in five and a half hours. Meanwhile, their 22 kW charger, targeted at businesses, can charge an EV in two hours. They also showcased the xStorage , their home energy storage system. And they have a scheme to get owners free power. xStorage is bidirectional, which means with it EV owners can send power to the grid from a car battery pack. They have been testing the free energy idea in Denmark. Nissan explained in a press release, “Using Nissan bidirectional charging, customers can draw energy from the grid to power their car or van and then ‘sell’ back to the grid for others to use. This means, once a nominal charge has been paid by the business for the installation of a V2G charger there are no fuel or energy costs – just free power for your EV.” They announced a United Kingdom collaboration with OVO allowing owners to buy xStorage at a discounted price, enabling them to charge an EV or start selling power to the grid. Nissan said these owners could make around £350, or around $461, a year. They hope to explore the idea of free power for EV owners in other regions of Europe. Via Nissan and Electrek Images via Nissan

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Nissan’s new EV ecosystem could give free power to EV owners

Scientists say ice may fizz and bubble like champagne when floating in outer space

October 5, 2017 by  
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A group of scientists now believe that ice fizzes and bubbles like champagne when floating in outer space . This discovery was made when researchers at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan first created a mixture of three substances commonly found on comets and interstellar clouds from which stars form: water, ammonia, and methanol. Next, the team exposed this mixture to ultraviolet radiation to imitate the harsh environment beyond the atmosphere. As the ice temperature increased to -213 degrees Celsius, it started to crack, but at only five degrees beyond, bubbles began to form and pop within the ice. This bubbling ceased when the ice warmed to -123 degrees Celsius, and returned to its fully solid form. When the experiment was repeated under different circumstances, the ice’s behavior changed substantially. There were fewer bubbles in ice with less amounts of ammonia and methanol; without UV radiation, there were no bubbles at all. When exposed to radiation, the scientists noticed an increase in hydrogen gas. This suggests that the ice bubbles are formed by hydrogen, which had split off from the methane and ammonia molecules under radiation. In addition to its unusual bubbling, space ice also assumes the viscous quality of refrigerated honey at temperatures between ?185° C and ?161° C. Related: New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system Previous experiments, such as those conducted by Cornelia Meinert of the University Nice Sophia Antipolis in France and her colleagues, have shown that irradiated ice contains a large amount of organic molecules, including ribose, an essential ingredient in DNA . Previously, skeptics of life within space argued that the complex molecules essential for life may have been contamination. “Now [these new results are] helping us argue that at this very low temperature, the small precursor molecules can actually react with each other,” said Meinert, who was not involved in the new experiment. “This is supporting the idea that all these organic molecules can form in the ice, and might also be present in comets.” Via Science News Images via Hubble ESA/Flickr and Science News

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Scientists say ice may fizz and bubble like champagne when floating in outer space

New 35-acre public park brings ‘wild urbanism’ to Moscow

October 5, 2017 by  
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If you’re looking for urban wilderness, it might be time to visit Moscow. Diller Scofidio + Renfro won a competition in 2013 to design Moscow’s first new public park in 50 years . Now, the New York architecture firm has just opened Zaryadye Park, a markedly wild, pathless green space that includes various augmented microclimates to mimic various parts of Russia, including steppes, forests, wetlands, and even tundra. Located in a former commercial part of Moscow just next to Red Square, the creation of the 35-acre park is part of a major push by the city to improve and increase local green space. Commissioned by Moscow Chief Architect, Sergey Kuznetsov, the innovative park design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro includes a number of unique features that stand out from traditional Russian parks. Related: Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Elizabeth Diller is working on an opera for the High Line In contrast to the city’s highly landscaped and symmetrical parks, Zaryadye’s design embraces a notable wild side that avoids the typical designated zones found in most parks. Free from paved walking trails, the entire surface of the new park is open green space , with grey paving stones that surround the perimeter. According to the architects, the “wild” green space was a strategic design meant to encourage complete freedom of movement – offering an “unscripted park experience” for visitors. “It is a park for Russia made from Russia…it samples the natures of Russia and merges them with the city, to become a design that could only happen here. It embodies a wild urbanism, a place where architecture and landscape are one,” explains architect, Charles Renfro. The interior is planted with native flora, which is used to create a replica of the country’s four major microclimates : steppes, forests, wetlands, and tundra. Using temperature control systems as well as daylight simulation and wind elimination, the augmented climates allow locals to use the park all year long. Open hills in wintertime become fun sledding hills and five pavilions allow for shaded shelter among the green space. There are also two amphitheaters and a philharmonic concert hall. + Diller Scofidio + Renfro Via Archdaily Images via Philippe Ruault and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

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The roots of forest bathing

September 29, 2017 by  
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Power suits, meet “Power Forests.” In Japan, Nissan and Mazda maintain agreements with a Forest Therapy Base.

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Prototype 9 is a retro electric roadster with the Nissan Leaf’s heart

August 17, 2017 by  
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Infiniti is bringing us back to the 1940s with its Prototype 9 roadster, which is set to debut this month at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. On the outside the Prototype 9 is a sexy retro concept – but under the skin it’s all about the future, since it’s powered by the next-generation Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain. “Prototype 9 celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan Motor Corporation, on whose shoulders we stand today,” stated Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design. “It started as a discussion: What if Infiniti had created a race car in the 1940s? If one were to imagine an open-wheeled Infiniti racer on the famous circuits of the era, such as Japan’s Tamagawa Speedway, what would that look like?” Related: Why the new Nissan Leaf won’t need a brake pedal The Prototype 9 is powered by Nissan’s new EV powertrain, which mates a 30 kWh battery with a prototype electric motor. The electric motor generates 148 hp and drives the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The Prototype 9 has a top speed of 105.6 mph, and reaches 62 mph in 5.5 seconds. It also has a maximum EV range of 20 minutes if you drive it really hard on a track. While the Prototype 9 is going to debut later this month, we won’t have to wait too long to see the next-generation Nissan Leaf. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is scheduled to debut on September 5. Images @Infiniti + Infiniti

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The devastating reason Mumbai dogs are turning blue

August 17, 2017 by  
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Lately, blue stray dogs have been spotted running around Navi Mumbai, India , and it’s no laughing matter. Inadequate waste treatment at a local river has allowed dye to leach into the water, turning dogs who wade in a bright blue color. To add to the concern, the pollution is likely harming fish and birds who rely on the water resource. Residents began noticing blue dogs roaming the streets and were prompted to bring a complaint to the local authorities, asking that the water pollution be controlled. “It was shocking to see how the dog’s white fur had turned completely blue,” said Arati Chauhan , who runs the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell. Related: What’s the deal with this green cat? According to the Hindustan Times , “the levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) — the concentration of oxygen required to sustain aquatic life — was 80 milligram a litre (mg/L). Levels of chloride, which is toxic, harms vegetation, aquatic life and wildlife, were also high. “Allowing the discharge of dye into any water body is illegal. We will take action against the polluters as they are destroying the environment,” said Anil Mohekar of MPCB in Navi Mumbai. According to Arati Chauhan, she and others have been working with local authorities to assure that the problem is cleaned up and prevented in the future. Via the Hindustan Times and Boing Boing Images via Arati Chauhan/ Deepak Gharat

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People in Denmark are earning up to $1,530 just by parking their EVs

August 15, 2017 by  
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What if you could get cash for parking your electric car ? Vehicle owners in Denmark have been able to do just that, bringing in around 1,300 Euros, or around $1,530, a year by feeding excess power back into the grid. Nissan Motor Company conducted trials in the country with Italy’s utility company Enel SpA to show how EV batteries could help ease constraints on the electrical grid. Nissan has run trials with over 100 cars throughout Europe, but so far only owners in Denmark have been able to earn cash by parking their vehicle and sending power to the grid . Using two-way charge points, owners have been able to rake in $1,530 annually, according to Nissan Europe energy services director Francisco Carranza. Related: Tesla is doubling its Supercharger network by the end of the year to 10,000 chargers Electric car owners in the United Kingdom could be next to score a payday – due to restrictions on accessing the market, Nissan needs to get up to 150 cars before people can earn money. Carranza estimates they could hit that number later this year. He told Bloomberg, “It’s just a matter of finding the appropriate business model to deploy the business wide-scale.” Electric car demand, expected to grow around the world, could place a strain on local electrical grid operators trying to figure out ways to balance demand. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, power consumption from cars will climb from around six terawatt-hours today to 1,800 terawatt-hours in 2040. The scheme of using car batteries to balance supply and demand could help grid operators while potentially allowing car owners to earn some extra money with minimal effort. According to a July 2017 Business Insider article , the Danish government recently cut back subsidies for electric vehicles and sales fell – at that point in 2017 a mere 182 electric cars had been sold in the country. But Denmark also has more EV charging docks than petrol stations. Via Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Why the new Nissan Leaf won’t need a brake pedal

July 20, 2017 by  
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Your next car may not have a brake pedal. But don’t worry – you’ll still be able to drive safely. Nissan’s new Leaf will feature what they call an e-Pedal, which allows users to speed up, slow down, and stop using just one pedal. This seemingly small change could alter car design of the future in a large way. The e-Pedal could forever change the way we drive. Drivers simply push down on the pedal to accelerate, as normal, but when they ease up on the pedal the car slows down, and when they take their foot off completely the car stops. The technology works even on hills, allowing a car to stay in place without a person needing the hold the brake pedal down. Nissan describes the e-Pedal as the world’s first one-pedal operation. Related: The 2018 Nissan Leaf will feature semi-autonomous driving technology According to Nissan, “drivers can cover 90 percent of their driving needs with the e-Pedal.” They think users in heavy traffic or on city commutes could benefit from the new design, since they wouldn’t have to constantly move their foot back and forth to decelerate and accelerate. They say the e-Pedal will simplify driving and make the journey more engaging. The idea may not be quite as crazy as it seems. HuffPost explains when you ease your foot off the accelerator in a gasoline -fueled car today, the engine in the car prompts it to slow down. This feature is lacking in electric vehicles , though, so manufacturers typically put a regenerative braking feature in the design so the car will brake when you release the pedal. In electric cars this motion also generates electricity from the wheels’ movement. Will other car manufacturers follow suit? And will drivers love or loathe the new feature? The e-Pedal will premier on September 6, so we may get more answers then. Via Nissan and HuffPost United Kingdom Images via Nissan ( 1 , 2 )

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The 2018 Nissan Leaf will feature semi-autonomous driving technology

June 23, 2017 by  
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We’re just a few months away from the debut of the all-new 2018 Nissan Leaf – and the automaker just announced a killer feature for its next-generation electric vehicle. In addition to a complete restyling and a longer driving range , the 2018 Leaf will be able to drive itself with Nissan’s new ProPILOT Assist autonomous technology. ProPILOT Assist can take over driving tasks on the highway, which includes accelerating, braking and steering controls. The 2018 Leaf won’t have the full SAE Level 4 technology, which would give it the ability to also drive autonomously on city streets. Nissan says that “in the coming years” the ProPILOT Assist technology will be improved to give it the ability to navigate city intersections. Related: Nissan is working on a new 340-mile-range electric car Nissan hasn’t revealed any details about the 2018 Leaf’s powertrain – and most importantly – what its new driving range will be. It’s being reported that the 2018 Leaf will be offered with two battery options, similar to what Tesla does with its models. The bigger battery pack could give the 2018 Leaf a driving range close to 300 miles, which would easily beat the Chevy Bolt and the upcoming Tesla Model 3. The 2018 Nissan Leaf will be officially revealed in early September. Images @Nissan + Nissan

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Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

June 23, 2017 by  
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Scientists have been working since the 1970’s to transform algae into biofuel . Now a new breakthrough could make this alternative energy source a more viable option. Researchers from Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and ExxonMobil were able to edit algae genes to produce two times more lipids. Those lipids can be turned into biofuel that isn’t too different from the diesel we use today. Researchers figured out how to tune a genetic switch to regulate the conversion of carbon to oil in the alga Nannochloropsis gaditana . They used multiple editing techniques including CRISPR-Cas9. They were able to boost the algae’s oil content from 20 percent to over 40 percent – and importantly, did so without stunting the algae’s growth rate. The modified algae can produce as much as five grams of lipid per meter per day. Related: New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80% Vice president for research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company Vijay Swarup said the milestone confirms their belief algae can offer a source of renewable energy . Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer said carbon dioxide and sunlight are two major components necessary for algae production, and both are plentiful and free. According to ScienceAlert, a past report indicated biofuels from algae could become a $50 billion industry , with the potential to offer transport fuel and food security. But we still could be years away from pumping this particular algae-based biofuel into our cars at gas stations. Researcher Imad Ajjawi of Synthetic Genomics told ScienceAlert this step was just a proof of concept, but did describe it as a significant milestone. According to Greentech Media , organizations have been working on making biofuel from algae for years, without much progress towards commercialization. In fact, they cited former ExxonMobil CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson , who back in 2009 said the work on turning algae into biofuels might not come up with real results for 25 years. The journal Nature Biotechnology published a study on the concept online this month. Via ScienceAlert and Synthetic Genomics Images via ExxonMobil and Wikimedia Commons

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