Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power

July 26, 2019 by  
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Toyota has announced that the official testing of its solar-powered Prius will begin in late July 2019. Trials set to take place in the Tokyo area will test the cruising range and fuel efficiency of the car model, which has been equipped with high-efficiency solar panels . Teaming up with Toyota for the testing is the electronic products manufacturer Sharp Corporation and NEDO, a Japanese government agency focused on promoting the research of environmental and energy technology. The demo car produced for public road trials will include a solar battery panel created by Sharp and developed for a NEDO-led project. Thanks to the thin design of the efficient panels, Toyota was able to install them on the roof, hood and rear hatch door of the new model to enhance the efficiency. The new and improved utilization of these panels means that the car will be able to achieve a conversion efficiency of over 34 percent and capable of delivering an impressive 860 watts of power. Related: Toyota’s ultra-customizable, self-driving vehicle can transport people, goods or services Apart from the obvious environmental advantages of using solar power in cars , the supercharged Prius can also provide consumers with an improved range. According to a study conducted by Volvo, 65 percent of electric vehicle drivers experienced “range anxiety” after purchasing an EV , making it one of the leading reasons why potential electric vehicle buyers hesitate on buying one. The anxiety is understandable — what if you run out of power in the middle of nowhere with no charging station in sight? The application of solar-powered cars has the potential to lessen those worries, as this Toyota Prius demo model aims to charge both while parked and while being driven. Toyota will evaluate the test runs on the number of times the car needs charged and the reduction of carbon emissions and share results with NEDO and Sharp as the collaborative group continues to work toward improving the sustainability of transportation. + Toyota Via Popular Mechanics Images via Toyota

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Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power

Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones

July 26, 2019 by  
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Next Summer, the top athletes in the world will compete in the Tokyo Olympics and those who come out on top will receive the ancient game’s first 100 percent recycled medals. The gold, silver and bronze medals will all be made from metals recycled directly from old cell phones, computers and other electronic waste . The Olympic Committee selected Japanese artist Junichi Kawanishi’s design out of over 400 entries. They then spent the next two years collecting almost 79,000 tons of gadgets, including more than 6 million cellphones. Their “Everyone’s Medal” collection campaign gave ordinary people the opportunity to feel proud that their old phones would be reborn as Olympic medals. Related: Prada jumps into the sustainability realm with six Re-Nylon bags made from recycled plastic waste “I never dreamed that the design I submitted, only as a memorial to this lifetime event, would be actually selected,” said designer Kawanishi. “With their shining rings, I hope the medals will be seen as paying tribute to the athletes’ efforts, reflecting their glory and symbolizing friendship.” Olympic medals have not been made of solid gold since the Stockholm games in 1912, but Olympic regulations do dictate the minimum quantity of each precious medal. The Tokyo medals will feature six grams of gold plating with a silver interior. The silver medal is indeed pure silver and the bronze is a blend of copper and zinc. Regulations also mandate standard design features: the Olympic rings, the Greek goddess Nike and Panatheniac stadium, and the official name of the games. Brazil led the way in 2016 with mercury-free gold medals, but Tokyo’s design is an unprecedented emblem of sustainability both around the world and within the Olympic games and village. Over 5,000 medals will be produced and used for both the Olympics and the Paraolympics. Via Tokyo 2020 Images via Tokyo 2020

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Toyota and Mazda establish a new company for electric cars

October 18, 2017 by  
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Toyota , Mazda and Denso have signed a new partnership through which they will jointly establish a new company for the development of electric cars. Neither Toyota nor Mazda offer any fully electric vehicles in their lineup yet, so the new partnership will give both automakers the basic structural components for EVs. For automakers to survive the changing automotive industry, they need to be able to produce several types of powertrains, including electric and fuel cell vehicles . Toyota, Mazda and Denso have decided to team up for better capability of developing electric technology that can be applied to a variety of vehicles, improving their response time to the changing market trends. Related: New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy The new company, called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co Ltd. will leverage Mazda’s product planning and computer modeling-based development, Denso’s electronics technologies, and the Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The TNGA platform is already used by models like the 2018 Toyota Camry and the latest-generation Prius . Toyota will own 90 percent of the company, while Mazda and Denso will each have a 5 percent share. The new agreement covers a diverse range of models, from mini vehicles to passenger vehicles, SUVs, and light trucks. Toyota and Mazda are both behind most other automakers, since neither of them have focused on fully-electric vehicles. Toyota has focused its energies on hybrid powertrains, while Mazda continues to focus on improving the internal combustion engine . With countries now mandating zero-emissions vehicles, the partnership will not only help both automakers catch up to their competitors, but also bring new electric cars to market sooner. Mazda has already announced that it will introduce electrified powertrains as early as 2019. + Toyota All images ©Toyota

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Greening the Earth could fight climate change as efficiently as cutting fossil fuels

October 18, 2017 by  
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Planting trees, revitalizing soil, and other natural environmental actions could prove as effective in fighting climate change as ceasing all oil use across the planet, according to new study published by an international team of scientists in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Better stewardship of the land could have a bigger role in fighting climate change than previously thought,” said the team in a statement. Protection of carbon-storing peatlands , sustainable land management, reforestation, and other natural solutions could account for 37 percent of all emissions reductions required under the Paris Agreement by 2030. Perhaps most astoundingly, a complete re-greening of the planet would have as much of a positive impact on climate change mitigation as completely stopping the global burning of oil for fuel. The estimates of the potential benefits from natural climate change solutions are about 30 percent higher than that predicted by a 2014 UN panel of climate scientists. In the recently released study, scientists conclude that more sustainable management of natural resources and the environment could result in 11.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of China’s yearly emissions, by 2030. Trees are particularly important to this system, as they act as carbon banks while they are alive. After they die, trees decompose and this carbon is slowly released back into the atmosphere. More trees and more resilient forests means more potential carbon storage, among other health benefits. Related: Megacities could save $505 million a year thanks to trees Although the current plans from governments across the globe are insufficient to avert a 2 degree Celsius global temperature rise, the new study offers hope for alternative solutions. “Fortunately, this research shows we have a huge opportunity to reshape our food and land use systems ,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. Unfortunately, the planet is rapidly running out of time before catastrophic climate change upends the world as we know it. “If we are serious about climate change, then we are going to have to get serious about investing in nature ,” said Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. You heard it here: get out there and start planting trees. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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Toronto’s waterfront to undergo major futuristic redesign thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs

October 18, 2017 by  
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In collaboration with Sidewalk Labs, a start-up created by Google to “accelerate innovation in cities around the world,” the city of Toronto will embark on a futuristic redesign of its waterfront that will incorporate cutting edge technology and sleek modern design to build an urban gathering place for businesses, locals and visitors. Innovations on the Toronto waterfront may include free public Wi-Fi, automated trash systems, robust renewable energy sources, and self-driving cars . “This project will become a model for others not only in Canada, but around the world,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It is estimated that the innovations by Sidewalk Labs could reduce typical greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, save the average commuter an hour of travel time and put residents of the neighborhood, which has been dubbed “Quayside,” within a very short walking distance from green space. “Over time, “we believe Sidewalk Toronto can demonstrate to the world how to make living in cities cheaper, more convenient, healthier, greener, fairer, and even maybe more exciting,” said former New York City  deputy mayor and current Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff. Sidewalk Labs, acknowledging that “that great neighborhoods aren’t planned from the top down,” has announced a town hall meeting for November 1, 2017 in which citizens can discuss their ideas and concerns regarding the new project. Related: Trees to grow on the balconies of Penda’s timber high-rise in Toronto Founded in 2015 as a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, Sidewalk Labs has been deciding between several locations for a comprehensive feasibility study to test ideas and systems that could be applied in the design of the cities of the future. The announcement by Sidewalk Labs and Toronto follows several months of speculation about the company’s plans, which were rumored to include a “Google Island” city built from the ground up to Sidewalk Labs’ specifications. In its work to redesign Toronto’s waterfront, Sidewalk Labs will use tools like Flow, which the company conceived to identify problems in traffic flow or lack of transportation access. Via Inc. and The Verge Images via Depositphotos

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Toyota’s new Prius Prime has the world’s highest MPGe for a plug-in hybrid

March 23, 2016 by  
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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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Watch the world premier of Toyota’s next-gen 2016 Prius TONIGHT

September 8, 2015 by  
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Tonight, live from Las Vegas, Toyota is revealing details about the all-new fourth generation 2016 Prius . According to Toyota, the “ all-new 2016 Prius will challenge what you know about hybrids with its striking new look, smarter tech and impressive fuel economy– all in a package that’s more fun to drive than ever.” Tune in right here for a live stream of the event and check out all of Inhabitat’s live coverage to get the first look at the “new era” of green cars.  + 2016 Toyota Prius Event

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Check out leaked photos of Toyota’s all-new 2016 Prius

September 2, 2015 by  
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Toyota is going to officially reveal the all-new fourth-generation 2016 Toyota Prius next week at an event in Las Vegas , but thanks to an early leak we now have our first peek at the new Prius. Heavily influenced by the Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, the all-new Prius aims to regain some of the market share that it has lost in the last few years with an all-new platform and an even more efficient powertrain. Read the rest of Check out leaked photos of Toyota’s all-new 2016 Prius

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The all-new 2016 Toyota Prius will debut on September 8

August 21, 2015 by  
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It’s hard to believe that the current Toyota Prius has been on the market for almost seven years, but an all-new Prius is just around the corner. Toyota has confirmed that the next-generation 2016 Toyota Prius is going to debut next month in Las Vegas. What can we expect from the all-new Prius? Toyota has yet to release the big details about the new car, but we do know that it will keep its familiar shape and should top the current model’s 50 mpg rating. Read the rest of The all-new 2016 Toyota Prius will debut on September 8

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