The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

January 10, 2017 by  
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For an EcoGeek, there were many surprises at the 2017 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). We’ve been watching the emphasis on green cars decline for a number of years. Some of that is in the mainstreaming of more efficient vehicles, with increased fuel efficiency standards, greater numbers of hybrid vehicles, and alternative fuels. But nothing brought home how far things have come quite so much as this year’s show. Last year, we thought , “the days of green cars being featured at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) seem to be over.” Where the “green” cars were once a niche item that were typically highlighted with special displays. This year, green is so mainstream that the 2017 Green Car of the Year is also the North American Car of the Year for 2017. Those awards, along with Motor Trend Car of the Year, all went to the Chevrolet Bolt. And there are many companies with multiple electric drive vehicles. Toyota, Ford, GM, and BMW each have a variety of options available. Some are all electric drive. Some are gas/electric hybrids. Some are smaller, shorter range commuter cars, while others are readily capable of long range trips. It is no longer the case that, if you want an electric drive vehicle, your selection is limited to the one model that a company offers. There are choices, and not just between this manufacturer or that one, but a variety within a company. Even Fiat Chrysler, which has in past years seemingly paid no attention whatsoever to eco-mindedness, has a hybrid Pacifica minivan, which offers an 83 MPGe rating. At this point, it seems that the automotive manufacturers don’t feel a strong need to keep pushing the market to accept electric vehicles or to get them to understand the benefits. That has been established with consumers, and it is now a matter of finding the right vehicles to meet the demand that they have fostered. What is exciting for us as EcoGeeks is that the pursuit of transformative technology continues. The lower level of the show has been an unpredictable sideline to the main floor show. In some years it has been almost like a ghost town. In others, it has offered a driving track with sometimes many different vehicles available to test drive. This year, the lower level was packed with dozens of different booths ranging from second-tier manufacturers (who make components and systems for the automakers), autonomous vehicle technologies, two different folding electric scooters, university racing and design programs, and a row full of developers of automotive- and transportation-related apps and services. As has been the case in previous years, hydrogen-fueled vehicles caught our eye as the next wave to watch in the transformation of the market. The joke about hydrogen fueled vehicles has long been that “Hydrogen powered vehicles are always 20 years in the future.” But now, after several years, that 20 years is starting to feel like it might be inching a bit closer. Where electric vehicles were a decade ago, hydrogen vehicles are today. They are something that some companies are dedicating some of their floor space to displaying. Toyota and Honda both have available hydrogen vehicles on display, and are selling hydrogen vehicles to consumers. In addition, GM, in conjunction with the US Army, has a fuel cell powered Colorado variant on display on the lower level as an investigational next-generation HMMV replacement which is slated for field trials later this year. Completely unrelated to attending the auto show, but perhaps a telling sign, while driving home on the highway on Sunday night, I passed a tanker truck carrying a load of liquid hydrogen. Perhaps it’s the shape of things to come.

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The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

Watch a BMW morph into a standing Transformer-like bot

September 25, 2016 by  
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A Turkish company has made many a Transformers fan’s dream turn to reality—the engineers at Letrons have turned a BMW into a Transformer-like bot capable of speech and cool special effects. Using a remote control, the engineers turn the BMW “robot in disguise” into Antimon, a standing bot with pop-out arms, legs, and head. Click on the link below to see the transformation in action.

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Watch a BMW morph into a standing Transformer-like bot

Tristan Roland Design transforms salvaged materials into elegant furniture

June 26, 2015 by  
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Salvaged and reappropriated, Tristan Roland Design turns throw-away-furniture into reusable objects for the interior. Everyday objects intrigue Roland, helping him to envision a new life as a means of recycling our household items. Character quality is important to Roland’s designs not only for their aesthetics, but also as a reminder of the user(s) before their transformation. The object’s prior function becomes completely altered and recreated to be designed as an object to be interacted with keeping comfort, elegance and functionality at the forefront. The designer is constantly looking for discarded objects with the intent to give it new meaning, a purpose other than waste. Roland remarks, “I’m constantly on the lookout for big objects on the sides of streets, it’s partly about the hunt and the reward from finding something so unwanted and turning it into a unique expressive work.” + Tristan Roland Design The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: furniture made from recycled materials , reader submitted content , Recycled Materials , salvaged materials , Tristan Roland , Tristan Roland Design

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Tristan Roland Design transforms salvaged materials into elegant furniture

Chimps will cook their food if they have a chance, says new study

June 4, 2015 by  
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We already knew chimpanzees were smart, and that they like to mimic human behaviors. A new study reveals even more about these curious cousins of ours: they like to cook. In fact, they may prefer cooked foods over raw eats. It turns out that chimps not only recognize the transformation from raw food to cooked (they know it’s the same food), but they also have the ability to save cooked food and transport it over a distance, which suggests that they understand the importance of a good home-cooked meal. Read the rest of Chimps will cook their food if they have a chance, says new study Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: chimpanzee ability to cook , chimpanzees and cooking devices , chimpanzees cooking , control fire , jane goodall institute , yale university study

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Chimps will cook their food if they have a chance, says new study

Michael Jantzen’s Radius Transformation Pavilion Is a Futuristic Solar-Powered Structure On Wheels

August 19, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Michael Jantzen’s Radius Transformation Pavilion Is a Futuristic Solar-Powered Structure On Wheels Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: flexible architecture , kinetic architecture , michael jantzen , mobile architecture , pavilions , Radius Transformation Pavilion , solar array , solar panels , Solar Power , solar powered pavilion , transformable architecture        

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Michael Jantzen’s Radius Transformation Pavilion Is a Futuristic Solar-Powered Structure On Wheels

Ferry Sinks in the Philippines, Killing More than 50 and Leaking Thousands of Gallons of Oil

August 19, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock A routine boat ride took a tragic turn on Friday, when a large ferry containing 750 passengers collided with a cargo ship and sank in the Philippines. The death toll has risen to 55 and another 65 people are still missing, as divers continue to search for bodies. In addition to the loss of life, the sunken ferry is also an environmental catastrophe, as thousands of gallons of fuel have already leaked into the surrounding waters, creating a massive oil slick. Read the rest of Ferry Sinks in the Philippines, Killing More than 50 and Leaking Thousands of Gallons of Oil Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cebu , Cebu province , chemical dispersants , coral reefs , Cordova , environmental catastrophe , ferry , Oil sheen , oil spill , Philippines , scuba diving , sunken ferry        

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Ferry Sinks in the Philippines, Killing More than 50 and Leaking Thousands of Gallons of Oil

Quote Of The Day: Allison Arieff On Design

October 17, 2011 by  
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Allison Arieff/Promo image Have a look at TreeHugger in 2005 and you will see a lot of very beautiful green design. And in fact, not much else. Have a look today and it is less about stuff to buy, more about cooking, biking, urban life. What caused this transformation? Allison Arieff is interviewed in the Atlantic, describes her transformation. I realize, reading this, why I like Allison so much; I agree with just about every word she writes. Here she describes her move beyond Dwell magazine:… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Quote Of The Day: Allison Arieff On Design

Experimental Zero Carbon Development is Antithesis of Eco-bling (Video)

October 17, 2011 by  
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Image credit: SSE Zero Carbon Homes Lloyd has railed against “eco-bling” in the past , also known as the practice of strapping on solar panels or other sexy clean tech onto fundamentally unsustainable homes or communities. But, when done right, solar panels can be a useful tool in a much broader, systemic approach to greener building. Combining passive solar, biomass-powered district hearing, solar electric, graywater recycling, food growing and an electric car… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Experimental Zero Carbon Development is Antithesis of Eco-bling (Video)

What Energy Collapse Might Look Like (Video)

November 8, 2010 by  
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Image credit: Collapsus When I interviewed my friend Tim Toben , he argued that one of the most important things we can do is to “tell the story about the transformation from a world powered by fossil fuels to a world powered by renewable energy — in poetry, music, art, dance. Make it real for people who can’t imagine their way out of the hole we find ourselves in.” I’ve just come across a fascinating multimedia (or transmedia, apparently) project that aims to do just that

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What Energy Collapse Might Look Like (Video)

There are Things that Birds Just Won’t Fly Over…

November 8, 2010 by  
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Photo: Flickr , CC Studying Bird Flight Patterns Can Lead to Better Conservation Efforts It’s pretty obvious that a lot of human activities affect birds directly (millions of birds are killed by cars, cats, buildings, pesticides, etc), but just the presence of human structures on the ground can apparently affect bird flight patterns and populations. Indeed, birds might seem completely free to fly wherever they want, but they are actually greatly influenced by what’s on the ground below where they fly.

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There are Things that Birds Just Won’t Fly Over…

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