Paris bans up to 60% of cars amidst record heat wave

June 28, 2019 by  
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As France suffers through a record heat wave, air pollution rates intensify. The solution? A Parisian car ban for less eco-friendly automobiles — as much as 60 percent of total vehicles in the city — until the hot weather breaks. The car ban has been creeping up on Parisians since 2017, when Paris issued a system of “Crit’Air” colored stickers with numbers ranging from 0 to 5. The worst polluters, diesels made in the year 2000 or earlier, get the 5 ranking and have been banned from central Paris since July 2017. This July, the ban extends to cars with level 4 stickers: diesel cars registered from 2001-2005, pre-2004 motorbikes and trucks from 2006-2009. These vehicles aren’t allowed within Paris’ A86 ring road area weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Related: Amsterdam announces plan to ban all polluting cars by 2030 But during this hot weather, level 3 vehicles are temporarily banned from A86. This affects 60 percent of Parisian drivers. Only hydrogen or electric vehicles, petrol cars registered after 2006 and diesels from 2011 or later can legally drive during the heat wave. Hydrogen and electric cars warrant a green sticker with the coveted 0 ranking. Many drivers are upset. Some are risking the fines — €68 for cars and motorbikes and up to €135 for trucks. “You have to face reality, which is the increase in air pollution when there is a heat wave, like the one we are experiencing at the moment,” France’s Minister of Ecological Transition, François de Rugy, told the French press. Other anti-air pollution measures include offering more free residential parking to encourage public transport usage and significantly reducing speed limits on motorways. Christophe Najdovski, deputy transport director for the city of Paris , told the French press, “The quality of the air is improving in Ile-de-France, but we want to speed up the process. It’s a question of public health .” Via Reuters Image via Pedro Szekely

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Paris bans up to 60% of cars amidst record heat wave

Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy at General Motors

November 5, 2018 by  
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The American auto industry isn’t what it used to be — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Market shifts and materials innovations have changed the way that cars are made, and how General Motors makes them. The global manager of renewable energy for GM, Rob Threlkeld, discussed the growth of EVs has meant to the company.

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Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy at General Motors

Sarah Barbo, on corporate strategy and planning at CMS Energy

November 5, 2018 by  
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The largest electric and gas utility in Michigan is planning for the future. With science-based targets set on reducing emissions (and saving money), the company is trying for the perfect mix of cogeneration sources to amid a changing energy landscape. 

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Sarah Barbo, on corporate strategy and planning at CMS Energy

Easy street: How we can use AI for infrastructure maintenance

May 30, 2018 by  
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Artifical Intelligence can move our planes, trains and automobiles in the right direction.

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Easy street: How we can use AI for infrastructure maintenance

How a clean energy portfolio creates more than just value for Michigan

May 30, 2018 by  
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The Great Lakes State is a microcosm of not only the Midwestern but also the national utility landscape.

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How a clean energy portfolio creates more than just value for Michigan

London considers car-free days to fight air pollution

May 16, 2018 by  
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London officials met at City Hall this week to discuss the best way to move forward with a ban on cars in certain areas of the city on specific days of the year. If the initial trials are successful, the city will consider “more ambitious plans” for 2019. These moves are a response to the public health threat of air pollution, which prematurely kills thousands of people each year. London City Hall is reportedly planning to inaugurate car-free days unique to each borough of the city and will build upon the previous car-free days set for special events. This policy is one of several intended to improve public health by reducing air pollution in London. A spokesperson for the mayor told the Guardian,  “Tackling toxic emissions from the most polluting vehicles is a core part of the hard-hitting measures the mayor has introduced to help clean up London’s air, from delivering the Toxicity-Charge (T-Charge) in central London, to the early introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, and transforming the bus fleet.” Related: UPS declares the “beginning of the end” for combustion engines by making its London fleet entirely electric The city is taking action in the wake of a joint inquiry by four committees in Parliament, which described air pollution as a “national health emergency” that causes the premature death of 40,000 people every year in the United Kingdom . The committees’ report highlights the inadequacy of the British government’s clean air policy plan, which has already been rejected by the high court three times. To compensate for the lack of a national movement against pollution, cities such as London are taking action. A spokesperson said, “[London Mayor Sadiq Khan] is determined to do everything in his power to protect the health of Londoners and prioritise walking, cycling and public transport and reduce Londoners’ dependency on polluting cars.” Via The Guardian Images via  Pedro Szekely/Flickr and  Martin Hesketh/Flickr

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London considers car-free days to fight air pollution

AeroMobil reveals flying taxi that transforms from car to electric airplane

March 26, 2018 by  
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Designed for both the skies and the streets, the AeroMobil 5.0 is the latest futuristic creation from the Slovakia-based flying car company. Rather than taking off as a traditional airplane does, the AeroMobil 5.0 is able to gain altitude through vertical thrust from powerful rotors embedded in retractable wings that deploy when you are ready to hit the skies. A rear propeller provides the vehicle with midair thrust. Billed as the “first and only electric VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing vehicle) to also drive on the road,” the AeroMobil 5.0 could potentially someday be your taxi, offering convenient flights right at your doorstep. The AeroMobil 5.0 is designed to complement previous models of flying car from the company, including the AeroMobil 4.0. “The multi-product strategy means we can provide urban travel with the AeroMobil 5.0 VTOL and intra-city travel with the AeroMobil 4.0 STOL,” said Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of AeroMobil, in a statement . “Our strategy solves the limitations of alternative VTOL concepts which are tied to dedicated landing pods rather than also using the existing road infrastructure .” Related: Uber and NASA team up to launch flying taxis by 2020 The AeroMobil 5.0 is designed to seat four passengers, with each rider having access to a personalized experience thanks to a sophisticated advanced data, communications and media system onboard. The cumulative experience at AeroMobil and developed technologies upon which the new flying car is based has made the company quite confident in its ability to finally deliver on that long-held dream of owning, or at least riding in, a flying car. “AeroMobil 4.0 STOL uses several patented technologies, a highly innovative combustion engine and has the benefit of using existing aerospace and automotive technology, combined in a unique way, thus achieving far greater energy efficiency , speed and range than any electric VTOL,” said AeroMobil Chairman Patrick Hessel in a statement . “It is also designed within existing regulation , hence enabling much sooner go-to-market in 2020 than the electric VTOL category, which in general is being mooted as ready for shipment in 2025”. Via Carscoops Images via AeroMobil

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AeroMobil reveals flying taxi that transforms from car to electric airplane

A modern makeover put this prefab home in touch with its picturesque surroundings

March 26, 2018 by  
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Oslo-based architectural firm  Skapa Architects has breathed new life into an old, outdated prefab home by converting it into a light-filled living space. Located on Norway’s stunning Snarøya peninsula, the revamped home – dubbed Villa Bergheimveien – sports a new cedar facade and a living space that the architects opened up to create a seamless connection with the outdoors. Starting with the exterior, the architects removed the home’s overhanging eaves and replaced the original dark siding with pale cedar boards . With the new facade hiding gutters and other utilitarian functions, the original house took on a clean, modern feel that blends in with the pristine coastal landscape. A new extension at the back of the site connects the pool and the surrounding green space. Transparent, fully retractable sliding doors link the home’s interior to its natural surroundings. Related: The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber Once the renovation began, the architects worked to create better connection throughout the 2,692 square-foot space. The home’s new contemporary aesthetic continues throughout the interior, which has an open floor plan enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows that offer beautiful views from almost anywhere in the home. The main level houses two bedrooms and a bathroom, while the basement level houses a study, a sauna, and extra bedrooms. Both of the home’s two levels open up to terraces that provide stunning views of the sea. In addition to the new extension, the architects created an open-air courtyard where the house’s occupants can sit and read quietly or entertain guests. Large aluminum panels mark the walkway to the courtyard and pool area, adding a touch of industrial chic to the design. + Skapa Architects Via Dwell Images by Skapa Architects [gallery

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A modern makeover put this prefab home in touch with its picturesque surroundings

How transportation infrastructure keeps sustainability on the move

October 5, 2017 by  
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The basic experience of transportation infrastructure has remained the same for the past 50 years. That’s all about to change.

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How transportation infrastructure keeps sustainability on the move

Hurricane Harvey may have totaled up to 500,000 cars

August 30, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Harvey didn’t just devastate homes and businesses – it may also have totaled up to half a million cars. An estimated 500,000 Texan vehicles will likely be scrapped, leading to a massive sales wave of new and used cars in the near future. Compared to the fallout of other major storms, such as Hurricane Sandy , the density of totaled vehicles in Houston is staggering. Cox Automotive — the company behind Kelly Blue Book and Autotrader — told CNBC that nearly 500,000 vehicles are likely to be totaled. Reportedly, “scores” of trucks and cars had water up to their windows and, in some cases, over the hood and roof. Said Jonathon Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, “This is worse than Hurricane Sandy . Sandy was bad, but the flooding with Hurricane Harvey could impact far more vehicles.” 250,000 vehicles were scrapped in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy battered New York and New Jersey. Related: 1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh Whenever a hurricane hits, it leaves a legacy of damaged property, industrial waste, raw sewage, and oil spills – and the repercussions of Hurricane Harvey will be felt for many months. According to Ryan Maue with Weatherbell, 11 trillion gallons of rain dumped on the state during the actual storm ; by the time the weather dissipates completely, that number is expected to increase to 25 trillion gallons of rain. In total, 30,000 people sought temporary shelter and 450,000 are expected to seek assistance from FEMA . Via Jalopnik , CNN , CNBC Images via Defense.gov

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Hurricane Harvey may have totaled up to 500,000 cars

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