Volkswagen’s mobile robot automatically plugs in your EV

July 5, 2017 by  
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Over the past year Volkswagen has unveiled several concepts that are a preview of its new line of electric vehicles . But the company isn’t stopping there. Its research group has just unveiled some other groundbreaking EV technologies they are working on, including a new mobile charging robot that will automatically plug your EV into the grid. Related: Volkswagen may offer more electric cars than any other brand We’ve seen prototypes for new induction charging systems, but VW’s new mobile charging robots present another way that will make it easier for EV drivers to charge their vehicles in the future. The mobile robots could one day show up in underground garages or city parks, although the jury is still out on if it is easier than future induction systems. VW unveiled the new charging system alongside its newest EV concept, the Gen.E research vehicle, which also happens to look closer to a production model than the recent VW I.D. concepts . The Gen.E is a fully-electric concept car that can travel up to 249 miles on a single charge. According to VW, the Gen.E also features a lightweight platform that has been designed for maximum crash safety including the battery. The long range battery is based on advanced lithium-ion cells and the efficiency of the electric motor that powers the Gen.E has been optimized. VW’s research team isn’t saying much about the overall design of the Gen.E, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t raised a few eyebrows. Its overall shape is so close to the VW Golf, they may be using the concept to preview the next e-Golf. Images @Volkswagen + Volkswagen

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Volkswagen’s mobile robot automatically plugs in your EV

Volkswagen may offer more electric cars than any other brand

June 26, 2017 by  
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Now that the “dieselgate” scandal is almost over, VW needs to revamp its image and find a new way to appeal to the “green” crowd. Diesel has become a dirty word, so VW is doubling down on its production of electric cars . Over the past year VW has unveiled three new electric concept cars, but a leaked powerpoint slide suggests the automaker has even more up its sleeve than we previously realized. VW recently unveiled its electric car plans during a presentation, which revealed its product plans for the next five years. It was originally believed that the company was only going to release three electric cars, but now we know that up to five new EVs will be released by 2022. All five vehicles will be based on the same MEB platform that was previewed by the concepts. The first model, the production version of the I.D. hatchback, is scheduled to arrive in 2019. Related: Volkswagen confirms it’s bringing back the Microbus Following the arrival of the electric hatchback, VW is going to release a production version of the I.D. Crozz crossover , cleverly named the I.D. Cross. Two other models that we haven’t even heard about, the I.D. Lounge and I.D. AEROe will arrive after the crossover and lastly the Microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz will arrive. It’s expected that all five models will have driving ranges between 200-300 miles, which could be a conservative estimate, since battery technology continues to improve each year. The slide also reveals that the United States will not be recipients of all five new VW EVs. According to the slide, among the vehicles not heading to the U.S. are the small I.D. hatchback and I.D. Cross. Boo! We hope that changes soon. + VW Via Autoblog.nl and Groen7 Images @VW and Autoblog.nl

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Volkswagen previews I.D. Crozz, its 2020 electric SUV

May 2, 2017 by  
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Volkswagen is on a roll lately with its electric car ambitions. Last fall the automaker unveiled the I.D. hatchback concept and earlier this year it followed it up with the Microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz concept. Now Volkswagen has unveiled its third model from the electric I.D. family – the I.D. Crozz. As its name suggests, the I.D. Crozz concept is a sleek electric crossover that previews an all-electric crossover that will be introduced in 2020. The concept is based on the same MEB platform as the original two concepts, which means that it can also travel over 300 miles on the European Cycle. But under the skin, the I.D. Crozz features two electric motors to give it all-wheel drive capability. Related: VW’s new electric car goes further and costs less than the Tesla 3 or Chevy Bolt The system features a 101-hp electric motor at the front and a 201-hp electric motor at the rear. Under normal driving conditions, the rear electric motor is the main power source, but if the conditions worsen and all-wheel drive is needed, the front motor is powered up instantaneously. Drivers also have the ability to lock it into all-wheel drive if needed. With a total 302 horsepower and an estimated driving range of 311 miles, the I.D. Crozz concept will easily be one of the most efficient SUVs you can buy. VW also estimates that it can be recharged using a 150 kW charger up to 80 percent in a mere 30 minutes. By 2020 autonomous driving technology will be available in many models and VW expects to have its own technology ready by 2025. The I.D. Crozz previews VW’s new I.D. Pilot autonomous driving technology , in which the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard and fuses with the digital instruments. In both automatic and manual modes the driver also receives speed and navigation information via a new head-up display. “By 2025, we want to have sales of pure electric vehicles up to one million units a year,” stated Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Brand. “The I.D. Crozz will play a key role in that. Production will start in 2020.” + Volkswagen Images @Volkswagen

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Volkswagen previews I.D. Crozz, its 2020 electric SUV

These campers made from 1970’s VW Bugs are the cutest things ever

April 10, 2017 by  
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Volkswagen Beetles have skittered across roads since the 1930’s – but in the 1970’s, a company transformed these iconic cars into adorable little campers . They sold these Super Buggers for $6,000 then – and a few of the unusual RV hybrids still exist today. A Costa Mesa, California camper company developed the Super Buggers. The quirky campers aren’t nearly as large as an average RV; inside there isn’t space for much other than the seats, some storage, and a small dining area with a two-burner stove and sink. There isn’t room for a bed, but the Super Bugger would be perfect for those happy to sleep under the stars on long road trips. Related: Nigerian Student Converts a VW Beetle into a $6,000 Wind- and Solar-Powered Car According to a 1970’s advertisement, the Super Buggers get 23 to 25 miles per gallon, and only weigh an extra 250 pounds more than stock vehicles of that time. The advertisement also boasts the vehicle had two double beds, although beds can’t immediately be seen in the Super Buggers in the video or photographs. Keith and Glenna Spelrum are the owners of one blue Super Bugger. The publication MyStarCarCollector photographed the well-maintained bug camper at a summer 2016 car show. Keith said the company used a 1968 model for the bug campers because that was the last year the car had a swing axle assembly, and the camper company wanted to utilize that particular axle in their vehicles. Their Super Bugger can reportedly maintain 50 to 55 miles per hour on the road. Today the Spelrums don’t often use their Super Bugger as a camper, but more as a conversation starter. MyStarCarCollector said out of around 1,000 vehicles at the show, the Super Bugger drew the most attention. Via MyStarCollectorCar Images via Pappy_Smith on Reddit and MyStarCollectorCar

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These campers made from 1970’s VW Bugs are the cutest things ever

FBI arrests Volkswagen executive over emissions scandal

January 10, 2017 by  
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Back in October a federal judge approved the largest automotive scandal settlement ever, nearly $15 billion, over Volkswagen’s emissions cheating crime. Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested another Volkswagen executive, who was attempting to get on a plane to Germany on Saturday. Oliver Schmidt used to be the general manager of the automobile company’s United States Engineering and Environmental Office before he transferred to Germany in 2015. The New York Times reported the FBI arrested Schmidt at Miami International Airport. Schmidt faces the charges of disobeying the Clean Air Act and defrauding the United States government. Court documents cited by the New York Times indicate the disgraced executive may be able to provide information on other Volkswagen employees currently under government investigation. Related: $15 billion settlement approved after Volkswagen emissions scandal FBI agent Ian Dinsmore said in an affidavit that Schmidt played a key role attempting to sway regulators into thinking excess emissions resulted due to technical issues instead of intentional cheating. According to the affidavit, Schmidt offered “reasons for the discrepancy other than the fact that VW was intentionally cheating on U.S. emissions tests, in order to allow VW to continue to sell diesel vehicles in the United States.” Schmidt continued to work for Volkswagen after the scandal, and in January 2016 he spoke to a British Parliament committee , maintaining the shameful actions Volkswagen took weren’t illegal in Europe. Schmidt isn’t the first Volkswagen employee charged in the scandal’s wake, but he could be the most high profile person charged. Volkswagen engineer James Liang pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiring to defraud the United States public in September 2016. After Schmidt’s arrest, a Volkswagen spokesperson told The New York Times the company “continues to cooperate with the Department of Justice” but “it would not be appropriate to comment on any ongoing investigations or to discuss personal matters.” Via The New York Times ( 1 , 2 ) and The Verge Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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FBI arrests Volkswagen executive over emissions scandal

VW unveils the all-electric autonomous Microbus of the future

January 9, 2017 by  
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The VW Microbus is one of the most loved VW models of all time, and now, after years of releasing nothing but concepts, it looks like the automaker is finally ready to release a new Microbus. The new I.D. Buzz was recently unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show . The I.D. Buzz concept follows the debut of the I.D. electric concept unveiled a few months ago at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Based on the same MEB platform as the I.D. hatchback, the new Microbus dubbed the MEB-XL has been extended, providing enough room for up to eight passengers and two luggage compartments. Related: VW’s new electric car goes further and costs less than the Tesla 3 Just like the I.D. hatchback, the I.D. Buzz is powered by an all-electric powertrain. In this concept the electric powertrain consists of two electric motors , one at the front axle and one at the rear to generate a total of 369 horsepower. The concept has a driving range of 270 miles and with a 0-60 mph time of about five seconds, the I.D. Buzz concept will out accelerate every other van on the market and even most sports cars. Lastly the 111 kWh battery can be charged up to 80 percent within 30 minutes using the Combined Charging System (CCS) or an inductive charging interface. The I.D. Buzz concept is also the world’s first fully autonomous multi-purpose vehicle. A slight push on the steering wheel makes it retract and merge into the instrument panel, switching the concept to the fully autonomous “I.D. Pilot” mode that could make it into production by 2025. In I.D Pilot mode, the concept detects other drivers and obstacles on the road with laser sensors, ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors, side area view cameras and a front camera. + VW All images @ VW

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Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinkis most multicultural districts

January 9, 2017 by  
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In the long, dark, and cold winters of Helsinki , the Suvela Chapel shines bright as a welcoming, multi-faith space for one of the most multicultural districts in the metropolitan region. Located in the Suvela neighborhood of Espoo, where roughly a third of the residents are of foreign descent, the recently completed chapel was designed by architecture firm OOPEAA to serve as a multifunctional center that a diverse community can use together regardless of religious affiliation. The striking building is entirely clad in gleaming copper to emphasize unity; the material was also selected for its durability and recyclability. Commissioned by the Espoo Parish Union, the Suvela Chapel is used jointly by the Espoo Parish Union, the Swedish Parish of Espoo, and the City of Espoo to serve a diverse community. OOPEAA was tasked to create an eye-catching building with a strong identity of its own that would be welcoming to people of varying backgrounds and flexible enough to accommodate a number of activities. “Due to the relatively long, dark, and cold winters, communal indoor spaces play an important role as places for people to gather in Finland,” writes OOPEAA. “Providing schools, libraries and churches as places where people can come together on the common ground of a shared space has deep roots in the cultural tradition of Finland. The Suvela Chapel is part of this tradition.” Related: Stunning Seashore Chapel in China appears to float at high tide Located next to a local community park, the chapel is laid out like a horseshoe that wraps around an intimate interior courtyard . In addition to its copper exterior, the building is constructed from concrete and steel, while the interiors are mostly clad in locally-sourced spruce to inject a sense of warmth. Timber is also used in the outdoor canopies and, together with the copper panels, will develop a beautiful patina over time. The different functions of the chapel are laid out on one level and include a chapel hall, belfry, offices, meeting and group work spaces, areas for children and the youth, including afternoon child care and day care, activity rooms for local community clubs, and a soup kitchen. The Suvela Chapel was awarded bronze in the American Architecture Prize 2016 and was one of four finalist candidates nominated for the Finlandia Prize in Architecture in 2016. + OOPEAA Via Dezeen Images via OOPEAA

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Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinkis most multicultural districts

BMW, Daimler, Ford, and VW are planning an electric vehicle superhighway in Europe

November 30, 2016 by  
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Four major automakers recently announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. While electric cars like the new Chevy Bolt are curing some of the range anxiety issues that plagued earlier EVs, there’s still one other issue – charging times. Today it takes about 30 minutes to almost fully charge some electric cars, but BMW , Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen have announced a new partnership that will dramatically cut down that time. The goal for the charging network is to quickly build a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for electric vehicles, which will make them even more desirable. The idea of a charging network isn’t entirely new, since Tesla and Chargepoint have built similar networks in the U.S., but the big news is how much power these chargers will pack. Related: VW’s new electric car goes further and costs less than the Tesla 3 or Chevy Bolt Today’s DC Fast Chargers max out at 50 kW of power, which can charge an electric car’s battery up to 80 percent in as little as 20 minutes. The new chargers that will comprise this new partnership will pack up to seven times more power at 350 kW, which will significantly drop the amount of time it takes to recharge an electric car to around 10 minutes. The first chargers will arrive in 2017, with an initial target of about 400 charging sites in Europe. By 2020, the plan is to have thousands of high-powered charging points in operation. The announcement doesn’t include any networks outside Europe, like in the U.S., but this summer the White House announced that the Department of Energy is researching the feasibility of 350 kW fast chargers. + Daimler All images © Volkswagen and Daimler

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BMW, Daimler, Ford, and VW are planning an electric vehicle superhighway in Europe

Affordable and compact Dinky Dub camper offers a modular twist to the vintage VW look

November 2, 2016 by  
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Weighing in at just 1,000 pounds, the Dinky Dub does come with some sacrifices when compared with its full-sized sibling. The smaller VW Type 2 tow-along loses a pair of windows, 3 feet in length, and the pop-top roof, which means the interior height is maxed out at 4.3 feet. In return for these tradeoffs, the Dinky Dub starts at just $12,800—a fraction of the cost of the larger models. Related: Airstream’s new Basecamp is a tiny house you can tow practically anywhere The Dinky Dub is centered on a convertible dinette set flanked by benches that transform into a two-person bed. A modular kitchenette is tucked into the rear hatch and can be customized to include a sink and portable stove. Since the Dinky Dub was created with a modular design, buyers are free to customize their trailer from the inclusion of solar panels to additional appliances. Dub Box is finalizing design details and plans to launch the Dinky Dub, which is available for reservations, in 2017. + Dinky Dub Via New Atlas Images via Dub Box

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Affordable and compact Dinky Dub camper offers a modular twist to the vintage VW look

SolarAid launches "the world’s most affordable solar light" for just $5

November 2, 2016 by  
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UK charity SolarAid and solar panel manufacturer Yingli Solar just launched “the world’s most affordable solar light.” Sold by SolarAid’s social enterprise SunnyMoney in Africa , the SM100 solar light costs only $5. People in the UK can buy one of the lights for 10 pounds, and the money will help distribute two more solar lights in African countries. The SM100 is designed for off-grid use by African families and children working on homework at night. The light is “two times brighter than kerosene” according to SolarAid, and the light’s battery provides five hours of illumination. The SM100 is equipped with an adjustable stand that can be removed or be used to hang up the light. In the UK, the SolarAid is marketing the lamps for campers or festival goers, suggesting users add a strap and wear it as a headlamp. Related: SunFire fights energy poverty in Africa with parabolic solar kits SolarAid CEO Nick Sireau said in a Yingli Solar statement, “When I first started at SolarAid 10 years ago the lights we sold in Africa were $25 each. Over the last 10 years prices have come down and now SolarAid is proud to be launching what we believe is the world’s most affordable solar light on the market…We sincerely hope this step change in pricing will help us to eradicate the kerosene lamp for good.” SolarAid’s goal is to get rid of the need for expensive, polluting kerosene. During the past ten years, SunnyMoney has sold 10 million solar lights in Africa, and gathered feedback on the features people need in a small solar light. In August 2016, SunnyMoney distributed 9,000 of the little lights in Malawi, Zambia, and Uganda to gain insights from users for future solar light designs. The SolarAid SM100 is available for purchase here . + SolarAid + Yingli Solar + SunnyMoney Via Treehugger Images via SolarAid

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SolarAid launches "the world’s most affordable solar light" for just $5

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