Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

September 15, 2017 by  
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Audi is working hard on future self-driving cars that will forever change your daily commute. This week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the automaker unveiled two new concept cars that feature Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving technology. Hit the jump for a closer look. The first concept, the Aicon, is a futuristic looking four-door electric vehicle with a 500-mile driving range. The Aicon is a large concept vehicle at almost 18-feet-long. Audi says its design is a preview of what cars will look like in the future; with pushed-out wheels and without the need for an engine, the overall layout maximizes the space between the wheels for more interior volume. Related: Audi’s new solar-roofed car expected by the end of 2017 One cool feature is that the Aicon’s exterior surfaces can display information to warn pedestrians or cyclists of dangerous situations. Plus, horizontal stripes of light move from the bottom up when the car accelerates and in the opposite direction when braking. Their speed increases or decreases in sync with that of the car. The interior features two individual front seats that can move back and forth up to 19 inches and even swivel up to 15 degrees. There’s room for two additional passengers that sit on an integrated rear bench seat. Audi’s Aicon is powered by four electric motors that generate a total 349 horsepower. It can also travel up to 500 miles on a single charge and be recharged up to 80 percent in a short 30 minutes. The second concept, the Audi Elaine, looks familiar since it debuted as the E-Tron Sportback concept a few months ago. On the outside, not much has changed from the original concept, but Audi is using the Elaine concept to showcase its Level 4 autonomous driving technology with a new highway pilot autonomous system. The highway pilot system can control the vehicle between 37 to 80 mph. Audi hasn’t announced any production plans for the Audi Aicon concept, but the production version of the Elaine/ E-Tron Sportback will arrive in 2019. + Audi Images @Audi

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Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

BMW releases a sportier i3 electric car

August 29, 2017 by  
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The words “sport” and “electric car” are rarely used in the same sentence – with the exception of cars like the Tesla Model S, BMW i8 and even the Acura NSX. Now BMW wants to change that with the 2018 BMW i3s, a sexier, sportier version of the i3 electric car. Last year the BMW i3 received a nice battery upgrade for the 2017 model year and this year, part of the upgrades include the introduction of the i3s. For starters, the i3s isn’t going to speed past a Tesla Model S , but it does have a more powerful electric motor, which now generates 184 horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque. That’s 14 more horsepower and 15 more lb-ft. of torque than the standard i3. Related: BMW just unveiled the sleek electric motorcycle of the future Some of the other upgrades include an 11 millimeter lower ride height, a wider track and 20-inch wheels that are a half-inch wider. The BMW i3s also has a new sports suspension with specially developed springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. If you want to amp up the “sport” factor even more, there is a new Sport mode that improves the accelerator response and tightens up the steering. The upgrades to the i3s give it a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds, compared to 7.2 seconds for the standard i3 . The rest of the i3 lineup also gets some updates for the 2018 model year, including updated front and rear fascias, which emphasize the i3’s width. There aren’t any battery upgrades to the 2018 i3, which means that the standard i3 can travel 114 miles, while the Range Extender with its two-cylinder gas engine gives it a range of 180 miles. A new BMW TurboCord charger is now part of the options list that features a 20-ft charging cord, and provides two chargers in one. Level 1 charging is available when plugged into any 120 V outlet and it also lets you charge up-to 3.6 kW, nearly three-times faster than the standard occasional use cable when used with a 240 V outlet. + BMW Images @BMW

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BMW releases a sportier i3 electric car

This gorgeous ‘Tree House Tower’ was built using repurposed timber and old ship materials

August 29, 2017 by  
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When architect Jason McLennan isn’t busying working on Leonardo DiCaprio’s new eco resort off the coast of Belize, the talented designer is enjoying some amazing views from his five-story “tree house tower” on Seattle’s beautiful Bainbridge Island. The home, which was built in 1978, was constructed out of reclaimed timber and outfitted with various repurposed ship materials. The three-bedroom, four-bathroom house is located on a secluded lot surrounded by a wall of 200-foot cedar trees on one side and the Puget Sound on the other. The home was built in 1978 by an unknown architect, who used salvaged wooden posts – which reportedly date back more than 100 years – in the construction. Related: Delightful treehouse residence weaves through a forest in Thailand The bohemian-inspired interior, which is well-lit by an abundance of large windows and skylights, is filled with repurposed trinkets taken from an old ship. Many of the windows were made out of old portholes and the home’s various brass doorknobs were repurposed from an old sailing boat. McLennan’s architectural studio is on the top floor where he has used the lush natural setting of the island as inspiration for his building designs, “It’s just nature’s paradise,” he said. “Everything is nestled in the trees, so the trees are intact and the ecosystem is intact. You do feel like you’re in a special place when you’re there.” Although the interior of the house is undeniably incredible, the outdoor space is definitely the heart of the home. Perennial gardens surround the outdoor areas, which include a massive outdoor chimney, covered dining area and lounge, Koi pond, fruit orchard, and even a basketball court. Of course, there are plenty of secluded nooks located on the grounds for solitude amongst the beautiful lush foliage. + Jason McLennan Via Dwell Photography by Eric Hecht  

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This gorgeous ‘Tree House Tower’ was built using repurposed timber and old ship materials

Iowa grocery grows 10-15 lbs of produce on outdoor vertical garden – every week

August 29, 2017 by  
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It doesn’t get much more local than this. In Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee grocery store commissioned Friday’s Fresh Market (FFM) to install and maintain two eight-tower Grow Walls , or hydroponic vertical gardens, on the outside of their store – which they then sell inside. Owner Andrew Freitag told Inhabitat they can obtain between 10 and 15 pounds of fresh produce every week, depending on the crop. Basil, lettuce, and mint flourish on the outdoor Grow Walls at Hy-Vee, installed by FFM in May this year. There’s no soil needed here: the plants are suspended in a growing medium made from recycled plastic bottles and grow in the sunlight. FFM also installed a smaller Grow Wall inside the grocery store in the produce section. They maintain both systems, germinating seeds, transplanting, supplying nutrients and water, harvesting, and packaging the produce for sale in the store. Related: Berlin grocery with vertical micro-farm reimagines the future of produce departments (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); We are at the HyVee in Davenport, Iowa checking out a Grow Wall from Friday's Fresh Market! Posted by Inhabitat on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 FFM manager Chen Freitag told Inhabitat, “We see this disruptive technology becoming more and more popular in our future farming industry. It will help to improve the fresh food desert situation here in the Midwest tremendously and stimulate the local economy.” The Grow Walls aren’t the only aspect of FFM’s business. They also cultivate indoor farms in shipping containers , using the same towers and irrigation system as a Grow Wall. Freitag said these farms consume around 90 percent less water than traditional methods, and since FFM can control the environment, produce grown inside the shipping container farms is more colorful and flavorful, with a higher nutrient content. She said FFM started pursuing hydroponics as a more efficient, sustainable way to grow fresh food, no matter the weather outside. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life in our local communities,” Freitag told Inhabitat. “People here deserve to eat better, live better. We believe we are capable of being self-sufficient when it comes to fresh, local food year-round.” One small Iowa company may not be able to change the entire agriculture industry right away; instead, Freitag said they focus on changing people’s daily lives with better food, and hope the industry evolves from there. “The earth is the resource account we cannot afford to overdraw,” she told Inhabitat. “We need to think about future generations: what we leave them to live with.” + Friday’s Fresh Market Images via Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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Iowa grocery grows 10-15 lbs of produce on outdoor vertical garden – every week

Inside California’s clean-economy leadership — for now

August 22, 2017 by  
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Amid a worrisome increase in transportation emissions, is it time for “climate policies 2.0”?

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Inside California’s clean-economy leadership — for now

San Diegans could get $20,000 off price of electric car

August 15, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk might have just ushered in the era of affordable electric vehicles with the first Tesla Model 3 cars rolling off the production line, but south of the Fremont factory in San Diego there is another great deal going on. Starting this month and running through the end of September, San Diego Gas & Electric customers can take advantage of a $10,000 discount off the purchase of a 2017 Nissan Leaf or a 2017 BMW i3. When the state of California’s $2,500 EV rebate and the $7,500 federal tax credit are added, SDG&E customers could potentially get $20,000 off the price of an electric car. The utility also offers an annual bill credit of up to $200 for driving an electric vehicle. Related: New lithium-ion battery from Japan could double electric vehicle range “All-electric cars have fewer parts which result in no oil changes and less maintenance costs,” the SDG&E website states. “Electric cars on freeways and neighborhood streets in the San Diego region reduces greenhouse gases and improves air quality. Moreover, when EVs plug into SDG&E’s grid they receive 43% renewable energy and no coal.” According to SDG&E, there are more than 1,100 public charging stations in the utility’s territory with plans to reach 3,500 charging stations. Charging infrastructure is increasing across the state — the California Energy Commission has awarded nearly $65 million to pay for more than 7,800 electric vehicle charging stations. + SDG&E Via The Verge Images via BMW and Nissan

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San Diegans could get $20,000 off price of electric car

Tesla rival Faraday Future’s trippy space-age campus will blow your mind

July 20, 2017 by  
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Beijing-based MAD Architects just unveiled designs for Faraday Future’s new campus—and it looks like something straight out of the Jetsons. The electric car company, once hailed as the “Tesla Killer,” plans to relocate its headquarters from Los Angeles to Mare Island, north of San Francisco. The stunning campus features sleek and sci-fi-esque buildings that reference the aerodynamic shape of Faraday Future’s recently unveiled FF91 , a self-driving vehicle said to be the world’s fastest-accelerating electric car. Faraday Future’s new Northern California campus will be set along the Napa River on Mare Island’s former navy base, which was recently positioned as a “ zero-emission base in California.” MAD Architects’ low-energy campus will cover approximately 130,000 square meters, while the building area will take up approximately 15 percent of the site. The focal point of the campus will be the user experience center marked by a sculptural reflective tower and an exposed winding ramp. Clients will be able to watch the cars move from the warehouse along the elevated light rail down to the exhibition hall. Related: Faraday Future’s FF91 smashes speed record of Tesla Model S in ludicrous mode “MAD’s proposal consists of two low, metallic structures embedded within the site’s prairie landscape, suggesting extraterrestrial objects capable of de-familiarizing employees and prospective clients with the status quo of the contemporary automotive market,” wrote the architects. “In addition, MAD hopes to provide a flexible, and ductile working environment for the growth of its employees and the advancement of the company’s high-tech innovations.” Large roof overhangs, internal courtyards, and operable glass facade systems will help passively reduce solar gains and allow for natural ventilation . There will be an abundance of natural light and easy access to indoor and outdoor social spaces. Modular rooftop solar panels and wind turbines are expected to produce enough energy to support the entire campus’ daily operational demands. + MAD Architects

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Tesla rival Faraday Future’s trippy space-age campus will blow your mind

Libeskind unveils zero-emissions university building designed in collaboration with students

March 14, 2017 by  
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A new building with exciting geometry and eco-friendly design is inspiring students at Leuphana University at Lüneburg, Germany. Architect Daniel Libeskind recently completed the New Central Building, a landmark university structure designed in collaboration with the students as part of the tradition at Leuphana University to involve students in campus changes. Topped with a green roof and powered by renewable energy, the light-filled sculptural building will operate at zero emissions . Created in the same gleaming and angular aesthetic common to Libeskind’s designs, the 13,000-square-meter zinc-clad New Central Building serves as a major university hub that promotes cross-disciplinary interaction and learning for students and faculty. The massive structure comprises four interlocking sculptural forms, each housing four programs: the Student Center that spans the height of the building; the three-story Seminar Center; the 1,100-seat Libeskind Auditorium; and the seven-story Research Center. Students contributed to the design process in seminars held by Professor Libeskind and other teachers at the university. Student participation spanned a wide spectrum, from the building and landscape design to the way-finding systems and interior design . “The idea for this project was to create a hub that would inspire the students through multiple connected spaces, infused with natural light and exciting new geometries,” said architect Daniel Libeskind. “It was a true creative collaboration by incorporating students ideas about program and design elements into the final design.” Related: Daniel Libeskind unveils spectacularly green physics center at Durham University In addition to aesthetics and a community-oriented design, the new student hub focuses heavily on sustainability. The energy-efficient New Central Building is powered by renewable energy and includes green roofs that can be seen from the interior, a gray water system , and an innovative structural Cobiax system. The zero-emissions building exceeds the EnEV (Energieeinsparverordnung = Energy-Saving Regulation), a standard that sets energy requirements for new buildings in Germany and also serves as a demonstration project of the Bundeswirtschaftsministerium (Federal Ministry of Economy) for energy-optimized design. + Daniel Libeskind Images via TK

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Libeskind unveils zero-emissions university building designed in collaboration with students

The smart city C-Suite? 5 jobs that could save cities

July 13, 2016 by  
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From chief bicycle officer to a whole range of data-driven executives, tomorrow’s public servants are likely to have a very different skill set with sustainability at the core.

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The smart city C-Suite? 5 jobs that could save cities

It’s rush hour for urban electric buses

July 13, 2016 by  
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There’s an all out push to get more zero emissions buses into the urban core. Along with government incentives, electric bus maker Proterra has opened its patents for transit EV charging stations.

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It’s rush hour for urban electric buses

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