When it comes to clean transportation, London is charging ahead at maximum speed – not only is the city’s mayor a cycling enthusiast, but he helped to push the introduction of London’s first hydrogen fuel cell taxis just in time for the 2012 Olympics! This week The Big Smoke rolled out their first fleet of zero emission taxis, which are now making their way across the city’s busy streets.
This month, A1 Co., Ltd. and BIES Ltd. opened the first set of solar-powered electric car charging stations across Sofia, Bulgaria. Built as simple structures, each station simply uses solar panels to collect solar energy and a special module for electric cars to connect to the batteries. While the number of electric cars in Bulgaria are still very few, according to experts, a boom in the purchase of electric vehicles is expected this year — particularly due special incentives that will be given by the Bulgarian government.
Compact cars take on a new meaning when they can literally fold themselves.
Spain will begin producing an electric car next year that’s about the same size as a Smart, but can collapse itself into an even smaller footprint when parked. The Hiriko, which means “urban car” in Basque, is the brainchild of researchers at the MIT Media Lab, and is designed to meet the needs of increasingly congested and parking challenged urban centers.
ONE of the biggest drawbacks with owning an electric vehicle (EV) is range anxiety – a driver’s nagging fear that the battery charge will not get them to their destination. Now IBM claims to have solved a fundamental problem that may lead to the creation of a battery with an 800-kilometre (500-mile) range – letting EVs potentially compete with most petrol engines for the first time.
Standard electric vehicles use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, which are bulky and rarely provide 160 kilometres (100 miles) of driving before they run down.
If this doesn’t sound like a dream come true, I don’t know what does. The German government is testing a new design for a low-energy home packed with renewable energy generation systems, dubbed the Efficiency House Plus. If the design works as it should, it’ll not only produce enough electricity to meet all its own needs, but it’ll produce enough spare juice to charge a family car.
The 1400-square-foot house generates all this power using a combination of solar panels and heat storage systems. At the same time, advanced energy management technology helps keep consumption down and ensures the house’s energy use is in line with what the energy of the weather provides. As SmartPlanet reports:
Highway blowouts and Fix-A-Flat could soon be things of the past. Following the trend started by Michelin with the Tweel, Bridgestone recently unveiled an airless tire of its own at the Tokyo Motor Show. Bridgestone’s air-free concept is supported by a mesh of spokes that are made of thermoplastic resin. The material is flexible and durable, and best of all, it’s 100-percent recyclable!
Springing up from the ground like a large leaf, the Lotus is a solar-powered electric vehicle charger that doubles as an LED streetlight and a sheltered bench. Perfect for parks and parking areas alike, the Lotus features a 2.8 KW photovoltaic surface, built-in LED lights, and a waterproof Scame electrical outlet that can be used to charge an EV.
This was supposed to be a big year for energy-related technology.
It was supposed to mark the ascendance of the electric car as the first full year of sales for GM’s Volt and Nissan’s Leaf, which represent the leading edge of electric vehicles planned by major automakers. But GM fell far short of its sales goals for the year, no doubt plagued by high costs due to expensive batteries. And the company ended the year under a cloud of smoke as the Volt’s battery pack caught on fire after safety testing.
It was the year by which advanced-biofuels companies were supposed to be producing 250 million gallons of fuels from grass and wood chips to meet a U.S. federal mandate. But the EPA had to waive the mandate, decreasing the goal to just 6.6 million gallons, because no large advanced-biofuels plants were up and running. The year ended with the demise of one of the first advanced-biofuels companies, Range Fuels, which shut down operations and was forced to auction off assets.
Evatran, which produces Plugless Power, a wireless electric vehicle (EV) charging system, opened its online reservation system last week and announced that it is offering a $150 rebate card for up to 6 months of free electricity to customers who use the system.
“The Preferred Customer Group will allow Evatran to understand its focus areas for product rollout and follows the recent news of the installation partnership with Sears Home Services(TM),” Evatran commented.
“The incentive is open to the first 500 Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt reservations, and joining the Preferred Customer Group by reserving a system requires no upfront financial commitment.”
A new efficiency record for organic photovoltaic cells has been reached by Heliatek, for the third time in a row. The German company created a cheap solar cell that can convert up to 9.8 percent of the incoming light into electricity.
Heliatek’s new solar cell is made from oligomers, and differs from polymer and dye-sensitized solar cells because the cells can be produced at low temperatures and uses the least amount of non-toxic materials.
As we know it
While the greatest drive of the eco-conscious generation is to use renewable sources of power, attempts are being made to replace every possible gadget run by non-renewable sources with green products that curb environmental pollution and reduce over brimming of the landfills. Berlin based eco-conscious engineer, Benjamin Beck has made a noteworthy move in this direction. He has developed a green battery pack that is run by solar energy as well as kinetic energy. All you need to do is to place the charged out battery pack in sun for a certain period of time on sunny days and the battery will juice up within no time. But in cloudy days it draws the charge from your movements, thereby converting kinetic energy into electrical energy and gets charged up again. It has been named by the designer as Scaraby Energy Backpack. This functional green gadget is portable and convenient to use.
Rescue systems include all essential tools, equipment, machinery and anything that helps emergency personnel such as police, fire fighters, coast guards, military, etc. in emergency situations. These tools, that are included in the rescue system, are used as a part of safety measures in risky, emergency situations or for rescuing people who are in danger. No wonder that the best equipment of the latest technology are used for this purpose. But now that an effort to go-green is being made in every area and every invention, even rescue systems are being modeled in the same lines for future use. Here is a list of five such futuristic rescue systems that would help the environment gain its balance again:
The newest electric vehicle to roll out cannnot be plugged in, but it does have one impressive credential: It’s the smallest in the world.
Unlike nanocars of the past that were aided by scanning microscopes, light, or heated surfaces, this molecular vehicle uses electrons to move forward.
“This is the first example where you really have a motor function,” said Ben Feringa, an organic chemistry professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands who led the nano-vehicle’s creation. “You can put in energy so you have a propulsion mechanism like in a real motor in a car.”
We’ve had the opportunity to ride some crazy contraptions over the years here at Engadget, like the skateboard-cum-tank Shredder and the self-balancing two-seater from GM called the EN-V. Today we carry on that tradition with another thing that can keep itself — and its occupant — perched upright. It’s called the Ryno, an all-electric single-wheeled scooter that looks like something Judge Dredd would throw a leg over before bringing justice to some nefarious evil-doers. It’s the pet product of mechanical engineer Chris Hoffmann and, after five years of tinkering and development, it could be finally making its way into peoples’ garages by next year. Join us for a wobbly first ride.