The steady rise of electric vehicles will soon leave petrol and diesel cars in the dust. BMW is launching electric buses all over Europe, while the London Taxi Company is replacing old cabs. A few months later, the U.K. remains on top of the eco-ladder, with Oxford planning to eliminate non-electric vehicles.
The scheme aims to cut levels of nitrogen dioxide, the majority of which comes from traffic fumes, by three-quarters.
To give distributors leeway, Oxford will be imposing the ban in 2020, increasing the affected zone by 2035. We all know electric vehicles aren’t the most affordable, so locals may have to do some walking. The plan is projected to cost £7 million, but the city council deems the shift will be well worth it.
Oxford city councillor John Tanner said a “step change” is urgently needed as toxic air pollution is “damaging the health” of residents.
It’s a bold move, Oxford, but hopefully a successful one.
With a slew of electric vehicles hitting the market, manufacturers are scrambling to follow up with high-tech tires. So far, the likes of Harvard and Michelin have come up with airless and self-healing wheels. While both aren’t yet commercially available, NASA is already lifting the bar with its titanium tire.
Instead of atoms deforming as the spring is moved, they instead re-arrange themselves as the tire is stressed. It’s known as a “shape memory alloy,” and means that the tire can be deformed virtually limitlessly, and still snap back to its original shape.
In short, the tire can never get a flat. As NASA’s brainchild, the tire mainly adheres to space explorations. Still, it could hypothetically exist on regular vehicles with some tweaks.
You can’t exactly use a metal wheel on the highway and expect much grip, but a metal frame could… be coated with a higher-friction material to give a tire that’s grippy and deformable for off-roading.
With NASA, I don’t imagine anything comes as a steal — but if it saves me a tire change, I’ll take it.
Solar energy is taking over the power grid. It’s in building materials and even wallpaper, allowing homes to become more efficient and eco-friendly. For Chinese development group Qilu, the power of solar stretches beyond the comfort of a household. It recently tested its first solar road — and saw it through to success!
The solar road is made up of an insulating layer on the bottom, photovoltaic panels in the middle, and transparent concrete on top.
The road itself will power street lights, signs, CCTV cameras, toll gates, and even recharge e-vehicles. Extra produced energy (which it apparently is capable of generating) will go to the state grid. The project cost Qilu well over 50 million euros, but considering its expertise in solar, China will likely bounce back.
Xu did not reveal the cost of the Jinan solar road but said it was half of similar projects in other countries. “With the development of solar power in China, the cost can be further reduced,” he said.
Looks like EV enthusiasts won’t have to worry about running on empty! (Except, maybe, iPhone carriers…)