Eco-friendly vehicles have come a long way from simply being prototypes. Manufacturers have been ambitious with emissions-free cars, even attempting to assemble them using resin. However, for big names in the industry, keeping it simple is key. Known for its funky appearance, the VW Beetle is getting another makeover — this time, it’s going electric.
“If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive,” said [VW chairman Herbert] Diess.
It may still be in the talks, but VW already has its hands full with an electric version of its classic microbus. Despite their overflowing to-do list, it seems fans of the Bug are on their toes. Thrilled prospective customers have been pleading with the chairman to follow through via letters and e-mails.
VW is aiming for a massive revamp of its vehicles by 2030. While that may seem a long ways away, its $24 billion budget speaks volumes about the group’s potential.
It’s 2017 and electric vehicles are all the rage. Because owning one can be pricey, groups such as Michelin are creating sustainable parts. However, the new XYT is an eco mini car made with only 580 parts.
XYT figures that its EV is so uncomplicated that a small, trained crew could assemble vehicles wherever they’re in demand. Its straightforward, highly modular design also makes it easy to customize.
The XYT may not be suitable for long-haul road trips, but for everyday use, it’s pretty darn impressive. Comparatively, most family cars boast up to 30,000 individual parts. The best part about the XYT? Consumers can revamp its features to suit their needs.
The company also doesn’t think you should have to trade your old vehicle in just so you can enjoy a few new features on a new model. XYT plans to offer upgrades to extend the lifespan of its vehicles.
The car, which passed all crash tests, is more than just quirky to look at. Affordable and eco-friendly, the XYT is a big win for the automobile industry.
Developers have been doing everything to ensure the eco-friendliness of future vehicles. They are engineering sustainable commutes and even air-purifying bicycles. However, no one has gone as far as scientist Peter Mooij, whose brainchild is a wooden motorcycle powered by algae.
The single-sided swingarm is made with birch and oak, with an oiled cork/oak damper and a cork insert to provide a compression zone in the spring. The rear single-sided swingarm is made from solid oak, with some cork between the arm and the frame.
A fully functional wooden vehicle? I thought those were called wagons. As for the bike’s eco-fuel, microalgae produce oil, which is perfect for a diesel engine.
“Algae oil has some great advantages. Algae do photosynthesis and by this process algae convert CO2 from the atmosphere into oil. If this oil is burnt in Rits’ motorcycle CO2 is emitted, but the amount of CO2 emitted exactly equals the amount of CO2 the algae took up from the atmosphere.”
To put it simply, we lose nothing, which is pretty darn practical. Mooij is still working towards an enhanced model of the motorcycle. In the meantime, an extensive Google search on microalgae may be on my agenda.
Seeing a steady increase in our busybody tendencies, everything is now available in the palms of our hands. You want it? An online app has got it. You may even be able to throw it onto the back of your electric cargo bike. But with no time on your hands, perhaps you’d prefer a delivery. Lucky for our fellow Brits, U.K. supermarket Ocado recently launched a self-driving grocery delivery van for all essential needs.
Orders are loaded into the CargoPod at a nearby depot. There are eight containers on the back which can hold up to 128KG of groceries and allow the vehicle to stop at multiple destinations during the same trip. Once the goods are onboard, a driver manually steers the van to a starting location, where it’s then flipped into autonomous mode.
If you were concerned about a loaded van running completely on autopilot, you can now rest easy. Manufacturers of self-driving vehicles do, in fact, take precaution. Strategically places cameras make the van autonomous. Even more impressive, the van doesn’t require GPS.
The CargoPod is powered by Selenium, an autonomous operating system developed by Oxbotica. It handles minute-to-minute visualization and decision-making: where the vehicle is, what’s nearby and what it should do next.
The vehicle is still on a trial mode, but if it passes a battery of tests, should be permanently hitting the road in no time.
Michelin may be developing an airless tire, but in the meantime, flats are a real issue. Changing a tire, especially in areas such as highways, can be a pain. Harvard scientists have created a type of self-healing rubber that could change the way we deal with minor road accidents.
In order to make a rubber self-healable, the team needed to make the bonds connecting the polymers reversible, so that the bonds could break and reform.
Typical rubber cracks under pressure. Cracks in hybrid rubber are connected by fibrous strand, snapping back when stress is released.
“Imagine that we could use this material as one of the components to make a rubber tire,” [creator] Wu said. “If you have a cut through the tire, this tire wouldn’t have to be replaced right away. Instead, it would self-heal while driving enough to give you leeway to avoid dramatic damage.”
Of course, with every new technology, there is always more to explore. We’re not sure whether Michelin or Harvard will pull through first, but both are definitely off to a great start.