Lucas123 writes: Start-up Nikola Motor Co. announced it has received 7,000 orders representing $2.3B in potential sales for a hybrid semi-truck that will sport 2,000hp, a gross weight of 80,000 pounds and will have more than a 1,200-mile range. The tractor-trailer dubbed the Nikola One will be revealed on Dec. 2 at the company's headquarters in Salt Lake City. The semi-trailer will have a 320 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack, along with a 150-gallon fuel-agnostic turbine, which can be configured to run on various kinds of fuel, including diesel or petroleum. The standard model will have a natural gas tank. The Nikola One will also have regenerative braking technology, an energy recovery mechanism that will slow the vehicle by converting kinetic energy into a form that can be stored until needed. Nikola claims the semi-trailer will cost half as much to operate as traditional diesel trucks. Link to Original Source
Lucas123 writes: Renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydroelectric, will overtake natural gas as an energy source by 2027; Ten years later, those same renewables will surpassed the largest electricity-generating fossil fuel: coal, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Solar and wind will account for almost 60% of the $11.4 trillion invested in energy over the next 25 years, according to Bloomberg's New Energy Outlook 2016 report. One conclusion that may surprise, Bloomberg noted, is that the forecast shows no golden age for natural gas, except in North America. As a global generation source, gas will be overtaken by renewables in 2027. The electric vehicle boom will increase electricity demand by 2,701TWh (terawatt hours), or 8% of global electricity demand in 2040. The rise of EVs will drive down the cost of lithium-ion batteries, making them increasingly attractive to be deployed alongside residential and commercial solar systems.
Lucas123 writes: Coming out of stealth mode this week, the Nikola Motor Co. announced it will begin offering a hybrid semitrailer with 2,000hp, capable of pulling a gross weight of 80,000 pounds and that will have more than a 1,200-mile range between stops. The semi will run on natural gas and a 320kWh lithium-ion battery pack that will recharge via the truck's turbine. The company also announced an all-electric utility vehicle (UTV), the Nikola Zero, with 520hp that will have a 125-mile range. The UTV will retail for $42K and the semi will cost $375K, almost twice that of a typical long-haul rig. Nikola Motor claims, however, the semitrailer will cost half as much to operate as traditional diesel trucks. The company is also offering 100,000 gallons of free natural gas with the truck, enough for a million work miles. "This offsets the entire cost of the truck allowing for a return on the investment in first month," a company spokesperson said.
Lucas123 writes: The cost rooftop solar systems has dropped by more than half over the past decade, from price of a luxury car to an economy compact. While leases and power purchase agreements spurred early adoption of distributed rooftop solar, as the overall cost of ownership has plummeted, they may no longer be the best option. Consumers are taking notice and are beginning to shift away from third party ownership of their solar systems. Last year, 72% of residential solar systems in the U.S. were owned by a third party, such as SolarCity, Vivant Solar and Sunrun, but by 2020 direct ownership of rooftop solar systems will surpass third-party ownership in the U.S. residential solar market.
Lucas123 writes: A report commissioned by the White House and involving the Defense, Justice and Homeland Security Departments has begun a process to define, for the first time, the requirements that manufacturers would need to meet for federal, state, and municipal law enforcement agencies to consider purchasing firearms with "smart" safety technology. They've committed to completing that process by October, and will also identify agencies interested in taking part in a pilot program to develop the smart gun technology. The DOD will help manufacturers test smart guns under "real-world conditions" at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. Manufacturers would be eligible to win cash prizes through that program as well. In addition to spurring the adoption of smart gun technology, the report stated that the Social Security Administration has published a proposed rule that would require individuals prohibited from buying a gun due to mental health issues to be included in a background check system.
Lucas123 writes: A new study by international certification body DNV GL has found that the resiliency of photovoltaic modules can vary widely among manufacturers with some panels dropping below acceptable standards of efficiency when subjected to environmental tests. The number of photovoltaic module manufacturers taking part in the research varied from 17 to 22, depending on which of five tests administered to the panels that participated in. The study found that solar module efficiency could drop by up to 58.8% depending on the manufacturer and the test. However, "many PV modules performed well across all tests," according to the report. For example, eight manufacturers' products degraded less than 3% in solar conversion efficiency after undergoing a thermal cycling test four times. Somewhat surprisingly, where the panels were manufactured had little to do with their quality. From 55% to 60% of the top performing modules were manufactured in China, according to the study. "This demonstrates that manufacturing location is not a good proxy for reliability," the study stated.
Lucas123 writes: A federal study has revealed that if solar panels were installed on all suitable rooftops throughout the U.S., it could generate 39% of the country's energy needs. Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) spent three years studying 128 cities and found 83% of small buildings have a suitable location for PV installation, but only 26% of the total rooftop area on those buildings is suitable for development. The researchers then extrapolated the findings to the entire continental U.S. Even using just 26% of the total rooftop area, the potential for power generation is enormous. The total national potential of rooftop solar power is 1,118 gigawatts (billion watts or GW) of installed capacity and 1,432 terawatt-hours (trillion watt hours or TWh) of annual energy generation.
Lucas123 writes: The DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed a wireless charging system for vehicles that can provide a 60% charge to a Chevy Volt with a 10kWh battery in 18 minutes and a Nissan Leaf with a 20kWh battery in 36 minutes. The research is the first step in creating a 50KW, that would more than cut stationary charging time in half, and then a 100KW wireless charging system that could allow roadways to power vehicles while they are being driven. With ORNL's current 20kW charging system, about 37.5% of each one mile road segment (assuming 50 mph constant speed) would have to emit wireless power in order to drive your electric vehicle in a charge-sustaining mode. With a 100kW charging system, however, only 7.5% of a one mile road segment would need to emit power in order to sustain an EV's battery charge, the researchers said.
Lucas123 writes: Power engineering researchers at MIT have discovered that by arranging photovoltaic arrays in a zig-zag pattern on towers or into cubical designs can increase energy collection from two to 20 times. MIT's research, the findings for which are based on both computer modeling and outdoor testing of real modules, were published in the journal" Energy and Environmental Science. While the cost of the so called "3D solar towers" or cubes exceeds that of ordinary flats solar panels, the expense is partially balanced by a much higher energy output for a given footprint, as well as much more uniform power output over the course of a day and over the seasons when panels face less light and more cloud cover, the researchers stated.
Lucas123 writes: An MIT study based on mathematical modeling demonstrated a likely scenario in which high-tech vehicles using sensors to remain at a safe distance from each other as they move through a four-way intersection can eliminate the need for traffic lights in the future. By removing the waits caused by traffic lights, these so-called Slot-based Intersections speed up traffic flow.The study claims this kind of traffic-light-free transportation design, if it ever arrives, could allow twice as much traffic to use existing roads.
Lucas123 writes: The top 20 automakers have pledged to make automatic emergency breaking a standard feature in all new cars by 2022. The automakers represent 99% of the U.S. auto market, meaning AEB will be standard on all new all new light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of up to 8,500 lbs. within six years. The automakers said AEB will be standard on virtually all trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 lbs. and 10,000 lbs. beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2025.
Lucas123 writes: By 2022, using a thumb drive or taking your vehicle to the location you bought it for a software update will seem as strange as it would be for a smartphone or laptop today. By 2022, there will be 203 million vehicles on the road that can receive software over-the-air (SOTA) upgrades; among those vehicles, at least 22 million will also be able to get firmware upgrades, according to a new report by ABI Research. Today, there are about 253 million cars and trucks on the road, according to IHS Automotive. The main reasons automakers are moving quickly to enable OTA upgrades: recall costs, autonomous driving and security risks based on software complexities, according to Susan Beardslee, a senior analyst at ABI Research. "It is a welcome transformation, as OTA is the only way to accomplish secure management of all of a connected car's software in a seamless, comprehensive, and fully integrated manner," Beardslee said.
Lucas123 writes: GM today announced of a short-term vehicle rental program exclusive to the Lyft ride-sharing service, but it also made clear a longer-term goal to create a fleet of autonomous vehicles that could be summoned by Lyft's automated ride matching mobile app. The new Express Drive rental program will make cars available to Lyft drivers starting at $99, a price that includes insurance and vehicle maintenance. The new rental program comes just two months after GM struck a strategic partnership with Lyft to develop autonomous vehicles and invested $500 million as part of Lyft's $1 billion Series F funding round. More than 400 million people will rely on robotic car sharing by 2030, according to a new report by ABI Research. "We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous," GM president Dan Ammann said. "With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly."
Lucas123 writes: The U.S. solar market is expected to grow 120% this year" with 16GW of new solar power, more than double the record-breaking 7.3GW installed in 2015. The total operating solar PV capacity in the U.S. is expected to reach 25.6 gigawatts (billion watts or GW) of direct current (DC) by the end of the year, according to GTM Research's U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2015 Year in Review. When accounting for all projects (both distributed and centralized), solar accounted for 29.4% of new electric generating capacity installed in the U.S. in 2015, exceeding the total for natural gas for the first time and it will put the U.S. ahead of all other nations with regard to new solar installations for 2016.
Lucas123 writes: Several key technologies are coming to market in the next three years that will ensure data storage will not only keep up with but exceed demand. Heat-assisted magnetic recording and bit patterned media promise to increase hard drive capacity initially by 40% and later by 10-fold, or as Seagate's marketing proclaims: 20TB hard drives by 2020. At the same time resistive RAM technologies, such as Intel/Micron's 3D XPoint promise storage-class memory that's 1,000 times faster and more resilient than today's NAND flash, but it will be expensive — at first. Meanwhile, NAND flash makers have created roadmaps for 3D NAND technology that will grow to more than 100 layers in the next two to three generations, increasing performance and capacity while ultimately lowering costs to that of hard drives."Very soon flash will be cheaper than rotating media," said Siva Sivaram, executive vice president of memory at SanDisk.