If you don’t like tight spaces, then the Schweeb may not be your preferred mode of transportation.
Google is backing this eco-friendly monorail system in their Project 10^100 initiative, which was a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible, selecting Shweeb as an organization with the most forward looking transportation vision. People from around the world submitted over 150,000 ideas that they wanted to bring to life.
Inhabitat writes, “The system is ‘user-powered’ it immediately gets sustainability points, but the system has also been praised for its speed. A combination between traveling in tubes à la Futurama and ‘Sky Cycling,‘ Shweeb’s bike-powered monorail currently has a 200m cycle track in Rotorua, New Zealand, where is it billed as an “adrenalin-fueled” adventure. There, users are suspended from the track in transparent pods and can ‘cycle’ around the landscape at speeds of up to 45km/h.”
In sad and ironic news today, the owner of the eco-friendly human transportation company, Segway, has died after falling off a cliff while riding his two-wheeled vehicle. The body of 62-year-old James Heselden was found in the River Wharfe alongside one of his Segways. He was pronounced dead at the scene, West Yorkshire police said.
A police spokesman said: “A Segway-style vehicle was recovered. He was pronounced dead at the scene…At this time we do not believe the death to be suspicious.”
It is still unknown exactly how the accident occurred but it is being speculated that he was either testing a new Segway model, or inspecting his estate, which contains the fatal cliff.
The company released a statement on its website Monday reading: “It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that Jimi Heselden OBE, has died in a tragic accident near his home in West Yorkshire. Jimi Heselden, 62, was Chairman of Hesco Bastion Ltd, the world leading manufacturer of protective barriers and owner of Segway Inc. Jimi is perhaps best known for his charity work with Help for Heroes and the Leeds Community Foundation. A £10m gift to the Foundation earlier this month saw his lifetime charitable donations top £23m. Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends, who have asked for privacy at this time.”
Oregon State University (OSU) has an amazing team of wood science researchers that have recently proposed the idea to change the filler currently used in rubber tires. The standard filler is Silica but these researchers suggest changing that to micro-crystalline cellulose which is derived from plant fiber. This change would result in tires that would be more cost effective, fuel and energy efficient and better performers.
The development of this new tire is showing that it also has comparable traction to the standard rubber tire in wet conditions and is found to have decreased rolling resistance in high temperatures which contributes the improving the tries’ fuel efficiency.
Although this is still in the research phase, the next test will be for long term durability.
After some wavering, it looks like the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will reopen today after all. The bridge was closed down after a 2-inch-thick crack in a steel link was discovered while the bridge was shut down for a routine upgrade.
Crews labored overnight to repair the 73-year-old bridge. The reopening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge comes as a relief to the 260,000 commuters who use the bridge daily.
A new light rail line in Seattle has taken the city to new levels of environmentally-friendly transportation.
To entice Seattle residents to use the new rail system, free rides are being offered from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday on the 13.9-mile Link route between downtown Seattle and the south Seattle suburb of Tukwila. Although this is a really smart way to introduce the light rail system to riders, they may not have the most enjoyable experience, as transit officials have been planning for giant crowds, with as many as 50,000 riders expected on Saturday alone. Can we say nightmare?!
Anyway, for those of you Seattlers braving the crowds for a free ride, don’t be disheartened by the mob and frenzy. Use the light rail system! The trains will be running at 7 1/2-minute intervals.
One of the issues the light rail system is already facing is the lack of parking at the stations. Seattle Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Sheridan told The Seattle Times, “Light rail was meant to be fed by people taking the bus, walking or biking. It was not mean to be fed by cars.”
However, many residents say it is unrealistic for them to get to the station without using their vehciles. Many are saying that a lack of parking could destroy ridership. With this being the first weekend of the light rail, only time will tell.
The Casual Mafia has come up with a new “In My Prius” rap video that throws off the shakles of a time when we drove around in big, gas-guzzling SUV’s and embraces the new era of the eco-friendly vehicle.
The rap begins: “Cruisin’ down the street in my ‘04/Obama bumper sticker and so much more/When I lost it all in the Madoff scheme/The market sank, they repossessed by Beam.”
Now that summer has arrived and the temperature has risen, while driving in a car this question invariably comes up. Should I put the windows up with Air Conditioning on, or leave them down? With many things in life, the answer depends on the circumstance.
SAE (the Society of Automotive Engineers) compiled a test of the fuel efficiency going at different speeds on a sedan and SUV. To sum up their findings, while going on a highway at speeds approximately 55-65 mph it is better to keep your windows up and AC on, as there is not much energy gained from having it off with the air drag that your car will have with the windows down. At lower speeds it is more beneficial, if only slightly, to keep the windows down and have the AC off.
The biggest difference will be seen if driving an SUV, but typically if you are driving an SUV fuel efficiency isn’t at the top of your concerns. Basically, there are much easier ways to green up your lifestyle than putting your car in a wind tunnel and seeing the air drag on your car.
EcoGeek is reporting that Norway is heading down a great path for sustainable living – proposing a ban on selling any new gas-only cars in the country starting in 2015.
Finance Minister of Norway, Kristin Halvorsen, is implementing a plan that dictates cars sold after 2015 must at least partially run on electricity or other alternative fuels. Hybrid vehicles and biofuel-compatible cars would be allowed.
Although there has been opposition, the ban wouldn’t eliminate out gas-fueled cars completely, it would just require new models to have the option of accepting alternative means of fuel. Moreover, older gas cars wouldn’t be affected by the plan.
Green Car Journal has named the Volkswagen Jetta TDI 2009 Green Car of the Year. This is the first time a diesel has won, and to take the top honors it had to best serious competition from microcars and hybrids alike. The TDI beat the BMW 335d, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid, smart fortwo to take the grand prize. The Jetta TDI is based on the 2.0-liter, turbocharged direct injection engine, which is the first from the company to meet all fifty states diesel emissions requirements. However, this technology comes at a steep price with the base vehicle costing consumers $21,990 and an eight month long waiting list.
Green Car Journal editor and publisher Ron Cogan said, “The 2009 Volkswage Jetta TDI epitomizes what the Green Car of the Year honor is all about. It raises the bar significantly in environmental performance with its EPA estimated 41 mpg highway fuel economy, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and extremely low tailpipe emissions. This is all the more impressive when you consider the Jetta TDI is a clean diesel, achieving the kind of fuel efficiency offered by gasoline-electric hybrids but in a more affordable way.”