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Audi Goes Green with New Electric Car Factory

Surya Suresh

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audi vehicle

Electric cars have been making headlines in positively helping the environment. However, critics often mention how producing these cars still require a lot of energy to manufacture, thereby increasing carbon emissions. Recently, companies such as Audi have taken an even greater leap by building green manufacturing factories for their electric cars.

What Is Audi Doing?

Audi recognized what the company had to do to in order to make manufacturing sustainable. In an interview with the plant’s director of production Patrick Danau, he remarked: “We need to reduce the energy we consume and seek other forms of energy for production”.

This is a daunting task as manufacturing electric vehicles requires tons of energy for their lithium and carbon fiber. However, Audi has resolved this problem by having a 37,000 meter squared photovoltaic power station, which are solar parks converting light to electricity. Audi also uses high-efficiency heat exchangers to effectively control the temperatures in different locations within the factory.

How is Audi helping the Environment?

With their photovoltaic power station, Audi saves up to 700 metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions and reduces factory’s need for electricity by 95%. Their heat exchangers also save another 4,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. This is vastly better than previous modes of manufacturing electric vehicles, where carbon emissions for such vehicles were a whopping 68% higher than their gasoline manufactured counterpart.

Conclusions

Audi plans to go zero-carbon in their production facilities by 2030. With Audi making this positive leap for the environment, other car manufacturing companies might follow suit. By continuing to make these advances in their manufacturing, Audi seems to have a dedication to sustainability.

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Sustainability

What You Need To Know About Sustainable Transportation: Obstacles, Progress, And More

Emily Dao

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The only way to save the planet is to take the road less traveled…literally. With more vehicles clogging up streets and contaminating the air, exacerbated cases of air pollution and travel inefficiency have risen. As a result, the call for sustainable transportation has never been stronger.

The transportation sector is one of the most polluting industries in the U.S. In fact, the EPA ranked the industry as the second greatest producer of carbon emissions. The agency says the country is responsible for half the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—from cars alone.

This is despite the nation owning only 30% of the world’s automobiles.

As human beings venture into this new decade, they’re already going into a world brimming with potential for the future.

From plant-based meat to biodegradable tennis dresses, it’s clear more businesses are recognizing the need for creativity in finding unique solutions in a commitment to sustainability.

So, when revamping current mobility systems, innovation will be the fuel driving sustainable transportation systems into the future.

How Technology Has Improved Sustainable Transportation in the US So Far

Already, major cities from Chicago to Washington D.C. are finding unique ways to ease people off the gas pedal. The more mainstream adoption of bike-sharing services, added bike lanes, and gradual introduction of electric buses are just some examples.

Plus, talk of self-driving cars and companies like Tesla commercializing electric vehicles, makes it seems like the future of sustainable transportation is full of promise.

With all these efforts, it seems like the numbers are reflecting a desire from the public to reduce their footprint. A study from Cox Automotive found that 4 in 10 consumers agreed transportation was necessary, but owning a car wasn’t.

However, despite this, there are still reportedly way too many vehicles on the road.

Last April, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported travel on roads and streets had experienced a 2.5% increase from 2019 to 2018. That’s an estimated 6.8 billion vehicle mile change. So, why is that?

We had the opportunity to chat with Liad Itzhak, SVP of HERE Mobility, a transit hub offering regional mobility options through a cloud-based platform that connects businesses and customers in real-time.

Liad Itzhak, SVP of HERE Mobility
Liad Itzhak, SVP of HERE Mobility

Here’s what he told us.

Obstacles in Reaching Scale

Itzhak identifies traffic and emissions as the biggest issues in sustainable transportation today. This is a problem that is especially salient in urban areas.

“Despite the decline in personal car ownership, there are too many vehicles on the roads today,” Itzhak said. “Another major factor is that the first and last miles of peoples’ journeys are often left unaccounted for and public transportation is not successfully filling these gaps.”

Itzhak says ride-sharing giants like Uber and Lyft are one major reason why cars are still blocking the roads.

He says the two corporations have dominated the market by undercutting prices for regional mobility suppliers, who are unable to compete.

Due to this, it means more cars are congesting the road. Together, Statista found that Uber and Lyft rack in more than 127 million users—and that’s just per month.

Uber and Lyft have decreased public transit reliance. That's not all good. Credit: Leon Neal | Getty Images
Uber and Lyft have decreased public transit reliance. That’s not all good. Credit: Leon Neal | Getty Images

As these ride-sharing apps become more mainstream, it also indicates a decrease in public transit reliance. The Sierra Club noted without these transportation services, 60% of Uber and Lyft users would’ve instead opted for public transit, walked, or biked.

The Need to Prioritize Time and Convenience in Achieving Sustainable Transportation

But there’s a reason for this preference. The biggest factor in determining how people get from Point A to Point B is convenience.

Although public transit is almost always the cheaper option, it’s often a lot more costly in time.

Plus, when considering conditions such as the first and last mile problem, people crowding, poor weather, this can be a much more desirable option.

According to CityLab study in Chicago, 90% of rides were faster when opting for a ride-sharing service rather than public transit.

Although many Americans value sustainability and action in combatting climate change, they also value time. Innovation is all about advancing in order to make life easier and more convenient.

So, when finding solutions, mobility providers will need to recognize this human priority.

Increased Commitments to Creating More Sustainable Transportation Options

Many other cities are becoming prominent players in the sustainable transportation space—especially Barcelona and Singapore.

These two “smart cities” have taken serious steps towards achieving more efficient and sustainable transportation within their city.

Some smart city initiatives include heavy investments in public transit and intelligent traffic management systems.

Itzhak says data-driven technology and multiple transportation options are key to achieving this “smart city” status.

Cities like Paris, Oslo, and Madrid have also been implementing new innovations in a commitment to sustainability.

For instance, strict regulations on diesel vehicles and rising gas taxes have been a part of major European efforts to one day become car-free.

To achieve this goal, many cities are investing more in making public transit more available and efficient for its citizens.

“Many cities are making strides towards sustainable transportation…and many are working on their own smart transit solutions,” Itzhak said. “With climate change and urbanization on the rise, they’re under pressure to develop smart mobility systems.”

A Look Forward

It’s easy to say the road to fighting climate change will be a long and bumpy one. However, by employing more innovative solutions prioritizing time and convenience, there’s still hope for a cleaner, more eco-friendly world.

This means that repeating the same patterns isn’t going to cut it anymore. In order for real change to be enacted, it will involve creativity and innovation. With thriving smart cities like Singapore and Barcelona as inspiration, it’s clear advanced technology is the right route to go.

For the human race, time is the most important, nonrenewable resource. As the issue of climate change becomes more urgent, it just goes to show that now is the time to act.

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Business

JetBlue Airways Will Become Carbon Neutral By July 2020, Making It The First In US History

Avery Maloto

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jetBlue promises to become carbon neutral in July 2020.

This year, JetBlue Airways Corporation may become the first large U.S. airline to go carbon neutral.

As the quickest way around the world, the airline industry engages with over 4 billion individuals each year. However, it is one of the largest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Shockingly, a singular commercial flight produces more carbon dioxide than the amount that some citizens produce in an entire year. Taking note of the situation, environmental activists are putting the travel industry under fire and calling out its contribution to climate change.

However, amidst all of the criticism, JetBlue is choosing to step up to the challenge.
In order to do so, the company is set to invest in eco-friendly projects across the globe.

JetBlue Goes Green With Fuel Choices

In a press release publicized on Monday, JetBlue vowed to mitigate emissions and go carbon neutral by July 2020. With expanding efforts, JetBlue can offset 15 to 17 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This is equivalent to removing 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road each year. 

As the leading project in its initiative, the company will be beginning to use sustainable fuel for all flights outbound of San Francisco. Fortunately, the fuel is already fully compatible with the existing jet engine technology.

JetBlue commits to using sustainable fuel for all flights outbound of San Francisco.
JetBlue commits to using sustainable fuel for all flights outbound of San Francisco.

Sustainable fuels, or biomass fuels, are any fuels derived from a once-living matter. For example, wood, corn, and other waste from agricultural crops are used in its production. This provides a sustainable solution to fossil fuels being popularly used today. 

As of 2018, airplanes produce 11% of all CO2 emissions in the world and significantly contribute to climate change. However, by utilizing this alternative, JetBlue says that they can reduce each flight’s fuel carbon footprint by 80%.

JetBlue Makes Becoming Carbon Neutral A Group Effort

On top of its sustainable fuel swap-out, JetBlue stated that they will continue to partner with Carbonfund.org. As a U.S. nonprofit organization, Carbonfund.org focuses on reducing carbon emissions and creating climate solutions.

The airline company and the nonprofit have been working together since 2008. In the last 10 years, the two have already mitigated more than 2.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions.

On top of this, JetBlue now has new carbon offsetting partners. Adding to the list, EcoAct and South Pole are working with the company to promote carbon-neutral travels. 

Airline Goes Green On Land Too

As part of its carbon offsetting program, the airline company is engaging with projects around the world to mitigate the overall need for jet fuel. Focusing on areas that will opt for eco-friendly, renewable resources, JetBlue is striving to lower emissions in the atmosphere when possible. 

Currently, JetBlue announced support of carbon offset projects such as:

  • Forest conservation by declining plans that will convert forests for other purposes.
  • Promoting landfill gas capture (LFG) and converting it into renewable energy resources. 
  • Developing solar and wind farms to replace the need for fossil fuels like coal, diesel, and furnace oil.

JetBlue did not disclose the cost of any of its sustainable programs.

Collaboration Pivotal in Becoming Carbon Neutral Industry-Wide

According to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, the solution to this problem is a community effort. 

JetBlue CEO wants other airlines to join in the fight to become carbon neutral.
JetBlue CEO wants other airlines to join in the fight to become carbon neutral.
Credit: Lori Hoffman/Bloomberg

“The airline industry is one of the few industries that has collectively committed to an international emissions reduction goal,” said Hayes. “Air travel brings so much good to the world and JetBlue has always been about making our essential industry better. Carbon offsetting is a bridge to, not a silver bullet for, a lower carbon future. Reducing and mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions is a fundamental aspect of our business plan and our mission to inspire humanity.”

Hopefully, JetBlue achieves its mission and inspires others to do the same. If several other companies follow JetBlue’s environmental initiatives, the future of airline travels may be promising.

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Transportation

Elon Musk Announces The Tesla Cybertruck: What We Know So Far

Steven Li

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Just yesterday, Elon Musk announced the new Tesla Cybertruck. And it has already gotten quite a bit of attention. Beginning production in 2021, having a starting price of just over $39,000, being able to go 500 miles on a single full charge, and having an entirely different design compared to all other Tesla vehicles, the truck is a beast of its own.

What To Expect From The Tesla Cybertruck

In Tesla’s marketing materials, it describes the Cybertruck as one that “has better utility than a truck with more performance than a sports car”.

It has a robust exoskeleton, which the company has designed to optimize for the truck’s durability. On the exterior of the Tesla Cybertruck, the company has chosen to leverage stainless steel to protest against dents.

The exterior of the Tesla Cybertruck.
The exterior of the Tesla Cybertruck. Image Credit: Tesla

The truck also has a 3,500-pound payload capacity and can tow a whopping 14,000 pounds, according to Tesla.

Even still, the truck can go from zero to 60 miles-per-hour is just 2.9 seconds.

Towing Capacity
The Cybertruck can tow over 14,000 pounds. Image Credit: Tesla

It, like other models, also comes with a premium option to include software for self-driving capabilities.

Competition And Implications

But the market won’t be easy to take. So far, the Rivian R1T and the (EV) Ford F Series have projections to both beat Tesla to market. Though in comparison, the R1T goes for about $30,000 more than the Tesla Cybertruck.

And on the other hand, the Ford F Series starts at a price point about $10,000 lower than the pickup truck; currently, it is still gas-powered. And like Elon has said in the past, the Cybertruck indeed has the F-Series beat.

Considering the current Cybertruck prototype, some experts believe consumers will favor Rivian or Ford due to their less polarizing designs. Here’s what they look like:

Rivian's R1T
Rivian’s R1T
Ford's F-Series
Ford’s F-Series

But considering its incredible specs, especially at its price point, the Tesla Cybertruck will be a force to be reckoned with. Rivian projects to launch its R1T by the end of 2020, reaching the market before Tesla by just a few months.

The race is on.

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