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World's First Mass-Market 3D-Printed Electric Car Costs Less Than $10K
The world's first mass-produced 3D-printed electric vehicle could hit the roads by 2019.
Italian startup X Electrical Vehicle (XEV) and Shanghai-based Polymaker, a 3D-printing filament manufacturer, are behind the LSEV—a $9,500 two-seater with a top speed of 42 miles per hour and a range of 93 miles.
Except for its windows, tires and chassis, just about every part of the LSEV is made from polyamide, or nylon.
"To me, XEV is the first real mass production project using 3D printing," said Dr. Luo Xiaofan, the co-founder of Polymaker in a clip touting the project. "When I say 'real,' of course there has been other companies using 3D printing for production, but nothing can really compare with XEV in terms of the scale, the size and the intensity."
According to media reports, the car has already received 7,000 pre-orders from the Italian postal service and Arval, a car sharing service owned by BNP Paribas.
If everything actually goes to plan, it's a pretty genius move to combine electric cars with 3D printing—two rapidly booming industries. Experts predict that electric vehicles will make up 35 percent of global new car sales by 2040 and will soon become cheaper than purchasing and running a traditional gas guzzler. The 3D printing market—which is expected to cross $13 billion—could help buoy the EV sector because it offers endless customization options and could drastically cut development and production time and costs.
Case in point, the 950-pound LSEV is made from only 57 parts, whereas a typical car weighs twice as much and has more than 2,000 parts.
"The research and development process of a car model conventionally takes between three to five years, but 3D-printed cars like XEV only take between three months to 12 months," said Luo.
Investment costs were also reduced more than 70 percent in comparison with a conventionally manufactured vehicle, he noted.
China has emerged as a major electric car buyer. In an effort to slash emissions and curtail its notorious pollution problem, the Chinese government offers big subsidies to electric car manufacturers.
Guo Xiaozheng, a senior designer at XEV, told the South China Morning Post that Beijing plans to issue new laws for low-speed electric vehicles by the second half of this year, meaning its cars could become even cheaper in the near future.
"Production costs can be slashed further as volume increases and by 2024, the total costs for our cars will be cut by half," Guo said.
A prototype of the LSEV is currently displayed at Shanghai's China 3D-printing Culture Museum. It will also be exhibited at Auto China 2018 in Beijing next month.
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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.
By Karin Kirk
Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.
During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market. Cirou Frederic / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market, according to new research from the advocacy organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), which bills itself as an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first three years of development.
By Kerstin Palme
Creepy-crawlies are among the oldest life forms on this planet. Before dinosaurs ever walked the earth, insects were certainly already there. Some estimates date their origins to 400 million years ago. They're also extremely successful. Of the 7 to 8 million species documented on Earth, around three quarters are likely bugs.
But several insect species could disappear for good in the next few decades and that would have serious consequences for humans.
Volvo introduced its first-ever all-electric vehicle this week, kicking off an ambitious plan to slash emissions and phase out solely gas-powered vehicles starting this year.
The report, released Wednesday, found that almost every European who lives in a city is exposed to unhealthy air, Reuters reported.