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The Ultimate in Off-Grid Transportation: Mini-Fleet-in-a-Box
The company's Mini-Fleet-in-a-Box, comes with four of the company's electric cargo motorcycles nestled inside a mobile solar charging stations, meaning energy-independent, emission-free rides.
The "Mini-fleets-in-a-Box" is comprised of four electric cargo motorcycles and a patent-pending solar charging station. Photo credit: Current Motor
“Current Motor’s Mini-fleet-in-a-Box uses 100 percent renewable, clean, solar generated electricity to charge our zero emissions Electric Cargo Motorcycles, making them among the most sustainable fleet options available,” Current Motor executive chair Lauren Flanagan said in a statement. “Current Motor green Mini-fleets are turnkey and self-contained, and literally work out of the box upon delivery to customer sites.”
The patent-pending Nb Solar Charging Station is shaped like your standard ISO shipping container. On board is a 22-kilowatt-hour battery and an array of solar panels that can generate up to 2.4 kilowatts (kW) of renewable energy over 24 hours.
The stations provide 8 kW of 120/220 AC power from five charging ports, and come equipped with on board GPS, custom telemetry and radio communications. It can also be customized for commercial applications.
As for the bike, the company's Nb Electric Cargo Motorcycle is powered by 24 70Ah Lithium Ion Manganese Phosphate batteries and has a top speed of 70 mph. Made with high strength niobium micro-alloyed steel, the bike can carry up to 450 lbs., has no belts or gears and can go up to 50 miles per charge. The company says that four of these motorcycles can be fully charged in 5 hours by the Nb Solar Charging Station.
Besides simple transportation, the product is ideal for emergency situations or natural disasters when fossil fuels or power sources aren't readily available. According to Xconomy, "the intended customers are those in the developing world where fuel is expensive or hard to come by, remote mining operations, large global manufacturers, the military, and medical or rescue operations."
Current Motor, which makes all of its products in Michigan, also won the 2015 Michigan MobiPrize in October 2015. Jurors awarded the product for "[providing] an energy independent solution that improves access to remote locations, provides first responder support and helps the mining sector have more sustainable operations."
Current Motor is backed by early stage angel fund BELLE Capital, the State of Michigan and other private equity investors, and has raised $3.4 million to date, Xconomy reported.
When you're riding on sunshine that means no gasoline costs. Photo credit: Current Motor
“It’s a green solution that literally works out of the box,” Flanagan, who is also co-managing director at BELLE Capital told Xconomy.
“The doors of the shipping container open almost like flower petals, with the solar panels on the inside,” Flanagan said. “You leave it open during the day to charge the batteries and close it up at night. When it’s fully open, it has a 22-foot wing span. It’s also very mobile—you can put it on a ship, truck, or helicopter and easily move it from place to place.”
It's unclear when we'll actually see the product on the market but Flanagan told Xconomy that the company will accelerate its commercialization efforts and plans to raise more capital to expand its sales team. They have “big customers” in Brazil and China already, she added.
Check out the video below to see the charging station and bikes in action.
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Tensions are continuing to rise in Canada over a controversial pipeline project as protesters enter their 12th day blockading railways, demonstrating on streets and highways, and paralyzing the nation's rail system
Colorado River Has Lost 1.5 Billion Tons of Water to the Climate Crisis, 'Severe Water Shortages' May Follow
California is headed toward drought conditions as February, typically the state's wettest month, passes without a drop of rain. The lack of rainfall could lead to early fire conditions. With no rain predicted for the next week, it looks as if this month will be only the second time in 170 years that San Francisco has not had a drop of rain in February, according to The Weather Channel.
The last time San Francisco did not record a drop of rain in February was in 1864 as the Civil War raged.
"This hasn't happened in 150 years or more," said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability to The Guardian. "There have even been a couple [of] wildfires – which is definitely not something you typically hear about in the middle of winter."
While the Pacific Northwest has flooded from heavy rains, the southern part of the West Coast has seen one storm after another pass by. Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor said more Californians are in drought conditions than at any time during 2019, as The Weather Channel reported.
The dry winter has included areas that have seen devastating fires recently, including Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. If the dry conditions continue, those areas will once again have dangerously high fire conditions, according to The Mercury News.
"Given what we've seen so far this year and the forecast for the next few weeks, I do think it's pretty likely we'll end up in some degree of drought by this summer," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported.
Another alarming sign of an impending drought is the decreased snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The National Weather Service posted to Twitter a side-by-side comparison of snowpack from February 2019 and from this year, illustrating the puny snowpack this year. The snow accumulated in the Sierra Nevadas provides water to roughly 30 percent of the state, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Right now, the snowpack is at 53 percent of its normal volume after two warm and dry months to start the year. It is a remarkable decline, considering that the snowpack started 2020 at 90 percent of its historical average, as The Guardian reported.
"Those numbers are going to continue to go down," said Swain. "I would guess that the 1 March number is going to be less than 50 percent."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecast that the drier-than-average conditions may last through April.
NOAA said Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the "persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest," as The Weather Channel reported.
As the climate crisis escalates and the world continues to heat up, California should expect to see water drawn out of its ecosystem, making the state warmer and drier. Increased heat will lead to further loss of snow, both as less falls and as more of it melts quickly, according to The Guardian.
"We aren't going to necessarily see less rain, it's just that that rain goes less far. That's a future where the flood risk extends, with bigger wetter storms in a warming world," said Swain, as The Guardian reported.
The Guardian noted that while California's reservoirs are currently near capacity, the more immediate impact of the warm, dry winter will be how it raises the fire danger as trees and grasslands dry out.
"The plants and the forests don't benefit from the water storage reservoirs," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported. "If conditions remain very dry heading into summer, the landscape and vegetation is definitely going to feel it this year. From a wildfire perspective, the dry years do tend to be the bad fire years, especially in Northern California."
- Is California heading for another drought? - Los Angeles Times ›
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- California Emerged From Drought and Is Still Catching Fire - The ... ›
A warm day in winter used to be a rare and uplifting relief.
Now such days are routine reminders of climate change – all the more foreboding when they coincide with news stories about unprecedented wildfires, record-breaking "rain bombs," or the accelerated melting of polar ice sheets.
Where, then, can one turn for hope in these dark months of the year?