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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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By Tracy L. Barnett
Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.
For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.
Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.