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Maximilian Missoni (Polestar) on the future of electric mobility

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Fully-electric cars are now in majority of Norway’s car sales

For the whole year of 2020, the fully battery-powered passenger cars’ share was 54.3 percent of newly registered cars on the Norwegian market. And, the trend also accelerated throughout the year, with two out of three cars — 66.7 percent — sold in December were electric. That’s compared with 42.4 percent in 2019, according to figures from trade association OFV, and means that cars using petrol, diesel, or a hybrid now share a minority of the market.

Buyers of exhaust-free cars in Norway benefit from a lot of things, including lower taxes, in the hope of achieving the goal that sales of fossil cars will have ceased by 2025.

2020’s best-selling car was Audi’s electric model E-tron, which achieved a market share of 6.5 percent, followed by Tesla’s Model 3 and Volkswagen’s ID3, both 5.5 percent. 

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CAKE and Dometic join forces in fully electric food delivery solution

Swedish electric mobility company CAKE has turned to compatriot mobility company Dometic for a new, purpose-built food delivery box. The delivery box is powered by the CAKE Ösa model’s battery engine to keep your takeout tikka massala warm and your milkshake chilled at the same time.

The two companies state that it’s during ”the last mile” that your delivery turns unpleasantly soggy, greasy, or cold, and that the high-end delivery box can help ambitious restaurants and chefs to deliver the food without ruining the fine-dine experience. This is done by the separate heated compartments and electrostatic air purification system that keeps the food box free from doors of previous deliveries.

A luxury food delivery box meant for fine dining comes a good time. The current COVID19-related restrictions and laws have taken their toll on the restaurant industry. It is now a must for restaurants to offer takeout. AutoMobilSport writes that the mean annual growth rate (CAGR) of food delivery is expected to be 10% in the next coming five years (during 2020, food delivery rose with 22%).

— Restaurants and consumers all over the world demand quality and innovative solutions in the snowballing food delivery market. Imagine if meals could be delivered home in a way that they get to your table in restaurant quality? Instead of cold meals, it would be like you were sitting in the restaurant yourself enjoying the meal the way the chef wanted you to. That will satisfy restaurants, delivery companies, and consumers. Dometic has a head start with its expertise in temperature-sensitive solutions. And, together with CAKE, we have the expertise to deliver complete solutions that answer the needs of these users, says Peter Kjellberg, CMO & Head of Other Global Verticals at Dometic.

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Volkswagen Group Components presents mobile vehicle charging robot

The new prototype is the first glimpse of a vision that Volkswagen hopes will expand the charging infrastructure over the next few years. The charging robot can be started via an app or Car-to-X communication [a new technology letting the car communicate with other vehicles or infrastructure in its near surroundings, that strives to make traveling smarter] and operates totally autonomously. It independently steers the vehicle to be charged and communicates with it — from opening the charging socket flap to connecting the plug and decoupling it — without any human involvement.

— A ubiquitous charging infrastructure is and remains a key factor in the success of electric mobility. Our charging robot is just one of several approaches but is undoubtedly one of the most visionary, comments Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Components’ CEO.

It can even charge several vehicles at the same time, where the mobile robot moves a trailer, essentially a mobile energy storage unit, to the vehicle, connects it up, and then uses this energy storage unit to charge the battery of the electric vehicle. The energy storage unit stays with the vehicle during the charging process. In the meantime, the robot charges other electric vehicles. Once the charging service has ended, the robot independently collects the mobile energy storage unit and takes it back to the central charging station.

— Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector. We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures. This robot and our flexible quick-charging station [to be launched onto the market in early 2021] are just two of these solutions, says Schmall. He adds:

— Our developments do not just focus on customers’ needs and the technical prerequisites of electric vehicles. They also consider the economical possibilities they offer potential partners. 

The robot concept enables the operators of parking bays and underground car parks to quickly and simply ”electrify” every parking space. This reduces any construction work needed, at the same time reducing the potential cost.

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Our 10 favourite tech news in 2020

Elon Musk’s brain chip implant gets new simplified design

The Neuralink chip that aims to create brain-to-machine interfaces gets tinier and simplified.

Read.

These wooden charging stations embody the electric mobility experience

Ditching dull gas stations is another great reason to start driving electric.

Read.

Bang & Olufsen revamps the iconic 4000c turntable

An up-to-date decision, considering the exponential growth in vinyl records sales.

Read.

NASA and BIG shoot for the moon in new lunar city project

NASA wants to get ready for Mars by experimenting on our moon.

Read.

New electronic skin can react to pain like human skin

The electronic skin will not only improve intelligence in robotics but also help producers, and users, of smart prosthetics.

Read.

Polestar showcases futuristic vehicles in Balenciaga’s new video game

The electric car brand has collaborated with the luxury fashion house.

Read.

Reaching for the stars

Finnish startup ICEYE raises €74M to further expand its fleet of revolutionary satellites.

Read.

The Acute Art app makes it easier (and cheaper) than ever to own high-end art

The free augmented reality app provides portable art exhibitions.

Read.

Loeva’s new paddleboard is transparent and equipped with LED lights

Why only skim the surface of the paddleboard trend when you can go all-in?

Read.

Extraterrestrial intentions

Close to a decade ago, Mehrdad Mahdjoubi worked for NASA’s Mars project to find reusable water solutions. Today, his out-of-this-world shower can be another piece in the sustainability puzzle for our planet.

Read.

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Using VR, Finnair and ZOAN take families to Rovaniemi to meet Santa Claus

Earlier this year, leading Extended Reality (XR) studio ZOAN worked with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and the City of Helsinki, helping the latter to hold a virtual concert that gathered 1.4 million viewers. The new campaign with Finnair visits Rovaniemi, located on the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland, and known as ”the official hometown of Santa Claus”. The experience can be enjoyed from personal VR devices, laptops, and mobile phones. It will include a first-class flight with refreshments and both northern lights and a surprise guest are guaranteed.

— Thanks to the magic of virtual reality, we can ”fly” families to Rovaniemi — despite the travel restrictions — to enjoy a winter wonderland and meet Santa. I hope this brings a big smile to those participating, commented Mikko Turtiainen, VP of global sales at Finnair.

And VR is nothing new for the airline, that has invested in developing VR technologies since 2016 and believes the pandemic has driven up the need for virtual experiences in its industry.

— We think VR is an important tool which could be used to complement the physical in-flight experience, envisions Tiina Tissari, VP of customer experience. Customers could, for instance, choose their holiday destination or make travel plans by checking out sights and locations through VR. We also believe the in-flight experience will become more personalized so that customers can customize and enhance their journey to fit their individual needs and preferences.

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STILRIDE’s electric scooter is made using unique origami technology

Industrial designer Tue Beijer designed his first electric scooter in 1993 and has since worked for the legendary Giotto Bizzarrini, the father of the 250 GTO and the Lamborghini V12 engine, BMW motorcycles, and Husqvarna. Jonas Lindberg Nyvang has a background as an entrepreneur and a marketeer, most recently as Global Marketing Director for Björn Borg.

— In two years me and Tue have developed this brand, technology, and pioneering product, he tells, following our childhood dream of creating a worthy contemporary heir to the scooter heritage that we both love, but with a sustainable purpose.

The project is a tight collaboration with product development company Semcon, steel engineering workshop Brantheim, research institute RISE IVF as well as global stainless steel manufacturer Outokumpu.

— We strongly believe in the electrification of personal mobility and see the need for a new breed of commuting vehicles made in harmony with nature. Our mission is to create clean energy-powered personal mobility through a flexible and sustainable production technology we call LIGHT.FOLD that is a form of industrial origami.

The idea behind the technology, Lindeberg Nyvang tells, has evolved through tinkering with it for several years. It is enabled by the recent technological advancements in robotics and laser tech. 

— In short we have cracked how to take a single sheet of steel and fold it to produce a frame with no waste. We do this through a cutting edge sheet metal shaping procedure using origami folding techniques, laser cutting and industrial robotics. Originally no more than a novel mind-bending concept, we are now simulating it, making ”produced here” not only viable, but to all intents a no-brainer for a wide range of products.

STILRIDE’s currently developing the product prototype, Sport Utility Scooter 1, for productification.

— Several well-established Swedish technology and industrial players, eager to get in on the game-changing production technology, are partners in the project, says Lindberg Nyvang. He continues:

— Our ambition is to build the most attractive and sustainable electric scooter in the world. Simultaneously, we want to challenge the traditional view of manufacturing by using the mentioned robotic industrial origami to fold structures from a flat sheet of metal true to the material’s characteristics and geometric nature. Creating a safe, desirable, and sustainable production and transportation platform. Our scooter requires considerably less material and manual labor than the manufacturing of traditional tube-and-panel scooters. It can additionally be carried out in small, regional factories, cutting down on the transportation of raw materials and finished products. And finally, both the steel scraps and the scooter bodies themselves are fully recyclable.

Sport Utility Scooter 1 will be available in 2022/2023, while STILRIDE’s plan is to develop their second model, the Sport Utility Scooter 2, into a ”flakmoppe”.

— A utility scooter with a cargo bed for the urban logistic market and also for busy families in need of an environmental alternative to their SUV when driving kids to soccer practice, says Lindberg Nyvang.

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Volvo Group joins Daimler and Shell for mass-market roll-out of hydrogen trucks

According to data from Climate Watch last year, the fastest-growing source of emissions is transport with about 14% of annual emissions. 

And, more concerning, transport emissions are on the rise

As written in the European Commission’s communication to the European Parliament in the hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe, the chemical element is enjoying a renewed and rapidly growing attention in Europe and around the world. Hydrogen can be used as a feedstock, a fuel, or an energy carrier and storage, and has many possible applications across industry, transport, power, and buildings sectors. Most importantly, it does not emit CO2 and almost no air pollution when used. And as 72% of global transport emissions come from road vehicles and a growing number of governments and businesses align on a common vision of a net-zero emissions energy system, the five H2Accelerate participants believe that hydrogen is an essential fuel for the complete decarbonisation of the truck sector.

Achieving a large-scale roll-out of hydrogen fuelled trucks is also expected to create new industries: zero-carbon hydrogen production facilities, large-scale hydrogen distribution systems, a network of high-capacity refuelling stations for liquid and gaseous hydrogen, and the production of hydrogen-fuelled trucks. The quintet behind the initiative believes that synchronized investments across the sector during the 2020s will create the conditions for the mass market roll-out of hydrogen-fuelled heavy duty transportation which is required to meet the European ambition of net zero emissions by 2050.

The decade long scale-up is expected to begin with groups of customers willing to make an early commitment to hydrogen-based trucking. These fleets are expected to operate in regional clusters and along European high capacity corridors with good refuelling station coverage. During the decade, these clusters can then be interconnected to build a pan-European network.

— Climate change is the challenge of our generation and we are fully committed to the Paris Climate Agreement for decarbonizing road transport. In the future, the world will be powered by a combination of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles, along with other renewable fuels to some extent. The formation of the H2Accelerate collaboration is an important step in shaping a world we want to live in, says Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of the Volvo Group.

The initiative is divided into two parts where phase one includes rollout of the first, up to 20 high capacity stations on selective locations and clusters and 100s of trucks. During the second half of 2020s, the aim is to rapidly reach up to 10,000 trucks and a Europe wide coverage of major corridors and high capacity stations. 

Throughout the scale up, the five companies state, support from the public sector will be required. Under H2Accelerate, the participants expect to work together to seek funding for early pre-commercial projects during the first phase of the roll-out. In parallel, the participants will engage with policy makers and regulators to encourage a policy environment which will help support the subsequent scale up into volume manufacturing for hydrogen trucks and a Europe-wide refuelling network for zero carbon hydrogen fuel.

— The prize is clear. By boosting scale in a big way, hydrogen-fuelled trucks will need to become available to customers at or below the cost of owning and operating a diesel truck today. This means truck customers will need to have access to a fully zero-emissions vehicle with a similar refuelling time, range, and cost range compared to the vehicles in use today. To achieve this ambition a clear regulatory framework is needed, including policies addressing the supply of hydrogen, hydrogen-fuelled trucks, refuelling infrastructure, and consumer incentives in a coordinated way, says Elisabeth Brinton, Executive Vice President for New Energies at Shell.

— The participant companies in H2Accelerate agree that hydrogen-powered trucks will be key for enabling CO2-neutral transportation in the future. This unprecedented collaboration is an important milestone for driving forward the right framework conditions for establishing a mass market for hydrogen-based trucking. It is also a call to action for policymakers, further players involved, and society as a whole, says Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG (whose fuel-cell concept truck Mercedes-Benz GenH2, presented earlier this fall, is pictured above).

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Loeva’s new paddleboard is transparent and equipped with LED lights

The art SUPing (stand up paddleboarding) has been a popular leisure activity since the start of this millenium, and Scandinavian’s have taken a keen interest to the workout/travel method over the recent years. If you live in a coastal or waterfront Scandinavian city, you have probably seen paddleboarders cruise the canals and docks on your daily commute. And the same goes with rural settings, archipelagos and beaches are flooded with them.

For the SUP connoisseur, French company Loeva has recently presented the ultimate board of choice. The Le Standup board is shaped like any other board, but it is built up out of shock and scratch-resistant acrylic glass both in the nose and the tail. The see-through parts are held together by an aeronautical carbon structure that keeps the weight down to around 20 kilos.

”But what does it matter for the mostly dark and gloomy Scandinavian waters?” you might ask yourself. Well, Loeva has also equipped the board with two rows of ultra-white LED lights, that you can charge up via the built-in battery. The lights can let you see for as far as 15 metres ahead.

Loeva still has not released clear prices or release dates, but be sure to follow them to not miss out on any updates for the coming spring.

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Polestar showcases futuristic vehicles in Balenciaga’s new video game

Balenciaga’s new collection is featured in Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a futuristic video game set in the year 2031. The team at Balenciaga approached Polestar to help create depth to the environment by giving their own flavor to the vehicles be on the streets of that near-term future. 

The result is that the gamified city will feature futuristic vehicles by Polestar, from artists including Konrad Cholewka, Arthur Martins, Charlie Nghiem, Rash Tagirov, Mattias Walz, and John McInnis, as well as Polestar’s own Precept.

— At Polestar, our aim is to be a leader in the shift to sustainable mobility, as we design towards zero. When Balenciaga reached out and explained the Afterworld project, inspired by the slow return to a healthier balance of nature and industry, we felt it was a perfect match for us, says Maximilian Missoni, Head of Design at Polestar. 

”Our first video game is set in a near and hopeful future. To make the setting more realistic and exciting, we chose to work with other forward-thinking companies, populating the game with their newest designs. Polestar’s innovative electric vehicles, including the 3x Moto, the MMXL, the 0, the Precept, and the Pickup compliment our ideas on luxury and sustainability, and so made a great addition to the project,” comments Balenciaga.