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Audi Positions Itself to be a Major Electric Player

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Automobile manufacturing has become a playground for pushing the boundaries of technology. Mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer engineering are blended together with beautiful design to create cars that far surpass new models from just a decade ago. Relative to the electric vehicle market, no other manufacturer is investing in new technology as heavily as Audi.

The German automaker has recently released information on their plans moving into the next year and beyond. Audi is known today for producing highly reliable, affordable luxury vehicles that can keep running strong long past the 100,000 mile mark. This is a big draw for many car buyers, and has created a whole new industry for aftermarket and replacement parts.

More car owners are now shopping online for new Audi parts at eEuroparts.com, a leading OEM and genuine parts supplier, because they realize with routine maintenance Audi vehicles are designed to keep running reliably, and for many obvious reasons shopping online has become more convenient.

Nevertheless, Audi wants to build on its reliable reputation with cars that are even more cutting edge. The automaker seems poised to step out from behind the shadows of the other luxury car manufacturers and start leading the way in crossovers and electric vehicles.

Concept Crossovers

The obsession with oversized SUVs appears to be giving way for more compact, yet still spacious, crossovers. Audi already has the Q3 crossover, and now they are working on bringing the Audi Q2 to market. This crossover will have the same futuristic, angular stylings of the Q3 but will be smaller and based on the 2016 Audi A3’s MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) platform. The Q2 will be on the smaller end of SUV crossovers – more like the Nissan Juke than a full-fledged SUV. The Q2 will also be available in a variety of four-cylinder engines with both gasoline and diesel-fueled options.

The biggest difference in Audi’s new crossover will likely be the in the automotive company’s legendary Quattro drivetrain system, which remains to be foreseen if a turbocharged performance-focused “SQ2” model will be available. It is speculated that the potential SQ2 model will borrow its engine from Volkswagen’s 2015 Golf GTI. The beauty of Audi’s Quattro system is that the mechanical four-wheel drive operates on a key part, hydraulic multiple clutch, which evenly distributes the flow of power between the front and rear axles. In turn, less stress on all four wheels means less wear and tear on parts like disc brake pads and axle bearings.

Right now the vehicle is still in the concept phase and won’t be officially unveiled until the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, although the first testing session occurred in September. But the renderings and information already released gives drivers a glimpse of where Audi plans to take their crossover vehicles in the coming years. There is also talk of a Q4 being produced to help Audi corner a larger segment of the crossover market.

Audi Goes All in on All Electric Cars

Audi is continuing its focus on crossovers with an all electric model that can go three times further on a single charge than most electric vehicles on the road today. Driver demand for greener electric vehicles is ever increasing, and Audi is paying attention.

Audi’s new electric crossover known as the eTron quattro (pictured) is said to go 300 miles without having to be recharged. This is a true testament to how far battery technology has come, and signifies that they can overcome the issue of long distance driving. The longer range is possible thanks to 95 kWh LG prismatic battery cells. Audi is also working with Samsung to create more powerful batteries at a cost effective price. The eTron quattro will actually have three electric motors: one in the front and two in the back for improved handling. It’s a lesson that was learned from engineering the R8 eTron sports car.

Many people are comparing the new all electric crossover from Audi to the much more expensive Tesla Model X. Although it’s smaller, the Audi crossover is larger than the original designs and sports a coupe-like silhouette. A U.S. product management team was brought on board, and at their suggestion Audi increased the size to appeal to more drivers within the American market. The result is a vehicle that handles like a car but offers the cabin and cargo space of a small SUV.

The cabin of the new all electric crossover will be far different than the concept model that was showcased at the Frankfurt Auto Show this year. The control panel won’t be quite as high tech, and instead will have knobs and buttons in place of some touch screen components. There will also be three seats in the back rather than just two. At 16 feet long and 6.3 feet wide it will be roomy but not as spacious as the Q7 crossover.

Unfortunately, drivers in the U.S. will have to wait until 2018 to get behind the wheel of Audi’s new electric crossover. But drivers can get a feel for Audi’s latest technology and hybrid engineering by test driving the A3 eTron, which is set to arrive at U.S. dealerships this fall.

Environment

Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations

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green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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Environment

How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions

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auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.

Progress

The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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