Earlier this year Ford established Ford Smart Mobility, a subsidiary focusing on areas such as connectivity, mobility, and autonomous vehicles. Never one to take a backseat, and with a firm commitment to continued sustainability, this initiative has been given a boost thanks to the company’s latest announcement detailing the acquisition of ride-sharing startup Chariot.
Looking to the future, Ford seems to share the idea that ride-sharing and smart mobility schemes are integral to those championing sustainable cities, and the merging of Ford Smart Mobility and Chariot represents an exciting prospect within the field.
Founded in 2014 and currently only operating in San Francisco, Chariot will now look to expand beyond the Bay Area into at least five other markets within the next 18 months. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ride-sharing company has always used Ford Transit vans to provide a much-needed point A to point B service that’s more convenient than buses and cheaper than taxis. Chariot currently covers 28 routes in San Francisco and typically charges $3.80 for an off-peak fare and $5 for a peak fare.
Although Ford already has some experience with ride-sharing thanks to GoRide – a program for employees in their Michigan plant, President and CEO Mark Fields said that the acquisition of Chariot was a chance to deliver transport services to those who either can’t afford, or simply don’t want to own a vehicle. “This is about not going from an old business to a new business. It’s just expanding our business and filling an unmet need, particularly for cities who want to solve some of their congestion and mobility issues,” said Fields.
In fact, Ford is simply one of many vehicle manufacturers investing in ride-sharing services. GM has poured $500 million into Lyft; Volkswagen spent $300 million in a partnership with Gett; and Toyota and Uber are currently cooking up a ride-sharing deal together. Whether it’s a ride-share or an autonomous car, it seems that vehicle manufacturers can foresee a world where people aren’t concerned with owning a car but still want to get around without relying on public transport.
Ford themselves have declared 2021 as the year that they will start delivering self-driving cars, which will no doubt be interesting to see when coupled with their recent ride-sharing programs. Guideautoweb.com documented the experience of riding in a prototype of an autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid. In short, the self-driving car perfectly followed road rules to a T and doesn’t allow any flexibility (for example, at an intersection where another driver may have the right of way yet waves you to pass, the Fusion Hybrid will staunchly remain put and follow procedure). Whilst the drive went off without a hitch, the questions surrounding operation on busier streets where multiple scenarios may be presented was rightfully raised.
2021 is still enough time to perfect the self-driving car, and it appears Ford is well on the way to doing so. With such incredible technology backed by their smart mobility program, the prospect of a less congested, cleaner, and almost certainly safer city is a scenario the world is undoubtedly excited to witness.
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
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