Hybrid Electric Bus Can Charge When It Pulls Up to a Stop

In a suburb outside of Stockholm, bus stops are more than just places to pick up and drop off passengers. They’re also chargers. A new pilot program along a bus route in Södertälje is testing electric buses that can charge up at every stop, as recently highlighted by Co.Exist.

The electric hybrid buses charge automatically when they pull up to the bus stop, where a charging station is buried under the asphalt. It takes seven minutes to charge the bus battery enough for the full 6.2-mile route.

Right now, the Södertälje buses charge overnight and then at the final stop on the route. Sensors direct the bus drivers to park over the right section of the road. A charging box is lowered from under the bus to access the wireless charger.

It’s a collaboration between the Royal Institute of Technology KTH, the city of Södertälje, and Sweden’s national power company, Vattenfall, as well as the bus manufacturer Scania. This is partially a test to see how the system fares in northern climates, and Scania is still working out the best way to implement it, including where the charging stations should be placed along the route.

Seven minutes is a long time for a bus to sit at one stop in the middle of the route, and though this bus route is relatively short, another route probably wouldn’t be able to support a bus running on just one charge. For full-city usage, there would have to be more chargers throughout the route, which could lead to bus bunching as drivers wait for their vehicles to charge. Another solution might be to put chargers under the entirety of the road. The UK has already begun testing an under-road charging system it plans to one day install under the nation’s highways.

[h/t Co.Exist]

India's Supreme Court Demands That the Taj Mahal Be Restored or Demolished

The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognizable monuments on Earth, but over the years it's started to look less like its old self. Smog and insect droppings are staining the once pure-white marble exterior an unseemly shade of yellow. Now, The Art Newspaper reports that India's Supreme Court has set an ultimatum: It's threatening to shut down or demolish the building if it's not restored to its former glory.

Agra, the town where the Taj Mahal is located, has a notorious pollution problem. Automobile traffic, factory smoke, and the open burning of municipal waste have all contributed to the landmark's increasing discoloration. Insects and acid rain also pose a threat to the facade, which is already crumbling away in some parts.

India's highest court now says the country's central government must seek foreign assistance to restore the UNESCO World Heritage Site if it's to remain open. Agra's state of Uttar Pradesh has taken some steps to reduce pollution in recent years, such us banning the burning of cow dung, which produces heavy brown carbon. In 2015, India's Supreme Court ordered all wood-burning crematoriums near the Taj Mahal to be swapped for electric ones.

But the measures haven't done enough to preserve the building. A committee led by the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpu reportedly plans to investigate the exact sources of pollution in the area, a process that will take about four months. The Supreme Court plans check in on the status of site every day from July 31.

Air pollution isn't the only factor damaging the Taj Mahal. It was constructed near the Yamuna River in the 17th century, and as the water gradual dries up, the ground beneath the structure is shifting. If the trend continues it could lead to the building's total collapse.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

Are You Eco-Conscious? You Could Win a Trip to the Dominican Republic

Do you love lounging on the beach but also want to take action to save the planet? You'll be able to do both if you're chosen to serve as a "sustainability advisor" for a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic, Lonely Planet reports.

The worldwide contest is sponsored by Eden Roc at Cap Cana in Punta Cana. The winner and one friend will receive a five-night stay at the Relais & Châteaux hotel, where they'll partake in specially curated activities like a food-sourcing trip with the hotel's chef. (One caveat, though: Airfare isn't included.)

You don't need a degree in conservation to enter, but you will need an Instagram account. Give the resort's Instagram page (@edenroccapcana) a follow and post a photo of you carrying out an eco-friendly activity on your own page. Be sure to tag the resort and use the official hashtag, #EcoEdenRoc.

The only requirement is that the winner meet with hotel staff at the end of his or her trip to suggest some steps that the hotel can take to reduce its environmental impact. The hotel has already banned plastic straws and reduced its usage of plastic bottles, and the sole mode of transport used on site is the electric golf cart.

Beyond the resort, though, the Dominican Republic struggles with deforestation and soil erosion, and the nation scored poorly on the 2018 Environmental Performance Index for the agricultural category.

Entries to the contest will be accepted until August 31, and you can read the full terms and conditions here.

[h/t Lonely Planet]


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