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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]

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All National Parks Are Offering Free Admission on April 21
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Looking for something to do this weekend that's both outdoorsy and free? To kick off National Park Week, you can visit any one of the National Park Service's more than 400 parks on April 21, 2018 for free.

While the majority of the NPS's parks are free year-round, they'll be waiving admission fees to the more than 100 parks that normally require an entrance fee. Which means that you can pay a visit to the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, or Yellowstone National Parks without reaching for your wallet. The timing couldn't be better, as many of the country's most popular parks will be increasing their entrance fees beginning in June.

The National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, maintains 417 designated NPS areas that span more than 84 million acres across every state, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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environment
How the Planet Has Changed Since the First Earth Day in 1970
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The first Earth Day in 1970 was celebrated with protests, nature walks, concerts, and other activities meant to spark interest and engagement in the planet's well-being. Since then, April 22 has been a day to reflect on our impact on the environment, on broad and individual scales. So just how much has the Earth changed since the first Earth Day 48 years ago? According to this video from the American Museum of Natural History, it's changed a lot, and not for the better.

The world's population has doubled since 1970, from 3.7 billion then to over 7 billion today. While there are more people consuming resources, more resources are also being consumed per person. On average, we're each burning 37 percent more fossil fuel than we were in 1970, eating 60 percent more meat, and taking 495 percent more plane trips. All that consumption adds up to 1.2 trillion tons of CO2 emitted in the past five decades, which contributed to ocean waters warming 1°F and sea levels rising more than 5 inches.

Those numbers look pretty grim, but it isn't all bad news: Humans have also made significant strides toward protecting the environment in that same period, including passing the Endangered Species Act, designating protected marine areas, and signing international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the globe.

People are also more aware of what can be done on a personal level to reduce their carbon footprint. For tips on how to be greener this Earth Day, check out our list of eco-friendly habits.

[h/t American Museum of Natural History]

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