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General Motors offers OnStar Guardian to non-GM drivers

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OnStar Guardian is General Motors’ suite of safety and security features that are designed to take the stress out of driving. Now, the company has announced that you don’t actually need to own a GM vehicle in order to take advantage of the features on offer. Anyone in the US and Canada with a compatible iPhone or Android device can subscribe to take advantage of the service. GM says that the rollout is part of its commitment to “focus on opportunities beyond vehicle sales.”

If you don’t have a GM vehicle, you’ll need to sign up for a standalone subscription plan, available through the app. After a 30-day free trial, users can pay $15 per month, and can even share the subscription with up to seven family members. For that, your phone will monitor for car crashes (and raise the alarm should it detect an incident), offer roadside assistance and location tracking. This is backed by OnStar’s Emergency-Certified Advisors, who can call you and help you out of whatever jam you find yourself in.

OnStar has been a fixture of GM’s transport firmament for some time, and the company’s safety concierge service is well-regarded. The company launched the standalone mobile app last summer, offering users six months of free service to sign up. Certainly, opening it up to every driver, no matter the vehicle, will help pad out GM’s bottom line in era of declining car ownership.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/gm-onstar-guardian-mobile-app-open-to-non-gm-drivers-133619150.html?src=rss_b2c

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Hydrogen planes, electric propulsion and new regulations: Aviation is changing 

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A commercial plane takes off after sunset from Geneva Airport, Switzerland.

FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP | Getty Images

From the Wright brothers’ historic flight in 1903 to the development of supersonic aircraft, the history of aviation has been driven by technology and ambition.

Now, as the 21st century progresses, the sector continues to show its appetite for innovation and radical design.

Last September, for instance, a hydrogen fuel-cell plane capable of carrying passengers took to the skies over England for its maiden flight.

The same month also saw Airbus release details of three hydrogen-fueled concept planes, with the European aerospace giant claiming they could enter service by the year 2035.

More recently, United Airlines announced it had signed a commercial agreement to purchase aircraft from a firm called Boom Supersonic.

In a statement, United said the Overture aircraft — which is yet to be built — was set to be “optimized to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel.”

All of the above are linked by a focus on technologies designed to reduce aviation’s environmental footprint. This represents a major task, even if the number of flights last year slumped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the International Energy Agency, carbon dioxide emissions from aviation “have risen rapidly over the past two decades,” hitting almost 1 gigatonne in 2019. This, it notes, equates to “about 2.8% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion.”

Elsewhere, the World Wildlife Fund describes aviation as “one of the fastest-growing sources of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change.” It adds that air travel is “currently the most carbon intensive activity an individual can make.”

A variety of solutions

Iain Gray is director of aerospace at the U.K.’s Cranfield University. In a phone interview with CNBC, he described zero carbon as “the top priority” for the industry and sought to emphasize the importance of developing a range of solutions to tackle the challenge.

“The really big technology driver is around the propulsion system,” he explained, “but that doesn’t take away from the importance of new technologies around … new lightweight materials, enhanced carbon composite materials, and the systems itself.”

Read more about clean energy from CNBC Pro

Expanding on his point, Gray provided an example of why the innovations on planes flying above our heads should not be viewed in isolation. 

“There’s a lot of effort goes into reducing the weight on an aeroplane for it only to spend half an hour circling an airport,” he said.

“So the whole interaction of air traffic management with the aircraft itself is a … very important development and new technologies on airspace management are emerging all the time.”

The power of propulsion

Alongside the development of hydrogen fuel-cell planes there’s also been a lot of discussion around electric propulsion in recent years, with firms such as Volocopter and Lilium developing eVTOL, or electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

The key with technologies such as these is the types of journeys to which they can be applied.

“If you look at hydrogen fuel cells and you look at batteries, that really is very much aimed at the smaller aircraft, that’s the sub 1,000 kilometer range,” Cranfield’s Iain Gray said.

“You have to do that in a zero carbon way, there’s no question,” he added. “Is that going to make a big difference to the overall CO2 contributions that aviation makes? No.”

“We need to focus on the longer range flights, flights greater than 1,000 kilometers, flights greater than 3,000 kilometers in particular.”

Fueling change

This focus on long-haul trips will be important in the years ahead, even though they make up a small proportion of flights.  

According to a sustainability briefing from Eurocontrol published earlier this year, “some 6% of flights from European airports were long-haul” in 2020, measuring over 4,000 kilometers (around 2,485 miles) in length.

The intergovernmental organization went on to state that “more than half of European aviation’s CO2 emissions were from this tiny proportion of the overall number of flights.”

This viewpoint was echoed by Jo Dardenne, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, a campaign group headquartered in Brussels.

“We shouldn’t forget that the biggest chunk of aviation emissions are linked to long haul flights because you fly longer, you fly higher,” she told CNBC.

“So all in all you’re producing more CO2 … those long haul flights can only be decarbonized by replacing the kerosene that they’re using.”

It’s on these longer journeys that sustainable aviation fuel could have a significant role to play in the future.

Although the European Union Aviation Safety Agency says there’s “not a single internationally agreed definition” of sustainable aviation fuel, the overarching idea is that it can be used to reduce an aircraft’s emissions.

For its part, Airbus describes SAF as being “made from renewable raw material.” It adds that the most common feedstocks are based on crops or used cooking oil and animal fat.

“Currently, the big challenges of sustainable aviation fuel are producing it in the right volumes that are required, and at the right cost point,” Cranfield’s Gray said.

The provenance of feedstocks used for SAF is also important, he explained. “If what you’re doing … to produce sustainable aviation fuel is transporting fuel right across the world using feedstocks from the other side of the planet, then is it really sustainable?”

“The big effort at the moment is looking at how you can produce sustainable aviation fuels in a …  green way.” This could be fuel from waste or local resources, Gray added.

One type of fuel generating interest is e-kerosene, which also goes by the name of synthetic kerosene. According to a briefing from T&E published in February, e-kerosene is produced by combining carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

“What’s great about it is that it can be dropped into these jets without any modification of the engine and of the technology of the plane,” Dardenne said.  

“It’s a carbon neutral fuel, it’s something that can be easily dropped in,” she added. “The only problem is that it’s very expensive.”

Driving cost down will indeed be key in the years ahead, but organizations like T&E are keen to emphasize the potential environmental benefits of using it.

If the CO2 is “captured from the atmosphere” and hydrogen produced using renewables, T&E says “the combustion of e-kerosene will, apart from some residual emissions, be close to CO2 neutral.”

The future

While technology may be developing, the world also needs to come up with rules and regulations focused on the environmental footprint of air travel. 

Examples of these efforts include the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation and the European Union including carbon dioxide emissions from aviation in its emissions trading system since the year 2012.

In her interview with CNBC, T&E’s Dardenne stressed the importance of “proper regulation.”

She said: “If you price emissions and pollution effectively, then mandate the use of clean technologies, you send the right signals to investors, private and public, to invest in them.” 

“The clearer the regulatory framework the more certainty you can provide to the market that these technologies will have a future,” she added.

“And that will actually bring added value, financial added value, as well as environmental added value.”

Looking at the bigger picture, she went on to state that “proper regulation” would come via effective carbon pricing and fuel mandates, describing the latter as an obligation to use clean fuels. These were, she argued, “the cornerstone of effective aviation decarbonization strategy.”

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/15/hydrogen-planes-electric-propulsion-aviation-is-changing-.html

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Jaguar Land Rover is developing a hydrogen-powered vehicle and plans to test it out this year

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A Land Rover Defender sits on display on the opening day of the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany, on September 10, 2019.

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jaguar Land Rover said Tuesday it was working on the prototype of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, with testing of the concept slated to start later this year.

The vehicle will be based on the new version of the company’s Land Rover Defender, and is part of JLR’s broader attempt to meet a target of zero tailpipe emissions by the year 2036. Testing of the vehicle will focus on areas such as fuel consumption and off-road capabilities.

In an announcement, the company — which is owned by Tata Motors — described fuel cell electric vehicles as being “complimentary to battery electric vehicles … on the journey to net zero vehicle emissions.”

“Hydrogen-powered FCEVs provide high energy density and rapid refuelling, and minimal loss of range in low temperatures, making the technology ideal for larger, longer-range vehicles, or those operated in hot or cold environments,” the company added.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

As governments attempt to reduce emissions and boost urban air quality, the vehicles people use do look set to change. 

The U.K., for instance, plans to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline vehicles from 2030. From the year 2035, all new cars and vans will need to have zero tailpipe emissions.

Companies such as JLR are, slowly but surely, attempting to adapt to this new reality. Earlier this year, the firm announced its Jaguar brand would go all-electric from the year 2025. The business also said its Land Rover segment would roll out six “pure electric variants” over the next five years.

Hydrogen’s ‘role to play’

Described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier,” hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in sectors such as industry and transport.

Examples of its use in the transportation sector include hydrogen buses in cities such as London and Aberdeen, while hydrogen fuel cell airplanes have also taken flight in recent years.

Just last week, plans to build a sea-going ferry powered using hydrogen fuel cells advanced after it was announced that a commercial contract for the development of a concept design had been awarded.

“We know hydrogen has a role to play in the future powertrain mix across the whole transport industry, and alongside battery electric vehicles,” Ralph Clague, head of hydrogen and fuel cells for Jaguar Land Rover, said in a statement.

Clague went on to add that it offered “another zero tailpipe emission solution for the specific capabilities and requirements” of JLR’s vehicle line-up.

Jaguar Land Rover is not the only automotive company to look at hydrogen-powered vehicles. Other manufacturers that have dipped into the hydrogen fuel cell market include Toyota and Honda, while smaller firms such as Riversimple are also working on hydrogen powered cars.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/15/jaguar-land-rover-is-developing-a-hydrogen-powered-vehicle.html

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Jaguar Land Rover is developing a hydrogen-powered vehicle and plans to test it out this year

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on

A Land Rover Defender sits on display on the opening day of the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany, on September 10, 2019.

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jaguar Land Rover said Tuesday it was working on the prototype of a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, with testing of the concept slated to start later this year.

The vehicle will be based on the new version of the company’s Land Rover Defender, and is part of JLR’s broader attempt to meet a target of zero tailpipe emissions by the year 2036. Testing of the vehicle will focus on areas such as fuel consumption and off-road capabilities.

In an announcement, the company — which is owned by Tata Motors — described fuel cell electric vehicles as being “complimentary to battery electric vehicles … on the journey to net zero vehicle emissions.”

“Hydrogen-powered FCEVs provide high energy density and rapid refuelling, and minimal loss of range in low temperatures, making the technology ideal for larger, longer-range vehicles, or those operated in hot or cold environments,” the company added.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

As governments attempt to reduce emissions and boost urban air quality, the vehicles people use do look set to change. 

The U.K., for instance, plans to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline vehicles from 2030. From the year 2035, all new cars and vans will need to have zero tailpipe emissions.

Companies such as JLR are, slowly but surely, attempting to adapt to this new reality. Earlier this year, the firm announced its Jaguar brand would go all-electric from the year 2025. The business also said its Land Rover segment would roll out six “pure electric variants” over the next five years.

Hydrogen’s ‘role to play’

Described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier,” hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in sectors such as industry and transport.

Examples of its use in the transportation sector include hydrogen buses in cities such as London and Aberdeen, while hydrogen fuel cell airplanes have also taken flight in recent years.

Just last week, plans to build a sea-going ferry powered using hydrogen fuel cells advanced after it was announced that a commercial contract for the development of a concept design had been awarded.

“We know hydrogen has a role to play in the future powertrain mix across the whole transport industry, and alongside battery electric vehicles,” Ralph Clague, head of hydrogen and fuel cells for Jaguar Land Rover, said in a statement.

Clague went on to add that it offered “another zero tailpipe emission solution for the specific capabilities and requirements” of JLR’s vehicle line-up.

Jaguar Land Rover is not the only automotive company to look at hydrogen-powered vehicles. Other manufacturers that have dipped into the hydrogen fuel cell market include Toyota and Honda, while smaller firms such as Riversimple are also working on hydrogen powered cars.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/15/jaguar-land-rover-is-developing-a-hydrogen-powered-vehicle.html

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Jaguar Land Rover to test a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Defender this year

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Jaguar Land Rover wants to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036, and one of the steps it’s taking to make that a reality is developing a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Defender. The automaker says it’s currently working on a prototype and plans to start testing the no-emission version of its iconic SUV towards the end of the 2021 in the UK. 

Hydrogen fuel cells can power a vehicle by combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, with only water as emission. Jaguar explains that fuel cells enable rapid refueling and have high energy density, making them ideal for larger and longer-range vehicles. Further, vehicles powered by fuel cells perform well in cold environments, since they show minimal loss of range in low temperatures. 

The company has dubbed the work it’s doing to develop the clean energy vehicle as “Project Zeus.” Partly funded by the UK government-backed Advanced Propulsion Center, the initiative will give Jaguar’s engineers the information they need to be able to optimize a hydrogen powertrain. The hope is to develop fuel cell vehicles that can deliver the same performance and capability — when it comes to range, off-road ability and even towing — as their conventional counterparts.

In addition to aiming for zero tailpipe emissions by 2036, Jaguar also hopes to reach net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. Both goals are part of its “Reimagine” strategy announced back in February when the automaker revealed that it will only build all-electric cars starting in 2025.

Ralph Clague, Head of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells for Jaguar Land Rover, said in a statement: 

“We know hydrogen has a role to play in the future powertrain mix across the whole transport industry, and alongside battery electric vehicles, it offers another zero tailpipe emission solution for the specific capabilities and requirements of Jaguar Land Rover’s world class line-up of vehicles. The work done alongside our partners in Project Zeus will help us on our journey to become a net zero carbon business by 2039, as we prepare for the next generation of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles.”

Jaguar didn’t reveal a timeline for the fuel cell Defender other than it will start undergoing a battery of tests this year to verify key attributes, including off-road capability and fuel consumption.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/jaguar-land-rover-hydrogen-fuel-cell-defender-032948176.html?src=rss_b2c

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