If you thought that by 2020 we’d be zipping to work in a rocket like the Jetsons or hover-boarding in, a la Marty McFly, you’re not far off. Innovators evaluating the way in which we make our daily commutes are on the brink of major breakthroughs, and although there are no flying cars (yet!), there are some pretty spectacular and exciting innovations that will forever change the way you get to work.
Our collective daily commutes carry an enormous carbon price tag. The average American commuter drives around 29 miles a day to work and back, which adds up to 580 miles every month and 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted for regular cars and 694 for SUVs. Now scientists are creating new ways to commute, utilizing renewable energy to ensure that your daily commute leaves no mark on the planet.
In the Netherlands, commuters are already leaner and greener as most people bike to work. Now the country is installing the world’s first solar-powered bike lane. This 70-meter long lane is created from crystalline silicone solar cells embedded into the concrete and topped with a layer of tempered glass. The pilot project is the first in what the Netherlands hopes will be an entire system of roads of over 140,000 km (about 87,000 miles) that generate energy that will be used to power everything from traffic lights to electric cars.
Mercedes Powered by Solar Paint
Meet the spectacular Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code; a car powered by hydrogen and its rather spectacular paint job. You see, the SUV is finished with ‘multi-voltaic silver’ paint, which is able to harvest both solar and wind energy.
The paint transforms the car into a large solar cell that is able to generate energy from the sun fairly efficiently. The car can also gather electrostatic energy from the wind. These two energy systems power the rear wheels while the front wheels are powered by a combustion engine, making this car pretty sustainable. And two electric scooters tucked in the trunk will help you to get around, should traffic prove too taxing.
For those of you who are already taking your first step in green living by taking advantage of your city’s bus system, here is a chance to make that step into a leap. GreenPower is currently building the EV350 transit bus as their flagship product for the North American market. It is a 12 meter electric, 100%-green zero-emissions bus, which claims up to 200 miles on a single charge.
Another bonus, the GreenPower EV350 operates in total silence. So if your daily commute requires a quick catnap, you don’t have to fret on those days you forget your headphones at home.
Whether you get to work by bike, train or automobile, there are exciting opportunities coming your way to reduce your carbon footprint. In the interim, consider using public transport, carpooling or getting in your daily workout by biking or walking to and from the office.