Recharge Wrap-up: Fully Charged in the Tesla Model X, Daimler's autonomous semi

Transport technology is "urban scaffolding"; Toyota plans green HQ.

Fully Charged attended the British unveiling of the Tesla Model X. Host Robert Llewellyn gets inside the Model X to show off a few of the car's noteworthy features, such as the ability to close the doors by pressing the brake pedal, the seven-seat configuration, the "breathtaking" windshield, the double-hinged falcon doors, and a few other items. Llewellyn admits he's not a big SUV fan, but that this offering from Tesla is "pretty amazing." Check it out in the video above, and read more at Treehugger.

Wired gives an in-depth look at what went into creating Daimler's self-driving semi. Called "Inspiration," the Freightliner truck is the world's first licensed autonomous 18-wheeler. Many engineers spent six months making the Inspiration capable of steering itself and controlling its own speed. Still, Daimler says it can't pass cars on its own, and doesn't take over driving duties until it's already up to speed. That means that, yes, a driver is required to operate Inspiration, but it's a step toward a driverless future. Read more about it at Wired.

In the same way that transportation systems shaped our cities – even if those systems no longer exist – our current transport technologies will leave their mark on cities long after they are obsolete. In what could be referred to as "urban scaffolding," ports and streetcar lines played a big part in the layout of American cities, even after they were no longer in use. Current technologies that shape our cities, but could eventually be removed, are things like the interstate system, traffic lights, mass transit, gas stations, and parking lots. While some of these might be preserved for their historic value, there could be a time where these current foundations of our cities will no longer be necessary in centuries to come. Read more about it from Sustainable Cities Collective.

Toyota is highlighting some of the various energy and environmental features at its new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas. In addition to an impressive 7.75-megawatt solar system supplying 25 percent of the campus's energy needs, Toyota will be using LED lighting, energy-efficient building shells, green roofs, and a rainwater management system. The campus will also feature native plants and natural habitat for endangered species like the monarch butterfly. Toyota will maintain wetlands on the campus, as well, to help promote biodiversity. Read more in the press release below.

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Power Play

Toyota's New Plano Campus Drafts Impressive Energy & Environmental Line Up

June 14, 2016
Plano, Texas (June 14, 2016) – Toyota is hitting multiple shots-on-goal to reduce energy usage and environmental impacts at their new Plano headquarters campus. The player bench is stacked with energy partners and programs to help achieve the goal of Platinum LEED Certification at the state-of-the-art campus.

"Toyota's new headquarters campus will be a model for energy efficiency and sustainability," said Kevin Butt, General Manager, Environmental, Toyota Motor North America. "Toyota has challenged ourselves to create a net positive impact on the planet by 2050, and these campus programs are one step in a series of global efforts to achieve this goal."

Solar Shootout
SunPower Corp. will design and install the recently announced approximately 7.75-megawatt solar system. The system will be the largest corporate office on-site solar installation among non-utility companies in the state of Texas. In total, the system is expected to provide approximately 25 percent of the power needed for the new headquarters campus. The Plano solar array will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7122 metric tons, or the equivalent of almost 1,000 homes electricity usage for a year, and position Toyota as the leader among auto companies in U.S. for installed solar power.

Renewable Hat Trick
MP2, a Texas-based power company, is on point for a five-year energy contract to power the Plano campus. The power play is all about renewables, including the SunPower solar system, wind, additional on-site generation in the future, and renewable energy credits. The flexible energy contract also allows for excess power generation to be sold back to the grid. This team play was coordinated by Power Priority Management, energy management solutions.

Everything from LED lights, to solar panels, to high-efficiency building shells will help cut down on the amount of energy used on campus. Multiple rooftops will feature specially designed roofs teeming with plant life to help manage rainwater, reduce heat and further insulate the buildings.

Flower Power Play
Exterior landscaping on the campus will reflect the native North Texas-appropriate habitat with savannah, oaklands and wildflower meadows. Beyond providing team members a beautiful place to meet or take a lunch break, these areas will provide various species – like endangered pollinators and monarch butterflies – with a natural habitat. Additionally, a wetlands area will be retained and preserved in the northeast corner of the campus, further supporting the site's biodiversity.

Rain Body Check
Once all that native flora and fauna is established, there won't be any need for expensive mowing, fertilizers, chemicals or artificial irrigation. In fact, only select activity-based areas will require watering, and even that will come through a state-of-the art rainwater capture system. Drain water from sinks and showers will also be used for flushing toilets in bathrooms of several buildings.
In late 2015, Toyota Motor Corporation announced the 2050 Toyota Environmental Challenge, a set of ambitious environmental goals to reach beyond net zero, and create a net positive impact on the planet. To learn more, please visit

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