Tesla is known for producing some of the world’s best electric cars, but founder Elon Musk has even bigger plans for the company: world domination. Musk’s new masterplan will grow the company to produce trucks and buses while using battery technology and solar infrastructure to transition the world away from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the world’s first “Tesla Town” is coming to Australia, and every home in it will feature solar panels and a powerwall. Driverless cars are almost here: This week Mercedes-Benz unveiled the fully autonomous bus of the future, while a GM exec confirmed plans to launch a self-driving Chevy Bolt EV with Lyft. And we spotted a crazy truck that’s able to lay its own road across treacherous terrain in just six minutes.
The heatwave surging across the US is putting a serious drain on the nation’s grid, but what if your air conditioner actually generated energy instead of just sucking it up? That’s the idea behind the BeCool, a new HVAC system that cools or heats the air while charging up a fuel cell at the same time. In other energy news, Facebook just launched its solar-powered internet drone for the first time and Obama set a target of 1 gigawatt of solar energy for low-income homes by the year 2020. A team of researchers developed a new osmosis technology that generates electricity from saltwater, and California shattered a solar power record by hitting 8,030 megawatts — enough energy to power 20 million households.
The best emergency shelters can be quickly deployed and constructed — like the uLite, a modular, inflatable dwelling that can be set up in 30 minutes flat. In other design developments, Conceptos Plásticos has developed a set of LEGO-like building blocks that allow anyone to build a home for just $5,200. WASP launched a 3D printer that uses dirt to build durable, affordable homes. Morocco debuted the longest cable-stayed bridge in Africa, which is lit up with LED lights. Mexico City unveiled a high-tech LEED platinum skyscraper that’s built to last for 2,500 years. And Denmark transformed a century-old lighthouse into a gigantic kaleidoscope that collects light instead of sending it out.