Motor Trend: Nissan Shuts Down Leaf Mobile App Following Security Hack

Last week, Nissan deactivated the NissanConnect EV app for its Leaf electric car. The automaker made the move after a computer researcher exposed a security issue that allowed hackers to view information and control features on others’ Nissan Leaf EVs.

Researcher Troy Hunt reportedly discovered the flaw last month before publishing his findings on his blog Wednesday. According to Hunt, a flaw allows hackers to use the app to control the Leaf’s climate control system simply by obtaining the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The security flaw also provides access to the vehicle battery’s state of charge.

MIT News: Solar Cells as Light as a Soap Bubble

Imagine solar cells so thin, flexible and lightweight that they could be placed on almost any material or surface, including your hat, shirt, or smartphone, or even on a sheet of paper or a helium balloon.

Researchers at MIT have now demonstrated just such a technology: the thinnest, lightest solar cells ever produced. Though it may take years to develop into a commercial product, the laboratory proof-of-concept shows a new approach to making solar cells that could help power the next generation of portable electronic devices.

Mother Jones: The Bright Future Ahead for Electric Vehicles, in 4 Charts

Last month, Elon Musk predicted that the electric vehicle industry will "definitely suffer" from low oil prices -- a barrel of crude is about $33 today, down from more than $100 a year ago. Why invest in an electric car when gas is so cheap? And sure enough, sales of gas-guzzling SUVs jumped 10 percent in 2015, while electric vehicle sales dipped 4 percent.

But don't expect that trend to last, even if oil prices stay relatively low. A new market forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance paints a rosy picture for the future of electric vehicles, rising from about 1 percent of global annual vehicle sales today to 35 percent by 2040 -- about 41 million cars. That's good news for Musk and other eminent figures in clean energy. Whether it's good news for the planet remains to be seen.

Washington Post: The Suddenly Urgent Quest to Remove CO2 From the Air

Devices to strip CO2 out of the atmosphere had been a pipe-dream until recently, but more and more, they are being seen as indispensable. That’s because the goals set at last year’s Paris accord on climate change, of keeping the planet’s warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, may not be achievable unless such technology comes to fruition.

Solar power and electric cars  won’t be enough, say scientists. Humans may have to somehow clean carbon out of the air, the way that trees do naturally but at a gigantic scale.

“If you want to balance the books at this point, I don’t think you have a choice but to pull CO2 back that has already made it out,” Klaus Lackner of Arizona State University said. “Or is about to make it out, because we are not overnight shutting down all the coal plants.”

Atlantic: Why America Pays More for Nuclear Power

As countries scramble to grow their supply of clean energy, nuclear power poses a couple of problems. Radiation risks are unavoidable, of course, and the conventional wisdom says that, unlike other energy sources, nuclear is doomed to grow increasingly expensive over time.

In the U.S., costs have skyrocketed so high that hardly any new plants get built anymore. Because the U.S. created nuclear energy, maintains the largest fleet of reactors, and made its data publicly available when most countries didn’t, its experience plays a huge part in the expert analyses used to determine how much future nuclear power plants could cost.

“That would have made sense, except the U.S. was a huge outlier,” says Jessica Lovering, energy director at pro-nuclear environmental think tank The Breakthrough Institute.