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Archive for the ‘Fuel Cell’ Category

Sales Sliding, Toyota Rethinking Plans for Prius

As sales slip, “We need to find a new direction,” says senior Prius exec.

by on Dec.12, 2018

For 2019, Toyota is launching the first AWD version of the familiar Prius hatchback.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and one name is almost certainly going to pop into your mind: Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan in 1997 and brought to the U.S. three years later, it has been the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, ever since. For several years, earlier this decade, it was the best-selling vehicle in the huge California market and number one in Japan, as well.

But, as the cliché goes, times have changed. Whether due to increased competition, cheap gasoline, or other issues, sales of the original Prius hatchback have been tumbling. Though still the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., the first 11 months of this year saw demand dip 23.2%. And, at just 3,180 vehicles in November, sales are now running barely a quarter of their peak pace earlier in the decade.

Beyond the Headlines!

Toyota is trying to address some of the issues that came up with the launch of the fourth-generation Prius hatchback for the 2016 model-year, among other things tweaking its design and introducing a new electric all-wheel-drive system that could enhance the car’s appeal in Snowbelt regions. But during a series of interviews at a media drive of the 2019 Prius, Toyota officials acknowledged they are looking at even more radical options for the fifth-generation hybrid hatchback due out early in the coming decade.

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Trump Administration Still Fighting to Roll Back Fuel Economy Rules

Critics say mistakes made in calculations nullify Trump-propsed gains.

by on Dec.07, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing revoking California's ability to make it's own emissions and fuel economy rules.

While the industry is focused now on issues such as trade, manufacturing capacity and employment, the fight over fuel economy and emissions hasn’t gone away and could roar back to life any time.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the fuel-economy rules imposed in the waning days of Obama administration. It also has proposed eliminating California’s hold on the auto industry.

Beyond the Headlines!

California, powered by an overwhelming political victory by Democrats opposed to Trump in last month’s midterm elections and bolstered by new reports both from the Trump administration’s Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change, have vowed a long and expensive court fight to protect the Obama standards and its authority. (more…)

Honda Insight Named Green Car of the Year

Jaguar I-Pace and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also honored.

by on Nov.29, 2018

Honda's Ray Mikichuk with Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan and Green Car of the Year Insight.

The 2019 Honda Insight was named the Green Car of the Year on Thursday, during a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The hybrid sedan had to share the stage, however, with two other winners, the Jaguar I-Pace taking home a trophy as Luxury Green Car of the Year, while the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was honored as SUV Green Car of the Year.

The award comes as something of a vindication for Honda. The automaker was actually the first to sell a hybrid in the U.S. market, but the original, two-seat Insight, launched in 1999, was a slow seller and a second version bearing the Insight badge didn’t do much better. The new model finally appears to be connecting with consumers by “being a no-compromise vehicle,” Ray Mikichuk, Honda’s assistant vice president for U.S. sales, told TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Forget the Self-Driving Car! Bring on the Autonomous Hotel Room!

Autonomous Travel Suites put hotel rooms on wheels using an app.

by on Nov.21, 2018

Designed by Toronto architect Steven Lee, the Autonomous Travel Suite is a self-driving hotel room.

Americans are traveling U.S. roadways with greater frequency than ever, setting new records for miles traveled each of the last three years. Automakers, looking to make those safer miles, are furiously working to develop the first fully autonomous vehicle.

The idea of a fully autonomous car is appealing. Tell the vehicle where you want to go, and then get comfortable with a book, watch a movie or even take a nap. Set it and forget it, if you will.

Insight!

While that may seem like the next greatest thing, it’s not. That distinction belongs to the Autonomous Travel Suite (ATS). (more…)

New Mercedes GLC F-Cell: World’s 1st to Combine Fuel-Cell, Plug-In Hybrid Tech

New model gets a combined range of 300 miles.

by on Nov.13, 2018

The new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell combines two technologies to help mitigate worries about running out fuel.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell is designed to help motorists address one of the biggest problems facing alternative powertrain technology: a lack of infrastructure.

The new crossover is the world’s first production vehicle to combine fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid technology in the same vehicle. That means a motorist will be less likely to be stuck somewhere without a source of power.

Product News!

“The innovative plug-in fuel cell drive combines the advantages of both zero-emission drive technologies and, thanks to its intelligent operating strategy, continuously optimizes the use of both energy sources in line with the current operating situation,” Mercedes said in a statement announcing the launch of the new F-Cell, which will officially go on sale in Germany next spring. (more…)

GM Adds Silverado ZH2 to Military-Ready Line-up

Company continues its work with the U.S. Army.

by on Nov.07, 2018

GM's defense team is developing a Silverado version of the ZH2 in concert with the U.S. Army.

General Motors defense group continues to develop new urban warfare vehicles for the U.S. military to consider. The latest under development is the new Chevrolet Silverado ZH2.

The military-grade version of the Silverado is mirrored off the Colorado ZH2 the company produced in 2016. Developed in concert with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, the Silverado ZH2 is powered by a next-gen hydrogen fuel cell and advanced battery systems.

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It features a heavy-duty strength design, a “race proven multimatic dynamic suspension” and a range of more than 400 miles, according to Autoblog.com. (more…)

Honda Aligns With GM on Fuel Economy Rules

Japanese automaker pushes Trump administration to compromise.

by on Nov.01, 2018

Honda is aligning with General Motors in calling for tougher, but unified fuel economy standards in the U.S.

Honda has joined General Motors on calling the EPA to abandon its proposed fuel-economy rollback and is asking federal officials to negotiate with states like California to offer a single, comprehensive update to federal fuel-economy standards.

“Despite continued development of exciting new automotive technologies, the long-term achievements of this industry will depend as much on policies as on powertrains,” Honda noted in its response to the Trump administration.

News You Can Trust!

“The regulatory framework and policy levers will define the landscape in which our industry operates and competes. Managing this transition thoughtfully is of paramount importance to industry and society alike,” Honda continued regarding the administration’s proposal to freeze the fuel economy standards at 2021 levels and end California’s ability to set its own rules on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. (more…)

Green Car of the Year Finalists Revealed

“Green” comes in many forms.

by on Oct.30, 2018

The 2019 Insight is Honda's third attempt to market a mainstream, entry-level hybrid: an a possible winner of Green Car of the Year.

Not all that long ago, motorists looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle were likely in for a long search, with only a handful of models on the market. These days, it’s becoming a lot easier, as more and more new alternatives come to market, seemingly almost every week.

And that’s convinced the organizers of the annual Green Car of the Year Awards to expand their program this year. “Green comes in many forms,” they explain, noting that this year will bring new awards for the Luxury Green Car of the Year and the Green SUV of the Year.

Dig Deeper!

The three awards will be handed out at the Los Angeles International Auto Show just a month from now, and could see the jury highlight the wide range of “green” technologies now available to American motorists. (more…)

Can the Flintstones and Jetsons Sell America on EVs?

New ad campaign brings back two classic cartoon families.

by on Aug.13, 2018

The Electrify America ad campaign plays up the fun-to-drive aspects of battery-cars as much as their environmental benefits.

There’s an electrified revolution heading for your local showroom, with dozens of hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles coming to market over the next few years. The challenge the industry faces is getting consumers to plug in. All forms of battery-based vehicles accounted for barely 3% of the total U.S. market last year.

Building awareness is a key goal for Electrify America, the project backed by $2 billion from Volkswagen, part of the settlement of its diesel emissions scandal. The 10-year effort makes its public debut this week with an ad campaign pitching the virtues of battery-electric vehicles. And to help get the message across, it’s borrowing the theme music from two Boomer-era cartoon shows, the Flintstones and the Jetsons.

We Keep You Plugged In!

The first spot, dubbed JetStones, features a number of new battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and will air on national and local cable television, with a radio version running in both English and Spanish. At the same time, Electrify America will begin placing a network of high-speed charging stations across the country.

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Automakers Caught “In Limbo” As New CAFE Rules Face Major Legal Hurdles

Anticipated court battle could delay changes for years.

by on Aug.03, 2018

Automakers are caught in the middle over the CAFE debate and could face even more challenges if the proposed Trump rollback drags on in court.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the Trump Administration’s plan to roll back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, automakers are finding themselves in what one long-time industry analyst calls “limbo,” and it could be a year or more before they’ll actually be able to incorporate the CAFE update into their plans due to anticipated legal challenges.

As a result, it could be well into the upcoming decade before the White House revisions actually have any significant impact, according to numerous industry executives who spoke to TheDetroitBureau.com, if any changes ever actually occur.

Insight!

There is the very real possibility that the courts could rule against the proposed changes or that the legal battle drags on long enough for a new administration to come into office and revert back to the guidelines established under the Obama White House. As a result, automakers and suppliers face a major conundrum when it comes to planning for products set to come out through the middle of the coming decade.

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