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Toyota Pushes Design Boundaries with FCV Plus

A radical alternative to conventional car design.

by on Oct.29, 2015

The Toyota FCV Plus largely abandons traditional automotive design conventions.

The funky styling of the new Toyota Mirai hydrogen car has already been raising some eyebrows, but if you think that’s pushing the envelope, well, as the old saying goes, you ain’t seen nothing’ yet.

The fundamentals of a fuel-cell vehicle are radically different from those of a car using an internal combustion engine, and Toyota takes things to a radical extreme with the FCV Plus concept vehicle that made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show this week.

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A Look into the Future!

With the basic hardware driving the prototype neatly tucked away, the FCV devotes virtually every inch above the floorboards to passengers and cargo, resulting in a design that might seem more at home on the set of a science fiction flick than on today’s highways.

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Natural Gas Gets Boost from President Obama

But automakers, energy suppliers still need come aboard.

by on Jan.30, 2014

Obama omitted battery power during his speech, discussing alternatives such as CNG, instead.

It’s being billed as a cleaner alternative to gasoline and one in wide supply thanks to new fracking technology – and now, President Barack Obama is lending his support to the use of compressed natural gas as an automotive fuel.

The question is whether that will be enough to move automakers and energy suppliers who have so far been reluctant to commit their resources to adding new CNG-powered vehicles to their line-up and the fueling stations needed to power them.

Fuel for Thought!

After coming into office in January 2009, the Obama Administration seemed single-mindedly focused on battery power, shifting funds away from other promising technologies like hydrogen fuel-cells. But that has begun to change during the Obama second term and during his State of the Union address this week, the president put a focus on CNG.

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GM to Launch CNG-Powered Impala

Energy security “more than a one-off moonshot,” declares CEO Akerson.

by on Oct.16, 2013

CEO Dan Akerson says numerous alternatives to gas-power will be needed, including CNG.

General Motors will launch a new CNG-powered version of its big Chevrolet Impala sedan next year, making it the first maker to offer the availability to use the cheaper, cleaner fuel in a full-size model.

The announcement came in a speech by GM CEO Dan Akerson during a national summit meant to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Mideast oil boycott. That defining event led to skyrocketing gas prices, lines at U.S. gas stations and a serious economic recession. It also forced Detroit makers to close a number of factories and gave the Japanese auto industry its first real crack at the American market.

Fuel Your Automotive Knowledge!

Today, even with fuel prices having dipped slightly in recent months, there is strong demand for alternatives, and while much of the attention is on battery-based vehicles, there’s also growing interest in the use of CNG which has become widely available with the increased use of fracking.

During his speech, Akerson stressed that a variety of different solution ultimately will be needed, warning that, “energy security won’t come from a one-off moonshot.”

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Drivers Want – and Will Pay – for More Efficient Cars

Two new studies show growing interest in alternative power.

by on Sep.13, 2012

Ford will offer both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of its new C-Max "people-mover."

A growing number of Americans are demanding not only more fuel-efficient cars but those that run on cleaner alternatives to gasoline – and they’re willing to pay, according to a pair of new studies.

That could be good news for manufacturers fretting about the cost of meeting the government’s strict new Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, mandates requiring an average 34.5 mpg by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Your Trusted Source!

“Cost is a key issue,” especially with more radical alternatives such as electric propulsion, said Phil Murtaugh, the head of California-based Coda, a start-up in the emerging market for electric vehicles.

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Opinion: Let the Whining Over Rising Gas Prices Begin

As auto enthusiasts, it's your job to explain possible solutions to the uninformed.

by on Dec.31, 2010

Gas prices are starting to creep up and some experts are suggesting that they could exceed $5 per gallon.

Let the hysteria begin. As if on cue, just as gasoline prices crested $3, the whiners started complaining that “something has to be done.”

Fueling the fire this week was a former Shell Oil executive who predicted $5 gasoline as soon as 2012. John Hofmeister, now head of Citizens for Affordable Energy, said worldwide demand for oil would drive up the price of gasoline to unheard of levels, according to ABC News. Unheard of, at least, for spoiled residents of this country.

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The histrionics on a local radio station seemed to be emblematic of the issue. “We’ll figure something out by then” says one talking head. Within a year? After years of watching the problem fester like an open sore?

Maybe the government should subsidize gasoline or employers will step up to give us all raises so we can pay for these high gas prices, says her partner. Seventy-five dollars to fill a 15-gallon tank. No one will be able to afford to fill their tank.

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Bosch Pushes Small Diesels; Ford, GM Not in U.S.

Experts debate merits of competing ways to boost fuel economy

by on Aug.03, 2010

Ford is touting its EcoBoost engines as the best way to boost fuel economy.

Call it the automotive equivalent of the Hatfields and McCoys.

It would seem that proponents of diesel technology for small cars in the U.S. will always be at war with those who don’t see a future for downsized “oil burners” in a market reluctant to pay the premium, despite the technologies fuel-efficient advantages.

The battle over how to improve fuel economy – hybrids, extended-range electric, diesel, fuel cells – continues to rage, but three panelists at the Management Briefing Seminars, an annual industry confab in Traverse City, Michigan, all agreed on one key point: the internal combustion engine will continue be a big part of the automotive landscape for the foreseeable future.

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But will the majority of them run on gasoline or will diesel make a bigger dent in the U.S. market?

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