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Honda Rolls Out Clarity, Confirms Hydrogen Car Talks with General Motors

Project could speed up sales of fuel-cell vehicles.

by on Mar.10, 2016

Honda Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo with the maker's Clarity fuel-cell vehicle.

Honda has officially rolled out its new Clarity fuel-cell-vehicle, with sales set to begin in Japan before expanding to the United States later this year.

The Japanese automaker becomes the third to come to market with a zero-emissions hydrogen car, though it expects sales numbers to be extremely small in the near-term.

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Longer-term, Honda is hoping to improve the viability of fuel-cell technology, while also lowering costs as part of a proposed manufacturing partnership with General Motors, the Japanese maker’s CEO said Thursday, confirming a prior report on TheDetroitBureau.com. GM separately acknowledged discussions are underway.

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Honda’s Hydrogen-Powered Clarity to Cost $60,000

Japanese maker set to be third to market fuel-cell vehicle.

by on Jan.22, 2016

Honda revealed its Clarity fuel-cell vehicle in LA, and will put it into production later this year.

Honda’s new Clarity Fuel Cell sedan might be able to save the environment, but it’s likely to cut into the saving of customers who want to buy one.

The hydrogen car, set to reach U.S. showrooms “before the end of 2016,” will carry a sticker price of around $60,000, according to the Japanese maker, about $2,000 more than the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle launched late last year. But, at $499 a month, the Clarity will go for the same lease rate as the Mirai and a hydrogen-powered version of Hyundai’s Tucson SUV.

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“The company will start by leasing vehicles and expects to move to retail sales with increased volumes and market coverage,” Honda said in a news release. Initially, it noted, the Clarity Fuel Cell sedan will be offered only in Los Angeles and Orange countries, and around San Francisco and the California capital of Sacramento.

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Honda, GM Exploring Joint Fuel Plant Project

Mass production reportedly set to begin by 2025.

by on Jan.18, 2016

Honda revealed its Clarity fuel-cell vehicle in LA, and will put it into production later this year.

(This story has been updated with a comment from GM.)

General Motors and Honda may partner on a new fuel cell plant in a bid to bring a promising, clean alternative to battery-electric vehicles to market, according to a news report from Japan.

The two automakers already have established a joint venture aimed at developing advanced fuel cell technology, but the new measure would take things a critical next step, helping put their research into production.

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Honda is set to become the third major automaker to begin retailing a hydrogen-powered vehicle with the planned introduction, later this year, of its Clarity FCX. Hyundai introduced its Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle in 2014 and Toyota launched its Mirai model last year. GM has not yet marketed a production model.

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Faraday Future Sketches Out Plans for Tomorrow

But start-up leaves plenty of questions unanswered during debut event.

by on Jan.05, 2016

The Faraday Future FF Zero1 concept.

A revolution on wheels? That’s what officials from Faraday Future laid out for an audience at the Consumer Electronics Show late Monday as the mysterious, Chinese-funded start-up carmaker finally came out from the shadows.

Launched just 18 months ago, largely with the backing of Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, Faraday plans to set up a $1 billion assembly plant in North Las Vegas, with the first car set to roll down the line sometime in 2018, R&D chief Nick Sampson confirmed during a high-energy presentation. But the CES debut left plenty of questions unanswered.

The Future is Now!

Among them, what will Faraday build? The California-based carmaker rolled out the FF Zero1, something that lead designer Richard Kim called “a concept of cars,” but it is admittedly nothing more than an “electric dream car,” Kim stressed, rather than something likely to go into production.

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Honda Has Broader Plans for New Hydrogen Car Platform

Along with new fuel-cell model, battery-car, plug-in hybrid models to follow.

by on Nov.19, 2015

The new Honda Clarity will soon offer a plug-in hybrid and pure battery option, along with the hydrogen-powered version soon going on sale.

Honda has become the latest automaker to launch a fuel-cell vehicle on the U.S. retail market, unveiling the production version of the Clarity hydrogen car at the L.A. Auto Show on Wednesday.

But the project is creating a bit of confusion because Clarity is more than just a hydrogen car. It is actually a flexible platform that will eventually be used for a wide variety of alternative-power vehicles, including a plug-in and a pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, American Honda chief John Mendel told TheDetroitBureau.com.

Plug-In!

Clarity “will be the platform for at least two” other clean models, Mendel explained during an L.A. interview, adding “It will be another pillar for us,” allowing Honda to expand its alternative offerings “in a more mainstream way.”

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GM Wants to Profitably Redefine Personal Mobility

CEO Barra outlines $5 bil investment in autonomous vehicles, carsharing and other game-changers.

by on Oct.01, 2015

GM is "working to redefine our relationship with customers and personal mobility," says CEO Barra.

With autonomous vehicles, car-sharing programs and alternative powertrains reshaping the auto industry, some manufacturers have begun referring to themselves as “personal mobility companies.” The challenge is finding a way to profit from that transformation, said General Motors CEO Mary Barra, as she opened the maker’s “Global Business Conference” with investors and financial analysts.

General Motors is exploring ways to expand the services it offers customers around the world and expects to invest $5 billion in the effort as part of an effort to meet the competition from new challengers such as Apple, Google and Tesla,  Barra said, during the conference at the GM Proving Grounds an hour outside Detroit.

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Transformative!

“We’re working to redefine our relationship with customers and personal mobility,” Barry explained, adding that “We want to own that relationship inside and outside the vehicle.”

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Will You Even Recognize Your Car in the Near Future?

Plenty of “disrupters” about to transform what we drive.

by on Sep.18, 2015

Poster courtesy United Artists.

In the 1973 film, “Sleeper,” Woody Allen is revived after being frozen following a botched operation. To escape the inept police state trying to terminate him, he steals a car that looks like a bubble, with frosted windows and no steering wheel. He simply tells it where to go.

The comedy was supposed to take place 200 years from now but, at least when it comes to the car, it could just as well happen in little more than a decade from now. A recent concept vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, the F 015, can black out its windows, use voice commands to safely drive automatically to a destination, and passengers can swivel their seats to turn the big sedan into a mobile living room.

Welcome to the Future!

At least, that’s the grand vision – but it’s creating nightmares for an auto industry facing tough new mileage, emissions and safety regulations and the need to invest tens of billions of dollars in new and largely untested technologies. And traditional automakers face the threat of new and well-funded challengers, such as Tesla, Google and Apple.

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Conventional Gas-Powered Cars Will Be in Minority by 2017

“No single technology will dominate,” says new study.

by on Dec.23, 2014

Even Cadillac may opt for an alternate approach when it launches its Gen-4 CTS-V.

With gas prices down to less than $2.00 at a growing number of pumps around the country, a growing number of American motorists have been flocking back to showrooms for pickups, SUVs and muscle cars. Yet, despite that sudden surge, the days of the classic V-8 and V-6 may be coming to an end.

In fact, a new study suggests that less than half of the vehicles that will be sold around the world by 2017 will be powered by conventional gasoline engines. Alternative fuels, electrified vehicles and more advanced internal combustion systems will make up the majority of the global mix, according to a new report from Navigant Research.

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And the pace of that transition will only accelerate in the years ahead. Even in the U.S., tough new fuel economy standards set to go into effect by 2025 will force major changes under the hood, industry insiders concur.

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2015 Cadillac ELR Takes Green Car Tech Award for “Regen on Demand”

System gives Caddy ELR a more sporty feel – and longer range.

by on Jan.23, 2014

Cadillac's ELR allows a driver to send more energy back to the battery with the tap of a paddle shifter.

Paddle shifters have become increasingly commonplace in recent years, a way for motorists to get a more sporty feel from vehicles equipped with an automatic gearbox – but Cadillac has taken an alternative approach with its new ELR plug-in hybrid which uses its paddle shifters to increase the amount of energy that can be regenerated and stored in its battery pack.

Dubbed Regen on Demand, the new system was honored as “Green Car Technology of the Year” during a ceremony at the 2014 Washington Auto Show, beating out nine other environmentally friendly technology including a new Audi turbodiesel, a super-light carbon fiber body from BMW and Hyundai’s new hydrogen fuel-cell system.

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“Ever-increasing efficiency is crucial to our driving future,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of the magazine Green Car Journal, which organizes the annual award, who called the Cadillac Regen on Demand technology, “an intriguing feature that adds a new dimension to the driving experience.”

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US Fuel Consumption Falls 11%

And downward trend likely to continue.

by on Nov.19, 2013

Motorists are using a lot less fuel these days.

Smaller vehicles and new technology — as well as changing driving habits — have combined to reduce the fuel consumption of American drivers of light-duty vehicles by 11% since 2004, says a University of Michigan researcher.

In a follow-up to two reports released earlier this year, Michael Sivak, of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, or UMTRI, examined recent trends in fuel consumption by cars, pickup trucks, SUVs and vans in the U.S. fleet from 1984 to 2011.

Fuel for Thought!

“The decline of 11% since 2004 reflects the decline in distance driven and the improvement in vehicle fuel economy,” said Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI and director of the Sustainable Worldwide Transportation research consortium.

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