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Feds Launch Alt-Fuel Highway Network

Corridors will cover 25,000 miles, 55 routes in 35 states.

by on Nov.04, 2016

The new project should make it much easier for owners to find places to charge up on the road.

With the upcoming launch of longer-range, more affordable electric vehicles the auto industry is taking several critical steps towards making alternative power mainstream, but range anxiety isn’t yet a thing of the past.

Now, the federal government is taking steps to address the other big problem: a lack of places to charge electric vehicles. The plan announced by the Obama Administration will include 55 different interstates, covering 25,000 miles of highway in 35 states. Add in efforts to boost the availability of natural gas and other alternative fuels and the network grows to 85,000 miles of roadway.

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“Alternative fuels and electric vehicles will play an integral part in the future of America’s transportation system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We have a duty to help drivers identify routes that will help them refuel and recharge those vehicles and designating these corridors on our highways is a first step.”

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It’s (Almost) Hydrogen Day!

Have you hugged your fuel cell lately?

by on Oct.05, 2016

Honda's new Clarity fuel-cell vehicle is part of an onslaught of the vehicles that have hit U.S. roads in the last 18 months.

We’re not quite sure how it managed to nearly slip by us, but we’re coming up on National Hydrogen and Fuel-Cell Day. October 8th has been designated a day to promote awareness of this clean and green powertrain technology.

There are plenty of folks who believe hydrogen is the fuel of the future. And they can point to the small but growing number of vehicles that use the lightweight gas. In the coming weeks, Honda will launch its Clarity FCV to become the third fuel-cell maker on the U.S. market.

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Of course, not everyone is so optimistic. Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, calls them “fool cells.” Of course, he wants to sell you a battery-powered car, instead. Who is right? (more…)

California Mandate Expected to Grow EV Sales

Improving performance of alt-fuel vehicle aids expansion.

by on Oct.04, 2016

California's ZEV rules are expected to drive EV sales during the next decade.

California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle program is expected to increase sales of electric, plug-in hybrid and other alternative light-duty vehicles in the United States during the next decade, according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The ZEV program, which is administered by the California Air Resources Board, affects model year 2018 and later vehicles, requiring automakers to earn credits for alternative-fuel vehicles based on a percentage of their sales in California.

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It also extends to nine other states concentrated on the West and East Coast where the program covers the entire New York City Metropolitan Region, which is also one of the stronger markets for new vehicles in the U.S. (more…)

Toyota Says the Future is Blowing in the Wind

Japanese automakers partnering in renewable hydrogen program.

by on Mar.14, 2016

Renewables, like wind power, would be needed to make batteries and hydrogen truly clean forms of propulsion.

Searching for a clean alternative to gasoline, automakers around the world have largely focused on battery propulsion and hydrogen fuel-cell technology. But both are only as clean as the source of energy they rely on.

Generating electricity or producing hydrogen using power from coal plants is far from clean. But using renewable power is a different story. And Toyota, which has been focusing its efforts on hydrogen, with products like the new Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, is now lending its support to wind power.

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The automaker announced today it is entering a partnership operating out of the city of Yokohama to produce hydrogen that can be used to fuel vehicles like the Mirai.

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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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Hydrogen Cars Just a Dodge, Argues Tesla Exec

Fuel-cell vehicles being used as props to dodge fuel-economy rules, says O’Connell.

by on Nov.20, 2015

Tesla recently launched its second product line, the Model X battery-electric SUV.

Fuel-cell cars are little more than expensive props used by automakers to dodge increasingly tough fuel-economy regulations and emission standards, declared a senior executive from the Tesla Motor Co.

Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s Vice President of Corporate and Business Development, told the Automotive Press Association Friday, that fuel cell technology simply is not practical because it will require a huge investment in an entirely new infrastructure to provide the hydrogen gas those vehicles needed.

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Electric vehicles are more practical because they do not require anywhere as much of a new investment in public infrastructure, argued O’Connell, noting that Tesla has supported an expansion of high-speed EV-charging capabilities off its own balance sheet.

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Honda Clarifies Fuel-Cell Plans with Debut of 2016 Clarity Hydrogen Car

Japanese reuses old name, updates new model.

by on Oct.28, 2015

The 2016 Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle will be available soon in Japan, but on a lease-only basis in the U.S. next spring.

Don’t be surprised if you get a slight sense of déjà vu when someone mentions Honda’s new hydrogen car. The Japanese maker has decided to call it the Clarity, the same name it used for its original fuel-cell vehicle nearly a decade ago.

After delaying the hydrogen car project for about a year, Honda finally introduced the production model at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday. It will soon go on sale in the maker’s home market and reach the U.S. by spring – or, more precisely, Southern California, about the only place where the gaseous fuel is readily available.

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In Japan, the Honda Clarity will go for 7.6 million yen, or roughly US$64,000, but the price is likely to be discounted in the States where Clarity will be offered “exclusively for lease,” the maker said, at $499 a month. (more…)

Lexus LF-LC Concept Offers a Good Look at Luxury Brand’s Future

Show car boasts curvaceous design, hydrogen powertrain, gesture controls and a hologram.

by on Oct.28, 2015

The Lexus LF-LC concept rolls onto the stage at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday.

Luxury brand Lexus has rolled out a number of concept vehicles in recent years but, with only a few, rare exceptions, they’ve been little more than fantasies in chrome. But the new Lexus LF-LC unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday is likely to be one of those exceptions.

From a design standpoint, what you see is likely to be – close to — what you’ll get with the next-generation Lexus LS sedan, a senior official told TheDetroitBureau.com. Whether we’ll also see such features as gesture-control electronics and a “hologram guide,” never mind the hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain, well, that’s another matter entirely

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The luxury arm of Toyota is “constantly striving to deliver awe-inspiring experiences,” said Tokuo Fukuichi, Lexus International President, as the current rolled back to reveal the LF-LC Concept vehicle.

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Toyota Aims to Virtually Eliminate Gas-Powered Cars by 2050

Japanese giant focusing on fuel-cell vehicles and hybrids, but not EVs.

by on Oct.14, 2015

Toyota has so far sold just 350 of its Mirai fuel-cell vehicles, but sees major growth ahead.

Toyota Motor Co. wants to virtually eliminate gasoline-powered vehicles from its fleet by 2050, and is betting that hydrogen cars, rather than electric vehicles, will be the long-term answer.

The Japanese maker recently introduced the Mirai, its first retail fuel-cell vehicle, and though sales have so far been measured in the hundreds, the target is to reach 30,000 annually by 2020, and reach even higher in the years beyond.

A number of other automakers are experimenting with hydrogen power; Hyundai already offers a fuel-cell version of its Tucson SUV, and Honda will launch a retail model next year. But most competitors are focusing on a mixed model of green vehicles, with a heavy emphasis on battery-based models, Toyota remains skeptical about the long-term role of electric vehicle technology.

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“When we first announced the Mirai, we said we were at the start of the age of hydrogen,” Kiyotaka Ise, a senior managing officer for Toyota Motor Corp., told reporters in Tokyo. “The figure we’ve announced today is ambitious, but it needs to be to keep the ball rolling.”

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Mirai Sets Fuel Economy Benchmark of 67 eMPG

Toyota’s new fuel cell vehicle meets daily needs.

by on Jun.30, 2015

The 2016 Toyota Mirai will debut with plenty of incentives to buy one, including three years of free fuel and app to help find fueling stations.

Much of the hubbub surrounding fuel cell vehicles focuses on, well, the “fuel.” How will you get it and how far can you go with it? The Toyota Mirai answered both of those today.

The Japanese maker said today the new fuel cell vehicle will average 67 miles per equivalent gallon and 312 miles on a full tank. The Mirai is expected to go on sale this fall in California with additional markets added later.

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“Toyota realized in the early 90’s that electrification was key to the future of the automobile,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota North America CEO, in a statement. “Just as the Prius introduced hybrid-electric vehicles to millions of customers nearly twenty years ago, the Mirai is now poised to usher in a new era of efficient, hydrogen transportation.” (more…)