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Fuel-Cell Vehicles Need More Time, Says Toyota Chairman

Infrastructure needs more time.

by on Jan.20, 2017

A Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle.

Fuel-cell vehicles will take longer to popularize than other recent green car technologies, such as hybrids, the chairman of Toyota Motor Corp. said during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Japanese automaker has been an active proponent of hydrogen power, last year launching in the U.S. its first retail fuel-cell vehicle, the Toyota Mirai. There are now two other FCVs on the market, including the Honda Clarity and a version of the Hyundai Tucson, with several other automakers expected to bring their own models to market over the next several years.

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But while public acceptance of the original hybrid-electric vehicle, the Toyota Prius, was “much faster than we had anticipated,” Takeshi Uchiyamada told a reporter for Bloomberg news, that’s not likely to happen with vehicles like the Mirai, the chairman said, because “the infrastructure needs to be prepared before it becomes major in the market.”

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Honda Clarity FCV Gets 366-Mile Range Rating from EPA

Best of any current Zero-Emission Vehicle.

by on Oct.24, 2016

Owners may need the extra range to get to the few hydrogen filling stations open to the public.

Better late than never – especially if you can come to market with the longest range of any zero-emission vehicle, it seems.

The new Honda Clarity Fuel-Cell Vehicle will deliver an average 366 miles on a tank of hydrogen, and yield the equivalent of 68 miles per gallon, according to EPA testing. Its debut pushed back by a year, the Clarity now becomes the third hydrogen-powered vehicle on the U.S. market, following a fuel-cell version of the Hyundai Tucson and the new Toyota Mirai.

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“Not only does the Clarity Fuel Cell fit five passengers and refuel in three to five minutes, it offers customers a driving range on par with gasoline-powered cars,” said Steve Center, head of environmental business development for American Honda Motor Co.

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Ford Lands $6 Mil Federal Fuel Cell Grant

Hydrogen power needs some critical breakthroughs – and soon.

by on Aug.12, 2016

A prototype Ford fuel-cell vehicle.

Ford Motor Co. will get a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to work on advanced fuel cell technology.

The suburban Detroit maker will share the grant with the Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the latest push to bring hydrogen technology into the mainstream. Three Asian automakers are currently selling fuel-cell vehicles, or FCVs, in Southern California, but demand is limited due to the high cost of the technology and the lack of a broad refueling infrastructure.

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“The grant will help further our research efforts to develop next-generation technologies for our vehicles,” Ford said in a statement.

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Mercedes-Benz to Join Hydrogen Car Club

Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be first hydrogen plug-in hybrid.

by on Jun.14, 2016

The latest version of the Mercedes-Benz GLC will get a hydrogen-plug-in driveline in 2017.

Mercedes-Benz is the latest automaker to confirm plans to put a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle into production, joining a small but growing list that could reach 17 or more different models over the course of the next decade.

The luxury arm of Daimler AG has been fleet testing a number of hydrogen-powered vehicles in both California and Europe in recent years, including one off the small B-Class. But the production model will be based on the next generation GLC compact crossover. And the Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be the industry’s first to back up its hydrogen fuel-cell system with a plug-in hybrid.

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The upcoming launch of the F-Cell is part of Daimler AG’s broader green car strategy, the German maker intending to spend around $8 billion on alternative powertrain technologies during just the next two years, said R&D chief Thomas Weber. Instead of focusing on one or two possibilities, Daimler will test the waters for a broad variety of technologies, each with “their justification and chances” for acceptance.

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At Least 17 Fuel Cell Vehicles Set to Reach Market Over Next Decade

But hydrogen power still faces major infrastructure challenges.

by on May.06, 2016

The Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle went on sale in Southern California late last year.

While new, long-range electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, have dominated headlines lately, a number of major automakers are working up a green alternative, and at least 17 new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will be on the market around the world by 2027, according to a new study by IHS Automotive.

There are currently just two, the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle, with Honda set to launch its new Clarity model later this year. But manufacturers such as General Motors and Daimler AG are working up their own offerings. The big challenge is coming up with the refueling infrastructure needed to support hydrogen powertrain technology.

Tech Talk!

“This could be a ‘now or never’ situation for FCEVs (fuel-cell electric vehicles) in mass market mobility,” said Ben Scott a senior IHS analyst, depending on the simultaneous launch of more vehicles and the addition of refueling stations.

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Honda Expanding Clarity Platform to EVs

Two-thirds of line-up will be electrified by 2030.

by on Apr.21, 2016

Honda plans to expand the Clarity platform into a trio of highly efficient vehicles by the end of 2017.

Honda plans to expand the Clarity platform into a trio of highly efficient vehicles by the end of 2017.

With relatively little fanfare, Honda unveiled a new platform for a family of vehicles with alternative powertrains the company plans to introduce by the end of 2017, including a new fuel cell vehicle that utilizes the new Clarity platform.

John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president, said during a press conference in Detroit the Clarity platform will also be used for battery electric vehicle that will debut next year and plug-in hybrid vehicle that will roll out towards the end of 2017 as a 2018.

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“It’s a very flexible platform,” he said, adding the Clarity was designed specifically to accommodate Honda’s electrification strategy. (more…)

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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A Fuel-Cell Primer

Q&A on hydrogen power.

by on Jan.25, 2016

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

Honda has put a price tag on the new Clarity Fuel-Cell sedan it plans to launch in the U.S. later this year. For $60,000, you’ll be able to buy what proponents bill as the cleanest technology on the highway.

But what exactly is a fuel-cell, and where do you get the hydrogen needed to bill a vehicle that the Honda Clarity. With three of these vehicles set to be on sale by year-end, it’s probably a good time to get down to some of the basics. Here are 10 key questions – and answers – about fuel-cell technology.

Q: What exactly is a fuel-cell vehicle?

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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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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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