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GM, US Army Team Up on Fuel-Cell Pickup

Chevrolet Colorado hydrogen truck to be unveiled in October.

by on Aug.30, 2016

GM is partnering with the Army Tank Command on a hydrogen-powered pickup.

The U.S. Army is enlisting some help from General Motors. They’re partnering on a prototype fuel-cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado that could eventually find applications at military bases and perhaps even on the front lines.

The prototype, set to make its formal debut in October, is a joint project of GM and the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC. It’s the latest in a series of partnerships between the Detroit automaker and the U.S. military, GM earlier this year announcing plans to develop a hydrogen-powered deep sear research mini-sub that will be tested by the Navy.

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”Hydrogen fuel cells as a power source have the potential to bring to the force incredibly valuable capabilities,” TARDEC Director Paul Rogers said in a statement accompanying a teaser image of the hydrogen-powered Colorado.


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.


Hyundai Aiming for #2 in Green Vehicle Market

Korean maker and partner Kia will launch 26 “eco” models by 2020.

by on May.25, 2016

The Hyundai Ioniq will be offered with hybrid, plug-in and EV versions.

Hyundai has big plans for the “eco” market, with the maker planning to introduce 26 new hybrid, plug-in, battery-electric and fuel-cell  vehicles between now and 2020, a blitz that begins with this year’s launch of the new Ioniq model.

The challenge, said the head of the Korean carmaker’s green car program, will be winning over motorists who’ve so far shown a reluctance to buy battery and hydrogen cars in large numbers. But, facing increasingly stringent emissions and mileage mandates, Hyundai – and its rivals – have no choice but to bring cleaner, more energy-efficient products to market, said executive Byung Ki Ahn.

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“We’re making a serious effort to be the number two producer of EVs and fuel-cell vehicles,” said Ahn, the director of the Eco-Vehicle Performance Development Group for Hyundai and partner Kia. “I don’t think we can beat Toyota right away.”


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.

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“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.


Hyundai Blitzing Market with 26 Green Machines

Korean maker aims to rival Toyota in alternative powertrain technology.

by on Apr.05, 2016

The Hyundai Ioniq makes its debut at the NY Auto Show. Hybrid, plug-in and EV versions will be offered.

When Hyundai pulled the wraps off its new Ioniq model last month, it offered three different alternative flavors: a conventional hybrid, a plug-in and a pure battery-electric version. But that’s just the beginning of the Korean carmaker’s green car push.

Within the next four years, Hyundai Motor Group – including both the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands – intends to flood the market with 26 green machines, including both battery and hydrogen-powered models.

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The move is a risky one, especially in light of current, low gas prices that could stay depressed for several more years. But if Hyundai can pull it off, only Toyota would offer more models using alternative powertrain technology.


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.


EVs Going Mainstream, Insists Renault-Nissan’s Ghosn

Exec promises new, extended-range battery cars coming later this year.

by on Jul.07, 2015

Sales of the Nissan Leaf have slowed by about 23% in the U.S. so far this year.

Despite recent struggles in the market, battery-electric vehicles are going “mainstream ,” or so says Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance – which just happens to produce the world’s best-selling EV, the Nissan Leaf.

That optimism might not be shared by everyone. With gas prices in a slump – and expected to dip even further – sales of battery-based vehicles have taken a sharp tumble this year. The Leaf itself was down 23% in the U.S. for the first half of 2013. But in a commentary on LinkedIn, Ghosn suggested the setback is temporary.

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And he predicted demand will get a boost with the launch of longer-range electric vehicles such as the ones Renault-Nissan plans to introduce later this year.

“From the start, we set lofty goals for the LEAF. While we fell short of our initial sales targets, I remain bullish on the future of EVs as they move into the mainstream,” Ghosn wrote.


Lack of Fuel Limits Hyundai Hydrogen Car Sales

Sales could grow as refueling network expands across California.

by on May.20, 2015

The Hyundai fuel cell stack shown in front of the Tucson. The entire package fits under the hood where a gas engine would normally go.

A lack of a hydrogen fueling network is taking its toll on Hyundai’s fuel cell-powered Tucson model, according to the maker’s top U.S. executive.

That has forced the maker to turn away potential buyers who simply don’t live close enough to the handful of hydrogen pumps currently open to the public in Southern California. But Dave Zuchowski, CEO of Hyundai Motor America said the situation should improve over the next few years as a state-funded effort opens more hydrogen fueling stations.

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Hyundai has sold “under 100” of the Tucson FCV models since the fuel-cell vehicle was introduced last summer, said Zuchowski, during a chat with reporters following a drive of two of the maker’s other alternative-power vehicles, the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models.


Japan Investing Big in Hydrogen Power

Setting up network of refueling stations before 2020 Olympics.

by on Jan.22, 2015

Toyota Mirai, the maker's hydrogen fuel cell car, represents its future rather than electric vehicles.

As part of its broader shift away from nuclear power, Japan is turning towards hydrogen, a lightweight gas some proponents like to call the fuel of the future.

The government has approved an investment of 45.2 billion yen, or $385 million, to set up a network of hydrogen refueling stations that will be in place in time for the 2020 Olympics in the capital city of Tokyo. The money also will provide subsidies for the development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

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“It’s time to introduce a hydrogen era,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after test driving the new Toyota Mirai. (more…)

Mercedes Reveals Far-Reaching Autonomous Concept

First look: Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion.

by on Jan.06, 2015

The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion Concept attempts to redefine the future of transportation.

Looking more like something that’s rolled off the set of a science fiction film than anything on the road today, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car is intended to give us a glimpse of a very different future.

Powered by a pair of electric motors, the autonomous prototype making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is designed to show how tomorrow’s cars could be cleaner, safer – and transform themselves into living rooms on wheels.

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Measuring just an inch shorter than today’s Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and riding on a platform with a wheelbase nearly as long as a full-size pickup, the bubble-shaped F 015 is intended to be a “forerunner of a mobility revolution,” the maker suggests.