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Toyota Touts Fuel Cell as Zero Emission Answer

Japanese maker sees fuel cell as the zero emission future.

by on Apr.13, 2016

Toyota leads the way in fuel-cell technology with the Mirai. Officials believe fuel cells are best for moving large vehicles with zero emissions.

Fuel cells using hydrogen remain the best alternative for moving heavy vehicles such as buses and trucks over long distances with zero emissions.

Justin Ward, general manager, Powertrain Systems Controls at Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America, iterated his support for the fuel cell during a panel discussion on the future of mobility as the annual Society of Automotive Engineers Congress got underway in Detroit.

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Battery electric vehicles remain the best alternative for short trips in urban areas, while hybrids and plug-in hybrids can work well for consumers who need a larger vehicle. But fuel cells work especially well in larger vehicles such busses and heavy-duty trucks, said Ward, noting extended duty cycles in big vehicles can help cover the cost of fuel cells. (more…)

Toyota “Staying the Course” Towards 54.5 MPG CAFE Target

“Eventually,” says auto chief Carter, $4 gas “will come back.”

by on Jan.14, 2015

Toyota's Bob Carter said Americans need to be prepared for a return to $4 gas in the future.

Enjoy cheap gas while you can, says Bob Carter, the head of U.S. automotive operations for Toyota. Like all good things, it “eventually” will come to an end.

The collapse of gas prices was the talk of the North American International Auto Show during this week’s media previews, and senior industry officials universally said that this unexpected shift has both its benefits and challenges.

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Consumers have more money to spend, but they’re also asking for the sort of big, powerful vehicles that could make it difficult to meet the upcoming, 54.5-mile per gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards that will take effect in 2025. (more…)

Toyota Launching Hydrogen Car in December, But Honda Delays its Fuel-Cell Vehicle.

Named Mirai, Toyota betting its new entry is the "future" of clean mobility.

by on Nov.18, 2014

Toyota announced it would begin selling its Mirai hydrogen fuel car in Japan this year and the rest of the world in 2015.

Declaring plans to be “at the leading edge,” Toyota says it will launch its new hydrogen-powered Mirai next month, bringing its first fuel-cell vehicle to market a bit ahead of its original schedule.

Honda, meanwhile, revealed an updated prototype of the hydrogen car it plans to bring to market, though its own plans may be slightly delayed. Nonetheless, it would join not just Toyota but also Hyundai in marketing the alternative powertrain technology that advocates claim could sidestep the limited range and other problems faced by today’s battery-electric vehicles.

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“In time, the fuel cell vehicle will become mainstream. We wanted to take the first step,” declared Mitsuhisa Kato, a Toyota executive vice president, at Mirai’s launch in Tokyo. “We want to be at the leading edge.” (more…)

Affordable Hydrogen Could Send Sales of Fuel-Cell Vehicles Soaring

U.S. “tantalizingly close to a fuel-cell transition,” says U-C Davis study.

by on Aug.15, 2014

U-C Davis Prof. Joan Ogden shown going for a drive in a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future,” goes the adage among automotive and environmental researchers, “and it always will be.”

Back around the turn of the Millennium, its time seemed to come, only to fall out of favor once again, as battery-power gained traction – and R&D dollars. But suddenly, hydrogen is once again gaining momentum, Hyundai recently launching sales of its first fuel-cell vehicle, and with Toyota and Honda planning FCVs of their own next year.

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The makers are all focusing on just the Southern California market, largely because it’s the only place where buyers currently can fill up. But a new study by the University of California, Davis says we may be approaching the tipping point where hydrogen will become the fuel of today. (more…)

California Drops $46.6 Million on New Hydrogen Fueling Stations

Automakers expanding fuel cell vehicle fleet in U.S.

by on May.07, 2014

Hyundai will bring its Tucson-based hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to market later this year.

While California is generally seen as the land of “green” experiments, the state is putting its money where its mouth is with the installation of dozens of new hydrogen fueling stations across the state.

The California Energy Commission is investing $46.6 million to accelerate the development of hydrogen fueling stations. The cash infusion will add 28 new stations to the existing nine stations. There are another 17 sites in various stages of development, which would bring the total stations expected online in the next couple of years to 54. That commission’s goal is 100 stations.

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The debate over the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles typically has been a chicken-or-the-egg style debate. Automakers have not pushed the development of the vehicles because there is no infrastructure in place to refuel the vehicles. Of course, the hydrogen fuel providers have countered they don’t want to invest in pricey new stations when there aren’t vehicles using them. (more…)

Audi Developing Hydrogen-Powered A7

Fuel cell technology regains momentum.

by on Jun.03, 2013

Audi will begin testing a hydrogen-powered version of the A7 this summer.

With automakers showing a renewed interest in hydrogen, Audi appears to be the latest manufacturer to be looking to develop a car that can use the light, clean-burning fuel.

According to a report from Europe, Audi plans to begin testing a prototype fuel-cell vehicle based on its popular A7 coupe-like sedan. It would become the latest addition to an expanding line-up of “tron” vehicles from Audi using alternative propulsion systems including battery-power and compressed natural gas.

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The new hydrogen-powered A7 would debut in August, according to Britain’s Autocar magazine, quoting an interview with Audi’s technical director Wolfgang Durheimer.


Ford, Daimler and Nissan form Fuel Cell Alliance

Move comes days after BMW and Toyota team up on the technology.

by on Jan.28, 2013

Mercedes-Benz has begun marketing its hydrogen-powered F-Cell in Southern California.

Ford, Daimler and Nissan will now team up in a push to bring hydrogen fuel cell technology to market as early as 2017, the makers have announced.

They collectively hope to produce as many as 100,000 fuel-cell vehicles, or FCVs, they revealed during a news conference in Nabern, Germany. Super-clean fuel cells could serve as an alternative to the battery-electric technology all four of the makers have been trying to sell to a so-far skeptical market.

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“This technology has the biggest potential for emission- free driving,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler’s technology chief. “This cooperation gives us the opportunity to bind together the know-how of three experienced partners” to enable commercial production of cars running on the powering system.


Tapping the Stars

Excerpt from: Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet

by on Mar.12, 2012

Honda has set up a solar-powered hydrogen refueling station near Los Angeles for the maker's FCX Clarity hydrogen vehicle.

Editor’s Note: We hear a lot about battery power these days, some proponents insists that hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles will be the only way to achieve the tough new mileage standards set for 2016 and 2025. Yet, not everyone is betting on batteries. There are plenty of proponents who believe the real answer is hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe and a gas that could truly achieve zero-emission driving.

Among the true believers is Peter Hoffmann, publisher of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter, and author of the new book, “Tomorrow’s Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet.”  TheDetroitBureau.com has this excerpt from that new book, the chapter titled, Terra Transport: Hydrogen for Cars, Buses, Bikes, and Boats.  To read more, Click Here for a link to Amazon.com.

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“Basically, we can mass produce these now. We are waiting for the infrastructure to catch up.”

That’s what Kazuaki Umezu, the head of Honda’s New Model Center, told reporters who in mid-2008 had come to cover a momentous event in the annals of hydrogen and fuel cell technology: the launch of the Japanese carmaker’s—and the world’s—first dedicated fuel cell car assembly plant in Takanezawa, a small town of some 30,000 residents about 80 miles north of Tokyo.


Hydrogen Power Could Go Mainstream After All

Over 5,000 fueling stations will be in use by 2020, says study.

by on Jul.19, 2011

GM is testing the viability of its hydrogen-powered Equinox prototype as part of a Hawaiian pilot program.

Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, goes the old saw, and always will be.  A decade ago, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles were being billed as the green power source of choice, but interest has waned, in recent years as emphasis shifts to battery power.

But a new study suggests there’ll be a big market for the clean, lightweight gas, after all.  According to Pike Research, there will be at least 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations in operation around the globe by 2020, the result of an estimated $8.4 billion investment effort.

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Demand for the fuel is forecast to grow to 418 million kilograms (920 million pounds) annually, compared to 775,000 kilograms (1.7 million pounds) today.

“Currently, the major players in hydrogen fueling are large multinationals: the industrial gas companies, and the energy and gas companies, both those that operate retail gas stations and those that provide fuels for the grid. These companies tend to favor large-scale hydrogen infrastructure options,” explains Pike senior analyst Lisa Jerram.


GM Looking to Commercialize Fuel Cells by 2015

Big technology gains could put hydrogen power back on map.

by on Sep.24, 2009

Actor Bo Bridges tries out a hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox. The latest GM fuel cell "stack" is lighter, smaller and far less expensive.

Actor Bo Bridges tries out a hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox. The latest GM fuel cell "stack" is lighter, smaller and far less expensive.

Fuel cells.  Remember them?

It wasn’t all that long ago that the headlines were filled with talk about hydrogen-based technology as the answer to the auto industry’s environmental problems.  Over the last year or so, there’s been a shift to battery-powered drivetrain systems.  But a numerous of technical improvements could put the fuel cell back in the running as the powertrain of choice for tomorrow’s automobile.

With Daimler AG promising to put the hydrogen-powered F-Cell into production, in the coming months, General Motors is hinting it could commercialize its own fuel cell technology as early as 2015.  That’s a bit later than the troubled automaker once promised, but the news runs counter to those who expected GM to abandon its hydrogen program entirely in order to focus on battery-based vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt.

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A release from General Motors hints at some of the reasons for its optimism – though TheDetroitBureau.com recently had a chance to see the new, 5th-generation GM fuel cell technology up close, where some additional details were disclosed.