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Honda, Daimler Make Major Forays into Zero Emissions Energy Sourcing

Daimler backing hydrogen, Honda putting its money into solar power.

by on Oct.08, 2014

A Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell vehicle protoype with a Linde hydrogen gas tanker.

Facing increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy mandates around the world, automakers are looking for clean alternatives, such as electrification and hydrogen. But making the switch isn’t as easy as coming up with a long-range battery or an affordable fuel cell. It also means making available to the public ways to “fill up” with clean sources of energy.

Both Honda and Daimler AG today announced plans to invest millions of dollars in sustainable energy – on top of what they’re already spending to develop clean powertrain technologies. Honda is partnering with U.S. based solar energy company solar city. Daimler, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, is, meanwhile, teaming up with Germany’s Linde Group to set up a network of hydrogen fueling stations.

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“There is no question that fuel-cell technology is reaching maturity,” explains Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler AG. “From 2017, we are planning to bring competitively priced fuel-cell vehicles to market. So now is the time to build a nationwide fuelling infrastructure.”


Honda Goes Solar

Partnership promises to deliver sun power for less than the local electric utility charges.

by on Feb.21, 2013

Honda has had an ongoing interest in solar power, such as this sun-powered hydrogen station at its LA research center.

The first automaker to offer a hybrid-electric vehicle in the U.S. market, Honda is diving even deeper into renewable energy with a project it says could make solar power affordable for its dealers and customers.

The goal of Honda’s new partnership with SolarCity is to make energy from the sun less costly than utility-supplied power, according to the carmaker – which has set up a $65 million investment fund to back the project.

“We believe Honda and Acura customers are going to be very interested in going solar once they find out that they can install solar at their home with little or no upfront cost, can lower their monthly utility bill, and can make a positive contribution to protecting the environment,” said Steven Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

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Founded by brothers Lyndon and Peter Rive in 2006, and headquartered in San Mateo, California, SolarCity provides a wide range of sun-powered technologies, including commercial and residential solar energy arrays, as well as solar charging stations for electric vehicles which Honda says it also is “envisioning” for its future EV and plug-in hybrid customers.


VW Opens Huge Solar Park at Tennessee Plant

Chattanooga line called “world’s greenest auto plant.”

by on Jan.23, 2013

VW's new Chattanooga Solar Park covers 33 acres.

With a little help from the sun, Volkswagen has fired up what it is calling the biggest solar power array in use at any American auto plant.

The Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park can produce a maximum 13.1 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power 1,200 typical homes – or about 12.5% of the energy needs of the sprawling complex where the maker assembles its midsize Passat model.

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“The solar park is another proof point of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection under its Think Blue factory philosophy,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of VW’s Chattanooga manufacturing operations, “a broadly focused initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions.”


U.S. Departments of Energy and Interior Announce New Solar Energy Demonstration Projects

The first project will advance renewable, solar created electricity at a former nuclear weapons testing site in Nevada.

by on Jul.09, 2010

Funding is by a combination of private and taxpayer supplied dollars.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada have announced the site of a “Solar Demonstration Zone” for emerging solar energy technologies.

The Solar Demonstration Zone will be located in the southwest corner of the Nevada Test Site, a former nuclear site, on lands owned by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and administered by DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Secretaries Chu and Salazar signed an interagency Memorandum of Understanding that will enable the Department of Energy to develop “innovative solar energy projects” there.

These projects will serve as proving grounds for new solar technologies, providing a link between DOE’s advanced technology development and full-scale commercialization efforts.

“The Nevada Test Site is about to play a new role in securing America’s future – but instead of testing nuclear weapons, we will test new solar technologies that will help put America on a sustainable energy path,” said Secretary Chu.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees 23 million acres of Southwestern lands with solar potential, and could play an important role in supporting renewable energy goals.


“These projects on BLM land in Nevada can significantly reduce the costs and environmental impacts of utility-scale solar power facilities and demonstrate the commercial viability of these facilities,” Secretary Salazar said.