The Truth About Cars » Alternative Energy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Alternative Energy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/alternative-energy/ Sandia Labs: Underground Geologic Formations Hold Future Of Hydrogen Storage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/sandia-labs-underground-geologic-formations-hold-future-hydrogen-storage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/sandia-labs-underground-geologic-formations-hold-future-hydrogen-storage/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958345 Part of hydrogen becoming a viable energy option in the United States is infrastructure, which isn’t much at present. Should business pick up, however, hydrogen would need to be stored as cheaply as possible to facilitate greater adoption. Sandia Labs suggests storing hydrogen in salt and other underground geologic formations over above-ground tanks, as the […]

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Part of hydrogen becoming a viable energy option in the United States is infrastructure, which isn’t much at present. Should business pick up, however, hydrogen would need to be stored as cheaply as possible to facilitate greater adoption.

Sandia Labs suggests storing hydrogen in salt and other underground geologic formations over above-ground tanks, as the latter costs three to five times more than simply tossing the gas down a cavern. Volume also plays a role, as underground structures are quite roomy over a pressurized tank near a fueling station, and such structures can be linked to electrical grids through electrolyzer systems, as well.

For this idea to be a success, the laboratory looked at salt caverns in four locations to determine permeability amid peak summer demand. It found that 10 percent above average demand over 120 days would be best. Further, salt was chosen over other geological formations in the first place, as the mineral is best at keeping hydrogen molecules from leaking out.

The main limitation is quantity: there are few salt formations in the U.S. to store the fuel. Thus, other options will need to be considered for a comprehensive national hydrogen reserve to happen.

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Toyota Increasing Mirai Production To Meet Strengthening Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-increasing-mirai-production-meet-strengthening-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-increasing-mirai-production-meet-strengthening-demand/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957394 Its looks leave the B&B cold, and is powered by a fuel whose infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. So, how popular could the Toyota Mirai possibly be? Better than you’d expect. Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota will be investing ¥20 billion ($165 million USD) to triple local production in order to meet corporate […]

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Toyota Mirai in Red

Its looks leave the B&B cold, and is powered by a fuel whose infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. So, how popular could the Toyota Mirai possibly be? Better than you’d expect.

Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota will be investing ¥20 billion ($165 million USD) to triple local production in order to meet corporate and public-sector demand, which is likely to exceed the 700 units currently planned for assembly by the FCV’s showroom debut December 15.

The investment will allow for increased fuel stack and hydrogen tank production at its main factory in Toyota City, with upgrades planned at a nearby facility where final assembly of the Mirai is conducted. In turn, the move could spur on related investments in infrastructure and other products by interested companies.

Toyota expects to sell 400 Mirais in its home market by the end of 2015, with 3,000-plus moved in the United States by the same period in 2017, and around 50 to 100 in Europe in 2016. Exports to the U.S. and Europe are set to begin next summer.

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France Begins Divorce Proceedings Against Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/france-begins-divorce-proceedings-diesel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/france-begins-divorce-proceedings-diesel/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954617 For the longest time, France loved the diesel. Alas, the thrill has gone away. Just-Auto reports the French government introduced a program aimed at removing the most polluting vehicles — diesel-powered passenger vehicles in particular — from the roadways, along with provisions for local officials to limit access to said vehicles. Prime minister Manuel Valls […]

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2006 Peugeot 908 RC Concept

For the longest time, France loved the diesel. Alas, the thrill has gone away.

Just-Auto reports the French government introduced a program aimed at removing the most polluting vehicles — diesel-powered passenger vehicles in particular — from the roadways, along with provisions for local officials to limit access to said vehicles. Prime minister Manuel Valls laid it out as such:

In France, we have long favoured the diesel engine. This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically.

Presently, 80 percent of the nation’s drivers operate diesel-powered vehicles, thanks to the lower price for the fuel over gasoline. Thus, to encourage them to consider more eco-friendly options, the government will raise the excise tax on diesel to €2 ($2.50 USD) per liter, and will begin in 2015 to identify vehicles by the amount of pollution they produce. Further, energy minister Segolene Royal introduced earlier in 2014 a tax credit of up to €10,000 ($13,500) for exchanging their diesels for an electric vehicle, while other subsidies linked to the new plan will help drivers in anti-pollution areas convert their old diesels.

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Toyota’s LFA Works Now Home To Mirai FCV Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-lfa-works-now-home-mirai-fcv-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-lfa-works-now-home-mirai-fcv-production/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=952529 Remember when Herr Schmitt took us for a TTAC exclusive into the workshop that made the Lexus LFA? It’s now the home of the Toyota Mirai. Automotive News reports Toyota gave its FCV to the LFA Works — located behind the Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Japan — because the facility’s attention to detail and […]

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Remember when Herr Schmitt took us for a TTAC exclusive into the workshop that made the Lexus LFA? It’s now the home of the Toyota Mirai.

Automotive News reports Toyota gave its FCV to the LFA Works — located behind the Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Japan — because the facility’s attention to detail and better tools (i.e., hands) than any of the more “ultra-efficient,” machine-powered factories under the automaker’s watch.

Because of the Mirai’s hand-built nature — the powertrain and other components are assembled in Toyota’s Honsha plant, then brought over to the LFA Works for final assembly — executive vice president for domestic sales Masamoto Maekawa warns supplies will be limited, with only 700 planned for the first year, 200 of which are already on-order:

Each unit is carefully built with utmost care. So therefore, the production volume might be limited. During the initial stages, delivery time might be delayed. The 200 orders are mostly from government and corporate fleets.

Prior to the Mirai, the small workshop made limited-edition models, including a $10,000, 100-unit run of carbon fiber bicycles marketed to well-off Lexus owners, a carbon-fiber roof for special performance variant of the Toyota Mark X, and of course, the 500 LFAs assembled between 2010 and 2012.

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Accuracy Issues Real Reason For Free Hydrogen For FCV Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949129 Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen. According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States […]

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Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen.

According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States aren’t able to accurately measure how much hydrogen is pumped into a given vehicle. Without that accuracy, no FCV owner can be charged for the fuel, a problem the California Air Resources Board is working to fix. Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala explains:

If you think about it, it’s a real simple yet real practical challenge. If you’re going to pay for X amount of hydrogen, you’re actually getting that amount of hydrogen… We are at a point where we are solving multiple remaining questions [with hydrogen infrastructure], and that just happens to be one of them.

National Fuel Cell Research Center director Scott Samuelsen adds that this was once the issue with gasoline, with agencies like California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Weights and Measures setting standards for fuel pumps, then routinely inspecting said pumps to ensure they remained accurate. Once “the right meter” to measure hydrogen is in place, the new consumer fuel source would fall in line.

A solution to this problem is expected to arrive within a year’s time at the latest.

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Honda UK Launches First Commercial Solar Hydrogen Facility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-uk-launches-first-commercial-solar-hydrogen-facility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-uk-launches-first-commercial-solar-hydrogen-facility/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944001 In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England. SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas […]

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In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England.

SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas from water via the sun’s heat. The first customers will be limited to a pair of forklifts and a commercial fleet on the grounds of Honda’s Swindon production plant, as well as an education center next door.

The hydrogen will be delivered through 300-meter long pipes to a refueling point inside the factory, where two Briggs lithium-ion/hydrogen hybrid forklifts will replenish their tanks as needed. The fueling process is expected to take five minutes, each full tank generating 5.5 hours of run time.

Honda hopes the new facility, parts of which were already in operation since 2011, “will be a benchmark for other refuelling stations to follow” as well as reinforce the United Kingdom’s potential among automakers as a place to contribute to the new hydrogen future with vehicles and infrastructure.

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Ethanol Advocates Conduct Pre-Election Ad Campaign Blitz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936970 In less than a week, the B&B will head out to the polls to decide the direction the United States will take for the next two years. Big Ethanol, too, is interested in the direction taken. AutoblogGreen reports Fuels America, an advocate for the fuel source, is conducting a major advertising campaign to persuade the […]

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Ethanol Pump

In less than a week, the B&B will head out to the polls to decide the direction the United States will take for the next two years.

Big Ethanol, too, is interested in the direction taken.

AutoblogGreen reports Fuels America, an advocate for the fuel source, is conducting a major advertising campaign to persuade the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency not to make cuts into the Renewable Fuels Standard, the mandate that makes E85, E10 and every other blend possible.

The blitz — which kicked-off last week — is being carried through Beltway media such as Politico, RollCall and WTOP-FM, and will continue until November 5.

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Fuel Prices Leave Efficient, Greener Offerings On The Lot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fuel-prices-leave-efficient-greener-offerings-lot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fuel-prices-leave-efficient-greener-offerings-lot/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934794 Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings. Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the […]

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Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings.

Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max alone have seen increased incentives, with the latter jumping from $2,650 last September, to $4,900 this past September.

Meanwhile, strengthening fuel efficiency targets may lead to automakers producing vehicles that, according to Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Eric Ibarra, “consumers don’t want to buy” should gasoline and diesel prices remain low. Per forecasts by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the decrease in fuel costs will remain in play for at least another year, thanks to the oil boom in places like Alberta and North Dakota.

That said, dealerships aren’t too worried yet, believing consumers are ever-vigilant toward price spikes. Until then, SUVs and pickups will dominate the highways for another day.

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Automakers, Utilities Collaborate On Plug-In Cloud Charging Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/automakers-utilities-collaborate-plug-cloud-charging-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/automakers-utilities-collaborate-plug-cloud-charging-technology/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932394 A group of eight automakers are collaborating with 15 utility companies in the United States to give PHEVs and EVs the ability to communicate with the latter party and the grid through cloud computing. Edmunds reports the group of eight — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi — along […]

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Ford Focus EV Cloud Charging

A group of eight automakers are collaborating with 15 utility companies in the United States to give PHEVs and EVs the ability to communicate with the latter party and the grid through cloud computing.

Edmunds reports the group of eight — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi — along with the 15 companies, Sumitomo Electric Industries and the Electric Power Research Institute, are developing a platform that would use the cloud to better manage energy usage and grid efficiency “while still meeting the needs” of PHEV and EV owners. The platform is called the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform.

OVGI would operate as follows: an owner would plug their car in as usual, then set a time for when the vehicle would be back on the road. The utility company could then send a message to the car to stop charging during peak power use, or, if doing so would hinder the vehicle’s ability to get back on the road, allow the vehicle to continue charging until it was ready to go.

In turn, the companies could offer their customers incentives to offer their plug-ins to the grid through lower rates on electricity usage. Customers can opt-out, charge elsewhere, or have the vehicle ignore the request.

The first OVGI test is occurring this week at Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Customer Service Center, where the tech will be demonstrated before federal, state, automotive and utility representatives and officials.

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Tesla’s First Battery Swap Station Opening Soon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/teslas-first-battery-swap-station-opening-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/teslas-first-battery-swap-station-opening-soon/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932362 While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping. SlashGear […]

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Tesla Supercharger

While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping.

SlashGear reports the first swapping station will come online within the next few months, offering S and X owners the option of allowing robots to swap a drained pack for a fully charged unit from underneath the car within 90 seconds. Not only is this method faster than refueling at the local ARCO, but it blows away the Supercharger’s 30-minute charging time, as well.

The pack swap would also enable owners to retrieve their original packs later on, or, should retrieval become inconvenient, pay the difference for the new pack. Critics note this could lead to supply problems, where some stations have batteries waiting for their owners to return, while others run short of new packs.

The first station will open somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco, though further details were scant.

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Singapore Researchers Invent New Anode For Faster Battery Charging, Increased Longevity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/singapore-researchers-invent-new-anode-faster-battery-charging-increased-longevity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/singapore-researchers-invent-new-anode-faster-battery-charging-increased-longevity/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932306 One of the main roadblocks to wide adoption of EVs is how quickly the battery can be fully charged. While Tesla’s Supercharger could put a Model S P85D back on the road in 30 minutes to an hour, a Dodge Charger Hellcat can pull up to and away from the pump in three minutes, barring […]

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NTU Assoc Prof Chen Xiaodong with research fellow Tang Yuxin and PhD student Deng Jiyang

One of the main roadblocks to wide adoption of EVs is how quickly the battery can be fully charged. While Tesla’s Supercharger could put a Model S P85D back on the road in 30 minutes to an hour, a Dodge Charger Hellcat can pull up to and away from the pump in three minutes, barring a run inside the 7-Eleven for a cup of coffee and a couple of donuts.

That roadblock may come down sooner than later, thanks to researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University.

The university recently unveiled a new battery that could be recharged to 70 percent capacity within two minutes, and boasts a lifespan of 20 years over the two to three years of life found in current lithium-ion batteries.

The secret? Replacing the graphite anode in those batteries with a nanogel composed of titanium oxide, a chemical commonly found in soil, sunscreen and food. Invented by Professor Chen Xiaodong at the university’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, the gel will be taken to the next level with a proof-of-concept grant to help fund a large-scale prototype.

Meanwhile, at least one company has already purchased a license to develop the titanium oxide battery for production down the road. Chen himself believes his invention will enter the marketplace within the next two years, knocking down more than just the long-charging barrier in so doing:

Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars.

Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the toxic waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last ten times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.

Ease of manufacturing and lower replacement costs may further widespread adoption within the industry, in turn increasing adoption rates for whatever EVs come down the line in the future; the nanogel — a mixture of titanium oxide and sodium hydroxide — is stirred together at a given temperature for easier integration into current production systems.

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EU Withdraws 2020 Electric, Hydrogen Infrastructure Quota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/eu-withdraws-2020-electric-hydrogen-infrastructure-quota/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/eu-withdraws-2020-electric-hydrogen-infrastructure-quota/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930818 The European Union is withdrawing a mandated quota of EV and hydrogen refueling stations that are to be installed in member states by 2020. Instead, the governing body is asking each member install an “appropriate number” of publically accessible EV stations by the start of the new decade, with hydrogen due by 2025 for those […]

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The European Union is withdrawing a mandated quota of EV and hydrogen refueling stations that are to be installed in member states by 2020. Instead, the governing body is asking each member install an “appropriate number” of publically accessible EV stations by the start of the new decade, with hydrogen due by 2025 for those who choose to develop the resource.

Auto Express reports the United Kingdom — as one example — would have fallen 64,000 units short of 122,000 units by 2020, but can now focus instead on its own £9 million ($14.4 million USD) infrastructure program, which will put over 200 electric stations online by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, campaign group Transport & Environment clean vehicles manager Greg Archer lamented the change in the mandate, placing the blame on the member states who “could not accept binding committments for low-carbon charging infrastructure”:

Europe can and should do better and initiate a comprehensive strategy on e-mobility. This continent needs to join the race for clean innovation, cut its €300 billion oil import bill and reduce CO2 emissions as soon as possible.

The Clean Power for Transport mandate will go into effect by the end of October.

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Toyota Raffling First US-Bound Mirai FCV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/toyota-raffling-first-us-bound-mirai-fcv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/toyota-raffling-first-us-bound-mirai-fcv/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=928490 If you’d like to be one of the first in the United States to hop aboard the silver future of FCVs, but would also like to keep as much money in your wallet as possible, then Toyota has a Mirai for you. The automaker is planning to give away one of its new FCVs during […]

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Toyota Mirai

If you’d like to be one of the first in the United States to hop aboard the silver future of FCVs, but would also like to keep as much money in your wallet as possible, then Toyota has a Mirai for you.

The automaker is planning to give away one of its new FCVs during the 24th Annual Environmental Media Awards October 18 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. The caveats are as follows:

  • You must be a California resident (due to infrastructure limitations)
  • You must buy a raffle ticket at Bidding For Good; $100 for a single ticket, $500 for six

The money raised from the raffle will go on to benefit EMA-related programs, while the new owner will be paying taxes on their new hydrogen car, assuming tax credits don’t knock off everything first. Otherwise, you can buy your own when the Mirai party pulls into the Port of Long Beach late next year.

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Chevrolet, Honda Give CNG Passenger Cars Another Chance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chevrolet-honda-give-cng-passenger-cars-another-chance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chevrolet-honda-give-cng-passenger-cars-another-chance/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915178 Aside from a few trucks, some taxis and a fair number of buses, natural gas doesn’t receive a lot of play in the alternative energy game in comparison to darlings such as electric power and hydrogen. Despite this condition, Chevrolet and Honda are both ready to push natural gas onto commuters and efficiency-minded consumers alike. […]

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Aside from a few trucks, some taxis and a fair number of buses, natural gas doesn’t receive a lot of play in the alternative energy game in comparison to darlings such as electric power and hydrogen. Despite this condition, Chevrolet and Honda are both ready to push natural gas onto commuters and efficiency-minded consumers alike.

The Detroit News reports Honda recently introduced a new generation of its Civic Natural Gas model, featuring amenities like heated leather seats and premium sound systems the previous model lacked. Chevrolet, on the other hand, plans to bring a dual-fuel Impala to the party in a few months, being able to use either CNG or gasoline depending on the situation.

Though both brands are willing to give CNG passenger cars another shot, not too many others are as willing. Most automakers believe there’s no money or demand to be found in the alternative fuel, legislators are too focused on the in-crowd of energy solutions, and environmentalists are playing the long game instead of being in the present.

As for the vehicles themselves, both models will come straight from the factory with the same warranties as their gasoline-powered siblings, with the expectation of greater confidence in CNG from the consumer as a result. The Civic and Impala will likely drum up competition among other CNG vehicle manufacturers for the first time in a decade, as well.

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Dongfeng Nissan Launches Leaf-Based Venucia e30 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dongfeng-nissan-launches-leaf-based-venucia-e30/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dongfeng-nissan-launches-leaf-based-venucia-e30/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912650 After 3.1 million miles of pilot testing, Dongfeng Nissan last week launched its version of the Leaf for the Chinese EV market, the Venucia e30. Prior to the official launch, around 300 of the ¥267,800 ($43,460 USD) e30s went through a quality and safety pilot program in Guangzhou, Xiangyang and Dalian, logging 3.1 million “failure-free” […]

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After 3.1 million miles of pilot testing, Dongfeng Nissan last week launched its version of the Leaf for the Chinese EV market, the Venucia e30.

Prior to the official launch, around 300 of the ¥267,800 ($43,460 USD) e30s went through a quality and safety pilot program in Guangzhou, Xiangyang and Dalian, logging 3.1 million “failure-free” miles in so doing. Six more cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Tianjin and Hangzhou — join the original three locations as part of the initial launch before sales go nationwide next year.

As for what consumers will get out of the reworked original EV for the masses, the e30 is expected to deliver up to 35 miles in range after using the quick-charge option, with normal charging also available. In addition, the EV comes with government subsidies, as well as lower running costs of 85 percent compared to similar gasoline models.

Though it remains to be seen how well the e30 hits it off with the Chinese public, the Leaf is doing well for itself as of late, with Nissan selling 3,186 units in the United States last month, and year-to-year U.S. sales jumping 34 percent to 18,841 units.

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Volkswagen: Hydrogen Will Struggle Outside of Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909146 While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere. According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for […]

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While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere.

According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for other governments to match. He adds that issues surrounding refueling infrastructure and the handling of hydrogen itself will add to the roadblocks awaiting the technology outside of Japan.

Those comments — echoing sentiments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other hydrogen skeptics — aren’t lost on either Toyota or the Abe administration. Company representative Dion Corbett says the subsidies are needed to help get hydrogen off the ground, citing the high cost of developing fuel-cell technology. That said, Dion believes demand will not only be the highest in Japan — where Abe envisions a “hydrogen society” of fuel-cells for homes and businesses as well as cars — but in Germany, California and the U.S. East Coast.

Though Volkswagen has its doubts, VW Japan representative Yasuo Maruta says the company is keeping its eye on Toyota’s efforts, planning to be no more than three years’ behind R&D work in relation to Toyota.

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Tesla Gigafactory May Land In Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-gigafactory-may-land-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-gigafactory-may-land-nevada/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906057 After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City. AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though […]

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Tesla Gigafactory

After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City.

AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though Tesla hasn’t said much as of this writing. Four other states were in contention to be the Gigafactory’s host: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Local ABC affiliate KOLO-TV — which has live-streaming news, if you wish to tune in later this afternoon — adds that the factory will be placed in the city’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, where 3.5 million cubic yards of earth were moved in less than four weeks to establish a pad for a large structure, all under the project name Project Tiger.

Once up and running, the Gigafactory will supply packs for as many as 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020, including the upcoming $35,000 Model 3 due around 2017. Project cost is projected at $5 billion, with the host state expected to chip in $500 million in the form of massive tax breaks.

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Artificial Leaves Key To Lowering Hydrogen Fuel Production Costs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/artificial-leaves-key-lowering-hydrogen-fuel-production-costs/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899658 For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE. CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

For all of the incentives thrown in front of the upcoming Toyota Mirai, the automaker believes fueling the FCV will remain an expensive proposition in the near-term. That is, unless new hydrogen production technologies do for fuel cells what petroleum technology did the for the ICE.

CleanTechnica reports a full tank of hydrogen for the Mirai would cost $50, according to Toyota North America senior vice president Bob Caster, who took his information from the U.S. Department of Energy. Caster added that the price could come down to as low as $30 per tank, a goal the DOE aims to deliver as soon as possible with an R&D investment of $20 million.

In the meantime, researchers in Japan, and at MIT and the Australian National University Research School of Biology are developing hydrogen processing techniques involving photosynthesis in so-called artificial leaves. MIT’s approach uses solar energy in a photoelectrochemical process to extract hydrogen, while the Australians swap iron with manganese in a naturally occurring protein named ferritin along with light-sensitive zinc chlorin to do the same. Japan, on the other hand, uses cyanobacteria.

All artificial-leaf projects are currently focused on providing cheap energy in developing countries, but do have the potential to scale to meet the needs of a burgeoning hydrogen industry.

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Report: Hydrogen Gaining Ground On Electricity Within Four Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-hydrogen-gaining-ground-electricity-within-four-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-hydrogen-gaining-ground-electricity-within-four-years/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893978 Though EVs currently hold the high ground in the zero-emission vehicle market, a new report claims those vehicles will be giving ground to hydrogen in the near future. According to The Detroit News, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis says a number of factors are coming together to push hydrogen […]

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Though EVs currently hold the high ground in the zero-emission vehicle market, a new report claims those vehicles will be giving ground to hydrogen in the near future.

According to The Detroit News, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis says a number of factors are coming together to push hydrogen to the forefront over electricity, including: investments in infrastructure; falling R&D costs for both vehicles and station equipment; and major automakers throwing their weight behind fuel cells. UC Davis professor and director of Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Joan Ogden explains:

We seem to be tantalizingly close to the beginning of a hydrogen transition. The next three to four years will be critical for determining whether hydrogen vehicles are just a few years behind electric vehicles, rather than decades.

Other factors include natural gas-based hydrogen production, various consumer incentives from federal and local governments, and large investments in R&D. However, Ogden cautions that adoption of hydrogen as a viable source of transportation may take some time due to low confidence in the fuel at the present.

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California Bill Would Cap EV Subsidies By Income http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-bill-cap-ev-subsidies-income/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-bill-cap-ev-subsidies-income/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:30:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884217 One of the bloodiest battlegrounds in the electric car wars is the topic of government subsidies for EV purchases. In the American case, it’s the $7500 federal tax credit for EVs and the various state incentives including California’s current $2500 rebate. In Europe and Asia, a variety of EV promotion schemes have frequently been the […]

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One of the bloodiest battlegrounds in the electric car wars is the topic of government subsidies for EV purchases. In the American case, it’s the $7500 federal tax credit for EVs and the various state incentives including California’s current $2500 rebate. In Europe and Asia, a variety of EV promotion schemes have frequently been the subject of acrimonious debate.  Much of the disagreement arises regarding the perceived “fairness” of rebates: defenders of subsidies generally claim that they help put EVs in the hands of middle-class consumers, with critics charging that they only serve to line the pockets of the wealthy. Now one California lawmaker wants to revamp the state’s subsidy program by capping the income level for households receiving EV rebates.

The LA Times reports that State Senator Kevin de Léon of Los Angeles has introduced a bill that would restrict who is eligible to receive EV subsidies by income level. Under California’s current statute, anyone who purchases a new EV is eligible for a $2500 cash rebate on top of the $7500 federal subsidy. De Léon’s bill, which has passed the California Senate and now waits to be reviewed by the Appropriations committee, would authorize the state’s Air Resource Board to limit eligibility for the program by income. It would also increase the incentives available to middle-class and lower-income consumers. This would include $1500 for junking a “high polluting” vehicle, and $3000 for purchase of a “clean air vehicle,” in addition to the $2500 already on offer for an EV. In addition, incentives would be weighted so that residents in areas with poor air quality (such as Los Angeles) might be eligible for more money.

De Léon and the bill’s other supporters cite research showing that under California’s current system, 90% of EV subsidy recipients are households making over $100,000 a year. Almost half of Tesla Model S buyers make $300,000 a year. By shifting rebate money away from those who arguably don’t deserve it and would buy expensive cars like the Model S anyway, de Léon and the environmental groups supporting him believe they can put more EVs within reach of the middle class. It would also save money in what has turned out to be an underfunded program: thousands of people are currently on a waiting list to receive rebates after program funds ran dry. If the Air Resource Board wants to increase the portion of zero-emission vehicles on California roads to 15% of the vehicle fleet by 2025, it will certainly take more effort. As of now, EV’s make up a little more than 1% of new vehicle sales in California, with plug-in hybrids adding an additional 1%.

Although de Léon’s intentions are admirable, they’re also misplaced. California is currently the headquarters and sole manufacturing location for Tesla, the hottest EV brand on the planet. Although a rep for Tesla was quoted as saying that the company has no official position on subsidies and that “there is a fair argument that wealthy people have less of a need for rebates than others,” there’s no point in being coy. If rebates help move more Teslas off the showroom floor and into the garages of consumers, it’s a huge win for an economy that has led the country in high-tech manufacturing for decades. It’s no secret that Tesla’s bitterest critics have come from some of the states that poured hundreds of millions of dollars into attracting and subsidizing their own auto plants. The debate over EV subsidies is largely an extension of that same regionalist backslapping, where committed state boosters (especially in the Southeast) are more than willing to spit fire on industry rivals behind a fog of poorly articulated “principles.” Giving back a small rebate to some of the state’s biggest taxpayers is hardly more odious than diverting education funds for industrial recruitment.

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Report: Global Fuel Consumption To Decline 4 Percent By 2035 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-global-fuel-consumption-decline-4-percent-2035/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-global-fuel-consumption-decline-4-percent-2035/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884393 Though peak oil usually refers to when production reaches the highest point it’ll ever see before coasting back down to the same level once experienced in the 1800s, a new report reveals a different oil peak will come in the next few years: the total product consumed worldwide. Autoblog Green says a report from Navigant […]

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Though peak oil usually refers to when production reaches the highest point it’ll ever see before coasting back down to the same level once experienced in the 1800s, a new report reveals a different oil peak will come in the next few years: the total product consumed worldwide.

Autoblog Green says a report from Navigant Research, titled “Transportation Forecast: Global Fuel Consumption,” claims worldwide consumption will begin to fall after 2021, where 367.3 billion gallons of fuel will be used that year. By 2035, the total fuel used then will have fallen 4 percent to 348.1 billion gallons.

The cause of this decline? Not peak oil, but a combination of alternative fuels and environmental concerns related to the use of petroleum, according to analyst Scott Shepherd:

The anticipated effects of climate change are driving international cooperation on mitigation efforts, including reducing oil consumption in the transportation sector. Markets for both vehicles and fuels have gradually begun to respond to these efforts, and alternative fuels -‑ including electricity, natural gas, and biodiesel ‑- are beginning to have an impact on global oil demand.

In addition, Navigant acknowledges improvements to the traditional ICE and vehicles in general in fueling the eventual decline in global fuel consumption.

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Linde North America Receives $4.3M To Build Two NoCal Hydrogen Stations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/linde-north-america-receives-4-3m-build-two-nocal-hydrogen-stations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/linde-north-america-receives-4-3m-build-two-nocal-hydrogen-stations/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883601 Silicon Valley startup bros looking to trade in their Teslas and Prii for FCEVs and Mirais will soon have two fueling options available from gas giant Linde North America. Autoblog Green reports Linde received a $4.3 million grant from the California Energy Commission to build two fueling stations in Oakland and San Ramon. The Oakland […]

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Linde Hydrogen Fuel Pump

Silicon Valley startup bros looking to trade in their Teslas and Prii for FCEVs and Mirais will soon have two fueling options available from gas giant Linde North America.

Autoblog Green reports Linde received a $4.3 million grant from the California Energy Commission to build two fueling stations in Oakland and San Ramon. The Oakland location will be at Oakland International Airport, while the San Ramon station will be next to Toyota’s regional office and parts distribution center for the Bay Area.

Linde’s two stations are part of 13 such stations in NoCal to be funded through the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, joining 15 hydrogen stations in SoCal. Eight applicants in total won grant funding from the program, whose goal is to have 100 stations in operation within 10 years. The program receives $20 million annually from the California state legislature.

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Japanese Officials Pushing Hard With Subsidies For New Hydrogen Mirai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883545 The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free. Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free.

Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will receive a ¥2 million (~$20,000) subsidy from the Japanese government when the first models go on sale next year, with residents of Aichi prefecture — the home of Toyota — taking an extra ¥1 million (~$10,000) from the local government.

However, paying only as much as ¥4 million ($39,175) for the honor of being one of the new pioneers of the silver hydrogen future might not be enough to bring the Mirai out of the showroom, as fueling infrastructure is nearly non-existent. The Japanese government aims to bring 100 stations online by March 2015 at the earliest, for what it’s worth.

So, where does the “free car” offer come in? Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai reported on a few suggestions made by a government panel on how to spur FCV adoption rates, including offering free FCVs, free hydrogen refueling and toll exemptions. The daily explained that the government’s hydrogen vision “must contain more radical ideas” in order to generate excitement from the public and “catalyze a revolutionary socioeconomic change.” A hell of a way to push the Mirai for Summerslam, one would suppose.

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Panasonic, Tesla Enter Into Gigafactory Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-gigafactory-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-gigafactory-agreement/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877393 It’s official: Panasonic and Tesla have signed an agreement regarding their partnership involving the Gigafactory. In their joint press release, Tesla will be responsible for preparing, providing and managing the basics of the factory, while Panasonic will build and provide the cylindrical lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s battery packs, as well as any equipment Tesla […]

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Tesla Model S Test Drive At The Panasonic Center Tokyo

It’s official: Panasonic and Tesla have signed an agreement regarding their partnership involving the Gigafactory.

In their joint press release, Tesla will be responsible for preparing, providing and managing the basics of the factory, while Panasonic will build and provide the cylindrical lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s battery packs, as well as any equipment Tesla may need. Tesla will also continue to purchase cells from Panasonic’s factories in Japan to meet projected demand.

Tesla Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel said the Gigafactory “represents a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized,” especially when it comes to dramatically reducing the cost of energy storage “across a broad range of applications.” Panasonic Executive Vice President Yoshihiko Yamada added that the Gigafactory partnership would “accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle market” once production of Panasonic batteries begin.

The Gigafactory is expected to produce 35 GWh of cells and 50 GWh of packs annually by 2020 for both electric vehicles and stationary applications, employing up to 6,500 to produce the batteries.

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BMW Unveils $6,500 Suitcase-Size EV Charger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-unveils-6500-suitcase-size-ev-charger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-unveils-6500-suitcase-size-ev-charger/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874913 Owners of BMWs i Series vehicles may soon have more places to charge their vehicles, all thanks to the automaker’s new, less-expensive, suitcase-sized charger. Automotive News reports the 100-pound, 24-kilowatt chargers, made by Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, will be available to companies who partner with BMW for the low price of $6,500, and can recharge […]

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Owners of BMWs i Series vehicles may soon have more places to charge their vehicles, all thanks to the automaker’s new, less-expensive, suitcase-sized charger.

Automotive News reports the 100-pound, 24-kilowatt chargers, made by Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, will be available to companies who partner with BMW for the low price of $6,500, and can recharge other EVs from other automakers like General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford.

According to BMW of North America EV infrastructure manager Robert Healey, BMW hopes that by making its new charger available at a discount, the companies who sign on would help the automaker establish a nationwide network similar to Tesla’s exclusive Supercharger network:

Our focus is on getting as many DC fast chargers out there as possible, but the cost has been a hindrance. We want to remove every perceived barrier for our potential customers. We want to ensure that customers see these chargers.

The first of the new chargers will go online at BMW dealerships in August, with more to come as third-party companies begin to partner with BMW.

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