The Truth About Cars » Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:31:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 » Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/hydrogen/ 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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VW-Up-Japan-December-2012

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, Toyota May Develop New Project Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909122 Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time. Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S […]

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Tesla Toyota RAV4 EV

Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time.

Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S sedans delivered in Japan Monday, stating the project “would probably be something significant, maybe on a much higher volume level.” He added that Tesla loved working with Toyota, and held great respect for the automaker.

When the gesture was brought up with Toyota, however, representative Dion Corbett said the automaker had “nothing to say.” This is likely in part due to recent comments between the two companies over their respective paths toward a greener future; Toyota sees EVs as impractical, Tesla believes FCVs are for fools.

The RAV4 EV joint venture is expected to end once the last of the 2,500 crossovers are sold by the end of the year; Toyota has sold 2,130 RAV4 EVs through August 2014.

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California ZEV Democratization Initiative Passes State Assembly http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-zev-democratization-initiative-passes-state-assembly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-zev-democratization-initiative-passes-state-assembly/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903226 Remember when we reported on an initiative to bring ZEV credits and incentives to low-income residents in California? The initiative is two steps away from becoming law. Autoblog Green reports California State Bill 1275 — otherwise known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative — passed the California Assembly 46 to 23 Wednesday, and is expected […]

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Charge-Ahead-California

Remember when we reported on an initiative to bring ZEV credits and incentives to low-income residents in California? The initiative is two steps away from becoming law.

Autoblog Green reports California State Bill 1275 — otherwise known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative — passed the California Assembly 46 to 23 Wednesday, and is expected to pass through the state’s senate shortly before signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

The initiative, sponsored by State Senator Kevin de León of Los Angeles, amends the focus of the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project toward middle- and low-income residents by implementing an income cap on ZEV credits. Further, a minimum of $2,500 would be given said residents exchanging an older vehicle for a ZEV such as the Tesla Model S or the upcoming Toyota Mirai, with an additional $1,500 for the act of retirement itself.

The ultimate goals of the initiative are to reduce credits over the long-term as clean technology becomes widespread, while also boosting the population of ZEVs to 1 million by 2023.

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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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hyundai-fuel-cell-tucson-california

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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Tesla-Toyota Relationship On Hold After Rocky RAV4 EV Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-toyota-relationship-hold-rocky-rav4-ev-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-toyota-relationship-hold-rocky-rav4-ev-program/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884409 Just four years ago, Tesla and Toyota entered into a relationship where the former would supply battery packs for the latter’s RAV4 EV. In turn, Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla, and sold the NUMMI facility — which Toyota once shared with General Motors — for $42 million. Things have changed, in the sage words […]

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Elon Musk + Akio Toyoda

Just four years ago, Tesla and Toyota entered into a relationship where the former would supply battery packs for the latter’s RAV4 EV. In turn, Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla, and sold the NUMMI facility — which Toyota once shared with General Motors — for $42 million. Things have changed, in the sage words of Bob Dylan.

Bloomberg reports the relationship — coming to a close with the end with the RAV4 EV program and Toyota’s new focus on hydrogen — was marred early on when engineers for both automakers fought over the EV crossover’s parking brake and an enclosure that would protect its battery from the road. Further, proprietary issues between Tesla and Toyota regarding energy-capture systems strained development of the crossover’s own system.

With most of the 2,600 RAV4 EVs delivered, Toyota changed its focus on hydrogen, a technology Tesla CEO Elon Musk mockingly refers to as “fool cells” due to their complexity and high costs hindering any success hydrogen may have. In response, Toyota Motor Sales senior vice president Bob Carter proclaimed “competitors who dismiss fuel cells out of hand do so at their own peril,” and personally doesn’t care what Musk or other detractors think about the parent company’s new path.

While the partnership may be “on hold” for the time being, both companies are working with other automakers in separate projects, such as Toyota and BMW co-developing a sports car, and Tesla providing batteries for Daimler’s Mercedes B-Class EV.

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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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gas-pump-save-ftr

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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Japanese Government To Push FCVs Via $20k Subsidy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872802 With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives. Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan […]

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With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives.

Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan max out at $8,500 per vehicle for comparison.

Meanwhile, the FCV will likely sell for $50,000 in the United States when it leaves the container ships next summer, and will be joined by Honda’s own FCV — name to be determined later — sometime in 2015.

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SAE J2601, J2799 Standardize Hydrogen Fueling, Increase FCV Range http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/sae-j2601-j2799-standardize-hydrogen-fueling-increase-fcv-range/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/sae-j2601-j2799-standardize-hydrogen-fueling-increase-fcv-range/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871970 It took 13 years, but SAE International has introduced a new standard for hydrogen fueling stations: SAE J2601. Autoblog Green reports J2601 will enable fueling of FCVs at 35 and 70 megapascals (MPa) of pressure, delivering 3- to 5-minute fueling times like those of gasoline-powered vehicles. This will likely be good news for all involved […]

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hydrogen_fueling_station

It took 13 years, but SAE International has introduced a new standard for hydrogen fueling stations: SAE J2601.

Autoblog Green reports J2601 will enable fueling of FCVs at 35 and 70 megapascals (MPa) of pressure, delivering 3- to 5-minute fueling times like those of gasoline-powered vehicles. This will likely be good news for all involved in the hydrogen movement, especially as infrastructure is only in the embryonic stage at this point — most located in California.

Meanwhile, another standard — SAE J2799 — will better enable communication between the FCV and the pump via wireless transmission, helping to boost driving range to over 300 miles per tank via a high State of Charge, or SOC.

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Daimler To Enter FCV Market In 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/daimler-to-enter-fcv-market-in-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/daimler-to-enter-fcv-market-in-2017/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871914 While Japanese and Korean automakers like Toyota and Hyundai are jumping into the hydrogen game, Daimler plans to begin its own journey in 2017. Automotive News interviewed Daimler head of corporate research Herbert Kohler about his employer’s hydrogen plans. Kohler briefly reflected on how Daimler were questioned on focusing upon fuel-cell technology before everyone else, […]

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Mercedes Blue Efficiency

While Japanese and Korean automakers like Toyota and Hyundai are jumping into the hydrogen game, Daimler plans to begin its own journey in 2017.

Automotive News interviewed Daimler head of corporate research Herbert Kohler about his employer’s hydrogen plans. Kohler briefly reflected on how Daimler were questioned on focusing upon fuel-cell technology before everyone else, stating that if an automaker wasn’t now at least considering the game, it would have to ask itself “some uncomfortable questions.”

As for the timetable of releasing an FCV by 2017, he states that while Daimler had planned to do so by 2015 at the latest, its joint partnership with Nissan and Ford to develop the technology will give all three time to bring the tech’s high costs down amid increasing volumes by the time 2017 rolls around.

Finally, when asked how much Daimler would charge for their FCV — in light of the $68,000 price tag for the 2015 Toyota FCV — Kohler says his employer’s goal is to price its FCV on par with “the hybrid version of a comparable model.”

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Hyundai, Tesla In Spat Over Funding Of Supercharger Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hyundai-tesla-in-spat-over-funding-of-supercharger-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hyundai-tesla-in-spat-over-funding-of-supercharger-network/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866874 Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars. Green Car Reports says during a discussion of his employer’s view on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, O’Brien stated that Hyundai has not received any funding from the federal […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars.

Green Car Reports says during a discussion of his employer’s view on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, O’Brien stated that Hyundai has not received any funding from the federal government for its hydrogen vehicles, while Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with “grants and loans from the government.”

In turn, this assertion infuriated Tesla’s vice president of business development Diarmuld O’Connell:

Those sites have been paid for entirely by Tesla Motors — which continues to spend money in expanding the network. This stands in stark contrast to certain foreign carmakers, including Hyundai, who have no manufacturing presence in California but expect the state’s taxpayers to spend up to $200 million to set up hydrogen stations.

For his part, O’Brien did acknowledge hydrogen would only take off “when other states start investing in infrastructure.”

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Kato: EVs Need Nobel Prize-Quality Battery Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kato-evs-need-nobel-prize-quality-battery-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kato-evs-need-nobel-prize-quality-battery-technology/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861553 Toyota’s global R&D head Mitsuhisa Kato has little regard for the current crop of EVs, proclaiming the technology to make them viable in his eyes has yet to be invented. Automotive News reports that although his team will still do R&D work on EVs, Kato believes there are few customers seeking a vehicle with short […]

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Mitsuhisa Kato + Toyota FCV

Toyota’s global R&D head Mitsuhisa Kato has little regard for the current crop of EVs, proclaiming the technology to make them viable in his eyes has yet to be invented.

Automotive News reports that although his team will still do R&D work on EVs, Kato believes there are few customers seeking a vehicle with short cruising ranges:

The cruising distance is so short for EVs, and the charging time is so long. At the current level of technology, somebody needs to invent a Nobel Prize-winning type battery.

He added that while EVs could be brought to parity with ICE vehicles, doing so using current technology would establish “a vicious circle” over costs and charging times.

Toyota itself is moving away from EVs into hydrogen with the upcoming 2015 FCV; the outgoing RAV4 EV and eQ will be gone from the global lineup by the time the FCV arrives in January of next year.

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Hydrogen Digest: July 1, 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hydrogen-digest-july-1-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hydrogen-digest-july-1-2014/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856681 In today’s hydrogen digest: Toyota asks the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a two-year exemption on its FCV; the automaker banks on subsidies to help the FCV leave the showrooms at home and abroad; and ammonia may be the secret to hydrogen’s success as a fuel. Bloomberg reports Toyota is asking the NHTSA for […]

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DSC_0018

In today’s hydrogen digest: Toyota asks the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a two-year exemption on its FCV; the automaker banks on subsidies to help the FCV leave the showrooms at home and abroad; and ammonia may be the secret to hydrogen’s success as a fuel.

Bloomberg reports Toyota is asking the NHTSA for a two-year exemption from FMVSS No. 305, which requires automakers to isolate high-voltage parts in electric cars in the event of a crash. The FCV doesn’t meet this rule in full because said isolation would render the vehicle inoperable, opting instead to use insulation on high-voltage cables and related components to protect first responders and occupants from potential electrical shocks in the event of a low-speed accident. Toyota claims the protections will be at least equal to those in compliance with the agency’s rule.

Meanwhile, Automotive News says the automaker is banking on subsidies at home and in markets such as the United States and Europe to help the FCV leave the showroom toward the path of success. The ¥7 million ($69,000 USD) will need a sizable credit to match its Lexus-esque pricing when it goes on sale in Japan next April; the highest subsidy is ¥850,000 (approximately $8,400). As for the U.S., where fueling infrastructure is woefully inadequate, Toyota may instead opt to lease the FCV, details of the plan still in discussion.

Finally, Autoblog Green reports ammonia may be the way toward the hydrogen future. The Science and Technologies Facilities Council in Swindon, England have discovered a process which cracks ammonia into nitrogen and hydrogen using sodium amide as the catalyst. The lower-cost process could be conducted on-board an FCV via an ammonia decomposition reactor no bigger than a 2-liter bottle of Coke, providing enough power for “a mid-range family car” while easily handling NOx-free tailpipe emissions. The STFC is now in the process of building a low-energy demonstration system to prove ammonia’s viability as a source of hydrogen fuel.

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Question Of The Day: What Does Japan Know About Fuel Cells That We Don’t? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/question-of-the-day-what-does-japan-know-about-fuel-cells-that-we-dont/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/question-of-the-day-what-does-japan-know-about-fuel-cells-that-we-dont/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 16:39:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855985 A new report from Reuters highlight’s the Japanese auto industry’s increasing focus on hydrogen fuel cells, a technology that has long been written off as dead by many industry observers and battery electric vehicle advocates. Reuters reports Japan’s government and top carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp, are joining forces to bet big that they can speed […]

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A new report from Reuters highlight’s the Japanese auto industry’s increasing focus on hydrogen fuel cells, a technology that has long been written off as dead by many industry observers and battery electric vehicle advocates.

Reuters reports

Japan’s government and top carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp, are joining forces to bet big that they can speed up the arrival of the fuel cell era: a still costly and complex technology that uses hydrogen as fuel and could virtually end the problem of automotive pollution…With two of Japan’s three biggest automakers going all in on fuel cells, the country’s long-term future as an automotive powerhouse could now hinge largely on the success of what they hope will be a key technology of the next few decades.

While Nissan is a notable holdout (pursuing battery EVs like their signature Nissan Leaf), Toyota and Honda are pursuing hydrogen as the alternative fuel of the future, and they have the backing of the Japanese government.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy… also included a call for subsidies and tax breaks for buyers of fuel-cell vehicles, relaxed curbs on hydrogen fuel stations and other steps under a road map to promote hydrogen energy.

While Honda has been promoting fuel cell technology since the 1990′s, Toyota recently abandoned their EV program in favor of focusing on hydrogen. Despite all of the criticism of hydrogen fuel cells, their cost and the lack of infrastructure, the technology is still alive in this corner of the automotive world – one that is arguably the leader in hybrid cars and alternative powertrains overall.

Industry scuttlebutt has it that Japanese OEMs are convinced that the cost of developing a hydrogen fuel station network is going to be cheaper than developing a 500 mile EV battery, but I’m still curious: what are we the public – and the hydrogen skeptics – missing out on that’s driving Japan to persist with fuel cell technology?

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2015 Toyota FCV Unveiled, Priced From $68,688 In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-toyota-fcv-unveiled-priced-from-68688-in-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-toyota-fcv-unveiled-priced-from-68688-in-japan/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 05:46:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852073   Toyota’s first mass production fuel cell vehicle was unveiled today in Tokyo, prices from just under $70,000. Specs and global pricing were not announced, but Toyota said the roll-out of the car would be initially limited to areas in Japan with hydrogen fueling infrastructure.  A roll-out in the United States and Europe is coming […]

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Toyota’s first mass production fuel cell vehicle was unveiled today in Tokyo, prices from just under $70,000.

Specs and global pricing were not announced, but Toyota said the roll-out of the car would be initially limited to areas in Japan with hydrogen fueling infrastructure.  A roll-out in the United States and Europe is coming in 2015.

Despite many observers taking a bearish stance on fuel cells, Toyota is all-in on hydrogen, after ditching their EV program in 2012. The question is, what do they know that we don’t that is giving them such confidence about a technology many thought was dead in the water?

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Toyota’s First FCVs To Arrive In Showrooms Christmas 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/toyotas-first-fcvs-to-arrive-in-showrooms-christmas-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/toyotas-first-fcvs-to-arrive-in-showrooms-christmas-2014/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840394 Toyota is wasting no time in moving forward toward a hydrogen future, announcing it will build its FCV Concept-based fuel-cell sedan this December, with sales coming just in time for the big-red-bow-tie Christmas 2014 sales extravaganza. The Japan Times reports the FCV will likely be built by the dozen on a monthly basis at the […]

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Toyota FCV Concept With Penguins

Toyota is wasting no time in moving forward toward a hydrogen future, announcing it will build its FCV Concept-based fuel-cell sedan this December, with sales coming just in time for the big-red-bow-tie Christmas 2014 sales extravaganza.

The Japan Times reports the FCV will likely be built by the dozen on a monthly basis at the automaker’s Motomachi plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. As for price, early adopters can expect to fork over some ¥8 million (~$78,000 USD), while those coming aboard in the next decade will pay between ¥3 million and ¥5 million (~$29,000 and ~$49,000 USD) to contribute toward the water cycle.

For those who dive into Toyota’s hydrogen-electric future, range is expected to be 300 miles per tank, with refueling to take anywhere from three to five minutes at a hydrogen fueling station. Though the automaker has no plans to emulate Tesla’s Supercharger infrastructure for its FCV, it will lend its hand in developing and managing the supply of hydrogen.

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Hyundai Gathers Tucson ZEV Credits For Future Internal, External Swaps http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/hyundai-gathers-tucson-zev-credits-for-future-internal-external-swaps/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/hyundai-gathers-tucson-zev-credits-for-future-internal-external-swaps/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 10:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=837793 While the first hydrogen-powered Tucson FCVs left the docks in California in the last week of May, Hyundai knows the vehicles aren’t meant to add to the company’s bottom line, but are meant to garner credits for future use. Ward’s Auto reports the Korean automaker will earn as much as 26 CARB credits for every […]

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While the first hydrogen-powered Tucson FCVs left the docks in California in the last week of May, Hyundai knows the vehicles aren’t meant to add to the company’s bottom line, but are meant to garner credits for future use.

Ward’s Auto reports the Korean automaker will earn as much as 26 CARB credits for every Tucson FCV leased through 2017, each vehicle equal to $130,000 in credit. Fuel cell boss Byung Ki Ahn believes his company could then sell those credits to automakers in need of offsetting their carbon footprint, though Hyundai has no plans on the table to do so at this time, preferring to use the credits for themselves for less compliant vehicles of their own design.

In addition, the ZEV credits bestowed upon Hyundai’s hydrogen dream is more than than what EVs earn under California’s credit scheme, which earn less than half of what fuel-cell vehicles garner per unit sold. Ahn has no qualms with the scheme, though, viewing the credit market as “a good business model” for Hyundai and subsidary Kia to follow.

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Coalition Of Eight Unveils Plan To Encourage ZEV Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/coalition-of-eight-unveils-plan-to-encourage-zev-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/coalition-of-eight-unveils-plan-to-encourage-zev-production/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=836097 A coalition of eight states have adopted a plan to encourage automakers to help meet the target of 3.3 million ZEVs taking to the road as required by the Clean Air Act by 2025. Automotive News reports the plan would include incentives and tax credits for those who buy ZEVs, as well as access to […]

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A coalition of eight states have adopted a plan to encourage automakers to help meet the target of 3.3 million ZEVs taking to the road as required by the Clean Air Act by 2025.

Automotive News reports the plan would include incentives and tax credits for those who buy ZEVs, as well as access to HOV lanes and preferred parking. However, the plan also includes measures such as streamlining building codes and liability insurance rules so commercial properties can provide charging infrastructure, and improved signage and payment systems for public charging stations.

The coalition — consisting of California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont — may have a difficult time reaching its ZEV mandate of 15 percent of all vehicles sold by 2025, though. Currently, only Nissan is among the major automakers committed to building its share of the 3.3 million required by the Clean Air Act. The rest — including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who hoped no actually bought a Fiat 500e because FCA would lose $14,000 on each one sold — see ZEVs as nothing more than compliance vehicles with limited market prospects. California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols begs to differ:

We’re coming to this collaboration as a way of helping companies. They’ve done a great job of producing great cars. We want them to succeed and want them to make money on this.

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California Receives Majority Of $7M US Energy Department Hydrogen Funding http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/california-receives-majority-of-7m-us-energy-department-hydrogen-funding/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/california-receives-majority-of-7m-us-energy-department-hydrogen-funding/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834377 A new gold rush in California is coming to the fore as private and public investments push hydrogen fuel cell technology forward, and the U.S. Department of Energy is the latest to enter the arena. Autoblog Green reports the DOE will be delivering $7 million in funding for the development of “lightweight, compact, and inexpensive […]

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A new gold rush in California is coming to the fore as private and public investments push hydrogen fuel cell technology forward, and the U.S. Department of Energy is the latest to enter the arena.

Autoblog Green reports the DOE will be delivering $7 million in funding for the development of “lightweight, compact, and inexpensive advanced hydrogen storage systems that will enable longer driving ranges and help make fuel cell systems competitive for different platforms and sizes of vehicles,” the majority of the funds to land in California. Pasadena’s Materia will receive the most of the California-bound taxpayer dollars, with $2 million to help reduce the cost of storing compressed hydrogen through the use of “a novel resin system” aimed to replace carbon fiber composites in storage tanks.

The latest round of funding comes on the heels of similar investments into hydrogen storage and fueling infrastructure, including a $27.6 million grant by the California Energy Commission to FirstElement Fuel Inc., the startup founded by former General Motors and Hyundai exec Joel Ewanick. The only non-California recipient was PPG Industries of Greensboro, N.C., who will like supply its glass fiber tanks to the sole public fueling station outside of the new gold rush, located in Columbia, S.C.

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Tesla: Toyota Desires Battery R&D Partnership, Panasonic Wants Gigafactory For Itself http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/tesla-toyota-desires-battery-rd-partnership-panasonic-wants-gigafactory-for-itself/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/tesla-toyota-desires-battery-rd-partnership-panasonic-wants-gigafactory-for-itself/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 20:14:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=829906 Though Toyota will soon end its battery program with Tesla for its RAV4 EV crossovers, the automaker aims to remain R&D partners on battery technology. Meanwhile, Panasonic wants to be the only producer involved in Tesla’s Gigafactory production. Reuters reports the company plans to invest in stages, with the final amount and timeframe not yet […]

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Though Toyota will soon end its battery program with Tesla for its RAV4 EV crossovers, the automaker aims to remain R&D partners on battery technology. Meanwhile, Panasonic wants to be the only producer involved in Tesla’s Gigafactory production.

Reuters reports the company plans to invest in stages, with the final amount and timeframe not yet known; Tesla seeks a total $3 billion from outside investors in addition to the $2 billion it invested into the project. Panasonic’s current lithium-ion business has performed well as Tesla seeks more batteries for its Model S, having gone as far as to sign a contract last October with the automaker for around 2 billion battery cells by 2017. The company itself aims to take the top spot on the podium by end of FY 2018, where it plans to make $4.43 billion annually from all battery production activities.

Meanwhile, Automotive News reports Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America CEO and president Osamu Nagata wants to continue working with Tesla on battery technology as the three-year agreement for the latter to supply 2,600 packs for the former draws to a close:

Tesla has quite a clear business strategy for developing a better battery. [Automakers] as well as suppliers need to work on developing better batteries.

Toyota is currently turning its focus on fuel-cell technology, which Nagata hopes his employer can show “the very strong capabilities” of the vehicles using the tech in order to convince more people “of the potential and possibilities” fuel cell vehicles — such as Toyota’s own upcoming FCV — have to offer.

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Senate Committee Approves Move To Bar Hybrids From Further Solo HOV Access http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/senate-committee-approves-move-to-bar-hybrids-from-further-solo-hov-access/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/senate-committee-approves-move-to-bar-hybrids-from-further-solo-hov-access/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828642 Hybrid owners may soon need a co-pilot and a couple of backseat drivers to use HOV lanes, as the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a six-year highway spending bill with an amendment that would redefine for states what vehicles can and cannot use such lanes for solo driving. The Detroit News reports […]

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Hybrid owners may soon need a co-pilot and a couple of backseat drivers to use HOV lanes, as the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a six-year highway spending bill with an amendment that would redefine for states what vehicles can and cannot use such lanes for solo driving.

The Detroit News reports Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma sponsored the approved amendment, which would continue to allow EVs, PHEVs, CNG vehicles and hydrogen vehicles to use HOV lanes with a only the driver inside, but would prohibit states from allowing hybrids to use such lanes in new access programs. That said, most states have already ended single-occupant hybrid access.

In the meantime, California — which phased out hybrid access in 2011 — has run out of access permits for PHEVs, hitting its 40,000 cap earlier this year. The state’s legislators have introduced legislation that would boost the total cap to 85,000, with the permits set to expire on New Year’s Day 2019. EV owners will still have solo HOV access, as there is no cap set for those permits.

Speaking of EVs, another amendment in the spending bill would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to “develop a plan and map of a potential national network of electric vehicle corridors and recharging infrastructure” in collaboration with the automotive industry and outside parties according to its sponsor, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

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Toyota Turns Away From Batteries, Toward Fuel Cells http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/toyota-turns-away-from-batteries-toward-fuel-cells/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/toyota-turns-away-from-batteries-toward-fuel-cells/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828210 After 20 years of pursuing a battery-powered future, Toyota has decided to take a different course powered by hydrogen. Automotive News reports Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz says his company sees EVs’ viability “in a select way, in short-range vehicles that take you that extra mile, from the office to the train, or home […]

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After 20 years of pursuing a battery-powered future, Toyota has decided to take a different course powered by hydrogen.

Automotive News reports Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz says his company sees EVs’ viability “in a select way, in short-range vehicles that take you that extra mile, from the office to the train, or home to the train, as well as being used on large [corporate] campuses.” This view is reflected in the decision to end its purchase agreement with Tesla of battery packs for 2,600 RAV4 EVs over three years, which Lentz personally felt future investment into the agreement would be better spent developing hydrogen fuel cells instead.

Speaking of such things, Toyota’s commitment toward a hydrogen future includes a $7 million “arms-length” investment in FirstElement Fuel Inc. — the startup founded by former General Motors and Hyundai executive Joel Ewanick — in its plan to build 19 hydrogen fueling stations throughout California by the autumn of 2015. The automaker’s own research found that 68 stations would be needed in California to meet the needs of 10,000 fuel cell vehicle owners, 50 of which are expected to come online by the end of 2016.

Lentz says he hopes his company won’t be alone in developing the emerging market like it was when the Prius first arrived. So far, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai are working on new fuel cell vehicles to help spur demand, the first of which are predicted to arrive in 2015.

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US Energy Department Unveils Four-Year Strategy For Alternative Energy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/us-energy-department-unveils-four-year-strategy-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/us-energy-department-unveils-four-year-strategy-plan/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:15:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=798026 The U.S. Department of Energy unveiled last week a four-year plan that would advance the goal of energy security by building upon as many alternative sources as possible, further reducing dependence on imported petroleum. Autoblog Green reports the 27-page plan illustrates the proposed aims of the DOE to double the amount of energy produced by […]

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The U.S. Department of Energy unveiled last week a four-year plan that would advance the goal of energy security by building upon as many alternative sources as possible, further reducing dependence on imported petroleum.

Autoblog Green reports the 27-page plan illustrates the proposed aims of the DOE to double the amount of energy produced by renewables, improve battery technology, usher in advances in biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells, and push further electrification of vehicles.

In addition, the DOE also has strategies ready for testing the nation’s nuclear deterrent for safety, security and overall effectiveness, as well as boosting the tools needed to bring improvements on the nation’s security infrastructure.

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