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. Sat, 23 May 2015 15:11:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com While You Were Sleeping: Audi RS3 Sedan, Toyota HiLux Reveal and Cameras Are Everywhere http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-audi-rs3-sedan-toyota-hilux-reveal-cameras-everywhere/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-audi-rs3-sedan-toyota-hilux-reveal-cameras-everywhere/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 10:55:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066090 Looking south of the A4 in Audi’s current range of motors, the hottest vehicle in its North American lineup is the current S3. Those of us west of the Atlantic don’t get to enjoy the turbocharged five-pot RS3 Sportback. Thankfully, Theophilus Chin is on the scene to digitally imagine our Ingolstadt desires with this compromise – the RS3 […]

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Audi RS3 Render / Theophilus Chin

Looking south of the A4 in Audi’s current range of motors, the hottest vehicle in its North American lineup is the current S3. Those of us west of the Atlantic don’t get to enjoy the turbocharged five-pot RS3 Sportback. Thankfully, Theophilus Chin is on the scene to digitally imagine our Ingolstadt desires with this compromise – the RS3 sedan.

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Virginia Tech Transforms Corn Stover Into Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043722 Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells. A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model […]

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Corn Harvesting

Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells.

A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model to increase both enzymatic generation and breakdown rates by a factor of 10 and three, respectively.

The result is a reduction in both time, capital costs and facility size as far as hydrogen production goes. Lead author Joe Rollin — a former student of Zhang’s, who is also a co-founder with Rollin on a biofuel startup — says the new process can be carried out in a facility the size of a standard gas station, lowering one of the hurdles for widespread hydrogen production and distribution:

We believe this exciting technology has the potential to enable the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the world and displace fossil fuels.

The project was partially funded by Shell’s GameChanger initiative, as well as the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Technology Transfer program, and was carried out by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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Hyundai, South Korean Government Opening Fuel-Cell Innovation Hub http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-south-korean-government-opening-fuel-cell-innovation-hub/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-south-korean-government-opening-fuel-cell-innovation-hub/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996650 Hyundai Motor and the South Korean government are coming together to open a hydrogen innovation center to help spur a creative economy. Just-Auto says the automaker plans to attract startups to the center in Gwangju by granting access to 1,000 unused patents related to said technology: The centre will focus on nurturing start-ups, providing key […]

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Hyundai Motor and the South Korean government are coming together to open a hydrogen innovation center to help spur a creative economy.

Just-Auto says the automaker plans to attract startups to the center in Gwangju by granting access to 1,000 unused patents related to said technology:

The centre will focus on nurturing start-ups, providing key infrastructure and creating an “ecosystem” for the hydrogen economy by training workers and strengthening necessary networks.

Hyundai and its investor partners will raise ₩117.5 billion ($164 million USD) to bring the innovation center online, and will be one of 12 centers to be established throughout South Korea over 2015.

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Toyota Marketing Mirai With $8K Hydrogen Credit Despite Expiration http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-marketing-mirai-8k-hydrogen-credit-despite-expiration/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-marketing-mirai-8k-hydrogen-credit-despite-expiration/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989970 Despite the recent expiration of the $8,000 federal credit for hydrogen vehicles, Toyota is still marketing its Mirai as if it never happened. Autoblog reports that Toyota is well-aware of the expiration, and is calling upon both houses of Congress to reinstate the credit. Were that to occur, the $57,500 MSRP on the Mirai would […]

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Despite the recent expiration of the $8,000 federal credit for hydrogen vehicles, Toyota is still marketing its Mirai as if it never happened.

Autoblog reports that Toyota is well-aware of the expiration, and is calling upon both houses of Congress to reinstate the credit. Were that to occur, the $57,500 MSRP on the Mirai would fall to $49,500. Other state and local credits would drop the price further, as well; California customers would pay just $44,500 for their FCVs, for example.

The problem, per the automaker’s energy and regulatory affairs director Robert Wimmer, is predicting where the tax process would go:

The two challenges we have now are that both houses of Congress are Republican and also that there has been talk for a while about comprehensive tax reform. If that moves forward, then extenders would probably be put on the back burner as comprehensive tax reform is discussed.

Even if the credit was reinstated, it may only last as long as year or two instead of the three years Toyota wants for the first-gen Mirai. The automaker has been lobbying Congress to act, though Wimmer could not say to what extent.

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Carter To Musk: Hydrogen Just One Basket For Toyota’s Eggs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carter-musk-hydrogen-just-one-basket-toyotas-eggs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carter-musk-hydrogen-just-one-basket-toyotas-eggs/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989546 Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared that Toyota was a fool to invest in hydrogen? Twice? Toyota had a few words to say in return last week. Ecomento reports Toyota Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bob Carter took Musk to task regarding comments made during the latter’s annual Tesla shareholders meeting last June, […]

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2016 Toyota Mirai

Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared that Toyota was a fool to invest in hydrogen? Twice? Toyota had a few words to say in return last week.

Ecomento reports Toyota Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bob Carter took Musk to task regarding comments made during the latter’s annual Tesla shareholders meeting last June, as well as those made earlier this month at the Automotive News World Congress, when Musk suggested methane or propane as a better energy storage mechanism while declaring hydrogen “an incredibly dumb one to pick”:

I’m a little disappointed in Mr. Musk’s comments in Detroit last week. But I understand. If I was in a position that I had all of my eggs in one basket I would perhaps be making those same comments. When you take a look at the future, [FCVs are] not a 24- to 36-month play. When you start looking in the 2020s, anybody that would deny [the potential of] moving from an oil-based economy to a hydrogen-based economy [isn’t] looking at the future correctly.

Carter’s response, made last week during the J.D. Power Automotive Summit in San Francisco, come on the heels of Toyota’s unexpected response to its Mirai FCV. Though not due in U.S. showrooms until later this year, the automaker received over 16,000 requests for information on the car. Meanwhile, the FCV has 1,500 confirmed pre-orders in its home market of Japan, with Toyota likely to boost production as interest in the Mirai grows.

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California University First In State Certified To Sell Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/california-university-first-state-certified-sell-hydrogen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/california-university-first-state-certified-sell-hydrogen/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988514 Cal State L.A. now has the first hydrogen fueling station in California certified to sell the fuel by the kilogram. The university’s Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility received its approval this month after undergoing and passing “a rigorous state performance evaluation.” The fueling station, which opened in May 2014, is the largest on-campus hydrogen fueling […]

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Audi FCV At Cal State LA Fueling Station

Cal State L.A. now has the first hydrogen fueling station in California certified to sell the fuel by the kilogram.

The university’s Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility received its approval this month after undergoing and passing “a rigorous state performance evaluation.” The fueling station, which opened in May 2014, is the largest on-campus hydrogen fueling station in the United States, and produces hydrogen from solar and wind power.

Cal State president William A. Covino said the station not only plays “a crucial role in helping situate California as a national leader in zero emission vehicles,” but gives the university a chance to work on “cutting-edge research and technology initiatives with government agencies” on its path to improving air quality in Los Angeles and other cities in the U.S.

Visitors to the station include prototypes from the likes of Audi, Hyundai and General Motors, whose tanks can hold up to six kilograms of hydrogen, each kilogram good for 50 miles of travel. The station, located near downtown Los Angeles and Interstates 10 and 5, can fill these tanks in six minutes.

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113th US Congress Leaves $8K Hydrogen Credit On The Table http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964370 For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway. Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, […]

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For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway.

Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, and purchased before the same date in 2014. The credit is among other credits that didn’t get the once-over from Congress, who were busy looking over — and renewing a few of — credits from 2013.

That said, Honda wants the credit brought back in time for its FCV’s U.S. showroom arrival in 2016, the next concept version of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show January. Robert Beinefeld, assistant vice president of the automaker’s Environment and Energy Policy, says his employer is working with “many partners on the legislative front to address this situation,” in the belief that legisators don’t intentionally pick “winners and losers by providing tax credits to some technologies and not others.”

As for Hyundai, whose Tucson Fuel Cell entered Californian showrooms earlier this summer, a representative didn’t give any further comment on the hydrogen credit as of this writing.

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Chart Of The Day: ExxonMobil Predicts Long Reign For The Internal Combustion Engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-exxonmobil-predicts-long-reign-internal-combustion-engine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-exxonmobil-predicts-long-reign-internal-combustion-engine/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:38:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962202 The next 25 years of automotive powertrain technology belongs to the internal combustion engine, according to oil & gas giant ExxonMobil. While many will dismiss this as the wishful thinking of an industrial dinosaur, it’s worth remembering that 25 years isn’t that long of a timeframe in the automotive world. As we speak, automakers are already […]

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The next 25 years of automotive powertrain technology belongs to the internal combustion engine, according to oil & gas giant ExxonMobil. While many will dismiss this as the wishful thinking of an industrial dinosaur, it’s worth remembering that 25 years isn’t that long of a timeframe in the automotive world.

As we speak, automakers are already planning for what products will be on the market within the next decade. As it stands now, they must meet increasingly stringent emissions targets in the United States and the European union by 2025, in the form of both CAFE and the next round of Euro regulations that call for a fleet average of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer (for comparison, a Toyota Prius emits about 100 grams per km).

One way of meeting this target is through the use of hybrid technology – a sector that ExxonMobil sees as making rapid, substantial gains over the years. At this point, every single OEM has some kind of hybrid technology that can be adapted to their volume models in a way that is efficient in terms of both packaging and cost. This is sure to be the case for plug-in hybrid technology as well.

The zero-emissions front is substantially more fraught. The battle between battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has barely begun, but supporters of the two camps are already locked into a Betamax vs. VHS style conflict. As it stands, there is minimal infrastructure for both systems, and a combination of low oil prices and consumer skepticism is likely to stall its growth for the foreseeable future. And while BEVs technically have a head start on hydrogen, their market share is, in real terms, negligible.

In 2013, BEVs had a market share of just 0.28 percent, or about 260,000 units. Even the relatively scarce plug-in hybrid segment managed to best pure electrics, with 0.31 percent of the new car market. Only in Norway, where BEVs receive heavy subsidies in the form of tax breaks, have electric cars made any real headway, and even then, they have barely cracked 6 percent.

While tales of daring and disruption and averting cataclysmic climate change make for great headlines, the reality is that technological progress, especially in the automotive sector, moves at a much more gradual pace – otherwise, we’d likely have seen a major breakthrough in EV battery technology by now, one that would allow for significant range and negligible refueling times. Utopian visions of a fleet of silent, zero-emissions vehicles are just that. Instead, we are likely to see a proliferation of hybrid technology throughout new model lineups – and much of this will likely be driven by regulatory inputs, as a means of helping vehicles meet government mandated fuel economy targets, even if consumers don’t necessarily care.

Advances in the internal combustion engine are also on the horizon. Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines, which allow for diesel-like combustion while running on gasoline, are expected to debut on Mazda cars by 2020. Mazda claims that they will provide a 30 percent fuel economy boost, while significantly lowering emissions. Between HCCI, increasingly cleaner diesel engines and incremental improvements to traditional engines, the ICE powertrains are likely to be ubiquitous due to their familiarity and what is sure to be a cost advantage. Barring any major, prolonged spike in energy prices or a wholesale shift in attitudes towards climate change and the environment, dollars and cents (not to mention sheer convenience) will remain the primary motivating factor in new car purchases. And that means that the internal combustion engine is well placed to continue its dominance through the next quarter century.

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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: Don’t Drink The (Mirai’s) Water http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-dont-drink-mirais-water/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-dont-drink-mirais-water/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954449 Want to literally taste the future? Toyota would like for you to reconsider that notion. Automotive News reports the 2016 Toyota Mirai’s exhaust — consisting of water vapor and heat — may have “much fewer organic impurities” than milk, per the FCV’s fuel stack power generator designer, Seiji Mizuno, but what impurities the byproduct does […]

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2016 Toyota Mirai

Want to literally taste the future? Toyota would like for you to reconsider that notion.

Automotive News reports the 2016 Toyota Mirai’s exhaust — consisting of water vapor and heat — may have “much fewer organic impurities” than milk, per the FCV’s fuel stack power generator designer, Seiji Mizuno, but what impurities the byproduct does have depend on what passed through the stack in the first place:

Depending on the place you are driving, some parts of the world might have certain issues, such as organisms like E. coli, which could be hazardous to your health. You never know what the quality of the air intake is.

That said, if you are interested/desperate enough to wonder if the Mirai produces Evian, you’ll be happy to know that the water is said to be “slightly acidic,” with a pH of 5 to 6, just below the levels found in acid rain and beer.

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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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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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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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Toyota FCV To Get “Mirai” Moniker, Hefty Rebates In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/toyota-fcv-to-get-mirai-moniker-hefty-rebates-in-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/toyota-fcv-to-get-mirai-moniker-hefty-rebates-in-japan/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:40:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875241 Toyota’s upcoming fuel-cell vehicle will reportedly get the name “Mirai” when it launches in 2015, along with a hefty rebate program in its home market of Japan. Bloomberg reports that the Mirai name has been trademarked in the United States, but the actual name won’t be revealed until closer to its 2015 on sale date. […]

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Toyota’s upcoming fuel-cell vehicle will reportedly get the name “Mirai” when it launches in 2015, along with a hefty rebate program in its home market of Japan.

Bloomberg reports that the Mirai name has been trademarked in the United States, but the actual name won’t be revealed until closer to its 2015 on sale date. The word Mirai is said to mean “future” in Japanese.

Just-Auto is reporting that Japan’s government could offer rebates as high as 2 million yen (about $20,000 at current exchange rates), bringing the Toyota FCV’s pricetag down from 7 million yen ($70,000) to about 50,000 yen ($50,000). The government is also piloting an infrastructure project to bring 100 hydrogen fuel stations to the country by March 31, 2015, in an effort to help spur demand.

Plans are afoot to use the first hydrogen cars as taxis and other service vehicles, as a means of creating broader acceptance and reducing petroleum usage.

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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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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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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 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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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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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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Shell Report Sees “Nearly Oil-Free” Transportation by 2070, With Gasoline Replaced by Hydrogen and Electricity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/shell-report-sees-nearly-oil-free-transportation-by-2070-with-gasoline-replaced-by-hydrogen-and-electricity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/shell-report-sees-nearly-oil-free-transportation-by-2070-with-gasoline-replaced-by-hydrogen-and-electricity/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=704594 For 40 years the Shell oil company has been putting out reports on what expects in the future. This year’s report titled New Lens Scenarios sees passenger road transportation being “nearly oil-free” by the year 2070. The report is in the plural, scenarios, because the futurists at Shell envision two possible outcomes, which they call […]

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For 40 years the Shell oil company has been putting out reports on what expects in the future. This year’s report titled New Lens Scenarios sees passenger road transportation being “nearly oil-free” by the year 2070. The report is in the plural, scenarios, because the futurists at Shell envision two possible outcomes, which they call “Mountains” and “Oceans”. In both scenarios the world’s population will grow to 9 billion people by 2050 and by 2070 electricity and hydrogen will be the primary means of fueling road transportation.

In the Mountains “lens”, existing governmental and economic power structures are maintained, natural gas will become dominant by the 2030s and demand for liquid fuels will go down. A more urban population will drive much less, about 1,200 miles a year, and use public transport and bicycles more. This lens sees economic growth stagnating and the world failing to meet the target of no more than a 2 degree centigrade rise in average global temperatures.

In the Oceans lens, Shell predicts a changing economic structure to one that is more accommodating of compromise. The world in this more collective scenario would be a more prosperous one, but also more volatile. Dwindling resources of food, energy, and water become the new priorities. Solar and renewable energy becomes more dominant, though fossil fuels will still be used and as with the other scenario, global warming continues.

There’s way too much in the report for a single news blog item, and you’d like, you can read the full PDF file here. A more complete explanation of the nature of the Mountains and Oceans scenarios from the report is below.

Mountains is a world in which those occupying commanding advantage (at the top) generally work to create stability in ways that promote the persistence of the status quo. there is a steady, self-reinforcing, lock-in of incumbent power and institutions. this lock-in constrains the economic potential of some sectors of society, but enables established sectors aligned with market forces to unlock resources that require significant capital and new technology. As for the less fortunate, the thinness of social safety nets is not completely offset by the growth in philanthropy, characterised by an eruption of foundations endowed by increasing numbers of billionaires.

Oceans is a world in which competing interests and the diffusion of influence are met with a rising tide of accommodation. this trajectory is driven by a growing global population with increasing economic empowerment, and a growing recognition by the currently advantaged that their continued success requires compromise. steady reform of economic and financial structures keeps pace with the development of fast-emerging nations and progressively unlocks the productivity of broader sectors in society. But volatility and multiple constituencies impede policy developments in other areas, so tight resources are unlocked primarily by market forces.

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Dr. Z Expects a Decade of Disappointment For Fuel Cell Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/dr-z-expects-a-decade-of-disappointment-for-fuel-cell-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/dr-z-expects-a-decade-of-disappointment-for-fuel-cell-technology/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=704586 At a round-table discussion with reporters during last week’s Detroit Auto Show, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche proclaimed that any consumer wanting to be green with fuel cells had better be prepared for a decade of disappointment with the technology. Zetsche said there were cost issues with the process for creating fuel cells — Daimler’s three-way […]

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At a round-table discussion with reporters during last week’s Detroit Auto Show, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche proclaimed that any consumer wanting to be green with fuel cells had better be prepared for a decade of disappointment with the technology.

Zetsche said there were cost issues with the process for creating fuel cells — Daimler’s three-way dance with Ford and Nissan to bring a market-ready fuel cell vehicle by 2017 was done to help spread the cost while accelerating development — as well as a lack of vehicle volume to help further drive down costs, while the few hydrogen fueling stations around the globe aren’t doing anything to help widespread adoption; there are only 10 such stations in the United States alone, eight of which are in Southern California.

Zetsche is more optimistic on the autonomous vehicle front, however, noting the unexpectedly rapid development in the technology. Mercedes-Benz has taken the lead in the space with the new S-Class and its Distronic cruise control system with automatic braking, which can pilot a car on its own for up to 60 miles with a few adjustments to its onboard technology.

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