By on October 18, 2017

Toyota Fine Comfort-Ride Concept

Still glued to hydrogen as the fuel of the future, Toyota will unveil a new fuel cell concept at the Tokyo Motor Show that could be summarized as a mobile lounge. Existing somewhere between a crossover and minivan, the “Fine Comfort-Ride” concept vehicle underscores a more roomy and relaxing automotive future.

At 190 inches long and 77 inches wide, it isn’t a petite transport. However, that mass translates into a spacious cabin — with ample room for six — affixed with all the luxuries you’d want to see in the car of tomorrow. It has lavish swivel chairs, mood lighting, connectivity for each passenger, and windows that double as infotainment screens.

Unfortunately, it has the face of Droopy Dog. This may be the first time an automaker has molded a vehicle’s bodywork into jowls.  (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

Ford Focus Electric

California has been toying with the idea of banning internal combustion motors for a couple of years now. While the concept is gaining popularity across the globe, the ban itself is a bit misleading. Regions in favor of the idea aren’t really pursuing an outright ban on engines that burn gasoline; they’re trying to mandate electrification and reduce emissions via non-traditional powertrains.

In April of 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown announced, “If the federal government can’t get it right, we in California are going to take care of business.” With the Trump administration making strides to roll back regulatory efforts, it appears the state of California is ready to pop in some Bachman–Turner Overdrive and begin taking care of said business.  (Read More…)

By on September 24, 2017

hydrogen fueling

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in our universe and hydrogen-powered vehicles produce only a single emission: water. It’s no wonder a handful automakers have touted it as the next-step in “sustainable” transportation, because it looks great upon a cursory examination. But it hasn’t held up under increased scrutiny and numerous manufacturers have been highly critical of fuel cell cars.

Earlier this year, Jaguar Land Rover’s technical design director called hydrogen-powered vehicles a disaster in practical efficiency. Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk went even further, calling the technology “incredibly dumb.” More recently, VW Group also hinted that it thought there wasn’t going to be much of a future for fuel cells. Matthias Mueller’s address at the Frankfurt Auto Show was heavy on electrification and light on hydrogen, with Audi spearheading the technology.

Although, if president of Audi of America Scott Keogh is to be believed, it looks to be a rather dull spear they are using.  (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2017

nissan leaf charging electric car

California wants to fund more generous rebates for electric vehicle buyers as part of a massive agenda to support the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. In addition to federal incentives, the state has its own rebate program and has made plans to add additional state-sponsored tax breaks for EV buyers.

However, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy, California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate program has almost run out of funding — for a second time — after Governor Jerry Brown neglected to include it in the state budget.

As a result, the program can no longer offer rebates to purchasers of zero-emission vehicles and has placed those who made a purchase after June 30th on a refund waiting list. It’s bad news for anyone in California who wanted to by an electric car. Well, unless you’re poor, because the State of California really wants to convince low-income households to buy electric for some reason.  (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

Concept EQ, Exterieur Concept EQ, exterior

Daimler AG is dumping half of a 5 billion yuan sum, or 735 million dollars, into China as part of a joint venture with BAIC Motor Corp. Together, the companies plan to establish the groundwork for competent EV production in the region — meaning a good ol’ fashioned battery factory.

The bill is split between the two firms, as China requires every foreign automaker to partner with a domestic one to do business within the country. The new factory will be a product of Beijing Benz Automotive, a blandly named limited liability company created to further Mercedes’ interest within the country and bolster its EV production capabilities globally. (Read More…)

By on June 28, 2017

nissan leaf charging electric car

Federal tax credits for electric vehicles won’t last forever, especially under the Trump administration. While it’s difficult to quantify exactly how many people saw the $7,500 rebate as the deciding factor to “go green,” there is little doubt that it factored into the final purchasing choice of some buyers.

California has made the promotion of zero-emission vehicles a matter of great concern. With General Motors, Nissan, and Tesla all gradually approaching the 200,000-unit quota for vehicles eligible for the tax rebate, the state doesn’t want to see buyers lose purchasing incentives prematurely. With that, California is considering a bill that would provide discounts to EV shoppers at the time of purchase, essentially reducing the sticker price before the car even leaves the lot.  (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2017

Eneos Gas Station With Hydrogen Pumps

The United States and Canada don’t have much of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure to speak of, but Japanese automakers continue sending fuel cell vehicles across the ocean anyway. Vehicles like the Honda Clarity and Toyota Mirai have been touted as the environmental saviors of tomorrow but, with the exception of California, there really isn’t a place for them in the North America of today. So why do Japanese manufactures continue to bother with hydrogen?

The main reason is because Japan has bought into a future that America doesn’t seem interested in. With three of its automakers already producing fuel cell cars, the government as adopted a fairly aggressive plan to adopt hydrogen for homes, business, and cars by 2030 — meaning the U.S. probably won’t see these vehicles vanish anytime soon.  (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2017

Lamborghini emblem logo badge

Lamborghini has said it is more or less open to the idea of an all-electric car, though it definitely hasn’t considered it seriously. While parent company Volkswagen AG has made lofty promises of sweeping electrification and imposed its zero-emission mindset onto the majority of its automotive brands, the Italian supercar manufacturer is not yet among them.

However, Lamborghini has shown that it’s not immune to industry trends. Its almost-family-friendly Urus SUV begins production next month and the automaker has said it plans to launch a hybridized version by 2020. While you can’t ignore the LM002 that preceded it, that’s still a far cry from the pavement-scraping exotics it’s best known for. There has also been plenty of speculation that the company was  developing a Porsche Mission E-based electric model called Vitola. Lamborghini dispelled those rumors and has since gone on to say that a battery-only car won’t be on the table before 2025 — and perhaps not even then.   (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2017

FE Fuel Cell Concept
For reasons unbeknownst to me, Hyundai Motors revealed its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell concept at the Geneva Motor Show this week — showing continued commitment to the technology, despite the lack of infrastructure needed to make it truly viable. Dubbed the FE, or “Future Eco,” the company says the SUV alludes to its next phase of zero emission vehicles.

Sporting similar dimensions, the FE will likely replace the $50,000 Tucson Fuel Cell once it assumes its final form, because it cannot possibly go to market looking like this. Low profile whitewalls and oversized drug dealer rims rarely end up as from-the-factory hardware. However, there are some interesting off-kilter features that might stick around. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2017

Visual Clarity

Telling someone that you can run a car on hydrogen — a greenhouse gas — and emit clean water as the singular byproduct is already an extremely novel concept. You don’t need a laser light display or sideshow antics to make that fact more interesting or palatable. In the case of Honda, you absolutely do not need to include the disembodied heads of singing children bathed in light. In fact, the actual message might even become partially lost in the abyss of confusion you’ve created as people furrow their brows and wonder if someone has snuck a psychoactive drug into their beverage.

For reasons clearer to hired visual artist Adam Pesapane than myself, the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell ad campaign uses a central theme of floating heads — frequently representing chemical compounds and molecular structures. The end result is as informative as it is unsettling, though it heavily favors the latter.

(Read More…)

By on August 4, 2016

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

The dialogue from Tesla wasn’t all rainbows and puppies this week.

In oddly coordinated diatribes, CEO Elon Musk and his vice-president of business development took off the soft driving gloves and laid into their competition and the country’s regulators. The message? Put up, pay up, or shut up. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2014

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.

(Read More…)

By on August 13, 2014

2011_Nissan_Leaf_SL_--_10-28-2011

California’s low- and mid-income residents may soon be able to board the EV train with help from a bill now working its way through the state’s legislature.

(Read More…)

By on June 3, 2014

2013 Fiat 500e Exterior-013

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.

(Read More…)

By on April 7, 2014

tesla-model-s-logo

A change to the California Air Resources Board’s Zero-Emission Vehicle credit program will leave Tesla with four credits per car cold for the foreseeable future, down from seven credits for every Model S through 2013.

(Read More…)

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