Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha have just collectively promised to develop a slew of hydrogen-reliant engines designed to power small vehicles. While this is supposed to encompass construction equipment, small boats, airborne drones, and even motorcycles, the scheme doesn’t seem to focus on automobiles. However, Japanese automakers have already been working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for years and Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda has even been championing the development of hydrogen-burning motors for some of the brand's racing applications.
It’s largely counter to what the rest of the world is doing and begs the question of why Japan seems so intent on making hydrogen power work. What exactly makes the scheme so appealing to the island nation?
On Sunday, the Berlin E-Prix had to be delayed after a gaggle of climate activists attempted to glue themselves to the starting grid. While the setback itself was minor, the protest has reportedly left everyone scratching their heads — as the event was part of the Formula E racing category which only fields all-electric vehicles.
Toyota Motor Corp has announced it will be partnering with Exxon to develop a low-carbon fuel that can be used in gasoline engines. Considering that governments around the world are introducing stringent carbon emission standards, this seems like a worthwhile endeavor. However, Toyota also likes to throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, and previous attempts to deliver on similar concepts have fallen flat.
Of all the American adages, “there ain't no such thing as a free lunch” has to be the most applicable and it often comes to mind whenever the automotive sector spins itself up over alternative energy vehicles. While it is comforting to assume that novel powertrains are going to create a world where nothing is wasted and no environmental harm is done, the laws of nature don’t really support the theory.
Toyota’s hydrogen-powered GR Corolla caught fire while testing at Fuji International Speedway last week, putting the vehicle out of action for the foreseeable future. The #32 ORC Rookie GR Corolla H2 Concept was designed as a proof of concept that fuel-cell vehicles can make excellent racers, that Toyota’s pursuit of hydrogen power hasn’t been in vain, and that net-zero emissions are achievable.
It was also supposed to compete in the first round of the ENEOS Super Taikyu Series 2023 sponsored by Hankook this weekend. However, Toyota has elected to run with the gasoline-powered ORC Rookie GR Yaris while the hydrogen model remains out of action.
Following news that the European Union had delayed voting on the prospective banning of the internal combustion engine, Porsche and Ferrari have reportedly been doing their utmost to encourage exemptions for synthetic fuels. Presented as an alternative to gasoline and diesel, “e-fuels” would theoretically allow the automakers to continue selling traditional engines while offering fuels they claim would be less harmful to the environment.
However, cutting through the industry rhetoric on this will be important. Despite assurances that synthetic fuels would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there are a lot of lingering questions about e-fuels.
The European Union is reportedly finding itself in a difficult position ahead of prospective bans on vehicles utilizing internal combustion engines. Germany has threatened to block the agreement, pulling what can only be described as the classic switcheroo in exchange for favorable conditions.
German manufacturers are attempting to market synthetic fuels as a viable and environmentally sound alternative to standard gasoline or diesel. Regulators influenced by the automotive sector are now pressing for the EU to make special exceptions for so-called “electrofuels” before the combustion ban can be finalized – with Italy likewise suggesting it would reject the emission rules everyone agreed to last year.
I have become accustomed to running into the unexpected during my junkyard travels, finding everything from a JDM Nissan Fairlady Z to a bullet-riddled Cadillac from a Mythbusters episode to a British tank. That said, I never expected to find a four-year-old hydrogen fuel-cell car, more than a thousand miles from the only state in which they were sold that year. This becomes the newest junkyard car I’ve documented, taking the top spot from the now-second-place 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage.
The Hyundai Xcient is on its way to becoming the first mass-produced hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty truck. Design and performance improvements have made it more competitive with those expected from Mercedes-Benz, Toyota-Hino, and Nikola.
A Tesla autonomously rammed a Snohomish County, Washington sheriff’s deputy’s Ford Explorer SUV. As reported by Nexstar Media Wire, the incident occurred over the weekend.
The parked SUV sustained heavy damage. There were no injuries to the driver or the deputy. There was no word on the extent of the damages to the Tesla.
The world’s climate has been centerstage the last two days. President Biden and other world leaders have vowed to reduce global warming by making drastic changes. Will they follow through?
At the 2015 Paris climate accord, then-President Obama set greenhouse gas reduction at half what Biden has proposed. Former President Trump, Obama’s successor, did little to forward this, but is it realistic for Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, to double down on Obama’s goal in a relatively short time frame?
Mercedes-Benz’s 2021 EQB is its third all-electric launch this year, along with the EQA 250 and EQS. The EQB will be produced for the local market in Beijing. The rest of the world will get their EQBs from Kecskemét, Hungary. The EQB will be the first pure EV made in Hungary.
Hyundai’s 2021 Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric now include 250 kWh of complimentary fast charging through Electrify America, with more than 2,400 ultra-fast chargers across the U.S. According to Electrify America, 96 percent of the population lives within a 120-mile radius of one of their chargers.
The Electric Highway Coalition, a consortium of six utility companies, will provide a network of 20-30 minute DC fast chargers for EV drivers, as reported by Electrek. Each of the utilities will be responsible for providing EV charging within their service areas, with most sites located along major highways for easy access and adjacency to other amenities.
The Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation (CSAR) is officially withdrawing from a lawsuit between California and federal authorities over the coastal state’s ability to establish its own emissions standards. California leadership had vowed to ignore the Trump administration’s proposed rollback and began making binding side deals with automakers (specifically BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Honda) committed to adhering to the aggressive limits established under President Obama. Unfortunately, this ran the risk of undermining the revised national standards penned shortly after the United States became energy independent. It also set up the CSAR to embrace any entity that had views conflicting with California Air Resources Board.
Federal concerns were that the Golden State setting its own targets would butt heads with the relaxed national benchmarks and ultimately divide the U.S. market and may even influence the types of vehicles that were manufactured for all of North America. But the issue became moot once President Biden broke the record for executive orders by signing 22 in his first week. Predictably, the brunt of these were designed to instantly undo any actions taken throughout the duration of the Trump administration and included one directing the Department of Transportation and EPA to reconsider the 2019 decision to remove California’s authority to limit tailpipe emissions by April and revise the fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles by summer.
General Motors has rolled out BrightDrop, moving them further into the business of first-to-last-mile products, software, and services for delivery and logistics.
“BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services,” said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO.
Plug Power, a provider of hydrogen engines and fueling solutions, is expanding its support of Walmart’s eCommerce network. Plug Power currently supports more than 9,500 GenDrive fuel cell-powered vehicles used by 37 Walmart distribution centers across North America.
Environmental activist Jamie Henn, and his firm, Fossil Free Media, are attacking advertising and PR agencies that work on oil industry accounts. Their initiative, Clean Creatives, is designed to shame some of the world’s largest PR and ad agencies in hopes that they will resign.
“We want to get PR and ad agencies to stop working with the oil industry because they are spreading misinformation about climate change and lobbying action to address the crisis,” said Henn. “Our reliance on fossil fuels is driving global warming which will have serious impacts on our environment, health, and economy.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Sunday that her country will soon have one million charging stations ready for electric cars. Her words came ahead of numerous meetings with German automotive manufacturers on how best to spur EV adoption in Europe.
Pivoting to zero-emission vehicles has many worried about job losses. The United Auto Workers issued a nearly 40-page report on the implications of electric vehicles and how to address them during its negotiations with General Motors — after the automaker said the battery plant it was eyeballing in Ohio would require hourly employees to take pay cuts. The Center for Automotive Research has also indicated that EVs simply don’t take as many man hours to manufacture. It’s even mentioned in the Trump administration’s fuel economy rollback proposal — an effort bent on furnishing cheap automobiles and American jobs.
Germany is worried too, with groups echoing similar employment concerns. To mitigate those fears, while encouraging electrification and maintaining jobs, the nation wants to take its 20,000 charging stations to 1 million.
What is it about these wacky new-school post-enthusiast autowriters? Prior to last week, I thought that Wayne “50 percent of the time I am an automotive journalist” Gerdes of CleanMPG was probably the loosest screw in the business, what with the drafting at 70 mph and letting a Ranger run wild through a subdivision with the engine off. It didn’t help my estimation of Wayne’s sanity that the payoffs he received for risking life and limb in the service of advertorial content were so Mickey Mouse. Why risk running over an animal or child just to save a few pennies on fuel and/or pick up a couple grand from an automaker?
Electek‘s Fred Lambert is playing for slightly higher stakes, as we revealed in last week’s piece on his double life as “impartial” electric car journalist and compensated Tesla referrer. In fact, since we ran the article Fred managed to get his eighth referral, entitling him to a second $7,200 Tesla Powerwall and bringing the total potential take for his advocacy into the $30,000 range. And while he never found the time to return my e-mails or engage with me regarding his behavior, when Automotive News decided to put him on blast he didn’t hesitate to start getting ugly with young Katie Burke about what he perceived as a “non-story.”
Nor did he think twice about implying that he would kill a Ford employee — a threat he retracted and blamed on his phone.
One Tesla owner got a big shock yesterday as his accelerator pedal snapped off while driving.
The story comes from user benjiejr on the Tesla Motor Club forum. He was showing off his Model S P85D to a friend and his nephew. After going through the car’s features it was time to show off the massive acceleration of the P85D’s twin electric motors and 503 horsepower.“I turned around and was going to do another launch, but this time without Launch Mode – just stomp on the pedal – like I do most often. When I punched it, the accelerator pedal broke off.”
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.
It sounds like a car guy’s fantasy, using beer to power a car.
And it still is fantasy, unfortunately.
However, a couple of researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have filed for a patent on a method to use the byproduct of the brewing process to create anodes for lithium-ion batteries, the power source for most electric cars.
The electric vehicle revolution, if you want to call it that, won’t happen in the “I woke up and everything was different” manner envisioned by hard-core EV enthusiasts.
EVs are no longer new to the automotive scene, but there’s still a vast gulf between the opinions of politicians and automakers and that of the buying public. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Americans polled in a recent study say they aren’t ready or willing to add an electric vehicle to their household.
A new study from the University of Michigan adds (bio)fuel to the growing backlash against supposedly clean and green fossil fuel substitutes.
The study claims that the environmental benefits of ethanol and biodiesel — championed by both the federal government and the lucrative biofuel industry — are based on completely false assumptions, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been in development for as long as hybrids, but while one of those technologies can be found in any Walgreens parking lot, the other still occupies a tiny micro-niche in the marketplace.
Besides the lack of refueling infrastructure, hydrogen-powered driving is hindered by the high cost of fuel cells. After receiving $6 million from the feds, Ford Motor Company and the Los Alamos National Laboratory hope to change that, the Detroit Free Press reports.
White House Announces Up To $4.5B in EV Infrastructure And 'Unprecedented' Public/Private Market Growth Plan
Yesterday the Obama administration announced “an unprecedented set of actions” to grow the U.S. plug-in electrified vehicle market.
The initiative represents a broad collaboration between federal agencies, state governments, major automakers, utilities, and others to aid the ongoing push to make electric cars viable alternatives to the internal combustion variety.
Perhaps chief in a laundry list of public and private sector agreements is up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for commercial scale charging — including fast charging — to create a nationwide network.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne likes to keep people guessing, which is no surprise to those following the rapid-fire product changes at his company.
With his company’s fortunes buoyed by sales of thirsty Ram and Jeep vehicles, Marchionne remains fascinated and distrustful of electric automaker Tesla, telling Britain’s Car Magazine that the future of propulsion likely lies somewhere else.
The question is, what’s Marchionne doing about it?
Owners of BMW i3s equipped with optional range extenders — read: two-cylinder engine that generates electricity — are suing the automaker for an issue that could leave those drivers going slow in the fast lane.
According to Green Car Reports, the BMW i3 REx will drop down to 45 miles per hour under certain conditions, which some owners believe is a safety issue.
Besides making steaks seem fancy and sending rebellious teens to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, it turns out mushrooms have another use.
Fibers from a type of wild mushroom outperformed graphite anodes on lithium-ion batteries, Wards Auto reports, a finding that surprised researchers at Purdue University.
As electric cars slowly proliferate, the knowledge could revolutionize the future of high-capacity batteries.
The Beijing Motor Show begins next week, but Buick couldn’t wait a minute longer.
At yesterday’s 2016 Buick Day event in Shanghai (was there a parade?), the automaker rolled out its LaCrosse Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), a model tailor-made for the Chinese market.
China loves Buicks, and Buick loves them right back, so much so that the U.S. will get a Chinese-made model this fall. The LaCrosse HEV is part of General Motors’ plan to foist as many vehicles on China as possible.
For Tesla Model S P90D owners who have concluded they won’t soil their firm, supportive seats if given the chance to go faster, well, they’re in luck.
Tesla Motors is offering to bring “Ludicrous” mode to owners of the top-end Model S as an aftermarket upgrade, assuming their wallet can match their need to blow everything else out of the water.
TTAC News Round-up: Ford Soothes Investors, Dodge Gets Its DiCaprio Moment, and Kentucky Aims for Volkswagen's Center Mass
Ford is doing so well, you’d be a damn fool to ever think of not investing in Ford, says Ford.
That, hiring a crop of cranky old people paid off for Dodge, Kentucky joins the let’s-sue-Volkswagen party, Honda gets a Hoosier boost, and ethanol continues to suck … after the break!
In the nearly 20 years it’s been on the market, the Toyota Prius has become an icon of eco-friendly motoring. Now, Toyota wants to build on the legend with a new, more upmarket version called Prius Prime. It comes equipped with plug-in charging, but it should be much more than the previous-generation Prius Plug-In. While the Plug-In was basically nothing more than a basic Prius with a larger battery and electric plug, the Prime is supposed to add style and luxury.
After seemingly using up its legal arsenal against Volkswagen, the U.S. is pulling its backup out of an ankle holster and taking another shot.
That, Kia and Hyundai might get a Korean competitor, Mercedes-Benz is feeling charged up, Audi is still a fuel cell fan, and Volvo wants to standardize EV recharging … after the break!
It seems Sergio Marchionne may be switching teams when it comes to shacking up with another company to build cars of the future, reports Bloomberg.
At the Geneva International Motor Show, the self-confessed Apple geek said that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be well-suited to contract build a car designed in California.
“I would assume that we have the credibility to be one of the players they have looked at,” Marchionne said in Geneva. “There are parts of us that would be interesting for them.”
(Caveat: I know nothing at all about stocks, bonds or other financial instruments.)
After automotive startup Elio Motors raised approximately $17 million dollars in a Reg-A+ stock offering the company crowdsourced from small investors via StartEngine, it said its shares would be listed on the OTCQX exchange to provide those investors with liquidity.
It’s probably too early to call Elio another Tesla (whose own market capitalization probably exceeds its actual value), and I don’t know how many of those investors are going to sell their stock so soon. But, if they did, they would have more than doubled their money in less than two weeks as of Monday’s close.
The Environmental Protection Agency has asked Volkswagen to build electric vehicles in the United States as part of an effort to make up for nearly 600,000 illegally polluting diesels, reported German newspaper Welt am Sonntag (via Automotive News).
The proposal, if accepted by both parties, could bring electric vehicle production to Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which currently produces gasoline and diesel versions of the Volkswagen Passat and is slated to build a three-row midsize SUV by the end of 2016.
But what electric vehicles could Volkswagen build in the United States?
Electric vehicles aren’t rollin’ coal anymore — or, at least, not nearly as much as they used to.
Reuters reports coal-fired electricity generation is now at a 35-year low in the U.S., and November 2015 was the fifth month in a row more natural gas than coal was used to produce electricity.
That’s not all. From Reuters:
With just one month of data missing in 2015, some analysts think power companies may have burned more gas than coal for the full year for the first time in history.
Oh, and guess what’s dirtier than natural gas when burned? You bet: gasoline.
NAIAS 2016: Kia Telluride Concept Just Wants To Make Sure You're Feeling Okay (Are You Sure? Let Me Check Your Forehead.)
Kia teased a new large SUV concept last week, the Telluride, and we were able to see more of the new, uniquely styled luxury SUV today.
After last week’s unveiling at CES, we were left with plenty of questions about the new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. Answers came today, at least about its drivetrain.
Notably, GM mentions a low-speed driving mode that allows for single-pedal operation. This “Low” mode allows the driver to control regenerative braking with a paddle behind the steering wheel. This could be a game changer in stop-and-go traffic.
The standard drive mode allows for 0-60 mph times of seven seconds flat.
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- Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
- Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
- Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
- FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
- Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.