Tag: Fuel Cell

By on December 10, 2018

Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered Nexo is so ludicrously specialized that it’s utterly impossible to make a case for it outside of California. In fact, even that might be overstating its usefulness — allow me to try again. The Nexo Fuel Cell works near Los Angeles or San Francisco and absolutely nowhere else in North America. And, while that’s primarily due to its dependency on hydrogen fueling stations, which exist almost exclusively in two relatively small corners of the Golden State, it’s not the only reason.

You need to be a certain type of person to want to drive the Nexo. Someone who likes making a statement, is interested in green tech, and possesses absolutely zero interest in spirited bouts of driving. It’s slow, appliance-like, and offers nothing to the typical enthusiast crowd, save for some interesting styling. However, if you want something eye-catching that runs on alternative energy and routinely spend a large portion of your day in horrible LA traffic, it could be the right tool for the job.  (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2018

2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Exterior Profile, Image: © 2017 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

They’re the rarest breed on the road, drawing their car’s fuel source from the world’s most plentiful element — which just happens to be the hardest to get your hands on in any large quantity. Fuel cell vehicle drivers, of which none exist outside of California, depend on a small network of H2 refueling stations to stay on the road, and the drawbacks to using this rare power source are already well documented.

You’ll be renting a car if your road trip takes you too far from San Francisco or the SoCal area. Supply issues sometimes leaves that one nearby station out of service, as happened earlier this year. It’s almost as if a vehicle you plug into a wall is a better green idea, at least on the downstream side.

Regardless, these Honda Clarity FC, Toyota Mirai, and Hyundai Tucson FC owners made their bed and were prepared to lie in it. Unfortunately for them, the refueling network has once again revealed its fragility. (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2018

electrify-america-ev-charging-station, Electrify America

While fuel-cell technology is progressing in places like California and Japan, the rest of the world shrugged it off after the initial hype subsided. Since then, practically every automaker in existence has invested in battery technology and electrification. However, according to a recent survey, most auto executives secretly do not believe batteries will be the real breakthrough in electric mobility. Dealers feel the same way, but they’ve been less cagey on the matter.

Uh, what? Then why is everyone and their mother talking up plug-in cars and sweeping the fuel cell under the carpet?

Well, in addition to hydrogen having an abysmal fueling infrastructure almost everywhere, governments simply aren’t pushing it like battery power. Incentivizing plug-in cars has gone a long way to bolster the segment’s popularity and, with China mandating that a growing portion of all auto sales be battery-related, companies have to lean into what they already have. That said, many executives still seem to feel that hydrogen-powered cars have more to give the industry.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Its time to talk about why auto dealers are so unhappy about the electric revolution.  (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2018

Hyundai FCV

Despite the inherent challenges with using hydrogen as a fuel source, Hyundai is plowing ahead with a new generation of fuel cell vehicle as a follow up to the Tucson Fuel Cell it currently offers in limited markets.

Difference is, the current hydrogen-powered Tucson shares a lot of sheetmetal with the traditionally fuelled Tucson. The new, as yet unnamed, hydrogen crossover doesn’t look like anything in Hyundai’s portfolio … at least not yet.

(Read More…)

By on October 6, 2017

General Motors SURUS platform

Regardless of whether it’s brought upon us by climate change, divine intervention, or civil unrest, the end times are right around the corner — and the government is going to need a rugged and versatile vehicle for the impending apocalypse. The automaker with the chops to deliver such a platform? General Motors.

Apparently not Skunk Works levels of classified, GM publicly announced the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) on Friday morning. While not the classic image of a motorized vehicle, the design is intended to serve as the underlying architecture of governmental and commercial transports alike. While the specific government applications are a question mark, the platform’s fuel cell system allows it to run silently with a minimal heat signature — making it ideal for sneaking men and munitions behind enemy lines.

At least, that’s the theory.  (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 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 November 23, 2016

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar Land Rover’s technical design director Wolfgang Ziebart is decidedly not a proponent of hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

Due to the amount of energy required to produce, cool, and then compress hydrogen for transportation and subsequent usage within a fuel cell vehicle, Ziebart is highly critical of its role as a practical automotive energy source.

Still, a minority of automakers disagree. (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2016

Honda FCX Clarity At Shell Hydrogen Fuel Pump

The world needs to be saved, but who wants to spend more money doing it?

That, cash lands on Takata-plagued dealers, Tesla takes to the track, BMW wants you in and out fast, and Volkswagen dreams of slaying the Prius … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on March 9, 2016

department-of-justice

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!

(Read More…)

By on October 9, 2015

Lexus GS-F

Lexus announced Friday that it would show a concept for “progressive luxury” at its Tokyo Motor Show stand when the show starts later this month.

The car, which Automotive News reported could be a concept for its flagship LS sedan, may be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, hybrid or Bernie Sanders.

Lexus may also need to update its CT 200h, which is based on the Prius. Toyota is rolling out its new 2016 Prius, which will be the first car based on Toyota’s new global architecture. The CT 200h went on sale in 2011 and hasn’t changed much since.

(Read More…)

By on July 2, 2015

20150701_02_03

According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars.

The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars.

(Read More…)

By on November 17, 2014

Honda FCV Concept

On the same day that Toyota announced plans for a hydrogen fueling infastructure on the Northeast, Honda showed off their next-generation fuel cell vehicle, re-affirming that Japan is “all-in” on hydrogen vehicles.

(Read More…)

By on July 29, 2014

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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.

(Read More…)

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