Hydrogen auto news

Pages:  1   2   3    ..  

Who can really claim first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle delivery in US?

06/20/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hydrogen, Manufacturing/Plants, Honda, Hyundai

Honda FCX Clarity first delivery in 2008

Last month, Hyundai said that the initial deliveries of the Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles in California meant that, "For the first time, retail consumers can now put a mass-produced, federally-certified hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in their driveways." But try telling that to Jon Spallino.

In 2005, Honda leased a hydrogen fuel cell FCX, a small hatchback, to the Spallino family (as far as we know, he parked it in his driveway). The company did the same thing again in 2008 with the FCX Clarity, a sleek new design based on the FCX Concept, and others signed for the H2 ride as well, including celebrities. No matter how you slice it, Honda has been in the fuel cell delivery market for almost a decade now. Just look at this. Or this. Or this. Oh, and other automakers (General Motors in Project Driveway in 2006 and Mercdes-Benz with the F-Cell in 2010, for example) have delivered fuel cell vehicles in the US as part of short-term test programs.

But let's get back to Hyundai's claim. There's little question that the first delivery of a "fuel cell vehicle for the US market" has already taken place (and they were federally certified, too), which means that the debate revolves around the definition of mass-produced and whether "mass production" is about a number or about the process? Let's investigate below.

Continue reading Who can really claim first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle delivery in US?

Read more..

First hydrogen Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell CUVs arrive in California

05/21/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hydrogen, Hyundai

hyundai tucson fuel cell cuv hydrogen

These crossovers are not available in showroom quite yet, but the first batch of Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles has made it to California. Hyundai is promising retail availability, "within the next several weeks," which means early June or so for the $499/month CUVs. We previously heard in January that these hydrogen-powered Tucsons were supposed to be in US customers' hands by the end of March, so things are running behind schedule.

Still, the delivery at a port near Los Angeles marks the "first delivery of a mass-produced fuel cell vehicle for the US market," Hyundai says, which could be a big deal when we look back at the evolution of hydrogen-powered vehicles in the US (though we're guessing at least one other manufacturer might object to the Korean automaker's claim). Mike O'Brien, vice president, corporate and product planning for Hyundai Motor America, is certainly upbeat, saying in a statement that Hyundai is "proud of our leadership role in this important segment of the alternative fuel vehicle market."

So far, that's a segment that the company has almost all to itself. There are a very small number of hydrogen vehicles around today, including the Honda FCX Clarity and a few test vehicles from other automakers, but the numbers are set to grow next year when Toyota and Honda introduce new hydrogen sedans. For now, though, Hyundai can make a splash simply by bringing these vehicles to our shores.

Continue reading First hydrogen Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell CUVs arrive in California

Read more..

Lexus apologizes for anti-EV ad, Plug In America calls it 'outdated'

05/13/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Hydrogen, Lexus, AutoblogGreen Exclusive

Lexus anti-ev hydrogen ad

Anyone who's spent any time learning about the alternatives to the standard fossil fuel-burning internal combustion engines knows that there are arguments to be made for and against all of the main options. They also know that there is barely any refueling infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell cars in the US, aside form a handful of H2 stations in California and one in South Carolina. Somehow, though Lexus, recently said there was "established infrastructure" in 20 states in an online video ad on the company's official site. Another part of that site also made unfair negative comments about battery-powered electric vehicles, saying that it takes too long to charge the cars. Read our original post on the matter here.

In the ongoing discussion about how the US moves away from inefficient gas and diesel engines, this was seen as a real muck up of the facts. Upon seeing the videos, pro-electric vehicle group Plug In America released a statement to AutoblogGreen (Lexus is owned by Toyota):

Hey, Toyota, the 1990s called. They want their outdated anti-EV attack ad back. Plug-in electric vehicles charge while you're sleeping at home, far more convenient than making a trip to a gas station and coming away smelling like carcinogens. Driving on electricity costs about one fifth what it costs to drive the average gas car and about a third what it costs to drive the most efficient hybrid. An electric drive has smooth, instant acceleration which can't be matched by any gasoline engine. If you don't believe me, just ask anyone driving a Toyota RAV4 EV.

The videos were produced by Team One, Lexus' ad agency. Exactly where the information came from and how it made it to the website is unclear, but Lexus spokesman Moe Durand said that Lexus apologizes for offending anyone and has taken the incorrect videos down. The company will review all the materials and alter and adjust the campaign as necessary, he said.
Read more..

Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2014: Students find upsides pretty much everywhere

05/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Diesel, Emerging Technologies, Ethanol, EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Hydrogen, MPG, AutoblogGreen Exclusive, Natural Gas

Shell Eco-marathon 2014

The skies threatened rain, but aside from a few fat drops struggling down through the Texas air, the track remained dry through the end of the 2014 Shell Eco-marathon Americas. Given the haphazard way some of the vehicle bodies were held together - a bit of velcro or pieces of tape doing the job door hinges do on normal cars - this was a very good thing. The dry roads also meant that all of the teams were competing on an even footing, in this one aspect at least. After all, the 100-plus college and high school teams came to downtown Houston, TX this past weekend from across North, Central and South America and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Given wildly difference school sizes, team sizes and budgets, the students all had on thing in common beyond the dry road: true passion for achieving high efficiency.

There were failures everywhere but also a whole lot of successes.

There were first-time teams, there were veterans. There were schools that took inspiration from the movies with cars based on Back To The Future and the Indiana Jones movies and some that went for the most efficient shape they could CAD. There was a middle school student who talked her way onto a high school team. There were seniors giving the Eco-marathon one last go before graduation. There were failures everywhere but also a whole lot of successes.

This year, we thought we'd learn a bit more about the students and their stories. Last year, we reported an in-depth story on how the Eco-marathon works, which you can read here. Basically, to recap, the students try to expend the least amount of energy while covering the most distance. Within the rules, which emphasize safety, there is a lot of freedom for the teams to experiment, which is why you see all sorts of vehicles running around the track. Not a lot has changed, ruleswise, from last year, aside from the addition of gas-to-liquid as a possible fuel and a rules change for EVs that we'll get to in a moment. You can find the complete 2014 results here, but the headline number is that Laval University, from Canada, won the gasoline prototype category with 2823.41 miles per gallon. The University of Toronto Supermileage team was close behind with 2711.97 mpg. Given the distances covered and the way the small amount of fuel burned gets measured, that's basically a tie. That's how the Toronto team tells it, anyway.

Continue reading Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2014: Students find upsides pretty much everywhere

Read more..

Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell CUV deliveries running behind schedule

04/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hydrogen, Hyundai, AutoblogGreen Exclusive, SAE World Congress

SAE World Congress Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell SUV

Things are running a little bit behind on Hyundai's hydrogen-powered Tucson Fuel Cell CUV program in the US. The last time we checked in with the South Korean automaker's H2 project, we heard that the first deliveries were supposed to happen by the end of March. Speaking with Hyundai's Kevin Lee at the Hyundai booth at the SAE World Congress this week, we learned that deliveries are now going to happen closer to a month from now.

Globally, there are roughly 70-100 of these hydrogen CUVs running in customer hands today.

Lee told AutoblogGreen that the first US-bound units will be shipped from South Korea at the end of April or beginning of May but there is no actual date set for the first customer delivery. He said he expects 100 or fewer H2 powered Tucson CUVs to be operating in the US by the end of this year, all of them in Southern California. He said the customers in this first batch are being selected based on the location of the nearest hydrogen fuel station. While the number of stations is small today, more are on the way. Globally, there are roughly 70-100 of these hydrogen-powered CUVs (also known as the ix35) running in customer hands today, in places like South Korea, Germany, Norway, Austria and Italy.

Some H2 stations charge Hyundai a flat rate per fill while others charge the automaker a general station maintenance fee.

In the US, the Tucson Fuel Cell CUV leases for $499 a month (with $2,999 down) for 36 months, and comes with unlimited hydrogen refueling as well as Hyundai's Valet Maintenance. Lee told us that one reason for the "free" hydrogen is that even the small number of public hydrogen stations out there (nine in SoCal) does not have a cohesive set of rules for how to sell H2 to the public. The stations are not yet certified to charge customers based on dollar per kilogram in California, Lee said, since that regulation has not yet been set by the Division of Measurement Standards (DMS). Currently, "each station is different," he said, with some charging Hyundai a flat rate per fill and others charging the automaker a general station maintenance fee. This situation will likely change by the end of the year, he said.

Lee said Hyundai is already busy working on the next-gen fuel cell vehicles and trying to reduce costs but was not able to share any details. The one thing he did say was that things are "going well" and that it was "currently under discussion at a very high level" whether or not these fuel cell vehicles will be subject to shorter development time than standard vehicles. In other words, if you don't like the Tucson Fuel Cell SUV today, a newer and better version might be here sooner than expected.

Read more..

Chairman says BMW will make 100,000 electric vehicles a year by 2020

03/20/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Hydrogen, Manufacturing/Plants, BMW

BMW i3

We know demand for the BMW i3 has been high, both in the US and Europe. It appears that BMW's crystal ball is showing a steady increase in interest between now and 2020. By that year, according to Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management for BMW AG, the company expects to build 100,000 units a year. That's not quite as EVs many as Tesla is talking about for 2020 (500,000), but it would represent quite an increase from the roughly 20,000 units that the best-selling plug-in vehicles moved in 2013.

Reithofer told Automotive News that plug-in vehicle production would steadily increase by 2018 before hitting full stride at the end of the decade. He also made sure to clarify that there was external pressure to make 100,000 EVs a year: "we will be forced to build them in a six digits figure to comply with stricter emission rules."

The plug-in electric vehicles are just one part of BMW's effort to reduce emissions. In prepared remarks delivered at the company's annual accounts press conference (available in full below), Reithofer said, "Customer demand [for i3] is exceeding our expectations. ... We believe the electric motor is a future technology for zero-emission driving in urban areas. Battery technology will continue to progress. ... When it comes to emission-free long-distance driving, however, electric cars featuring hydrogen fuel cell technology offer great potential." He didn't say how many fuel cell cars BMW expects to make and sell in 2020, but BMW's collaboration with Daimler and Renault-Nissan is supposed to launch the "world's first affordable, mass-market fuel cell electric vehicles as early as 2017."

Continue reading Chairman says BMW will make 100,000 electric vehicles a year by 2020

Read more..

Hollywood stars drink hydrogen B-Class F-Cell emission water in Death Valley [UPDATE]

02/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hydrogen, Mercedes Benz, Daimler, Videos

Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson test hydrogen car in Death Valley

A plug-in electric vehicle can be used to power a house during a winter storm, but if you're more worried about the heat of, say, Death Valley, then maybe you'll want a Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell along. That's the message of a new video from Daimler and starring Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds) and Joshua Jackson (Fringe) that promotes the company's hydrogen-powered car. The gist? You can drink the tailpipe emissions.

The two Hollywood stars drove in Death Vally without any water in their F-Cell but had a special tank hooked up to the tailpipe to collect the H2O drips as they drove in 100+ degree temperatures. There's a reason these two actors were chosen, since they've been driving an F-Cell in their daily lives for two years, according to the Diamler press release. The text is, shall we say, a bit hyperbolic - "Their lives rely on the emissions of the B-Class F-CELL" it says, totally ignoring the film crew that is obviously along for the ride and more than likely had a few bottles with them. Also, when the California Fuel Cell Partnership promoted the same idea a few years ago, it clarified that, "A fuel cell doesn't produce enough water to fill your glass. ... If fact, fuel cells produce about the same amount of water as gasoline vehicle - about 1/3 cup for a full day of driving."

Thus, this whole thing is a Hollywood stunt, but it's a visually effective one. See for yourself in the mini-movie below.

UPDATE: Daimler has told AutoblogGreen that there was no "extra Hollywood magic" needed for the water collected in the video. Instead, Madeleine Herdlitschka, who works at global communications for Mercedes-Benz Cars, said, "Considering the technical characteristics, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL emits about 9 kg of water vapor per kg of hydrogen while driving. The vehicle has a hydrogen capacity of about 3.7 kg, what is sufficient for a max. of about 400 km of range. A tailor-made construction, designed by the production company Markenfilm Crossing in cooperation with our fuel cell experts, made it possible to collect the water in a tank - previously cooling the vapor with a specially designed pipe system."

Continue reading Hollywood stars drink hydrogen B-Class F-Cell emission water in Death Valley [UPDATE]

Read more..

Hollywood stars drink hydrogen B-Class F-Cell emission water in Death Valley

02/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hydrogen, Mercedes Benz, Daimler, Videos

Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson test hydrogen car in Death Valley

A plug-in electric vehicle can be used to power a house during a winter storm, but if you're more worried about the heat of, say, Death Valley, then maybe you'll want a Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell along. That's the message of a new video from Daimler and starring Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds) and Joshua Jackson (Fringe) that promotes the company's hydrogen-powered car. The gist? You can drink the tailpipe emissions.

The two Hollywood stars drove in Death Vally without any water in their F-Cell but had a special tank hooked up to the tailpipe to collect the H2O drips as they drove in 100+ degree temperatures. There's a reason these two actors were chosen, since they've been driving an F-Cell in their daily lives for two years, according to the Diamler press release. The text is, shall we say, a bit hyperbolic - "Their lives rely on the emissions of the B-Class F-CELL" it says, totally ignoring the film crew that is obviously along for the ride and more than likely has a few bottle with them. Also, when the California Fuel Cell Partnership promoted the same idea a few years ago, it clarified that, "A fuel cell doesn't produce enough water to fill your glass. ... If fact, fuel cells produce about the same amount of water as gasoline vehicle - about 1/3 cup for a full day of driving."

Thus, this whole thing is a Hollywood stunt, but it's a visually effective one. See for yourself in the mini-movie below.

Continue reading Hollywood stars drink hydrogen B-Class F-Cell emission water in Death Valley

Read more..

Why Toyota's fuel cell play is one big green gamble

02/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Emerging Technologies, Hydrogen, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota

Toyota hydrogen FCV prototype

Imagine going to the ballet on Saturday evening for an 8 pm performance. The orchestra begins warming up shortly before the show, but it turns out the star performer isn't ready at the appointed time. The orchestra keeps playing, doing its best to keep the audience engaged and, most importantly, in the building. It keeps this up until the star finally shows and is ready to dance ... which turns out to be ten years later.

That's a Samuel Beckett play. It's also how many observers, analysts, alt-fuel fans and alt-fuel intenders feel about the arrival of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) - the few of them who are still in the building, that is.

Toyota's hydrogen development timeline rivals that of the US space program.

In fact, within the halls of Toyota alone, research on FCVs has been going on for nearly 22 years, meaning that one company's development timeline for FCVs rivals that of the US space program - it was 1945 when Werner von Braun's team began re-assembling Germany's World War II V2 rockets and figuring out how to launch them into space and it wasn't until 1969 when a man set landing gear down on that sunlit lunar quarry. The development of the atom bomb only took half as long, and that's if we go all the way back to when Leó Szilárd patented the mere idea of it, in 1934.

Carmakers didn't give up on hydrogen in spite of the public having given up on carmakers ever making something of it, so there was a good chance that hydrogen criers announcing the mass-market adoption of periodic chart element number two would eventually be right. Now is that time. And Toyota, not alone in researching FCVs but arguably having done the most to keep FCVs in the news, isn't even going to be first to market. That honor will go to Hyundai, surprising just about everyone at the LA Auto Show with news of a hydrogen fuel cell Tucson going on sale in the spring. The other bit of thunder stolen: while Toyota's talking about trying to get the price of its offering down to something between $50,000 and $100,000, Hyundai is pitching its date with the future at a lease price of $499 per month ($250 more than the lease price of a conventional Tucson), free hydrogen and maintenance, and availability at Enterprise Rent-A-Car if you just want to try it out.

We've seen and driven Toyota's offering and we all know its success doesn't depend on cross-shopping, showroom dealing and lease sweeteners. So let's take a look at a few of the big issues challenging the hydrogen economy, starting with this: it's been said about the Toyota FCV that it "Offers the same convenience as conventional gasoline vehicles." Which is true. Until you need to fill it up.

Continue reading Why Toyota's fuel cell play is one big green gamble

Read more..

Toyota fires bullets into hydrogen fuel tanks, shoots down EV supporters

01/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hydrogen, Manufacturing/Plants, Toyota

toyota hydrogen fuel cell tank

Many gearheads will remember that the 1970s-era Dodge Dart's claim to fame was that its motor was so durable (though not necessarily powerful) that one could shoot bullets into the engine block. Decades later, Toyota has taken a page out of that testing process.

"Personally, I don't care what Elon [Musk] says about fuel cells" - Toyota's Bob Carter

With some industry members and analysts questioning both the viability and durability of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles, Toyota executive Bob Carter, speaking at the Automotive News World Congress this week, says the Japanese automaker went all Clint Eastwood on the fuel tanks of a fuel-cell prototype. Carter says that bullets from a small-caliber gun bounced off the carbon-fiber tanks, and that .50-caliber bullets barely made dents. The shoot-out motif kept going when Carter name-checked executives from Tesla, Nissan and Volkswagen in saying that he didn't care if other automakers question the future of fuel-cell vehicles. As you can see in the prepared text of Carter's speech below, he said, "Personally, I don't care what Elon [Musk], Carlos [Ghosn] or Jonathan [Browning] say about fuel cells. If they want to 'plug in and tune out' other technologies, that's fine."

After debuting it in Tokyo late last year, Toyota showed off its FCV fuel-cell concept vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show this week as it get ready to start sales "around 2015." The car has a 300-mile range and should be priced somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. Autoblog drove Toyota's fuel-cell prototypes last year, and you can read our impressions here.

Continue reading Toyota fires bullets into hydrogen fuel tanks, shoots down EV supporters

Read more..

Pages:  1   2   3    ..