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Archive for the ‘Fuel Cell’ Category

New Mercedes GLC F-Cell: World’s 1st to Combine Fuel-Cell, Plug-In Hybrid Tech

New model gets a combined range of 300 miles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.13, 2018

The new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell combines two technologies to help mitigate worries about running out fuel.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell is designed to help motorists address one of the biggest problems facing alternative powertrain technology: a lack of infrastructure.

The new crossover is the world’s first production vehicle to combine fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid technology in the same vehicle. That means a motorist will be less likely to be stuck somewhere without a source of power.

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“The innovative plug-in fuel cell drive combines the advantages of both zero-emission drive technologies and, thanks to its intelligent operating strategy, continuously optimizes the use of both energy sources in line with the current operating situation,” Mercedes said in a statement announcing the launch of the new F-Cell, which will officially go on sale in Germany next spring. (more…)

GM Adds Silverado ZH2 to Military-Ready Line-up

Company continues its work with the U.S. Army.

by Michael Strong on Nov.07, 2018

GM's defense team is developing a Silverado version of the ZH2 in concert with the U.S. Army.

General Motors defense group continues to develop new urban warfare vehicles for the U.S. military to consider. The latest under development is the new Chevrolet Silverado ZH2.

The military-grade version of the Silverado is mirrored off the Colorado ZH2 the company produced in 2016. Developed in concert with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, the Silverado ZH2 is powered by a next-gen hydrogen fuel cell and advanced battery systems.

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It features a heavy-duty strength design, a “race proven multimatic dynamic suspension” and a range of more than 400 miles, according to Autoblog.com. (more…)

Honda Aligns With GM on Fuel Economy Rules

Japanese automaker pushes Trump administration to compromise.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.01, 2018

Honda is aligning with General Motors in calling for tougher, but unified fuel economy standards in the U.S.

Honda has joined General Motors on calling the EPA to abandon its proposed fuel-economy rollback and is asking federal officials to negotiate with states like California to offer a single, comprehensive update to federal fuel-economy standards.

“Despite continued development of exciting new automotive technologies, the long-term achievements of this industry will depend as much on policies as on powertrains,” Honda noted in its response to the Trump administration.

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“The regulatory framework and policy levers will define the landscape in which our industry operates and competes. Managing this transition thoughtfully is of paramount importance to industry and society alike,” Honda continued regarding the administration’s proposal to freeze the fuel economy standards at 2021 levels and end California’s ability to set its own rules on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. (more…)

Green Car of the Year Finalists Revealed

“Green” comes in many forms.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.30, 2018

The 2019 Insight is Honda's third attempt to market a mainstream, entry-level hybrid: an a possible winner of Green Car of the Year.

Not all that long ago, motorists looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle were likely in for a long search, with only a handful of models on the market. These days, it’s becoming a lot easier, as more and more new alternatives come to market, seemingly almost every week.

And that’s convinced the organizers of the annual Green Car of the Year Awards to expand their program this year. “Green comes in many forms,” they explain, noting that this year will bring new awards for the Luxury Green Car of the Year and the Green SUV of the Year.

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The three awards will be handed out at the Los Angeles International Auto Show just a month from now, and could see the jury highlight the wide range of “green” technologies now available to American motorists. (more…)

Can the Flintstones and Jetsons Sell America on EVs?

New ad campaign brings back two classic cartoon families.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.13, 2018

The Electrify America ad campaign plays up the fun-to-drive aspects of battery-cars as much as their environmental benefits.

There’s an electrified revolution heading for your local showroom, with dozens of hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles coming to market over the next few years. The challenge the industry faces is getting consumers to plug in. All forms of battery-based vehicles accounted for barely 3% of the total U.S. market last year.

Building awareness is a key goal for Electrify America, the project backed by $2 billion from Volkswagen, part of the settlement of its diesel emissions scandal. The 10-year effort makes its public debut this week with an ad campaign pitching the virtues of battery-electric vehicles. And to help get the message across, it’s borrowing the theme music from two Boomer-era cartoon shows, the Flintstones and the Jetsons.

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The first spot, dubbed JetStones, features a number of new battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and will air on national and local cable television, with a radio version running in both English and Spanish. At the same time, Electrify America will begin placing a network of high-speed charging stations across the country.

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Automakers Caught “In Limbo” As New CAFE Rules Face Major Legal Hurdles

Anticipated court battle could delay changes for years.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.03, 2018

Automakers are caught in the middle over the CAFE debate and could face even more challenges if the proposed Trump rollback drags on in court.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the Trump Administration’s plan to roll back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, automakers are finding themselves in what one long-time industry analyst calls “limbo,” and it could be a year or more before they’ll actually be able to incorporate the CAFE update into their plans due to anticipated legal challenges.

As a result, it could be well into the upcoming decade before the White House revisions actually have any significant impact, according to numerous industry executives who spoke to TheDetroitBureau.com, if any changes ever actually occur.

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There is the very real possibility that the courts could rule against the proposed changes or that the legal battle drags on long enough for a new administration to come into office and revert back to the guidelines established under the Obama White House. As a result, automakers and suppliers face a major conundrum when it comes to planning for products set to come out through the middle of the coming decade.

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Trump Mileage Rules Could Cost U.S. Motorist $Billions

But White House claims “societal cost” savings of $500 billion.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.30, 2018

You may be spending significantly more at the pump under the CAFE rollback plan.

The planned revisions to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards set to be announced by the Trump Administration could save as much as $500 billion in “societal costs,” according to a draft proposal revealed over the weekend – but on an individual basis, motorists could wind up spending thousands of dollars each, while the potential to the environment may also be substantial, as the new plan could increase U.S. fuel consumption by as much as 500,000 barrels a day.

In April, former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt took the first steps towards officially rolling back the rules set by the Obama Administration which would steadily increase the fuel economy of the average vehicle sold in the U.S. to 54.5 mpg in 2025. The draft of a plan crafted jointly by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published over the weekend by the New York Times would freeze mileage standards at a level reached by 2020 – or around 37 mpg.

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The draft appears to have been completed in May, and sources have told several news outlets that revisions could be made before the final proposal is released – something that could happen as early as this week, according to comments made by Andrew Wheeler, the former coal industry lobbyist and acting EPA chief who took over the agency after Pruitt was forced out due to ethical concerns.

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Marchionne Out, Manley In as Fiat Chrysler CEO

Questions about health issues blamed for Marchionne’s early departure.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.21, 2018

Larger than life: Marchionne outlined a broad 5-year-plan during a day-long June session in Milan.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced on Saturday that Jeep and Ram brand boss Michael Manley will replace CEO Sergio Marchionne, who due to complications from recent surgery is gravely ill and will not return to work.

Though the 66-year-old Marchionne was known to have undergone surgery this past week for what was reported to be a shoulder problem. According to FCA’s statement, the Italian-born and Canadian-educated Marchionne experienced “unexpected complications,” while his conditions had “worsened significantly in recent hours.”

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Word of Marchionne’s departure quickly echoed through the automotive grapevine. Few industry executives have had a higher profile presence in recent decades, and even fewer could be said to have done more to shape a company in his own image as did Marchionne, who rescued the then-bankrupt Chrysler by securing a U.S. government bailout and then merging it with Italy’s Fiat S.p.A.

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Nikola Partnering With Bosch on New Semi-Truck

Companies working to enhance fuel cell technology.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jul.09, 2018

While the emphasis is on battery power, Utah start-up Nikola is focused on hydrogen.

The promise of fuel cells has intrigued carmakers for years because they promise to liberate the automotive business from the petroleum industry but expensive batteries needing rare minerals and complicated manufacturing processes.

But as the well-worn joke about fuel cells goes the breakthrough in fuel-cell technology always seems to be about 10 years in the future despite the best efforts by companies such Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Daimler AG among others.

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However, the Bosch Group thinks that commercial vehicles, particularly heavy trucks that run long distances over fixed routes, could be ideal candidates. Not only can fuel cells easily fit into large Class 8 trucks in many cases, the users of big trucks can supply the hydrogen required to run the electricity generating fuel cells, according to Jason Roycht, vice president, North America Regional Business Leader. (more…)

Freightliner Takes Aim at Tesla with Two Big EV Semis and a New E-Mobility Center

Daimler’s U.S. truck division will put first 30 into field tests this year.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jun.07, 2018

The new Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 semis.

Freightliner, the U.S.-based truck subsidiary of Daimler AG, is taking direct aim at Tesla with the debut of two new battery-powered semis that it plans to begin fleet testing later this year.

The eCascadia and eM2 join a range of smaller delivery trucks that Freightliner and other Daimler truck brands have been rolling out over the last couple years. A number of major freight and delivery companies, ranging from UPS to PepsiCo, have expressed interest in the clean, fuel-efficient technology. That has drawn a number of vehicle manufacturers into the emerging field, including Volvo AB and Volkswagen AG, as well as Freightliner and Tesla.

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Daimler also plans to set up a new Automated Research and Development Center near Freightliner’s headquarters in Portland, as well as a new E-Mobility Group to help share technologies among its various truck brands.

“We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we intend to remain in that position with electric trucks and buses,” Daimler Trucks chief Martin Daum said in a statement.

That was echoed in a comment by Roger Nielsen, the president of Daimler Trucks North America, that took a clear shot at Tesla, a company that has not only never built a truck before but which has had major trouble meeting production targets and quality goals for its passenger vehicles. But it also underscored the fact that Daimler is taking Tesla’s imminent arrival in the truck market as seriously is it is the California company’s electric passenger car line-up.

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