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Archive for the ‘Fuel Cell’ Category

Honda Leads the Pack in Fuel Economy, Emissions

Twelve of 13 top automakers showed improvement.

by Michael Strong on Mar.07, 2019

Honda leads all automakers in fuel economy rankings, according to a new EPA report.

If you’re looking for a real gas miser of a vehicle, start with Honda. The Japanese automaker is the most fuel-efficient automaker in America says a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Honda has the highest fleet average fuel economy and lowest carbon dioxide emissions of any major automaker for the 2017 model year, the latest year for which full data is available, according to the report.

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Mazda had previously held the title for three consecutive years, and came in second behind Honda. Hyundai, Subaru and Kia round out the top five when it came to fuel economy numbers. (more…)

Green Car Finalists Revealed

Focusing in on connected and Earth-friendly powertrain technologies.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.07, 2019

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the vehicles up for the Connected Car award this year.

With automakers facing increasingly stringent mileage and emissions standards, automakers are rapidly ramping up production of more and more environmentally friendly products, from breakthrough gas engines like Mazda’s new SkyActiv-X to all-electric offerings such as the new Audi e-tron SUV.

Sorting out which products and technologies deserve notice can be challenging, but Green Car Journal has been honoring the best of the best with its decade-old Green Car Awards, recently adding several new categories to the list. And it announced today finalists in two of those categories, with winners to be revealed early next month at the annual auto show in Washington, D.C.

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The two awards focus on the technological side of the green car market, both in terms of connectivity and powertrains. Here’s a look at the finalists.

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Finalists for 2019 Connected Green Car of the Year include: (more…)

No-Shows, But Tesla and Musk Still Have Strong Presence at NAIAS

But can California carmaker survive the new onslaught of competition.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.17, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype Model S in 2010, the last time he attended the NAIAS.

Battery-electric vehicles may still account for less than 1% of the U.S. new vehicle market, but they have had a notable presence at this year’s North American International Auto Show – something that many credit to a manufacturer that was notably absent from Detroit’s Cobo Hall convention center: Tesla.

Cadillac made a major splash during the first media preview of this year’s show, when it not only revealed the new XT6 utility vehicle but announced that it will be the first General Motors brand to use the automaker’s new all-electric platform for another SUV debuting in 2021.

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Electrifying!

Throughout the show, automaker’s either revealed new battery cars and concepts or outlined their plans for an electrified future. Volkswagen, for one, announced plans to invest $800 million to add production of two new all-electric models at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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EVs Aren’t Ready to “Take Over the World,” Says Toyota’s Lentz

North American CEO warns “It’s going to be a battle” are models flood market but sales lag.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.16, 2019

Toyota's Jim Lentz believes the auto industry is putting too much stock – and money – into electric vehicles.

By various estimates, there should be as many as 100 all-electric vehicles on the market by the end of 2020, with scores more plug-ins and conventional hybrids already available. And that could pose a major challenge for automakers who are investing billions into the market to build battery-based vehicles. That includes Toyota which is investing about $1 billion to open up a new plant in U.S. in a partnership with Mazda that will, among other products, produce a new line-up of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

The question is whether all that money could be going down a rathole. For the moment, at least, Tesla appears to be the only automaker making any money on battery vehicles, as a number of industry leaders pointed out during a series of events in Detroit this week.

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That included Jim Lentz, the CEO of Toyota North America, who warned that, “It’s going to be a battle,” as manufacturers struggle to grab customers in a market where “There’s not much growth.” (more…)

Ford, VW Could Roll Out a Series of Deals Over Coming “Weeks and Months,” Says Farley

Automaker also looking to expand ties to Indian ally Mahindra & Mahindra.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.10, 2019

Ford's Jim Farley said the company is deep in talks with Volkswagen AG, but said there are plenty of small details that need to be worked out.

Ford Motor Co. is moving towards signing a series of new projects pairing it with Volkswagen AG, the first of those deals possibly being announced as early as next week. But a senior source tells TheDetroitBureau.com that final details haven’t yet been approved by the two automakers, something that could hold back a formal announcement.

And, with a variety of different projects now being negotiated, the new partners could spread out any news over a period of “weeks and months,” according to Jim Farley, Ford’s president of Global Markets.

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The tie-up with Volkswagen is not expected to involve any equity swapping, sources close to the talks emphasize, but the eventual relationship is likely to be significant. If the key projects now under discussion prove fruitful they could range from joint development of commercial vehicles, electrified vehicles and other products to global marketing alliances that would take advantage of the strengths of each company. (more…)

Toyota Teaming Up With Paccar to Build a Test Fleet of Clean Hydrogen Semis

Project will focus on heavily polluted Port of Los Angeles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.09, 2019

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar to develop a next-generation fuel-cell powered semi-truck to be used at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar, one of the world’s largest producers of heavy-duty trucks, to build 10 hydrogen-powered Class 8 prototypes.

The rigs will go into operation at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, where the thousands of diesel trucks currently in use catch blame for a disproportionate share of the region’s air pollution. The project comes as environmental regulators are putting into place plans to completely eliminate conventional diesel trucks at the two ports by 2035.

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“This is not just a science experiment,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Toyota Motor North America. “The goal is to make a difference in society, to remove pollution and improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles.” (more…)

Sales Sliding, Toyota Rethinking Plans for Prius

As sales slip, “We need to find a new direction,” says senior Prius exec.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.12, 2018

For 2019, Toyota is launching the first AWD version of the familiar Prius hatchback.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and one name is almost certainly going to pop into your mind: Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan in 1997 and brought to the U.S. three years later, it has been the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, ever since. For several years, earlier this decade, it was the best-selling vehicle in the huge California market and number one in Japan, as well.

But, as the cliché goes, times have changed. Whether due to increased competition, cheap gasoline, or other issues, sales of the original Prius hatchback have been tumbling. Though still the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., the first 11 months of this year saw demand dip 23.2%. And, at just 3,180 vehicles in November, sales are now running barely a quarter of their peak pace earlier in the decade.

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Toyota is trying to address some of the issues that came up with the launch of the fourth-generation Prius hatchback for the 2016 model-year, among other things tweaking its design and introducing a new electric all-wheel-drive system that could enhance the car’s appeal in Snowbelt regions. But during a series of interviews at a media drive of the 2019 Prius, Toyota officials acknowledged they are looking at even more radical options for the fifth-generation hybrid hatchback due out early in the coming decade.

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Trump Administration Still Fighting to Roll Back Fuel Economy Rules

Critics say mistakes made in calculations nullify Trump-propsed gains.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.07, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing revoking California's ability to make it's own emissions and fuel economy rules.

While the industry is focused now on issues such as trade, manufacturing capacity and employment, the fight over fuel economy and emissions hasn’t gone away and could roar back to life any time.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the fuel-economy rules imposed in the waning days of Obama administration. It also has proposed eliminating California’s hold on the auto industry.

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California, powered by an overwhelming political victory by Democrats opposed to Trump in last month’s midterm elections and bolstered by new reports both from the Trump administration’s Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change, have vowed a long and expensive court fight to protect the Obama standards and its authority. (more…)

Honda Insight Named Green Car of the Year

Jaguar I-Pace and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also honored.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.29, 2018

Honda's Ray Mikichuk with Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan and Green Car of the Year Insight.

The 2019 Honda Insight was named the Green Car of the Year on Thursday, during a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The hybrid sedan had to share the stage, however, with two other winners, the Jaguar I-Pace taking home a trophy as Luxury Green Car of the Year, while the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was honored as SUV Green Car of the Year.

The award comes as something of a vindication for Honda. The automaker was actually the first to sell a hybrid in the U.S. market, but the original, two-seat Insight, launched in 1999, was a slow seller and a second version bearing the Insight badge didn’t do much better. The new model finally appears to be connecting with consumers by “being a no-compromise vehicle,” Ray Mikichuk, Honda’s assistant vice president for U.S. sales, told TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Forget the Self-Driving Car! Bring on the Autonomous Hotel Room!

Autonomous Travel Suites put hotel rooms on wheels using an app.

by Michael Strong on Nov.21, 2018

Designed by Toronto architect Steven Lee, the Autonomous Travel Suite is a self-driving hotel room.

Americans are traveling U.S. roadways with greater frequency than ever, setting new records for miles traveled each of the last three years. Automakers, looking to make those safer miles, are furiously working to develop the first fully autonomous vehicle.

The idea of a fully autonomous car is appealing. Tell the vehicle where you want to go, and then get comfortable with a book, watch a movie or even take a nap. Set it and forget it, if you will.

Insight!

While that may seem like the next greatest thing, it’s not. That distinction belongs to the Autonomous Travel Suite (ATS). (more…)