• Jun 30, 2014
The Toyota FCV made its North American debut at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, and this time it's not sporting its usual blue sheet metal. This silver paint job shows a bit more contrast. Certain features stand out a bit more, especially the black strip that wraps around the grille and down the sides of the hood to the mirrors. This is the production version of the car's exterior, which will go on sale in California next summer. Toyota also had its Driver Awareness Research Vehicle, DARV 1.5, on display in Aspen. DARV 1.5 uses technology to decrease driver distraction and measure driver behavior to provide a safe driving score. See more of both cars in our image gallery.

Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry (also know as FoxConn Technology Group) says it is planning to build electric cars that will cost just $15,000, according to The China Post. The world's largest electronics maker, which assembles mobile devices for Apple, promises that the cars will be highly connected. "When integrated with cloud computing, the Internet, smart traffic and smart cities in the future, people will be able to drive more easily and reduce car accidents more efficiently," says Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou. At a shareholder's meeting, Gou didn't comment on production timing or other details about the cars, nor would he answer questions about possible cooperation with Tesla Motors. Hon Hai made headlines in recent years after a series of employee suicides, which led the company to raise worker wages and install anti-suicide netting on its buildings.

EV advocates in Illinois took a 500-mile road trip to help temper range anxiety in potential buyers, says the Chicago Tribune. The demonstration, organized by the Illinois Green Economy Network, meant to show people that they can use electric vehicles to drive long distances without getting stranded with a dead battery. The drive began near Carbondale and traveled to 11 different community colleges with charging stations before terminating in Grayslake. Illinois has about 5,000 registered electric vehicles, and 450 public and private charging stations.

General Motors is building three acres of new solar arrays to produce an expected 400,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy per year. The new arrays at GM's Swartz Creek processing center and Flint engine plant will be completed this fall, contributing to the company's 38 megawatts of solar power from facilities around the world. By 2020, GM hopes to be using 125 megawatts of renewable energy, which includes landfill gas and biomass energy use. GM received a Project of Distinction Award from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Solar Electric Power Association at the annual PV America East Expo in Boston for its solar microgrid in Baltimore. GM is the automotive leader in solar use, according to SEIA, and among the top 25 US companies. Read on for more details in the press release, below.
Show full PR text
GM Adds 3 Acres of Solar Arrays in Michigan

Company also earns solar industry recognition for Smart Grid project

BOSTON – General Motors is increasing its renewable energy use with 3 acres of new solar arrays at two Michigan facilities.

The company's processing center in Swartz Creek and engine plant in Flint will feature 150-kilowatt ground-mount solar arrays expected to generate a combined 400,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year to the facilities' grids. That is equivalent to the annual energy use of 25 homes.

After the projects are complete this fall, GM will house more than 38 megawatts of solar power at 13 facilities around the world and more than 60 megawatts of renewable energy globally when combined with its landfill gas and biomass energy use.

The new installations bring GM closer to reaching its goal to increase renewable energy use globally to 125 megawatts by 2020.

"Ever since our first solar array in 2006, GM has realized the benefits of renewable energy," said Rob Threlkeld, GM global renewable energy manager. "Not only does it reduce our emissions and lessen our dependence on petroleum, it makes a statement about the role businesses can play in securing a cleaner energy future."

GM announced its plans for the installations this week in Boston at the annual PV America East Expo, a conference bringing together professionals, manufacturers and service providers in the photovoltaic energy industry.

Conference organizers Solar Energy Industries Association and Solar Electric Power Association recognized GM with a Project of Distinction Award – the highest achievement for a photovoltaic solar energy project – for the integrated solar microgrid system at the company's plant in Baltimore.

GM, OnStar and energy service company TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. partnered to use aggregation software and solar charging canopies with integrated storage to manage the flow of solar power to benefit the electric grid, operated by PJM Interconnection. The site also is home to a 1.237MW rooftop solar array – one of the largest in Maryland – that generates nearly 6 percent of the facility's electric consumption.

"Through collaboration and innovation, GM, OnStar, PJM and TimberRock have teamed up to give Americans a peek into the future," said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "The advanced, solar microgrid at GM's Baltimore site is a state-of-the-art union of electric vehicle, solar power and battery storage technologies. This project's unique vehicle-to-grid integration, utilizing a solar microgrid, makes it a worthy recipient of the 2014 Project of Distinction Award."

According to SEIA, GM leads all automakers in the number of solar installations in the U.S. and ranks among the top U.S. corporate solar users in 2013 and 2012. It named GM a "Solar Champion" for the company's significant impact on establishing a strong solar industry.

GM's other U.S. solar installations include:

- A 1.8-megawatt installation at Toledo Transmission, Ohio's largest rooftop array.
- A 1-megawatt array at its Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. distribution center, the nation's first 1-megawatt public solar project.
- A 516-kilowatt installation at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Michigan's largest ground-mount solar array.
- A 900-kilowatt rooftop array on its Fontana, Calif. parts distribution warehouse.
- A 350-kilowatt ground-mount array at Orion Assembly in Lake Orion, Mich.
- A 49-kilowatt ground-mount array at GM's Technical Center in Warren, Mich.

For more information on GM's environmental commitment, visit its sustainability report and environmental blog.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.


'Car of the Future' Is Here. Now.
Toyota Shows Production Fuel Cell Vehicle; Previews Mobility's Future at 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival

Toyota's Driver Awareness Research Vehicle, DARV 1.5, demonstrating ways for the car and driver to share tasks and reduce distraction

ASPEN, Colo., June 27, 2014 – Driving helps make lives safer, greener and more convenient at Toyota's "Experience the Future of Mobility" exhibit, open now at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival. Toyota is staging the North American debut of its "Car of the Future" at the annual conference. Unveiled earlier this week at a press conference in Japan, the zero-emission hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) will be available for sale to customers in California in summer 2015.

True to the Festival's 2014 focus on imagining the future, the Toyota FCV is an important step forward for zero-emission vehicle technology. An electric-drive, mid-size, four-door sedan, the vehicle won't require customers to compromise on safety, price or performance. Instead, the FCV will travel approximately 300 miles on a single fill-up of hydrogen, which takes less than five minutes.

In addition, Toyota is taking steps to ensure that owners of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be able to fill their tanks, no matter what brand is on the hood. In May, the company announced it had entered a financial relationship with FirstElement Fuels to support the long-term operation and maintenance of 19 new hydrogen refueling stations in California.

"Our society is on the cusp of a revolution in personal mobility," said Osamu Nagata, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America. "Slowly but surely, new technologies are changing how we think about automobiles and transportation -- from intelligent, automated systems that team up with drivers to improve safety, to zero-emission vehicles that emit nothing but water vapor. These technologies will help save lives, improve the environment, create jobs and help the U.S. maintain technical leadership in a field that is an important contributor to economic growth."

Nagata will discuss the company's vision for the future of mobility on the Festival's main stage on June 28 during a one-on-one interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin, Financial Columnist, Editor-at-Large, New York Times; Co-anchor, CNBC's "Squawk Box."

In addition to the FCV, Toyota is presenting a comprehensive vision for the Future of Mobility with an interactive exhibit that brings to life emerging automated vehicle technologies and cutting-edge safety research.

The display includes a preview of the Toyota's newest generation Driver Awareness Research Vehicle (DARV 1.5), part of the company's ongoing research into the dynamics of driver distraction at the Collaborative Safety Research Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Toyota DARV 1.5 uses advanced technology, including Microsoft's Surface and Kinect and custom biometric software and algorithms by Infosys, to help driver, passengers and the vehicle itself work together as a team to achieve safer driving.

The technology allows for features such as "driver lock-in," which tracks the driver's body frame and automatically enables or disables features based upon who is interacting with the navigation panel. The Toyota research vehicle also explores new ways to use emerging wearable devices, such as smart watches, to control key vehicle functions in an effort to understand the potential impact of these devices on auto safety. In addition, the Toyota DARV 1.5 looks at new ways to create a safer driving environment by measuring driver behavior and providing a driving "score" based on safe driving choices.

Aspen Ideas Festival attendees will also experience:

A large interactive wall that uses image capture to display the activity of visitors moving about the exhibit, while sharing how next-generation automated safety technologies will team up with drivers to improve safety;
Educational information about the technologies, a fueling station to enjoy pour-over coffee, and outdoor living room relaxation area.

Toyota is a presenting underwriter of the tenth annual Aspen Ideas Festival, the nation's premier, public gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we've built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.


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  • 14 Comments
      FordGo
      • 5 Months Ago
      Exactly. Good GM. Solar Power Lowers your Electric Bill BIG during Peak Energy Usage Hours. A smart corporation, with a big power usage would save a Fortune, and avoid SPECULATOR PRICING. Germany is doing it and Saving the Consumer a Fortune there.
        Smoking_dude
        • 5 Months Ago
        @FordGo
        Germany is not doing it anymore. 35 gigawatt solar plus 35 gigawatts of wind (peak) are threatening the old dogs. so our goverment introduced a solar tax. If a company sets up a large solar system and uses its OWN electricity each clean kWh is fined. So most investments are now held back, this endangers now lots of businesses. even if it is not solar but the reuse of thermal processing engergy there is a fine on it. our mother merkel and the fellow socialists are trying hard to kill the alternatives of.
          FordGo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Smoking_dude
          5 cents per kWh.
          FordGo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Smoking_dude
          And there's no REVOLT? Sounds like Merkel was BRIBED by the American Koch Bros. Their money is in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. I didn't think they got to Germany too.
          FordGo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Smoking_dude
          Anyway, they're fighting Physics. Solar prices have dropped to 5 cents per Kilowatt, now cheaper then all other energy sources. Austin, TX Energy.
      Grendal
      • 5 Months Ago
      1. Completely beside the FCV argument, the car looks terrible in silver. I'm pretty sure it would look best in black. Those large cooling grills scream terrible aerodynamics to me. 2. I'll believe it when I see one for sale to the public. It just sounds like bravado and marketing with no substance to me. 3. Very cool. 4. Good for GM. The more solar the better.
        Aaron
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        RE: 1. This is what a car looks like when it was designed by committee. Either that, or the lead designer of the Pontiac Aztec went to Toyota.
          danfred311
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Aaron
          Good catch. Sea what I did there? :) What the nips should realize though is that they can't trust their judgment one bit. If the Leaf wasn't so ugly it might have sold quite a few more. Of course the ridiculous price they started out with was a similar error in judgment.
          Grendal
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Aaron
          Actually I think it is a cultural thing. I believe it is supposed to look like a baleen whale. A lot like the Leaf looking like a catfish. The Japanese seem to like their cars looking like sea creatures.
      eideard
      • 5 Months Ago
      Here's what worries me about Autoblog Green. When you wander away from area of expertise and rely on mass media stereotypes - instead of, say, specialist analysts. Just 2 quick facts: Foxconn mfg for a broad range of electronics firms, ranging from Dell and HP to Apple. All you can come up with is Apple. You repeat the std populist whine about suicide at Foxconn. Ever compare the rate to, for example, Cincinnati - which has a higher rate? I know it's easier to rely on your search engine; but, I hope you do a better job with your investment portfolio.
      rollingrock11
      • 5 Months Ago
      who cares how it looks. its a car designed for fuel efficiency and to be as aerodynamic as possible not a fashion statement. if you want a fashion statement then go buy a BMW. you're not going to find it in the green section.
      FordGo
      • 5 Months Ago
      Toyota STOP Wasting FEDERAL Funds on this HOAX. The VOLT has KILLED the Hydrogen Car: Volt Owners do more than 63 percent of their driving on electricity as it is, and travel an average of 970 miles between fill-ups.
      danfred311
      • 5 Months Ago
      That foxconn news could well deserve its own news item ABG. That could be rather huge. Foxconn is not a trifling player.
      rollingrock11
      • 5 Months Ago
      who cares how it looks. this is a car designed to maximize fuel efficiency and aerodynamics not a fashion statement. if you want a fashion statement then go buy a BMW. you're not going to find it in the green section.
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