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Plus: Notes On Ferraris At Auction, Jeff Gordon And The Mercedes C-Class Coupe

We curate the week's events with a focus on Ford's investment in a Silicon Valley research center. Plus, other news and notes from around the automotive world.

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After passing "a rigorous state performance evaluation," the hydrogen refueling station and research center at Cal State University Los Angeles has become the first station in Southern California allowed to sell hydrogen by the kilogram. Every other station that charges can only charge a fixed amount per tank, regardless of the amount dispensed.

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Ford is getting serious about developing more sophisticated technology for its models, and to make things even better, the automaker is opening the new Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto in Silicon Valley. With a former Apple engineer as the center's technical head, the lab is focusing on five areas: connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.

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Lightweight EV Rethinks What It Means To Protect

In this video post, we take a ride in the Spira4u foam car, which was designed to be "soft, safe, sexy," according to its maker. It's at least one of those three. Take a look at our test drive, outside the Detroit Auto Show.

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The government in Tokyo, Japan, is embarking on an aggressive plan to put 6,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and have 35 hydrogen refueling station in the city in time for the Olympic games there in 2020. It's working with Toyota and Honda to hopefully make the goal a reality.

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VW's Gesture Controls, Drones And Riding An Electric Skateboard

We head to CES 2015 to check out the latest gadgets and transport tech, including drones, Volkswagen's new gesture controls and an electric skateboard.

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If ever there was a case of a car that looks better in pictures, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion is it.

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BMW X4 reviewed; Lexus GS F shows its face; Mercedes' self-driving F 015 concept breaks cover. All that, and more, in the automotive news headlines on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.

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An Ole Miss football fan passed out after entering the wrong address for an Uber ride, only to find out that, thanks in part to surge pricing, he owed $908.

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Dyanmic Skip Fire could bring a revolution to cylinder deactivation technology and boost fuel economy by around 15 percent. As opposed to shutting down just a set number of cylinders, DSF monitors all of them. General Motors thinks the system might be on some of its models in the future.

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Google announced today that the cute, entirely autonomous car prototype they released in May has been realized as a fully-functional auto ready to hit the roads of Northern California in the new year.

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Also: A Look Back At Green Cars From The 1994 Chicago Auto Show

"What we need is fuel cells that can run on a hydrocarbon fuel and air."

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GE Pilot Program Comes To NYC

Longtime electric-vehicle drivers will tell you that, when it comes maximizing efficiency while driving, smoothness counts. And it looks like the same goes for the electricity of the buildings charging those vehicles. Which is why General Electric is running a pilot program of plug-in vehicle chargers in New York, Wired reports.

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$947M In Level 2 Charger Sales Expected In US By 2020

Chargemaster has received an investment from Qualcomm for wireless charging in the UK. Of the 27,000 charging stations it has already installed, 10,000 are ready to be adapted for inductive charging, according to Chargemaster. Dr. Anthony Thomson of Qualcomm says that with this investment (of a currently undisclosed amount), "we are taking another step towards deployment of a convenient and easy to use WEVC network." The convenience of wireless charging not only makes life easier for current EV

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Maybe

There's a huge international infrastructure dedicated to putting gasoline and diesel fuel into our cars. A nationwide infrastructure for electric vehicles also exists, even if it could be beefed up a bit in some areas. But when it comes to hydrogen cars, the infrastructure hows and wheres and whats don't have complete answers yet. Sandia National Lab says maybe we should be looking underground.

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First Application Could Be Mid-2015

VW might be getting ready to push its plug-in technology in a big way thanks to an investment in the battery startup QuantumScape. Key point: the solid-state battery is said to be fireproof and will offer tremendous range advantages.

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When sewage is treated at a wastewater treatment facility, biosolids are the byproduct. After being separated from the water, biosolids are usually sent to a landfill or incinerated. That doesn't mean that they're without value, however. Vitruvian Energy has created a process to make a usable fuel out of this human waste product, and while the source is pretty gross, it is undeniably abundant, and the results are much cleaner.

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Honda is partnering with FirstElement Fuel to increase the number of hydrogen refueling stations in California. The two have signed a letter of intent to provide $13.8 of financial assistance that, with some state money, could let FirstElement build "at least 12 stations." This is the second OEM that FirstElement is working with to install H2 stations in California. It signed a deal worth an unspecified amount with Toyota to help build 19 stations.

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Audi Makes E-Diesel From Blue Crude; Uber Partners With Spotify

The Chevrolet Volt has been awarded Kelley Blue Book's Electric/Hybrid Car Best Buy for 2015. KBB cited the car's electric commuter capabilities, extended range, acceleration, design and overall value as reasons to place it above the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Toyota Prius. It works well in the real world, and doesn't leave drivers with range anxiety. Plus, it's comfortable, and a fun car to drive, according to KBB. Read more at Kelley Blue Book.

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Electrolyzers, Natural Gas And Grid Balancing Are The Keys

There's a problem that need solving when it comes to renewable energy. Where do you put it when it's not needed? Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, has what he says is the best answer: you turn it into hydrogen.

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Autonomous Vehicle Could Be Programmed To Make Sure You're Never Late

Decked out in stark black and white, the Akka Link And Go is making an appearance at the 2014 Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Chengdu, China this week. It's a fitting color scheme in the home of captive pandas in China, but we think the neon green and orange version we saw in 2013 made a better statement. That statement? This is one crazy autonomous "car."

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