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After 700 This Year, The Japanese Automaker Will Build 2,000 in 2016

Toyota will ramp up production of its Mirai fuel-cell vehicle from 700 units this year to 2,000 in 2016 on higher demand.

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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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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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Honda will add two new plug-in vehicles, a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric vehicle, to its alt-fuel lineup by 2018.

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Plus: Notes on Mercedes, Ford's Marketing Shuffle And One-Off Vipers

We curate the week's events with a focus on Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell strategy. Plus other news and notes from the automotive world.

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The industry is pointing towards a driverless future, and Mercedes-Benz is showing its vision for it with the F 015 Luxury in Motion concept this week at CES in Las Vegas.

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5,680 H2 Patents Will Be Available To Use For Free

Toyota makes a splash at CES by saying its hydrogen fuel cell patents will be open for licensing, for free, until around 2020. The move follows Tesla opening its patents up last summer.

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Australian car site Motoring reports that the Lexus LS will get a variant with a hydrogen fuel-cell powerplant that will be released by 2017. It would take the top spot in the range, rolling in above the LS Hybrid.

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Hamburg Gets Hydrogen Buses; EV Fees Aren't As Bas As Gas Tax

Get news on Fisker's assembly lines in Finland, the Nissan Leaf's growth in Europe, hydrogen buses in Hamburg, and learn why EV taxes aren't so bad (except in Virginia).

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But It Could Be Back Some Time Next Year

The $8,000 US federal tax credit for hydrogen vehicles will expire at the end of 2014, but don't count this thing down and out quite yet. Some credits that expired a year ago were just renewed by the slow-moving 113th Congress.

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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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Sandia And Linde Team Up On Hydrogen Infrastructure; Scania To Test Wirelessy Charged Bus In Sweden; Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Recieves Environmental Certification

Honda will bring its FCV Concept to the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The hydrogen-powered concept made its Japanese debut in November, and will now make its way to North America for the first time. The FCV concept improves upon the design of the FCX Clarity with a more striking appearance and roomier interior. Its smaller powertrain packaging means more space for people, and the FCV Concept seats five passengers. Honda also expects the next-generation fuel-c

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Ad Says H2 Car Has 'Smaller Carbon Footprint' Than EVs

"Toyota engineers were simultaneously working on a brand new technology that met all the driver's needs with an even smaller carbon footprint."

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ChargeNow, ParkNow And DriveNow Will All See Enhancements

BMW's stand at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show will be the place to go for updates. News about advances in electric vehicle infrastructure, hydrogen fuel cells (maybe) and BMW's suite of connected vehicles app things will all make an appearance at the show next month.

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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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Overall Sales Predictions Are Still Small

The last semi-official number we had for pre-orders for the 2016 Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle was around 200. But demand is strong enough that Toyota is saying that it will spend 20 billion yen ($168 million US) to expand annual production capacity at the "secretive workshop" where the Mirai will be built from 700 in the first year (2015) to around 2,000 after that.

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Forget Dueling Banjos. Audi is proposing "Dueling Motors" for its Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro concept vehicle. All in the name of appropriate pickup, of course.

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USDA Funds Biofuels; Enzymes Make Better Biodiesel

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants extend tax breaks for EVs past the July 1 expiration date. He also calls for looking into allowing EVs use of carpool lanes and creating charging infrastructure. Inslee sees encouraging electric driving as a way to help mitigate climate change, but detractors within the state don't like the idea of giving priorities to certain drivers. "I'm not enthusiastic about a subsidy that picks winners and losers and doesn't help the middle class," says representative R

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Fastned To Build Fast-Charging Corridors In Germany

The European Union is funding Fastned EV fast-charging corridors in Germany. The EU has set aside 2 million euros as part of its Trans-European Transport Networks program for Fastned to build the charging stations along major highways in Germany. The EU plans to help fund a network of 155 fast-charging stations along popular routes in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Holland. Of those, Fastned will build 94 stations in Germany and Holland. Read more in the press release below.

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Production Starts In December At Same Secret Workshop That Made Lexus LFA

Toyota built 500 Lexus LFA supercars between 2010 and 2012 in what Automotive News has called a "secretive workshop." The automaker has been wondering what to do with that production line since the last LFA rolled off in December 2012 and, like so much else for Toyota these days, the answer is a hydrogen car – and in about the same small numbers.

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