Is there some rule that all cutting-edge, ultra-efficient or emissions-free vehicles need to look, uh, weird? No? Then would anyone care to explain the Toyota Mirai, a vehicle that for all it's hugely, wildly promising technology, will forever be pigeonholed based on its odd styling?
We know that Toyota is gung-ho about delivering its first hydrogen fuel cell sedan to early-adopter markets like southern California and part of Japan next year. The Japanese automaker's European H2 plans have long been part of the mix, but a new press release shows just how committed Toyota is to hydrogen all around the world.
If there was ever any doubt that Toyota loves hydrogen vehicles, just listen to some of what Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, said today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas:
Back in March, Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn voiced his doubts about the cost and infrastructure associated with building hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, but according to Autocar, that isn't stopping Audi from developing a fuel-cell version of the Audi A7. While we're inclined to take this report with a grain of salt, this wouldn't be the first time a VW executive has made seemingly damning statements about electric powertrains that later proved to be incorrect.
Honda CEO Takanobu Ito recently gave a speech outlining where the company will be headed over the next five years, with hybrid electric vehicles playing a major role. It is a massive company, and his keynote presentation forecasted where Honda's motorcycle, power products, and automotive businesses are heading. When it comes to passenger cars, the news is where the powertrains are going.
Toyota is out to prove that the fuel cell vehicle isn't as dead as we thought. Despite the fact that a hydrogen infrastructure is no closer to reality now than it was five years ago, the company unveiled its FCV-R Concept at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
Nissan has just revealed its next-generation fuel cell stack, one that offers 2.5 times greater power density than the version the automaker created in 2005. Two-and-a-half times may not mean much to most readers, so how about this: Nissan says the fuel cell power density of 2.5 kW per liter is the "world's best" among automakers.
Word from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is that there are dividing lines forming in the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group: Kia will focus solely on electric vehicles, while Hyundai will develop plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. This according to Yang Woong-chul, vice-president of the automotive group.
Honda is looking to test out its fuel cell FCX Clarity by putting casual users in its passenger seats with an experiment at Tokyo's Narita International Airport. According to the automaker, an undisclosed amount of FCX Clarity sedans are now in motion at and around Narita Airport. The fuel cell vehicles will be used to chauffeur passengers from the airport to downtown Tokyo, a distance of around 45 miles.
Air Products, a self-proclaimed leader in hydrogen fueling technology, officially opened its latest fueling station in California – one that draws its feedstock from a sustainable source. Air Products' station pump hydrogen– generated from municipal wastewater at Orange County Sanitation District's (OCSD) water treatment facility – into fuel cell vehicles. In addition to hydrogen, this project creates electricity and heat from the renewable wastewater source. Air Products says
Daimler has unveiled an ambitious scheme that should put Germany in the driver's seat for hydrogen fueling stations. A recent report in Scientific American says a joint effort by automaker Daimler and technology firm The Linde Group aims to install an additional 20 public-use hydrogen stations across the nation.
According to the latest Pike Pulse report, three automakers stand out among the competition in the light-duty fuel cell vehicle segment. Pike Research says the automotive trio of Daimler (maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles), Honda and Toyota lead the pack at this formative stage of fuel cell vehicle development.
According to a report from Pike Research, more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations will be operational worldwide by 2020, up from just 200 stations in 2010. The research firm forecasts that, by the end of 2020, annual investments in hydrogen stations will soar to $1.6 billion, with ten-year (2010 to 2020) investments hitting $8.4 billion globally.