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.
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.
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.
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.
The bad news, as we've previously reported, is that Honda's first production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle won't debut until 2016, a bit later than expected. The good news is that the automaker may produce a device that will let that FCV's motor power up other devices as well. So it's a tradeoff of sorts.
The Name Is Almost As Complicated As The Technology
If you think a plug-in diesel hybrid is an expensive proposition, just wait until you hear details about the just-revealed Audi A7 Sportback H-Tron Quattro. The "H" in H-Tron, as you might guess, stands for hydrogen, so say hello to a new concept that combines a plug-in battery system with a hydrogen fuel cell. Yeah, exactly.
Just like Hyundai did with its Tucson fuel cell, Toyota is offering free hydrogen fuel with the $57,500 Mirai H2 sedan. Toyota is being a bit vague about the details, saying simply that Mirai drivers will get, "complimentary hydrogen fuel for up to three years." Turns out, the reason that the hydrogen avant-garde will not be paying anything at the pump isn't because the automakers want to give them a boost or because the OEMs are kind. Instead, it's simply impossible to accurately charge people
It's starting to feel like the automotive landscape is right on the cusp of a boom in hydrogen-fueled vehicles. After all, the Toyota FCV is nearly ready, Volkswagen is readying a fuel cell concept for this week's Los Angeles Auto Show and Hyundai already sells its Tucson Fuel Cell. The next big name to add to that list might be BMW, as the company's co-development deal with Toyota starts to bear fruit.
$8,000 Tax Credit Could Expire Well Before Car Arrives
The Toyota Mirai is coming to California next year and it will arrive bearing a $57,500 MSRP. Toyota says that with state and federal incentives worth a total of $13,000, interested customers will be able to buy a Mirai for under $45,000. If you're more into leasing, then you can get the Mirai for $499 a month for 36 months (with $3,649 due at signing). Both options come with free hydrogen fuel for "up to three years."
Instead of hosting the world debut of the production version of its hydrogen fuel cell sedan at the LA Auto Show this coming week, Honda decided to debut the vehicle in Japan today. And, it's not the production version that was shown off, it was an evolved concept. And, instead of coming in 2015, as previously stated, the car is now scheduled to drop in March 2016 in Japan, followed by releases in Europe and the US.
Japanese Automaker Confirms H2 Vehicle Name, Means 'Future'
Looks like someone was able to read the future back in July. That's when rumors first circulated that Toyota's upcoming fuel cell vehicle will be called the Mirai. Today, Toyota president Akio Toyoda confirmed the name alongside plans to build out a hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the US Northeast.
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.
Pat Cox Explains Europe's Current Hydrogen Infrastructure Situation
Pat Cox does not work for Toyota and we don't think he has any secret inside information. Still, he's the former President of the European Parliament and the current high level coordinator for TransEuropean Network, so when he says Toyota is likely going to lose between 50,000 and 100,000 euros ($66,000 and $133,000) on each of the hydrogen-powered FCV sedans it will sell next year, it's worth noting.
There's a lot of information on display at the 2014 Michelin Challenge Bibendum. We've spent time this week trying to sponge it all in but one of the charts caught out eye today. In a session on hydrogen vehicles – about which we'll have more later – a representative from Air Liquide, Jean-Baptiste Mossa, shared a chart about how hydrogen vehicles fall in a sweet spot for vehicle emissions and range. Maybe you can notice the number that stood out.
Honda is going to launch a hydrogen-powered production vehicle (its second, really) next year, but the all-important H2 infrastructure question hasn't been fully answered yet. One possible solution is being tested over in the United Kingdom, where Honda is turning solar energy and water into hydrogen at its Swindon plant. SHD Logistics says the plant is the UK's "first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refuelling facility powered by solar energy."
It's no secret that Toyota doesn't really have a heart in pushing pure electric vehicles. The very limited Scion iQ EV project was killed before it went very far and the RAV4 EV project with Tesla was always only meant to produce just 2,600 units, but it didn't even get that far. In short, by all public appearances, Toyota just doesn't see the value of a pure EV.
If only all of us were told that we could meet our goals and obligations by merely being "appropriate." That's the operative word being used to describe the European Union's goals for setting up publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging station and hydrogen refueling station infrastructure by the end of the decade. Turns out, the goals were unrealistic.