Monday, December 8, 2014

Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicle News From Los Angeles Auto Show

Here's our brief roundup of the hydrogen stories we covered in LA.
2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car, Newport Beach, CA, Nov 2014
2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car, Newport Beach, CA, Nov 2014
The maker of the world's highest-volume hybrid, the Toyota Prius, formally introduced the production version of its hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.
Like the first-generation Prius, the 2016 Toyota Mirai (the Japanese word for "future") will be a low-volume vehicle in its early years.
But Toyota is firmly convinced that fuel-cell vehicles running on highly compressed hydrogen will be the zero-emission technology "for the next half-century," not battery-electric cars.
And like other makers of hydrogen powered vehicles, Toyota is helping to fund the development of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure to serve them--initially in Southern California.
Honda FCV Concept
Honda FCV Concept
Carmakers fund fueling infrastructure
Honda, too, plans to launch a fuel-cell vehicle sometime next year, expected to go on sale in 2016.
The smaller Japanese carmaker doesn't echo Toyota's adamant position that hydrogen vehicles are the sole solution; Honda says there's room for electric cars too.
But it will also loan $14 million to First Element Fuel, a startup company that has won contracts from the state of California to install a network of hydrogen fueling stations.
Honda's funds will help build 12 hydrogen stations in Southern California; Toyota had previously said it would loan First Element its own $7.3 million for the first 19 stations.
In turn, Toyota said in LA that it would also provide funds to Air Liquide to build 12 stations in five Northeast states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
Volkswagen Passat HyMotion hydrogen fuel cell prototype - Los Angeles, November 2014
Volkswagen Passat HyMotion hydrogen fuel cell prototype - Los Angeles, November 2014
To demonstrate that its hydrogen fuel-cell hardware was ready for the road, VW took a current-generation U.S. Passat and converted it to run on a fuel cell.
We drove the prototype, briefly, and found it fully as refined as the Mirai and quieter in some ways.
The company says, however, that it only expects to introduce models powered by hydrogen where a fueling infrastructure already exists and where there's clear demand.
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen HyMotion concept, 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen HyMotion concept, 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show
On its stand, Volkswagen displayed a second hydrogen vehicle.
This one, an adaption of its new Golf wagon, showed how hydrogen fuel tanks and a fuel-cell stack could be integrated into the company's MQB architecture without any compromise in space for people or cargo.
The 2015 VW Golf SportWagen will be offered in the U.S. powered by gasoline or TDI diesel engines. It replaces the previous Jetta SportWagen.

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