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HYDROGEN NEARLY READY FOR PRIME TIME?

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, May 15, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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With Toyota's announcement this week that they expect to price their first mass-market hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle at $50,000, it's starting to look like a tiny bit as though hydrogen is edging closer to the mass market. This price reflects cost cuts of about 90 percent since the mid 2000s, according to the company. The car would have zero emissions and the range and refueling time of a gas-powered vehicle. Bloomberg also reports: "Toyota, General Motors Co., Honda Motor Co., Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Co. have all said they will be ready to sell fuel-cell vehicles to retail customers by about 2015." And in Hawaii, which is always looking for eco-friendly transportation options and has some of the highest gas prices in the country, General Motors is testing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. There are benefits and minuses to the technology, as expected, but the largest hurdle is development of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure. A fun note in this neighborhood: A new all-time record—11,516 MPG was set at the Shell Eco-marathon recently by a hydrogen fuel-cell car. As we enter the beginning of the electric and plug-in hybrid making it to market, it looks like the technology for charging is keeping up. Nissan has a California company ready to install home charging station for customers who buy the Leaf. Nissan and GE are working together and Ford is collaborating with Microsoft on R|D for "smart charging," where people schedule the ideal time to plug in their cars to reduce strain on the energy grid. Companies around the world—including some in the U.S. located in California and Virginia, are working on developing fast charging stations, where an EV can charge in 30 minutes or less. And Frost & Sullivan estimates that more than 80 percent of electric vehicles sold by 2015 will have systems allowing the driver to locate the next charging station on their route and to book charging time ... Luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover is the next to throw its hat in the hybrid ring. The company is developing hybrids which will go to market in 2013-2014. A part-electric Land Rover is planned for 2013, with Jaguar vehicles to follow. Ailis Aaron Wolf Hybrid Owners of America

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