New Toyota and BMW collaboration could be more than a light duty partnership
What do fuel cells, electrification and carbon fiber have to do with each other? Combined they result in almost perfectly efficient automotive harmony. And that makes the tie up between Toyota and BMW a pretty serious knot to untie.
OK. And there’s also a sport’s car, but that’s mostly to just throw everyone off the scent of what’s really going on. Read more…
Geneva Motor Show further demonstrates single powertrain domination will take decades, minimally
The world of powertrains is a changing. Gasoline engines and diesel engines are now being joined by natural gas engines these days. For example, yesterday, GM announced its dual fuel — gasoline and natural gas – pickup trucks. Today, Chrysler also debuted its natural gas pickup truck, and Ford is set to follow the trend.
Then there are hybrids, now also coming in gasoline, diesel and natural gas variants. Then plug-in hybrids, range extended electric cars, full battery electrics and still fuel cell electrics.
These days powertrains can best be described by diversity. Read more…
Are rising oceans and a lack of fresh water a solution within a problem?
Back in the early 2000′s I received an early copy of Jeremy Rifkin’s The Hydrogen Economy and my mind was bent. It wasn’t just the potential of fuel cells that made the book so intriguing, but rather the argument of why change away from petroleum was necessary, such as the costs of US foreign oil dependence, even during non-war times. Even a fuel cell hater — which I was not at the time — could relate to that significant chunk of Rifkin’s great work.
That’s what made me such a hybrid fan. Most likely fuel cell vehicles will be fuel cell hybrid vehicles, so every hybrid — at least full hybrids – produced and sold was a step in the right direction. Of course, like most that have spent time in this space, fuel cell vehicles began to sound too mythical. Coupled with the promise of lithium, fuel cells eventually began to seem like pure fantasy, and I gave up on them for some time.
Then GM opened my mind to the possibility that fuel cells shouldn’t be written off just yet, and since then the science has been telling a whole new story. Read more…
Are plug-ins to follow the path of fuel cells?
I’ve made it clear that I don’t believe the hybrid and plug-in hype is fading into irrelevance because of advancements in gasoline engines, which undoubtedly have the capability to achieve much higher levels of efficiencies. Of course, those gasoline engines will never be as efficient as electrification.
Still, it is undeniable that costs are still a major hurdle limiting plug-in, and even hybrid, potential. Perhaps even for decades.
So, just for fun, could much more fuel efficient gasoline engines make hybrids and EVs forever unnecessary? Read more…
Can the world wait for electrification?
I was never much of a car guy growing up. It wasn’t until the first hybrid cars hit the street that autos started catching my attention, especially since code was such a big part of their powertrain, and coming from the software industry, that was compelling. Plus, after 9/11 it just seemed obvious that things needed to change, and batteries and fuel cells seemed so necessary.
For years I didn’t care about any new vehicle technology except those with batteries. I even wrote off fuel cells for a while. Sure I believed they would happen one day, but my focus was today. In that regard hybrids, including those with plugs, seemed the game-changing call to action. Read more…
The future is inevitable
For years now Audi has been a vocal hater of hybrid and electric vehicles, claiming that diesel vehicles offer similar benefits at a cheaper price.
But, heading into the future, even hybrid hater Audi seems to realize that hybrid and plug-in powertrains are inevitable. Read more…
The good, the bad, and the ugly of electric vehicles
The ugly truth about plug-in and fuel cell vehicles is that they cost too much. That’s bad because it means gas-guzzlers are going to be around a long time, and it will take a decade or two to replace them even when a real cost-effective solution emerges. You simply can’t replace a billion vehicles overnight, over the year, or even over the decade — at least not using today’s automotive business model.
However, the good thing is, when electrically-powered vehicles overtake fossil-fueled ones, we’ll enjoy our cars and personal transportation far more. OK. Hardcore car guys and gals will take longer to convince, but they’re a small minority, so why care? Read more…
Too bad batteries, fuel cells and solar panels aren’t cheaper
Living in the stone ages. That’s how I felt for a while after losing my power Wednesday night. Sure, the first few hours were tolerable, but after 24 hours things started to feel a little surreal. After 48 hours, things turned just plain crazy. It’s not just the loss of lights or the lack of a refrigerator that gets to you, but the inability to even fix the damage all around. It’s utter helplessness.
Fortunately, I’m now fully reconnected to the power grid and the American life, but the experience certainly reinforced my desire to achieve energy independence — if only it were easier. Read more…
Is Prius success impossible for other automakers?
There is only one way to describe the sales of hybrid cars after more than 10 years on the market: unimpressive. Take away Toyota and hybrid and plug-in penetration would be around 1 percent.
So, why can’t other automakers replicate Toyota’s 10+ percent hybrid sale’s penetration in the US? Read more…
Categories: Buying Hybrids, Buying plug-ins, electric cars, Fuel Cell vehicles, Hybrid Cars, plug-in hybrid cars, Plug-in Vehicles, Toyota Prius Tags: electric cars, Hybrid Cars, plug-in hybrids, Toyota Prius
Or is the battery space full of disruptive potential?
For many years now Toyota has been working on a number of advanced battery technologies. Yesterday, Toyota announced that they are going to try to commercialize one of these new technologies — a solid state lithium battery capable of 621 miles of range — sometime between 2015 to 2020.
So, what does commercialize really mean? Did everything about the hybrid and plug-in space just change? Read more…