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GM and Honda create Michigan-based joint venture for mass production of fuel cell systems

A definitive fruit of a 2013 master collaboration agreement between American carmaker General Motors and Japanese auto company Honda has finally been realized.

Considered as two of the leaders of in fuel cell technology among carmakers, GM and Honda inked in 2013 a long-term agreement to co-develop the next-generation fuel cell system as well as hydrogen storage technologies. The two carmakers also aimed to advance refueling infrastructure to improve the viability of fuel cell vehicles. To achieve this, GM and Honda planned to share expertise and economies of scale as well as pursue common sourcing strategies – thereby making fuel cell systems less costly to produce for the carmaker and more affordable to end consumers.

The agreement resulted in the establishment of the Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC (FCSM), a manufacturing joint venture – as its name obviously indicates -- that will focus on the mass production of an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be employed in the upcoming products from GM and Honda. The two carmakers will invest in equal amounts a total of $85 million in the joint venture – the first in the auto industry – with an aim to commence mass production operations by the end of the decade (2020). FCSM will be based within GM’s battery pack production site located in Brownstown, Michigan.

Read the entire article GM and Honda create Michigan-based joint venture for mass production of fuel cell systems

GM fuel cell vehicle fleet tops 3 million miles of real-world driving

General Motors’ fleet of Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles has already topped 3 million miles of real-world driving. Some of them have even each accumulated more than 120,000 miles. GM estimates that these vehicles have saved 157,894 gallons of gasoline. The fleet is part of GM’s 119-vehicle Project Driveway program that was launched in 2007, since which over 5,000 drivers have given feedback on the functionality and drivability of fuel cell technology.

Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s global fuel cell engineering activities, remarked that Hydrogen fuel cell technology is a vital part of the carmaker’s advanced propulsion portfolio, on which they have been making substantial progress.

He noted that GM’s fuel cell vehicles operated through seven full winters and through different environmental conditions – which means that fuel cells can really meet the “demands of real-world drivers.”

Read the entire article GM fuel cell vehicle fleet tops 3 million miles of real-world driving

GM joins forces with Honda on next-generation fuel cell technologies

General Motors has just announced that it will join forces with Honda in order to develop a common system for fuel cell vehicles. The new partnership is planning to get the system on cars by 2020, according to the official press release. For those who don’t know, GM and Honda are both pioneers of fuel cell technology and the new partnership will cut development costs by consolidating their supplier bases for fuel cell components.

According to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, GM and Honda rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, with more than 1,200 between them. Back in 2007 GM launched the Project Driveaway program, which accumulated almost 3 million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of over 119 hyrdrogen-powered vehicles.

Honda began leasing the FCX in 2002 and since then, it deployed 85 units in the United States and Japan, including its successor, the FCX Clarity, which was named the 2009 World Green Car. Fuel cell vehicles are able to operate on renewable hydrogen made from sources like wind and biomass. The only emission from these vehicles is water vapor. Regarding the range, fuel cell vehicles are able travel up to 400 miles and can be refueled in about 3 minutes.

Read the entire article GM joins forces with Honda on next-generation fuel cell technologies

Ford won’t use GM’s 9 speed automatic transmission due to cost, efficiency snags

Several years ago, on April 15, 2013, Ford and General Motors signed an agreement to jointly use automatic transmissions that both automakers had developed. This was developed mainly for models like the F-150 and the Mustang. For the former, their part of the deal was to share its own 10 speed gearbox to rear wheel drive cars with GM, and in return, they will be able to use the 9 speed gearbox which they can use in front wheel drive crossovers, for a smoother and more efficient drive.

The gearbox seen in this photo, the Hydra-Matic 9T50, which was originally introduced in Chevy models with the 2017 Malibu, 2017 Cruze Diesel and the 2018 Equinox will not find its way inside a Ford model. Rather, the automaker opted to use an eight speed box for models like the Edge and the MKX that replaces the Lincoln Nautilus.

So what made them change their mind? Well, Ford believes that GM’s transmission is not good enough to handle the extra weight that comes from the new gear. That is not all, because it also argues that it does not justify the increased cost required for it to adapt to the Ford models. AutoPacific Inc. analyst, Dave Sullivan, even joked that if he was offered a transmission that did not require much work, outside of tuning it for a specific vehicle, he would take it and run.

Read the entire article Ford won’t use GM’s 9 speed automatic transmission due to cost, efficiency snags

General Motors has long faced issues in the European market. After years of experiencing losses, as well as weakening sales, the brand earlier this year sold off not only its Vauxhall brand but even the Opel brand. Opel is the main brand name that GM uses in Europe with the exception of the U.K. In the United Kingdom, Vauxhall, a British subsidiary of Opel, uses its very own brand name.

GM had disclosed that its European operations experienced a $257 million loss, the 16th year it had done so. GM would then sell the Opel and Vauxhall brands to the PSA Group in a deal valued at $2.3 billion.

For those familiar with the matter, the European operations of Chevrolet, known way back as Daewoo, was also halted in 2013. This was after the Chevrolet brand experienced losses amounting to $18 billion over several years. The phaseout was completed by the later part of 2015. Saab, which is another GM brand, was initially sold in 2010 before succumbing to bankruptcy by 2012.

Read the entire article GM hints at possible full-scale comeback to Europe

Just last year, Cruise Automation was acquired by General Motors, and today, it is the self-driving startup that is gobbling up companies on its own. General Motors is stepping their game up once more. To make things easier for them when it comes to the development of autonomous cars, they decided to acquire California-based Strobe, Inc. Not a lot of you may have heard of this company, but Strobe specializes in LiDAR technology, and that is a huge step forward for companies who are into autonomous systems for automobiles. After the acquisition, Strobe engineers will become part of the automaker’s Cruise Automation team.

Julie Schoenfeld, Founder and CEO of Strobe, Inc., said in a statement that the successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will have to depend on the availability of LiDAR sensors. Furthermore, GM and Cruise will benefit from Strobe’s deep engineering talent and technology backed by a number of patents. And hopefully, the automaker brings these autonomous vehicles sooner than we would think.

LiDAR is different from radar systems because the former uses laser pulses to “see” an area, whereas the latter relies on radar systems to do the same thing. And the LiDAR, as we know, is much more detailed as it creates a better picture of its surroundings, which translates to a more accurate processing of information. In other words, the LiDAR system can see a more realistic picture of what’s around it - from cars, pedestrians, and the road. Therefore, the LiDAR systems will play a pivotal role in the current and future development of autonomous cars. However, radars and LiDARs can complement each other to create a more robust and fault-tolerant sensing suite, operating in a wide range of environmental and lighting conditions.

Read the entire article GM gets closer to producing fully autonomous vehicles with acquisition of Strobe Inc.

Recently, Mercedes-Benz came out with the Project One, and that probably is the company's most powerful hypercar to date, giving out as much as 1,000 horsepower. But during Frankfurt, the German automaker introduced us to something more environmentally friendly. This includes models like the EQ A Concept, Vision EQ Fortwo, and the GLC F-Cell in its pre-production stage. The F-Cell is actually a fuel-cell powered luxury crossover that owners can plug in when charging the batteries.

Thanks to its unique powertrain, the GLC was made with a plug-in hybrid that works with a fuel cell stack instead of a combustion engine. All in all, the GLC F-Cell has a total output of 197 horsepower (147 kilowatts) and 258 pound feet (350 Newton-metres) of torque. In terms of range, this setup has a range of 272 miles (437 kilometers) in the New European Driving Cycle test.

The fuel cell portion comes with two carbon fiber tanks that carry as much as 9.7 pounds (4.4 kilograms) of hydrogen. One of the tanks is found under the rear seats, while the other is on the area where the driveshaft usually is.

Read the entire article 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell combines hydrogen fuel and plug-in power

Hyundai Motor Group – including both Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors – has disclosed a wide-ranging plan to introduce 31 environment-friendly models in a new development roadmap that aims to ultimately create a cleaner environment through these eco-friendly vehicles.

While previewing its next generation fuel cell vehicle, Hyundai announced its eco-vehicle development roadmap that entails a multi-pronged approach. This means that Hyundai won't focus its efforts on just one type of eco-friendly vehicle, but will create a lineup that offers various powertrain options like fuel cell, hybrid drive and electric.

Hyundai is pursuing this 2020 plan in response to the growing demand for fuel-efficient, eco-friendly vehicles around the world. As part of this road map, Hyundai will continue pursuing hydrogen fuel cell technology and will exert more efforts to strengthen its leadership in this area. The South Korean carmaker plans to achieve this by putting more focus on improving r&d works to further boost the performance and durability of FCEVs. Likewise, r&d will focus on making the fuel cell technology smaller and cheaper to allow it to be installed in smaller sedans.

Read the entire article Hyundai will introduce the Genesis luxury EV in 2021

Hyundai has recently unveiled an unnamed pre-production model of its new fuel cell SUV. We don’t know what to call this model just yet, but sources say that this model will make its official release next year.

Unusually, the Korean firm already confirmed that this model is “near production ready” even though they have not given it a name yet. The hydrogen SUV is said to be nine percent more efficient and have as much as twenty percent more power than the ix35. But the improvements don’t end there as the Korean automaker plans to give it an official range of 500 miles (805 kilometers).

The SUV will be equipped with three tanks of the same size that store hydrogen before the fuel cell converts it to electricity to power the car.

Read the entire article Hyundai releases images of long-range fuel cell SUV that will be launched in 2018

Monaco's narrow streets are considered as territory to some of the most impressive supercars in the world. Now, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco opted not to have an extravagant display for their lap of honor at the start of the 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco. Instead, they were in a Honda Clarity Fuel Cell when they lapped the historic city's circuit. The lap represented the beginning of the race itself, directly preceding the highly anticipated presentation of the Formula 1 drivers and Monaco's national anthem.

As of now, the hydrogen-driven Clarity is still not available in Europe, but Honda is orchestrating a demonstration campaign that will run through 2022 to showcase its futuristic vehicle. The Japanese company will unleash a total of 185 sedans on the roads of Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom as part of the test. The new vehicle from Honda impressively belts out a range of 403 miles (650 km) in the New European Driving Cycle test.

But according to the Environmental Protection Agency's more strict assessment, the sedan only yielded 366 miles (589 km) with a full tank of hydrogen. This record is still better compared to Tesla Model S 100D's 335 mile (539 km) EPA range and the 321 miles (516 km) that the hydrogen powered Toyota Mirai can accomplish.

Read the entire article Prince Albert of Monaco drives Honda Clarity Fuel Cell at 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco

Before the end of April, Lexus filed for a trademark with the name “LS-FC Concept” that’s for use on “automobiles and structural parts thereof”.

Does this mean that we will finally see the rumored hydrogen-fueled LS model? It has been years since the rumour started. We had learned that an LS model is soon to make its debut after the launch of the LF-FC concept, which was supposed to be a preview of the next-generation LS.

If the rumours are true, then the LS would use a variant of the Toyota Mirai powertrain, with an all-wheel drive that has four separate electric motors powering each corner. The company hasn’t been sharing details regarding this issue just yet.

Read the entire article Lexus trademark filing gives us hints of what the future LS will be like

Toyota Motor Corporation disclosed that it will be bringing two of its Mirai fuel cell vehicles to China by October of this year. Tests will then be conducted on these FCVs in order to determine how they perform under China’s environment. The brand will also study the quality of hydrogen in China and conduct other durability and quality tests.

While this may be the first in China, the Mirai has been tested in different countries like Australia, U.K., the U.S., and even Scandinavia. The testing to be done is China is under the project titled “Accelerating the Development and Commercialization of Fuel Cell Vehicles in China” and will begin on 2017 and end by 2020.

In addition to the tests being conducted, the brand will also conduct promotional activities in order to determine how customers in this country react to the Mirai. An example of such an activity includes, but not limited to, putting the Mirai up for exhibit during domestic events. Toyota says that the main objective of these events is to make consumers know more about FCVs.

Read the entire article Toyota to start 3-year test for Mirai FCV in China by October 2017

Genesis Motors, the luxury vehicle branch of the South Korean automaker Hyundai, is hoping to venture into a new market- the electric run vehicle territory. For years, Genesis only offered sedans but now the game is about to change. Here to pave the way is the futuristic Genesis GV80 SUV.

The South Korean automaker has long hinted the pubic that it is keenly interested in entering the electric vehicle market, with big companies like Ford and Tesla in the same race for producing e-vehicles. Up until now, rumours have been flowing off the shelf that Genesis is gearing up to recreate a pure e-vehicle or a hybrid one. At the recently held 2017 New York Auto Show, all eyes were on the GV80 Fuel cell concept with a metallic finish that offers a subtle glimpse in what the future holds for the car consumers.

This fuel cell powered exclusive SUV is based on the Genesis' Athletic Elegance design and the GV80 will serve as a predecessor to a whole new future lineage of e-vehicles that Genesis is yearning for. The Genesis Athletic design was previously introduced in the G90 forerunner in the year 2015. Manfred Fitzgerald, Genesis Chief, remarked that the GV80 Concept is considered by the company as the most significant breakthrough that paves the way for further expansion of their vehicle line-up.

Read the entire article Genesis Motors unveils latest concept -- the GV80 SUV

Back during the early of part of the year, Hyundai Motor Company became part of the Hydrogen Council which was officially launched during the 2017 Davos World Economic Forum. The goal of this group is to develop and commercialize cars that use fuel cells rather than fossil fuels.

For those who have long followed developments at Hyundai, this is not a surprise as the brand has been leading the pack in developing hydrogen vehicles for 20 years now. Back in 2013 for example, it released the ix35 Fuel Cell, also known in some markets as the Tucson Fuel Cell. It became the first ever hydrogen-powered car in the world to be mass produced. In fact, it is still on sale in 17 countries worldwide.

With this in mind, Hyundai unveiled during the 2017 Geneva Motor Show its latest offering in the field of hydrogen powered vehicles. Dubbed as the FE Fuel Cell Concept, the “FE” refers to “Future Eco” which reveals the pioneering technologies that match the environment-friendliness of this model. One of its main features is the internal air humidifier. This part recycles the water that is emitted by this model in order to have a cabin environment that offers more comfort.

Read the entire article Hyundai unveils hydrogen-powered FE Fuel Cell Concept

It was in April of last year when Honda first revealed plans that it was planning to build a plug-in hybrid version of the Clarity. There will also be an all-electric one. Recently, Automotive News reported initial details with regards to the electric version. According to the said report, the EV version of the Clarity is estimated to have a maximum range, on a single charge, of 80 miles (129 km).

Honda however said that this is not due to any disadvantage related to engineering but rather to factors that were made when the project was started. In particular, there were two considerations that needed to be met without question. The first focuses on the physical size of this variant given that it has the same architecture as that of two versions under the Clarity range. The second important parameter was that the final production car should have a cost of at most $35,000, before any government incentives or tax credits.

Honda has always been about affordability and coming out with a long-range electric car that comes at a high price is not something the brand would want. This was the statement released by Honda of America Vice President of Environmental Business Development Steve Center to Automotive News. He added that if that happened, many of its customers would not be able to buy it.

Read the entire article Report says Honda Clarity EV’s range is a short 80 miles

The ride-sharing fleet of sharing Lyft Inc. will soon include thousands of specially fitted self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles, courtesy of General Motors. If plans push through, Lyft’s clients would be riding in autonomous EVs as early as start of 2018, according to a report by Reuters, citing sources privy to GM’s plans.

This brings the partnership between GM and Lyft to a new level – a technologically advanced collaboration that involves not just innovative electric vehicles, but also ground-breaking autonomous ones. Deploying thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV to Lyft would allow the United States-based carmaker to accelerate tests of its autonomous technology on its zero-emission cars. One of Reuters’ sources divulged that Lyft is planning to deploy these autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs for testing in a number of states across the US.

GM’s plans are in line with pronouncements of its executives and with its investor presentations in 2016 that it intends to build a high volume of self-driving vehicles and then deploy them in ride sharing services like Lyft. Despite these pronouncements ad presentations, details are still vague as to how many autonomous vehicles will be built or when the US carmaker is specifically planning to deploy them. In fact, GM has only said in recent statement that its autonomous vehicle technology will be featured in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than people have expected. It should be noted that the GM acquired a minority stake in Lyft in 2016 for around $500 million.

Read the entire article GM to deploy thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs to Lyft’s ride-sharing service

It looks like Opel/Vauxhall will have a new owner soon. This comes as the PSA Group and General Motors are currently holding talks over the possibility of GM selling its Opel unit to the French carmaker.

The discussions were first reported by Reuters and Bloomberg News, citing sources. In a recent statement, GM confirmed that the two carmakers are exploring several strategic initiatives with the objective of improving profitability as well as operational efficiency. GM added that the discussions included a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by the PSA Group. GM also noted that the carmakers have been in alliance since 2012, with the partnership covering three projects in Europe.

Selling Opel to the PSA Group wouldn’t be an easy thing to do for GM. There are quite a number of financial, industrial and political considerations that needed to be factored in. That said, both GM and PSA could also earn some benefits from such transaction.

Read the entire article GM confirms holding talks to sell Opel to the PSA Group

It seems that the much publicized breakfast meeting between the new President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and the chief executives of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler was a success, given the optimistic attitudes of the carmakers’ top honchos after the discussions.

Also present in the meeting – which GM CEO Mary Barra called as “very constructive” – Matt Blunt, a former Republican governor of Missouri who now serves as head of a US automaker trade association, Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and other senior administration officials.

Basically, the meeting centered on bringing more jobs back to the US, which is one of the primary promises that Trump made during the presidential campaign. Discussions also included the possible policies that Trump intends to implement in the auto industry and how he plans to make it more enticing for carmakers to build more assembly plants in the US to create more jobs, thereby keeping jobs in the country.

Read the entire article President Trump meets with Big Three CEOs over efforts to open jobs in the US

Nikola Motor’s hydrogen-powered semi-trailer truck is highly appealing with its many advancements but don’t expect it to arrive in the near future. In November 2016, Toyota announced the possibility of applying hydrogen technology to semi-trailers, so such trucks might come soon. But while Toyota is still conducting a California-based feasibility and exploration study, Utah-based Nikola Motor Company has already unveiled a hydrogen-powered semi-trailer truck that could put current conventional trucks on the road to shame.

Nikola Motors is proud to unveil its Nikola One hydrogen-powered semi-trailer truck, which employs a full electric drivetrain as powered by high-density lithium battery pack with 320-kWh of capacity. This large high-capacity battery pack gets its juice from hydrogen fuel cells. Its electric drivetrain could provide more than a thousand ponies and around 2,000 ft. lbs. (2,711 Nm) of torque – which is nearly double the amount that conventional semi-trailer trucks could provide with the powerful diesel engines.

This means that Nikola One could haul heavier loads as needed. In addition, Nikola One’s fuel cell-powered battery pack – a massive one – could contain enough energy to allow the green yet mean semi trailer truck to travel between 800 miles and 1,200 miles (1,287 to 1,931 kilometers), depending on the battery specs and the size of the hydrogen tank. This means that the Nikola One semi-trailer truck is very suitable for long-haul operations, effectively getting rid of the so-called range anxiety common with electrified vehicles. This hydrogen tank can be filled up at any of the planned 364 stations across the United and Canada. These hydrogen refilling stations will be built starting 2018.

Read the entire article Pre-orders of Nikola’s 1000hp One hydrogen-powered semi-trailer truck have surpassed $4 billion

Regardless of what people may say, those who want to lower greenhouse-gas emissions would do better to choose vehicles that use electricity compared to models that utilize hydrogen fuel-cell as the former is cheaper. This was the conclusion reached by a study published in the journal Energy and conducted by researchers at Stanford University and the Technical University of Munich.

In the study, the researchers revealed that when putting energy production and vehicle-operating costs into consideration, vehicles powered by fuel cells need twice the amount of electrical energy needed by electric vehicles. The study is saying that for those who want to have lower emissions, plugging a vehicle is a lot more cost-effective compared to putting hydrogen inside it. This is good news for customers considering that many of them find it difficult to choose between the two as both show no emissions. A reason cited as to the difference in cost is that it is more expensive to put up hydrogen generation infrastructure.

The actual study itself was conducted at Los Altos Hills in California, located around 40 miles in the southeast direction from San Francisco. Through the use of a case study, the researchers assumed that by 2035, 38% of the vehicles running around town would either be powered by fuel cells or with electricity. The study also assumed that by 2025, electric vehicles would be more cost competitive when compared to standard vehicles.

Read the entire article Journal says EVs are more cost-effective than fuel-cell vehicles