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Toyota Admits Elon Musk Was Right About Fuel-Cell Vehicles

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2016 Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle, charging

Toyota has admitted that Tesla CEO Elon Musk was correct to be skeptical about hydrogen fuel-cell technology being the best bet for zero-emissions vehicles.

Referring to proponents (not just Toyota) of FCVs replacing gasoline engines, Musk once boldly and unabashedly said “Fuel cells should be renamed ‘fool cells,’ they are so stupid.”

Yoshikazu Tanaka, Toyota Mirai chief engineer, recently told in an interview that “Elon Musk is right — it’s better to charge the electric car directly by plugging in.”

Tanaka statement suggests Musk was only partially correct in his dismissal of FCVs. Yes, the company believes some customers will prefer the comparatively quick refill time provided by conventional electric cars, but it still sees a niche for hydrogen in the grand scheme of things.

That’s Japanese humility for you…

Do you think there is a place for hydrogen cars in our electric future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Hydrogen Car

Hyundai Nexo Has Best Range Of Any Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle

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Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen SUV driving

Hyundai used the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a stage to announce that its new Nexo fuel cell vehicle now offers the longest driving range of any fuel cell vehicle available.

With a driving range up to 378 miles (609 kilometers), the hydrogen-powered SUV can travel further than any of its direct competitors, handily beating the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity‘s range of 300 miles (483 km) and 80 miles (129 Km), respectively. In fact, Hyundai says it delivers the same range as a regular, gasoline-powered car.

Filling the Nexo’s tank takes only five minutes. By comparison, a regular EV would get about 81 miles (50 km) worth of charge in the same time on even the best and fastest chargers.

Considering the sparsity of hydrogen stations anywhere in the world, the long driving range and fast refueling help make the Nexo a more compelling vehicle for those early adopters capable of affording one.

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Consumer Electronics Show

Hyundai Nexo Fuel-Cell SUV Shoots For Hydrogen Car Future

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Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen-Powered SUV

Unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Hyundai Nexo is Hyundai’s second-generation fuel-cell, hydrogen-powered vehicle, succeeding the Tucson FCV.

The Fuel cell vehicle segment is in an even more fledgling state than regular EVs, but Hyundai is confident that hydrogen is a viable alternative to gasoline and pure battery-powered electric vehicles.

Based on a new dedicated vehicle architecture that’s just over 10-inches longer yet lighter than the Tucson FCV’s, the Nexo has a driving range of 370 miles (595 km), a improvement of 105 miles over the Tucson. There’s also more power thanks to a 120 kW electric motor, giving it a 3-second faster 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of 9.5 seconds.

An improved fuel cell system layout with the battery being relocated to the trunk in addition to a 6-inch longer wheelbase means more interior room for passengers and their cargo.

Hyundai was sure to address the start-up issue with FCVs in cold climates — the Nexo can be started in just 30 seconds following overnight temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Nexo is one of 18 eco-friendly models that the Korean automaker will introduce by 2025. It plans to use fuel-cell powertrains in sedans, trucks and buses.

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Diesel

California Looking To Ban Cars With Internal Combustion Engines

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2011 Ford Mustang GT engine

Inspired by several major European cities and China, California Governor Jerry Brown is considering a sales ban on internal combustion vehicles at the state level.

You can bet the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal has been running through is mind, serving as a powerful incentive to push customers away from gasoline and diesel engines into vehicles with electric and other zero-emissions powertrains.

The Governor has reportedly began pressuring state’s Air Resources Board to look into the option. In an interview with , CARB chairman Mary Nichols stated:

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already? The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

If Brown gets his way, the ban will likely not be implemented immediately, but rather in the next decades. In fact, with predictions that the natural rise in electric powertrains could reach a tipping point if battery-powered cars become more affordable than internal-combustion vehicles, a prohibition might not even be needed.

That’s to say the market, with the help of tightening emissions regulations, will eventually bring an end to gasoline and diesel engines.

As much as I love internal combustion engines, a world without them should be an interesting place to live. Don’t you agree?

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