Toyota’s Mirai is not a long-distance environmental mirage

Toyota's Fuel Cell Vehicle

Toyota’s Fuel Cell Vehicle

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Sets Record
312 miles = Longest Driving Range of ANY Zero Emission Vehicle on the Market

The future of mobility is ready to hit the road – and keep going…and going…and going.

The new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle will offer an EPA-estimated 67 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) city/highway/combined when it hits dealerships in California this fall, and an EPA-estimated driving range rating of 312 miles on a single fill of hydrogen.

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz announced the EPA-estimated performance figures at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado.  Mirai is the only zero emission electric vehicle on the market that tops the 300 mile range milestone.

“Toyota realized in the early 90’s that electrification was key to the future of the automobile,” said Lentz.  “Just as the Prius introduced hybrid-electric vehicles to millions of customers nearly 20 years ago, the Mirai is now poised to usher in a new era of efficient, hydrogen transportation.”

The world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, the Toyota Mirai is a four-door, mid-size sedan with performance that fully competes with traditional internal combustion engines – but uses no gasoline.  Instead, Mirai creates electricity on demand using hydrogen, oxygen and a fuel cell, and emits nothing but water vapor in the process.

Toyota has matched theMirai’s impressive performance with an equally impressive ownership experience.  In addition to outstanding range and fuel economy, Mirai drivers will enjoy a comprehensive, ownership experience offering a range of world-class services, including:

  • Three years’ worth of complimentary fuel [1]
  • Three years complimentary Safety Connect and Entune, including hydrogen station finder app.
  • Three years of 24/7 customer call support.
  • Mirai Complimentary Rental Experience for seven days per year for three years.[2]
  • ToyotaCare[3], our standard no cost service plan and roadside assistance, is enhanced forMirai and offers:
    • No cost scheduled maintenance for three years, or 35,000 miles, whichever comes first[4].
    • No cost enhanced roadside assistance[5] for three years, regardless of mileage, including expedited towing service and trip interruption reimbursement at a maximum of $500 per day for up to 5 days per incident.[6]
  • 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components including the FC stack and power control unit; FC hydrogen tanks; hybrid battery pack and ECU; FC air compressor, boost converter and ECU; hybrid control module (power management control module); and hydrogen fueling ECU.[4]

Beginning this summer, California customers can request a Mirai by visitingwww.toyota.com/mirai.  Customers are encouraged to visit www.toyota.com/mirai today to sign up for more information and notification of exact Mirai order request launch timing in the coming months.

[1] Complimentary fuel for 3 years or $15,000 maximum, whichever comes first. Fuel program starts after receipt and activation of fuel card; fuel card is nontransferable.  Fueling must be done at approved SAE certified stations.
[2] The seven complimentary days per year will expire after each year and any unused days will not carry over.
[3]  ToyotaCare covers normal factory scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. 24-hour roadside assistance is also included for two years, regardless of mileage. Valid only at authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealers in the continental United States. See dealer for details and exclusions.
[4] Covers normal factory scheduled maintenance and is valid only at authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealers in the continental United States. See dealer for details and exclusions.
[5] Does not include parts and fluids.
[6] Trip reimbursement covers interruptions that require the Toyota dealership to keep such vehicle overnight and such Covered Vehicle is at the time of such disablement more than fifty (50) miles from the residence of the owner of the Covered Vehicle. See an Authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealer for details and exclusions.

Advertisements

It ain’t easy being green: Hybrid, electric cars traded for SUVs

Even though it was Kermit the Frog who sang “it ain’t easy being green,” it appears that eco-friendly car owners are ditching their hybrid and electric vehicles for SUVs at a higher rate than ever before, according to Edmunds.com.

Not surprisingly, financial matters seem to figure into the motives, according to  Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com’s Director of Industry Analysis. “For better or worse, it looks like many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment.”

The analysis offers a surprising look at how today’s gas prices are drawing hybrid and EV owners toward gas-guzzling vehicles at a much more accelerated pace than in recent years.

According to Edmunds.com, about 22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. The number represents a sharp increase from 18.8 percent last year, and it is nearly double the rate of 11.9 percent just three years ago. Overall, only 45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent.

“Three years ago, when gas was at near-record highs, it was a lot easier to rationalize the price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. But with today’s gas prices as low as they are, the math just doesn’t make a very compelling case,” Caldwell said.

To underscore the point, Edmunds calculates that at the peak average national gas price of $4.67/gallon in October 2012, it would take five years to break even on the $3,770 price difference between a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460). At today’s national average gas price of $2.27/gallon, it would take twice as much time (10.5 years) to close the same gap.

Edmunds’ analysis comes at a time when overall sales of alternative vehicles have continued to slide. EVs and hybrids accounted for just 2.7 percent of all new car sales in the first quarter of 2015, down from 3.3 percent during that same period last year. The share of SUVs, meanwhile, has increased from 31.8 percent in Q1 2014 to 34.2 percent in Q1 2015.

Shoppers who want to learn more about hybrid and electric vehicles on today’s new and used market are encouraged to visit Edmunds.com at http://www.edmunds.com/hybrid/. Shoppers can also calculate “breakeven” times using Edmunds’ Gas Guzzler Calculator at http://www.edmunds.com/calculators/gas-guzzler.html?sv.

 

 

Honda to broaden hybrid lineup in US

2014 Honda Insight

2014 Honda Insight

 TORRANCE, Calif. – Honda is reinforcing its commitment to a clear product strategy focused on further advancing fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicle technologies that are better aligned with customer needs and that strengthen the company’s U.S. sales momentum.

Keyed to the continued rollout of a new lineup of Earth Dreams™ Technology engines, transmissions and electro-motive technologies, the strategy will be executed over the next three to four years and will include changes to the Honda lineup of advanced technology environmental vehicles, including the Honda Insight. The U.S. model Insight will be available at Honda dealerships nationwide through the end of the year, with production scheduled to end in summer 2014.

Honda’s hybrid product direction in the U.S. will move forward with greater focus on expanded application of the innovative two-motor hybrid system. The two-motor system was introduced on the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid and powers the EPA-rated 50 mpg city Accord Hybrid, which is the most fuel-efficient rating for a 5-passenger sedan in America.

“No manufacturer has more experience with electromotive technologies than Honda and we are committed to applying our expertise to a wide range of products in the coming years,” said Michael Accavitti, senior vice president of auto operations at American Honda. “Our hybrid vehicle strategy will focus on new models aimed at delivering the class-leading fuel economy and performance our customers’ desire in segments that represent significant growth opportunities.”

The second generation Insight is the most affordable mass-produced hybrid vehicle on the market with a MSRP starting at $18,7251, and an EPA fuel economy ratings of 41/44/42 city/highway/combined2. It was introduced in the spring of 2009 and offered a unique blend of fuel-efficient hybrid performance, 5-door hatchback practicality, top safety ratings and a host of user-friendly features, including the first application of the Honda-exclusive ECO Assist™, a sophisticated feedback system that uses an adaptive color display to indicate overall driving efficiency. Long recognized as an affordable and practical hybrid vehicle choice for customers, the Insight was named a ‘Greenest Vehicle’ by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for four consecutive years and a ‘Top Choice’ by Edmunds.com.

For more information on the 2014 Honda Insight, visit http://www.automobiles.honda.com/insight.

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Debut at LA Auto Show

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD set to debut at Los Angeles International Auto Show on November 20, 2013.

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD set to debut at Los Angeles International Auto Show on November 20, 2013.

RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is the most powerful and technologically advanced Acura sedan ever made, producing 377 horsepower; delivering V-8 power and 4-cylinder fuel economy

TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 1, 2013 – The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, the flagship of the Acura luxury-performance sedan lineup, will be on display at the Los Angeles International Auto Show on November 20, 2013.

Acura’s first luxury sedan to use hybrid powertrain technology and electric-powered all-wheel-drive, the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD delivers V8-like performance with 4-cylinder fuel economy, along with the outstanding handling and all-weather performance capabilities of Acura’s torque-vectoring Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system.

The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is the most powerful and technologically advanced Acura sedan ever made, and combines a 3.5-liter SOHC direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 engine with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and three high-output electric motors to produce a combined 377 horsepower and an EPA-rated 30 miles per gallon combined city-highway fuel economy.1

The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD will join the 310-horsepower RLX with Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) in the Acura model line in 2014. The RLX P-AWS model made its world debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in 2012 and went on sale earlier this year.

VW says its XL1 at 200 mpg’s world’s most fuel-efficient car

VW's XL1

VW’s XL1

BY GERRY MILES

With the capability to produce 200 mpgs in the United States (compared to an estiamted 261 mpgs in Europe), Volkswagen introduced the XL1 as the most fuel-efficient and aerodynamic production car in the world at 23rd Annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference at the Chattanooga Convention Center recently.

In its zero-emissions or all-electric mode, the XL1 can cover but 32 miles.

“The XL1 offers a glimpse into Volkswagen’s present and future eco-mobility capabilities, and highlights the ultimate successes of ‘Thinking Blue’,” said Oliver Schmidt, General Manager of the Engineering and Environmental Office (EEO), Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “VW is proud to debut this ultra-fuel-efficient vehicle before the Society of Environmental Journalists, a group that shares in our commitment to environmental stewardship.”

XL1 Features

The XL1 is an automotive standout that follows pure sports-car design principles:

  • light weight (1,753 pounds)
  • exceptional aerodynamics (Cd 0.19)
  • low center of gravity
  • The XL1 also has a top speed of 99 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds.

The XL1 can cruise at 62 mph (100 km) using just 8.4 PS (6.2kW) horsepower. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover more than a kilometer.

The XL1 emits just 21 g/km of CO2, thanks to its high-tech lightweight design, aerodynamic efficiency, and a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a 48 PS (35kW) two-cylinder TDI® engine, a 27-hp electric motor, a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a lithium-ion battery.

The estimated European driving cycle of 261 mpg fuel consumption figure is a record that has not been achieved by any other vehicle to date, a number that VW claims is proof that it is feasibly redefining the auto industry.

When the new millennium began, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, now Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, envisioned a practical car that had combined fuel consumption of one liter per 100 km (235 mpg). In the two-seat XL1, this vision has become reality.

Despite the tremendous efficiency of the XL1, the engineers and designers successfully came up with a body design which delivers more everyday utility than the two previous prototypes. In the L1, the 1-liter car that was shown in 2002 and 2009, the driver and passenger sat in a tandem arrangement for optimal aerodynamics; in the XL1, the two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, almost like a conventional vehicle.

The XL1 is 153.1 inches long, 65.6 inches wide, and just 45.4 inches tall. By comparison, a Volkswagen Polo is slightly longer (156.3 in) and wider (66.2 in), but is significantly taller (57.6 in). Even a purebred sports car like today’s Porsche Boxster is 5.1 inches taller. The XL1 will look spectacular going down the highway—a car of the future, built for today.

There was no word on when or if the XL1 will ever see American shores nor at what price.

BMW i3 among the first EVs to use Combo-Charging inlet for all charging

The BMW i3 recharges at a DC Fast Charger.  Fashion Valley Mall,  San Diego, CA.

The BMW i3 recharges at a DC Fast Charger. Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego, CA.

BY GERRY MILES

A BMW i3 needed less than a half-hour to completely charge itself at the first-ever public charging station to offer the SAE Combo-Charging fast charging system in San Diego, Calif. The optional fast charging system enables the BMW i3 driver to charge their EV from a standard 110 volt outlet with a cord set, a 220 volt charging wallbox or public charging station and also from a DC Fast Charging public charging station all from the same charging inlet.

“The start of the public DC Combo Fast Charging Infrastructure installations in the US is a great base for the US launch of the new BMW i3, because it will offer our customers the ability to recharge their EV in less than 30 minutes instead of the three hours needed with conventional 220 volt public charging stations” said Cliff Fietzek, Manager Connected eMobility at BMW of North America.

The Combo Charging System is a joint development between most OEMs and the EV industry. BMW and General Motors together tested several Combo Charging Stations from various suppliers both in Munich, Germany and Warren, Michigan. OEMs worked together with the EV industry to confirm a DC combo-charging standard. Major automakers including BMW, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have committed to adopting the combo fast charge connector standard.

Accord hybrid a treat and no tricks at the pump with EPA 50 mpgs

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid

BY GERRY MILES

With the current trend of dropping gas prices – let’s hope they continue – customers might enjoy the EPA-rated 50 mpg given to the  2014 Accord Hybrid when it goes on sale nationally Halloween day on Oct. 31.

The Accord carries an MSRP from $29,155 up to $34,905 for the upscale Accord Hybrid Touring model, plus a destination and handling charge of $790.

“With advanced technologies standard on every Accord Hybrid we’ve given customers an incredible combination of fuel efficiency, technology and value,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales at American Honda. “The addition of the Accord Hybrid to the lineup will further advance Accord’s position as America’s most popular passenger car with individual buyers.”

Every new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is equipped with numerous standard features including Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch™ blind spot display system, a premium feature not even available on any competitive hybrid models.

Additional standard features include:

  • a rearview camera
  • LED daytime running lights (DRL)
  • Expanded View Driver’s Mirror,Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®
  • USB/iPod® integration
  • Pandora® compatibility
  • SMS text message function
  • dual-zone automatic climate control
  • alloy wheels
  • driver’s seat with 10-way power adjustment
  • 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system.

The Accord Hybrid EX-L gets  Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) along with leather-trimmed and heated front seats and the HondaLink™ cloud-based media and connectivity system featuring Aha® compatibility. Power driver’s seat memory, front passenger seat with 4-way power adjustment and one-touch moonroof are also standard on the EX-L trim.

The Accord Hybrid Touring adds the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition and FM traffic data, LED headlights with blue tinted chrome bezels, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and hard disk drive (HDD) audio memory.

With EPA fuel-economy ratings1 of 50 mpg city / 45 mpg highway / 47 mpg combined, the 2014 Accord Hybrid is the top rated 4-door sedan in America in the EPA city cycle. Highlighting both form and function, it blends the sophisticated exterior styling and spacious interior packaging of the Accord Sedan with a highly efficient two-motor hybrid system from Honda’s Earth Dreams™ Technology advanced powertrain series.

The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is the first Honda hybrid vehicle produced in Ohio, at the company’s Marysville Auto Plant, and joins the Greensburg, Indiana-built Civic Hybrid as the second Honda hybrid model built in the U.S., using domestic and globally sourced parts.

The Accord Hybrid is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile Limited Vehicle Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile Corrosion Limited Warranty. The hybrid battery pack is covered by a 8-year/100,000-mile or 10-year/150,000 mile limited warranty, depending on the state of purchase/registration.

2014 Accord Hybrid Pricing:

TRIM MSRP2 EPA Fuel Economy Ratings1(city/highway/combined)
Hybrid $29,155 50/45/47
Hybrid EX-L $31,905 50/45/47
Hybrid Touring $34,905 50/45/47

1Based on 2014 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Actual fuel mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how the vehicle is driven and maintained, lithium-ion battery age/condition, and other factors.

2MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $790 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

® The Bluetooth word mark and logos are owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc., and any use of such marks by Honda Motor Co., Ltd is under license.

® iPod is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. All rights reserved. iPod not included.

® Pandora, the Pandora logo and other Pandora marks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Pandora Media, Inc. or its subsidiaries worldwide.