Toyota Hydrogen Tanks Production Gains Approval

Toyota Hydrogen Tanks Production Gains Approval Toyota gained Japanese government approval to build and inspect high-pressure hydrogen tanks.
This thereby handles one of the main issues with hydrogen vehicles in that high tank pressures must be sustainable, durable, and reliable.
The company said this approval is an vital production staging post in its program to launch its first fuel cell vehicle.
Having met the stringent criteria required by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Diligence – the first manufacturer to do so – Toyota can now increase production of tanks that can be used for safe storage of hydrogen fuel at up to 70MPa (700bar) pressure.
Toyota FCV Concept.
Toyota added this keeps the company firmly on track for the market introduction of its Fuel Cell Sedan in Japan, Europe and North America in 2015.
Japanese law requires all pressurized gas containers and garnishing to be type-qualified and made available for official safety inspections during the manufacturing process, clarified Toyota. Until now, Toyota’s hydrogen tanks also had to undergo a additional inspection before being installed in a vehicle. The inspection schedules had a direct impression on its inventory control and the manufacturing timetable for Toyota’s FCV prototypes.
By being both able and allowed to self-inspect the tanks it makes, The company can now streamline its FCV manufacturing process, while, said Toyota, maintaining the highest quality and safety standards. As well as humanizing efficiency and productivity, Toyota also expects this to help reduce the cost of FCVs.
To gain official approval, known as KHKS 0102, Toyota said it has had to meet 194 supplies and exhibit an appropriate high level of quality management. The company added it set a quality manual and a set of inspection rules to grant a fully documented hydrogen tank quality management system that goes beyond its own operation to include affiliated parts suppliers.

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Saab In Troubled Water Again

Saab In Troubled Water Again Saab has been going through rough water and is not yet out of distress. Its EV-ambitious owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, has financial distress.
The Board of Directors of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, the owners of Saab, last Thursday applied for a reorganization.
This process, in Sweden, is more or less the equivalent of Stage 11 in the U.S.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) said it has chose to go through this process to start more time for the ongoing negotiations. The application was submitted to the district court in Vänersborg, Sweden.
“The tripartite negotiations we have with two global vehicle manufacturers are still progressing, but are complex and have taken more time than we predicted. We need additional time to complete the negotiations and reach an agreement. Therefore, we apply for a reorganization. We intend to fully pay our debts to our suppliers”, said Nevs’ President Mattias Bergman.
Nevs clarified it has in this area 400 suppliers of direct materials and 500 suppliers of indirect materials. The vast majority of these have chosen to await the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, but some creditors have filed applications for an peacefulness to pay at the Swedish Enforcement Authority.
Nevs added that the upcoming activities from the Enforcement Authority may involve mandatory sale of assets that are supposed to be included in Nevs’ agreement with above mentioned vehicle manufacturers. The company stated loss of such assets could obstruct finalizing a contract with them so to get more time to complete the negotiations, Nevs filed for said reorganization.
The District court of Vänersborg, Sweden approved August 29 the application for reorganization from National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB.
The District court has appointed Mr. Lars Eric Gustafsson, Attorney at Hamilton law firm in Stockholm, as administrator during the reorganization period; this attorney was originally proposed by Nevs.
Recently, and likely to settle rumors in this area its financial distress, Nevs revealed a prototype EV version it made based on a Saab.

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3 Million Cruze Sedans Sold Worldwide

3 Million Cruze Sedans Sold Worldwide Chevrolet’s Cruze has now reached three million sales worldwide.
The best-selling Chevrolet model crossed the milestone this month, 16 months after selling its 2 millionth model.
Chevy said the Cruze has proved itself a global player among small cars and is assembled in eleven plants, sold un one-hundred and eighteen countries.
“The Cruze is an extremely adaptable car that can cater to the demands of nearly each market in the world,” said Alan Batey, GM executive vice president of Global Chevrolet. “It is a tribute to Chevrolet’s global focus and capabilities to offer a car that is so highly regarded in so many places.”
Since launching in 2008, the Cruze has collected 39 product awards in China, 27 in the U.S. and 12 in Brazil, amongst others, said Chevy.
The company added it is committed to building product in – or near – the markets where they are sold, which lead to the Cruze being built in 11 different countries on five continents and sold in 118 countries.
“Small car sales around the world have been growing exponentially as emerging markets, in Asia and South America, increase car ownership while mature markets, like the U.S., downsize for fuel economy,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for AutoTrader.com. “Small cars like the Cruze are pouring sales globally and will continue to do so.”
The Cruze endured intensive durability testing, added Chevy, including farthest weather tests and more than 210 crash tests tailored to the regulatory demands of the countries where it is sold.
To appeal to the different markets’ tastes, the Cruze is available in three body styles, including a four-door sedan, five-door hatchback and station wagon. Depending on the market, the Cruze is powered by one of five different engines, 1.4-, 1.6-, and 1.8-liter gasoline engines, and 1.7- and 2-liter diesel engines.
“The cost of energy is going to be an issue for a long time and in most markets that’s a huge consideration,” said Joe Phillippi of AutoTrends Consulting in Andover, N.J. “If you can offer someone very affordable, high quality transportation at an affordable price with a substantial package of safety equipment, that’s a huge plus.”
Chevrolet clarified it recently launched a new version of the Cruze catering to the styling and packaging demands of Chinese customers. Cruze sales in China lead all countries with 1.13 million sold since launch in 2009.
For the U.S. market in 2015, the Cruze will have OnStar with 4G LTE standard, providing passengers with a mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot for up to seven devices. Chevy added he 2015 Cruze will also have Siri Eyes Free integration, allowing users to text, call, question for directions and even send email while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
The U.S.-market 2015 Cruze has an available 2.0L turbocharged clean diesel engine, allowing drivers to cruise 717 miles on one tank of fuel. Read more

CR Says Ram EcoDiesel, Highlander Hybrid Top Rankings

CR Says Ram EcoDiesel, Highlander Hybrid Top Rankings Consumer Reports recently announced that two alternative-fuel offerings have been rated best in their respective classes after a recent around of testing.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel scored 82 points in CR‘s hands, helped mainly by the diesel’s impressive 20 mpg combined and 27 mpg highway observed during the test. Previous winners included the regular Ram 1500 V8 with 81 points, and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT with 80.
“These are in this area the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a mid-sized SUV,” said Jack Fisher, director of automotive testing at CR. “The Ram is now the only [full-size] truck to offer turbo-diesel technology. It will be fascinating to see what impression it will have on the half-ton market.”
CR found the EcoDiesel to be just as refined as the regular gasoline V8, and while they did note some “diesel clatter at idle and low speeds, but the engine noise is well-hushed when cruising.”
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid also impressed with its 25-mpg combined during CR‘s evaluations, despite it being loaded with convenience features and have the potential to tow 3,500 pounds. “Power delivery is charming… [and] transitions between electric power and the gas engine are seamless.”
Beyond the Highlander’s frugality, testers also reported that it handled bumps and corners better, and that while the regenerative braking could be “a modest touchy” that “stopping distances were excellent.”
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Volvo XC90 Gets Four-Cylinder Plug-In Power, Enhanced Safety

Volvo XC90 Gets Four-Cylinder Plug-In Power, Enhanced Safety Volvo finally pulled the sheets off its new three-row XC90 SUV yesterday, and the initial details are pretty fascinating.
First, Volvo maintained a much more square-edged silhouette compared to the sweeping shapes adopted by its rivals. The adjoin grille uses the company’s updated grille, which now incorporates the updated Volvo badge. The headlights also have the T-shaped “Thor’s Hammer” LED in succession lights, which are subtle ways of playing up the company’s Swedish heritage.
While markets outside North America will get diesel engine options, in the US, Volvo is sticking with gasoline, for now. The XC90 T6 will use the new 2.0-liter “twin-exciting” four-cylinder — importance both turbocharged and supercharged — with 316 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque. No word on how many speeds in the presumably automatic transmission, but we do know each XC90 will come with all-wheel drive.
The more fascinating and relevant piece for this site, will be the T8 model, which uses the same twin-charge four-cylinder but adds an 80-horsepower (60 kw) electric motor that drives the rear wheels. Combined output is claimed to be 400 horsepower and 472 pounds-feet of torque. The T8 uses a lithium-ion battery pack that should give up a most of 25 miles of range in electric mode, and but other than noting the XC90 is a plug-in hybrid, there are few details around battery size and projected recharge times.
Volvo has also updated its active City Safety package, which is the “umbrella name” for the auto-brake functions, which cover vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
The interior has plenty of appeal, and a couple option packages will allow owners to make to peacefulness their vehicles to either an urban or “rugged luxury” vibe, with different exterior trim treatments, skid plates and wheel sizes up to 22-inch diameters.
Volvo says its starting MSRP of $48,900 for well-equipped T6 AWD models will include things like 19-inch wheels, a navigation system, powered panoramic sunroof, Bluetooth and more.
 

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General Motors Implementing Bike Share Program

General Motors Implementing Bike Share Program General Motors is rolling out zero-emissions vehicles with less than one horsepower each. That is it’s using bicycles.
More specifically, the automaker will be promoting employee bike sharing in and around its unrestrained Warren Technical Center campus.
This is not the first time GM has used bikes. Another time was during WWII because of fuel rationing. This time, it’s because of greenness, efficiency and health reasons.
As things stand, GM says it’s the first of its kind by any U.S. automaker, and it will enable its 19,000 employees to commute more easily both on and off campus.
To get it all accomplished, GM is working with Zagster, a private bike sharing company that has developed similar programs for other businesses. GM said its employees can use Zagster bikes stationed throughout the Tech Center to travel between its 61 buildings casing the 330-acre campus.
“GM is investing not only in the long-term health and productivity of its workforce, but sending a strong message to other employers around the country that bike sharing is a mainstream transportation option for employees,” said Timothy Ericson, co-founder and CEO of Zagster. Read more

A123 Back With Better Ideas, More Cash and Light Batteries

A123 Back With Better Ideas, More Cash and Light Batteries A123′s new 12-volt low-voltage lithium-ion battery
Few public familiar with the circumstances will ever forget battery maker A123′s sudden rise and even quicker fall from grace. It went from from plucky, brilliant upstart to bankruptcy in only a few years.
But after being bought by a Chinese supplier conglomerate — Wanxiang Assemble — after emerging from bankruptcy court in 2013, A123 has washed-out the last year and half getting itself refocused and re-energized. Gone were many top executives, and in return, a serious investment by its new parent into not only building batteries more efficiently, but also expanding into new areas of the market.
“The tale of A123 has been a negative one,” said CEO Jason Forcier in an interview with Automotive News. “But we’ve turned a corner and we’re more competitive than ever been in a growing market.”
While A123 still offers the generous high-voltage lithium-ion packs for “pure” electric vehicles, the company has started to roll out less vital low-voltage cells for the “micro-hybrid” market, which are vehicles that only generate small amounts of energy through regenerative braking.
A123′s new offerings only weigh 20 pounds — in this area half of a traditional lead-acid battery — and given the farthest focus now being place towards saving weight by auto manufacturers, the stage well into their strategies. Forcier figures that between current contracts for low-voltage batteries with McLaren, Ferrari and Daimler, A123 will supply 100,000 units over the next couple years.
Those are in addition to the larger packs presently found in vehicles like the Chevrolet Spark EV, and BMW’s hybridized trio of sedans — the 3-, 5- and 7-Series — along with Chinese auto giant SAIC.
“We’re seeing a strong pipeline of new business, which we weren’t seeing a year ago,” Forcier said. “We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re the leading lithium-ion battery maker in Michigan, and we’re coming back.”
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EV Supercar Maker Renovo Wants To Be Like Tesla, Not Fisker

EV Supercar Maker Renovo Wants To Be Like Tesla, Not Fisker A pair of ex-Silicon Valley tech workers are aiming for the proverbial stars with the Renovo Motors Sports car. But don’t be baffled by the ’60s throwback body and assume that what’s found under the long aluminum hood is equally antiquated.
No, Renovo is pitching its Sports car as an American-built electric-powered supercar, and took its prototype to Pebble Beach to garner interest and potential orders. But will anyone invest over a half-million dollars in an unproven company?
In an interview in Automotive News, Renovo’s co-founders Christopher Heiser and Jason Stinson reveal that they’re huge fans of how Tesla has approached the modern EV business.
“They’re doing a fantastic job, and we’re huge fans of theirs,” Heiser said.
AN says that in peacefulness to avoid the fate of EV startups like Fisker and Coda after over-promising and under-delivering, Renovo started in “stealth mode” and did all its research and product decisions far in advance of announcing anything.
“There were a lot of EV companies that announced things that they plotting they could do and didn’t achieve in the time they plotting — or worse, they felt pressure to launch before they were ready,” Heiser clarified. “For the strategic development of the company and our team and everyone in the project, we wanted to make sure that we cultured from those experiences.”
At one point during the interview, Heiser drops names like Horacio Pagani, Ron Dennis and Luca di Montezemolo — the bosses in charge of well-established supercar makers Pagani, McLaren and Ferrari — as experts at building modern supercars, but stops small of claiming Renovo is playing in the same league.
The Sports car’s spec sheet is promising, though, with a pair of axial flux electric motors that combine for over 500 horsepower and 1000 pounds-feet of torque, sent to the rear wheels via a release-speed transmission. The trio of proprietary lithium-ion battery packs total 740-volts and can be quick-exciting in only 30 minutes.
Even the weight of around 3,200 pounds is pretty decent, although estimated most range of 100 miles and a top speed of 120 mph could be problematic, especially if owners waste more time exploring the latter, which greatly reduces the former.
Renovo might have audacious plans, but few companies succeed only on promises.
“If we want to be [like successful car companies], we have to show what we can do,” Heiser said. “Not just talk in this area it.”
Automotive News
 

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