Friday newsbriefs: More fuel cell research, cloud apps for plug-in Hondas, Tesla hyperloop and an e-plane

July 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

The US Department of Energy is investing $2.4million in five hydrogen/fuel cell research programmes, looking at the performance and progress of hydrogen fuelling stations and supply infrastructure as well as the production of hydrogen from natural gas (uh-oh – are we in fracking territory here?) as well as from (nicer-sounding) solar-powered electrolysis of water. The programmes are in California, Connecticut and Illinois, reports Green Car Congress.

  • Honda’s new-generation infotainment system, Hondalink, will bring full connectivity including cloud-based audio streaming and radio plus Twitter and Facebook feeds – and, for drivers of the Fit (Jazz) EV and upcoming Accord plug-in hybrid, “unique applications designed specifically to maintain connectivity to their vehicle”- probably remote battery and charging management. The system debuts in the US when the new Accord arrives this autumn; a similar set-up is likely to be offered in Europe at a later date.
  • More about Tesla supremo Elon Musk’s idea for a ‘hyperloop’ – a solar-powered hyper-speed train – linking San Francisco and Los Angeles here. Well, a little more explaining the idea, anyway… this one’d be a long time into the future, though Musk stands a better chance than many of making something like this happen.
  • And planes: bike-racer turned pilot Chip Yates has become the first to fly an electric plane at over 200mph. He hit 202.6mph in the Burt Rutan-designed Long-ESA, and now aims to go trans-Atlantic. More at Flight of The Century.
  • Late addition to this bulletin: Aussie start-up EV Engineering of Port Melbourne has retro-fitted nine Holden Commodore saloons with electric powertrains and swappable batteries for a two-year trial. The aim is to see if e-power is feasible in such a large car, and to then offer conversions. Full story at The Age, via battery-swap people @BtrPlcAus.
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